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If You Touch Them They Vanish   By: (1876-1953)

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First Page:

By Gouverneur Morris

Published by Charles Scribner's Sons

If You Touch Them They Vanish. Illustrated. net $1.00

The Penalty. Illustrated. net $1.35

It, and Other Stories. net $1.25

The Spread Eagle, and Other Stories. net $1.20

The Footprint, and Other Stories. $1.50

[Illustration: "If I had the power," he thought, "I'd settle this region with innocent people who have been accused of crimes."]


By Gouverneur Morris

With illustrations by Charles S. Chapman

New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1913

Copyright, 1913, by Charles Scribner's Sons

Published October, 1913

To John Frederick Byers


"If I had the power," he thought, "I'd settle this region with innocent people who have been accused of crimes" Frontispiece


"Only come back, darlint" she fought against tears "and I'll fill the house with helpers from attic to cellar" 42

"Now how about a sawmill right here?" 80

During the winter the Poor Boy made two excursions southward through his valley and beyond 86

She suddenly stopped running, and turned and waited for him 96

His fingers began to follow an air that flowed with eternal sadness like blood from a broken heart 120

"She will always be just as I see her now, no older, untroubled, gentle, and dear" 132

And then carrying her swiftly home, he proceeded to go quite mad 144


Old Martha wondered if the Poor Boy would have a smile for her. He had had so many in the old days, the baby days, the growing up days, the college days, the "world so new and all" days. There were some which she would always remember. The smile he smiled one Christmas morning, when he put the grand fur coat around her shoulders, and the kiss on her cheek. The smile he smiled that day when they met in front of the photographer's, and he took her in and had their photograph taken together: she sitting and glaring with embarrassment at the camera, he standing, his hand on her shoulder, smiling down on her.

To save her life she could not recall a harsh word in his mouth, a harsh look in his eyes. In the growing up days he had been sick a great deal; but the trustees and the doctors had put their trust in old Martha, and she had pulled him through. When the pain was too great, her Poor Boy was always for hiding his face. It was thus that he gathered strength to turn to her once more, smiling. It was Martha who spoke stories of princesses and banshees and heroes and witch wolves through the long nights when he could not sleep. It was old Martha who drew the tub of red hot water that brought him to life, when the doctor said he was dead.

If he had been her own, she could not have loved him more.

How many hundred cold nights she had left her warm bed, to return, blue with cold, after seeing that he was well covered! How she had dreaded the passing of time that brought him nearer and nearer to manhood, in whose multiple interests and cares old tendernesses and understandings are so often forgotten. But wherever he went, whatever he did, he had always an eye of his mind upon Martha's feelings in the matter. She was old, Irish, unlettered, but as a royal duchess so was she deferred to in the Poor Boy's great house upon the avenue... Continue reading book >>

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