The frontier. (O'Neill City, Holt County, Neb.) 1880-1965, October 10, 1935, Image 3

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    THERE’S 7$
The little town of Heron River Is
•eagerly awaiting the arrival of An
na ("Silver") Grenoble, daughter of
^‘Gentleman Jim," formerly of the
•community, but known as a gam
bler, news of whose recent murder
In Chicago has reached the tpwn,
Sophronia Willard, Jim Grenoble's
sister, with whom the girl is to live,
Is at the depot to meet her. So
phronia's household consists of her
husband, and stepsons, Roderick
and Jason. The Willards own only
half of the farm on which they live,
the other half being Anna Gren
oble’s. On Silver's arrival Duke Mel
bank, shiftless youth, makes him
self obnoxious. Roderick is on the
«ve of marriage to Corinne Meader,
daughter of a failed banker. Silver
declares her eagerness to live on the
farm, and says she has no intention
of selling her half, which the Wil
lards had feared. She meets Roddy,
by chance, that night. He is some
what distant. Silver tells Sophronia
(“Phronie," by request) something—
but by no means all—of her rela
tions with Gerald Lucas, gambler
friend of her father.
CHAPTER IV—Continued
‘They’re all In there, too. That
corn he grew last year was two
weeks earlier than anything else In
the district. Now he’s crossin’ It
with a good yielder to bring it up
to where It’ll grow as much to the
acre as the other stuff. Oh. I
don’t pretend to know half of what
he’s talkin’ about, let alone what
he’s doin’."
Jason came down the slope from
the barn, and Silver slipped out to
fetch Roddy.
She stood hesitantly for a mo
ment in the open doorway of his
workshop, and watched him where
he bent over a long plank table. On
each of a half dozen white paste
board cards on the table there was
a sprinkling of what seemed to be
corn kernels, and so intent was
Roddy on the specimens before him
that he was unaware of her until
she spoke.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, Roddy,’’
Silver said, “but supper’s ready.”
“Oh!’’ He glanced up absently.
Then his gaze seemed to become ar
rested upon her; but she knew that
it was the concentrated stare of a
person whose thoughts are hard
on something else. “That ought to
work!’’ he exclaimed under his
breath, and she saw him go to a fil
ing cabinet in a corner, remove a
sheaf of papers and jot down some
Silver was about to turn away
when he called her.
“Why don’t you come in and
look this place over?” he Inquired.
“Girls are usually bored with it—
but since you have an interest in
it—” He lnughed in an odd way
and came toward her.
‘Td love to know all about it,”
she said as she glanced around the
room. “But Phronie is waiting for
us. Couldn’t we come in later?”
“Well," he replied apologetically,
“I’ve got to go to town for a hair
cut—and I have my packing to do
yet tonight. But Jason can show
you around," he went on hastily.
They had come to the screen door
of the kitchen, and Jason opened
it for them. •
“You don’t seem to be In any
hurry to come to the ‘last supper,’ ’’
Jason remarked drily.
“None of your Irreverence, young
man!’’ Roddy cried, and prodded his
brother Jovially In the ribs. “You
have a serious job on your hands
tonight. You’ve got to show this
child my lair—and your own. Her
mind has a scientific as well as on
artistic turn—eh. what. Silver?”
He grasped the soft coll of hair
at the nape of her neck and gave it
a playful tug.
A misty sensation of gratitude, of
deep, quivering happiness pervaded
Silver as she partook of the simple
meal with these people who were,
through Sophroniu, closer to her
than anyone else on earth. But far
down, underneath, there was a stir
ring of something uncertain, some
thing winged and light and strange.
She found herself wondering, time
after time, what kind of person
Roddy Willard would bring home as
his wife.
• • • • • • •
“My G—d!” Jason said, peering
out through the muslin curtains of
the sitting room in the old house.
“They have a retinoo!”
Silver, standing at his elbow,
looked at the people getting out of
Roddy’s car. She clasped Jason's
“The big girl must be a servant,
Jason," she said. “Phronle told me
Corinne was small.”
“Sure,” he replied. “That’s Co
riune with the fox fur on Kind o’
warm for It, but I guess it’s the
style. She’s pretty. Isn’t she? But
that other one—say! She looks like
a Mackintosh Red!’’
“We must go up and meet them
Jason,” said Silver.
But her eyes lingered a moment
longer on Corinne. Roddy's wife.
She was small and exquisite!,;
formed, with negligible trinkets of
feet, nnd a scantily hatted little
head poised eagerly as she went for
ward to accept Sophronia's blunder
ing kiss and old Roderick’s hand
A painful sound came from Ja
son's throat. "Lord!” he muttered.
"I could cry. Corinne has no idea
what she’s—”
"Oh, Jason,” Silver protested. "It
will be all right. When people are
tn love—they can adjust themselves
to anything.”
“We’ve got to be d—n nice to her.
Silver. The poor little thing!”
Everybody was in the living room
when Silver and Jnson entered the
new house. Roddy, with only a trace
of self-consciousness, brought Co
rinne, with his arm linked in hers,
up to his brother and Silver while
they stood in the doorway.
“You’ve met Jason, Corrle,” he
said. “This is Silver Grenoble, Sil
ver—Corinne. Did I get it back
wards? I usually do; remember,
Corrle? She used to laugh at my
manners, you know, Silver. But
wdiat’s manners between friends?”
He laughed, and Silver extended
her band to Corinne, who took it
with a quaint little move upward
toward her tall husband.
“He’s slandering me. Sliver,”
Corinne declared. “I never had any
thing but admiration for him, the
Jason bent forward in an almost
courtly fashion as he shook Co
rinne's hand. "Welcome home,”
he said, with a dark shine in his
"I’ve got a lunch laid out in the
dining room if you’ll all come,” So
phronia announced.
“Oh, Mrs. Willard!’’ Corinne
pleaded. “May I be excused? I feel
so very gritty—all I want is a good
hot bath.”
Sophronia’s face fell In disap
pointment. Silver had helped her
make the fancy molds of fruit gela
tine that had reposed all day in
the cooler. She knew, too, how long
I’hronie had labored over the dev
iled eggs and the special mayon
naise dressing, not to mention the
angel cake with its greeting in pink
Icing on the top.
“Maybe you’ll feel more like hav
ing a bite after you’ve washed?”
Phronie suggested hopefully.
Corinne shook her head mourn
fully. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Willard.
It has been so hot driving today.
Oh—Roddy! Paula went upstairs
with our bags, didn’t she? Perhaps
she would like something to eat. Do
you mind calling her?” Then in a
hasty aside she added, “We picked
her up only this afternoon in an em
ployment office in Maynard, but I
suspect she’s a jewel.”
Paula entered the living room,
and while Corinne, playfully demo
cratic, introduced her to Silver and
Jason, Silver found her Interest
quickened by the German girl’s ap
pearance. She was Junoesque in
build, with vast thighs and breasts
and shoulders. Her legs and arms
were almost breath-taking when she
walked. Silver thought she had
never seen anything more beautiful
than her corn-silk hair, which was
plaited in a coronet across her
head. Her face was round, rosy
and placid, but far from vacant.
But it was Jason’s eyes, fastened
on Paula, that really startled Silver.
Corinne, however, was taking no
note of his reactions. She was glanc
ing about at the walls of the liv
ing room in an appraising way.
"Funny,” she said with a depre
cating little laugh, “I feel as though
I nm In a different house from the
one I remember. I love these etch
ings, Roddy dear!’’
Sophronia vanished suddenly into
the dining room.
“I thought they were good,” Roddy
told Corinne modestly. "But If Ja
son wasn’t so bashful about hang
lng his work—”
“There’s a tankful of hot water,”
Corinne,” Jason broke in. “We
thought you might want a bath.”
Corinne blinked at him in a be
wlldered way, and Silver had the
distinct feeling that she was not
really looking at him.
When they were alone together in
their room, Corlnne, halfway through
the hundred brush strokes she was
giving her hnir, looked at Roddy
with shrinking eyes.
‘‘Do you mean," she asked breath
lessly, ‘‘that Jason is going to stay—
with us?"
A painful flush mounted to
Roddy’s temples.
“Why, of course, darling, ne
stammered. ‘Lord—you don’t mean
—you don’t dislike him, do youT“
Her small hands gathered over
the brush on her knees.
“No,” she said softly. “No—of
course not”
Roddy got up Impulsively, knelt
beside her and drew her toward him.
“Corrle!" he pleaded. “I can see
how you feel about him. But I tell
you, darling, he’s the finest soul
in the world. And he’s an artist,
Corrle. He really Is. You ought to
see his work. If we only had enough
money, I’d send him out to study,
lie has his studio all fixed up in
the attic. It would be Impossible
for me to suggest that he should
move. My G—d, Corrle—I couldn’t!
Please, sweetheart, try to like him!"
A trembling little smile passed
over her lips. Closing her eyes, she
leaned her head back against Rod
dy’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Roddy,” she murmured.
"Of course. I’ll like him."
In anguish, Roddy kissed her. Then
lie kissed her again, and she drew
a lock of her scented hair across
Ills lowered eyes.
I.n Roderick pointed with his
pipe tip at the big house, where
young Roddy lived with his wife
"You know," he said whimsically
"maybe I’m get tin’ on. but I swear
that house ain’t sitting right on the
ground. It’s up in the air a little
more every night I look at it—and
farther east, too.”
Silver laughed with Jason and
"It ain’t likely to go much high
er with that big iiired girl they
have in it,” Steve, the hired man,
observed drily.
Jason cleared his throat. “Oh, 1
don’t know that she’s so big,” he
said. "She has better ankles and
feet than most girls in Heron River.”
Phronle opened the door and
called out to them. “I wish one of
you youngsters would run tip and
borrow some cinnamon for me. I’ve
started to make cookies—’’
“Can’t you ever rest, Ma?" Jason
said, getting to his feet.
“I’ll go, Jase," Silver said quick
ly. “You stay here and play."
While she went lightly up the
slope she thought again, as she had
countless times during the past
week, of Corinne’s baffling attitude
toward Roddy’s brother. She ap
peared to be cordiality itself toward
him; was. In fact, almost glib with
sincere solicitude. Perhaps that
was the trouble. Silver reflected.
For through it all. Silver had had
the distinct feeling that Corinne was
deliberately shutting poor Jason out
of her consciousness. She feared,
too, that Jason sensed this, and
“They Have a Retinoo!”
often wondered how long his pride
or perverse humor would sustain
him under the same roof with his
brother’s wife.
Then there was Paula. But Ja
son was different and Paula too
shy for the development, as yet, of
any friendship between them which
might be embarrassing to Corinne.
Only yesterday, however. Corinne
had called Paula sharply away from
the yard where she was watching
Jason repair a corn-crib, and had
set her to some trivial and unneces
sary task.
When Silver entered Roddy’s
house, she found Corinne writing
letters In the living room. Roddy,
at the dining room table, was at
work over his ledger.
‘‘Phronle wants to borrow some
cinnamon, Corinne,” Sliver ex
plained when Roddy’s wife inquiring
ly turned her head, “I can find it
myself in the kitchen.”
“Oh,” Corinne said Inattentively.
"Paula will be down In a minute.
She’s upstairs—tidying her hair, I
suppose. She'll find the cinnamon
for you. I’m sure I don’t know
where she keeps It. Sit down, Sil
ver. 1 must get these letters fin
Silver picked up a copy of Vanity
Fair and seated herself In the din
ing room. Roddy gave her an odd,
vaguely troubled look, then dropped
his eyes again to his ledger.
But immediately there was the
sound of a car entering the drive
way, and Corinne went to answer
the doorbell.
“I'd better go home," Sliver said
quickly to Roddy.
A gleam of anger lit Roddy’s eyes.
"You stay where you are,” he com
manded. “Didn't you tell me people
round here had to get used to you?"
Silver had no time to make < a re
A tall, granite-faced woman with
a mottled red nose and a hat that
bore a stiff little feather, entered
the living room. In her wake, not
unlike the trailing ruffle of a great
ship, came a simpering miss of sev
enteen or eighteen, much befrllled,
and wearing a flowered leghorn hat.
It was Mrs. Leander Folds, the
school superintendent's wife of
Heron River, and her daughter,
“My denr,” Mrs. Folds was say
ing loquaciously, “I suppose I should
have telephoned. But I am a woman
of Impulse, you know 1 We Just got
back yesterday from our holiday In
the Black Hills, and heard about
Roddy's marriage. We were out
driving, and I thought this would
be a good time to catch you in. We
must—we just must have you In our
rending cluh. Ethelwyn here Is sec
retary of it, and It’s so Instructive
for the young people—”
Mrs. Folds had advanced farther
into the room, and now her eye fell
upon Silver A curious, tight look
appeared on her face ns though she
were holding her breath. Silver
stood up. •
"Have you met Silver Grenoble,
Mrs, Folds?’ Corinne asked hastily.
“My husband's cousin.’’
"How do you do?” Silver said, but
made no move toward the two vis
“Oh—” Mrs. Folds surveyed her
thoroughly. “How do you do? Rod
dy’s cousin by—by marriage? Of
course. Yes. yes. And how do you
do. Roddy? Oh. dear. I Just
thought of something.” She turned
abruptly nnd patted Ethelwyn’s
arm. “Run nnd see If I brought that
book I wanted Mrs. Willard to read.
It ought to be in the car. If it isn’t,
wait for me there, my dear."
Ethelwyn vanished docilely, al
though her eyes a moment before
had been frankly devouring Sliver.
Silver could feel the hot blood
pounding In her throat, her temples.
Mrs. Folds’ strategy had been so
brutally obvious. Yet she was pow
erless to move.
“Now,” snid Mrs. Folds, “I can’t
stay a minute—but you must prom
ise to come to our meeting on Tues
day, Mrs. Willard. We are study
ing Hardy at the moment—with one
of the moderns thrown In, Just for
relief, so to speak.” She smiled
Roddy gave a sardonic bark of a
lnugh. “Hardy? You don’t consid
er him a modern, eh?”
Mrs. Folds looked bewildered.
Corinne agitatedly stepped closer to
her and said, “Thank you so much,
Mrs. Folds. I shall be glad to come,
“By the way, Mrs. Folds,” Roddy
said coldly, his face curiously
white beneath his tan, his eyes two
grayly burning slits, “has this club
of yours a limited membership?”
Mrs. Folds reddened unbecoming
ly. “Er—yes, It has,” she plunged.
“You see—our house Is smnll—”
Silver stood with her hands
clenched about the table’s edge, back
of her.
“That's fortunate," Roddy Inter
rupted Mrs. Folds, and laughed
nloud. With that he slammed shut
the covers of the ledger, flung It
with a sharp report down upon the
table and strode through the din
ing room into the kitchen.
Mrs. Folds smiled feebly and ex
tended two fingers to Corinue. As
though across waves of heat, Silver
saw Mrs. Folds sail out of the house,
Corlnne accompanying her.
Paula had come down the back
stairs. She entered the dining room
now and handed Silver the can of
cinnamon. Silver was suddenly
aware of Roddy standing before her
with crossed arms.
“You'll find this place Isn’t worth
the trouble, kid,” he said somberly.
“The women will knife you—
every chance they get"
She gave him a steady look.
“Mrs. Folds can’t hurt me—really,”
she said with a proud lift of her
Roddy’s lips moved In a hard
way. “That Isn’t all of It" he con
tinued. “I meant to tell you when
you first came In, but I didn’t get a
chance. That man Gerald Lucas
was enquiring about you today In
Heron River.”
For a moment Silver leaned heav
ily against the table. Her eyes were
fixed wide upon Roddy’s face, as
though she expected to hear him re
peat his words.
Corlnne came bithely In through
the front of the house.
“What an ogre of a woman 1” she
cried, laughing. “I’m glad you
snubbed her, Roddy. I couldn’t very
well, because 1 thought she meant
to invite—”
“Phronle is waiting for the cin
namon, Corlnne,” Silver said dully.
“I must go."
But it was Jason who took the
spice into the house to Sophronla.
Sliver felt that she could not, right
now, bear the Interior of the stone
house, even for a moment
‘Tm going for a walk," she told
“A walk?” he asked, ant. frowned.
But Silver broke away nnd start
ed for the road. She thrust her
hands Into the pockets of her sweat
er and walked blindly into the last
sinking glow of the sunset.
Presently a long, graceful road
ster turned the corner and came to
ward her. As It slowed down and
stopped beside her, the man at the
wheel laughed with pleased sur
prise and leaned over the door. Sil
ver glanced up nt him.
When It was stated the other day
that a scientist had discovered a
process which enabled him to make
synthetic diamonds. Indistinguishable
from tlte real ones, but very much
cheaper, a great many people were
Diamonds are a favorite Invest
ment, and those who possess them
would suffer enormous losses If
stones exactly the same could be
made commercially. It Is Impossible
to say exactly how much money
would be Involved, but the total
would probably not be far short of
Fortunately for the owners of
Jewels, however, tests of the "syn- j
thetic diamonds” by the experts of
the London Chamber of Commerce
have revealed important differences
between the manufactured gems and
the genuine article.
Business In diamonds Is one of the
best barometers of world trade
When diamonds boom It Is a sign
that there Is general prosperity.
When the demand for them falls off
commerce generally is slowing down
But no other form of “big bust
ness” Is carried out In so modest *
way. There Is no palatial diamond
exchange, housed In “marble halls.
Instead, you have the marble-topped
tables of a teashop. where men sit
over twopenny cups of tea or coffee
discussing the prices of the “spark
lers” that lie spilled among the bread
crumbs. That's how they do bus!
ness In Hatton Garden, the center of
the diamond trade.—London An
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