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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 6, 1903)
Twenty-Four Hours for Dinner"
A Short Story by
(Copyright, 1903, by T. C. McClure.)
11 V. vntmv man f r rt m A bK t a Hut A
I I watched the proctoding with
A I nirlfMillv nnt ttr.m'vji'1 wltH
-we. How could a . tele
gram be delivered on a
trtln Just arywhero In the heart of New
York Hi ate? How did the sender know
where to address It? And above all, how
did the smiling porter know to which one
of the well-groomed wen In the smoker It
wm addressed? He watched with amate
ment and secret envy the nonchalant way
In which Jack Carleton, senior member of
the brokerage firm of CarWton & Strange,
tore open the yel'ow envelnpa.
Eut If Carleton reeslved the message with
Indifference, tie d!d not tend It In the same
spirit: The voting man from ArhUbuli,
to whom a yellow envelope represented
matters of life and death, wns gritlled to
no'e that the keen-faced New Yorker was
Carleton had exjectel sime message from
the firm, asking ad vie ai to the disposi
tion of this or that holding of securities.
Inr.tad the blank real:
"Train 19. N. Y., C. & L. C. i M. &,
"Dear Jui k I.ucy Danforth will arrive
In town 4:'J1. Meet her and send her on to
us. Bhe I to snenrt Thankxglvln with us
t the Lodge. Affectionately, CI RACK."
Young Carletcn grinned In spite of his
annoyance. Six cent extra for words of
Irterly affection! How like Grace! And
equally how like this same loving, but
thoughtless sister, was it to nek him to
meet in the mob at the Grand Central
depot a young woman whom he had not
seen for four yearj. Four years may work
wonders In a 17-yeir-ola girl, whore lines
Inclined to anguUilty and her hair to
Arother awkward feature of tliU s'.itteily
arrangement was the fact that his own
train reached New York at J:6 and he h d
urgent reasons for going direct to the
ofllce. Could he return to the depot In
time to met Miss Danforth, and with her
take the next train bound for the Adiron
dack, whither Ms Impulsive sister had
decided to give a Thanksgiving house
party at the hunting lo4ge?
He called for a time table and fell to
studying It earnestly. Mls Danforth lived
In the southern central part of the state.
8hn must arrive at Bradford Junction in
time to tako the New York Central train
twenty minutes after his was due at Brad
ford. But at the same time his train had
been an hour and forty minutes late leav
ing Buffalo and they were steadily losing
time. The Thanksgiving traffic had added
two day coaches and a s'.eeper to the usual
With an angry gesture he crumpled the
telegram and tossed It Into a corner. To
add to his mentnl disgust there was physi
cal discomfort at hand. A cold snap had
set In and tho car was actually chilly.
Another hour was lost before Bradford
Junction was reached, lack Carleton
glanoed carelessly through the window,
upon which the wind was beating a mercl
loss tattoo. Then he sprang up with a
harp exclamation. Surely that was Lucy
Danforth, slurdl'y marching up and down
tho station platform. Jack's memory for
face was common talk on the street and
he did not fail to recognise In this radiant
young woman with ruddy cheutnut hair,
blown back from a clear Ivory skin, the
Immaturo beauty of his slater's school days.
As he sprang fro the sleeper and fol
lowed the lithe, athletic figure up the plat
form he formed a quick resolution. The
engagement at hi ulHce might go by the
boards. He would hold Miss Danforth at
Bradford's until tho accommodation train
came In, which would take them over, to
Centervllle, where they could board a
through train for the Adlrondacks, and
thus avoid the long, roundaboMt trip Into
New York. For Just an Instant ha hesi
tated between plunging back upon the train
and gathering up his belonging or hurry
ing after Miss Danforth and trusting to
time to secure his property, now piled up
across the ainle from the young man from
Ashtabula, who was watching the per
formance as If ha were the solitary audi
tor at a play.
Flushed and out of breath, Jack panted
up to the graceful figure.
"Miss Danforth, I believe," he said, try
ing to hold his hat on with one hand and
button up his coat with the other.
The young woman regarded htm coldly.
"Yes, I am Miss Danforth, but I believe
you have the advantage."
Carleton whistled In spite of his effort
at self-control. In the old days Lucy Dan
forth blushed If anyone addressed her cas
ually. "I am Jack Carleton," he explained, "and
Grace has suddenly decided to give her
Thanksgiving party In the howling wilder
ness commonly known as the Adlrondacks.
It we cross from here to Centervllle In
stead of going Into New York, we can save
time and be at the lodge tonight. Grace
telegraphed me "
Lucy Danforth'a Up tightened.
"Why," she demanded, "was I not In
formed alsoT Why should I go went with
you when New York la south?"
'That's easy," said Jack, shivering
lightly as tha keen wind eut through his
bualneas suit, "I have been la Gaua and
SHE LOOKED AT HIS CLEAN-CUT FEATURES.
OF 11 EH FRIEND, GRACE CARLTON.
THEY DID BEAR A SLIGHT RESEMBLANCE! TO THOSE
he wired me on the train to meet you in .
Nw York, but I figured out to save you .
the trip. I saw you here and waa afraid .
you would get on board and make It neces
sary to go all the way to New York."
Somehow Jack suddenly realised that she .
waa not listening.
"I don't seem to remember you," she said
slowly. He recalled that when she had
visited them he had been rejoicing In the
possession of his first beard. Of course she
would not recognise him when clean
"I assure you, Mlsa Danforth," he said,
earnestly, "that I am Jack Carleton."
"Then," she answered, with evident sus
picion, "I suppose you have your sister's
Jack flushed. "Well or the fact Is, I I
threw It awar.M
"You muit have cards or letters, then."
Jack fumbled In his pockets for a few
seconds, then looked at the girl helplessly.
"They're In my overcoat I had to make
a run for the train In Chicago, falling out
of my evening clothes Into these, and I Just
tossed everything Into my overcoat."
"Then," she said decidedly, "I should
advise you to return to the train, which I
see Is about to pull out. I am quite able
to take care cf myself, and If you are Mr.
Carleton you can meet me as arranged In
the Grand Central."
Jack was growing desperate.
"Won't you at least come on this train,
then," he urged. "Your train may be even
later than this."
"No." she answered with decision, "I
telegraphed Grace that I would arrive on
the 4:27. I will Wilt for my own train,
where a seat In the parlor car has been
reserved for me."
The porters had up their stools, the eon-'
ductor signaled the engineer, and the
young man from Ashtabula had flattened
his face against the Icy pane to catch the
last view of this perplexing game.
Jack realised that It was too late to re
cover his luggage, as the train disappeared
In the whirl of cold and snow which, sud
denly swept down upon It.
Then he turned to Mlsa Danforth, rather
"I am sorry U X seem Insistent," he said.
"but there Is likely to be trouble all along
the road this afternoon, and as my sister's
guest I feel duty bound to remain with you.
The next train may not get through at all.
I will not be In your way, but shall see
that you are made comfortable. As a
starter, may I auggest that you go Into
the station? It la really dangerous stand
ing here, and you have a long wait before
Without reply. Miss Danforth turned and
entered the dismal waiting rooom. It waa
bare and cheerless, save for the huge stove
which glowed redly In the center. This
meant warmth If not comfort.
Jack placed one ofthe three chairs of
which the room boasicd near, but not too
close to the stove, and with a slight In
clination of his head. Indicated that this
was for Mlsa Danforth. Then he drew .
another chair Into the most remote corner
of the room, turned his back to the stove
and sat with his feet raised on a rough,
uncompromising bench (this was 'because
a draught blew across the floor, and Jack
suddenly recalled that In making the rush
for his train the night before he had not
changed from his dancing shoes to his
street shoes, and the former were not
calculated to withstand an up-state New
York gale). He fell to studying a badly
defaced advertisement of a country fair
long numbered with things of the past.
They were quite alone, station agent and
telegraph operator, sat In his cubby hole
behind a lattice work of painted Iron, send
ing and receiving messages regarding the
movement of trains. Once Jack was al
most tempted to ask him for reading mat
ter of any sort or description. But the
waning afternoon light made this mode of
passing time impractical. So with his
hands thrust deep Into his pockets and a
storm raging In his heart, the senior mem
ber of Carleton & Strange tried to plan
out some marvelous financial coup which
would repay him for these hours of in
action. The agent, coughing slightly and stoop
ing more than ever, opened his door, lighted
a smoky lamp and said apologetically:
"There ain't goin' to be a train either
way for some time. An' that betn' the
case, I guess I'll go over to the bouse an'
get a bite of supper. It's against the rule
for me to leave folks slttln' here, hut I
guess rules' 11 have to be broke this time.
If you need mora coal before I coma hack
there's plenty in the shed over by the
freight ' house."
Then he waa gone, and with a gasp
MsLLsira Pablo Iowum Soars. '
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