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The Shadow

119 pages
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Ajouté le : 08 décembre 2010
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Shadow, by Mary White Ovington This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: The Shadow Author: Mary White Ovington Release Date: July 6, 2010 [eBook #33101] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE SHADOW*** E-text prepared by David Edwards, Mary Meehan, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team ( from page images generously made available by Internet Archive ( Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See THE SHADOW BY MARY WHITE OVINGTON AUTHOR OF "HALF A MAN" NEW YORK HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE 1920 COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE, INC. THE QUINN & BODEN COMPANY RAHWAY. N. J. TO MY MOTHER CONTENTS PROLOGUE I. THE PINES CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX CHAPTER X CHAPTER XI CHAPTER XII II. KATHLEEN CHAPTER XIII CHAPTER XIV CHAPTER XV CHAPTER XVI CHAPTER XVII CHAPTER XVIII CHAPTER XIX CHAPTER XX CHAPTER XXI CHAPTER XXII CHAPTER XXIII CHAPTER XXIV III. DICK CHAPTER XXV CHAPTER XXVI CHAPTER XXVII CHAPTER XXVIII CHAPTER XXIX CHAPTER XXX CHAPTER XXXI CHAPTER XXXII CHAPTER XXXIII CHAPTER XXXIV IV. THE LIVE OAKS CHAPTER XXXV CHAPTER XXXVI CHAPTER XXXVII THE SHADOW PROLOGUE When George Ogilvie, distinguished Judge of Palmetto County, Florida, read of the death in the papers—the quick death after the surgeon's knife—he felt glad and inexpressibly relieved. To play the part of avenger was sadly out of keeping with his gentle temperament. His wife could have done it without a qualm but since this was not permitted her she would in time have forced the role upon him. Fate, however, had taken her revenge without using him as her instrument, and the man who had brought disgrace into his home had slipped from the world honored by his associates, without visible taint upon his career. Remembering this, the Judge's sense of relief changed to a desire to play the familiar role, to sit himself upon the throne of justice and pronounce sentence upon this fresh-faced, laughing, persuasive criminal. Would he at the Most High Tribunal be given his full penalty? But this autumn night, as the wind howled about the old house shaking the windows in their frames, as the rain tore the leaves from the branches and beat them upon the sodden ground, he almost wished the lad was alive again. He would then find some way to tie the loose, careless life to the life that it had maimed, to the life it had brought into existence. In this driving storm of circumstance that a week since had hurled a human being out of the world and last night had brought a second to take its place, he found himself helpless. His long career, a career in which he had decided with quiet assurance the guilt or innocence of men and women standing fearful before him, was of no assistance. This was not another man's problem but his own. He poured himself a drink from the old, ruby-glass decanter upon the sideboard, and found his hand trembling so that the liquor was spilled upon the cloth. His head swirled with the swirling leaves that the rain tore from their sockets. All that he had believed and preached was taken from him by his own world's tragic storm. In the south room, however, it was peaceful and quiet. The wind spent its strength in the north, and here one could listen to the creak of the chair as the old nurse rocked slowly back and forth. Near her, on the bed, upon her back, was a young girl. Her curling brown hair lay a braid on either side of her delicate face. Her eyes were closed, but not in sleep, for every now and then she would move her right arm as though to draw something toward her. At length, opening her eyes, and looking to the far corner of the room, she said: "Mammy, I want it." The old colored woman left her seat and walked to where a cradle stood. "Not right now, lil' lamb." "Why not?" "It done sleep now." The girl turned upon her side and, crooking her arm, rested her head within it. She listened, her brow slightly wrinkled, to the rain as it beat upon the roof of the gallery. Presently: "Why doesn't it cry, mammy?" "Ain't I tole yer, chile, it done sleep. Ain't I tole yer?" Downstairs the man of the house had stepped across the hall and joined a little thin old gentleman who sat close to a blazing fire. "Doctor!" "Yes, George." "Remember Lillias when you gave her to me, eighteen years ago?" "What of it?" "Nothing. How helpless she was. I reckon all baby things are helpless." In lowered voice: "That baby upstairs now. It seems worse being a girl." The doctor made no reply, but crouched by the fire. "It's up to us what their lives shall be, eh? Queen or beggar maid." The man of the house looked forlornly at his silent visitor. "Have a drink?" he asked suddenly. "I'll get you one. Julia fixed it mighty well getting the servants out of the way, but it don't make for hospitality." Turning on him, the doctor raised his head and said, querulously: "Stop talking, can't you, man, and think. What are you going to do?" What was he going to do? He, Judge Ogilvie, did not know what he was going to do. He looked helplessly into his friend's eyes. Rising wearily the doctor went toward the door. "You aren't going?" the man of the house cried in alarm. "Yes, for a little. I've other work to do." "See here, don't leave us like this! Supposing anything happens." "Nothing should happen; only remember she is very weak. I should fear a shock." "But what are we going to do?" "Talk with your wife." The doctor spoke with a note of command. "I'm not the one to say what you should do." He pulled on his coat and, turning, held out his hand to his friend. "I'll be back soon," he said more gently. "I'll be with you through the night." Then he opened the door upon the howling wind and rain and was gone. Judge Ogilvie walked back into the living-room to see his wife standing before the open fire. She was a small woman, with a small, hard mouth. Usually it was
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