BLTC Press Titles

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The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

A drawn game

by Richard Ashe King





Mr. Tuck had been taken ill in his bedroom, which he seldom left now, and seldom allowed Mrs. Tuck to leave. However, she took advantage of a moment when he was composed and seemed asleep, to steal out of the room with the newspaper.

She found Ida alone in the breakfast-room.

' Has the man gone for the doctor, dear ? '

' Yes; he went at once. Is he very ill, Mrs. Tuck?'

'Very—I don't think he can get over it. Ida dear, it was some scandal about your cousin.'

Vol. in. B

' About—about Archie ?' gasped Ida, growing white as death.

' Yes, dear; I thought I'd better tell you myself, as you were sure to hear of it soon from some one.'

Ida sank into a chair and looked up wild and scared, with a piteous appeal for mercy in her face. Mrs. Tuck, though she read her love for Archie in the look, was so moved by its misery that she impulsively began to discredit the report, which she had meant to quote •&« indisputable.

' My dear child, it's only a report in that abominable poachers' paper, and it's as likely as not to be a pure invention. It's perfectly disgraceful that these newspapers should be allowed to scatter such scandals about. They might as well fling dynamite into a house.'

' Is that the paper ? ' asked Ida, in a voice that trembled and faltered.

' Yes, dear ; I was going to put it into the fire. It's not fit reading for you or any one.'

' Was it about that—that case you were talking of yesterday, Mrs. Tuck ? '

' Why you had heard the report already !' cried Mrs. Tuck, in amazement.

' No; I hadn't heard it. Please send the paper to Mrs. Pybus, and I shall write and explain.'

' It's not a paper to send to any decent house,' said Mrs. Tuck, doubtfully. 'For, suppose the report really were untrue, and could be proved untrue to Mr. Tuck's satisfaction, and before he had made his will ?'

' Please send it,' repeated Ida, entreatingly; ' they ought to know of it to contradict it.'

But there was little hope of contradiction in her tone.

' Well, my dear, I'll send it if you wish, and if you'll write to explain.'

' I'll write—I'll write at once,' rising, with a longing to be alone.

Mrs. Tuck, understanding this, said as she stooped to kiss her:

' Do, dear ; you can say that though it's a scurrilous little paper, which lives on lies, it would be as well to contradict the report at once, as it may get into respectable papers, and as it has so shocked and distressed Mr. Tuck that he is dangerously ill.'

After Ida left the room, Mrs. Tuck stood with knitted brows wondering how Ida came to guess that the report referred to the scandal of which herself and Dick had talked together yesterday morning.

' She must have heard something about it when she was staying there; and, if so, it's true,' she concluded complacently. Then, to justify her complacency, she added: ' And, if true, it's best she should know it, and be cured of her foolish fancy for so worthless a scamp.'

At this point of her meditations she was summoned hastily to attend Mr. Tuck, who had just missed her from his bedside.

' Why did you leave me ?' he asked in a tone of childish querulousness.

' I went to make sure the man had gone at once for the doctor, dear.'

' You—you think me very ill ? ' he asked with frightened eyes fixed eagerly on her face ; for, generally speaking, Mrs. Tuck made light of his attacks. But now she not only thought him very ill, but thought it well that he should think so.

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