The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 2

contemplated invasion
of these holy precincts.

But even the most expert of second story men nod and now that all seemed
as though running on greased rails a careless elbow raked a silver
candle-stick from the dressing table to the floor where it crashed
with a resounding din that sent cold shivers up the youth's spine and
conjured in his mind a sudden onslaught of investigators from the floor
below.

The noise of the falling candlestick sounded to the taut nerved
house-breaker as might the explosion of a stick of dynamite during
prayer in a meeting house. That all Oakdale had heard it seemed quite
possible, while that those below stairs were already turning questioning
ears, and probably inquisitive footsteps, upward was almost a foregone
conclusion.

Adjoining Miss Prim's boudoir was her bath and before the door leading
from the one to the other was a cretonne covered screen behind which
the burglar now concealed himself the while he listened in rigid
apprehension for the approach of the enemy; but the only sound that came
to him from the floor below was the deep laugh of Jonas Prim. A profound
sigh of relief escaped the beardless lips; for that laugh assured the
youth that, after all, the noise of the fallen candlestick had not
alarmed the household.

With knees that still trembled a bit he crossed the room and passed out
into the hallway, descended the stairs, and stood again in the library.
Here he paused a moment listening to the voices which came from the
dining room. Mrs. Prim was speaking. "I feel quite relieved about
Abigail," she was saying. "I believe that at last she sees the wisdom
and the advantages of an alliance with Mr. Benham, and it was almost
with enthusiasm that she left this morning to visit his sister. I am
positive that a week or two of companionship with him will impress upon
her the fine qualities of his nature. We are to be congratulated, Jonas,
upon settling our daughter so advantageously both in the matter of
family and wealth."

Jonas Prim grunted. "Sam Benham is old enough to be the girl's father,"
he growled. "If she wants him, all right; but I can't imagine Abbie
wanting a bald-headed husband with rheumatism. I wish you'd let her
alone, Pudgy, to find her own mate in her own way--someone nearer her
own age."

"The child is not old enough to judge wisely for herself," replied Mrs.
Prim. "It was my duty to arrange a proper alliance; and, Jonas, I will
thank you not to call me Pudgy--it is perfectly ridiculous for a woman
of my age--and

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