The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 94

met them all in the living-room. At sight of Abigail in the
ill-fitting man's clothing she raised her hands in holy horror; but she
couldn't see Bridge at all, until Burton found an opportunity to draw
her to one side and whisper something in her ear, after which she was
graciousness personified to the dusky Bridge, insisting that he spend a
fortnight with them to recuperate.

Between them, Burton and Jonas Prim fitted Bridge out as he had not been
dressed in years, and with the feel of fresh linen and pressed clothing,
even if ill fitting, a sensation of comfort and ease pervaded him which
the man would not have thought possible from such a source an hour
before.

He smiled ruefully as Burton looked him over. "I venture to say," he
drawled, "that there are other things in the world besides the open
road."

Burton smiled.

It was midnight when the Prims and their guests arose from the table.
Hettie Penning was with them, and everyone present had been sworn to
secrecy about her share in the tragedy of the previous night. On the
morrow she would return to Payson and no one there the wiser; but first
she had Burton send to the jail for Giova, who was being held as a
witness, and Giova promised to come and work for the Pennings.

At last Bridge stole a few minutes alone with Abigail, or, to be more
strictly a truthful historian, Abigail outgeneraled the others of the
company and drew Bridge out upon the veranda.

"Tell me," demanded the girl, "why you were so kind to me when you
thought me a worthless little scamp of a boy who had robbed some one's
home."

"I couldn't have told you a few hours ago," said Bridge. "I used to
wonder myself why I should feel toward a boy as I felt toward you,--it
was inexplicable,--and then when I knew that you were a girl, I
understood, for I knew that I loved you and had loved you from the
moment that we met there in the dark and the rain beside the Road to
Anywhere."

"Isn't it wonderful?" murmured the girl, and she had other things in her
heart to murmur; but a man's lips smothered hers as Bridge gathered her
into his arms and strained her to him.


*****


Partial list of correctioins made in the previous reproofing:


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