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The Halo They Gave Themselves
by [?]

. . . . .

To go through my emotions in detail during the next two months would be but to harrow you needlessly. Suffice it to say that seventeen times I flung myself face downwards on my bed and bit a piece out of the pillow, on twenty-nine occasions the blood ebbed slowly from my face, and my heart fluttered like a captured bird, while in a hundred and forty instances a wave of emotion surged slowly over my whole body, leaving me trembling like an aspen leaf. Otherwise my health remained good.

It was the night before the wedding. The bad Lord Wurzel had just left me with words of love upon his lying lips. To-morrow, unless Andrew Spinnaker saved me, I should be Lady Wurzel.

“A marconigram for you, miss,” said our faithful old gardener, William, entering the drawing-room noiselessly by the chimney. “I brought it myself to be sure you got it.”

With trembling fingers I tore it open. How my heart leapt and the hot colour flooded my neck and brow when I recognised the dear schoolboy writing of my beloved Andrew! I have the message still. It went like this:

“Wireless–South Pole.

Arrived safe. Found Pole. Weather charming. Blue sky. Not a breath of wind. Am wearing my thick socks. Sun never going down. Constellations revolving without dipping. Moon going sideways. Am starting for England to-morrow. Arrive Victoria twelve o’clock, Wednesday.–ANDREW.”

Back on Wednesday! And to-morrow was Tuesday–my wedding day! There was no hope. I felt like a shipwrecked voyager. For the thirty-fifth time since the beginning of the month deep oblivion came over me, and I swooned.

[Hall Caine. I think you might go on now. I have put a little life into the story. It is, perhaps, not quite so vivid as my last work, “The Woman Thou Gavest Me,” of which more than a million copies—-

Mrs. Barclay. In the two hundredth edition of “The Broken Halo”—-

Hall Caine (annoyed). Tut!]


(MRS. BARCLAY resumes)

At this point in The Little Grey Woman’s story handsome Dr. Dick put down his third piece of cake and got up. There was a baffled look on his virile face which none of his previous wives had ever seen there. For once Dr. Dick was nonplussed!

“Is there much more of your story?” he asked.

“Five hundred and nineteen pages,” she said.

The Virile Benedict of the Libraries took up his hat. Never had he exhaled youth so violently, yet never had he looked such a man. He had made up his mind. She was rich; but, after all, money was not everything.

“Good-bye,” he said.