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An original sinner online

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23 Volumes

May be had wherever books are cold, at th price you
paid for this volume

Black Adonis, A
Garston Bigamy, The
Her Husband's Friend
His Foster Sister
His Private Character
In Stella's Shadow
Love at Seventy
Love Gone Astray
Moulding a Maiden
Naked Truth, The
New Sensation, A
Original Sinner, An
Out of Wedlock
Speaking of Ellen
Stranger Than Fiction
Sugar Princess, A
That Gay Deceiver
Their Marriage Bond
Thou Shalt Not
Thy Neighbor's Wife
Why I'm Single
Young Fawcett's Mabel
Young Miss Giddy


Publishers :: :: New York







" The eternal error /" he mused. " The
cardinal mistake. No man knows him-
self. No woman knows herself. A word,
a touch, a look, and the angel becomes a
demon" Page 133.


reT, i89i, r G. w. MLUNWMH.

G. W. Dittingham Co., Publishers.
\AUrtghts reserved. ]


Chapter Page

I. Designed for the Ministry 9

II. The Best Shod Woman in Boston 21

III. " I like Albert Ross and Ouida." 33

IV. " She's not like other girls." 36

V. The Laws of Heredity 54

VI. " I love your daughter." 60

VII. Was Lettie in Love ? 70

VIII. A Picture of Innocence 80

IX. " My God ! they will be killed !"..... 92

X. Hell Fire and that Sort of Thing 105

XI. A Dangerous Companion 1 16

XII. " No woman knows herself." 126

XIII. Midnight and Bessie 137

XIV. A Game of Hearts 146

XV. " If we're not found out." 158

XVI. Mark Melton's Protest 168

XVII. Compelling a Kiss 179

XVIII. " She will probably have children.". . . 190

XIX. My Brother's Keeper 203

XX. Off for Arcadie 214

XXI. " No, I never loved you." 221

XXII. " Good-night, my wife." 227

XXIII. Another Man's Bride 239

XXIV. A Confidential Talk 250

XXV. " I wanted you to suffer." 261



Chapter Page

XXVI. In the Face of Dishonor 267

XXVII. Champagne and Grapes 274

XXVIII. " There is a devil in him." 284

XXIX. A House of Sin 293

XXX. A Man of God 300

XXXI. " I think you have killed me." 307

XXXII. Clyde Morley's Diary 317

XXXIII. " What is marriage for ?" 328

XXXIV. A Little Sieight-of-Hand 336


Perhaps the strongest criticism that could be
brought against this story is that it is improbable.
To that charge. I am willing in advance to plead
guilty. A similar idea, without the least pretence of
probability, which has been worked out by one of
the masters of English fiction, stands easily among
the first half dozen great books that have seen the
light in this generation. The tale / tell could have
happened and his could not ; but the lesson I desire
to teach will be no less apparent should you guess my
chief secret and think you could have done as much
had you been associated with the brothers Morley.
The inadvisability of saying more on this head will
be better appreciated when the final pages are fin-

There are still ghouls who assail each novel of
mine without reading aline of it, though most of the
notices which come to me tell a different tale. One
writer gravely announces that " Thy Neighbor's
Wife " is " not as bad as its boastful preface would
seem to indicate." Let those of you who have a
copy handy read that preface again, and see if you
can find a word that justifies this slander. Another,
signing a woman's name, declares that the same
novel is morally worse just think of it ! than
" even 'Speaking of Ellen.' " Has she ever opened



the covers of that story of a pure, high-souled work-
ing-girl, that the noblest modern apostle of reform
wrote me he hoped a hundred thousand beside
himself would read ? The 80.000 people who have
already purchased the novel, and the hundreds of
thousands who have read it, can give the right name
to that kind of "criticism."

My thanks are due to the press for a thousand
kind words during the past year. An occasional
exception like those mentioned only make the con-
trast the greater.

Last winter I spent pleasurably in Florida, Louis-
iana, other parts of the South and the great Republic
beyond. Everywhere I was importuned to locate a
novel in that section, and some day I may do so. At
present my plans are too far developed in other direc-
tions. The kindness I met and the numerous testi-
monies to the popularity of my works which I found
alike in the gorgeous hotels of St. Augustine and the
mining camps of Mexico I shall never forget.

Once more I must express my appreciation of the
flattering communications of my numerous corres-
pondents, to whom, as well as to all my other
readers, in this centennial year, I wish health and


Cambridge, Mass.,
May, 1893.




As he entered the village church, every eye in the
congregation was raised. Pale to such a degree that
one who did not know him might have suspected
serious illness, with restless dark eyes accentuated
by the pallor that surrounded them, with clean
shaven face and hair combed back on both sides,
Clyde Morley always attracted attention, and to-day
there was a new reason why he should be the
observed of all observers. Everybody knew that
he had decided to go on a long journey in search
of health, it was said and that this was probably
the last Sunday he would be seen in Arcadie for
many months.

They watched him enter the holy edifice, in com-
pany with his guardian, Rev. Dr. Welsh, the pastor ;
and as the pair walked slowly down the broad aisle
it came into many minds that some day Reverend Mr.
Morley would ascend that pulpit. The aged minister
was hardly more saintly in their eyes that this young


man, now not over twenty-three, who had been
brought up after his parents' deaths under the im-
mediate eye of the good Doctor.

Mr. Morley took his seat in his pew, bending his
head devoutly in silent prayer. The clergyman
gave out the opening hymn, and when it was finished
announced his text.

Perhaps no sermon delivered in that church had
ever received less attention. It was only when a
veiled reference was made to the prospective depart-
ure of the young man who was in the thoughts of
all that a temporary interest in the discourse was
excited. They had known him from a boy, and had
watched him as he grew older, feeling that he was
something above themselves, almost above the earth
on which he trod. He had talked little religion to
them, but his life had seemed a perpetual light. The
boys always thought of him when the minister dis-
coursed of the youth of Jesus ; the old men raised
their hats to him instinctively ; the matrons half
believed that virtue exuded from his garments.

No young woman of marriageable age ever in-
cluded Mr. Morley in her dreams of matrimony.
Those who gathered at the Judean sepulchre would
as soon have thought of marriage with the angel who
rolled away the stone on that first Easter morning.

He had never been backward in the church meet-
ings. No other prayer seemed so simple, unaffected
and yet so powerful. But he had done more than
speak and pray. He had been known to gather a
crop for a poor widow, stopping on the way home to
show a group of boys how to play a scientific game
of ball. No one would be likely to forget the time
when he risked his life to save a pet dog belonging


to a Kittle fellow in his Sunday-school class, that had
fallen into the millstream ; nor how, when the scar-
let fever raged, and it was impossible to hire experi-
enced nurses, he left college to come home and spend
six weeks caring for the more violent cases in the
improvised hospital.

" Others talk about Christ, but he lives him," was
the expression of a woman whom he had more than
once befriended.

When he was asked if he intended to devote his
life to preaching the gospel, Morley sometimes an-
swered, humbly, " Yes, if I ever grow to think myself

The inquirers went their ways impressed with his
sincerity, though not in the least understanding him.
If he was not fit to preach, they wondered who could be.

Dr. Welsh had many a talk with him upon the

" You underrate yourself," he said. " You ought
to proceed at once to finish your divinity course.
A great work is open to you. The harvest is plenty
and the laborers far too few."

Then Morley shook his head doubtfully, as he
replied :

"No man has aright to set himself upas a teacher
until his own life is secure. He should live down
every temptation before he undertakes such a lofty

The good clergyman smiled amiably.

" One would be more than human if he were never
tempted," he answered. " Don't imagine that we of
the pulpit are created of different clay from our con-
gregations. On the contrary, it is because we are
accustomed to the same tendencies that we are able


to advise and instruct them. We are told that the
greatest One who ever bore our likeness was ' tempted
in all points like as we are.'"

Morley answered in a very low voice :

" But we are not told that he yielded."

"No, my son, and neither will you."

It was impossible for Dr. Welsh to connect " his
boy" with anything like a real transgression.

" How can we tell ?" was the reply. '"Let him
that standeth take heed,' saith the Scripture. I want
to go away awhile and mix with the world. A
teacher does well to attend the school from which his
pupils are to come."

Dr. Welsh did not fully approve of this idea, but
he saw that Clyde was set on it and that it was not
wise to object too much. He only thought of the
time that would be lost before getting to work in
the Master's vineyard, for he felt that this young
man would be safe anywhere. His spiritual nature
shone from his clear forehead. Clyde would never
be one to eat meat or drink wine if thereby he
caused his brother to offend.

"Go, my dear boy," he said, feelingly, "but be
not absent too long. Every day is so much taken
from the work you are called to do."

Morley looked at his guardian affectionately.

" How certain you seem to be of what my duty
is," he said. " Perhaps some other field may yet
seem wiser for me to follow. I feel that the pulpit
is not a thing to decide upon without full consider-
ation. Many enter that sacred profession who are
unfitted for it, to the great scandal of religion. How
frequently we read of councils called to sit in judg-
ment on ministers accused of immoralities. To be


sure they are often acquitted, for which we should
thank God ; but the ideal pastor is one against
whom no breath of suspicion could lodge. Leave
this matter to me, for no one else can decide it so
well. I will write to you frequently and let you
know how I am progressing."

It was a grief to the minister to think of even a
possibility of his ward's giving up the profession for
which he had done so much to fit him, but he be-
lieved it would come about all right yet. Clyde
only wanted a chance to debate the matter fully in
his own mind. He was to take his books with him
and devote a portion of each day to study. Surely
the Holy Spirit would guide him aright. The
doctor had great faith and he tried to rest content.

On the Sunday in question, Mr. Morley spoke
earnestly to his class, urging the boys not to be any
less regular in attendance because he was absent.
And at the close of his remarks he said some things
which made them wonder.

" Truth is truth and right is right, whatever
individuals may do to shame it. When I am far
from you, remember only the best things you have
known of me. Do not confound my actions with
the precepts I have given you, should there ever come
a time when I forget to live up to them. Let con-
science be your guide, and you cannot go far wrong."

One of the boys suggested that the teacher had
spoken as if he might never return to Arcadie ; at
which the tears came into his eyes and those of all
the others.

" Life is uncertain at best," replied Morley, with
emotion. " Every good-bye may be a final one. I
hope that this will not Drove so, but if it does if it


does remember that the sins of other men will be no
excuse for yours. If you would be happy in this
world and the next, you must always be upright and
honorable, in every relation of life."

At the simple meal which Dr. Welch's puritanic
ideas allowed him to have served on Suuday, little
was said either by him or Mr. Morley. The heart of
the clergyman was heavy. He loved this youth as
well as if his own blood flowed in his veins. He had
taken him to fill a vacant place in his house, when a
little son died in infancy. Living alone with a
housekeeper, he had missed the bright face and
cheerful voice during the long term that Clyde had
passed in college at Amherst, and had looked for-
ward with delight to the time when the study of
Christian precepts would be carried on under his own
supervision. Now, after a few months of this work,
his pupil was to abandon it suddenly and go out into
the world, with no definite time set for return even
with a partial intimation that he might never take it
up again.

Morley could not confide to this man the reasons
that actuated him in his decision. He felt that he
must go, that he could not risk a longer delay. He
hoped the fit would pass away and that he should
come back content to obey the wishes of the one
whom he loved like a father. But he could promise
nothing. He could only leave that to the future,
which seemed very uncertain to him.

When the dinner was ended he went to his chamber
and sat down to think. To think ! Had he not
thought enough, for the love of heaven ! How could
he accomplish anything by thinking more?

" Poor, dear, good old doctor !" he said to himself.


" He little knows what is raging in the soul of the
young saint in whom he has such confidence. He
little dreams that if I did not leave Arcadie I might
bring a curse upon the place instead of a blessing.
Yes, I must go and see what the world is like. I
must go and find what there is in it that so delights
and fascinates my brother my brother Frank."

Strange as it may seem, a smile came into the pale
face as this name was uttered. But it faded in u
moment as other thoughts followed.

"Were ever twin brothers so little alike!" he
demanded. " How can it be, born of one mother in
the self-same hour, that one of them listens only to
the voice of God and the other hearkens continually
to the deceits of earth ? How is it that one only
hopes to prove his worthiness to preach religion till
his hair is gray and his step faltering, asking no
higher reward than the consciousness of duty wel?
performed, while the other thinks present joy the
full complement of supreme existence, and even
doubts if there be intelligent life beyond it ? Why
has one lived as safe from the allurements of sin
as a vestal virgin, while the other walks in a worldly
path with thoughtless steps. And these men are
brothers twin brothers who ought to be as much
alike in soul as they are in feature. Ah, Frank,
Frank ! I know not whether I love or hate you most !"

The smile came again, in strange contradiction of
the words spoken, and then the saddest expression
of all followed. The face of the thinker was buried
in his hands as if he would hide something that he
could not bear to contemplate.

" What is the matter with me !" he exclaimed,
nervouslv. when he looked uo a^-a-in. '* I have been


well taught. From a baby I have been pointed out
as a model of goodness. I have been guarded from
all evil company. Good Dr. Welsh crammed me
full of commentaries as regularly as he gave me oat-
meal, during my entire boyhood.

" I was not three feet high when I learned that I
was destined to be a clergyman. I was the prize
scholar in the Sunday-school when I was seven.
Even then the other little fellows changed the
subjects of their conversation when I came among
them at their play. If one of them wanted to swear he
would substitute some milder expletive in deference
to my presence. When I grew older the girls told
me their troubles as freely as if I were a mother to
every one of them. They gave me their sweetest
smiles, but the nature of the smile has changed now.
It is not the kind they give to other young men.
There is a sort of ' Your reverence ' in it. I wonder
what some of them would say if they knew the
things that sometimes creep into my head !"

Mr. Morley shivered. Several young maidens of
the village were crossing the green field in front of
the house at that moment, and he paused to look
after them till they were out of sight.

" What right have I to watch them ?" he muttered .
relapsing into his reverie. " If I should speak a
word of love to one, she would scream, stop her ears
and fly, thinking me insane. Has it not always been
so ? When I went to Amherst, I was elected, without
being consulted, president of the Y. M. C. A. of the
college. I suppose the letter that I bore from Dr.
Welsh did that. The professors treated me like
some piece of rare porcelain, upon which the vulgar
breath must not be permitted to blow. I was asked


to take charge of religious meetings oftener than any
of my associates. I was treated not only by the
faculty but by my classmates as a sort of superior
being. I have read that there is sin in the life of a
student. So far as my knowledge goes, that state-
ment is a complete libel. No one would have had
the hardihood to let anything of the kind come
under my observation. I finished my four years and
then began to study for a divinity course, here in
this village of Arcadie, sleepy enough for the dreams
of a poet. There is my life outlined. Is it any
wonder, looking back over such an existence and
feeling as I do, that I should ask, ' What ails me ?' "

There was a desperate cadence in the voice, for
these words were spoken aloud. At the end there
was a pause, as if the speaker half expected some
other voice would answer him.

" I think I know where the trouble began," he
went on. "Tired of doing nothing but study, I
offered myself in my second year for the sophomore
crew, shocking my professors extremely. But I
pulled a very good oar, and when we won the race
the boys gave me a good share of the credit. I felt
the strength of a giant and I knew we must win. I
heard the boys talk about the strangeness of so
religious a man entering a race, but I could not
see that I had done any violence to my creed, by exer-
cising the muscles of my arms and back. The next
term I joined the college nine, and the students
began to admit that prayer was not wholly incom-
patible with the ability to pitch a ball. During the
next year, I spent a great deal of time in the
gymnasium, and began to take lessons in fencing
and boxing. That came near precipitating a col-


lision. One of the professors, who took a deep inter-
est in my spiritual welfare, assured me that boxing
was unchristian. He said we were told in the Bible
to present the other cheek when struck, instead of
studying how to get in a return blow in the most
effective manner. Still, he did not reproach me
when I found his daughter one dark night, on a
lonely street, in the grasp of a ruffian, and broke
his jawbone. After that, the professor held his
peace about the sinfulness of such strong training as
I was indulging in. And yet I know to-day that the
good man was right all the time and that I was

Another bevy of girls were crossing the field and
the student stopped to observe them as they climbed
a stile.

"I was wrong," he repeated. "To have carried
out my purpose of remaining a saint I never should
have developed my body. Strengthening my muscles
gave new power to my heart, which gorged itself
with rivers of red blood and sent them out in every
artery till they intoxicated my brain. The better
animal I became the less fit was I to be what I had
intended. I am five feet eleven, and weigh a hun-
dred and eighty pounds just forty more than I can
carry off with safety. I have tried the most violent
exercise, and my vitality has steadily increased
instead of diminishing. I have ridden horseback,
climbed hills, walked twenty miles a day, hoed pota-
toes, sawed wood. Result, more life, more blood
than I know what to do with. Nobody suspects my
trouble. They see that I am tall and muscular, but
they also see that I am pale, and that tired rings are
forming under my eyes. They call my look * intel-


Jectual,' and ' spiritual.' That men should live fifty
years in this world and know no more than that !
Am I unlike all the rest, and passing through an
entirely novel succession of experiences ? They talk
of Original Sin. Can it be that I am an Original

Failing to find a reply to his numerous inquiries,
either in his own mind or elsewhere, Mr. Morley rose
from his seat by the window and went to his writing-
desk, from which he took some sheets of paper and
an envelope. Seating himself at the desk he dipped
a pen in ink. As he began to write, the smile came
back to his troubled face.

" I must write to Frank," he said, " to dear Frank,
that twin brother, so like me in feature, so unlike me
in everything else. I must tell him that I am going
away from Arcadie, in search of change, on a vaca-
tion, the length of which is undetermined. It may
be that I shall see Frank before I return, but for the
present I must ask him to send my letters when he
writes (he is such a bad correspondent), to the care of
Mr. Leavitt, Nassau street, New York. But particular-
ly is it my duty to warn Frank in this epistle against
the snares in the world where he abides, and which
he knows much more of, no doubt, than I can tell
him. Of course he would not actually do wrong
things really wicked ones this twin brother of
mine ; but, nevertheless, his course keeps him in
constant peril."

There seemed nothing in that soliloquy to justify
the continued presence of a smile on the face of Mr.
Morley, but truth compels the author of this book to
say that it still rested there. As the reader will not
meet him again for many days when he exhibits


anything but his customary sedateness, it may be
well to note the exception to the rule. He dipped
his pen again in the ink and went on with the letter,
pausing at the end of each sentence to read it slowly.
The entire composition occupied him for an hour
and covered three sheets of common letter paper.
When he had written, " Your Affectionate Brother,"
and affixed his name, he sat back in his chair and
read the entire production again, weighing it care-
fully in his mind as he proceeded. Then he took an
envelope and wrote this upon it :

Mr. Frank Morley,

Quincy House,

Boston, Mass.

The address seemed to have a special attraction
for him, and he sat looking at it for some minutes
without moving.

" Yes," he said, brightening, " Frank must still be
stopping at the Quincy House. If he had changed
his address, he surely would have told me."

He placed the letter in the envelope, stamped,
sealed it, and put it in his pocket. Then he turned
to the mirror above his mantel.

" Intellectual ! Spiritual, is it !" he said to his re-
flection. " I could give it another name ; but what
does it matter? Muscles like iron, a heart beating
like the great hammer of a mill, and pale enough for
an invalid ! I wish there was some evil to combat
that only required physical strength. Macaulay tells
of a bishop who threw off his cassock and donned
jack-boots to fight James II. This face and frame of
mine are at war, and the frame will win, if I don't


have a care. No, I don't mean that ! I am still
strong enough mentally to guard myself. A few
months of change will make me all right, and then
Clyde Morley, like Richard, will be himself again !"
He went to the post-office to put his letter in at the
orifice in the door, bowing to all he met, but stop-
ping to speak to none. And more than one woman
remarked afterwards that she had never seen his
face so like an angel's !



" There's the best shod woman in Boston !"
A loud laugh from the half dozen companions of

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Online LibraryAlbert RossAn original sinner → online text (page 1 of 23)