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ALBATROSS
NOVELS *




LOVE
AT SEVENTY




ALBERT ROSS



j



Mrs. Mildred E.Younrjman,

Kingston,
Massachusetts.



H .1

BESS LIBRARY



THE

ALBATROSS NOVELS

By ALBERT ROSS
23 Volumes

May be had wherever book* are sold at the price you
paid for thi volume

Black Adonis, A
Garston Bigamy, The
Her Husband's Friend
His Foster Sister
His Private Character
la 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

a W. DILLINGHAM CO.

Publishers :: :: New York



LOVE AT SEVENTY,



BY ALBERT Ross.

AUTHOR OF

44 YOUNG Miss GIDDY," " IN STELLA'S SHADOW,"

"Tnou SHALT NOT," " WHY I'M SINGLE,"

"AN ORIGINAL SINNER," ETC.



, Tom r he cried, " the coming on
of years does not deaden the heart in a
healthy man, nor does the springing up
of love in his bosom indicate decay of
the mental faculties." Page 286.



NEW YORK:

COPYRIGHT, 1M, BY G. W. DflUMANAM.

G. W. Dillingham Co., Publishers.
\Allrights reserved.}



CONTENTS.



Chapter Plage

I. Picturesque and Poor 9

II. A Bit of History 21

III. " You do not know Julie." 31

IV. The Housekeeper's Daughter 42

V. Miss Giddings is Shocked 49

VI. " I'm sure I can trust you." 58

VII. Old Man Hobbs 70

VIII. "You mean the young lady." 81

IX. Around the Post-office Fire gi

X. " I'm Roland," said he 99

XI. A Paragon of Innocence 108

XII. Playing a Game of Chess 118

XIII. "This one I met in Trieste." 127

XIV. Caught in the Act 135

XV. " Now, don't say you're sorry !".... 142

XVI. Uncle and Nephew 153

XVII. "Oh! I know some things." 167

XVIII. Beginning all Over 176

XIX. In Eva's Chamber 183

XX. "Confound his Money!" 193

XXI. Guy Takes a Journey 203

XXII. One Kiss too Many 215

w



OONTBJffTB.

Chapter Page

XXIII. " He will do it for me." 225

XXIV. " Poverty is a weary thing !" 236

XXV. A Benignant Old Gentleman 245

XXVI. Mr. Linnette's Strange Story 252

XXVII. " You are a cool one." 261

XXVIII. Roland and Maud 271

XXIX. Off to Gretna Green 280

XXX. " You have married her !" 289

XXXI. Everything explained 297

XXXII. A Peep at the Stars 306



TO MY READERS.



After giving you stories in which the scenes are
located largely in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and
Mexico, it seems only right to return to the United
States and write one in which nearly every incident
takes place on American soil. It is true that Roland
Linnette tells of some of his experiences abroad, in
one or two chapters ; but both he, and his dear old
uncle, who furnishes my title, his friend Dalton, Eva
Warren, Maud Arlineand Tom Hobbs are essentially
home products.

It is sometimes gravely disputed that my charac-
ters are " types." Sometimes, I must explain, they
are not intended to be. Willard Linnette is a type,
Eva Warren is not ; that is to say, Eva's character
is too peculiar to find many duplicates in real life.
In the same way, going back to " Young Misa
Giddy," Senator Scarlett is as true a type as can
be found in some respects almost a copy while
Flora may well be called an exception to most rules.
In " Thou Shalt not," Greyburn, Walter Campbell,
Jacob Mendall, Gabrielle I think every character
of importance is a type. The type of Madame

fvii]



Vlll TO MY READERS.

O H

Biron in " Why I'm Single" has been used by Ibsen
in his play of " Ghosts " so closely as to suggest
plagiarism.

After much criticism on moral grounds, in past
days, it gives me pleasure to feel that this story can-
not injure the fabric of the most delicate mind. It
can safely be left in unlocked rooms where elderly
maiden ladies are accustomed to prowl. I hope you
will find it interesting, for it cost me some months
of labor and the valued services of a typewriter,
though it is written in a minor key that will not
disturb the sleepers in the rear pews.

Unless all signs fail there will be a round million
of novels credited to my account, before I make my
bow to you again in January. That means at least
five million readers. It should certainly inspire an
author to do his best when he has to reckon with
such a magnificent constituency.

ALBERT Ross.

Cambridge, Mass.
May, 1894.



LOVE AT SEVENTY.



CHAPTER I.

PICTURESQUE AND POOR.

In the little room known to the employes of the
Montvale Optical Company as "the counting room,"
two persons were sitting one cold March morning.
One of them was Rufus Hobbs, the book-keeper,
who was engaged in an apparently interminable
effort to add some columns of figures. The other
was Mr. (nobody would have thought of calling
Rufus "Mister") Roland Linnette, nephew and pre-
sumptive heir of Willard Linnette, owner not only
of the Optical Works, but of about everything else
in Montvale.

Mr. Roland was not engaged in adding figures.
Indeed, he had spent much more of his life in study-
ing the science of subtraction than that of addition.
He was a confirmed idler and a very comfortable
sort of fellow. At the moment when he is intro-
duced to the reader, he was gazing aimlessly into a

[91



10 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

heap of coals which burned brightly in the grate
before him.

Both the book-keeper and his companion suddenly
became aware that there was a knock at the outer
door of the counting room. At least, they knew
that either this had happened, or that the wind,
which was very boisterous, had blown so severely
against the building as to convey the impression
that some one wished to enter. The book-keeper
looked inquiringly at Mr. Roland, who in return
looked inquiringly at the book-keeper. And the
upshot was that Rufus called " Come in !" in an ele-
vated tone of voice.

The door opened slowly and closed behind a young
man, or it might be more correct to say, lad, for he
did not look more than seventeen or eighteen years
of age. He was thinly dressed, notwithstanding the
extreme coldness of the day, and his features wore a
pinched look, such as is usually taken for a sign of
physical suffering.

" Have you any work that I could do, sir ?" inquired
the newcomer, directing his question to the book-
keeper, as Mr. Roland was partly concealed from
view by one of the large chairs in the room.

The book-keeper was plainly annoyed. He had
been interrupted at the very worst time. Before he
could find words, the intruder knew by the unpleas-
ant expression of his face what to expect.

" No, no !" replied Rufus, gruffly. " We've got
nothing for you. Come, be off !"

The last exclamation was caused by the hesitation
of the inquirer and his evident desire to prolong the



PICTURESQUE AND POOR. 11

conversation. Mr. Roland, glancing obliquely from
his seat by the fire, saw the disappointed expression
one that was not far from indicating genuine pain.
He moved his chair slightly and surveyed the new-
comer with interest.

" Well, are you going ?" repeated Rufus, seeing
that the applicant still remained. "We have noth-
ing for you in any shape. The works are all full
and there is no prospect of a vacancy. Be sure and
shut the door, as you have already let in a good
deal of cold."

The attitude of the young fellow changed with
marvellous rapidity under the words and manner
with which he had been received. He raised his
head and threw at the book-keeper a glance of
defiance.

" I am poor, and I am cold, and I am hungry," he
said, in a firm voice, " but that is no reason why you
should speak to me like a dog. I asked you for
work, not for charity, and you might have replied in
decent language."

This conversation occupied but a few seconds, but
it gave Mr. Roland time to take a minute survey of
the boy. He saw at once that he had a fine face,
most intelligent eyes, and an air that does not usu-
ally accompany such poor garments as he wore.
He noticed also that the lad's hands, which were
entirely bare, were well shaped and very delicate.
Although the thermometer outside the window
registered far below the freezing point, he had no
overcoat.

The extreme paleness of his countenance was like



12 LOVB AT SETBfTT.

that of one recently recovered from a severe illness,
and this environment gave his eyes an unusually
large appearance. The angry look which flashed
into them when he replied to the book-keeper's
brusque words caused them to light up in a way quite
attractive to any one but the object of their wrath.

" He is very picturesque !" muttered Mr. Roland,
beneath his breath.

Feeling the necessity of doing something to pre-
serve his dignity from the onslaught of the youth,
Ruf us Hobbs left his stool and figures and approached
him threateningly.

" Get out of here," he said, sharply, " or I'll put
you out ! I'll tcn^h you manners, beggar !"

For answer the young fellow, who was much
slenderer and shorter than his prospective assailant,
clenched his thin hands, but did not move an inch.
He evidently had no intention of being bullied
without a protest. His eyes, which had been dark
before, seemed to flash fire from out their depths.
His teeth, marvellously white and even, showed set
and determined beneath the pale lips. There could
be but one issue to a contest so unequal, but if Hobbs
imagined that he was to have his own way in the
scrimmage he had evidently made a miscalculation.

" How very picturesque he is !" murmured the
young gentleman by the fire again. Then, in a
louder voice, he addressed himself to the book-
keeper : " Let him alone, Rufus. I want to talk
to him."

The tone in which this was said was the most
ordinary one in the world, but there are two classes



PIOTUBESQUE JLJfD POOB. 13

of beings who know and obey their masters without
hesitation. Rufus Hobbs was a member of one of
these classes ; and though Mr. Roland was in one
sense no master of his, he knew that the time might
come when he would be, and had a due regard for
the bread and butter question on that future day.

At this moment the piercing whistle of the works
blew, indicating the hour of noon. The book-keeper
recognized the welcome sound, and a sense of
pleasure at his approaching dinner overpowered every
other feeling. He took down a heavy overcoat from
an adjacent closet, turning up the ample collar
above his neck ; put on his fur gloves and hat, eye-
ing the scantily clad visitor with that contempt
which well-dressed people very properly have for
their inferiors in this regard ; and finally, stalking
by him as if he were some specimen of reptile, made
his exit from the building.

Not until the door had closed behind the form of
Rufus Hobbs did any change whatever come into
the pale face of the young fellow. But the next
moment he turned with quite a different expression
to Mr. Roland.

" Did I understand that you wished to see me ?"
he asked.

" Y-e-s," replied the other, slowly.

That was exactly what the young gentleman
wished to do with the boy to see him. He pleased
intensely his sense of sight. He would have enjoyed
nothing better than merely to look at him for the
rest of the afternoon. Having taken a very late



14r LOVE AT SEVENTY.

breakfast he was not troubled by those thrills which
made Rufus glad to hear the noon signal.

"Sit down," he added, presently. "It is surely
more comfortable here than out of doors."

As the lad feebly took a chair Roland whispered
to himself for the third time, " I think he is the most
picturesque boy I ever saw !"

The air of the counting room was undoubtedly
preferable to that of the street, but the youth had
something to think of beside his temporary comfort.

"You are very kind," said he, " but I cannot
remain long. I must find work to-day somewhere."

Roland looked at the slight figure. There was
much determination in its bearing, an appearance
entirely at variance with its slight bulk. He had
found Montvale very dull for the past month, and
this was the first thing that had in the least enter-
tained him. He wanted to retain the pleasurable
sensation. What a godsend a creature like this
would be in that desolate region !

" Let me make a suggestion," he said, after a
slight pause. "I am obliged to stay in this village,
and I am simply dying of ennui. In saying this I
am making a confession to you with which I would
not honor anyone else for the world. You might
suppose, to look at me, that I was the most con-
tented chap on earth, but the fact is I am just the
opposite. Now, I live at the hotel and have no one
to talk to in the whole place, unless it be some
idiot like Hobbs, the book-keeper, with whom you
have just had a bit of experience. I want you to
come up to the house with me, and remain there



PICTURESQUE AND POOB. 15

awhile as my guest. I will not insult you by offer-
ing a salary, for I want to treat you as one gentle-
man treats another. What do you say ?"

A notion that this well-dressed man was making
fun of him came into the lad's head, but he could
see nothing to endorse the idea in the straightfor-
ward glance that met his inquiring gaze.

" I cannot accept your offer," said he, " though I
thank you for it. It is absolutely necessary that I
lose no time in getting employment."

Roland was evidently disappointed.

" And so you prefer work to taking your ease !
Excuse me for saying that such a choice is quite
incomprehensible. I cannot see why anybody should
want to work. I have always thought it one of the
dullest ways of passing one's time duller even than
sitting by this beastly grate and watching the gases
release themselves from that anthracite."

The lad stared at the speaker in great astonish-
ment.

" I have no friends, no home, no money," he
replied, and his voice faltered. " What can I do but
work ?"

The young gentleman could not take his eyes
from the handsome fellow. It was an outrage that
such a picturesque specimen should be condemned
to a life of drudgery.

" What can you do ?" he echoed. "Why, I have
just told you. Have you never read that brilliant
saying of Theophile Gautier's ? He says ' The only
fitting occupation for a civilized man is to do
nothing.' "



It LOVK AT BJEVMTt.

The lad shook his head in wonder. He heard, but
he did not understand. The idea that a person with
empty pockets could live without labor was a new
one to him.

"If you really insist on working, do not let me
detain you," added Roland, as his companion gave
no sign of intending to reply. " It is easy to see,
though, that you were never intended for a drudge.
You are not built with a great, rough frame, splay
feet and broad hands. You are handsome excuse
me and you have intelligence in your eyes. It is
ridiculous to think of you shovelling coal or pud-
dling iron, or even grinding lenses. And yet that is
what the foreman of these works would probably
have set you to do if there had been any place to
offer you."

Instead of replying in words, the scantily clad
figure rose, as if to take its leave.

" You haven't told me your name," said Roland,
cudgelling his brain to invent some means of keep-
ing his new companion a little longer.

" Guy Dalton," was the hesitating answer.

"You look as if you had been ill," remarked
Roland, kindly.

" I have."

" Then that is another reason why you should not
think of doing anything like manual labor for the
present. Don't be foolish. Come up to the hotel
and dine with me. After dinner we can talk it over."

This offer was declined with a motion of the head,
and another step was taken toward the doorway.

" You are the strangest mortal I ever met,"



PICTURESQUE AND POOK. 17

smiled Roland, advancing and placing one of his
hands on the other's shoulder. " I will not oppose
you any longer, as it is evidently useless. Sit down
again and wait until one o'clock. I will say the
right word to the superintendent and he will employ
you here."

There was a moment of hesitation, and then the
lad responded that he would rather go elsewhere.

" There is no place here that book-keeper told
me so," he said. " I could not take a place from
which some one had to be discharged to make room
for me."

Roland looked much annoyed.

" I say, Master Guy, you won't be able to keep
that pace up," he expostulated. " Folks who persist
in working for their living cannot be so par-
ticular. That is one of the disagreeable things
about the business. You had better take this situa-
tion, or a lunch or some money or something.
It is very cold weather, as you may have noticed.
The next place you apply to will not be any more
likely to have a vacancy than this one. Before you
came this morning there were half-a-dozen in here
asking the same question."

" I can try," was the courageous answer. " Good-
by, sir."

The young gentleman could not think of anything
more to say.

"Good-by, then ; or rather au revoir, f or I am sure
it will not be for long. Take this card with my
address. When you are tired of walking about the



18 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

country and wish to do a real kindness, you will
find my offer still open."

At this they parted, one to tramp through the
snowy roads to the next village, three miles away,
and the other to seek his cosy rooms at the Montvale
House.

" I suppose I am going to pity that young gander,"
mused Roland, as he plodded along his brief road,
"and half spoil my dinner. "Pity him !" he contin-
ued, pausing at the thought which crossed his mind.
" Pity him ! Why, I would exchange positions
gladly at this moment yes, taking his poverty,
hunger and all. For has he not his youth his
golden, glorious youth still to spend that possession
worth more than all the rest of earth, and which
can never again be mine ! He has beauty ; more
than that, he has picturesqueness ; even in his
shabby clothes he looks fit to rule a dukedom. He
has courage, stoutness of heart, which I never had
and never shall have in like degree. Pity him!"

Looking up the speaker saw coming toward him
a young girl, pretty enough to have fixed his atten-
tion at any time, but doubly attractive in his present
state of mind. With the instinct of his training he
lifted his hat and stepped aside to allow her the
fullest room to pass. But when directly in front of
him she stopped.

" Is not this Mr. Linnette ?"

"Yes," he responded, wonderingly

"Your uncle is at the hotel and wishes to speak
with you."

Roland stared at the pretty face in great surprisd



PICTURESQUE AND POOR. 19

" But why did he ask you to do such an errand ?"
he asked, almost indignantly. " Are there no servants
at the house?"

The girl blushed violently.

" I suppose they call me one of the servants," she
replied, casting down her eyes.

One of the servants ! Was it possible ! And he
had never seen her during the four weeks he had
lived at the hotel. He took a critical, though hasty
survey of her dress, and noticed for the first time
that it agreed with her description of her position.

" I beg your pardon," he said, preparing to accom-
pany her. "I thought I had seen all of Mr. Han-
son's people, and you gave me a complete surprise.
May I inquire in what capacity you are engaged ?"

The girl had heard considerable about the nephew
of Willard Linnette, but his voice and manner were
very different from what she had supposed. When
called to do this errand she had expected to meet an
ogre.

" I am assistant waitress and chambermaid," she
said, following him at what she meant to be a
respectful distance, instead of walking by his side,
as he seemed to wish her to do. " I think your
uncle is in haste, sir. I believe he has received a
message to leave on the next train."

Roland was so wrapped up in his reflections that
he totally ignored her last statement.

"You surely have not been long at the hotel ?" he
said, interrogatively.

" About two months."



JO LOVE AT SEVENTY.

He stopped short in the snow, in a miniature
rage.

" Where have they kept you ?" he cried, impetu-
ously.

A turn in the road hid them from sight. Forget-
ing everything, Roland caught both the hands of the
girl in his own.

"It is a shame !" he said, speaking rapidly. " It
is an outrage, when they compel me to spend week
after week in this dull town, to keep from my sight
the only interesting thing the village can boast. I
shall speak to Hanson I shall tell him my opinion
of his conduct I shall "

She struggled gently to free her hands, and her
breath came rapidly.

" Your uncle, sir ! You forget. He will think it
my fault. You have no time !"

He looked into the eyes which she raised to his,
and his pulses were on fire.

"Time !" he cried. " What is time, or eternity, to
me ? I shall leave you, but remember, this is not
the last time we shall see each other. Tell me one
thing only your name."

"Maud Arline," she whispered.

He waited still another moment.

" With such a face and such a name," he mur-
mured, " what cursed fate placed you in such a posi-
tion ? Maud," he added, " you won't forget me ?"

"No, sir ; but, please, will you not hasten ?"

Turning abruptly, he walked as fast as long
strides could carry him in the direction of the
Montvale House.



A BIT Of HISTORY. 1



CHAPTER II.

A BIT OF HISTORY.

And now, with the reader's permission, the author
proposes to take him back a good many years and
to give him as much as is wise at this time of the
history of the Linnettes* family.

In the ordinary sense of the term this family had
its beginning with the uncle of young Mr. Roland,
who made his appearance in the last chapter.

Willard Linnette and his brother Payson were
common workmen up to the day when the former
made his great discovery, now so well known to
everybody interested in searching the heavens. His
fortune came to him, as it were, at one bound.
Within five years from the time he established his
small shop at Ashfield he purchased the entire site
of the coming village of Montvale, and began pre-
parations for the future manufactories, the busy
streets, and the elegant estate upon which he was to
rear his own palatial residence.

" I am going to be a very rich man," he said to
his architect when he first took him to Montvale,
a and I want all my preparations made on a large
scale. On this side, we must lay out the site for a
village. Over here will be the factories. Here we
shall have cottages for the workmen, and beyond
them a hotel. In this direction I have reserved fifty



22 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

acres for a home. That is the best part of my pur-
chase, and as soon as I have the money to spare I in-
tend to build a large house upon it."

The architect smilingly inquired if a wife was
among the early probabilities.

" Who can tell ?" was the reply, delivered in a
serious manner, which did not convey much in-
formation.

In time the projected factories sent up their
smoke ; long rows of cottages housed the workmen,
which finally numbered more than six hundred ; the
hotel took its place in line, and the other appurten-
ances of a village appeared in all directions.

Some years later work was begun upon a resi-
dence in the reservation that Mr. Linnette had set
aside for himself, and the townspeople had enough
to talk about when they saw the remarkable extent
of the edifice. The house seemed large enough to
accommodate twenty or thirty people, though noth-
ing transpired which indicated any other occupant
than its owner and his servants. Mr. Linnette dis-
couraged those few persons who deemed themselves
sufficiently privileged to make hints in his presence
in relation to the matter, and it became not only a
nine days' but a nine years' wonder.

Besides the residence itself there were several
smaller buildings inside the grounds, evidently
intended for the use of assistants upon the place.
Extensive stables, carriage houses, ice houses, and
other appurtenances to the home of a man of large
property were also erected. Conservatories, grav-
eled drives, gardens, etc., followed.



A BIT OF HISTORY. 23

Then, one day, without any apparent reason, all of
the work, none of which was in a finished state, was
instantly suspended. For a long period the build-
ings stood, to the wonder and astonishment of the
villagers, in the dead silence of their untouched
surroundings, the closed gates of the great estate
barred and locked against every one.

And then, as unexpectedly as the work had been
stopped, it began again. Out of the stillness the
sound of the chisel, the hammer, and the saw
sounded once more. A large company of mechan-
ics, brought from a distance, proceeded with des-


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