Albert Ross.

The Garston bigamy online

. (page 1 of 21)
Online LibraryAlbert RossThe Garston bigamy → online text (page 1 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



23 Volumes

May be had wherever books are sold at the 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








"/ had not kissed you then. There an
tigers in Asia, I have read> that having
tasted human flesh will eat no other
food." Page 151.



G. W. Dillingham Co., Publish**

\Allrights reserved.}


How the Trouble Began, ... 9

" Where had he heard that tune f . 19

Brunette and Blonde, * . . .29

The Girl with the Ankles, . .40

" We have made a vow," . . . 54

" Why, you love them both !" . . 65

Examining the Summer-House, . . 74

A Trip up the River, . . . .85

" You must fight these men," . . 98

"But that is a serious thing," . .no

In the Upper Berth, . . . .120

" Do you love my son ?" 130

"There are tigers in Asia," . . . 142

Alma's Cambric Wrapper, . . . 154

Cutting the Mill-bank, . . . .166

" It is Edith, of course," . . .178
Buying a Son-in-Law, .... 186

" You do not know my father," . .194

The Nature of a Girl, . . . .199

"Considering his temptations," . . ao8

Cliff Nelson's Protest, . . . .991




XXII. Like a Man in Liquor, . . . 229

XXIII. " It's for Edith," he mused, . . 233

XXIV. No Sleep for Alma, . . . .243
XXV. " What was that sound r . . .250

XXVI. Nursing His Revenge, . . .257

XXVII. " I know her character," . . .263

XXVIII. Gerald in a Fever, . . . .269

XXIX. "I think I could kill him!" . .281

XXX. On the Way to London, . . . 290

XXXI. A Cry for Help, 297

XXXII. Where Women Risk Death, . . 307

XXXIII. "God knows that I love you!" . . 316

XXXIV. An Angel from Heaven, . . .323
XXXV. Saved by a Miracle, . . . .330


The publisher tells me that he has left two pages
for my usual preface, and I wonder what it is best to
fill them with. For really I have very little to say to
you this time, except to renew the assurances of my
gratitude for the marvelous success you have made
for me, and to express the hope that I have again
succeeded in producing something which will meet
with your favor.

Gerald Garston is not a hero. Very few men arc
if you come to think of it. It is the women of this
world who do the noble things. How many men
have you known who would sacrifice their all for a
woman ? But such a sacrifice on the woman's part is
so common that it hardly evokes comment.

It is my method to paint things a little as they are,
and not altogether as they ought to be. It is one thing
to discuss immorality, and quite another to defend
it. The principal characters in this story made a
grievous error, and they learned it after much suffer-
ing. If I have not made that apparent I have surely
failed in what I meant to do.

The carelessness of American marriage laws is
notorious. Perhaps in no other civilized country
could such an escape as Gerald's be so easily found.
That it is possible here no one will attempt to deny,


but It win not always be so. Some day your chil-
dren will pick up a copy of this book, and ask if laws
like these ever actually existed.

When this volume is published I expect to be in
the south of Europe. The laborer is worthy of his
hire, and the author must have his rest. But my
publisher will admonish me if I idle too long, and my
next book may be written where the sweet face of
nature smiles across the great inland sea.

This will explain the reason if my correspondents,
who have become so numerous, fail to receive replies
to their kind and flattering epistles.


Address t
No. 35 West 2 3 d strcd.




Nothing but grain as far as the eye could see.

Nothing but wheat and corn and oats and barley
and rye. Colonel Staples, who was showing the
country to Mr. Grosschen, agent of the Iowa Invest-
ment Company, stopped the handsome pair of
horses that he drove in order to allow his guest full
time to take in the prospect. The unpracticed eye
of the new agent, whose principals were Eastern
capitalists, could not tell the wheat from the rye,
nor the barley from the oats. He saw merely a fas-
cinating succession of waves of green, through which
the summer wind rippled like a breeze in the verit-
able waves of the ocean.

The horses were presently started again, and the
two men rode up out of the ravine, where a wider
range met their vision. There were the steeples of
a village over toward the west. There was a mill,
evidently used for the grinding of grain, and by its
side a reservoir, fed by a stream that meandered
through the country to the north of it and furnished


drinking ground to the cattle on a dozen farms *.
fore it turned the wheel that set the heavy machinery
in motion. There were clumps of trees here and
there upon the mostly open prairie, and small gar-
dens, protected by barbed wire fences from the in-
cursions of stray animals. There were bits of pas-
ture, and glimpses of buildings, and in some places
laborers were at work in the fertile fields.

"It's a fine country/' said Colonel Staples.
" There's no richer land in the State, in my opinion.
You're safe to let all the money here you can get
mortgages for. But there's a farm," he continued,
pointing as he spoke, "that neither you nor any
other man will ever get an incumbrance on. It's the
finest in this region, twelve hundred acres and more,
with all the buildings needed, and the most im-
proved tools of every kind. It belongs to Alvah
Adams, who owns the mill there too, and the best
residence within forty miles, and can lend you a few
thousand beside if you happen to get short. There's
a place ! Look at it ! You don't often see land
kept like that in these parts. You wouldn't think,
would you, that he came out here twenty-five years
ago with only three hundred dollars, and took up
his hundred and sixty like any other poor young
fellow ? Well, that's what he did, and all he's got
since is by hard work, and good farming, and look-
ing ahead. Nobody ever left him a penny, or gave
him anything he didn't pay for. His father was a
poor grubber in New Hampshire, who let him have
his "time," as they call it there, when he was nine-
teen, and when he died, a little while ago, left less
than two thousand dollars as the result of a life
of toil. He willed this to Alvah's daughter we all


call him Alvah, so you can't say that any of it has
come to him. I tell you, he's a man for the town

and county to be proud of ! "

Mr. Grosschen laughed.

"It's lucky for the Iowa Investment Company
that too many of your people don't follow in his
footsteps," he answered.

" Well, if you want one of the other kind, you'll
find him on the next farm," said the Colonel, " and
p. mighty good specimen, too. John Garston came
here the same year that Alvah did, and took up the
quarter section adjoining his. They had been boys
together in the same town, and when Alvah got a
notion that he wanted to go West he told John of
his idea. They talked it over, sitting on a stone
fence back of Alvah's father's barn, and agreed that
both would ask the old folks to give them their
" time " till they were twenty-one, so that they could
go off somewhere to work and get a little money to
start with. It was right there that the trouble be-
gan. Alvah's folks seem to have been half decent
about it and willing to do something for him.
John's were just of the other kind. Alvah came over
in the morning to say that he could go, and John
had to report that he couldn't. Alvah offered to go
in and argue the matter with the old man Garston,
but it did no good. He was a tough skinflint, who
proposed to get what he could out of his boys now
that they were getting big enough to do something.
There is a notion down in that part of the country
that a father's will is law, and John never thought
of running away. He just gave up on the spot and
went back to hoeing corn and grubbing roots, but
the ugliness in him grew faster than any other crop

he raised. He got so hateful that the old man was

glad, I guess, when the time came that he could go.
I've heard that John never stopped to say good-bye,
or to ask the paternal blessing, but threw down his
rake it was haying time and started. They
couldn't think for an hour or two where he'd gone,
till one of his brothers happened to remember that it
was his birthday and then it struck the old man
Garston all of a sudden that John had asked him
once what hour he was born, and that he had told
him it was between ten and eleven in the day. John
had given him the benefit of the off half hour, as the
clock had struck when he started, but he was never
seen in that town after that forenoon.**

Both the narrator of this history and his listener
found a good deal of amusement in it, and the
Colonel, after pausing to see that Mr. Grosschen
was duly interested, continued his narrative.

'* Some of these facts the people here know, and
some, I suppose, have grown with the telling, but
sure it is that Alvah went down to Nashua and got
work in one of the factories. He saved every cent
ke could, and as soon as he was of age, came out
here looking for a piece of land to preempt. He
wandered around for awhile and then concluded
that he couldn't find anything better than this. He
filed his papers and took up the quarter section
where his residence is now, and then wrote to John
to come out just as soon as he could get clear. John
answered, saying he should have to quit home with-
out a cent in his pocket and that it would be a good
while before he could earn enough to pay his fare
to Iowa. Alvah thought it a pretty hard case, and
s other prospectors were looking this part of the


Country over, he wrote again, sending fifty dollars
to his friend and urging him to waste no time in
getting here. It was a mighty generous thing of
him when you remember that it was about a fifth of
all he owned, and he needed it to develop his farm
about as bad as he could. But he sent it, and John
came ; and after looking around a little, he picked
out the claim next to Alvah's and with his help put
up a shanty on it, according to the government
regulations, and began to break ground. One piece
of land was just as good as the other, for Alvah of-
fered to swap even with him if he thought there was
any choice. That's the way they started.

** Well, nothing seemed to go right with John. He
and Alvah exchanged works, for a spell, but Alvah
had enough to buy a yoke of oxen and a plow, and
John had to hire his plowing done. John always said
it wasn't a fair race, and he got discouraged before
he reached the quarter-post. He couldn't see any-
thing except that Alvah had got ahead and that he
couldn't catch him. It's been the same from that
day to this. Alvah has kept forehanded, always
having something laid by, and never going into debt,
while John has been a little to the wrong side of the
ledger all the time. It's seemed to work on his feel-
ings. He compares everything of his to Alvah's.
Let him have a crop this year bigger than he ever
had before and he will look across the fence and tell
you Alvah's is bigger. Tell him he's got a hundred
and sixty acres of the best land in Iowa, he'll answer
that it's mortgaged for all it's worth and that Alvah's
got twelve hundred and forty without a cent of in-
cumbrance on it. And that isn't the greatest ground
of grievance that he's got against Alvah, either."


Mr. Grosschen looked much interested, and in-
quired with elevated eyebrows what else there was
to annoy this peculiar and unhappy man.

"It was a woman that finished whatever of com-
mon sense he had left in him," said the Colonel,
dropping his voice instinctively, though there was
no person other than himself and his guest within
hearing. " After he had worked away at his land for
a year or two, there moved into the neighborhood a
widow with a handsome daughter. The widow was
of Spanish descent, several generations back, and
her daughter inherited the rich dark beauty of that
race. The young men hereabouts were all wild over
her, but the mother was proud as she was poor, and
declared that none of those who aspired to the young
lady's hand were good enough to be considered eli-
gible. Among those who tried to win her was John
Garston. If ever he was sincere in anything it was
in his love and admiration for that girl. He forgot
his work, neglecting everything on his place for an
entire season, so wrapt up was he in this creature,
whose mother had sent men flying with ten times
his brains and a hundred times his possessions. At
last the senora spoke to him with plainness, forbid-
ding him to come to the house. The daughter
obeyed every word of her mother's without question.
He had a stormy scene with both of them. They
were so alarmed that they sent, or the mother did,
for an officer. John was hardly less than a era//
man that day, but he went away quietly at last, and
it seemed for awhile as if he had got over his infat-
uation. Then came the crowning blow. Within a
year it was announced ^at tne senorita was to ma r -
ry Alvah Adams J "


" That was hard luck," commented Mr. Grosschen.

"Somebody told it to John, in the post-office, and
he staggered as if he had been stabbed at the he>irt.
There was fear that mischief would be done, but
nothing happened. He went back to his worlf and
was only, to outward appearance, a little mor surly
than he used to be. Soon after Alvah's mg/riage
John brought home a wife from another towi/. He
never ceased to speak to Alvah when they mut, but
the conversations were never very long on<s. He
hasn't forgiven him, and he won't, but I guess that's
all it'll ever amount to. Some people at first' advise<J
Alvah to be careful, and to carry a pistol, buf he only
laughed at them. More than twenty ye*rs havq
passed now, and things have gone on just (he same.
Here's his house."

The horses were brought to a walk as t!/e gentle-
men passed the handsome mansion and grounds of
the wealthiest man in Jefferson. It is not the habit
of the ordinary Western farmer to devcue a great
deal of attention to the merely ornamental, and Mr.
Adams' place was decidedly unique in *hfs respect
among those about it. The house, tasti ly designed,
roomy, and surrounded by broad veiandas, stood
upon rising ground, five hundred feet from the high-
way, and was reached by a winding driveway bor-
dered with Lombardy poplars. The spacious lawns
on each side were well kept, and were dotted with
shrubs and trees that added much to their loveliness.
Fine buildings, used as the family stable, carriage
house, etc., were visible beyond, but those intended
for the working teams, vehicles and tools, as well as
for the cattle, were some distance away, shaded from
the street by an artificial grove and reached by a

18 w

road running from another avenue. There was ft
conservatory and even several fountains, besides
other evidences of thrift and taste, exciting the envy
of many of the neighbors, who could not see, as they
expressed it, why an Iowa farmer need put on the
style of a " Fifth Avenue New Yorker."

Far away stretched the fields of this prosperous
man, the evidences of careful cultivation being fully
apparent on every side. Clearly nothing was
wasted on this large estate. The fences were in
perfect order, and built of materials likely to last
for many years. Where a piece of land was low, a
carefully constructed ditch had been dug. Where
it was so situated that it was in danger of suffering
from dryness, irrigating pipes had been laid. Land
was so cheap in Iowa when these improvements
were first introduced that many of Adams' fellow
farmers sneered at them, but he went on his own
way, paying no attention to their raillery. He was
obliged to keep a large force of men, and car-
ried out these improvements in seasons when they
had plenty of surplus time on their hands. He cer-
tainly had the satisfaction of owning the best kept
farm in the State, and one that produced more on
the average per acre than any other. And if this
were not enough, his comfortable bank account had
long ago proved that there was something worth
considering in methods that placed one financially in
advance of those who criticised him.

Starting the horses into an easy trot the travellers
soon came opposite the farm of John Garston. No
information other than that afforded by the eye was
needed to tell where the line of Mr. Adams' land
ended and that of his neighbor began. On the Gar-


ton place no attempt whatever had been made at
ornamentation and hardly any at even ordinary care
for appearances. There was the common farm-
house, with dilapidated outbuildings. Carts, plows,
etc., were scattered about the yards, exposed to the
weather. A pile of uncut firewood and a rusty axe
Added to the general evidence of shiftlessness. A
cow grazed untethered on what might be called by
courtesy the front lawn, occasionally varying her
meal by breaking the branches from a young apple
tree that Garston had planted in one of his moments
of extraordinary enterprise.

" He wouldn't fix that yard if you were to pay
him for it," said Colonel Staples. " He likes to
brood on the hard luck he has had in comparison
with Alvah Adams, and he has done it so long that
he really takes delight in making the contrast be-
tween the places as great as he can. There's only
one thing that comforts him, and that's his son Ger-
ald. The boy is a fine young fellow about twenty,
now and is nearly through college. But it isn't
altogether because John has a son that makes him
happy it's a good deal more because Alvah hasn't.
Alvah's got a girl, seventeen years old, just the age
of my Edith they've been companions ever since
they were babies but the desire of his life has been
for a boy. John knows this, and I think it's the only
thing that keeps him from dying of ugliness. He's
said to me many a time, * Alvah would give that
mill of his and half his land for a boy like mine, but
he can't have one f Rich as he is, I have one thing
that no money of his can buy him !' If you are
here next month you'll see Gerald, and you'll find
bim very different from bis father. Queer how little


pedigree seems to count in the human race, some-
times !"

A big black dog at the mouth of an unpainted
kennel growled savagely at the passers, and seemed
regretful that he could not break his chain and get
at them, in order to revenge the slighting words in
reference to his master. A hen with three half-
grown chickens scratched vigorously at what might
at some previous time have been a flower-bed. The
cow, in her efforts to masticate the branches of the
apple tree, stepped upon its slender trunk and
crushed it to the earth. A slatternly servant girl
came out of the house, and, seeing what the animal
had done, took up a clothes pole and belabored her
unmercifully, causing the creature to run toward
the barn, the milk streaming from her udder as she
did so.

"Any one who would do that to a new milch cow
ought to be prosecuted !" exclaimed Colonel Staples,

"I should think young Gerald would find his
home little to his liking, if he is the sort of lad you
describe," ventured Mr. Grosschen.

"So he does. But he and his father understand
one another. Gerald is to be a lawyer. He will
have nothing to do with the farm. His father would
not let him dictate, any more than he would me,
about anything here. If Gerald made the mistake
of opposing him in such matters there would be a
break right away."

They had passed the Garston boundaries and
were approaching the house where the Staples fam-
ily resided a section dignified by the name of "The


" What kind of woman is Mrs. Garston ?" asked
the financier.

" Oh, she died years ago. Perhaps if she had
lived things would not be so bad."

The village of Jefferson* had a hundred houses in
it. Colonel Staples owned one of the prettiest of
these and it was soon reached.

" There come the girls, now," said the Colonel,
brightly, as he glanced down the road toward the
High School


Colonel Staples had not in the least magnified the
jealousy of John Garston for Alvah Adams, in the
talk which he had with Mr. Grosschen. It would
have been difficult for any one to do that, were his
statements ever so extravagant. The steady accu-
mulation of wealth by his rival, while he could not
even hold his own, had laid the foundation of Gars-
ton's hatred, and the marriage of Adams to the
handsome senorita filled to the brim the cup of his
hatred. There was no immediate outbreak between
the neighbors, for Adams took care that there should
be none, but Garston grew less amiable each year,
being wholly unable to conceal the bitterness that
was in him.

This is not the Greene County Jefferson, as the reader wffl
readily percehrc. A.R.


At the time of Alvah's marriage John tried hard t*
make himself believe that he did not care. He said
to himself that this girl with her extravagant no*
tions would ruin her husband by the luxuries which
her tastes would demand. She would not long be
satisfied with the humble cottage to which he took
her, or willing to ride in the old fashioned wagon
which had answered for him.

But this did not give him much comfort, for the
wish to wed this girl had been the strongest pas-
sion of his life, and he could not live it down, try
as he might. And it did not add to his serenity
when he discovered, as time went by, that his proph-
ecies, even in this respect, did not turn out at all ac-
cording to his expectations.

It is true that the new wife did no work in the
kitchen and that one of the first things which Alvah
did after his marriage was to purchase a carriage
for her, to which he harnessed a pair of his young
ponies, that she might have as good a team to drive
as any lady in the county. It is true that he hired
another servant and seemed to be always bringing
home something new in the way of " fancy things,"
as John contemptuously called all articles of house
or personal adornment. Notwithstanding this, how-
ever, there were no signs that Adams was approach-
ing bankruptcy. His credit was still as good as
ever, though he seldom had occasion to test it, and
his purse was long enough before the year had ex-
pired to take in and add to his quarter section an-
other of the same size which adjoined it, and which
the owner wished to sell that he might return to the
East and take possession of a fortune left him by a
relative. Perhaps his success may have been partly


due to the fact, that while John sat in his house
fuming and fretting over the progress of his neigh-
bor, Alvah was up betimes directing his laborers,
planning to save in his methods and getting every,
thing out of his property that it could be made to

A cold wave came unexpectedly, and John found
six of his calves frozen to death outside of the cow-
stable. The door had been left off its hinges and
the little animals had wandered out into the lighter
atmosphere when the gale blew down the bar. Three
promising colts were caught in a drenching storm be-
cause he had not ordered his men to drive them in
upon the sure signs of its approach. His farming
tools rusted in the outer air, as have those of many
a Western farmer since the first plowshare tore
open the golden heart of that vast territory. He
lived from hand to mouth, always a little in arrears
always paying the ruinous percentage for accommo-
dation which prevailed then in his section.

And while John was doing this, Alvah went to the
opposite extreme.

" I hope you're not taking wheat in to sell now,**

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryAlbert RossThe Garston bigamy → online text (page 1 of 21)