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ARRIAGEBOND



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THE

ALBATROSS NOVELS

By ALBERT ROSS

23 Volumes

May be had wherever book* 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 Shiner, 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

G. W. DILLINGH AM CO.
Publishers :: :: New York



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND,



BY ALBERT Ross.



AUTHOR OF

u His FOSTER SISTER," " SPEAKING OF ELLIN,"

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

" His PRIVATE CHARACTER." ETC.



NEW YORK:

COPYRIGHT, 1817, tf

G. W. Dillingham Co., Publishers.

[All rights reserved.}



CONTENTS.



CHAPTXK 'AGE

I. A Contemplated Union . . .11.

II. Ida Strokes the Kitten . . . 23

III. "You know my wishes" . . .34

IV. Margaret Refuses to Listen . . .44
V. " Then I must live single " . . .56

VI. The Dangers of London . . .64

VII. Gordon occupies his Time . . 73

VIII. " Kiss me, Kingdon !" ... 82

IX. Two Rooms Connecting . . .91

X. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor . . . .100

XL "Come and let us talk" . . .106

XII. Lost in New York . . . .113

XIII. "You are a sick man" . . .122

XIV. Mrs. Bruce's Advice . . . .129
XV. Ida Warned 140

XVI. Matrimonial Perjuries .... 150

XVII. What do you expect ?" 161

XVIII. The Angel of Death . . . .172

XIX. Watching for his Prey . . . .182

XX. A Few Little Lies . . . .191

XXI. Sidney Brooks Takes a Hand . . 200

XXII. " Whom does he resemble?" . .208

XXIII. A Face in the Elevator . .219

u

2061938



6 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER FAGK

XXIV. In the Lawyer's Office . . .231

XXV. "It's not a case of love" . . .237

XXVI. "Whose child is that?" . . .246

XXVII. Ida Roused to Anger . . . .256

XXVIII. "That is amusing, my dear!" . .264

XXIX. The Two Wives Meet . . . .274

XXX. " When did you begin to love me ?" . 284



TO MY READERS.



Since the date of the publication of my last novel,
" His Foster Sister," the press of the country has been
extensively victimized through a bogus statement which
appeared originally in two of the New York newspapers
and was telegraphed far and wide in all directions. Dis-
patches were sent by Boston correspondents to those
sheets in February, alleging that I had become insane
and was " confined in a madhouse/' A denial, coupled
with physicians' certificates, which I sent to the press,
was printed in some cases, but the original story gained
by far the larger circulation.

The flimsy basis of the injurious statement was the
fact that I had suffered severely from insomnia, and had
placed myself under the special care of an expert phys-
ician at his residence. Friends in many States sent
sympathizing letters to my family, who were much dis-
turbed and annoyed at the falsehoods. The publica-
tions, which included in one instance an imaginary por-
trait of myself in an insane state, with an article by an
expert on the causes of my dementia, greatly aggravated
my symptoms and has undoubtedly delayed my recovery.
I am at present getting back to health very slowly, but
I think surely, and owing to a habit of keeping my work

M



8 TO MY READERS.

well ahead, I am able to give you my usual July novel in
time.

You will notice that I have returned in the present in-
stance to a discussion of those relations between men and
women which make a very large share of the troubles of
the world. I intend to emphasize the folly of com-
pelling marriage between unwilling people, and also to
ehow once more the inevitable suffering which is certain
to follow infringements of the moral law. For, although
my hero and heroine outlive their transgressions, the ex-
periences through which they pass will not encourage
any one to tread in their footsteps. I have also en-
deavored to give due compensation to the wronged ones,
who suffered from no fault of their own.

Neither writers nor readers are likely to agree as to
the kind of novel that is most interesting and instruc-
tive, but I see no reason to make any permanent change
in my own methods. I have failed utterly to find enter-
tainment in the new style of romance which deals with
frequent broadsword combats and wearisome confine-
ments of military gentlemen in pitch-dark dungeons. I
am even impervious to the delights of tales wherein pri-
vate persons are mistaken for sovereigns of foreign coun-
tries, on account of red hair brought into their families
through the fault of their grandmothers. The every-
day affairs of common life are enough for me, and the
language of the present hour is more pleasing to my ear
than the mixture of fifteenth century English and boule-
vard French which those impossible cavaliers present.

The handsome, complete edition in cloth binding,
which my publishers have lately issued, will enable all
who wish to do so to obtain my novels in that form. The
constant demand for even the very earliest ones indi-
cates that they have found a permanent place. I only



TO MY READERS. 9

ask those critics who feel it necessary to attack my
stories violently to read at least a portion of some volume
before they sharpen their stilettos; and to those who
have so often given me more praise than I deserve, I
eay, credit me with the intention and desire of entertain-
ing and benefiting my readers, and I shall be content.

At this date I am convalescing, but unable to do much
work. To those who have sent expressions of sympathy
I return heartfelt thanks. It is much to know that so
many whom I have never met were induced to send
messages of condolence to my loved ones, when they sup-
posed me beyond the reach of their words. When I am
sufficiently recovered I shall be impelled to renewed
efforts to please my million readers, who have been so
steadfast and loyal to me.

ALBERT ROSS.

Cambridge, Mass., May, 1897.



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND.



CHAPTER I.

A CONTEMPLATED UNION.

The handsome, old-fashioned parlors of Mrs. Walden
Bruce, at Newton, near Boston, were filled with a happy
company. Mrs. Bruce had heen a resident of the town
for many years, and invitations to her "evenings" were
held in high esteem by residents for many miles around.
The people one was likely to meet there were seldom
either snobs or lions, but were selected with the idea of
making a cheerful group capable of imparting pleasure
to each other and insuring occasions where the danger of
being bored was reduced to a minimum.

Mrs. Bruce, though hardly yet out of the thirties, had
been long a widow. At the moment when our story
opens she was standing, with her handsome daughter, in
the centre of an animated circle engaged in conversation.
Though still so young, she had an abundance of silvery
hair, which she had never taken any pains to conceal.



12 THEIR MARRIAGE BOND.

She was of matronly build, with a good color, a bright
pair of dark eyes and a charming expression of counte-
nance. In her dress she was tasteful, but simple. She
was not a believer in the school which throws a young
woman back into the frivolities of youth merely because
she happens to be bereft of her husband. Neither
did she think it seemly to parade her loss on all possible
occasions, though she felt the blow keenly. She had
steered, with great discernment, between the perpetual
black crape and veil that make one shudder at a certain
species of woman and the frivolous actions of another
variety which becomes a sort of ballet dancer for the
delectation of the rising generation. She was reputed
possessed of a fair fortune, and the estate on which her
residence was situated was a beautiful old place, com-
prising many acres, which seemed destined, with the
growth of Boston, to be very valuable at some time in the
future.

Miss Ida Bruce, the only daughter of the lady, then in
her nineteenth year, was unquestionably the fairest ob-
ject among the many good-looking women present.
Plump without being stout, a little above the average in
height, with a lovely complexion, and an abundance of
fair hair arranged with exquisite taste, she was as pretty
a girl as one might find in a long journey. She was
gowned most becomingly, and her manners were a happy
medium between the simpering ways of the grammar-
chool graduate and the airy pretensions that so many of
her sex think it best to affect.

"Simply charming!' 5 was the expression of all the men
who saw her; and the same verdict was wrung unwilling-
ly from the lips of many women whose envious eyes
wandered over the beautiful picture.

"Oh, there's no denying that Ida Bruce is pretty!"



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND. 13

ihey would say, in despair. "And I wonder who taught
her to dress with such perfection. I never saw her when
she wasn't a model for a costumer, though I don't be-
lieve she spends any more on her clothes than hundreds
who can't approach them in effect."

Two young men stood on opposite sides of the room
from Mrs. Bruce and her daughter, eying them as closely
as was consistent with good breeding, between the
pauses in the conversation they were having.

"How wondrously beautiful Ida is to-night!" said one
of them, whose name was Carroll Thorpe, as if the ex-
pression was forced from him in spite of himself.

Gordon Hayne, to whom the remark was addressed,
did not take his gaze from the object of its apostrophe.

"She is, on the whole, the finest girl of her age I ever
saw," he responded, in a low tone.

"She would be proud to know that you said so," re-
plied Carroll, with a laugh. "I believe you are consid-
ered the best judge in the State. Feminine beauty, ac-
cording to all accounts, is one of your specialties."

Hayne reddened, as if he did not like the intended
compliment in this connection.

"I wonder on what the gossips base their informa-
tion," he said, with a shade of coldness. "I know well
enough that my name gets mixed up in half the scandals
in the neighborhood of Boston; and yet, nine times
out of ten, there's not the faintest excuse for the talk.
Perhaps the reason is that I have a sharp eye and a quick
ear. Nothing entertains me more than an interesting
woman who has begun to take the bit in her teeth. I
like to know one of that sort, to converse with her, to
litter veiled allusions and watch the effect, even to widen
somewhat the scope of her imagination. But to lay
every faux pas to me is a gross injustice, not only to



H THEIR MARRIAGE BOND.

myself, but to others who boast of their 'conquests' and
are cheated out of the 'credit' that properly belongs to
them."

There was no mistaking the ironical vein in which the
closing words were uttered.

"I have evidently fallen into the popular error/'
smiled Thorpe. "I should have said that your shoulders
were broad enough to carry all the weight piled on them.
Still, if I were put on the stand, I can't recollect a single
bit of proof in any case. It has puzzled me a little, too,
that I never heard you speak slightingly of a woman."

The aquiline nostrils of Mr. Hayne distended. He
talked in a very low voice, though in the hubbub shout
him an ordinary tone would have served to confine his
remarks to the ears for which they were intended. Dur-
ing the entire time his eyes remained fixed, as if fas-
cinated, upon the figure of the pretty girl across the
room.

"There are two kinds of women," he said, impressive-
ly, "against whom no decent man will insinuate any-
thing. One class is composed of those about whose lapses
he could testify if he liked; the other class is composed
of those of whose shortcomings he knows nothing."

Carroll Thorpe smiled broadly.

"That's sweeping," he said. "You mean that women
should, under all circumstances, be exempt from criti-
cism."

Mr. Hayne nodded.

"A woman should have the privilege, with men, of
passing for what she pleases to appear."

"It is a pity members of their own sex are not so
magnanimous," suggested Thorpe.

"The greatest of pities," replied Hayne. "Ah!" he
added, 'Tic-re cvines Brooke *'



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND. 15

The gentleman named was slowly making his way to-
ward the pair. He was a little older than the other two,
who were perhaps twenty-three or twenty-four, of slen-
der build and with the sloping shoulders often associated
with the idea of a student. Although his face was rather
pale, however, he gave the impression of possessing the
normal amount of strength and of being a man of force
and determination. His countenance bore lines of care
already, as if he had found life a serious matter, and
showed a vivid contrast to both the others, who gave
equal evidence of having passed their youth in content-
ment and ease. His garments were as plain as possible,
he eschewed jewelry almost entirely, and he had a hesi-
tation in speech that reminded one of an immature girl.

Most strangers, if invited to guess, would have set him
down as an embryo clergyman, or at least a seminary
professor. But he was in reality a lawyer, who was al-
ready making a name at the bar and had secured pos-
session of a satisfactory practice. He had dark hair,
which generally hung, by a contrariness of nature, half
across his forehead, and sombre eyes that could not help
attracting attention on account of the strange, mys-
terious quality that shone from their depths.

"Gordon was just saying," remarked Thorpe, when
Mr. Brooks reached them, "that he makes it a rule never
to speak ill of a woman, whether he knows anything
about her or not."

"Oh, don't tell Sidney of my rules!" exclaimed Mr.
Hayne, impatiently. "He doesn't know anything about
women, any way. What he wants is to have people
pointed out and named, and get introductions to those
he doesn't know."

Then, in a tone and manner that showed* his liking for
the young attorney, he proceeded from where they stood



16 THEIR MARRIAGE BOND.

to impart information regarding those present whom his
friend had not met, giving their names, mentioning their
occupations and other matters that he imagined might
be of interest.

"I think you know every man in Boston and vicinity,"
said Mr. Brooks, pleasantly.

"Well, I know a good many; and in a place like thia
I make some one tell me about those I don't know. I'm
a little quicker than you in some things, and yet I sup-
pose you could talk more interestingly to the Supreme
Court than I could."

Apparently considering that his friend's curiosity was
confined mainly to the masculine sex, Mr. Hayne made
no allusions to the women except to utter such expres-
sions as, "That lady next to him is his wife/' or "That
elderly lady in gray is the mother of the representative
in the Legislature from Brookline."

A fourth gentleman joined the party at this juncture,
and was presented to Messrs. Thorpe and Brooks by Mr.
Hayne as "Mr. Nelson, one of the Boston Herald staff,
whom you ought to know." Mr. Nelson, who was at-
tending Mrs. Bruce's receptions for the first time, was
also in search of information and knew that he hd
reached the right place to find it.

"I understand that the elderly gentleman in that cor-
ner, who never leaves his chair, is Mr. Edward Dale," he
remarked, consulting his notebook.

"Yes," said Mr. Hayne. "And that good-looking fel-
low on his right the one who was just talking to Mrs.
Bruce is his son, Kingdon Dale."

The man last pointed out was, indeed, a "good-looking
fellow." He was a little past his majority, tall enough
and exceedingly well-proportioned. His clothes fitted
him to a nicety, ills hair was brown, with a faint tinge



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND. 17

of red, and he combed it in a manner that was moet
becoming. He had a look of good temper on his fine
countenance, mingled at the present moment with a
tinge of anxiety, which none but a close observer might
have been able to note.

"Is it true that his father has arranged with Mrs.
Bruce to have him marry Ida?" asked Carroll Thorpe,
with the idea that Mr. Nelson might be interested in that
question.

"I've heard so," responded Mr. Hayne, clearing his
throat of something that stuck there. "You know the
lands of the Bruces here in Newton join those of the
Dales, and some people fancy the English way of con-
necting marriages with real estate transactions. Then,
they've been thrown together from childhood. He's only
twenty-two and she "

There seemed nothing to cause the breaking off of the
sentence, but the listeners saw that Mr. Hayne had fin-
ished all he meant to say on the subject. He was looking
again at Miss Ida.

"You know young Mr. Dale personally, I presume?"
said Mr. Nelson, when the mantel clock had ticked off
fifteen or twenty seconds.

"What, Kingdon?" Mr. Hayne's face lit up. <<Yes,
we've been intimate for years. We were off at school to-
gether. I suppose," he added, reflectively, "if you were
to ask him for his closest friend, he would mention my
name."

"Then you ought to know exactly what his marital
intentions are," said Thorpe, wisely.

"No. There are things he never speaks about, and
this is one of them. I used to hint about it," he went
on, as if talking to himself, "but it did no good. Indeed,
the first I knew of of Miss Bruce was by seeing her



18 THEIR MARRIAGE BOND.

photograph, on his desk. He told me her name, and
said her family lived near his home but nothing fur-
ther. I renewed the subject more than once, but made
no progress. He had plenty of other pictures there,
women as well as men, friends, relations, all the usual
assortment; there was nothing to show that he held this
one in special regard. But," the speaker drew a long
breath as if he were getting tired, "I have heard me
rumors you mention, and I think, very likely, they are
true."

Mr. Nelson remarked, with fervor, that in that case
Mr. Kingdon Dale must be a very happy man. Messrs.
Thorpe and Brooks silently indicated that he expressed
their own conviction.

"Mr. Dale, Sr., looks in wretched health to-night,
doesn't he?" said Mr. Thorpe. "Kingdon almost wor-
ships his father, and if you watch him you will see how
earnestly and anxiously he gazes in that direction."

All the members of the group followed the suggestion,
and soon had ocular proof that it was true.

"I wish you would present me to Kingdon Dale," said
Mr. Nelson, a moment later, to Mr. Hayne. "You will
excuse us," he added to the others when Mr. Hayne re-
sponded that he would do so with pleasure.

Finding that the new acquaintances entered at once
into a lively conversation, Hayne soon left them together
and strolled about the house, speaking to many persons
whom he knew and going almost everywhere, in fact,
except toward the spot where Mrs. and Miss Bruce were
located. He paused to hear a soprano sing two pieces,
which were received with general applause. He talked
politics for some minutes with a party of men, who
seemed to have an aversion to feminine society, or, per-
haps, it was the feminine part of the gathering that did



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND. 19

not care for them. So, going from one set to another,
and always finding himself welcome, he came gradually
to the chair occupied by the senior Mr. Dale, and, find-
ing another unoccupied, sat down to have a chat with
that gentleman.

"A delightful party," he said, affably. "But, then,
Mrs. Bruce always manages to have that."

Mr. Dale nodded assent.

"She does, indeed," said he. "My illness prevents my
enjoying these things, however, as you younger people
do. I would go home, even at this hour, except that I
feel it a duty to remain. The Bruces have been my
neighbors for twenty years, you know, and one owes
much to appearances." His eyes wandered back to the
place where Mrs. Bruce and Ida were standing. "Don't
you think she looks remarkably well this evening?" he
asked, abruptly.

Mr. Hayne started.

"Our hostess? Yes. I had noticed it," he answered,
obstinately.

The elder Dale gave an impatient shrug to his
shoulders, and winced at a rheumatic twinge that fol-
lowed the motion.

"No, no!" he exclaimed. "Ida. She shines like a star
of the first magnitude among all the girls around her."

"Oh!" said Hayne, composing himself. "Yes, ahe
looks very well."

A glance of suppressed indignation came from the old
gentleman.

"There's nothing prettier in all the land," he said,
sharply. "Nor sweeter. Nor better. I have watched her
grow from an infant to this day, and no flower ever came
from shoot to stem, from bud to blossom, with greater



20 THEIR MARRIAGE BOND.

loveliness. What a happy man he will be who gathers
that flower for his own!"

There was a fascination about the subject that en-
thralled Gordon Hayne. He had determined not to dis-
cuss Miss Bruce with any one again that evening, but the
opportunity that he could not resist had come to him.

"Is is there any one in particular who has that pros-
pect?" he inquired, carelessly, looking toward the farther
end of the room, where a lady was about to play a selec-
tion on a piano.

Mr. Dale's face brightened. For the instant his pains
were forgotten, and he looked happy.

"I may as well tell you," he said, in a low tone,
"though you had best not talk with him about it. I
would rather you did not. It has been understood for
years between her mother and me. When the right
time comes she is to be my daughter-in-law."

Gordon Hayne wondered if any of the passers would
notice a strangeness in has countenance. Schooled to
conceal his feelings on most occasions, he knew that a
close inspection of his face at this moment would excite
remark.

"Ah!" he replied. "I had heard rumors of that pos-
sibility. So it is arranged?"

Mr. Dale hitched his chair nearer.

"Perhaps I am injudicious," he said. "But you are an
old friend, a much-liked friend, of my son. I ask you
again not to speak of this to him unless he first broaches
the matter to you. I cannot truly say that everything is
finally arranged, but it amounts to the same thing. Her
mother is satisfied I am satisfied. They are eminently
fitted for each other. They have been close friends from
babyhood. Neither has ever expressed a fondness for
any other person of the opposite sex. It is coming



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND. 21

around all right. They are young there is no great
haste. I only wish/' here Mr. Dale grew very serious,
"to see them united before I die."

It became incumbent on Mr. Hayne to remark that
the disagreeable day foreshadowed would undoubtedly
be very long in coming. He had not noticed, he said,
that Mr. Dale seemed any worse than he had been for a
long time, and was about to mention instances where
people of his acquaintance had long outlived their ex-
pectation, when his companion interrupted.

"I indulge in no fancies on that score," he said. "The
doctors give me three years at the most. I am quite con-
tent. My infirmities are too numerous to make this
world worth clinging to. I want to see Kingdon settled,
happily married to this beautiful girl, and then I will
take the summons without complaint."

Mr. Hayne bowed, with soberness, as was fitting, and
rose with the remark that he noticed a friend to whom
he wished to speak.

His friend must have been a denizen of the solar vault,
for he went immediately out upon the veranda, and
walked up and down with his eyes turned toward the
stars. He stayed so long that Thorpe, who was in
search of him, came out and found him there.

"Isn't it time for us to go?" asked Thorpe. "We must
either get this 10.45 train to the city or wait till 11.30."

"All right," was the answer. "I'm ready. Where's
Brooks? Is he going, too?"

"He's with Kingdon," said Thorpe. "He says the last
train will do for him."

Together the gentlemen went to bid good-night to
their hostess, with the usual courteous expressions. Miss
Ida, in a word or two, sweetly seconded her mother's
hope that she would see them both at her next soiree.



22 THEIR MARRIAGE BOND.

Thorpe took her hand in parting, but Hayne evaded the
ceremony, and bowed low instead.

"Good-night, Kingdon," he said, brusquely, as they
passed that gentleman. "No, we've our train to catch,
and there's no time for handshaking," he added, hasten-
ing by.



THEIR MARRIAGE BOND. 23



CHAPTEE II.

IDA STROKES THE KITTEN.

Mrs. Walden Bruce had done her part fully in relation
to the marriage which she meant should take place
between Mr. Kingdon Dale and her daughter. She had
talked of it as a settled affair to the girl from the time


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