Albert Ross.

Young Miss Giddy online

. (page 1 of 22)
Online LibraryAlbert RossYoung Miss Giddy → online text (page 1 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


L, B



YbUNG
MlSSGJDDY



MERTRAND

j BOOK S

MO PACIFIC
LONG BEACH, CAL



THE

ALBATROSS NOVELS

By ALBERT ROSS
23 Volumes

May be had wherever books are sold at the price yon
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

G. W. DILLINGHAM CO.

Publisher. :: :: New York



YOUNG Miss GIDDY,



BY ALBERT Ross.



AUTHOR OF



WHY I'M SINGLE," "His PRIVATE CHARACTER,'

" THOU SHALT NOT," " IN STELLA'S SHADOW,"

"AN ORIGINAL SINNER," ETC.



" Things have got to be pretty bad,
haven't they? Were they always so,
or has this age gone to the devil> all
by itself?" Page 35.



NEW YORK:
G. W. Billing ham ~ Co* Publishers.



CONTENTS.



Chapter Page

. The Poor Girl and the Rich One .... 9

II. Senator from Van Buren 19

III. " Luvv, what's Luvv ?" 32

IV. Esther's Strike for Freedom 44

V. " Marriage is a nuisance." 55

VI. She Would be a Lady 67

VII. Fifteen Million Dollars 79

VIII. " Dave, I am a devil !" 90

IX. A Dinner at Flora's 105

X. " If a girl could find a man" 116

XI. Florida in Winter 1*5

XII. Going to Mardi Gras 133

XIII. " You'll see nothing but ' cham.' ". . . . 141

XIV. A Glimpse of Hamburg 151

XV. "Not on the morning after." 162

XVI. Drunk as a Fool 169

XVII. A Devil of a Mess 178

XVIII. "Marriage is sometimes a cure." 186

XIX. " Esther Strange ! Good God !" 196

XX. Miss Scarlett Proposes Marriage 207

XXI. "Do you think, my dear?" 218

XXII. Seeing an Old Friend 229

XXIII. " If you leave it to me." 240

XXIV. In the Mexican Monterey 251

w
2061864



Yl OOKTXNT8.

Chapter Page

XXV. " Shall I put out the light f 258

XXVI. A Night at Garcia 371

XXVII. In the Virgin's Cave 179

XXVIII. " I must confess some things." 187

XXIX "Ah! It is terrible! terrible!" 197

XXX. A Surprised Husband 304

XXXI. A Freezing-Out Process 313

XXXII. " Arrest this man !" 321

XXXIII. What Bayley Told Parton 332

A Parting Word 341



TO MY READERS.



Last Mistier, in a symposium printed in \\\t Boston
Globe, a number of prominent people discussed the
question of chaperonage as applied to American
girls. One of them, the wife of a well-known gen-
tleman, used in effect the expression that I have put
into the mouth of Senator Scarlett. If a girl had a
tendency to behave improperly, said this lady, all the
oversight in the world would not be likely to pre-
vent it. Instead of writing a letter to that journal,
giving my opinion on this proposition, as I at first
intended to do, I have made it the theme of a novel,
and here you have it.

Incidentally I have also kept a promise made to
numerous friends in the Southern States and in
Mexico, to introduce local scenes in a future 1 story.
A year ago I " followed the strawberry " a thousand
miles below the Tropic of Cancer and could easily
have written a book much larger than this one upon
the incidents of that trip. The reader will see how
impossible it is for me to do more in this volume
than allude to the principal points of that delightful
\ourney.

It becomes necessary to remind some of my kind
correspondents that the enclosure of a stamp is con-
sidered good form when a reply is desired. So far

NQ



TJN 10 XT HEADERS.

I hare tried to answer all letters, briefly, though
they sometimes amount to a dozen a week, and the
postage for the thoughtless ones is quite an item.
And let me say another thing in this connection. If
an autograph is the thing desired it is just as easy
to say so as to ask where my novels can be purchased.
This amusing inquiry comes to me almost every day,
and I am a little tired of replying with the single
word " Everywhere," which is the modest fact.
Besides, it does not make a pretty response for
exhibition purposes.

A Happy New V ea r to all is the heartfelt wish ot
the author.

ALBERT Ross.

Cambridge Jfax.



YOUNG MISS GIDDY.



CHAPTER I.

THE POOR GIRL AND THE RICH ONE.

The daughter of the millionaire, Augustus Scar*
lett, was entering her carriage at the family mansion
on Fifty-second street. This young lady, though
only fifteen years of age, was attended in her daily
life with a retinue of servants that would have been
quite sufficient for a princess. The carriage she was
now about to use was kept for her exclusively. The
horses, the coachman, the footman, the chaperone,
the maid, the very lap-dog that was going with
her, were never claimed by any other member of
the household. Her father had his own equipages,
which she often shared with him, but she had hers,
always ready at her command, in case she chose to
ride when he was otherwise occupied. Her only
brother, Charles, never rode but in public convey-
ances, except on those rare occasions when he ac-
companied his sister or father. Charles preferred
walking when the distance was not too great, and
detested everything that savored of fashion or style.

,*



10 TOUHO MMB GIDDY.

He was a very peculiar fellow, was Charles, and
people had begun to speak of him as "a Socialist."

Miss Flora May seated herself upon her comfort-
able cushions and was about to give the order to her
driver to set off when a couple of children that
happened to come along the sidewalk attracted and
riveted her attention. Both were very plainly
dressed. One was a year or two older than herself,
a straight, brown-faced lad with a set look that
might almost be called surly ; the other was a girl
of about thirteen, undoubtedly his sister, and yet
with an air as different from his as daylight and
darkness.

Upon seeing the handsome equipage and its occu-
pants the boy acted as if determined not to appear
interested. After one glance his gaze sought the
pavement and he seemed to be counting the bricks
at his feet. The girl, on the contrary, opened her
eyes wider at the sight before her, drinking in the
scene with greediness. She realized lhat here was
the antithesis of her own life, this aristocratic child
with her horses and servants, and she was entranced
to the full in her contemplation.

The girl looked at Miss Flora and Miss Flora
looked at the girl. The coachman, too well bred to
turn his head, knew what was going on behind him.
Madame Saccard, the chaperone, thought what an
effective painting the contrasting scene would make,
but she did not change a muscle of her French face,
nor utter a word. Though twice the age of her pupil
she was as careful in expressing her opinions as if
the opposite had been the case. Only the lap-dog,
impatient to be off, showed his sentiments, by bark-
ing in a dissatisfied key.



THI POOR 6IBL AJTD THE RICH OWS. 11

It all lasted but a moment. The children who
were walking passed by, and the child in the car-
riage spoke to her driver, telling him to proceed
toward the Park, which was the destination she had
chosen.

" Wasn't that beautiful !'* exclaimed the girl on
the sidewalk to her brother, when they were out of
hearing.

The boy did not reply. He walked on, with his
eyes still on the pavement, his face as stolid as
before.

" She must be rich /" continued the sister. " That
was her carriage. It takes lots of money to own such
things. And of course she lives in that handsome
house. Don't you think so?" she added, after a
moment, as there were no signs that any answer was
intended.

" It's nothing to do with us, that's all /think about
it," said the brother, surlily, thus driven into reply-
ing.

" Why, Austin Strange !" cried the girl. "How
cross you always are when you see any one who has
better things than we ! I don't blame people for liv-
ing just as nice as they can afford. I would have a
carriage like that if I could, and a driver and ser-
vants and a lap-dog, too. And I often think," she
added, reflectively, " that the day is going to come
when I shall."

The boy looked up from the siaewaTK, one quick
glance. There was a full measure of contemptuous
disbelief in that look. He did not, however, deem
the prediction worthy of words, and he walked on
as silent as before.

The probable pecuniary status of these children



IS YOUKG MISS GIDDY.

was shown not only in their garments, but in that
indefinable air which accompanies poverty when it
comes in contact with wealth.

" You might talk to me a little, Austin,** said the
girl, when they had turned the corner of Fourth
avenue and were nearing the neighborhood in which
they resided. " How is it some folks get so much
money, while others get almost nothing ? Look
at father : he is a carpenter ; he always was a car-
penter ; he never will be anything else. Three dol-
lars a day is the highest he ever got. Many days
together he is out of work because business is dull
or the weather is bad. I have heard him say he doesn't
average over six hundred dollars a year. It is the
same with most of the people that live in the block
with us. Now, when you cross the avenue, every-
thing seems different. Over there they have elegant
homes, servants, all the money they want. There
must be a reason for it, and I think some one ought
to be able to find it out."

Austin found his voice then, to utter one brief
sentence.

44 Esther, you talk like a fool !"

The girl tossed her head.

" It is better to talk like a fool than not to talk at
all," she retorted. " If I was a boy I would be
ashamed not to know any more than you do. You
are going to be just like father a mechanic, with
only enough to keep you from starving and freezing.
But I will never consent to live like that. No, I am
going to be a lady."

The brother looked up again, with the same con-
temptuous sneer on his lips.

" You, a lady !" he repeated, taking in the whole



THE POOR GIBL AND THE BIOH ONE. 13

f her profile, from the cheap hat on her head to
the stout shoes on her feet. " How f"

Esther bridled at his manner.

" I don't know exactly," she said, " but I shall do
it. I have as good a right to wear fine clothes and
ride in a carriage as those girls on the other side of
Fourth avenue, and I will find a way. You will
never help me, that is certain. And neither will
father. And his new wife who wants me to call
her mother, but I never shall she would rather
see me wearing rags. I know that many of the
people who are now rich were once as poor as we
are. They found out the way to fortune, and so
shall I."

Austin Strange was not a lad who talked a great
deal. At home he never spoke unless some one
addressed him first, and then he replied in the
briefest terms he could find. He and Esther were
not any too fond of each other, and they were
seldom found walking the streets together. The
statement that he had just heard seemed to irritate
him exceedingly, but he did not show his resent-
ment in harsh expressions. He only turned abruptly
from her, as they reached a corner, and walked off
rapidly in a direction opposite to that in which lay
their home.

" Isn't he hateful !" said the girl, aloud, angry at
finding herself deserted.

And a pleasant voice at her elbow murmured :

" Well, he isn't very agreeable, that's a fact."

Esther turned and saw a well-dressed young gen-
tleman contemplating her with an amused smile.
He was, to judge from appearances, of nineteen



14 TOTING MISS GIDDY.

years or thereabout, and of a very different order
of society from the one in which her family moved.

" He's your brother, I presume," added the young
gentleman, in return for her stare. " Though one
wouldn't think it to listen to his excessive taci-
turnity."

Esther had no idea what interested this stranger
in her, but there was something about him that
charmed her at first sight. Ordinarily she would
have given him a sharp retort, and told him to go
about his business.

" I don't exactly know whaf you mean by ' taci-
turnity, 1 " she ventured.

" Your brother does," said the young gentleman.
" He understands it very well. And now will you
tell me why you wish to be a lady, and why you
think you are destined to rise above the station in
life into which you were born ?"

There was such a laughing quality in the voice of
the young gentleman that Esther could not tell
whether he had any serious purpose in his inquiry.
But the subject had taken a deep hold of her, and
she was only too glad of a chance to converse with
any one upon it.

" I cannot give a reason," she said, her brow
clouding. She had begun to walk along, accom-
panied by her new companion. "I cannot tell why
I expect to be a lady, except that I want to b
one very much. As to being born the child of a
carpenter, many people have told me it must be
a mistake. I am not like the rest of my people.
My father is satisfied to saw boards and plane tim-
ber all day long. My brother Austin is going to
follow the same trade, The only times they complain



TW POOR rtTRI, ANT) THE RICH OWB. 15

is when building is dull and they cannot get enough
to do. My stepmother often tells me that in a year
or two more I must go to work. All the girls I was
brought up with go into shops, or factories, or stores
as soon as they are old enough. But I have told her
I never will do it. She may talk as much as she
pleases, but I never will. There are ways to get
rich and I will find out how. I have heard that
many of the richest people were once as poor as any
one."

Young Douglass Maybury admitted the truth of
this statement. He was pleased with the brightness
of the queer child, whose head was full of such
odd ideas, and he walked along with her willingly,
listening to her aims and plans.

" Yes, some of them were as poor as well, let us
say, Job's turkey," he said. "The pretty young
girl you saw starting on her ride belongs tc that
kind of a family. Her father was born in a hovel,
I have heard say ; and to-day there are not ten men
in New York as rich as he."

Esther looked at him with increased excitement.

" Oh, did you see me as far back as that ?" she
asked. " What a pretty girl she was and what an
elegant team she had ! You do not no, you do
not know her, do you ?"

" I know her a little," he answered. " I have
been to her house a number of times. If she had
not been going out at the moment, I might have
called this morning."

The girl asked the next question with great
eagerness.

" Then you have heard, perhaps, how her father
got so much money ? That is the thing to find out,



16 TOUNG MISS GIDDY.

where it comes from, this wealth they all seem to
have on the other side of Fourth avenue, and
nobody has on this side. If I could find that out,
I should know how to make a start."

She was too much in earnest for him to laugh at
her now. Her dark eyes with their quivering lashes
were turned full upon his gray ones.

" I do not know, upon my word, how the Senator
made his dollars," he said, " but I can find out for
you. I think it was in mines and railroads, and
ways like those. And I am afraid that, in any
event, it was in things which a little girl like you
could not carry on."

For a moment the dark eyes fell at the prospect.

" I want to know, for all that," said the girl,
when she lifted them again. " I want to know all I
can about rich people who were once poor. Couldn't
you inquire and tell me ?"

The young gentleman said he would do so with
the greatest of pleasure, but he added that he did
not yet know where to address his young friend.

" I live at No. Avenue A," responded the girl,
promptly, " and my name is Esther Strange ; but
you must not write to me there, for my stepmother
would open the letter before she gave it to me and
scold me for letting you send it. I shall have to
meet you somewhere. When do you think you will
have learned ? I am impatient to know. Could
you make it to-morrow evening ?"

Though Douglass Maybury was but nineteen years
of age, this was not the first time he had made an
appointment with a girl; but Esther was so young
and so innocent, as he could see by the things she
said and the artless way she said them, that he hesi-



THK POOE GIRL AKD THE BICH O1H6. IT

tated even to do the apparently harmless thing she
asked. A child of that age, it occurred to him,
would better obey even the orders of a needlessly
severe stepmother than meet a stranger secretly fof
any purpose whatever. Beginning in this way, who
could tell to what the act might lead as she grew
older ?

It is said that the lion will not attack prey except
when he is in want of food, and certainly Douglass
had no improper thought in connection with this lit-
tle, confiding creature. However, it was easier to tell
her he would come than to refuse her, and run the
risk of seeing her pretty face cloud again, and per-
haps her bright eyes overflow with tears.

" There is a man who knows all about the Scar-
letts," he said, " and he belongs to a club with me.
If I can find him, and draw him out, I will bring
you the information you wish. Where shall I see
you and at what hour ?"

Delighted at his compliance, the girl mentioned a
small bit of public ground, called by the residents in
its vicinity a "park," at which she would await
him, when the clock was striking eight.

" That's a bad hour, my little girl," said Maybury.
" I dine at half-past seven usually, and "

" Not till half-past seven !" exclaimed the listener.
" Why, we have dinner at noon !"

The young gentleman's face was wreathed in
smiles. Her naivett6 was certainly most charming.

" You are very lucky to be served so early," said
he. " At my club they are too busy to get around
at that hour Is there any reason why you cannot
see me at nine ?"

Yes, there was a reason. At nine o'clock Mrs.



18 YOUNG MISS GIDDY.

Strange the second insisted on her stepdaughter
being in bed. Still Esther would rather have braved
the indignation of her stepmother than have missed
the coveted appointment altogether.

" If you could say a quarter-past eight, or even
half-past," she began.

" Why not earlier, then ?" asked Douglass. Why
not half-past six ?"

The girl shook her head.

" That is the time we eat our supper."

Maybury began to remember hearing that these
strange hours were kept by members of the lower
classes, and he tried to fix on a time when the girl's
family would be neither eating nor sleeping. It
seemed, according to this child, that they were
occupied in one or the other of these things most of
the evening.

" I can come at seven," he said, w and dine a
little later than usual."

Esther accepted this amendment.

" Now, will you tell mzyour name and where you
live ?" she asked. " Because, you see, if anything
should happen that you were kept from coming, or
if I could not get out to meet you, I should want to
know where to find you the next time."

She had a long head on her, this child of thirteen !
Maybury took out a case, and handed her a card
bearing his name and the address of his chambers.

" Thank you," she said, simply. " And be sure
you don't forget to inquire all about the father of
that handsome girl I saw on Fifty-second street
how he got so much money and everything. One
cannot be a lady ^r a gentleman without plenty of
money, can they ? If you find it all out, and cone



IHATOX FROM VAN BUBKH. 19

and tell me all about it, I will thank you as long as
I live !"

Esther Strange was a pretty girl, in spite of the
extreme plainness of her attire. Douglass May-
bury wondered, as he walked back toward his
rooms, how she would look in good clothes in
those garments of a lady which she had begun to
crave. She had a well-developed figure for her age,
and her rosy cheeks and bright eyes gave promise
of a healthful and vigorous womanhood.

" Fortune is idiotic in the distribution of her
favors !" he muttered. " Or doesn't she distribute
them at all ? Does she only keep them for the most
selfish the ones who are willing to grab, and push,
and tread their fellows under their feet ?"



CHAPTER II.

SENATOR FROM VAN BUREN.

What Mr. Maybury learned at his club that even-
ing, combined with what he already knew, and also
with several things that the author has ascertained
on his own account, may as well be given to the
reader in a single chapter, and at this time.

Augustus Scarlett, millionaire many times over,
Senator of the United States from Van Buren, rail-
road president, mine owner, etc.. etc., was born to a
poverty so abject that it would be difficult to over-
state its depth. At an early age Augustus left the
paternal roof, because it leaked so badly that it no



30 YOUNG MI88 QIDDT.

longer afforded him shelter. He deserted the family
board, because it seldom had anything upon it worth
eating.

With no blessing but a " Scotch " one, he went
forth to look for his own food and raiment. His
father and mother had freely expressed the opinion
that he never would " amount to anything." They
were sure he would reflect no credit on the name
of Scarlett, this branch of which had little to boast
of except that none of its members had ever served
terms in the penitentiary. It was seriously feared
that Augustus would break even this record, because
he detested work on a farm and exhibited a discred-
itable fondness for soap and water.

The Scarletts owned barring a mortgage and
accrued interest a few acres of land from which
much of their support was supposed to come. In
his earliest youth, Augustus unwillingly assisted at
the burial of sundry sliced potatoes, and the obse-
quies of various garden seeds, in the hope that they
would achieve a glorious resurrection as the season
advanced. But when it became necessary to ply
the hoe again, the boy was found wanting in a very
literal sense. He had a way of stealing out of the
front door and making for the cool retreats of the
adjacent wood, where he remained, even at the cost
ef losing his dinner, until the night came on.

Weeding onions and picking worms from vines
had more terrors for him than hunger. And he had
a consolation in his wooded retreat that made him
forget the recurrence of mealtime. A young friend
in the village who possessed a library gave him free
access to it. Beneath his poor jacket a book was
usually concealed. Absorbed in romance, poetry of



SENATOR FROM YAH BURBN. 11

history, the young lad knew nothing of physical
appetite. The falling of the curtains of night was
the one thing that compelled him to cease his beloved
reading.

In a household where a stray almanac, obtained
free from the druggist on account of its medical
advertisements, was the only piece of literature
obtainable, it is hardly to be wondered at that this
kind of Ugly Duckling was looked upon as a verit-
able visitation of the wrath of God. He was not at
all like the other Scarletts, that was certain. They
gave him a soubriquet that they thought very cut-
ting and severe that of "the gentleman."

" Here comes the gentleman !" his father would
say, when Augustus crept back to his cabin at night-
fall. "Give him some soap ! and some blacking for
his shoes ! and a bottle of perfumery ! He wants
to wear paper collars and a pair of cuffs ! He will
be brushing his hair next, and cleaning his nails !
Where have you been all day, you young loafer ?"

Although the elder Scarlett was in the habit of
using a good deal of objectionable language, he was
not addicted to other means of enforcing his opin-
ions. Not one of his seven children could remember
that he had erer lifted his hand to strike them.
Had he done so to his most unpopular son the
severance of the tie between the boy and his family
might have come earlier than it did.

Discouraged as both father and mother were with
such a lad, the remains of the simple meal they had
last indulged in were always set out for him, so that
he did not go to bed supperless.

" I don't see where you get your tastes," the elder
Scarlett would often assert complainingly, as the mea-



22 TOtfSG MIW

gre supper proceeded. " All you think of is reading
and fixing yourself up. You don't see your mother
or me doing it. We never waste our time ; I don't
know what our children would do if we did. Where
did you learn such things ? Did you ever see me
combing my hair ? Do / ever wash my hands or
black my boots?"

"No, father, no," Augustus would answer, ab-
stractedly.

His thoughts were elsewhere. He knew that
interrogations were being addressed to him, but he
did not listen to their purport.


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryAlbert RossYoung Miss Giddy → online text (page 1 of 22)