|Paper||Beaver County News|
|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||To Let-an Apartment|
|Paper||Beaver County News|
TO LET-AN ! ! APARTMENT I j , . 5 Being1 the Somewhat Complicated Love Story of a Man and a Maid, 7ith Love Kunning True to Type. By ELEANOR PORTER f Author of " Pollyanna," " Just David," Etc. j Copyright by Eleanor H. Porter. (l ... -S A. ... A ... A A A .. A A A A A A A A A A ... A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A .T. VX THIRTY-EIGHTH street enst, in the parlor of a stuffy, four-room 6uite, Miss Josephine Barton looked over the newspaper attentively, her eyes coming to a pause halfway down the column. "'Apartments: New, up-to-date, nil modern conveniences, moderate rent,' " she murmured. " 'Expressly designed for people of refined tastes and limited means. References required.' 1 I am joins to look at them," she finished with sudden decision. "It sounds as if It would be just the place for auntie .and me." On Thirty-eighth street, west, in a "second-floor-front" of a shabby, eminently resectable boarding-house, JIajor Hilton smoothed across his knees a copy of the same paper, and read the same advertisement. 'By George, I'll do it !" he exlaimed aloud. "And if they're what they pie-rend pie-rend fo he. Til send for 1 lie little moth- er and begin to live !" Ten days later, before the doer of n small apartment house far uptown stood two furniture vans a red and r. yellow one. Above the sidewalk, in the twin bay w iudows of the second floor. Miss Jo-fcphine Jo-fcphine Barton and Major Hilton looked out upon a world in which nothing was familiar save their respective re-spective goods being unloaded below. ".Uni-m someone has taken that other suite so soon," mused the lady ; "now there are no more to let. Wasn't 1 fortunate I" "By George:" grumbled the major In the other window, eyeing his neighbor's neigh-bor's goods. "S'pose those belong to the lucky dog who took that south suite and only two hours ahead of me. according to the janitor. W ell, if I can't have that I'm mighty glad to get this," he added, as he turned an ay from the window. Down on the sidewalk an oak cos-tuiner cos-tuiner and a lady's standing workbas-ket workbas-ket stood side by side. A minute after they were flanked by two suitcases, twins in color, shape and size. Two minutes later a man from the red van swung the costumer acro.-s nis shoulder shoul-der and cuugkt up one of the suitcases. suit-cases. As bad been his custom throughout through-out the afternoon he directed his steps toward number three, the south suite. Thus it happened that at six o'clock that night, after the men had gone. Miss Barton confronted. In the middle of her bedroom floor, an unfamiliar, unlovely thing of oak anil prongs. "Uh !" she exclaimed, dropping limply Lack into the nearest chair. "Why, thai Isn't mine !" Across the hall, the major in his hay window, was cutting the cords around a paper-covered object that stood Icr-hnp.s Icr-hnp.s two feet tall before him. "Why. what I don't remember this can't vi el I. by Jove!" he finished, us tiie wrapping fell away and disclosed a holy's workbasket, dainty in vvh.te enamel anil gold. "Well, by Jove!" In the south suite Miss Barton rose to her feet. "If must belong in number four." Khe murmured, circling around I he costumer as if looking for an advantageous ad-vantageous point Ol view. "What an ugly tl.ing! still. I fancy It Is convenient. con-venient. I I ought to take It homo. 1 suppose." she udded, looking furtively furtive-ly at the door. "Humph!" ejaculated the major ucros.s the hall, his eyes on the basket. "Blither neat that! Min-in; looks homey, and as if buttons were sewed on. Helongs to that lucky beggar in the south suite. 1 suppose. Seems to me he's got well, when liftle mother comes, I'll look homey, and my buttons will be sewed. Ami he caught up the basket and Marled for the halj door. The next moment be carne face to face with his own image in the mirror of the hat-rack. hat-rack. "Great Scott !" he cried, dropping the basket. "Where's that suitcase? I can't go looking tills way I" "I'M Just change my stock," decided Miss I'.arton hi suite three, as she po ked up u tan leather suitcase and snapiicd the spring. 1 "Oh !" she Kt'.speil. "Oh oh h I" "By Jove!" exploded the major across the hall. "Well, by Jove I" Before Miss Barton's horrified eyes lay a man's vest, two neckties, a nest of colhirs, and an Immaculate, gb.sien-ing gb.sien-ing shirt -front ; before the roa Jor'H lay it Huff of laee and linen, a glimpse of pink and pi. Jo blue, and on top, as ir hastily 1 1 1 rust there, a pair of black kid slippers, "Oil!" sh ut t eji. d .Miss Barton, and closed Ho bug with a snap. Not so the m..,;',!1. for a moment he u'a.ed III Uei.i; si Mpi'Tilctinli ; then he slowly ten,' I,,; out his hniid, pirl.i d op one o th" 'Uppers, laid II across hi-; palm, inid n. i. ei) his band to the level of his e; es. "Mm ii. : a id I ha I 's in-ni. loo." Inlaid In-laid 'i.ll.v; I hen li whiiiisieiil twinkle can.e inlo tiii eyes. ",'nl own the little o. other will bring Jil.e that," he 'il.- lioi cil. The distant Hp k of n door brought t' .ior H'ld'lenly to himself, aim n' tit a ' t'loi on Hood lo noii and brow, I,, a iiiiirveloiiMly sborl time lie Inn! Hung . Ml-- his door mid was striding Inlo the h ill, a lady's workbasket and ti tiio Milt' a a- fiiitrhcil lit hi hands. Tin. toi.Jor and Miss l'.inion nn-t oxuet ly In the middle of the narrow landing. "I bog pardon " "Excuse me " "Er one of the men " "Through a mistake " "Very careless " "Thank you " "Thank you " Then two doors shut crisply. Behind one the major wiped his brow. "Ky Jove! by Jove!" he exclaimed faintly. Behind the other, Miss Barton sank palpitatingly Into a chair. "Oh, It was awful awful !" she gasped. "Aunt Emma, he he had mine! Then she fell on her knees before be-fore the suitcase and fearfully pressed the spring. "Oh !" she cried, with pink cheeks, and shut the bag with a snap. Getting settled was not a long matter mat-ter in the south side. Miss Barton and her aunt, Mrs. Todd, made Quick work of it. Across the hall It was different. Tl.o "Mill,, mother" could not coule for a week yet. and the major spent much of this time iu shifting his new furniture furni-ture about from corner to corner. There was something else, too, which interfered not a .little witn the writing of Ids "Results of the Span.sh War." upon which he was supposed to he just now hard ut work the major went shopping; he went shopping for a white enamel workbasket barred with gold. As the major took all his meals out during tl'.ose seven days, he passed very frequently up and down the stairway. stair-way. Sometimes lie met his neighbor of number three. It was on the sixth day that Miss Barton, on going out for a loaf of bread, found the major sitting on the top step of the stairway, lie arose at once as she appriso-hed, but when she came back ten minutes Jater he was again silting on the top step. l-'or ten minutes Miss I'.arton moved restlessly ubout her rooms, then she once more put on her hat and coat and went out into the hall. As before, the major sprang to h':s feet and retreated toward his own door, but Miss Barton did not seem to notice. In the little store around the corner she bought a paper of pins which she in no wise ne-de 1. and bent hurried steps homeward. At tie top of the stairs she turned scpiarely around and faced the man skulking by the door of number four. "Is there anything wrong? Are you In trouble? Can I do som.-thing for you?" she askisl with a precipit.i::"ii tlixt hinted at a courage fast oozing out at her fingertips. "Thank you. no er that Is. I have been careless er ou"ii to le ie my kevs Inside. I am waiting for lie- Jm.itor and a ladder." "Oh, but the J.mltor went to Brook. lyn this forenoon. He told me l.e wouldn't be buck until the o'clock," said Miss Barron. pi: inc'y. For teti mlnuros more Mi-s Bit'ici moved restlessly about her pv.'is.iMt rooms; then she ki;N-l:cil at her aunt's bedroom door. "Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma !" onlh-d. "You'll Ju-I luii' to come Irl'i ti.e parlor, lie. net door. Is lo.i.ei out, and I've Jut g"t i' ask him in until he can get n ladder." "What."' demand."! Aunt Euinin, s!t ting bolt upright on tin- bed. i-.heie she was trying lo get a nap. "What!'' Some minuies Jat'-r. Mis. Todd, sleepy and unwiiiin, snt In the p;ir-lor's p;ir-lor's easiest chair tr.ilog to knit; tie .major. Hushed and 111 ut case, sat In Hie bay window pietendlng lo read; and Miss Barton, pink-i he.-keit tun! dignified, sal by her workbasket trying try-ing to look unc'ineeriicd. Eor a lime theie was sllene,-. The major, having been distinctly Inilrcd hi to read, felt In duty humid to ke.-p the paper raised before his face; but his eyes, more i, miliums than Ids hands, left the paper and explored the territory within their r:me. "There's something here -some: hing that I huven't got," he mused; then his eyes fell on ti e w oi i. basket. I low n went Hie paper, and up went bis chin determinedly. "Miss Barton, could you -would you tell urn whom you got the bask'-tv" In- asked abruptly. The ladj's neek. el !',, and brow buriicd scarlet It was the basket that had been triiitnt whh the sullease. Suddenly the major, too. turned lleree-ly lleree-ly t'-d. The nct lnutnnr someihing of till- coliriice that was bis In ballle Hashed from Ids eye. "I asked," lie went on .Willi n laugh that surprised liilmoif, so'iasy was It. "bei'llllie I've hlllltel for II week for II basket like licit lo give to mother. 1 wal.t a while e 1 1 1 1 1 n e I . .sliindinu win U-b.'sl.i U-b.'sl.i l. burred with gold," In- ll:iMie,l. linconseionslv fulling Inlo the inrniula which he had Hint week prevented lo no le s I han ten New- York clerks. "But I didn't buy It," laughed Miss Barton in her turn; "uol Ihnl way. It was an ugly liltle cane bn-i.et of no pa M icnhi i- Hhade when I hoichl II. I euauieled It myself and cheeked it off with gold paint." It was easier after thai. The mn)or lost his Hiniti. and Miss Baiion Inwketl uiiciineerned without ttyln;. Miss I'.arton forgot time, herself, anil V -1 1 the Kultemn; bol When 111" o'clock hud come and tin- major hud jf-iim nhy reinenilieied nothing bill Ibe suitcase anil the embarrassing moment mo-ment when sh tiiitl the man had fuced each other In the hallway. She decided de-cided at once that she had been too cordial, too kind, too free with this unknown, unpresented man. The next time Miss Barton met the major on the stairs she merely bowed and dropped her eyes, whereat the major so far forgot himself as to turn and stare. The major had looked for hotter treatment. The major's remembrance remem-brance of that charming afternoon in the restful room, where lived the woman with sun-llecked hair and peach-bloom cheeks, was very vivid ; while the major's recollection of the suitcase episode was growing fainter every day. Weeks passed. The little mother came to number four bringing cheer and comfort, and a sense of home; hut she hud not been there two months before she was summoned to a distant state to see a sick daughter, whereupon where-upon the major resumed ids old habit of going out for his meals. His neighbor neigh-bor he seldom saw ; when lie did see her there were only the grave bow and the quickly averted eyes to greet him. He began to wonder if that delightful de-lightful afternoon In the homelike room at number three were only a dream after all. Did the major forget on that day Just a week after ids mother left? or was he slianielesly making a shrewd attempt to find out for n certainty cer-tainty whether that afternoon was a dream or not? At all events, one o'clock and Miss Barton found him seiiteil on thu tniillliist Sten (if tllC stairw ay. "I'm locked out again," he announced an-nounced cheerfully, as lie rose to his feet. "Ami. if you'll believe It, that inconsiderate in-considerate janitor has gone to Brooklyn, Brook-lyn, too." Miss Barton raised her head. For an instant a repetition of the invitation trembled on her lips; then a certain exultation in the man's voice, an eager expe-tancy In his ees, sifit a swift suspicion to her udnd. l'erliaps what If he had (lone this thing on purp'ee? What if "I am sorry," she said gravely, and passed to her own door. "Well, by Jove by Jove!" muttered the major ns the door shut her from view. Then be sat down on the topmost top-most step and thniu:ht. It was on a pleasant monili.g not long afterwards that Mrs. Todd left the house to spend tile day in shopping. At ten, dressed In cool gray mid whit.'. M:s Josephine Barton opened the door and stepped Into the luil. She bad searely crossed the threshold when a gust of wind from the n-ur blei" the door to with a bang. "My key"' gasped the lady, her siaail t. eth seeling her under lip. Th-n a relieved look come h to her eye. Nen-r mil"! Aunt Emma will he hero h.i.g before I get buck from Tarry-ton Tarry-ton n." M;i. took one step forward, then stopped. She pulled gently, then wilh for. e, at her gray draperies. With a I ilck Indrawing of l.t r breath sh-turned sh-turned and lo..;,d behind L.-r. l ul'y il.ne Inches of the hem of her i!;in la. under the close-shut door. "( ih i" s! e cried softly, and tugged again, "i !i. oh, wh it shall I d"?" At that moment caine n click i ro- the hall. Miss B..rlon nir:i.-d r.ght about f o e on the Instant. She ope I l er puie iind began fateful!) to si ru-tini.e ru-tini.e Its contents. The i!oo- tiie bi'll I pec'-d ii ml li e li .i.-T step; ei out. There "as Mil I Hilled lull ere. pt ihlc !!. W hi" he j v nil, i for her r-c.gii.tlon. It was : tl.'-n that Mi-s It.'-ton !" '.or llr-l I mNi ::.. I" her anx'-ty '" np.M-ar n.-t I III-:. I lia I in.cec . I 1 si,,, fine, n-d j I ti e -I'u.il cold ... ntnl mute tin pi'lng of le r eyes, bat a ila'.ling smile. "Good n. ornli c. major," In- sad l-rlgl.ily. "We in ii r all nc Impniiing I this Is'ii ut iful da;. . ) oil see." It -nis li e man's i e.ili'e start of scr ! prise ti nt open.d M. h l.iu ton's c)es. ' She froze Instant !. . '( ii talnly, i el tr.!:ili ." beamid the ' imij... ; then he , aught sight of her 'stern, inisnililiij nice. "Er-certain!) ," he niuiiils'i-d. as lie turned anil hurried iloiMisliilrs. v. ondel ing llie while If II wen. lis ears or Ills e es that were p!al ing him false this time. When Mleiiec -'lice mole relglied in (lie fall Mi-s Ballon dropped wcaril) to her knees, twisted her body about, and brought both hands to hoar on the gray skirt. It was um".ci. "Oil, dear: oil. dcarl" IU"ltned Miss Barton. "What can I do? I caul slay hoi e all day I" clatter of steps from the floor above broiighl her painfully to her feel ; and again she scnitluized tie conl.'-nis ol her purse. This l.iuf o lomiiit from number Hie passed dm. n il, e slnlrs. l our limes was this repentcil. At the em! of an hour she was lean Ing, while and exhausted, against the casing when the main door douti'talrs hanged shut. She bad Just lime in open her purse and begin the counting of coins that to her M-emeil already worn Ihln by tin- process, when the inajoi rendu d llu- top of the stalls "Why " he begun. Miss Barton looked full In bis race mid hound gravely. Then she dropped her eyes, i lie major sliuul led to lis ,,vui d and lined In I he key ; loll the door had not been live minutes i lined befoie it opened again and ad milted th J"i' lo Hie hall. "MKs I on 1 1 m, are am iiouhleil In nil)- Will V be ileimimled reekjes- ly. "Is anything w ren :? I an I help yiui?" " 'Troubled?' 'Wrong';'" sla lerr.l lln- lady. "Why what iiuii.es you have, such a funny idea'" "Is ovori I hlng all righl 7" "Whv, of course," Insisted Hie bidy, vainly trying lo unlet her conscience ' ni the hi time by Hi.r atNUianie ' Hint everything vH tight, and Hull ! II uaali't il lib. "illss Barton, I I am going to dispute dis-pute you," began the major desperately, desper-ately, perspiration starting to his forehead. fore-head. "When everything Is ail right, people don't stand for an hour counting count-ing money In their pocket books." "Why, really ; how "-v do you know I have been he?e r hour?" she demanded, determined &'i e i costs to keep from this one man, at least, the knowledge of her predicament. "Miss Bartoin is It money?" he burst out. "Won't you let me aid you? You I doubtless you have started out with not so much us you thought you had," he went on, trying to make volubility cover embarrassment. embarrass-ment. "I assure you, I " "It is not money," interrupted Miss Barton, IcLly ; the next instant she hit her lip witli vexation. "Then there Is something!" cried the major. ".Miss Burton, you you are locked out !" he declureu wilh sudden Inspiration. There was no answer. "You are:" Still no reply. "What a shame:" exclaimed the major sympathetically. "But, never mind I'll have the janitor here In short order. I saw him down to the corner not five minutes ago." And the major leaped down the stairs two steps at a time. Ten minutes min-utes later. Hushed and disturbed, he faced Miss Barton again. "He's gone the rascal I" panted the major. "Totally disappeared Into thin air: But, Miss Barton, couldn't you can't I do something?" Miss Burton shook her head: then she laid hold of her courage with both hands. "1 was going to Tarrytown," she explained. ex-plained. "I would go nmv. only my dress is caught in the door." "My dear lady: you poor thing: I beg of you. allow me I" And the major was down on Ids knees at her side tugging at the dress. Tin afraid I shall tear It." he faltered fal-tered at last. "Never mind if you do," returned Miss Burton miserably. "Oil, but it would lie a shame: such a pretty dress :" In spite of herself - Miss I'-artou smiled. The pink In her cheeks departed. de-parted. "If you have a knife you might cut it." she suggested faintly. "Never:" protested the major, springing to Ids feet. SudiletJy Ike man straightened hlir self and sipiaied his shoulders noi for nothing had the major been placed , in command of men. j "My dear lady," lie begun author!- j tatively, "there Is only one tiling to ; l.e done; but first I'm going to make i you comfortable." And he disappeared Into lis own apartment. When the major cr.cie hack he had an ottoman, three cushions, ami j book. A minute later. In spite of pro tes-.s. Miss Barton found hersc'if seated i on the ottoman, the cu--lilons at her J back against the door, and the book ( In her band. J "Now- where Is Mrs. Todd?" do- n.nielrd the major. "I'm going for her j keys." I "Yon c.in't fit.'! her. She's shopping." j announced .MKs I'.arton. tragically. "Then we'll stay here till she I (mo-.," retorted the major, dropping himself upon the topmost stair with a j lec-g ugh that certainly was not one of discontent. j l-'oi tiimitej;,- the ball was light, the j lail'ling being o:ilv three stories high ; and haling a I ig skyhght In the roof. , Also, for; iiua'eiy but tw o families llicl on li e i:,.,.r i. hole; and as me-.n- j hers ,.f bo-li had already pissed Miss I Barton on their way out. there were I fen curious eyes to be auia.cd at the ) remarkable te'e-a-tete on the middle ' landing. Il was at neon tint me ma 'or and Miss Barton feasted gayly on chicken sandwiches, hot eotl',-,-, cake, and Ice-creniii Ice-creniii brought In by Hie uuijor from a neighboring restaurant and spread on ills mother's sewing tabic. One, two, three hours passed. The , priMiin-r and 1 r iiBendanl talked, read aloud, and told stories. At four o'clock Mrs. Todd, coining fc-ileily upstairs, up-stairs, found the two deep In u game of .hen. "l-'ur heaven's sake!" ejaculated Mis. Todd, chili hln a! the balusters with both hands- lic bad nearly fallen hackwards. W hen oihinutioiis had been given, the door opened, and the gray dress reii-nneil. and when Mrs. Todd had dis-nppenrcd dis-nppenrcd In In-r own room, Miss Bur-Ion Bur-Ion turned a Hushed face m lln- major. "Thank you," she said. "You you bine been very kind." "Miss Barl'in. I'm a lighter; I'm not a diplomat. I know no way except In come straight H the point. Once before be-fore I passed a pleasant afternoon with ou-a very pleasant afternoon ; hut from Hicn until today I lime boon sternly held at the end of a grave how. Today I dlsooiorcd tha" l.leuten-ant l.leuten-ant Mc'-rs is our common friend .Miss Barton, with your kind permission. Lieutenant Moors will shortly bring me to call. I would lf!.e lo lie Introduced Intro-duced lo you." "I shall he delighted to jiee Lieutenant Lieu-tenant Meeis and - his friend." she .said, "but - Is Lleiilcnant Meeis ipilld - neoes-nri ?" Il must bine been a year Inter that the New York papers again carried the ii 1 1 v er I i-einelit : Apm tmenl new, up to date, nil mi'iicrn com culences. tni det 'iie nut. Expressly designed for people peo-ple of rellned tastes and Hunted menus, lie foreni es reipilrcl. "llm in." mused Major Hilton's wife, "11 sounds Just as It did before only lliere Isn't lint ope Ibis lime." "There certainly Isn't my denr," re lorted the major; then, Family, "You see, Josephine, 1 alwuyfl dh I lit thin sou Hi s'litnl"