|Paper||Sugar House Bulletin|
|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||Handmade Rainbows|
|Paper||Sugar House Bulletin|
" - ' ' r f t , - , Av t Harry Pugh TrM) 1 , 'h THE STORY SO FAR when he becomes interested in Lou Knight, the town drunk's daughter whom he brought to his mother's house when her father died rescuing a crippled boy in a fire. But Lou leaves the house thinking she is not wanted. Alec doesn't stay home nights. Shirley, whose long engagement to Jaird Newsum ends in marriage when the two decide to buy a hamburger Laura stared about the home which Alec and Lou had created out of the tag ends of nothing. Probably Prob-ably it represented an infinitesimal outlay of money. But into it had gone intangible assets far more precious pre-cious than the gold of the realm. Love and tenderness and courage and resourcefulness. And somehow it was attractive, the little house that tried so gallantly to be gay and beautiful in spite of the odds against it. "You said something about a radio ra-dio which Alec sold. I don't believe be-lieve I understand." Lou's blue eyes opened wide. Laura Maguire is wife of happy-go-lucky Mike, editor and mSiyor of Covington, Cov-ington, whom banker Mays is trying to ruin for criticizing his banking methods. She is the mother of four children, hit by the depression: Tom, who has separated from Mary Etta when she had a job and he earned no money. She starts divorce action. Alec, who takes a job as grocery clerk strings along the narrow front porch. Someone was singing at the back of the house in a low, breathlessly sweet voice like the faint twittering twitter-ing of young birds in a , nest. At Laura's knock, the song ceased. She could almost hear the singer holding her breath. It seemed an age before the girl came to the door. Silently she held it open. Laura entered, en-tered, feeling exactly like an executioner. exe-cutioner. There were only three rooms. A small square parlor, a little bedroom bed-room glimpsed through an open door, a kitchen and a back porch on which stood a painted breakfast table set with a blue and white cloth. There was a milk bottle in the center which held a spray of wild roses. Wild roses! Laura gazed at the girl before be-fore her who did not speak, who only stood there, small hands quivering with nervousness. And Laura paid tribute to the alchemy of love. "I knew you'd find out some day," said Lou in a quivering voice. "I shouldn't have done it. I deserve to be sorry the rest of my life. But I've always loved Alec. I always will. I know you could kill me. But when Alec asked me to marry him it was like all the dreams I ever dreamed come true." Lou's small tormented hands twisted a cheap gold band on her finger. "We took the bus and went over to Lincoln so no one would know. We had to lie about our ages before be-fore they'd sell us a license. When we came back we rented this little house. We hadn't any furniture. Just a cot and a cook stove that someone some-one had left behind because they were all to pieces. But Alec mended mend-ed them. Everything was awful dirty. But I scrubbed and scrubbed. stand. Ma Newsum had wanted him to marry Connie Mays, the banker's daughter. daugh-ter. Kathleen, who against her will, becomes be-comes interested in Ritchie Graham, also a newspaperman. She thinks their fight against Mays throws the burden on Laura. She spurns Ritchie's love and peevishly takes up with "Hot Shot" Mays. Laura softens Mary Etta. adoring blue eyes and the shy yet passionate lips lifted to his. "Swearingen's going to finance my selector. He'll apply for a patent and help me put the thing across. He believes it will be worth important impor-tant coin to one of the big radio companies. And in the meanwhile he's giving me a job in his store. At forty a week! Think of that, Lou. I can buy us a whole new bedroom suite, not just a cracked-up bed. And you can have all kinds of pretty clothes. And maybe later we can have a little car. Would you like your own car, Mrs. Maguire?" Lou shivered in his arms and drew slowly away. "Your mother's here. Alec," she said huskily. Alec whirled. "Laura!" he whispered. whis-pered. He went quite white and instinctively in-stinctively his right arm tightened about his little wife's small tremulous tremu-lous body. "Lou seems to think I will do everything ev-erything in my power to break up the happiness you two have found together," said Laura with a throb of pain in her voice. "Do you think that, Alec?" "I wasn't worth a hoot in hell until un-til I met Lou," he cried passionately. passionate-ly. "I don't know if you can ever forgive us. But it's just because Lou expects so much of me that I've quit being a rotter and learned to be something I'm not ashamed to face in a mirror. Maybe she's not society. But I'd cut myself to pieces before I'd let her down. We weren't of age when we married. But we will be soon. And our marriage sticks if we have to run off a touple of times more and do it all over again." They stared at her with defiant hunted eyes. They reminded her of mocking birds wildly excited by the plimnsp nf a rat near their nest. luLuiKSLeu mat he naa muispuiabie proof that Banker Eugene Mays waw becoming heavily involved with i f Donahue interests. According Mike, the Donahue Investments were a gigantic bubble, doomed to burst. He admitted the concern had floated a number of handsome deals and paid swollen dividends. But that was merely to pull in the suckers, Mike insisted. He declared that 11 Eugene Mays was not stopped from playing with matches over an open gasoline tank, everybody in Covington Coving-ton would live to curse the day he ever heard the word Donahue. From behind the closed door of Mike's private office came a bellow like the roar of an infuriated crocodile. croco-dile. "Did you never hear of libel?" shouted the irate gentleman in the inner room. "Yes," came Mike's cool delighted delight-ed voice. "But you'll never sue me for libel on the strength of this article, arti-cle, Mays. You see, I warned you that I had the dope. And I have. In the shape of photostatic copies of letters with your signature on them. I know you are on the point of closing clos-ing a deal with Donahue. A deal you think will double your fortune. Maybe it will. But Donahue is going go-ing to collapse. You may get out before be-fore the crack-up. You may not. II you don't, your bank's done for. Ruined. Ru-ined. You haven't any right to take a chance like that with other people's peo-ple's money. And I'm here to tell them so." The wind had blown the dividing door open a tiny crack, but neither man noticed. "Haven't we played at cross purposes pur-poses long enough, Maguire?" demanded de-manded Mays in a curiously altered voice, a voice which had become almost benign. "What are you driving at?" "I realize you haven't had it too easy all these years, and of course we all know you've done a lot for the old town." "I'm afraid I trust your insults more than your compliments Mays." "I've been thinking for a long time that I ought to do something 'toward the debt we owe vou." INSTALLMENT XVII CHAPTER XXVI Down at the curb Tom stood at the door of Mary Etta's car. They stared at each other, unable to speak. And then suddenly he picked her up in his arms. "I love you! I love you!" His voice was ragged and broken. bro-ken. His lips quivered. She lifted her mouth to his. For the first time she gave him all of herself in a kiss that was as raw as their hearts. Laura did not mention Alec to Mike either that night or the next morning. With all his tolerance. Mike was himself fanatically honorable. honor-able. Above everything he loathed treachery. To learn that a son of his was engaged in something that would not stand the light of day was certain to hit Mike where he lived. It was just nine when she put on her hat, backed the old sedan out of the garage and set out. Her face in graven lines. She did not mean to return without the truth if it killed her. She went first to the drug store where Alec's old gang hung out, andjnquired. No one had seen Alec. Not that day nor for a month of days. She spent a nickel in the telephone tele-phone booth at .the hotel to call Myra Boone, and Laura's heart hammered so she could scarcely speak when she heard the other woman's shrill nasal voice. But Alec was not there. Indeed the blonde widow went on tartly to explain ex-plain that she hadn't seen him in weeks and hoped she never would again. As a last resort Laura visited the grocery store where Alec had found employment for one day. The grocer gro-cer sourly informed her that he had not seen her son since his flash in the pan at taking on a regular job. Laura suddenly remembered that Alec had obtained a five-dollar advance ad-vance on his week's salary. But when she apologetically offered to make up the difference, she learned that Alec himself had done so. Where had he found the money? She was walking blindly out the J0FM "What's this thing?" "It looks to me like a cashier's check for ten thousand dollars." "You're offering me this to- keep my mouth shut about the Donahue deal?" "My dear fellow, of course not! It's merely a small token of my esteem." "You'll never learn, will you?" asked Mike. "You've tried to buy me before. Remember the block of street railway stock you offered me if I'd get the Town Council to ratify your franchise? And the nice bundle of securities you waved under my nose the time you wanted the mayor to purchase your acreage for Tfr-. City Hospital? I told you then couldn't be bought. I still can't. I'm tearing this check of yours across twice. See? And our interview's at an end. I'll go broke. And you can laugh yourself to death when I do. But I won't be bought off and I can't be intimidated. And now you get out of here before I soil my hands on your rotten carcass." (TO BE CONTINUED) door toward her car when a hand plucked at her sleeve. She glanced down. It was Joey, Bess Wilkins' little crippled boy. The child looked up at Laura curiously. "Lou says you'd be furious if you knew," he whispered. "And when Alec isn't there she cries. I don'l like to see Lou cry. She's awfulh-happy. awfulh-happy. Except when she remem bers about you. That's when sht cries. Why do you do that to Lou?' The sidewalk seemed to rise up and hit Laura in the face. All ai once she knew. , "Where are they, sonny?" sh asked. The child hesitated. Laura's cleai brown eyes met his squarely. Th( child whispered an address. The house, when she finally lo cated it, was a small weather-beat en shanty at the far end of an empt;-block empt;-block which dwindled into opei woods beyond. It had a tiny yarc neatly mown, and a broken-dowi fence to separate it from the cottot fields. Somebody had planted morn ing glories and trained them 01. And the first radio Alec sold, we got the couch. And last week we bought the dinette set. And Alec made me that dressing table out of goods boxes. They're very handy. We had to use them to eat on at first." Everything was clean. Someone had passionately scoured every nook and cranny of the small house. Laura swallowed painfully. The chairs had evidently been bought second-hand also but they were brave with blue enamel and gay scarlet cushions. "We planned this week to buy a real bed for the bedroom. Alec knows where he can get one cheap because the headpiece is cracked. But he says he can cement it together togeth-er and it'll be as good as new. Only of course," her small shoulders sagged, "now you've found us." Laura regarded the small downcast down-cast face. "Why are you so afraid of me, Lou?" "Because you'll take Alec away from me," said the girl simply. "What makes you think I can?" "We aren't of age, either of us. We lied about the license. You can have the marriage annulled." CHAPTER XXVII "That's why you haven't wanted me to know?" asked Laura. "Yes." Laura thought of the faith that moves mountains. "But didn't you know? He buys parts from old radios and fixes them up so they work better than they did at first. And then he peddles them out in the country to anyone who'll buy. And he's done awfully well because be-cause he's worked so hard and he's so clever." Her small face flooded with color. "Alec can do anything. Just yesterday a man at the big electrical store down town was so interested in Alec's new selector he asked him to come down today and demonstrate it. He says he believes Alec has stumbled onto something that may be worth money. But you see," said Lou, her eyes starry, "I couldn't be surprise?! because I've always known that Alec is wonderful." wonder-ful." Laura thought of the faith that moves mountains. "That's why," went on Lou, the muscles of her throat tightening, "I knew you must hate me for marrying marry-ing him. Alec deserves someone so much better than I am." "Oh, my dear," cried Laura huskily. huski-ly. ' But Lou hadn't heard. Alec burst into the room. He didn't see his mother. He didn't see anything any-thing except the small girl with the "Will it make you two any happier," hap-pier," asked Laura softly, "to know that I thank God Lou happened to you, Alec?" "Gee, Mother," whispered Alec, and slipped his arm about her. But it was Lou's shy grateful kiss which made Laura's heart sing. "Alec "Al-ec always said you'd understand," whispered the girl, "but I was afraid, so dreadfully afraid." "You needn't ever be afraid again, Lou," said Laura. Lou's eyes searched hers and with a sigh she laid her hand in Laura's. "I won't Mother." "You must bring Lou to dinner tonight, to-night, Alec," said Laura. "I want to show off my new daughter." All the way down to the office, Kathleen fumed inwardly. Her nerves had been in a highly irritated state for weeks. She discovered the Clarion's staff, which had unconsciously absorbed Ritchie Graham, gathered in an agitated agi-tated huddle in one corner of the room. "What's the newest bad news?" she inquired, almost without a sneer. Roger Whyte's palsied finger shakily shak-ily pointed to the editorial prominently promi-nently displayed on the first page of the current issue. Kathleen skimmed through it hurriedly. Mike had released re-leased all brakes. .He informed those NEXT WEEK: Kathleen couldn't see Mike's point oj view. But she's no dumb' bell. When the acid test is made, she comes through like a major and tells "Hot Shot" a thing or two. THIS WEEK: Laura solves the mystery of . Alec's absence from home and Banker Mays comes along with an extraordinary offer to Mike. The result makes Kathleen unhappy.