~ FREE SAMPLE ~
- Love At First Site
- Mr. And Mrs. Dennison
- Stuart Dennison's Story
- Irene Graham — His Girl
- A Way Out
- The Poor, Poor Thing
- Any Name But Irene Graham
- Paid For His Crime With His Life
Love At First Sight
The Laurence Martins were at breakfast. It was a most charming domestic scene. The dining room, though small, was one-fourth of the Martin's North Side Chicago apartment.
The table of black enamel was set daintily with a blue and white runner and with blue and white Canton china. In the center was a vase holding four jonquils. The blue and gold cretonne curtains made the thin March sunshine seem almost as gold as Irma Martin's smooth bobbed hair. The Martins had been married just four months.
Irma Martin turned the toast in the electric toaster at her elbow. She poured coffee. Then, her hand trembling a little, she picked up the morning paper and started to read. Martin was already scanning the headlines of his own newspaper which he would read more thoroughly on his way to the office. He glanced at his wife.
"Irma," he said, and then, as she didn't answer, "Irma."
"Speak to me?" she looked over at him.
"What's the matter, dear?" he asked. "You look pale. I don't believe you slept well. I heard you tossing."
"You're a darling to worry," she smiled at him. "It's really nothing. I was—a—a little restless. Not sleeping makes me pale, I suppose." He looked at her hand, holding the paper.
"Why, child, you're trembling." She got up, then, went over, put an arm around his shoulder, her cheek against his hair.
"You are nice," she said. "I think its just nerves. But I'm lots better than I was. You said so, too. You watch—I'll improve. I'm the nervous sort—all my folks were, too."
"What have you got to be nervous about? A beautiful spring day. I honestly believe, Irma, if you didn't read the papers so much—got your mind on other things—reading things like this, now …" he pointed to a glaring headline.
"I know. I shouldn't have read it. I suppose that was it. I'll forget it in fifteen minutes. It does seem—awful, though. I'm going downtown with Lois Britton. We're going to look at bedroom curtains and slippers."
Martin looked at his paper again. "That'll be fine," he said. "I can't blame you—reading a thing like this. An awful thing. That was a terrible murder. Glad the papers will be through with it, now. How that beast ever went on proclaiming his innocence to the end—I see he did—is more than I can figure out. I don't believe in capital punishment, as a rule, but in a case like that—when a man deliberately murders an innocent little woman—electrocuting is none too good for him. He deserved all he got."
"I—I suppose he did," agreed Irma.
"Of course. You're the softest-hearted little thing in the world, or you wouldn't be trembling, now. I ought to have kept the paper away from you. Though I can't blame you, if a thing like this gets on your nerves. You were in New York when it all happened?"
"No, it was just a few weeks after I got there. I remember reading it in the papers. Just coming from New York and the woman having light bobbed hair and all, I felt terribly interested."
"I suppose you did. That's right, you came here in July, didn't you? I bet you never thought, when you left New York, that you'd meet the man you were going to marry within a month, did you?"
"You bet I didn't. Nor that I'd marry him six months after I did meet him. Marry in haste, you know. … You sorry, yet?"
"I should say not. Marrying you is the one best thing I ever did, Irma. You know that. Now sit down and finish your toast. I'm late again."
Irma went back to her seat across the table. They talked about little things, about Irma's coming to Chicago, when the aunt with whom she had lived in New York had died, how she just happened to pick out Chicago because she had never been West, how she had met Martin's cousin at the Y. W. C. A., where she had taken a room, and how the cousin and she had found a place to live together and had gone job hunting, and how Irma had met Martin a few weeks later, with "love at first sight."
"… And here we are, with a little apartment and married and everything. …"
Martin looked at his watch. He grabbed his paper, his hat and his coat and said, cheerfully:
"Now put that awful murder case out of your mind, won't you?"
"You bet I will." Irma kissed him and the door slammed.
But little Mrs. Martin did not put the murder case out of her mind. She sat there, with the paper before her and read over that awful headline:
DENNISON PAYS PENALTY FOR CRIME
Electrocuted at Sing Sing Yesterday For Murder of Irene Graham
Then, under an Ossining, New York date line, followed the full details of the electrocution, the crime and the trial.
Irma shuddered as she read the story to the end, the last day of the condemned man, the resume of the brutal deed. It was enough to make anyone shudder.
~ End of Sample ~