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Mother's-home life
Vol. XXXIII, No. 1 (January, 1923)

Rosseau, Victor
The truant soul,   pp. 14-16 PDF (2.7 MB)


Page 14

Mother's - Home Life
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The Truant Soul
By VICTOR ROSSEAU
Continued form last Month
Joan dressed in a hurry and ran down-
stairs.  Lancaster was waiting   on  the
porch. She raised her fuce for his kiss,
already natural to her, already the happy
fulfillment of her innocent dreams of love.
Then, arm in arm, they strolled out into
the sunlight.
The glorious light lay on every hill.
It swept the land in a torrent of golden
brightness. In that light all the shadows
of the past seemed to shrivel away.
"We are going back to the Institute
this morning, Joan," said Lancaster.
She nodded happily. "I am ashamed to
feel so gay when you are unhappy," she
said.
"I am not unhappy, Joan," he answered.
"I thought over everything last night, and
I see now that you were right. I shall
go back. I shalt regain what I have lost,
and I shall face my enemies and beat
them."
At ten o'clock the horse was harnessed
and the drive back began.
At first Joan, seated at her lover's side.
breathed in the mountain air, the sense of
freedom, the scent of the pines, the joy
of the sunlight. Then the peaks began
to tower above them. The duller valley
air struck something from her joy, but
not too much for her to dream. She looked
fondly at Lancaster, who drew her hand
into his.
"I am going.back to win," he said again.
Later the sun went into clouds. The
air grew moister, the hills enclosed them,
the familiar landmarks began to reap-
pear. And now something of Lancaster s
despondency of the evening before came
over Joan. And again, as if sensing her
mood, be reiterated:
'I am going back to fight and win, my
dear."
But when the Institute came into light
at last the long, gaunt building cast its
chill over the girl's heart.  In contrast
with the mountain village Lancaster was
depressing and lonely. And Joan was con-
sCIous of one gripping fear. Suppose that
Myers hail returned
She understood now bow Lancaster had
felt the evening before when he said be
would never go back. It was like plung-
ilg out of the sunlight into a dark moun-
tal n pool.
The matron came forward as the buggy
stopped. Joan looked at her in terror.
But her face was placid enough, and she
was able to read in It the secretary's con-
tinued absence.
"Dr. Lancaster, there was a telephone
message for you a few minutes ago from
Avonmouth," she said.
Lancaster leaped from the buggy and
helped Joan down. "I'll be with you in
a few moments," he said, throwing the
reins over the hitching post.
He went into the house. His step was
firm, his demeanor unruffled; the matron,
who followed him, seemed undisturbed.
Pat already everything was changed. The
black shadow of Myers seemed to loom up
until it overspread the Institute again.
Joan pared the porch in fear which
gathered strength each moment that Lan-
iaster failed to return. When at last she
saw him coming her suspense was un-
bearable.
She looked at him In mute fear as he
laid  his  hand   caressingly  upon  her
shoulder.
"I have to go to Avonmouth at once,"
lie said. "I have no choice in the matter.
It Is a patient who must undergo an
operation-my    operation-within  twelve
hours. It is fortunate that we have the
buggy, because I shall Just have time to
catch the afterni.n train and get into
Avonmonth at midnight."
Then be looked at tier white face and
read the fear in it. "If you tell me to
stay, i'll stay." lie said.
"And the patient?" whispered Joan.
'Will die. No, of course I shall go.
Nothing could keep me from going, not
even you, my dear. But you would not
have me stay."
"You are right. Yes, of course you must
Iowa Physician Makes
Startling Offer To
Catarrh Sufferers
Found Treatment Which Iealed Hils Own
Catarrh and Now Offers To Send It
Free To Sufferers Anywhere
Davenport, Iowa.-Dr. W. 0. Coffee.
Suite 171, St. James Hotel lldg., this city,
one of the most widely known physicians
and surgeons in the central west, an-
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go. But I am afraid," said Joan. "I am
afraid of Myers."
He started, as if he, too, had been
thinking of the secretary. "But the man
can't harm me, dear," he said.
"The ressage came from him!" cried
Joan in fear.
Lancaster looked away. But, when she
repeated the question, he answered, "No."
"le is at Avonmouth. Is he not there?"
she asked.
"Well, Joan, I think he is." said Lan-
caster reluctantly. "But he may not be.
I only know that the message was not
from him."
"it was from the Hofital? Not from
MacPherson?"
"It was from a man connected with the
Hospital," said Lancast-r.  "But it was
not from Macpherson and not from Myers,
and It diid not mention Myers's name.
Why my dear, you mustn't give way to
nerves now that I am losing mine. It
is a simple request for me to operate
to-morrow."
She pulled herself together. "Of course
you must go, John," she said again. She
put her arms about his neck. "Dear, if
von should see that man, you will not
hll into any trap that he may set for
you?" she asked. "You are so strong,
von will not let him trample on you?
You are yourself again, and you will
remain so for my sake?"
"Never fear!" he answered cheerfully.
"I am not going to take morphine again.
Why, I shall have none with me. my dear
Joan, and I should have no opportunity
to buy any, even If I wanted to. I shall
operate perhaps as soon as I reach the
Horspital, and return on the morning train.
Turn to pade 15
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14


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