Click here to Download The Price She Paid PDF Book by David G. Phillips English having PDF Size 2.3 MB and No of Pages 184.
HENRY GOWER was dead at sixty-one—the end of a lifelong fraud which never had been suspected, and never would be. With the world, with his acquaintances and neighbors, with his wife and son and daughter, he passed as a generous, warm-hearted, good-natured man, ready at all times to do anything to help anybody, incapable of envy or hatred or meanness.
The Price She Paid PDF Book by David G. Phillips
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|Author||David G. Phillips|
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|No of Pages||184|
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In fact, not once in all his days had he ever thought or done a single thing except for his own comfort. Like all intensely selfish people who are wise, he was cheerful and amiable, because that was the way to be healthy and happy and to have those around one agreeable and in the mood to do what one wished them to do.
He told people, not the truth, not the unpleasant thing that might help them, but what they wished to hear. His family lived in luxurious comfort only because he himself was fond of luxurious comfort. His wife and his daughter dressed fashionably and went about and entertained in the fashionable, expensive way only because that was the sort of life that gratified his vanity.
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He lived to get what he wanted; he got it every day and every hour of a life into which no rain ever fell; he died, honored, respected, beloved, and lamented. The clever trick he had played upon his fellow beings came very near to discovery a few days after his death. His widow and her son and daughter-in-law and daughter were in the living-room of the charming house at Hanging Rock.
Near New York, alternating between sorrowings over the dead man and plannings for the future. Said the widow: “If Henry had only thought what would become of us if he were taken away!” “If he had saved even a small part of what he made every year from the time he was twenty-six—for he always made a big income,” said his son, Frank.
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“But he was so generous, so soft-hearted!” exclaimed the widow. “He could deny us nothing.” “He couldn’t bear seeing us with the slightest wish ungratified,” said Frank. “He was the best father that ever lived!” cried the daughter, Mildred. And Mrs. Gower the elder and Mrs. Gower the younger wept; and Mildred turned away to hide the emotion distorting her face.
And Frank stared gloomily at the carpet and sighed. The hideous secret of the life of duplicity was safe, safe forever. In fact, Henry Gower had often thought of the fate of his family if he should die. In the first year of his married life, at a time when passion for a beautiful bride was almost sweeping him into generous thought, he had listened for upward of an hour to the eloquence of a life insurance agent.
Then the agent, misled by Gower’s effusively generous and unselfish expressions, had taken a false tack. He had descanted upon the supreme satisfaction that would be felt by a dying man as he reflected how his young widow would be left in affluence. He made a vivid picture; Gower saw—saw his bride happier after his death than she had been during his life. The Price She Paid PDF Book
And attracting a swarm of admirers by her beauty, well set off in becoming black, and by her independent income. The generous impulse then and there shriveled to its weak and shallow roots. With tears in his kind, clear eyes he thanked the agent and said: “You have convinced me. You need say no more.
I’ll send for you in a few days.” The agent never got into his presence again. Gower lived up to his income, secure in the knowledge that his ability as a lawyer made him certain of plenty of money as long as he should live. But it would show an utter lack of comprehension of his peculiar species of character to imagine that he let himself into the secret.
Of his own icy-heartedness by ceasing to think of the problem of his wife and two children without him to take care of them. On the contrary, he thought of it every day, and planned what he would do about it—to-morrow. And for his delay he had excellent convincing excuses. Did he not take care of his naturally robust health? The Price She Paid PDF Book
Would he not certainly outlive his wife, who was always doctoring more or less? Frank would be able to take care of himself; anyhow, it was not well to bring a boy up to expectations, because every man should be self-supporting and self-reliant. As for Mildred, why, with her beauty and her cleverness she could not but make a brilliant marriage.
Really, there was for him no problem of an orphaned family’s future; there was no reason why he should deny himself any comfort or luxury, or his vanity any of the titillations that come from social display. That one of his calculations which was the most vital and seemed the surest proved to be worthless.
It is not the weaklings who die, after infancy and youth, but the strong, healthy men and women. The weaklings have to look out for themselves, receive ample warning in the disastrous obvious effects of the slightest imprudence. The robust, even the wariest of them, even the Henry Gowers, overestimate and overtax their strength. The Price She Paid PDF Book
Gower’s downfall was champagne. He could not resist a bottle of it for dinner every night. As so often happens, the collapse of the kidneys came without any warning that a man of powerful constitution would deem worthy of notice. By the time the doctor began to suspect the gravity of his trouble he was too far gone.
The family no longer had a servant in constant attendance in the dining-room. The maid of many functions also acted as butler and as fetch-and-carry between kitchen and butler’s pantry. Before speaking, Presbury waited until this maid had withdrawn to bring the roast and the vegetables.
Then he said: “You are going, too, miss.” This with the full infusion of insult into the “miss.” Mildred was silent. “Bill Siddall is looking for a wife,” proceeded Presbury. “And he has Heaven knows how many millions.” “Do you think there’s a chance for Milly?” cried Mrs. Presbury, who was full of alternating hopes and fears, both wholly irrational. The Price She Paid PDF Book
“She can have him—if she wants him,” replied Presbury. “But it’s only fair to warn her that he’s a stiff dose.” “Is the money—CERTAIN?” inquired Mildred’s mother with that shrewdness whose rare occasional displays laid her open to the unjust suspicion of feigning her habitual stupidity. “Yes,” said Presbury amiably. “It’s nothing like yours was.
He’s so rich he doesn’t know what to do with his income. He owns mines scattered all over the world. And if they all failed, he’s got bundles of railway stocks and bonds, and gilt-edged trust stocks, too. And he’s a comparatively young man—hardly fifty, I should say. He pretends to be forty.”
“It’s strange I never heard of him,” said Mrs. Presbury. “If you went to South America or South Africa or Alaska, you’d hear of him,” said Presbury. He laughed. “And I guess you’d hear some pretty dreadful things. When I knew him twenty-five years ago he had just been arrested for forging my father’s name to a check. The Price She Paid PDF Book
But he got out of that—and it’s all past and gone. Probably he hasn’t committed any worse crimes than have most of our big rich men. Bill’s handicap has been that he hadn’t much education or any swell relatives. But he’s a genius at money-making.” Presbury looked at Mildred with a grin. “And he’s just the husband for Mildred. She can’t afford to be too particular.
Somebody’s got to support her. I can’t and won’t, and she can’t support herself.” “You’ll go—won’t you, Mildred?” said her mother. “He may not be so bad.” “Yes, I’ll go,” said Mildred. Her gaze was upon the untouched food on her plate. “Of course she’ll go,” said Presbury. “And she’ll marry him if she can. Won’t you, miss?”
He spoke in his amiably insulting way—as distinguished from the way of savagely sneering insult he usually took with her. He expected no reply. She surprised him. She lifted her tragic eyes and looked fixedly at him. She said: “Yes, I’ll go. And I’ll marry him if I can.” “I told him he could have you,” said Presbury. The Price She Paid PDF Book Download
“I explained to him that you were a rare specimen of the perfect lady—just what he wanted—and that you, and all your family, would be grateful to anybody who would undertake your support.” Mrs. Presbury flushed angrily. “You’ve made it perfectly useless for her to go!” she cried. “Calm yourself, my love,” said her husband.
“I know Bill Siddall thoroughly. I said what would help. I want to get rid of her as much as you do—and that’s saying a great deal.” Mrs. Presbury flamed with the wrath of those who are justly accused. “If Mildred left, I should go, too,” cried she. “Go where?” inquired her husband. “To the poorhouse?”
By persistent rubbing in Presbury had succeeded in making the truth about her poverty and dependence clear to his wife. She continued to frown and to look unutterable contempt, but he had silenced her. He noted this with a sort of satisfaction and went on: “If Bill Siddall takes her, you certainly won’t go there. He wouldn’t have you. He feels strongly on the subject of mothers-in-law.” The Price She Paid PDF Book Download
Stanley was remembering that Mildred had married a man much older than he. With some notion of a careless sort of tact in mind he said, “I was betwixt and between—neither young enough nor old enough.” “You’ve married, too, since we met. By the way, thank you again for that charming remembrance.
You always did have such good taste. But why didn’t you come to the wedding—you and your wife?” He laughed. “We were busy busting up,” said he. “You hadn’t heard? It’s been in the papers. She’s gone back to her people. Oh, nothing disgraceful on either side. Simply that we bored each other to death.
She was crazy about horses and dogs, and that set. I think the stable’s the place for horses—don’t care to have ’em parading through the house all the time, every room, every meal, sleeping and waking. And dogs—the infernal brutes always have fleas. Fleas only tickled her, but they bite me—raise welts and hills. There’s your husband now, isn’t it?” The Price She Paid PDF Book Download
Baird was looking up at the windows of the Continental, across the street. Mildred’s glance slowly and carelessly followed his. At one window stood the little general, gazing abstractedly out over the gardens. At another window Mildred saw Harding; at a third, her maid; at a fourth, Harding’s assistant, Drawl; at a fifth, three servants of the retinue.
Except the general, all were looking at her. “You’ve married a very extraordinary man,” said Baird, in a correct tone of admiration. “One of the ablest and most interesting men we’ve got, I think.” “So you are free again?” said Mildred, looking at him with a queer, cold smile. “Yes, and no,” replied Stanley.
“I hope to be entirely free. It’s her move next. I’m expecting it every day. But I’m thoroughly respectable. Won’t you and the general dine with me?” “Thanks, but I’m sailing for home to-morrow or next day.” “That’s interesting,” said Baird, with enthusiasm. “So am I. What ship do you go on?” The Price She Paid PDF Book Free
“I don’t know yet. I’m to decide this afternoon, after lunch.” She laughed. “I’m sitting here waiting for someone to ask me to lunch. I’ve not had even coffee yet.” “Lunch with me!” cried Baird. “I’ll go get the general—I know him slightly.” “I didn’t say anything about the general,” said Mildred. Stanley smiled apologetically.
“It wouldn’t do for you to go about with me—not when my missus is looking for grounds for divorce.” “Why not?” said Mildred. “So’s my husband.” “You busted up, too? Now, that’s what I call jolly.” And he cast a puzzled glance up at the abstracted general. “I say, Mildred, this is no place for either of us, is it?”
“I’d rather be where there’s food,” confessed she. “You think it’s a joke, but I assure you— Oh, you WERE joking—about YOUR bustup?” “No, indeed,” she assured him. “I walked out a while ago, and I couldn’t go back if I would—and I don’t think I would if I could.” “That’s foolish. Better go back,” advised he. The Price She Paid PDF Book Free
He was preparing hastily to decamp from so perilous a neighborhood. “One marriage is about like another, once you get through the surface. I’m sure you’ll be better off than—back with your stepfather.” “I’ve no intention of going to his house,” she declared. “Oh, there’s your brother. I forgot.”
A moment later she was in the street with the notes in a small bundle in the bosom of her wrap. She went hurriedly up the street. As she was about to turn the corner into the boulevard she on impulse glanced back. An automobile had just drawn up at the jeweler’s door and General Siddall—top-hat, sable-lined overcoat, waxed mustache and imperial, high-heeled boots, gold-mounted cane—was descending.
And she knew that he had awakened to his one oversight, and was on his way to repair it. But she did not know that the jeweler—old and wise in human ways—would hastily vanish with the bag and that an assistant would come forward with assurances that madame had not been in the shop and that, if she should come in, no business would be negotiated without the general’s express consent. The Price She Paid PDF Book Free
She all but fainted at the narrowness of her escape and fled round into the boulevard. She entered a taxi and told the man to drive to Foyot’s restaurant on the left bank —where the general would never think of looking for her. When she had breakfasted she strolled in the Luxembourg Gardens, in even better humor with herself and with the world.
There was still that horrid-faced future, but it was not leering into her very face. It was nearly four thousand francs away—”and if I hadn’t been so stupid, I’d have got eight thousand, I’m sure,” she said. But she was rather proud of a stupidity about money matters. And four thousand francs, eight hundred dollars—that was quite a good sum.
She had an instinct that the general would do something disagreeable about the French and English ports of departure for America. But perhaps he would not think of the Italian ports. That night she set out for Genoa, and three days later, in a different dress and with her hair done as she never wore it, sailed as Miss Mary Stevens for America on a German Mediterranean boat. The Price She Paid PDF Book Free