by William J. B. Stabb

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An excerpt:


The well-stocked larder of Leasem & Company might be compared to a spider's web from which the chances of the fly escaping unless very lightly entangled are, to make the best of it, very small. Good Samaritans ready to snatch the struggling insects away are few indeed. Miss Gray and Mrs. Brown were among the fortunate ones. Not so the unfortunate Thorndyke B. Whyte, who, to keep up a good appearance before the world and at the same time pander to extravagant tastes, greatly beyond his means, had been tempted, like many a thoughtless fly, to rest for a moment in false security. He had borrowed money on the assignment of his salary, and was often hard put to it to pay the installment each month, exacted as interest.

Deeply enamored of Euphemia, he was desirous of looking his best at all times and spared no expense on his apparel. When enjoying the society of the Browns he talked of dollars in such a way as to lead the guileless women to suppose he was well furnished with them. On more than one occasion they had accepted his invitation to take them to the theater, where the young man with the beautiful girl at his side cut no small figure. No doubt he deserved to be envied by his less fortunate bachelor brethren. And yet had he known it, Whyte, for want of tact, or inexcusable ignorance of the high character of Euphemia's tastes, had taken her to the wrong sort of play; there was too much vaudeville in it. He was delighted with it; she was simply shocked. The high kicking and the violent contortions of the body, so different from the graceful movements of ancient civilized and even modern savage races, made it quite painful for her to remain in her seat. But when she saw the evident pleasure this to her mind perfectly "unnatural " kind of thing had for Thorndyke, she refrained from the expression of disgust that sprang to her lips. Love, when not of quick birth by the laws of mutual attraction, is nevertheless frequently born more slowly of respect, and this respect the girl was far from feeling.

Not that she felt a decided contempt for him, nor even any emotion approaching dislike; only a sort of good-natured toleration not at all complimentary. As he treated her mother with great deference and sumptuous suppers now and then, Euphemia was too grateful to allow her indifference to his society to become very marked. She was very glad indeed whenever she saw him in the company of Sophy Scarlett, to whom he talked and seemed to be one of that frivolous young lady's "friendly understandings," although he would desert her in the most cavalier way for Euphemia at all times. This was about the condition of things between them at the time of the holiday on Nantasket Beach, but all was shortly to be changed and they were to be drawn closer together, owing to a pardonable mistake on the part of the Browns, which placed him in the awkward position of appearing as their secret benefactor which indeed he was not. Euphemia had been sometimes deputed to carry notes to the office of Leasem, and on a recent occasion had met Thorndyke, who colored violently on meeting her, and altogether failed in maintaining that aplomb and self-possession upon which he so much plumed himself. The circumstance was mentioned to her mother and their minds had been greatly exercised over the nature of the young man's dealings with Leasem, and the reason of his marked confusion. The idea that Whyte was a needy man, as needy as themselves, never once presented itself as a possible solution. What! that gorgeous fly, involved like themselves in the toils of the spider, — impossible! And when, the day after Mrs. Brown's vigil in the parlor, a clean receipt was received from Leasem & Company, with the explanation that a sincere friend, who wished for important reasons to withhold his name for the present, had taken the liberty of interfering in their affairs, of whom could they think except Mr. Thorndyke B. Whyte, the man Euphemia had encountered on Leasem's threshold, the friend who was not entirely ignorant of their embarrassments as they well knew, and in whose room Mrs. Brown, in her character of landlady, had picked up a fragment of an envelope with Leasem & Company printed upon it.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940011923913
Publisher: Leila's Books
Publication date: 11/18/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 252 KB

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