The Call of the Canyon (Chapter 1, page 1 of 24)


 
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Chapter 1

What subtle strange message had come to her out of the West? Carley
Burch laid the letter in her lap and gazed dreamily through the window.

It was a day typical of early April in New York, rather cold and gray,
with steely sunlight. Spring breathed in the air, but the women passing
along Fifty-seventh Street wore furs and wraps. She heard the distant
clatter of an L train and then the hum of a motor car. A hurdy-gurdy
jarred into the interval of quiet.

"Glenn has been gone over a year," she mused, "three months over a
year--and of all his strange letters this seems the strangest yet."

She lived again, for the thousandth time, the last moments she had spent
with him. It had been on New-Year's Eve, 1918. They had called upon
friends who were staying at the McAlpin, in a suite on the twenty-first
floor overlooking Broadway. And when the last quarter hour of that
eventful and tragic year began slowly to pass with the low swell of
whistles and bells, Carley's friends had discreetly left her alone with
her lover, at the open window, to watch and hear the old year out, the
new year in. Glenn Kilbourne had returned from France early that fall,
shell-shocked and gassed, and otherwise incapacitated for service in the
army--a wreck of his former sterling self and in many unaccountable ways
a stranger to her. Cold, silent, haunted by something, he had made her
miserable with his aloofness. But as the bells began to ring out
the year that had been his ruin Glenn had drawn her close, tenderly,
passionately, and yet strangely, too.

 
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