When a Man Marries (Chapter 6, page 2 of 11)

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Chapter 6

It was almost three when the house settled down--nobody had any night
clothes, although finally, through Dallas, who gave them to Anne, who
gave them to the rest, we got some things of Jimmy's--and I was still
dressed. The house was perfectly quiet, and, after listening carefully,
I went slowly down the stairs. There was a light in the hall, and
another back in the dining room, and I got along without any trouble.
But the pantry, where the stairs led down, was dark, and the wretched
swinging door would not stay open.

I caught my skirt in the door as I went through, and I had to stop to
loosen it. And in that awful minute I heard some one breathing just
beside me. I had stooped to my gown, and I turned my head without
straightening--I couldn't have raised myself to an erect posture, for
my knees were giving way under me--and just at my feet lay the still
glowing end of a match!

I had to swallow twice before I could speak. Then I said sharply: "Who's there?"

The man was so close it is a wonder I had not walked into him; his voice
was right at my ear.

"I am sorry I startled you," he said quietly. "I was afraid to speak
suddenly, or move, for fear I would do--what I have done."

It was Mr. Harbison.

"I--I thought you were--it is very late," I managed to say, with dry
lips. "Do you know where the electric switch is?"

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