The Bat (Chapter 2, p. 2)

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Chapter 2 : Page 2 of 15

She threw down the morning paper disgustedly. Here she was at 65--rich, safe, settled for the summer in a delightful country place with a good cook, excellent servants, beautiful gardens and grounds--everything as respectable and comfortable as--as a limousine! And out in the world people were murdering and robbing each other, floating over Niagara Falls in barrels, rescuing children from burning houses, taming tigers, going to Africa to hunt gorillas, doing all sorts of exciting things! She could not float over Niagara Falls in a barrel; Lizzie Allen, her faithful old maid, would never let her! She could not go to Africa to hunt gorillas; Sally Ogden, her sister, would never let her hear the last of it. She could not even, as she certainly would if the were a man, try and track down this terrible creature, the Bat!

She sniffed disgruntledly. Things came to her much too easily. Take this very house she was living in. Ten days ago she had decided on the spur of the moment--a decision suddenly crystallized by a weariness of charitable committees and the noise and heat of New York--to take a place in the country for the summer. It was late in the renting season--even the ordinary difficulties of finding a suitable spot would have added some spice to the quest--but this ideal place had practically fallen into her lap, with no trouble or search at all. Courtleigh Fleming, president of the Union Bank, who had built the house on a scale of comfortable magnificence--Courtleigh Fleming had died suddenly in the West when Miss Van Gorder was beginning her house hunting. The day after his death her agent had called her up. Richard Fleming, Courtleigh Fleming's nephew and heir, was anxious to rent the Fleming house at once. If she made a quick decision it was hers for the summer, at a bargain. Miss Van Gorder had decided at once; she took an innocent pleasure in bargains. The next day the keys were hers--the servants engaged to stay on--within a week she had moved. All very pleasant and easy no doubt--adventure--pooh!


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