The City of Fire (Chapter 4, page 2 of 8)


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Chapter 4

The words seemed to fill the room with a sweet peace, and to draw the
hearts of the listeners as a Voice that is dear draws and soothes after
a day of separation and turmoil and distress.

They knelt and the minister's voice spoke familiarly to the Unseen
Presence, giving thanks for mercies received, mentioning little
throbbing personalities that belonged to them as a family and as
individuals, reminding one of what it must have been in the days before
Sin had come and Adam walked and talked with God in the cool of the
evening, and received instruction and strengthening straight from the
Source. One listening would instinctively have felt that here was the
secret of the great strength of Lynn Severn's life; the reason why
neither college nor the world had been able to lure her one iota from
her great and simple faith which she had brought with her from her
Valley home and taken back again unsullied. This family altar was the
heart of her home, and had brought her so near to God that she
knew what she had believed and could not be shaken from it by
any flippant words from lovely or wise lips that only knew the theory
of her belief and nothing of its spirit and tried to argue it away with
a fine phrase and a laugh.

So Lynn went up to her little white chamber that looked out upon the
quiet hills, knelt awhile beside the white bed in the moonlight, then
lay down and slept.

* * * * * Out among the hills on the long smooth road in the white moonlight
there shot a car like a living thing gone crazy, blaring a whiter light
than the moonlight down the way, roaring and thundering as only a
costly and well groomed beast of a machine can roar and thunder when it
is driven by hot blood and a mad desire, stimulated by frequent
applications from a handy flask, and a will that has never known a
curb.

He knew it was a mad thing he was doing, rushing across space through
the dark at the beck of a woman's smile, a woman who was another man's
wife, but a woman who had set on fire a whole circle of men of which he
was a part. He was riding against all caution to win a bet, riding
against time to get there before two other men who were riding as hard
from other directions to win the woman who belonged to an absent
husband, win her and run away with her if he could. It was the
culmination of a year of extravagances, the last cry in sensations, and
the telephone wires had been hot with daring, wild allurement, and mad
threat in several directions since late the night before.

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