The Best Man

The Best Man by Grace Livingston Hill

Book: The Best Man by Grace Livingston Hill Read Free Book Online
Authors: Grace Livingston Hill
to burn no bridges behind him. He was well provided with money for any kind of a tip and mileage books and passes. He knew where to send a telegram that would bring him instant assistant in case of need, and even now he knew the officer on the motor-cycle had reported to his employer that he had boarded this train. There was really no immediate need for him to worry. It was a big game he was after and one must take some risks in a case of that sort. Thus he entered the sleeper to make good the impression of his inner senses.
    Gordon had never held anything so precious, so sweet and beautiful and frail-looking, in his arms. He had a feeling that he ought to lay her down, yet there was a longing to draw her closer to himself and shield her from everything that could trouble her.
    But she was not his – only a precious trust to be guarded and cared for as vigilantly as the message he carried hidden about his neck; she belonged to another, somewhere, and was a sacred trust until circumstances made it possible for him to return her to her rightful husband. Just what all this might mean to himself, to the woman in his arms, and to the man who she was to be married, Gordon had not as yet had time to think. It was as if he had been watching a moving picture and suddenly a lot of circumstances had fallen in a heap and become all jumbled up together, the result of his own rash but unsuspecting steps, the way whole families have in moving pictures of falling through a sky-scraper from floor to floor, carrying furniture and inhabitants with them as they descend.
    He had not as yet been able to disentangle himself from the debris and find out what had been his fault and what he ought to do about it.
    He laid her gently on the couch of the drawing-room and opened the little door of the private dressing-room. There would be cold water in there.
    He knew very little about caring for sick people – he had always been well and strong himself – but cold water was what they used for people who had fainted, he was sure. He would not call in anyone to help, unless it was absolutely necessary. He pulled the door of the stateroom shut, and went after the water. As he passed the mirror, he started at the curious version of himself. One false eyebrow had come loose and was hanging over his eye, and his goatee was crooked. Had it been so all the time? He snatched the eyebrow off, and then the other; but the mustache and goatee were more tightly affixed, and it was very painful to remove them. He glanced back, and the white limp look of the girl on the couch frightened him. What was he about, to stop over his appearance when she might be dying, and as for pain – he tore the false hair roughly from him, and stuffing it into his pocket, filled a glass with water and went back to the couch. His chin and upper lip smarted, but he did not notice it, nor know that the mark of the plaster was all about his face. He only knew that she lay there apparently lifeless before him, and he must bring the soul back into those dear eyes. It was strange, wonderful, how his feeling had grown for the girl whom he had never seen till three hours before.
    He held the glass to her white lips and tried to make her drink, then poured water on his handkerchief and awkwardly bathed her forehead. Some hairpins slipped loose and a great wealth of golden-brown hair fell across his knees as he half knelt beside her. One little hand drooped over the side of the couch and touched this. He started! It seemed so soft and cold and lifeless.
    He blamed himself that he had no remedies in his suitcase. Why had he never thought to carry something – a simple restorative? Other people might need it though he did not. No man ought to travel without something for the saving of life in an emergency. He might have needed it himself even, in case of a railroad accident or something.
    He slipped his arm tenderly under her head and tried to raise it so that she could drink, but the white lips

Similar Books

The Lizard's Bite

David Hewson


Tilly Bagshawe

The Glass Factory

Kenneth Wishnia

Better Than Good

Lane Hayes

The Tutor's Daughter

Julie Klassen

Where Forever Lies

Tara Neideffer

Rougher Than Ever

JT Holland

Escape From Paradise

Gwendolyn Field