Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/230

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“‘Well, but why did she give in?’

“‘Don’t they all have to give in at last? Did the husband not settle the farm on her, and fifty head of cattle, and the pasturage and barns? Is not that better for an only daughter than digging in the fields bending over washing-boards all day and breaking your back hanging out the clothes? How did she know he would be only a sick child in a chair on wheels—and this a year after marriage?’

“‘And what did the young fellow do?’

“‘What could he do? It was all over when he came back. And now he never laughs any more, and will look at none of the women—and it is a pity, for he is prosperous and can well take care of a wife.’

“I had it all now, just as plain as day; they had tricked the girl into a marriage; had maligned the young fellow in the same cowardly way, and had embittered them both for life. It was the same old game; I had seen it played a hundred times in different parts of the world. Often the cards are stacked. Sometimes it is a jewel—or a handful of them—or lands—or rank—or some other such make-believe. This trick is to be expected in the great world where success in life is a game, and where each gam-