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Authors: Grace Livingston Hill

Where Two Ways Met

BOOK: Where Two Ways Met
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© 2014 by Grace Livingston Hill

eBook Editions:

Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-63058-200-5

Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-63058-199-2

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.

All scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

Published by Barbour Books, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683,
www.barbourbooks.com

Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses
.

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

About the Author

Chapter 1
February, 1946

T
he sky was dark, and the wind was cold. There was slush on the pavements from a late snow. The young man shivered as he turned his collar up and buttoned his coat more closely about him.

It was late February and supposed to be near spring, but the grim clouds hurrying across the leaden sky gave no suggestion of spring. Rather, they had the air of going out to battle, as if they were hastening to obey a sharp imperative emergency command in a case of unanticipated dire necessity! There was nothing encouraging in the night scene to lift the heart of one who was already troubled from within.

Paige Madison had gone out earlier that evening with high hopes, to get a job and establish himself in a new and successful life, now that the war was over. Nothing was really changed from the promises of the day before—promises that had sent him to a great and influential man who had seemed so favorable and willing. But there was an uneasiness within him since the evening’s interview he could not quite analyze, an uneasiness strong enough to haunt him as he went on his way and to prevent his rejoicing, as he really had every right to do, he told himself. What was the matter?

Could it be just a little shifty look in one director’s eyes? A crafty set of the jaw on the great man who had promised so much and been so complacent? Or the very streamlined look of most of that bunch of men gathered about that director’s table? Could that be what had disturbed him? There was one there who looked like nothing in the world but a slick crook. Oh, he was well groomed, of course, or he couldn’t have been numbered with that respectable group. He was clean shaven, his thin hair cut just right below the bald crown. His pale, shifty pop-eyes above his sly mouth did not miss a thing. He wore a nifty outfit, not quite in the same class with the others, but his half-deprecating smile was veiled by an amused swagger.

Paige had never thought of himself as a discerning reader of character, yet in spite of himself as he trod the midnight slush, the faces of those men with whom he had spent the evening came out and were pictured vividly against the blackness of the night. He found himself studying each one as he had not dared study them while he was sitting face-to-face with them. And now he saw qualities in those faces that plainly denied the fine, high descriptions of them that had been given to him before he met them. Then he blamed himself for allowing his mind, or his imagination, to play such tricks on good, benevolent men who were kindly offering to open their ranks and take him into a group where his future success would be practically assured. There was Harris Chalmers, the president, well dressed, smug in an all-but-elderly dignity, beaming with affable content, well pleased with himself and all he had done, glad to extend a helping hand to a young man just returning from distant, dangerous warfare in which his own part had been merely financial.

There was Mr. Chalmers’s personal lawyer, Dawson Sharp, keen and cold and missing no point that he was so well paid to keep before the minds of these other crooks, for crooks they all seemed to Paige now, down the line to the tawdry unmistakable crook at the foot of the table, to whom they had each and all referred now and then as “Jimson.” “Jimson’ll take care of that when the time comes,” they had said, with casual winks and smiles and slight shrugs.

As he plodded along toward home, Paige drew a deep sigh. How tired he was! Perhaps that was the matter. The long journey, the excitement of getting home, the hope of a good job by means of which he would be able to look after his mother and his father, who was failing greatly and was no longer able to be working.

And now this letdown. It wasn’t thinkable! It couldn’t be that such respectable men, men with such fine reputations, could be dishonest! He was crazy! It was just a part of the weary reaction after the danger and turmoil and chances of war.

He would go to bed and get a good sleep. In the morning, of course, things would look different. He was hired, anyway, and he did not have to worry about that anymore. If, after he had thought it over, there still seemed some questionable matters that he would like made clear, there would be time enough to worry about them. Meanwhile, he was too tired to be really sane.

As he neared the house he could see a bright light in the window of the living room. Somebody was waiting up for him. His heart sank. Probably his mother. Why did mothers insist on doing unnecessary things for their grown sons? Now she would expect to hear all about the evening. And if she was anything like she used to be before he went away, and of course she would be, she would see right through him and insist there was something the matter. She always could see through him. Never, even as a child, had he been able to deceive her. She always knew when he was in trouble, or even just disappointed. But now he must meet her and keep her from finding out about things. If she got an idea there was anything wrong about this job, she would be utterly against his taking it and would make him miserable until he gave it up. Even if he found it was all right in the end, it would be almost impossible to disabuse her mind of prejudice against it. So he must be very cautious about what he said, if indeed she was still up.

He opened the door silently and stole through the hall as quietly as possible, but his caution was useless. There she stood in the living room doorway smiling.

“Mom!”
he said, with a sudden gentleness that the first sight of her after an absence always brought to him. And especially now, when he was so fresh from the long years at war and the deep longing for a sight of her blessed face.

“Yes?” she responded quickly, with that instant sympathy in his affairs, as always, and that quick, eager question as to the outcome of his mission. And then suddenly his heart fell. The job! She would want to know at once how it came out. She had been so confident he would get it, and he had been confident, too, when he went out, and so eager, as eager as she. Well, he just mustn’t let her see how he felt. That was all there was about it. He must cheer up and not show his depression. At least not tonight. And after tonight, of course, all was going to be right.

“Yes,” he answered her firmly, trying to put the glad ring into his voice he had told himself he ought to feel.

His mother hesitated, turned on the hall light over his head and studied his face, the way she always used to study it when he came home from school or college, to see if surely all was well with him.

“You …” She hesitated an instant, her keen eyes still searching his face. And he let her search it and tried to look happy.

“You—
got
the job?”

“Why sure, I told you I was going to get it, didn’t I? Of course I got it. There wasn’t any question about it. I thought I made that plain before I left.” He tried to grin and swagger as he used to do when he was a little boy and came to tell her of some trifling achievement in school or athletics, but still she stood there looking doubtful.

“Then, what is the matter, Son?”

“Matter?” he said gaily. “What could be the matter? I went after the job and got it. What more is there to say?”

But still she was silent, studying him.

“Then what
is
it, Son? Something has disappointed you.”

“Now Mother, you aren’t going to put on that old line of questions, are you? I never saw the like. You aren’t God, you know, to put me through a grilling.”

“Son!”
There was piteous sharpness in her rebuke.

“Oh, forgive me, Moms. I didn’t mean that. I guess I’m a bit tired. It was a long meeting, and I’m not used to sitting up late yet, since I was in the hospital.”

His mother’s voice softened at once.

“Yes, dear boy. Of course! I forgot. Come. Let’s go into the dining room. I have some hot coffee for you.”

“Coffee!” he exclaimed, brightening. “That’ll be great. Some of
your
coffee again.”

After she had him seated at the table with the steaming cup of coffee before him, sugared and creamed just as he liked it, she sat down beside him and took his hand gently, softly, with that tender little mother-pressure that he had dreamed about when he was far away. Gradually the deep lines around his mouth faded and he grew relaxed, almost happy-looking again.

“Oh, Moms! There’s nobody in the world like you!” he said as he drank the last swallow of coffee and handed her back the cup.

She smiled and filled his cup again, almost like a sacrament. Then she sat down beside him, still holding one of his hands lightly.

“Now, Son, suppose you tell me what is the matter.”

He was still a long time, though his fingers pressed hers tenderly and a light of warm love grew in his eyes.

Well, Mother,” he said at last, “I don’t know as it’s anything. I guess I’m just a bit goofy. But somehow they all seemed so slick and satisfied. I guess it’s just because I’ve come home out of terrible things. Back here, they don’t even seem to know there’s been a war, except as they couldn’t get meat and butter and things. But I guess maybe I’m prejudiced. Somehow they all looked too slick and happy. I just couldn’t quite seem to trust’em the way I trust my own folks. The way you taught me to trust God when I went into danger.”

“Well,” said the mother thoughtfully, “they are businessmen, and they were in a business session. And you wouldn’t expect them to talk religion, of course. Though Mr. Chalmers is supposed to be a very godly man. At least he’s very active in church affairs and gives greatly to missions.”

“I know, Moms! I told myself that, but somehow watching him tonight, I wondered.”

BOOK: Where Two Ways Met
13.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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