Murder in Any Degree

Owen Johnson

Murder in Any Degree, by Owen Johnson

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Title: Murder in Any Degree
Author: Owen Johnson
Release Date: June 22, 2004 [EBook #12686]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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[Illustration: "I'll come here, I'll be your model, I'll sit for you by the hour"]

MURDER IN ANY DEGREE: ONE HUNDRED IN THE DARK: A COMEDY FOR WIVES: THE LIE: EVEN THREES: A MAN OF NO IMAGINATION: LARRY MOORE: MY WIFE'S WEDDING PRESENTS: THE SURPRISES OF THE LOTTERY
BY OWEN JOHNSON Author of "Stover at Yale," "The Varmint," etc., etc.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY F.R. GRUGER AND LEON GUIPON
NEW YORK THE CENTURY CO. 1913
1907, 1912, 1913, THE CENTURY CO.
1911, THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY
1911, THE NATIONAL POST CO.
1912, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING MAGAZINE
1908, THE RIDGWAY COMPANY
1906, ASSOCIATED SUNDAY MAGAZINES, INCORPORATED
1910, THE PEARSON PUBLISHING COMPANY
Published, August, 1913

CONTENTS
MURDER IN ANY DEGREE
ONE HUNDRED IN THE DARK
A COMEDY FOR WIVES
THE LIE
EVEN THREES
A MAN OF NO IMAGINATION
LARRY MOORE
MY WIFE'S WEDDING PRESENTS
THE SURPRISES OF THE LOTTERY

ILLUSTRATIONS
"I'll come here, I'll be your model, I'll sit for you by the hour"
From his tone the group perceived that the hazards had brought to him some abrupt coincidence
Rantoul, ... decorating his ankles with lavender and black
Our Lady of the Sparrows
"Oh, tell me, little ball, is it ta-ta or good-by?"
Wild-eyed and hilarious they descended on the clubhouse with the miraculous news
A committee carefully examined the books of the club
"You gave him--the tickets! The Lottery Tickets!"

MURDER IN ANY DEGREE

I
One Sunday in March they had been marooned at the club, Steingall the painter and Quinny the illustrator, and, having lunched late, had bored themselves separately to their limits over the periodicals until, preferring to bore each other, they had gravitated together in easy arm-chairs before the big Renaissance fireplace.
Steingall, sunk in his collar, from behind the black-rimmed spectacles, which, with their trailing ribbon of black, gave a touch of Continental elegance to his cropped beard and colonel's mustaches, watched without enthusiasm the three mammoth logs, where occasional tiny flames gave forth an illusion of heat.
Quinny, as gaunt as a militant friar of the Middle Ages, aware of Steingall's protective reverie, spoke in desultory periods, addressing himself questions and supplying the answers, reserving his epigrams for a larger audience.
At three o'clock De Gollyer entered from a heavy social performance, raising his eyebrows in salute as others raise their hats, and slightly dragging one leg behind. He was an American critic who was busily engaged in discovering the talents of unrecognized geniuses of the European provinces. When reproached with his migratory enthusiasm, he would reply, with that quick, stiffening military click with which he always delivered his bons mots:
"My boy, I never criticize American art. I can't afford to. I have too many charming friends."
At four o'clock, which is the hour for the entr¨¦e of those who escape from their homes to fling themselves on the sanctuary of the club, Rankin, the architect, arrived with Stibo, the fashionable painter of fashionable women, who brought with him the atmosphere of pleasant soap and an exclusive, smiling languor. A moment later a voice was heard from the anteroom, saying:
"If any one telephones, I'm not in the club--any one at all. Do you hear?"
Then Towsey, the decorator, appeared at the letterboxes in spats, militant checks, high collar and a choker tie, which, yearning toward his ears, gave him the appearance of one who had floundered up out of his clothes for the third and last time. He came forward, frowned at the group, scowled at the negative distractions of the reading-room, and finally dragged over his chair just as Quinny was saying:
"Queer thing--ever notice it?--two artists sit down together, each begins talking of what he's doing--to avoid complimenting the other, naturally. As soon as the third arrives they begin carving up another; only thing they can agree on, see? Soon as you get four or more of the species together, conversation always comes around to marriage. Ever notice that, eh?"
"My dear fellow," said De Gollyer, from the intolerant point of view of a bachelor, "that is because marriage is your one common affliction. Artists, musicians, all the lower order of the intellect, marry. They must. They can't help it. It's the one thing you can't resist. You begin it when you're poor to save the expense of a servant, and you keep it up when you succeed to have some one over you to make you work. You belong psychologically to the intellectually dependent classes, the clinging-vine family,
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