Beautiful Time

WHILE THE BRIDEGROOM TARRIED. By Edna Bryner. (E. P. Dutton & Co..)

THE night before Alden Benninington was to be married to Louise Tennat, Harriet Upham called him up and told him that, just on that account, she was never going to be married. It was the worst thing that could have happened. It spoiled the wedding for Alden. He was a pampered, self-important youth anyway, and now he had a secret sorrow. On his account Harriet Upham was never going to be married!

To get away from it, and as a sort of penance, after two children had been born, he obtained a position that took him to Cuba. On the way over he half way wished that someone would call him a blackguard, for leaving his family like that, and knock him down; but nobody did. That was the beginning of eight years’ wandering. At last he grew tired of wandering and returned home. Louise died when the next baby was born and there was nothing in the way of making amends to Harriet, who had been waiting all that time. Nothing, that is, except that Harriet was 15 years older and not as good looking as she used to be.

Then, while he was putting off his second marriage, he met Ursula, who had no morals beyond her feelings and looked upon marriage as secondary. They had a love affair which they called “wonderful.” But Alden had promised to marry Harriet and he had to keep his word. And he did. Ursula found herself another man and married him. They still had their “wonderful” love for each other, however, Alden and Ursula. Something had to be done about it. The easiest way was for them to continue their “wonderful” love affair with the knowledge and consent of their mates. The only reason that it didn’t work out that way was that Ursula, having a husband of her own, came to feel differently about it.

That is the story, stripped of miles and miles of turgid analysis of the feelings of a man and a woman who are having a “perfectly beautiful” time.

Something better might be expected from the Edna Bryner who wrote “Andy Brandt’s Ark” not long ago. And this is a Dutton book of the month. It is to be shared that publishers sometimes choose a book of the month on the strength of what the author has done at some other time.

F. A. B.