Footprint of Cinderella by Philip Wylie

By Philip Wylie

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Then he walked weakly toward the house. Mr. Jamison was leaning on the fence looking in the direction the limousine had taken. CHAPTER X To most American eyes Europe is Paris and London. It is a bright succession of sidewalk cafés, monocles, mustaches, sidelong glances from mysterious ladies, with a cathedral obtruding its spires here and there. Berlin, in the American mind, may exist nebulously as a smell of beer and frankfurters. But Sabria, or any similar principality, has no being. Even the news reels fail to convey its actuality.

In one of his suitcases was the photostat of a baby's footprint. A fortune and a great name, publicity, widespread astonishment, everything in the cornucopia of civilization depended on the curves of that etching. To Barney, the Muriel Leigh who had lived and matured in Philadelphia had already been thrust into the background of events. In her place was the unknown girl from Mayville, Ohio,-a shining-haired deity destined for ascendency to a throne of romance. The romance was of Barney's own making and if he gave a thought to the tenuous substance of its construction it was to reiterate that Jonathan Leigh would not have preserved a strange address in his safe unless it pointed toward the girl, that the girl herself must be charming because nearly all the Leigh ladies were charming and because the beauty of Leigh's wife had been an international toast in the bizarre and misty golden nineties.

At four in the morning Barney was still walking. He had walked all night, cursing himself, his stupidity, cursing fate which led him to meet love by giving him the tidings which would strangle it. He was angry and dramatic in the dawn. He stalked and muttered. His feelings leaked through his muscles and more acid feelings rose to take their place. He could see her, proud and aching. He could see himself, proud and silent. Neither of them could behave in any other manner. Day came. Pale and hollow-eyed he sat in an early-opened restaurant drinking coffee.

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