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at this late hour. A moment
more and Edward Ralston was
shown int6 theroom. A faint
flush stole across her 'cheeks and
her eyes brightened 'and widened
as she went to meet him "and ex
tend K"er hand irfgreetingr-
"I -was just thinking" of you,
Edward," she said, "but I' imag
ined you were away off in New
York tonights When did -you re
turn?" Ralston did not reply, but sat
looking at her for several m6
ments. He seemed strangely un
like himself, and Maude, burden
ed by the weight of the confession
she wanted to make, was afraid.
"Did you arrange your busi
ness in New York satisfactorily?"
she asked, timidly.
A spasm of pain contracted the
man's features. "That is what I
have come to speak to you about,
Maude, he answered, gloomily.
"I could not put it off for a single
Something in his manner, more
than his words, smote the girl
with a sudden sense of impending
sorrow, she saw trouble ahead
vaguely. That the tidings he bore
in some way concerned their fu
ture she felt certain. "Tell me
Edward what is it?" she quer
"It is simply this," he said, "the
house in New York went intcHhe
hands of a receiver yesterday, and
Che one here will probably follow
"Well, and what then, Ed
ward?" "What, then? Oh, Maude, you
can guess the inevitable result of
such a crash. I must surrender
you, too, along with all the rest;
and I came tonight to give you
back your promise."
For a few minutes neither
spoke. She was thinking with a
thrill of exultation, mingled with
regret, that now she would not t
have to tell him, after all, that
she could not marry him. Fate
had intervened to settle her difhV
culties. At last the man lifted
anxious eyes to her face, and in
them were both appeal and re
nunciation, but the cold, classic
features of the woman he loved
wore an expression he could no
"Well, Maude?" he queried, im
patiently. "Really, Edward, it doesn't
seem so tragic and disastrous to
me as it does to you. You can
surely resume business in ChU
cago, at least, so why worry about
the New York house and you
can come to see me just as you
have always done, and we can be
the same good friends we were -before
this this engagement,"
Ralston sprang to his feet and
faced her with flashing eyes.
" 1 lit '
lviauaer ne cnea almost
fiercely, "is this all? Have you
no' other word for me? Can you
not understand something of
what I feel and feel it yourself?"
The girl was silent and the
man went on hurriedly: "I do
not even ask you to be sorry for
me, I do ask" and here his voice
broke "that you .be sorry for the
infinite pity of it all, for our cher
ished plans so rudely shattered"
A , S.