7 THE LINGERERS
By Norman H. Crowell.
Professor Draper, intent upon
the bubbling mixture within the
retort before him, nodded slight
ly as the maid entered and depos
ited a packet of mail upon his
desk. For weeks he had been
pondering the mystery contained
within the mass, and he congrat
ulated himself that at last there
were telltale signs visible to his
practiced eye which promised an
early and satisfying solution.
Presently he slipped the spirit
lamp from his position and lean
ed back to watch the cooling of
By accident his eye fell upon
the letters at his elbow, and after
an idle glance of curiosity at the
topmost he suddenly started for
ward and seized it excitedly.
"Tom!" he ejaculated in sur
prise. "Who dares to address me
in that manner?"
With a hasty motion he tore
open the envelope and withdrew a
"Ah!" was his puzzled excla
mation. "Some one married,
The professor glanced quickly
at the retort and then settled back
with a sigh to peruse the missive.
"Well, well! Nell's married at
last! And to old George, too!
Well, my congratulations, old
man Nell was the prettiest girl
in the clas, anyway!"
He leaned forward and studied
a vacant spot on the table. Then
he reached over and drew out a
drawer in a desk near by, ab
stracting therefrom a bundle of
letters tied together by. a pink
ribbon. He fumbled them over
"Yes," said he at length. "It is
as I thought! The whole class
has married that is, excepting
He arose and stepped before a
mirror, stroking his dark beard
"Tom, you lonely old canine
dissector, will you ever marry?"
he asked the face in the glass.
The professor started.
"I forgot Mollie Kenton entire-
.ly! But of course she is married.
Why, it s been ten years, ana
Mollie well, I was just a shacjev
sweet on her myself at one time!"
With a gesture of impatience
at his momentary weakness the
professor pushed the letters asiae
and bent over the slowly cooling
mass in the retort. It was too
late now, he told himself, to har
bor such distracting thoughts as
this letter called up.
Ten minutes later, however,
he caught himself whispering to
a row of test tubes in a rack
alongside the wall:
"I wonder who Mollie mar
ried!" Recollecting himself, lie attack
ed test anew, and an hour there
after was diligently engaged with
A week later the professor was
trying to believe that he Had en
tirely forgotten the incident. He
was working long hours at his
multiplying duties m an effort to
fully occupy his mind. But an
other letter reached liim an invi-
1 tation to the graduating- program
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