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Newspaper Page Text
you want to see her?"
"Because," said Hartridge
slowly, "I want to thank her for
doing something that she never
dreamed of. She looks on me, no
doubt, as you all do as a con
venience, as a poor man who has
sold something which he possess
ed for money. There can be no
thought of obligation on either
side, of course. But I'm not go
ing to take the money. I'm a jail
bird. I've just come out of the
penitentiary where I served a
year's sentence for forgery. She
has given me back my self-respect.
I feel that I've done some
good in the world at last I can't
very well explain it, but I want
to thank her. Won't you tell her
The nurse was looking at him
very strangely. "Ys, I'll tell
her," he heard her say, and he re
signed himself to the feeling of
intense weariness that was creep
ing over him.
Two days passed. Hartridge
made no further reference to the
fulfilment of his request. He did
tell Dr. Briggs that he would
not accept the money; but he was
too weak to understand the doc
tor's answer. In fact, his system,
undermined by the year in prison,
hardly resisted the drain on it. It
was not till a week later that he
was at last able to sit up in bed
and let his thoughts pursue their
weary rourtd again.
"There's a gentleman coming
to see you this morning," the
nurse announced triumphantly
"A gentleman?" repeated Hart
ridge with a puzzled frown. T
don't know anyone. It must be
a mistake. What is his name?"
But the nurse would not tell
Hartridge his name. At twelve
o'clock, however, the ward doors
were thrown open to the stream
of visitors who came to see the
patients. Hartridge, who had
been dozing, heard his name
spoken and looked up. A man
with very well remembered fea
tures was standing by his bed.
"Mr. Hartridge my dear fel
low " he began, somewhat ner
vously. "Mr. Cumming!" gasped the
man in the bed and bowed his
The bank president sat down
beside him and placed one hand
on his shoulder.
"I want to tell you," he said,
"that Dr. Briggs has spoken with
me about you and made clear
some things that I did not under
stand last year. If I had realized
your circumstances I might have
been less harsh in exacting jus
tice. None of us can afford to
exact that to the uttermost. They
tell me you have refused compen
sation for your brave sacrifice.
Hartridge, we are starting a
branch bank at Clifton. I want
you to go there as assistant cash
ier. Nobody will know of your
past. That is all atoned for.
You will go with our complete
confidence and at a salary ade
quate to support yourself and
your wife comfortably."
"My wife?" said Hartridge
bitterly. "Perhaps you don't
know that '"