THE SERPENTS tQQH
By Ceorge JVIunson.
"Don't talk to me aboiltt-Elsie
Strickland or-Bonner, as she is'now,
my dear. Iefcerfhad ben 'tempted
not to beHevevin original ' Sin ;that
girl's "ingratitude would' .have '-con-vinced
quite a while -and 1 don', expect to
see her for, some time longerliln'f act
I don't expect 'to'ee her agakr,at all.
1 . KliJilliB I HOffl
llllllllll ' II HM
That's How Much He Cares for You.
And after all I've done for tjiat girl,
to treat me the way she has !
"Of course "Ralph Bonner visLs at
the bottom it he and that Florence
Williams. The Bonners were quite
ordinary people came here, from the
South, and nobody knows what they
were before they, came or why they
had to leave their home, wherever it
was. They bad"that little mejan'whlte
cottage up the street you may have
noticed it as you passed.
"Elsie Strickland was a sort of cou
sin of mine. Her mother left her in
my care when she died, and I took
the girl into my home and looked
after her from the time she was
twelve years old. I must admit she
was jsl. good worker. I can't find any
J fault with her on that score. But she
naa common ways, i couian t iook
on her as anything Jut a sort of
upper servant. Make a companion off
her? Hardly, my dear. She wasn't
that kind. '
"Ralph BoWer used to call on me"
whenever hecame home from the'
city. 1 don't know what he did there.
People say I liked him; but that was- '
just gossip. I hated him; I hate, the4
very memory of him. I tolerated huh.
because I was naturally polite andl
don't easily show my feelings. i
"I'm ashamed to death to tell you, j
but I suppose it's the only thing that j
will stop the neighbors, saying I was
in love with him. Well, I was getting j
so tired of his '.visits I had almost
made up my mind to write to him not
to come any mor.e, when one .evening
I went down unexpectedly and saw
them together in the garden. The
sound I heard was awful. It was a
kiss, my dear, and I wish you would
spread that only I'm afraid it won't
do any harm now, because they're
"I can't tell you how Shocked I was.
That that- little guttersnipe Elsie f
Strickland should steal him from me! '
I spoke to the girl as kindly as I wasi
able; I told her that the Bonners
were a worthless lot and were underj
suspicion of having had to leave their
town in the South in a hurry. I asked t
her if she thought any one of themt
worthy to wipe the shoes of a well
bred, well-brought up lady like her. f
" 'But I love Ralph,' said Elsie, kindr
" "The more fool you,' I answered, .
'and that's more than he does you.'
I went into that parlor and sat down.
to think. You remember that Flor-
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