ence Williams, who left town sud
denly last year, to take a position as
a stenographer her folks said, but we
thought she wouldn't have left so
suddenly if there wasn't something
scandalous about it? Well, I knew
she'd never dare to show her face in
this village again. So J wrote a letter
to her from Ralph you know I'm
quite good at imitating handwrit
ing and in it 1 said a few thingsTnat
I knewwfeuld put an end to that gar
den nirtation. I showed the letter to
Elsie next morning.
" 'That's how much he cares for
you,' I said. 'He's playing with you,
child, as he did with that .poor girl.
Now what are you going to do?'
"She t.urned.so white J thought she
was going to die. I had to give her
" 'What ought 1 to do, aunt?-'' she
asked me. I brought her up to call
me ma'am in public and aunt in pri
vate. I thought it sounded more af
fectionate. " '111 dictate a letter to him that
will save your pride, my dear,' I answered-
And believe mej It was a
stinger. I knew that Ralph Bonner
would Jiever darken my doorstep
again. And of course I didn't explain
about the Williams girl that would
have been too risky.
"I found out that that had been
their farewell in the garden-. They
were engaged and he was to send for
her in a few months. I knety an an
swer would come from "hlrri. I jwafch
led for the postman, 'Sure'enough, it
came, "it almost made me cry, Iin so
soft-hearted; butl knew iny duty and
burned the letter.
"Well, no more letters came, and
Elsie went round growing as pale and
white as a ghost. I was afraid she
would die that summer. However,
after a' while she began to pick up a
bit, but her heart seemed brojcei,,
"Ralph Bonner didnt coaler home
that summer,, but .who do you: think
did? Tnafrimpudent Florence Wil
liams, as bold as brass, and she pre
tending that she had come back for J
the summer holidays, as though ev
erybody didn't know something had -been
wrong about the way she had
left. And she went round the village
so innocent-looking! I kept a pretty
close eye on Elsie, but I couldn't pre
vent her seeing Florence Williams,
and that's where the trouble came in.
I didn't know anything about it at the
time though, and as for Elsie Oh,
she was a sly one!
"After Labor Day I knew Ralph,
couldn't come back for another year
and I breathed freer. I forgot all
about the business in fact. You see
there was a scandal about the new
minister and I was ask6d to be the
peacemaker. Yes, he left town; the
people wouldn't stand for him.
"And then, about the middle of
October, the worst came to pass. I
was sitting in my little room at the
back, reading, and supposing Elsie
was busy doing the laundry. She
had got.Btrong again and liked to be
useful to me. Suddenly there came a
tap at the door and in walked Elsie,
Ralph, and that Florence Williams.
"I pit a bold face on the matter. I
" 'I'm glad to see you, Mr. Bonner,'
I said. 'But as for you, Florence Wil
liams, the sooner you take yourself
out of my house the better. What I .
know about you 'would make a book
if ever I published it'
"She laughed kind of sneering.
'What have you been teljing Miss
Strickland about me?' she asked.
" I told her just what I thought of
you, you shameless womanJ replied,
inwardly trembling. -
"Ralph Bonner cane forward and
planked a document down on the
table. 'I don't care to judge you, Miss j
Jones,' he said. 'That's between your-
self and your maker. But you'll sign
this paper or I'll have you arrested
for criminal libel.' :
"I remember the very words: 'I
herebly acknowledge that I have"
fdrged the appended letter purporting
to be from Rajph Bonner to-Florence
Williams,' it ran. There was a lot.,
a-fcaijfrKJattifc!' i J jttf. -jtitn
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