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skin-grafting and her beauty was not
marred, but the pain and anguish
were worth the paltry nine hundred
Ep had promised to pay. A jury would
award two thousand.
"I'm going to quit and sue him,
Maria," said Riffkin during the noon
"No, don't, Louis," pleaded the
pretty Italian girl, "I know he means
to do fair by us. Give him a little
longer. Besides, do you know I have
saved up nearly fifty dollars?"
"Fifty dollars!" exclaimed the fore
man. "How can you save out of eight
a week, Maria?"
"Overtime," she answered proudly.
"I wanted to surprise you. You won
dered where I went evenings, didn't
you? Well, for three "months I've
been coming down nights and I'm
going to make enough for us to start
housekeeping without Mr. Ep's
"Well get that, too, Maria," said
Louis, kissing her very furtively. No
body was looking, however, and if
the action had been seen no one
would have cared. Everybody knew
that Louis and Maria had been sweet
hearts for two years.
The day passed as usual. At six
o.'clock the girls ran chattering out of
the building. Usually Mr. Ep was the
last to leave, locking the office after
him, and then the factory door, but
on this occasion he hurried past Riff
kin with averted face, leaving the lit
tle foreman a prey to wild, astonish
ment For whatever else Mr. Ep
might have Been accused of, it would
never have been over-confidence in
his employes. And he had left every
thing unlocked and open to inspec
tion even the office books, which
Riffkin saw resting upon his desk.
"Am I drunk, or did I see some
things?" inquired Riffkin of Riffkin.
"He leaves me to close up the office
and hurries away for why? If he
wasnt the meanest man on-earth, Fd
think. It Was torgetfulness. But Ep
He switched off the electric light 1
and instantly a. red spark shorie out
upon the floor. Riffkin stared at ft in
horror. It was the lighted end of a
cigarette, and was burning merrily,
the end of the unlit portion uvjuxta
position to a waste baswet contain
ing oiled paper!
Riffkin saw the scheme in an in
stant He had not understood that
Ep was proposing that he should
burn down the factory that morning.
Ep planned that the old, insured
stock, which was. on the side of the
factory near the office, should be
consumed or damaged by water from
the hose, shrewdly calculating that
the fire would be put out before it
spread to the uninsured portion,
across the room.
His heart burned with bitter anger.
Well, he would not put out the blaze.
Let the factory burn; he would give
evidence afterward that would send
Ep to the penitentiary.
He left the lighted cigarette where
it lay, put on his hat and coat, ana
started home. He had gone about
three blocks when "suddenly a
thought gripped his heart with hor
Maria was working overtime in the
factory. She would be back that
night perhaps she ivas back now.
He suspected thather going away
was only a pretense! Perhaps she had
never left the premises.
He ran back, panting, and, as he
turned the corner, he saw a tiny
flicker of light high up inside the fac
tory; then a thin wisp of smoke. It
was dark and the street was empty.
Nobody would notice the fire until it
got beyond control. And Maria sewed
behind the office partition; she would
see nothing until the flames had
caught the woodwork and blocked
He dashed into the building and
ran breathlessly up the seveii flights
of stairs. He burst open the door.
Thank heaven, no harm was done.
The fire was still only a tiny thing;
It had hardly spread beyond the
waste basket and was only beginning
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