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stacked with the accumulated debris
of generations: old trunks, old furni
ture, old papers. A week before their
marriage, Grandmother Penderby,
who had been rummaging in what
she called her private store room, ap
peared before Mildred and Will,
flushed and triumphant. In her arms
she bore a heavy, old-fashioned writ
"This is to be one of my wedding
presents to you, children," she said.
"And don't you turn up your noses at
it, either of you, because my mother
thought enough of it to give it to me
when I was engaged."
Mildred had often seen the little
desk, but instinctively she had re
frained from tampering with it. She
knew that grandmother valued it
highly so highly that she had never
allowed it to be used, but had kept it
on the high shelf among her most
cherished treasures. She had always
suspected that some of grandmoth
er's treasured relics were kept hidden
in it. But when she opened it it was
empty and only the faint odor of
dead rose leaves betrayed the fact
that it had contained anything but
"Well keep what shall we keep in
it, Will?" Mildred asked.
"Our love letters," responded Will,
promptly. "That is, if it is big
enough. But isn't it strange, Millie,
that a desk of this size should have
such a very small interior? It almost
looks as though it might contain a
"There does seem to be a lot of
space-underneath the drawer," said
Mildred, fingering the edges of the
desk. "Why, Will, it rings quite hol
low. Just tap it and listen."
It certainly did ring hollow. And it
did seem as though there were some
second drawer under the first. But
the cunningly arranged veneering
gave no evidence of any opening.
Will tapped and tapped in vain.
"I guess there isn't any secret
drawer, Millie," said Will, and sat the
de3k down upon the table with a
bang. jar apparently set some
long de- :d spring to working, for
the whole front of the desk flew open,
revealing a little, fiat compartment
immediately beneath the drawer. 1
A single sheet of yellow paper, cov-
Will looked at it and then snatched it)
up and began reading.
"Will!" exclaimed Mildred reprov
ingly. "But I must read it," he exclaimed,a
"Look at this signature it is that of
my grandfather, Ebenezer Hurlbut.
It may be some long-lost will."
But it was no will. It was a letter
addressed to Grandmother Penderby,
and it ran as follows:
"My Dearest Own Elizabeth:
"Your cruel words to me today,
though they have sorely wounded me,
cannot quench the passion for you
that burns in my bosom. So, since
you have said that this unhappy mis
understanding of ours muBt end our
engagement, since you have forbid
me to approach the shrine and altar
of your devotion, I shall place this
within your mother's writing desk,
hoping that some impulse will draw
you hither, to open the little. drawer
you once showed me, and to find this
outpouring of my soul. Elizabeth, you
cannot mean that we must part for
ever, that you will bestow your price
less self upon that dullard, Nat Pen
derby, for when your marriage bells
rings out my life will become unbear
able to me and I shall end this
wretched existence. Without you, life
will become impossible.
"Till time shall end, thine,
"Jan. 24, 1857." 5
Will Hurlbut folded up the paper1
and looked at Mildred. Her eyes were'
moist and her lips were quivering. '
"It must have lain there unnoticed'
these fifty years and more," she said.
"We must not let her know, now."
"No," answered Will, and, tearing'
the paper into strips, he let them flut-'
ter slowly out of the open window.
"Will," said Mildred, presently, "do'