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grain. The crop was a total failure.
"Worst of all," wrote David, "I had
borrowed $300 td try the experiment,
and I gave the little farm as security.
They have foreclosed, for $300 is a
lot of money out here. Unless I pay
that and a penalty of $30 inside of a
month my farm will be taken away
from me the dear little place Laura
and I have worked so many years to
No wonder, therefore, with this
dread secret on his mind, that John
Hayden took little interest in the gay,
careless, gifted group of men and
women actors and actresses they
called themselves who daily posed
and maneuvered before the camera
to supply city dime shows with at
tractive motion picture films.
It was not in his kindly nature,
however, to be surly and sullen with
anybody. The gypBy-like crowd was
made welcome to the shelter of the
old house when it rained. Mrs. Hay
den did some extra cooking for them.
The man in charge of the movies,
' one Rupert Dale, appreciated all
these little courtesies. Twice when
he needed an old couple in the scen
arios he paid husband and wife a
substantial sum. Mrs. Hayden was
as pleased as a child.
"To think of us old folks earning
money, real money, in what is going
to make us look like real actors to
" the people who will see those pic
tures when they are finished!" she
At any other time, with a mind
free from care, all this would have
been a pleasant series of episodes in
the quiet, humdrum life of John Hay
den. Now, however, it was a false
position it made him assume to
smile when his heart was breaking!
Each dawning daw drew them closer
and closer to the vortex of ruin that
must be announced sooner or later.
"I am going to tell her I' must
tell her," he said one day, after a
long spell of deep thought in his fa
vorite solitude by the river side.
Yes, the blow could not be averted
longer. His wife must know the
truth. The old man tried to steady
his nerves, to gain courage for the
He arose and sighed as he noted
the bright, cheering sunlight beyond
the network of vines that screened
the natural spot of beauty where he
had been seated lost in painful medi
tation. About to take up his crutches
and proceed on his cheerless mission
John Hayden paused. Some one had
halted -ust beyond them,- engaged in
conversation. He recognized the
tones of one of the speakers as tnat
of the rollicking, good-natured leader
of the movies, Rupert Dale:
"Yes," he was saying, "we're ready
to report in now, almost. There's
two more scenarios and then we're
"How about the finish up of that
big feature film?"
"We've got to burn up a house to
act that out."
"Well, why don't you find one to
burn?" demanded Dale's companion,
evidently a person of importance and
direction in the movies proposition.
"The company don't stop at expense,
you know, where It's an extra good
"I haven't run across an empty
house In our travels Just suited to
our purpose," replied Dale.
"Why, the ideal old barracks to
work in the fire and the explosion is
that old ruin I noticed right beyond
here,. Do you know who lives there?"
"Oh, very well."
"Offer to purchase it"
"Oh say $500," was the careless
reply of a man who made money so
fast that the amount was a mere in
"I'll take it, oh, I'll take it!" cried
a quavering voice, and John Hayden
staggered into view and from very
joy and gratitude fell a senseless
heap at the feet of the two astonish
ed motion picture men.
In graphic, sensational style the old
house went up in smoke the next