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Newspaper Page Text
great house, but their fortune was
sadly shrunk. Unlucky speculations
had eaten into Benson's fortune. The
mother was away traveling; since her
daughter's departure she had spent
little time at home.
But Kitty's return was the occa
sion for a great reception. All the
old friends were there, for Benson
was at bottom a friendly man. Les
ter was now a rising man, and talked
of as candidate for the berich. But
in his heart he felt that Kitty would
never be his.
Her smile and glance were no less
friendly, but there was no longer the
cordial spontaneity of old. She
" seemed to have become frozen by the
artificialities of the world in which
she had moved. And when she sang,
though her voice was praised and her
father pompously told of the accla
mations which she had received in
, Europe, there was nothing that
touched Lester's heart as those sim-1
pie strains had done upon the night
of her departure.
He dared not tell Kitty of his love
now. She could not know that he
had always been -true to her. Her
light words, "Well, Lester, I suppose
you have another sweetheart," show
ed him how little she remembered her
words- on the evening when she went
away. And her talk at dinner was all
of foreign capitals and people whom
she had met, the light and soulless
persiflage of those who have become
cosmopolitans. They gain much but
they lose much more.
The party broke up at last; all the
guests had gone, and Lester found
no excuse for remaining. He knew
that unless a miracle occurred he
would not see Kitty again. As a mat
ter of fact, he had received an offer
from a corporation to represent them
in a near-by town. He had told Kitty,
and she had congratulated him.
At last he rose and took his hat.
Kitty's hand' was cold in his. Me
chanically she said good-bye. Old
Mr. Benson,- yawning, shook hands
with .him and went upstairs. The
door was closed behind Lester. Hev
went off sadly down the avenue.
No, he could not leave her like
that,. Every inch of that ground had
become sacred to him in the days of
their courtship. Under this tree,!
glimmering in the moonlight, he had
first kissed her. They had sat upon
that gate together, when they were
boy and girl. A rush of memories
swept over him. He turned and huf-i
ried back. It was now oriiever. HeV
must speak with her; it was his right;
As he approached the door he saw
a figure standing in the "moonlight.
"Kitty!" he cried.
She was weeping. Her-yoice was
shaken with sobs. He caught her in
his arms and kissed, her. It was the
first time in three years. But -she
drew herself out of his 'embrace,
"Kitty, I love youj"- cried Lester.
"I want you. 0, Kitty, be "my wife.
Remember the old days!"
"Lester," she ;said islowly, with
broken accents. "I am not worthy
to be your wife. Lam a fraud and a
sham, and if "you 'thought me cold it
Is because I have bad to -steel my
heart against my better nature
"Do you know that I am a failure?
Yes, I who thought myself so fine, .so
grand, a singer, destined to become
famous in Europe, am nothing but a
lie. I never had a voice. Pthought
I had. My father's money procured
me the best teachers. They listened
to me and sent me away. 'She has
a good ear,' 'they said, T)ut she will
never amount to anything.'
"My mother, who was with me,
thought this Jealousy because I was
a foreigner. At last we found feec-
ond-rate men who pretended to be
lieve in me for money. I studied at
a college.- Through the lavish ex
penditure of my father I .obtained a
trial in grand opera. You'know what
the cultivated Italian public is. I
was laughed off the stage, Lester: .
"And the worst of it was I had to
pretend. I Bhall always have to pre
tend, that I was a success. People