" -T- - - -L
that sometimes figagefl couples get
ldst in thenrfor hours. On this occa
sion neither could be aware that on
the other side Hubert Ellington was
walking. He" had been trying to reach
Madge by the shortest way, and had
got tangled up in the geranium beds.
"Jack, I don't know," sobbed Belle.
"Sometimes I think I love him more
than anybody else In the world, and
then, again, I don't."
"Whom else do you love better,
sometimes?" asked Jack:
"You," whispered Belle, and then
she tore herself away arid looked at
him with horrified eyes.
"Jack, I shall gostraight to Hubert
and tell him what I let you do' she
said tragically. "I am an engaged
girl, and I let you kiss meT'
"Well, don't you suppose he has
done the same, many times?" asked
"I don't care. It isn't right, Jack,
and it shall never happen again," said
Belle desperately. "Oh, Jack, listen!
I love you better than anybody. What
a wicked girl I am! There!"
"Then you shan't marry him," said
Jack firmly. "It is outrageous! A man
of forty-five. Oh, Bella, if ydii aren't
sure now, wlien do you think you
ever will be?"
v "Jack," said Belle firmly, "I am
going to tell Hubert, and I am going
to tell him, too, that I love him. He
will never know. And after we are
married he will make me care!"
They passed on, Jack arguing and
expostulating, Belle " maintaining
stony silence, except where it was
broken by spasmodic sobs. As for
Hubert Ellington, he remained exact
ly where he was, between the geran
ium beds and the hedge.
To have pretended -that he was
madlyuHove with Belle Moran would
have been self-deception. H6 was,
hbweverj sincerely attached to her,
and the thought of making her his
wife had been very dear to him. He
was rich, and he had planned a home
for her and her widowed mother, as
well as a settlement which shbuld
secure M. Morafi from wpnt f8r the"
rest of 1 . days. And now
His little dream was ended. He
knew that he would forget But at
any cost he must break the engage
ment. He was a man of kindly im
pulses, and the revelation gave him a
sudden realization of something he
had never thought of before; that he
was a middle-aged man.
It was late when he reached the
hotel. Dinner was ended and Belle
was waiting for him.
"Hubert," she said, "mamma has
come. She wants to see you."
"Wait a minute, dear," said Elling
ton. "I wantHo tell you something.
Belle sat down and looked fearfully
at him. He could see her breast rise
and fall quickly, the breathe" came be
tween her half-opened lips.
"Bellej" he said, taking her hand,
"I am not going to meet yoii mother.
I am going away. I am going to re
lease you from our engagement. I
may seem despicable and an eaves
dropper, but I was in the garden this
afternoon, and I heard."
Belle leafed to her feet. "Hubert,"
she cried, "I shall not release you. It
is n6t honorable.'
"It is honorable and right, my
dear," he answered. "Now I am go
ing to repair my mistake by going
out of your life. You must let me go."
"You are the finest gentleman in
the world," she murmured, almost
overcome by the strength of her feel
ings. "Hubert, tell me one thhig.
Never mind our feelings. Is it for the
He bowed his head.
"Th6h I release foil," she breathed;
and he turned to go.
But before he had gohe two paces
a woman came down the hall. One
of those women in early middle life
whose beauty and freshness seem
only enhanced by the passing of the
years. She came up and stopped in
"Mother!" exclaimed Belle. "Hu
bert! Walt a moment. This is my
i . . t-, .,.., .-r &"t
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