-- ' r
aunt. "Just a man from outside,
amusing himself with you!"
Laura left the room indignantly.
And that was the beginning of the
Everybody opposed her; her aunt,
her girl friends, and her father, whose
antagonism was mainly confined to
a series of sniffs and ejaculations.
"You'll never live it down never!"
declared Agatha Price, who had been
jilted once and had scorned men ever
since. "A common mechanic! Of
course one can be a mechanic and
still be looked up to, but not an out
That day was Sunday and Laura
had no respite. The story had spread
through the town, and every time the'
girl went down the street the people,
rocking upon their porches, seemed
to have acquired a new interest in
her, and a battery of eyes followed
her movements. And on Monday
morning, when she went to her task,
Laura was ill from the strain and in
no sentimental mood.
"But, dearest," Will remonstrated,
when he saw her agitation, "why did
you tell them about it? I meant to
ask you to let it be a secret until the
end of the year."
Laura was furious at the sugges
tion. "Why should I keep my en
gagement secret?" she declared. "If
you loved me, Will, you would have
wanted to see father right &way on
Saturday night and saved me all
"But I had good reason, Laura,"
Will protested. "I don't expect to
hold this position after Christmas. I
am expecting something better, and
And then something of a quarrel
ensued, with tears on Laura's part,
and the interruption of the clock put
an end to the noon recess. And that
evening Laura hurried home alone.
Had she done rightly? Or were
not her friends and family right?
Thaf" was the question she put to
herself repeatedly. She was not
ashamed of Will. But Will seemed
ashamed of himsejf. Secrecy was ab
horrent to Laura's nature. --
The next morning-she was too ill
to go to work. A bad cold, caused
by the suddent advent of fall, and ag
gravated by her depressed condition,
ran into grip, and for a'week.she was
ill in bed.
It was the first morning" of her
convalescence when, as she sat in the
parlor, she was astonished to see Will
ascending the porch steps. He came
right in through the open door. He
was dressed in a neatly fitting suit,
and he certainly looked every inch a
Her love was stronger than her
shame. It brooked no questioning.
Laura stretched out her arms, and,
as he knelt beside her, she drew his
head down to her breast
'Nearest," he said, "at last I can
tell you. It was not because J was
ashamed that L wanted our engage
ment kept secret. I was under a
promise. You see, I had been rather
wild at college."
"Yes. And my father Insisted that
I 'make good,' as he called it,-before
I went into his insuranc$j)usjness.
He owns a controlling Jnter.es.in the
electrical works' here, besides many
other properties, and the'conditions
were that I was to get a' mechanic's
job and hold it for a year without
telling anyone who I was You see,
I would have had to explain to your
father. Well, when I saw how things
were shaping and I couldn't help
telling you I wrote my father beg
ging to be released. He was away
when my letter reached his home,
and I thought his silence meant a
refusal, but the letter came this
hnorning, and so "
"What insurance company r cried
Laura, who, woman-like, had struck
at the beginning.
"Why, the National Fidelity. My
father owns that and "
"I know," said Will, laughing. "And
your father is trying to be appointed
superintendent for. this district."
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