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a home and companionship, had ac
cepted an offer of marriage as a re
fuge from loneliness. She was the
patroness of a free school for poor
children, and Wayne doubted not
that the mercenary Dalton, with her
fortune in view, had led her to believe
he would co-operate with her in her
In about a week the town was
startled, then interested and then all
gossip and tattle over rumors of the
financial ruin of Dalton. Then one
morning Dalton came into the law
yers office. He maintained the seri
ous bearing of a crushed man until
he got past the view of curious and
staring citizens on the street. He
was, however, all chuckles and grins
as he sat down at the side of the
"Well, I suppose you know I'm
bankrupt!" he gloated.
"Yes, it's all over town," added
"I have written to Miss Croydon,
telling her of my changed'f ortunes. I
suppose she will be down here to see
you, hinting about disappointment,
balm for a broken heart, and all
"I doubt it," observed Wayne
"Oh, you don't know women as I
do! Well, then, if she is at all ob
streperous, 111 give her a thousand
dollars to let me off. Fix it up with
her. I've had! a narrow escape."
It was with difficulty that Wayne
could endure the coarse, offensive
bargaining of the selfish, calculating
Dalton, but he was his chief client,
and It was policy to remain negative.
Just as he was leaving his office that
afternoon, a visitor entered who
seemed to bring with her an air redo
lent of flowers, the fresh air and the
subtle charm of rare womanly dig
nity and beauty. It was Vera Croy
don, and the heart or the young ij.
yer beat faster as he recognized her.
There was a latent constraint min
gled with suppressed excitement In
Eer manner. There was a. conscious I
flush as of a person occupying a false
position and fully realizing It, as she
bravely stated the object of her visit.
"I have come to ask you to speak
for me to Mr. Dalton," Bhe said with
downcast eyes. "In all honor he paid
me the compliment of asking me to
become his wife. I learn now that he
has lost his fortune. I gave my prom
ise I cannot break it. His poverty
will make no difference to me."
Wayne was amazed. Then he fan
cied he read between the lines. This
noble woman respected a solemn
pledge. She must know she was sac
rificing herself, but she stood firm.
He would not tell her of the money
offer, of the real sentiments of Dal
ton. To his intense satisfaction Dal
ton happened into the office at that
moment. In a polite, easy way,
Wayne managed to leave them in
consultation. He walked Up and down
the corridor while they were con
versing. Finally, Dalton came out
with the activity of a mail escaping
something he dreaded.
"Engagement canceled! Let me off
without a penny," jubilated the
heartless mercenary,' .Keen-witted
Hugh Wayne couH not fail to read
the expression of relief he noticed on
the face of MisS'CroydonT
"I fear I have grazed a serious 'mis
take," Bhe said, with a bright Bmlle,
and the soul of Wayne took hope.
Somehow he got to calling upon
her. Then he became interested in
the great lawsuit, which involved her
inherited fortune. One day several
months later Dalton met the lawyer
on the street
"I say, he observed, "I see in the
papers that Miss Croydon has won
her fortune, after all?"
"Yes," assented Wayne.
"Wish I'd stuck to her," remarked
Daltont "You helped as her lawyer,
didn't you? Big fee, I suppose?"
"The best in the world," declar
"Do tell what now?"
"Herself. Miss Croydon becomes
my wife next week."