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Daniel, if he took a late train and
turned up at ten instead of at nine
fifteen, he hardly dared give Miss
Brown instructions during the rest
of the forenoon.
"Abner," said Daniel one day, "I
withdraw what I said against women
bookkeepers. Miss Brown is a er
a er peach!"
He hissed the word at Mb brother
and then looked at him as one xfho
has committed a breach of decorum.
But Abner only nodded his head, and
then Daniel looked at him quite dif
ferently. That Abner should hold the
same opinion of Miss Brown roused a
curious sensation in him.
From that time onward each
brother watched the other narrowly
when he was talking to Miss Brown.
"Abner," said Daniel, "what would
we do if she left us?"
"Left us!" echoed Abner. "Why
should she leave us?"
"Well er she might get mar
ried ybu know," suggested Daniel.
"I guess we'd better raise her sal
ary, then," replied Abner.
So Miss Brown was duly raised
from fifteen to twenty dollars a week,
to lure her away from matrimonial
But that was in the good times be
fore the panic. Then business grew
worse, and, as is always the case, the
trade in luxuries was the first to suf
fer The business fell off to .almost
nothing. It became a case of closing
the warehouse or selling securities at
a price whibhwould have.swept away
half the brothers' fortune.
"Abner," said Daniel, "Miss Brown
will have to go. You give her notice."
"Why don't you give her notice?"
answered Abner. "You are the senior
partner." He had observed that
Daniel had grown much more formal
with MissJBrown of late:
"But you are a man of the world,
Abner," urged Daniel. "You have
r had er experience in these mat
ters. Tell her, Abner, that we may
take her back if we re-open."
"Take her back!" repeated Aimer,
scornfully. ''Why, Daniel, she will
have another position then. How
could we get her back?"
"But nobody except Miss Brown
could understand our system," la
mented Daniel. "We should have to
train a new bookkeeper, and all he
would think about would be moving
picture shows and horse racing. Ab
ner, you tell Miss Brown."
So Abner very reluctantly edged
his way toward the grille.
"Miss Brown," he began, "I am
very sorry to say that I that is-, the'
firm I mean we are going to close
down, perhaps for a long time."
As he looked as Miss Marjory
Brown Abner became suddenly aware
that for the first time in months he
was able to do so without Daniel
coming in to call him. Daniel had
always hated to have him talk to the
bookkeeper. And, nojy he came to
think of it, he hated to have Daniel
talk to her, too. The chance might
never occur again. Miss "Brown's
hair had auburn tints among its
shadowy tresses. Miss Brown's fig
ure was divine. Miss Brown remind
ed him of somebody" he had once
known when he really was the reck
less member of the family. And sud
denly Abner was swept away into
doing the most reckless thing that
he had ever done.
"But we want ydu to stay with us
for ever," he stammered. "We want
you to be er-er-wife."
Miss Brown's cheeks became the
color of a ruddy peach.
"Whose wife did you say, Mr. Ab
ner," she murmured, looking down
at her ledger.
"My wife!" ejaculated Abner, tak
ing the ledger brazenly away
"I knew you couldn't mean Mr.
Daniel's wife," murmured Miss
Brown five minutes later.
"Why, dearest?" Inquired Abner.
"Because I refused him two months
ago," answered Miss Brown.
Christmas was first celebrated as a
religious festival about 190 A. D.
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