"Vy& got something very confi
dential to telLyou, Mr. Winston," he
The wise old farmer looked inter
ested. He was a shrewd man and
selfish, and he knew that some day
he would be asked to act as a father-in-law
to Worth or Rufus.
. "I've got a chance to make $4,000,"
went on Rufus, rather excitedly.
"That would give me enough to mar
ry on. Don't you think so?"
' "It's a pretty fine plum for a start,"
"I've got-a chance to get ihe.stolen
"Hey!" stared the farmer.
"Ys. Now this is a secret. You
see, it's only at a stage of negotia
tions, so far. A strangec-lame to
me, one of the thieves,'!' am sure. He
warned me to act with caution. He
said that the stolen jewels had been
so widely advertised by description
that ;the thieves were afraid to offer
them for sale. He has agreed to turn
them over to me and have me Verify
them through the printed description
for $1,000. I think it's a good, specu
lation, don't you?"
"It's hobnobhing with thieyes,"
suggested the wily farmer.
"Yes, but the owners will get back
their property no other way. And
then, you see, there's $4,000 in it for
me. Lauppose you'd consider me fa
vorably as a suitor for Mae's hand
with all that money?"
"Ha hum! IH think about it,J' re
plied Winston, conservatively.
Rufus drew his- thousand dollars
out bt bank. He was to meet the
supposed .thief four days later, Wbrjh
was up and about The brightest spot
in his experience was the knowledge
that Mae' had. shown great anxiety
and interest concerning himf during
his illness. " .
When he came to put on his clothes
Worth discovered his possessions all
right. excepC in one pafticulaiw-a
small locket ihat had been attached
to his watch chain, was missing.. It
had contained a picture of Mae. Thatj
was enough to him to hige it la n in
The haze began to clear away in
his mind. Dimly, at first, then more
strongly memory began to develop
the chain of circumstances, obscured
until now since he was struck down.
He was not yet strong, but he went
out into the warm sunshine, walking
slowly, bent on reaching the spot
where he had been -assaulted. Half
the distance progressed, his face
brightened and his pulses stirred
deeply as he saw coming toward him
the woman he loved.
Mae was overjoyed to see him
convalescine, and told him so. She
was solicitous as to hisover-e'xerting
himself; learned that he was bent on
some specific mission, and insisted
on acting as guard and helper.
For the first time she learned from
his lips the story of his recent mis
hap. It -seemed that while nearing
the spot they had now reached he had
seen a light, among, some bushes. As
worth investigated," he observed a
man take from the hollow of a dead
tree a box. He opened it with a
chuckle. Evidently it had been hid
den there some time Before. The
moment Worth caught a dazzling
gutter he guessed that they must be
the stolen diamonds.
"I don't know what possessed me'
he told his fair companion, "but some
impulse made jrie seize the box. I
ran. There were wild shouts, and
the first man and two others just ar
rived probably to share the hidden
plunder, pursued-me. Just about this
rugged spot I stumbled and fell. The
box flew far from my hands. The
man ramp. 111), dealt me a stunning
blow and this is the spot where it
"Thov nrobablv regained the box
and fled," theorized Mae.
"Probably that," rejoined Worth,
but he began looking about the spot
and poking in the grass with his cane.
Mae asked Mm. what he, was looking
for. She flushed quicKiy wnen ne
told her that it was. for the locket
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