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i"tnM' - i i t tm i 1' M MMlT fc '
4c fi1"?! ' if f j wi " i kw mv n l'W w
medear,"-said .Minna. "It's that fun
ny speckled 'strawberry, Isn't it? I
noticed-it this morning."
"Yes, my dear," answered John in a
choking voice. "And please remember
that it is to be preserved very care
fully' But though he seemed calm
enough he was angry with Price.
"What right had the old fogy insinuat
ing that Minna was
He knew why he was angry. Price
had suggested that Minna was men
tally slow. And John knew it was
true. Pretty Minna Hilton was not an
intellectual woman, though she made
none the worse wife for that.
"AlTrfght, Johnny," answered Min
na. "But I really think you might
have waited till after dinner. How
ever, I know how interested you are
in the garden."
She turned on her heel a little huf
fily and John surmised that she had
seen Price's nudge. Minna was not
very fond of Henry Price;" she toler
ated him for her husband's salrp
"John," said Price, as he stood' a(
the door, saying good-by, "I'm sorry
if I accidentally "
"Oh, that's all right, old man," an
swered John. His good humor was
completely restored by that time; heJ
never bore grudges very long.
"But, John," persisted Price, "for
heaven's sake don't say a word about
it to anybody. You understand, don't
you? If the story got about, what
with the interest in Bergback's ex
periments, our garden would be
racked fine as a toothcomb on the
first dark night John, you have a
fortune in that single plant"
Certainly it did seem as though the
only safety lay in absolute silence.
The single fruit was invaluable. Berg
back's experiments had shown con
clusively that the blended strawberry
would produce fruit only from the
seed, not from the- runners. And there
had been only one fruit thus grown.
The fruit was to be plucked as care
fully as though it were the last hair
irom the Buddha's head, and placed
in a pot, and. Price was to convey it
to a greenhouse, and v
It was, in short, a remarkable conr
spiracy against one poor strawberry.
Thursday was the day set for the
experiment, and on that afternoon
Price came to tea. Minna made them
have tea befpre going into the gar
den. But both men were too much
absorbed in thought to eat much. In
vain Minna tempted them with her
scones and cakes.
"Won't you try a little more "of my
jam?" she asked Price coaxlngly.
"You know, it was you and Johnny
who are responsible for it."
"How is that, my deatf" John
"Why, I've made it fr'dhj-the best
fruit in the garden," she answered,
"and I put the blended strawberry in,
just as you told me " x
"What?" yelled both men in
"Dear me, how excited you both
are," said Minna loftily "Didn't you
tell me, Johnny, that it was to-be pre
served carefully?" i, "
"You you put the strawberry
the strawberry in that jam?" inquir
ed John Hilton, gazing 'at hWwife
"Yes, Johnnyr Wasntha right?"
"Oh, yes, it was right enough," re
plied her husband. "Only well, you
have lost us a fortune, Minna, that's
Henry Price glared at the poor wo
man and then, without a word, dash1
ed out into the hall and thrust on
his hat. A moment later the garden
gate slammed to behind him.
This sound, indicative of his final
departure, relieved the tension of the
situation. Minna put her head down
upon her folded arms. John rose up
awkwardly and came behind her and
put his arms about her.
"Never mind, dear," he said. "It was
my fault, and you couldn't have
known. I'll try again, Minna: Don't
cryj" , .
, The tears were streaming. 4qwj