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"You think you are going to win
it?" questioned Nellie.
"I know I am going to win it," in-
sisted Vi. "You mustn't think me a
bold, brassy thing, girls. You see, I
am heart free, while you have a real
love affair every season. Because all
men are alike to me, I am not made
L coy or unnatural when I meet them.
' Never was under the power of this
soft, sinuous influence you call love,
i so I face the enemy or the victim,
if you like bravely. I shall meet
your Mr. Linden today, and forth
with I shall try to capture him."
Vi's plan was a simple one. She
had learned considerable of the ways
and habits of the rich bachelor, of
his home environment and his daily
routine. It was a lonely route, rocky
and obscure that she toox on her way
to his home.
The almost unbroken country, or
rather trail, was rough and ruggjed.
Vi experienced more than one un
graceful and painful tumble. -She
finally reached a point way up the
wooded mountain side where a '20-
mile landscape spread out before he
lake a panorama.
"He will be here in an hour," solilo
quized the well-posted maiden. "I
had better be ready to receive him."
yi knelt beside her machine, open
ed 'its tool pocket, secured a little
wrench, and proceeded to unscrew a
sprocket She removed a metal pin
that held this part of the mechanism
in shape. Then rising to her feet she
deliberately threw this- among a
dense nest of shrubbery.
"Now," she felicitated herself,
"who can say that I am not a poor,
A unfortunate wayfarer, landed with a
disabled bicycle 20 miles from home?
He is coming."
"Yes, away over across the valley,
toiling up a hard incline was a blue
and maroon-colored automobile. Vi
was sure it was the Linden machine.
It held an occupant, its owner, Vi Jfelt
confident. She placed her bicycle in
a wreck-looking condition under a
tree near at hand and seated herself
on a rock at the roadside. She would
put on her most doleful expression
and then laugh outright, realizing the;
roje she thought clever sne was about
Vi glanced at her watch. She esti
mated that it would be about half an
hour before the autoniobile would
reach the spot. She smiled as shd(
viewed just sufficient dust on heYneaf
jacket to Indicate a fall. She was'
sure she could without practicing'
portray the frightened; timid maiden, i
marooned in an unfriendly heath
and appealing to' manliness and chiv
alry for assistance.
It was all of a sudden, 15 minutes
later, that Vi uttered the sharp, fear
compelling cry. Something all un
foreseen had arisen to disturb her
well-seasoned plans. One of those
sudden furious storm outbursts that
wreaked vital fury on the district
had come up. The wind was a hur
ricane, the pouring torrent drenched
her, while she, brave as she believed
herself, shrank from the blinding
glare and the harsh reverberating
crashes of thunder.
Thus it was that, breasting the
tempest valorously, but with due
caution on that dangerous roadway,
Mr. Linden drew his machine to a
violent halt at the sight of a white
faced, terrified girl, forgetful of all
her dark plot, pleading only for com
panionship and protection.
She indeed quavered forth frag
ments of sentences concerning a
stranded bicycle, but incoherently.
Never did a more courteous gentle
man assist an affrighted maiden from:
an overpowering dilemma.
"We must proceed rapidly," he
said, as she crouched down beside
him in the cushioned seat.. "I sup
pose you belong townwards, but thei
nearest shelter is my lodge."
They made for it. The storm in
creased in violence, the mountain
tops were wreathed in fog and dark
ness. Then, nearing the anticipated