' Arthur Davis caught at the straw.
He knew that Nancy had gone away
on a visit to a friendT He went to
her mother's house Ada Reeves was
an invalid'; she had not long to live.
The young man boldly broached the
subject of his visit
"Mrs. Reeves, you know I love
Nancy," he pleaded. "And because
we are said to be cousins "
"Hey?" demanded the old woman,
suspiciously. "Said to be cousins?
What do you mean by that, young
"I have been told that Nancy Is an
adopted daughter," he replied, boldly.
The old woman's face was con
vulsed with wrath.
"If I knew who said that," she an
swered, "I'd send her to the peniten
tiary, if it took every penny I have.
It's a lie that's what it is. Nancy is
my own child "
The door opened and Nancy stood
there. She had heard every word
that was spoken, and her face was as
white as death.
"Nancy, he wants to take awajr
your right to have a mother," mut
tered the old woman angrily.
"Arthur, you must go now," said
Nancy decisively. "You won't make
it hard, will you?"
"No," he answered, mechanically,
and went toward the door. But as he
reached the passage he saw Nancy
at her side, and in a moment their
arms were round each other.
"Oh, Arthur, I love you with all
my heart," she murmured, "And I
shall never marry. Nor you?"
"Never," he answered, strangling
the lump in his throat. And so they
Arthur packed his things that night
and went to the station. He meant
to leave town forever. Upon a plat
form he met a neighbor of the
"That's a bad thing that happened
this afternoon," he said to him.
"What's that?" asked Arthur ab
stractly. ' "That stroke of Mrs. Reevesj I
don't expect she'll live through the
night at least, the doctor thinks
there is no chance."
The train came in, but Arthur did
not take it He stood as one stunned.
What would Nancy do all alone? His
duty was with her in this crisis.?
Whatever his own suffering, he must
fight it down and aid her.
Quickly he made his way up thai
hill to the house. The front doon
stood wide open. He walked up
stairs, into the old -woman's bed
room, She lay unconscious on the!
bed, and at her side kneeled Nancy,
praying. Her face was wet with tears.
She seemed to understand the
young man's motive in returning, for
Bhe looked up In an understanding
way and gave him her hand. And
upon the other side of the bed Ar
thur waited through the.Jiight
At dawn the old woman opened
"They say she ain't my child," she
muttered. "Well, let them say. They
won't dare say it openly. If they do
I'll send them to the state peniten
tiary. They laughed at me when I
was a girl because I didn't have a
child. But they won't dare to laugh
The muttering "voice died away,
but occasionally a word or phrase
burst frorp the old woman's lips. It
was evident that she was living in the
"I won't tell Hiram," she muttered
later. "He's making good money
now. It will change his habits to
have the responsibility of a baby of
his own.- Ill get the girl. Yes, Mrsi
Richards, only you must sign a paper
never to want to see her again oi
learn anything about her. A good
home? Yes, Indeed, and a good
father. Hiram drink? Well, yes, he
does a little, but no more than most
men do, I reckon.
"So 111 sign here, and the child's
mine my very own, to pass as my
own daughter "
"Arthur!" exclaimed Nancy wildlys
The secret wasTevealed,- the secret
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