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Huldah. I was the despised one. A
blur of blood passed before my eyes,
"He is headed for the bridge he
doesn't know!" I uttered breath
lessly. I started up in wild alarm. In a
flash I saw that, making a short cut
for the town by an unaccustomed
route, Telford had struck into the
road at a point ahead of the block
ade. .He had missed the danger sign.
He had no knowledge- of the con
dition of the bridge. Two days pre
vious a horse and wagon had gone
through the rotten plankway, a great
hole gaped in the center of the
bridge and some of the stringers
were hanging suspended by mere
holegaped In the center of the bridge,
and some of the stringers were hang
ing suspended by mere splinters.
The word died in my throat mean
ingless, for the devil had seized me.
What was this man to me, thaj, J
should not allow him to go headlong
on his careless way? He bad embit
tered myvexistence, why should I
seek to save his life? My manhood
cowed. Hatred, cowardice, guilt, held
me spellbound beyond the saving
Crash! a shriek, a splash, a gur
gle and all was over all save the
footsteps preceding across the hol
low, echoing plankway tramp!
But now ail that was human within
me aroused. In horror I regarded my
wilful act of crime. I ran to the
edge of the bridge, I shouted wildly.
I tore down the dim shore, calling
madly the name of the man I bad
Only the sound of the waves, the
roar of the falls below, the night
bird's thrill answered me. The void
had opened up and swallowed my
rival. Huldah was free, but I tramp !
(ramp! tramp! ever" the accusing
footsteps, and always behind me,
pursuing, challenging, accusing:
Looking back now I marvel how I
passed those dreadful days, those
wakeful nights of the two weeks suc
ceeding. Twice I had called upon
Huldah. I was amazed at the fact
that she betrayed no anxiety, none
of the suspense of a bride expectant
whose object of devotion had mys
teriously disappeared. My guilt drove
me to make my visits brief and con
strained, although Huldah seemed
glad to see me. She had with her
now a cousin, a pale-faced, hopeless
eyed girl, who seemed an invalid,
No word of the fate of Telford had
reached the newspapers. I had lined
the river for miles, making cautious
inquiries, but with no result Then
one evening those torturing footsteps
drove me to a resolution: I would
see Huldah once more, confess and
leave the place forever.
lit was twilight when I reached her
home. She Bat in a fustic chair in the
garden, humming a low tune. Miss
Dawes, near by, was gazing with sad,
far-away eyes att he crescent moon.
I leaned over the chair and said to
"I wish to tell you something of
She started, glanced quickly at her
guest, and, her nngex on her lip, led
me to a distance.
"What of Mr. Telford?" she chal
lenged, with a certain, sternness that
chilled me. . '
"He Is dead, and I am his mur
derer!" And then the words leaped over
each other tumultuously as I told my
story, all ( of it, without reservation.
She grasped a tree for support,
her face a white void.
"Go away!" she faltered, waving
her hand distractedly. "I must think
It was aU over! She hated me, she
despised me! I wandered about aim
lessly, but the influence of fatality
drew me to the river. Ever, it seemed,
calling to me, for miles I trod its
banks, the footsteps tramp! tramp;