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Newspaper Page Text
A HARD PENANCE
By Walter Joseph Delaney
(Copyright by W, G. Chapman.)
"On this of all days-?-" sighed John
Pembroke, manager of the antiqua
rian bookshop of William Abercrom
bie. He had looked forward to this day
as a red letter one in the calendar
as the day, 4n fact, when he was to
ask his circumspect, hard-headed em
ployer for the hand of his daughter,
Jessie, whom he had loved in secret'
ever since he had secured his present
position and had surreptitiously
courted for the past six months.
Mr. Abercrombie had been away
for two weeks inspecting a famous
private library which a client wished
to buy. He had left John in full
charge of the bookshop. Business
'had been good and John felt proud
over itand had counted on his report
placing his gruff, practical-minded
employer in good humor. Then he
intended to tell him outright that Jes
sie and he were engaged.
Late the evening previous, how
ever, John had received a note from
Jessie that disturbed him and com
pletely discouraged all his ambitious
plans. It ran:
"I don't know why, but papa is
in a dreadful temper. It is some
thing about the old Spectator set of
books you bought."
And now John worried and chilled,
md tried to guess out where he could
lossibly have been wrong in the pur
chase in question, as he was sum
moned to the private office of his em
ployer. Mr. Abercrombie's brow was like a
thundercloud. He had the Spectator
set in question on his desk. As John
entered he pointed at the volumes
with an angry, stabbing finger.
"You bought that trash I under--
d?" he growled out.
ves, sir," admitted John.
i $600 for it'"
the price, sir."
"Well, you have been swindled. The
set is a copy a rank forgery. To an
old expert like myself such a bare
faced imposition seems impossible. I
have just this to say: The set would
not sell for $10 and I shall expect you
to make up my money you have so
John's heart sank fast and deep.
He knew that discueeion was useless.
Six hundred dollars! Wky, even if the
old man favored his suit concerning
He Cave His Name as Prof. Marsh.
Jessie that would put off all idea of
a speedy wedding.
"I beg to say," began John, but the .
old man waved all explanations aside.
John could have reminded himU7
that a standing order had been with,
the house for the very set in question.
The books looked genuine. John
had even submitted them to a very"
good authority. The dictum of his
employer, however, was final.
"It should be a lesson to you," ob
served the old man gruffly. "It would
be a very wise and shrewd man who