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der the watchful glannerof Saunders
he succeeded In stammering out a
request to visit her that evening, to
which she acceded.
She lived' in the same little place,
opposite the house of his relative,
who had died years before. Her own
parents were dead also. It was a lone
ly life lor a girl, Merritt thought. The
JA well-remembered sights depressed
uiui wuie iiia.ii ovei, uuueuuituiuw
the presence of the girl seemed about
all that he had to cling to in the lone
ly life that seemed to shut him out
from his fellows.
He must have conveyed something
of his feeling for her, for the restraint
vanished and soon they were chatting
away like old friends and telling each
other the story of their pastten years.
"Yes, I've been clerking for Mr.
Saunders these four years past," she
said. 'It's dull but life seems dull
to me. I suppose 111 have to keep at
it And you, Mr. Merritt?"
"It used to be Will," he said.
"Well, Will, then," she returned,
laughing. "I do hope you have had
He looked at her in amazement.
Had she not heard of him? He was
not a vain man, but it seemed incred
ible, when all the newspapers and
magazines had been full of his suc
cess. "Yes, I have done pretty well," he
MI am so glad to hear it," answered
the girl. "You have no idea how hor
rid people are. I bu.t I suppose I
shouldn't be saying it"
He pressed her to tell him. "You
remember how we used to tell each
other everything," he pleaded.
"Well, after you had gone Mr.
'! Bovce came into the store and asked
Mr. Saunders if he had seen you. He
said he had, and that you had spent
half an hour in the store taking up
"The best half hour I have ever
spent!" exclaimed Merritt enthusi
astically. Nettie colored slightly. "Well," she
continued, "Mr. Boyce said 'he sup- .
posed you had come back to try to
get a job in town, and were dressed,
up to make a bluff. And he said you
would never get anything in his place,
and Mr. Saunders agreed that it-was.
the same as far as he was concerned.
I felt so humiliated, and I am so glad '
to learn that it isn't so at all."
Merritt was thunderstruck. So
these people had never heard of him
at all. He had. ascribed their coldness
J to the natural reserve of a little com
munity instead of which he was,' in
their eyes, the same ne'er-do-well!
the same hrcapable. And Nettie did
"Nettie," he said, taking her hand,
"do you remember that time we'
found a dime in the road and I split
it in two and, we divided it?" -
"Perfectly, Mr. Merritt," she re
"Well, Will." j
"And do you remember what I said
to you then?"
"No, William. That part has es
caped my memory altogether."
"Would you like me to remind
The girl's eyes, which had be"en
downcast, were suddenlyjtraised. to
his. ', W
"I told you that that made us
sweethearts, and that some day I "
should marry you," said the man.
He saw that she was trembling, and
in that moment he knew that he had
always loved her and that it was prov
idence which had kept him aloof and
uncontaminated by the world, for this,
only. And she did not know anything
of him, of his wealth, of his success."
"Will you marry me, dear?" he
asked. "I can support a wife in com
fort," he continued whimsically.
He drew her into his arms and
kissed her. MYou see, I have always
had the habit of meaning what I say,"
"Will, dear, I have loved you all my
life," she answered.
(Copyright by W. G Chapman.).
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