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that he was given the alternative be- T sense of change. Ralph thought the
tween death and New Mexico. He
had made the sensible choice. He
went with regret, because he was in
love with Mary, and he dreaded the
rivals that flocked about the wealthy
"Marry me and come with me," he
had urged. .
Mary declined. Cold-hearted, she
was not going to bury herself in New
Mexico with a man who might not
hve out the year. But she promised
to be true to him.
And her letters, gay and full of
stories of her home life, had made
him incredibly homesick until he
Now, riding homeward, he knew
that Mary was only the pale shadow
of his love; that Juanita had his
heart and always would have it. He
was going home because as a man of
honor there was no other course.
And he was gding home cured.
He had not heard from his fiancee
for several weeks. And Ralph had
dared to nope wnat he had once-l
feared that she, too, had learned
that her heart lay in another's keep
ing. A week later he stepped off the
platform of the Grand Central station
in New York. As he rode in a taxi
cab toward the home ofhis fiancee
the solution of his problem came to
him at last. Why should he make
two lives unhappy if if Mary did
not care for him . He would be as
frank with her as she had always
been with him.
He descended at the door. When
he rang the butler stared at him in
amazement; the man remembered
him and had thought that he would
"Ill tell Mrs. Leeson, sir," he stam
mered. "Not Mrs. Leeson, but Miss Mary,"
The butler did not seem to hear
him. Ralph walked into the parlor
and sat down. His heart was beating
butler had seemed less courteous
than formerly. The furniture was
covered, the room had not been dust
ed for some time. Ralph wondered
he was conscious of something which
added to the pain of the approaching
interview. When it was all over he
must hurry home to his folks in Al
bany, stay awhile, tell them of Juan
ita i Mary stood before him. She had
come in so quietly that Ralph had not
heard her. There was a strange look
in her eyes. She shrank away from
him, staring hard.
"I happened to be home," Rlph
heard her saying.
"But, Mary, Mary "
"You have not heard?"
"Sit down," she answered calmly.
"I see you do not know. I am a poor
woman, Ralph. My father was in
volved in the crash of the banks last
month. I couldn't write I didn't
know what you would think "
r The young man's heart sank, his
hopes ebbed, vanished. He seemed
plunged into an abyss from which
there was no escape. He understood
the coldness of her greeting now. She
was prepared to release him. She
thought he would not want to marry
her when her father was a bankrupt.
And that was what made his plans
impossible. How could he ask her
to release him now? The face of
Juanita shone upon the background
of his spiritual vision.
"Mary, it doesn't make any differ
ence," he heard himself saying.
She was staring at him. "Any dif
ference?" Bhe echoed.
"I mean did you suppose that I
would not want to marry you because
you are poor?"
She was still staring at him. She
rose and put her hands upon his
"Ralph, you you have met anoth
er girl you care for, haven't you?"
she asked frankly.
Why, the light of understanding in
fast and there was an undefinablej
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