By John P. Sarjent
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
"Why dp youwish to break our en
gagement?" asked'May Earle of Ned
Ward, as he stood before her in the
garden of her father's house.
It had been a hard request for him
to make, but he had nerved himself
to do so. At first the girl had made
no rejoinder; she was too astonished
to speak. Then she turned and faced
"I have ceased to love you," he an
"You are free, then," said Miss
Earle, and went on clipping the lilac
boughs. And Ned Ward walked
away, sick at heart, and yet with a
curious sense of happiness at the
conclusion of the inevitable.
Eight months before Ned Ward had
come to Bentham, to enter the local
bank as assistant manager. John
Earle had been his predecessor, but
he had died suddenly. Ned found
himself thrown into contact with his
daughter May; friendship developed
and apparently ripened into love. He
proposed and was accepted. He lived
in ecstasy for weeks.
He knew that John Earle had left
no money except $1,000 of insurance
and that May was totally unused to
work. He was glad that he was in a
position to care for her. Pretty soon
he would be made manager, when
Smith stepped out, which would
mean an income of $2,000 luxury in
So they had been happy in their
engagement until the day when
May's friend, Bessie Reid, came to
spend a few days with her. Ned had
never been told that May was ac
quainted with her. He himself had
met her only once in their home town
but she was a cousin of Myra.
Ned had told May that he had been
engaged once, years before. Myra
had broken the engagement when she
learned that Ned's expectations were
smaller than she had believed. But"
she had contrived to have it appea"
that Ned had treated her "badly. Ned
had said nothing, but Bessie, boiling
over with indignation, had vowed to
get even with Ned some day for My
Ned knew nothing of this when
May introduced him to Bessie. That
same evening, after Ned was gone,
Bessie told May of the engagement.
An Instant Later the Weapon Fell
From His Hand
Great was her disappointment io
learn that May had been told of the
matter. There was no chance of
making mischief there.
She went to Ned. "I think I ought
to tell you something, Mr. Ward,"
she said. "Miss Earle Is marrymg
you for your-mojaey. She does not
care for you at all. In fact, she has .
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