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Ity as she left the works and her hand
crushed the check into creases. With
second thought, however, she felt
rather pleased at the plain, practical
admiration of the business man.
Strength, character, not feeble, flit
ting beauty. This man of affairs had
paid a tribute to elements she cher
ished. "Of what use have they been to me
in getting on in the world, solilo
quized Hester bitterly that evening as
she sat' at the window of her humble
home. She was, however, at least
peaceful of mind and comfortable.
The hundred dollars meant security
and a basis to work on for some
weeks to come. The retrospective
mood was upon her, however.
What had her life been? What of
visions of ambition had materially
accrued? She dreamed of the long
pist grouping about one central
point the incidents of which had not
been out of, her waking mind so much
as a single hour through ten years.
She was a girl of twelve again,
poor, barefoot and plainly clad. SheJ
stood beside a little wiliow-innqed
brook. She held one hand tightly
closed, meanwhile with the other
dabbling her tear-stained cheeks.
She was waiting for the only being in
the world who had ever been inter
ested in her, the only one she ever
cared for. ,
He came with a rush, Irwin Dale,
a handsome, manly lad of fifteen, too
proud to cry, but tears were in his
eyes as he choked out -the words:
"I had to scheme to get to you.
Oh, it's good-by, my dear, my dear,"
and the boy and girl, innocent, art
less, they stood clasped in one an
other's arms, their tears comming
ling. "They gave me presents," sobbed
the boy. "A watch, a ring, and lies
from my cousins, but they are glad
I am going away to make my way in
life alone as they call it Oh, all
their hollow gifts are as nothing to a
kiss from you, whom I love! love!
"I have no gift of value to give,
you, Irwin," spoke the girl, "except,
this. See, it is a mottled lucky
stone,' and I have put a bit of ribbon
through it, and I've wept over it,
and kissed it, and prayed over it, and
it will bring you fortune, oh, sure,
"I will wear it always, I will cherish
it as the dearest gift in life!" cried1
Irwin. "Then, when it has brought
me fortune, I will bring it back to
you and ask you to be my wife I
And then some of his friends called
him and he tore himself away, wav
ing his hand, blinded with tears.
She had never seen him since. Her
father had died, she had gone to the
city, had found work, had scraped
and starved to get an education, had
seen many hard, disappointing ex
periences, and her ideal had never
faded, but hope had died within her.
Three days later a brisk, energetic
young man who had entered the
office of Mr. Wade stared fixedly at
a large, new photograph on the desk
of his chief. The young man was
the special sales negotiator of the
firm, and he drew the largest salary
of any employee in the establish
ment He rushed out to find Wade.
He was so much of a favorite about
the plant that he was hail-fellow
well-met all around.
"Wade!" he cried, running up
against Wade, "the photo on your
"Who is she?" questioned Wade.
"No, where is she? How when "
"Hold on I'll explain. You know
"I have been looking vainly for her
for four years and I lave her!"
"Ha! hum! what a romance!" and
Wade told his story.
Hester Gray was packed up and
ready to leave for the city that 'even
ing when her landlady summoned
her to the parlor to meet a caller.
She crossed its threshold, halted
spellbound, swayed and paled.