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Newspaper Page Text
next day for having spoken of it, and
after that he seemed to rely on her
judgment a good deal.
Poor little Elise watched drearily
through her employer's Innumerable
love affairs. Ladies, redolent of fine
perfumes and rustling silken skirts
swept into bis office; flowers adorned
his desk. Once there was, fight, and
Robert trounced his rival while Elise
looked on aghast, her heart quiver
ing until she saw Robert's fist strike
the aggressor to the floor. Then she
ran to him and looked into his face
so eagerly that Robert forgot his an
ger and smiled back at her and took
her out to lunch. That was a gala
occasion, but Elise was forgotten
through long, dreary weeks .while a
discreditable scandal pursued, its un
even way through the columns of the
'And how she clung to her promise
to Joe, and looked for the day when
she could tell Robert that she had
redeemed it- She "tried in innumer
able ways to .steady the big man.
There was a bottle of bromo seltzer
always tactfully placed at his desk
when he was Me in the morning, and
Rpbert always accepted. It in silence.
He must have known, where it came
from, but nothing was. ever said.
jThencame the panic that followed
thB boom. Robert was by. this time
aillionaireseveral times over. His
deal? were the talk of the street One
thing was never said-among all the
charges made. against -.him.. It was
never alleged that Robert Joyce went
back on an agreement But others
were less scrupulous. The collapse
of the-big Western pool'was caused
by treacherous partners, who sneak
ed away from the compact, leaving
Joyce to shoulder the burden. Rich
as he war, it was more than he could
Those were wild days at the office.
Ttobert and Elise worked day and al-A
most half the night, fighting the drop
ping prices as the stock found its own
level again. Mortgages were called,
loans negotiated; every penny of cash
that could be procured was obtained
to help the big man fight "his grim
battle against those who. were forcing
him to' the wall; Once Elise was in
trusted with the secret mission of
selling Joyce's Rubens. The har
assed man dared not let his creditors
know that he was at his wits' end.
For the first time the girl went to the
big house to carry through the deal.
She saw that it was nearly bare. Pic-.
tures, Bilver and costly rugs all had
gone; and still, like a wolf at bay,
Joyce fought for his respite.
For three'weeks the battle went on,
with, alternating hope and despair. At
last, Robert Joyce, grown gray and
old, found himself done for. He acted
with singular quietness in those days.
The fiightiness had all gone out of
him. He was the reed and Elise the
He called her to him. "Miss Mar
shall," he said he had always ad
dressed her as that "I have a thou
sand dollars saved out' of the wreck,
honestly saved. That is for you. I
shall send it to you tomorrow.
"I couldn't " the girl began. But
he stoped her sternly' and asked her
to leave him. Elise w'enfe to the door.
As she was passing out she heard
something snap behind her. She
rushed back. Robert Joycestill sat
at his desk, and" he was -dropping a
cartridge into a revolver.
In an instant she was at his, side.
She snatched the weapon front his
hand and flung it upon the floor. And,
kneeling down, she buried her Bead
in his coat and" sobbed heartbrokenly.
Joyce looked at Tier In surprise.
His hand stroked her dark hair.
"Why, Elsie,"' he said, "I never
thought you would care. I have al
ways fought my own nattles. Dp you
know you are the only one, the only
one who cares?" ' -
Elise still sobbed at the frustration
of her life's work, the failure to ful
fill her promise to Joe.
"What does it mean to y6u?" lie
asked, bewildered. "Why do you
care?" - , ,.