boy and girl, strolled down the lanes,
abloom with wild roses. Joe Byrnes,
who also hoped to be a singer and
had never succeeded in anything!
Unconsciously her feet were lead
ing her in the directioa of Joe's old
home. Suddenly she stood stil and
gasped in amazement: Leaning
thoughtfully over the gate, dressed in
stylish clothes, was Joe himself.
Their recognition was mutual. Joe
lifted his hat, not with the old awk
wardness, but with a flourish redo
lent of fashionable society.
And Cynthia, shaking hands with
Joe, found herself positively blushing
again, like a schoolgirl.
It was odd, too, but after their first
embarrassment wore off, they found
themselves chatting in much the old
style, as they leaned over the gate.
Joe had at last succeeded. He was in
business, according to the impression
heave Cynthia, and he was in a fair
way to become a rich man. He laugh
ingly admitted that he had abandon
ed his musical hopes forever.
"No, Miss Dale," he said, "I've
mixed a good deal with musical peo
ple, but I had- sense enough to see
that I hadn't any talent myself. But
how about you?" he added, looking
at her keenly.
And somehow Cynthia blurted out
the truth. Joe took her statements
with surprising calmness; though he
shook hands with her cordially.
"It's a shameryou should -have to
use a proiesBionai aaiuv, mioo ub j
oh, hang it, Cynthia.. May I call you
that as I used to do?" he'added, red- '
And their talk drifted into still
mtTre intimate things. Somehow the
illusion persisted perfectly. Cynthia j
was, conscious of being a little girj .
again, with her first beau.
"Cynthia," said Joe, later, "do. you
know, in spite of the world, and its
oips and downs, I've always felt that
I'd like to come back tp the old place
and settle down here again?"
"So have I," said Cynthia,. j
"I'll be in a. position to do so any i
time, .as soon as I can get rid of my
obligations," said Joe; "Listen, Cyn
thia. Suppose" I did come back, and
found you here, and oh, Cynthia', .
dear, you know I haven't changed in
all these years."
Cynthia let her hand rest in Joe's.
"You're dear," she said. "But ypure
part of the illusion. I've never cared
for anybody since I knew you not
seriously. But, Joe, I don't think I
should feel that when I got back to
the big world. Joe, dear, if I were to
meet you then well, I don't know."
"That's hope enough for me," said
Joe, as he left her at the end o the
village.- Somehow Cynthia had felt
that' Joe would be out of place at the
On the morrow she returned to
New York, firmly resolved to break
away from the life she hated, as soon
as the dreaded Muzzini contract
closed. At thirty dreams of a happy
life, with husband and children, had
become more real to her than the ap
plause of the audience and the glam
our of the footlights.
, But when she was back in her
apartment in the great city the
glamour once more took, possession
of her. She hardly slept that night
"I don't know," she said to herself
the next morning, as she dressed to w
go to the interview with Muzzini.
Muzzini's office was crowded. Even
she had to wait 'though she was to
have the precedence oyer the crowd
of nondescripts that haunted the
place. They .looked at her with envy,
and once again a .distaste for this life
came over her. She recalled the time
when she, too, had begged for'-inter-views
with impressarios, and she pic
tured Muzzini as just such a man as
these a pompous, underbred Italian. ,
How she hated her contract!
"Signor Muzzini will see Madam
Alloni!" announced the office boy.
Cynthia followed him into the little
room. She looked into the face of
"Joe!" she gasped, and. suddenly
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