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Newspaper Page Text
for a model. That's why I came up
here to make my fortune, for Miss
Wardell says you didn't have only
your grit and smartness and honesty
to start out on. That's so, isn't it
now? And mebbe you can show a
poor little fellow like me how to get
on in the world."
Willard closed his eyes. Shore
ham! Miss Wardell peerless Ina
Wardell, whom he had almost asked
to marry him! A twinge of reproach
caught him there. She had a right
to believe he liked her, and he had
shut out love for sordid gain, and
"Go back to Mr. Jordan," he di
rected his visitor, a strange huski
ness in his tone, "and tell him I say
to start you in at $8 a wee"k."
"G glory!" gasped the lad. "Why
that's a royal fortune to begin with."
"By the way, though," Willard
added at a glimpse of the boy's dark
knotted fingers, "you had better
wash those hands before you begin
To Willard's surprise the lad
laughed loud and heartily. His eyes
brightened up in a mirthful way.
"That isn't dirt,"he disclaimed, "I
should say not, for I've soaped and
scrubbed and used pumicestone te'n
times a day. That's walnut stains.
Just before I started for the city,
Miss Wardell and the children she's
always getting up pleasure trips for
the little ones went on a nutting
jaunt, and me along. I had to husk
the walnuts and stain won't leave
my hands for a montll. . Say, there's
the kind growing down in the old
gully isn't it a whopper?" and the
lad produced and placed on the desk
a green-skinned walnut as big as a
Bryce Willard sat regarding it
dreamily after his visitor had gone.
Memory, sentiment, a vague longing
stirred him intensely. The boy's sim
ple words, "you must have been good
and kind," contrasted a good deal
with his own realization of the hard,
selfish ways of money making. Still,
it warmed his heart to think that
back at the home town he was, loved
and respected, and InaWfllard she
"was proud of him!" ler present
life was all her gentle girlhood had
promised everybody's friend and
the idol of the children. Bryce Wil
lard made a sudden resolve. He
placed the bulky walnut in his pocket
as though it were a cherished amu
let He called in his office manager.
"Shoot that new boy ahead fast as
he earns it," was his explicit direc
tion. "I am going away for a few
days' vacation," and the next morn
ing Willard arrived at Shoreham.
He sent his luggage to the hotel
and began a desultory stroll. The
lure of the- wildwood was upon him
and he could not resist its influence.
He was a barefooted boy again amid
cherished familiar scenes. It was a
rare delight to penetrate copses .he.
had visited in the long ago, to note
spots where he had often camped
with merry companions, to inhale
the sweet air redolent with the last
subtle perfume of the dying flowers.
At last he came to a spot near an
old gully lined by giant walnut trees.
A horse attached to a light wagon
stood browsing, near some under
brush lay a tired-out little fellow on
the green sward. He had been pound
the husks from a heap of nuts across
a great log and the paddle had fallen
by his side. The shucked nuts had
been thrown in the wagon and there
was a heap of them
A whimsical idea seized Willard.
He seated himself and seized the
paddle, whack, whack! What though
the juice of the husks spattered his
hands and clothing! In a joyous, riot
ous way he seemed in harmony with
the great surging chorus of nature
around him. Then suddenly chil
dren's approaching voices, and
"Why Mr. Willard!"
It was Ina, nut-brown maid that
she was, breathing health and hap
piness, h6r eyes brighter than ever,
her handclasp warm and welcome. A
moment of explanation and then she
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