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Newspaper Page Text
Ned Darlington nodded a bright
adieu to his friend and went on his
way, snapping his fingers jauntily,
poor as a church mouse, but happy
all over because he had learned the
news at the law office where he was
a junior student that their uncl& had
provided for Ralph royally.
Time was when Ned had been the
prime favorite of the rich old man.
Then, because he would not truckle,
Mr. Darwin had frowned on him. It
was Ned who had pushed to the front
Ralph Warner at this juncture. Tbe
latter was a closer relative, he' rea
soned; he was not able to work reg
ularly; manly ease and comfort
should be his. He should have it.
Ned stepped aside for a friend.
He thought no more of that than if
he had given up a meal to some hun
gry tramp. He was free now to tell
Uncle Darwin what he thought of
him when he acted selfish and un
charitable. His mother had left him
a small settled income. It was
enough to enable him to wastesome
time on his visionary scheme's while
preparing for the law. He was a
very prince of optimism, contented,
good to everybody, supremely happy.
And he loved Lucia Ross! There
was another bright spot in his life.
He had not told her yet Sometimes
he wondered if, when the critical mo
ment came, she would favor his ap
peal. Ah, then! They could be
friends that was a consolation.
Ned was fully aware that he was
not mentioned in the will of dead
Abram Darwin. He was' on hand in
the vicinity of the old mansion, how
ever, as the heirs expectant entered
the house. There was crotchety
cousin Felix, old Aunt Pamela time
servers with lofty anticipation. There,
was a crew of ravenous distant rela
tives. Ralph had been especially
summoned. Lucia, too, and Ned
wondered why, for she was not a re
lative of the dead man.
Ned loitered about the grounds.
He wanted to congratulate Ralph
when he rode away realizing how
rich a man he was. A lurking fond- jr
ness for Lucia, too, made him hope ,
he would have an opportunity totg,
walk home with her.
In about half an hour down the
front steps bolted Cousin Felix. He
was red-faced and raving. He was f
swinging his cane about in venge
ire. "What's the trouble, Cousin
Felix?" challenged Ned.
"Trouble? Outrageous, sheer rob-1
bery!" choked out the other.
"None of us. Why aren't you in
"Oh ,'i have no interest in the es
tate, that was settled long ago," de
"Don't dissemble!" grunted Cousin
Felix between his teeth. "You're left
the little house and lot where you
were born. That's something."
"Well, well!" smiled Ned. "I can
turn it into a laboratory. Just the
"To think of it!" proceeded Cousin.
Felix "not a sou left to any of us
heirs except Ralph Warner and Lucia
Ross, and she not even a relative!"
"What about Miss Ross?" demand
ed Ned sharplyl ,
"Why, the entlrje estate is left to
Ralph, except twenty-five thousand
dollars. She gets that if she mar
Ned Darlington fell back against a
tree and gasped.
Cousin Felix passed on. Ned stared
into vacancy. Mr. Darwin had always
liked Lucia, but to make this ridicu
lous, unheard-of arrangement! What!
To practically make Ralph a rich
man and throw in sweet, peerless
Lucia as if she were a bag of gold!
Ned started away from the spot.
The bright sun of optimism was in
eclipse. He turned as a quick step
sounded on the graveled walk.
it was Lucia. Her cheeks wore an
angry flush. Her lovely lip& were
curled in disdain and chagrin. She
seemed slightly hysterical as -she aj-,