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ment all this presaged. He hired a
man to run. the farm early in May,
and went to Riverdale, as said, with
a happy, hopeful heart.
Young Tascott acted like a true
friend, and Viola welcomed him with
apparent pleasure. Norman secured
a room at the village hotel. Every
afternoon there was tennis, or a pic
nic or some society function at the
Tascott home, where Norman was re
ceived as an honored guest Viola
had her girl cousins visiting her and
they were a sociable, jolly group.
Then that unfortunate afternoon
Norman was passing the open win
dow of a room in which Viola and
some of her friends were gathered.
He heard his name spoken before he
reached the window. He heard, as
he passed it, those fateful words:
"I would not marry that country
lout, if he were the last man in the
"What inference could he divine ex
cept the one that he had been under
discussion, and that Viola had spoken
her mind. Stunned, crushed, humili
ated, he hastened to the hotel. With
in an hour he was fleeing from Riv
erdale as though it held a pestilence.
He left no particular word for Vioia
or for her brother.
Then, in solitude, loneliness and
gloom, Norman settled down to the
hardest kind of work on his little
farm. He never went to Riverdale,
he made no inquiries concerning his
former friends, the clock of his life
seemed to have stopped for him, and
he lost his nerve and ambition.
To make matters worse, the crops
were a complete' failure that year.
What produce Norman took to Plain
field to sell barely paid his debts.
Winter came on, and he was not able
to put in the usual annual supply of
It was a harsh, shivery season, full
of privation and discomfort. Many
a night he sought rest early to save
the little heap of cordwood he had in
Then came a two weeks' spell of 1
20 below zero weather. To keep
from positive suffering, Norman had
to use up his little stock of hard,
wood. He began to gather up loose,
boards and chips around the place.
He became alarmed for his team, and
battened them into the little stable,
tearing down a shed to repair the,
barn. A part of the refuse of ther
shed and its boards sufficed for
quite a fuel supply for the rude fire7
place in the kitchen of the cabin. ,
There had been a heavy fall of
snow, then it had cleared off bitterly(
cold. Seated shivering by the almost
empty fireplace, Norman half decided
to drive with his team to Plainfield
and put up at the hotel there till
The day had opened clear and
bright, but towards noon the snow
had begun. Now it was a howling,
blinding tempest With the excep
tion of a few bits of wood the fuel
supply was absolutely exhausted.
"What was that?'., cried Norman
suddenly, and sprang to his feet, for
above the wailings of the wind a
clear, sharp cry had echoed forth in
the grasp of the tempest outside.
Dimly he made out a shadowy
mass in black contrast where the
road had been. He struggled through
the snow to discover a horse attach
ed to a sleigh, lying inert where it
had fallen. On the seat was the form
of a man, evidently overcome by the
intense cold. Staggering toward him
was a woman, apparently attracted
by the lights in the cabin, and
screaming for help.
It was Viola Tascott! She fell half
fainting into his arms. He bore her
into the cabin, placed her on the big
settee near the fireplace, dashed
forth again, discovered that the horse
was dead, and then bore in his arms
into the cabin the overcome brother
of the girl he loved.
Norman at once comprehended
that the Tascotts had started across
country that morning for Plainfield,
to be overtaken by the storm. The
brother lay unconscious. Viola wag