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"All out of practice now, I sup
pose?" Intimated Geraldine.
"Try me and see," defied Hector.
That was a merry, enjoyable re
minder of home for the country boy.
It seemed as if to flavor of old-time
village life had pleasantly-come into
his humdrum city career. Geraldine
looked charming in the expensive,ki
mono apron borrowed from the land
lady. "I have made a most pleasant ac
quaintance," Hector wrote home to
his mother the' next day. "She is
Miss Geraldine Price I don't go out
much evenings, you know, and Miss
Price is quite a pianist, and we have
some pleasant times together."
"It's come the blow has fallen!
I've feared it all along," groaned Mrs.
Blaine taher sister, as she read Hec
tor's letter. "You see, he's going to
marry some city high flyer."
"Well, Geraldine does sound stagey
and lofty and mighty," agreed Hec
The next letter from Hector called
Miss Price "Geraldine." Then he
wrote announcing his engagement,
and his poor mother grew more pes
simistic than ever.
The engagement was the outcome
of a severe cold that Hector had. It
was Geraldine who prescribed for
him. In two days he was up and
about, and minus any doctor's bills,
and all through old-fashioned home
"Why, that onion syrup you made
me was just what mother always
gives for a cold," declared Hector,
"and I shut my eyes and could fancy
I was right back home when you
brought in the goose grease for my
sore throat I don't understand how
you come to know all these things."
"Oh, I've read a lot, you see," ex
plained Garaldine, with a quiet twin
kle In her eye, and who, by the way,
had heard of the active horror of
Hector's mother as to "city girls."
The "blow" fell upon Mrs. Blaine
at last with stunning force. She re
ceived a boyish heartsome letter
from Hector announcing his mar-
riage. "The boss" had made the
happy newly married pair a hand-
some present, and had given them a
two weeks' vacation.
"Geraldine wishes to pass our hon
eymoon with you, dear mother"
wrote Hector, "and we will be with,
you Thursday evening."
Affairs came about, however, that
they could get away a day earlier. It
was just dusk Wednesday evening"
when bride and groom arrived at
Hector's little home town.
"Why, there's no one at home!" ex
claimed Hector in Tast surprise as
they reached the house to find it dark
and deserted. He ran over to a
neighbor to discover an amazing fact
Mother was downtown at the dress
maker's "getting her new silk dress!"
She had not expected Hector and Ills
wife till the following evening.
"Oh, Hector!" suggested Geral
dine, "can't we get into the house
some way? And can't I get supper
all ready so that when mother comes
home we can give her a surprise by
having it all ready for her?"
r Ten minutes later, a big calico
apron covering her dainty form, Ger
aldine was absolutely queen of the
kitchen. Her eyes were like two dia
monds amid the excitement of the oc
casion, her cheeks resembled damask
roses. Lost in admiration, Hector
"Why, this will never seem like
home again if you are missing from
the picture!" he enthused. "What
would mother say?"
How Geraldine hurried! How glad
she was when half an hour went by,
an hour, a whole hour and a half
without interruption. By that time
she had fresh, crisp biscuits, a cake,
a custard, the meat, the vegetables
Hector came rushing in from the
street where he ha'd been watching
"She's coming," he announced.
"Quick, get the surprise ready!"
Mrs. Blaine, observing lights, rush-
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