cent life for her sake. He had not
many regrets, but the corruption of
her mind was one of them.
And he told Mannering, blurting
out the truth. The clergyman real
ized what he had not seen: The re
leased convict needs feminine influ
ence, the ministrations of some wom
an to redeem him from his tenden
cies. At once he made up his mind.
"Harry," he said, laying his hand
on his shoulder, "come up to my
house as my guest for a day or two.
We'll thrash all these matters over
then, and if ydur wife's in the parish
we'll trace her. If she isn't well,
talk to my wife, and get her point of
view. I always consult her about
"You'll get me there and hold a
prayer-fest over me," growled Law
son. "Not a word, my boy. We'll have
grace before meals, but you don't
have to join in. It only lasts a min
ute, anyway. And you can stay away
from bedtime prayers."
"I'll come for the evening, then,"
"Come at five, then," said the par
son, heartily. "Don't mind how you
look. Mrs. Mannering is used to my
At five o'clock Lawson was at the
pastor's house. The maid who ad
mitted him knew all about him, evi
dently, for she said, smilingly:
"Mr. Mannering has just had a
call to go out, Mr. Lawson, but if
you'll wait in the living room Mrs.
Mannering will be home in a min
ute." Lawson waited. He began to feel
uncomfortable; he wished he had not
come. The hypocrisy of his role was
getting on his nerves. And then the
thought of Elsie made him physical
ly ill He wanted her with all the
strength of his better nature.
"Good evening, Mr. I didn't
catch your name."
A handsomely-gowned young wo
man stood smiling before him. He
jose to his feet, sheepishly. He look
ed into Elsie's face. The recognition
He saw the look of horror upon
her features. She swayed, as if she
were about to faint But he caught
her in his arms.
"Elsie! You? I have wanted you
these six years. Where have you
been? Why did you hide from me?
You are coming with me."
She struggled free. "Don't!" she
whispered. "I am John Mannering's
wife. And he does not know."
The man's look Was as wild as
hers. "His wife? You divorced me?"
"Yes. I tried to be faithful, but he
Mr. Mannering piade me a good
woman. He knows I was not every
thing good, but he does not know I
had a husband. And he does not be
lieve in divorce."
Lawson shouted, exultantly: "He
doesn't? Then you are mine, Elsie.
I'll tell him. Listen, now! Keep
calm. If you are changed, gone on
the good track, I'm ready to, also. I'm
a bit tired of the old life. Help me,
Elsie, and we'll fight together."
r "Harry, you dort't know what you
are saying. Listen, liow!" she went
on, rapidly. "I love him. Do you un
derstand that? He is the only man
who has ever shown me what good
ness is. He loves me. You won't
you won't ruin his life? I wouldn't
go with you if he turned me away.
You would gain nothing. And think!
He has helped you. He has spoken of
you to me. Harry, for my sake "
"Why should I give you up?" cried
the man, brutally. "I want you. I'll
make you love me. If I can't, at least
I'll smash things. I'll pay him back
Lin his own coin."
"Harry, you're mad! He has only
helped you. If he hadn't brought
you here you would never have
known. Harry, the the babies are
upstairs. I can't lose them, I can't
my God, Harry, you must "
She reeled, and again he caught
her and held her. He looked incred
ulously into her face.
"Kids? Two of them?" .
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