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she had never permited even to see
intoxicants, whom she had brought
up so strictly.
She rose and went toward him; she
smelled the liquor upon his breath.
He eyed her foolishly.
"Just been out with th' boy, muz
zer!" he mumbled, and collapsed into
a chair, where he sat, blinking and
trying to assure her that he was all
The agony of that night, when with
her arms about him, she helped him
up the s"tairs. The agony upon the
father's face when he learned; the
sorrow of both when the rumors of
the neighborhood came to them, last
of all. Charley Steele was a notori
out profligate; he gambled, he drank,
he mixed with a gang of wild spirits.
Doors were closed to him. Girls
turned their heads aside when they
encouritered him; other girls looked
laughingly after him but these were
in 'their turn outcasts, from the prim
society of the little town.
Then came the day when the boy
stumbled home, discharged by the
He was sober now, and quite im
penitent 'I am going to get out of
here," he said. "A man isn't a crim
inal because he has a glass of beer.
Nobody trusts me and I'm going
west, where a man has a chance.
Give me $100, father, and you'll
never be troubled by me again."
A man! This boy! Miriam Steele
took him in her motherly arms and
sobbed over him. In the end the
bank president agreed to give him
Months passed. Charley did not
drink now, but he had become
strangely furtive in his manner.
Something ailed him. He was unflag
ging in his attention; he was always
the first to arrive at the bank and the
last to leave. He had thrown out
obscure hints of wealth to come.
This scene faded. Miriam was con
scious of Ihe awful Death Angel at
the bedside, its weapon poised, its
face turned Inquiringly toward her. ,
She saw herself in brack, kneeling
sobbing at the bank president's feet.
Other men were there, with hard, un
sympathetic faces. Charley was
there, white, and wearing a look of
bravado. She knew what had hap
pened. He had been caught 100 miles
away, in the metropolis, after a three
weeks' chase, with half of the purr
loined $20,000 still unspent.
"Give him another chance," she
"He has had his chance," the
president answered coldly. "Now he
must have justice." He advanced
and put his hand on Miriam's should
er. "See where he stands, impeni
tent," he said, pointing toward the
boy. Only a prison sentence will
avail to set him right with men."
Mariam rose, her face set in
agony, her mother's heart yearning
toward the boy, in spite of his bra
vado. Then she was aware that her.,
husband stood at her side.
"He is right, Miriam," he said. "It
was our own Indulgence that brought
him to where he stands. He must
fray his debt to man."
The scene changed. Miriam Steele
was aware of a long lapse of time.
She looked up, to see a man of 30,
broken, prematurely old, emerge
from the gates of a prison. Hag
gard, sneering, scornful, and hard of
heart, this was her boy.
She seemed to watch him during
that long railroad journey back to
the little town. She saw him pause
before the house. A harsh-faced
woman came out out of her own
home and mocked him.
"Get out, you jail-bird!" Miriam
heard her say, and her own heart
swelled with bitterness. Then she
was aware that she herself stood -at
Charley's side, comforting him, and
that he could neither see her nor feel
She turned away with the boy,
walking at his side until they reached
the little cemetery upon the hill. She
entered with the boy, and presently