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Newspaper Page Text
TfHE PRACTICAL JOKE
By Harold Carter
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
Before Dr. Haynes had been six
weeks in Bishopsville-everybody was
agreed that there had been some
mystery in his life. Tongues wag in
small communities. Dr. Haynes lived
the life of a recluse; and even the
country people could see that his
knowledge was that of a practiced
There was the case of Mary Par
sons, the banker's younger child. She
was taken ill with appendicitis on a
Sunday morning, in the small hours,
and the nearest hospital was 15 miles
away. The case was acute, a jour
ney in the car to the railroad station
meant almost certain death. Dr.
Haynes operated in the bedroom, by
the light of an oil lamp, and a week
later Mary was sitting up m bed,
playing with her dolls.
"I wonder what the mystery is, fa
ther?" asked Gladys, the banker's
pretty 20-year-old daughter.
"It might be more charitable not
to wonder, dear," answered her
Nevertheless, the banker and his
family liked Haynes. Mary adored
him. He broke his rule of privacy in
favor of them. Very accasionally he
would pay them a visit on a Sunday
afternoon. The Parsonses encour
aged the young man. He was so
obviously a gentleman, and he had
been so kind to Mary. And it was
not long before a deeper feeling grew
up between Haynes and Gladys.
Just as the banker and his wife,
who looked favorably upon the mat
ter, began to expect the announce
ment of the engagement, Haynes
fell back into his old recluse habits.
The banker said nothing; his wife
was sorely troubled. Gladys grew
ppler, but she stifled her pride.
util that day of the dinner party,
when 1. vnes, who had refused an
t invitation, was summoned to attend,
a child who had overeaten. Mary
had invited all her little friends, the
parents had come to take them home
and the doctor found himself the cy
nosure rof all eyes. And Gladys sud
denly felt acutely the humiliation of
She was white with anger, and no
body -knew what was said until the
banker's wife found her crying upon
Haynes Announced That the Crisis
, Was Well Past
the doorstep, while Haynes was
walking quickly away.
"He has behaved shamefully!"
said Mrs. Parsons indignantly.
Gladys raised here eyes in pathetic
appeal. "You don't understand, moth
er," she answered.
The doctor had told her he loved
her, and that he had never loved any
body else; also that he could never
ask her to become his wife and vould
try to forget her, as he hoped she
would forget him,