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as hostess seemed to be some era
cious lady chatelaine, with thought
only of making everybody happy.
Mary began to do some serious
thinking, however, as the pleasant
days drifted by. Unmistakably to
her mind Albert had gone directly
against her suggestions. He was
courteous to all, but the tabooed girl
seemed to have fascinated him
Whenever he could he was with her
and Etta appeared to'be pleased with
his attentions. Milne was furiously
incensed, for Albert constantly fore
stalled him in securing the company
It was in the thoughts of Mary
more than once to speak with Albert
on the subject of his flirting or court
ing, whichever it was, with Etta Vin
cent. There was a delicate construc
tion of his unfaithfulness to his chum
Massey in his acton.
"It may be a passing fancy," con
cluded Mary. "If not, my influence
would not deter him, I fear."
To herself Albert was more than
courteous. Mary had lost a pet dog.
It was missing for a week. She was
wild with delight when Albert restor
ed it, as she knew after, trouble and
"You kind, good friend!" she de
clared exuberantly and seized both
of his hands in a transport of rap
ture. She noted a quick breathing
expression crossed his" face. He bent
toward her as if to kiss her.
"Oh, no! No!" she demurred, hold
"I was thinking we were 'nearly
relatives'!" he quoted and seemed
Unconsciously that strange epi
sode had drawn her nearer to him.
In a measure she resented the man
ner in which Etta Vincent boldly ap
propriated this manly young knight
It was a sunny afternoon, and, for
a.wonder, as Albert entered the Hope
grounds he found Mary alone with
some fancy work on a rustic seat
She laid aside her work with a wel- j
come smile. She rapidly glanced at
his face. ' It was earnest and serious.
She wondered what was troubling
"I have come to see you about a
matter very close to my heart," he
said with unusual gravity.
"Indeed?" she murmured encour
agingly. "I am in love, Mary," he frankly
confessed. "I am going to tell that
to the object of my affection."
A quick pain crosed the hearof
"Mr. Massey is coming home to
morrow," she spoke involuntarily.
"Yes, I know that," replied Albert
carelessly. "I shall be glad to see
him, and he me. But that which I
have disclosed at present excludes
him from my thoughts. Tell me,
how shall I approach the lady of my
love, you, my good, kind guide and
"Why, don't think out a set
speech," rallied Mary, trying to be
calm and merry.
"You will be sure to forget it when
the crucial moment comes."
"Then what shall I do?"
"Love will find the right words
love and the engagement ring."
"Yes," said Albert steadily, "I have
provided that. If she refuses me it is
easy to cast the ring into the river
and seek to forget her in some dis
tant place. Mary, I want you to post
me, to rehearse my declaration with
"Why, surely," acquiesced she.
Albert walked away a few paces.
He returned and sat down beside her.
"Mary," he began, "I have some
thing to say to you "
"Why not use the name of your
prospective fiancee?" she questioned.
He paid no attention to her words,
"I love you. I have loved you
from the very first moment. Don't
you understand? To protect the
claims of my dear friend, Gordon
Massey, and to drive off that pester-
- " ' MMMM