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Newspaper Page Text
By Hector Raynie Burleigh
"Preparedness is the keynote of
the hour," read Miss Letitia Parker
in the weekly newspaper of the little
village in which she lived.
She scarcely understood the full
meaning and specific application of
the word, for hers was a placid life,
avoiding war's alarms. She never
forgot that word thereafter, how
ever, for directly below it was a four
line local item that made the color
rise to her cheek and her breath
come quick. It ran:
"Our former townsman, Abel
Drake, is sojourning with some rela
tives down Gosport way. Five years
is a long time. Drop around and get
a good, friendly handshake, Neigh
"He has come back!" breathed
Miss Parker tumultuously, and her
hand grasped the paper with a ner
vous twitching of the fingers, and
her eyes took to their depths a
fluttering, faraway expression.
For it was indeed five years since
Abel Drake had gone away, and all
that time he had been enshrined in
her heart of hearts as the model, the
idol of her sentimental dreamings.
He was 22 then, she two years
younger. Now she was 25, but time
had not dissolved the velvet softness
of her cheek nor the gentle luster of
her eyes. She had grown a trifle
prim with the dawning of woman
hood, but her heart was. still young.
She had always liked Abel, despite
his quiet, retiring way. A stray ex
pression of a friend of Abel, coming
to her ears second-hand, had cast
the die that fixed her life's hope and
aspiration. "I'm going away to wres
tle with fortune," Abel was reported
to have said. "If I make a go of it I
am coming back to ask the woman I
most admire and respect to be my
wife, and that is Letitia Parker."
t And upon this frail soul food Le
titia had existed during the long, pa
tient years. At the first she had
hoped Mr. Drake would write her
from his new place of sojourn in the
west, but he had not done so. Then
she had folded her hands and sighed,
telling herself that it was "better to
have loved and lost than never to
have loved at alL"
Just now all the old romance was
revived. The newspaper announce-
Below It Was a Four-Line Local Item
ment stirred her magically, mightily.
Of course, sooner or later he "would
come to Wayne to see his old friends.
He might not have succeeded in his
plans for getting on in the world. He
might be only making a flying visit
He might have forgotten all about
her. Still, hope burned brightly in
her longing heart.