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'Anyway," whispered Letitia to J
herself, "I shall 'prepare. She
flushed a trifle as she said it, her self-'
consciousness causing a sensitive- n
ness that made her shrink from any
body guessing the motives that" lay
under her secret plans.
Then the neighbors began to talk.
They all knew that Miss Parker had
a comparatively small income and
that her surplus was sparse and in
cidental. The old house was given a
new coat of paint, the interior was
neatly but cheaply redecorated.
Some chairs and a hammock adorned
the porch. A cozy lover-suggesting
rustic seat was set under a shady
tree in the garden.
"She must have more coming in
than we thought," gossiped a neigh
bor, "to go to all that expense."
They little knew the hard paring
and scraping the frugal Letitia exer
cised to carry out her project of "pre
paredness." Miss Parker blushed as
she finished soft, soft, downy pillows
for the hammock. She was not
planning for her own comfort She
was "preparing" for "visitors," and
if through her mentality there ran
a vision of a stalwart, manly young
fellow lolling in the hammock, her
good, kind soul was at fault, not van
ity, nor the base maneuvering of a
really designing woman.
How her innocent, tender heart
fluttered as the postman handed her
a letter postmarked "Gosport" That
was the town where Abel Drake was
visiting Ms folk. She opened ii with
trembling fingers, she perused it
with longing eyes.
"Oh, he is coming!" shexbreathed.
"Will he remember the old days?"
Abel had written a brief, respectful
note. He was coming to Wayne on
business, he said, and would be glad
to meet her again. Her reply was for
mal, but it put her in a flutter all day
long. Then her days of days! She
had donned her new gown with all
the pretty ornaments she possessed.
She might well feel a thrill of pride
as she glanced at the mirror. A re
gally beautiful woman showed. Le
titia was not vain, but she could not
but" realize the fact.
She feigned to be trimming the
rose bushes lining the fence when
she saw her expected visitor coming
down the street Her breath came
quick. Ah! he had stopped to greet
an old friend. Then a neighbor, a
woman standing at her gate, detain
ed him so long that Letita fairly
stamped her foot in vexation. And
'then he came, and his bronzed,
handsome face filled her vision and
she was happy.
From the first she detected a cer
tain constraint in his manner and
marveled at it He was distinctly
formal and insisted that he could
stop for only a moment. Her heart
sank as he told her that he was
going to return to the West Then
sadly, she fancied, quite sadly he
bade her good-by and was gone.
It wassail so hasty, so different to
what she had anticipated, she sat
down en the rustic bench alas! so
lonesome-looking now. The tears
came. Her proud "woman's heart
sought to stem the overpowering
torrent of despair vainly.
"I loved him so oh, I loved him
so," she sobbed forth, "and he is
"Oh, Miss Parker, please mamma
wants to borrow three eggs, if you've
got them. We're going to have com
pany for supper, and she didn't ex
pect it, and she'll send them back to
morrow, and please don't cry. Are
you sick, Miss Parker?"
It was quite natural that the little
prattler, when she ' returned home,
should tell of the kind lady she had
found In tears. Her neighbor, Mrs.
Earle, at once divided the reason,
Abel Drake got a new viewpoint of
things in general. His hostess cor
rected some false impressions he had
"I fancied from what I heard in the
town, and the general air of prosper-