A MAN'S MISTAKE
By George Munson
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
When Charles Dawson left home
with his father's fervent wish that he
might never return few had expected
to see him again. So when Tom
Dawson died and left him his entire
property, the flourishine farm and
dairy and the lots on Midvale avenue,
aggregating a sum of $100,000, ev
erybody knew that the ne'er-do-well
would turn up again soon.
He did. Very few people remem
bered that Esther Rogers and
Charles had been engaged, but the
few who remembered speculated.
Esther was now a middle-aged wom
an, which is not the same as middle
aged. She was perhaps 37. Charles
must be 43, if he was a dav. Would
the engagement be renewed that
engagement that Esther had broken
at her mother's insistence?
They met and resumed their friend
ship. People wondered, but little was
lo be learned. They seemed just good
friends. Meanwhile Charles proved
that his journey west had sobered
him. He ran the farm systematical
ly and made good money out of it
Then Laura Dean came into his
existence. Laura had been a little
thing in short dresses when Charles
went away. Now she was a young
lady of 25, the prettiest in the vil
lage, and the gayest. Esther, watch
ing, saw that after Charles had met
Laura all the welcome in his eyes for
her seemed to fade away.
Like all good women, Esther craved
a husband and a home. She had
dreamed of Charles ever since his
return. It would be affectation to
say that she had not often forgotten
him during the years of his absence.
But with his return the memory of
the old love came back to her and,
though she dared not show it. she
fancied Charles was not indifferent
he fancied, so that ninht when he-
opened his heart to her. He toW her
what a wreck he had made of his life.
"I was a fool, Esther," he said un
happily. "I squandered my youth.
What is left to me now?"
As he said this he looked up, and
suddenly Esther knew that her eyes
had answered, him. She blushed fu
riously. Now that she knew he cared
for her she "was afraid. And then
well, then an interruption came.
For a girlish voice rang out from
Looked at Him Piteously When He
the street: "Miss Rogers! Oh, Miss
Rogers! Where are you?"
It was Laura, unconventional as
always. Of course, she was invited
in and presented to Charles, and as
soon as the man had set eyes on her
he began to dream again. He
dreamed of a youth that was yet re
coverable. He looked at Laura as if
she embodied all that Esther had
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