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Newspaper Page Text
AFTER THE YEARS
By Frances Elizabeth Lanyon
"Gone!" uttered Alton Merrill, and
his heart sank, within him,. .
"Yes, sir, a week ago. It was
strange, inexplicable. For a day Miss
Harraden moped around the house,
looking stricken is the word as
though she had received had news
that had crushed her. We found a
letter on the mantel of her room. It
was addressed to you."
"Give it to me quick!" ordered the
young man breathlessly.
"My wife has it. I'll get it for you,
The caller tore open the letter ad
dressed to him in feverish haste. He
staggered at the perusal of the in
closure like a strong man, under a
lieavy blow. '
"It's impossible incredible!" he
gasped, and went from, the spot be?
wildered, dazed, heartsick.
"Mr. Merrill," so the letter ran, "I
have- discovered your cruel and
wicked duplicity. You will never see
me again. Estelle Harraden."
Alton Merrill had in his pocket the
ring provided for his marriage. He
had more than that He had a pret
ty cottage furnished with every
comfort and ornament at the edge of
,the town. For a year he had court
ed the pretty schoolteacher. The ap
pointed wedding day was less' than
48 hours ahead. What misadventure
had suddenly, mysteriously blighted
.his fond, dream of happiness?
He could not tell and did not find
out just then. He recalled a rival
an the past, Bruce .Wyant, but he had
not been seen in Brocton In six
, months. 'He expended time and
tmoney in searching for his missing
!love. It was in vain. Estelle Harra
den had disappeared as effectually as
.though the earth had opened and had
swallowed her up.
To Alton Merrill, when he came
.to the sad conclusion that Estelle
Harraden, from freak, fancy or plot
ting, was beyond recall, he accepted
his cross silently. He could never
forget, never cease to love Ms
woman. He kept the wedding ring
in a litle packet next to his heart.
He went to a friend in the town and
arranged that once a month the little
cottage he had worked so hard to
possess and furnish should be dusted
and aired and repainted once a year.
Then, with a heavy heart, Merrill
started out once more on his wan-
"I Have Suffered Deeply for My
dering role of a traveling salesman.
He applied himself to it and made
One day, while seated in a railway
station, a haggard, shabbily dressed
woman seated opposite to him came
over to him. Her face bore the traces
of former beauty, her manner
showed a certain refinement.
"You are Mr. Alton Merrill?" she
spoke. "Am I right?" '