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front door open, Its lock forced. Ly
ing on the floor and struggling at
bonds that he had partially loosened
was Hope Two men had suddenly
intruded upon him several hours pre
vious, he asserted. They had bound
and gagged him. And the money,
the precious $6,000 they had ran
sacked the house, as its upset con
dition' showed, and had discovered
and made away with the money,
which they had discovered under an
old corner rug where Hope had hid
The bold robbers had escaped with
out leaving a trace behind them. The
town- was all agog over the incident
Hope was inconsolable. He groaned,
he absolutely wept. Minna, in the
. absence of Booth,, came over to con
sole him, but Hope would not be
comforted. What would Booth say?
He could not make good the loss, for
he had nothing but the" old shack of
a house left,- and that was mort-
"Don't let that worry you," insist
ed Booth when he returned, "the
money is gone. I'm sorry, for it puts
off my marrying Minna for two more
years. Oh, well! IH work the hard-
i er and soon have a little surplus."
"I'm going to jnake the old house
ovec to you and "go and live with my
brother in Tennessee," declared
Now the old home was on leased
. ground and not worth $500', but
Booth obligingly consented to release
the old man from any further obliga
tion and Hope began to make prepar
ations to leave the village.
Every day Minna ran over to visit
Mr. Hope. She took over little deli
cacies, prepared by her own deft
hands. Often she just chatted with
the old man. And aty the time, Minna
watched, him closely. Truth was, she
had observed something that had
aroused her suspicions as to his hon
esty. She did not mention thisHo a
living soul, "however. Minna simply
watched and waited.
HoD6 had been tied-with a clothes-,
line.. The day after the robbery Min
na, had observed that this had been
cut from a line at the rear of the lot
On the fence' board near by she had
found, a pocket knife, which s"he
knew helonged to Hope.
It was the last day that Hope was
to remain in the village. About noon
Minna met her brother, 12 years old,
back of the Hope home. He carried
a bundle under his arm.
"Now then, Willie," said Minna In
a- mysterious undertone, "you un
derstand what you are to do?"
"Yes but I don't know why."
"And do not try to guess," advised
Minna briskly. "You must be sat
isfied with the dollar I promised. Do
justss I tell you, make lots of smoke,
but don't let anything catch fire." '
"All right" answered Willie, and
proceeded to enter the basement of
Minna went around the front way.
As she had anticipated, Hope lay
asleep on a lounge. It was his usual
hour fpr a nap. Minna lingered at
the door of the room.
In. a few minutes the room began
to fill with sinoke. Minna coughed,
but stood her grojund.
'"U-ff! Ough! Fire! Fire!" sudden
ly shouted Hope, arousing.
Minna watched him. Hope ran to
a bookcase. He began to pull it-;from
the Vail as Minna entered the room
with the words:
"It's only some rags caught here
in the cellar, Mr. Hope."
"How did they get alight?"" cried
Hope, rushing for the cellar. "Some
of those idle boys smoking, I sup
pose!" The minute he was gone Minna
hurried to the bookcase, pulled it out
and saw lying behind it an oblong tin
box. She seized it and hurried home.
Half an hour later she returned to
the Hope house. ,
"Mr. Hope," she said, "I've found
Booth's stolen $6,000."
'You've what!" blurted out the old
man, and his glance turned to the