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Newspaper Page Text
as an esteemed friertd on all occa
sions. "I've come to aBk you to marry
me," said Hickory bluntly one even
"Oh, I am so sorry," she told him,
and his face and heart fell. "I es
teem and respect you, Mr. Downey,
but I cannot be vour wife."
f x "And you acted as if you liked me
right along!" meurned Hickory.
"You don't know how much I like
you," replied Mrs. Royce. "It is be
cause I .like you that I will not en
courage you, until until. No! No!
I I can't tell, and, indeed you must not
think of me in the love way. You
are a good man, Mr. Downey, and if
I should marry you and trouble came
"We'll share it together!" pro
nounced Hickory doughtily.
But she woukl have her way and
Hickory was disconsolate. He fell off
in his visits and grew slimmer than
ever. She did not evade him, but
there was a sad look on her face
whenever they met.
Mrs. Royce was not seen out of
the house for over a week. Then
Hickory learned that she was ill. He
brought flowers for her from the rail
road junction and inquired about her
daily. Her landlady was touched
with the devotion of Hickory.
"Mrs. Royce is not sick with any
fever or that like," she told Hickory
one day. "She's had .a shock."
"What do you mean?" questioned'
"Well, the day she was taken s6
two men came here in an automobile.
After they had gone I found her in
a dead faint." She described the vis
itors and Hickory looked dangerous.
A week later as Hickory was near-
IP ing Brocton on his return trip an
i automobile passed his rig. He recog
nized the occupants as answering to
the landlady's description of the two
visitors of Mrs. Royce.
They had arrived at Brocton be
fore Hickory had arrived. He was
at the house as soon as he had put 1
up his horses. Then he went to see
the landlady. Yes, the two strangers
had been there again, he was told,
and Mrs. Royce had suffered a re
lapse. She understood that the men
had gone to the hotel.
Hickory arranged for a substitute
the next day and hung around town,
located the two men at the hotel and
proceeded to shadow them. They
were furtive, evil-eyed fellows and
Hickory wondered what their busi
ness could be with Mrs. Royce.
Late In the afternoon the men
strolled beyond the town, as if seek
ing a quiet place where they could
discuss their affairs free from the
danger of watchers or eavesdrop
pers. In striving to keep them as close
company as was safe, Hickory made
a detour that nearly betrayed him.
To evade discovery he was forced to
hide. A hollow log was the nearest
covert. Hickory crawled into it, fully
hidden from view.
The men paused at the log. It
was a convenient resting place. They
sat down upon it One of them was
"The woman fooled us. The order
she gave us on a broker in the city he
would not pay, said she had met with
losses and had no balance to her ac
count" "Put up job, you see, yes, and if
she don't come down with the cash
I'll spring the contents of this pack
age on her aristocratic friends, just
They arose and started down the
incline. Hickory protruded his head
to gaze after them.
"Thunder!" he ejaculated.
The movement of his body had
thrown the log off its balance. It
began to roll down the hilL It
struck both men. One. was sent to
the ground, stunned, the other was
swept aside, his ankle broken. This
was a shock. The log landed against
a tree and shattered.
Hickory crawled out from the de
bris. He noticed a package lying