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expansion. He talked, too, interest
diy 01 fliise laylor's affairs. He got
permission to call upon her, which
he did twice.
All but telling Miss Ryford that he
loved her did the specious knave pur
sue the brief acquaintanceship. He'
was showy in his attire and flashy in
his ways. He had cultivated the art
of flattery to its most refulgent point.
It was all a passing, pleasant varia
tion to Miss Ryford. She was not a
coquette, but sometimes there was a
certain spice of novelty and excite
ment In fringing the edge of flirta
tion. "My sister will be glad to know
you, Miss Ryford," the bold schemer
told his new acquaintance. "You see,
after I get a plant or two established
we shall make our home here."
"Then you intend to .settle in Ac
ton?" "Oh, surely. My sister is. a widow,
and, as you probably are aware, I am
an old bachelor, so we quite harmon
ize In the way of companionship.
Adelia is a refined lady arid she will
hall with pleasure an opportunity to
become a member of the charmed
social circle of which I have noted
you are the center."
At ttie end of a week Boyden left
Acton. He made a final call upon Es
ther. If ever a man indicated sup
pressed admiration more, a dawn
ing affection it was this practical
scoundrel, for of that type he was in
the fullest sense of the word.
"I declare, it has been a pleasing
variation to the dull monfctony of ev
eryday life!" sighed Esther, when he
She had not ceased to think of
Taylor; she did so now. She experi
enced a secret resentment, however
at his continued absence. Taylor
was slow-going, methodical. He
took the time it required and de
served to close up his business in the
"Ah, what a contrast to Boyden,
with his quick, dashing Ways! ' Then,
.too, the modest social ambitions of
Taylor, his care only for practical
Whereas, Boyden had always some
animating details to discuss on those
subjects which attract and interest
womankind. He had dazzled Esther
with a description of the. dresses and
diamonds belonging to his sister. Ac
cording to him, the life of this relar
tive was in accord with the keenest
social enjoyments; she was an ideal
devotee at the shrine of fashion, and
Esther was really eager to meet her.
There came abetter from the wid
ow that put Esthev all a-flutter. It
was written on the daintiest of sta
tionery, the jihirography was fault
less. It was" signed with the name
of Boyden's sister. In it Mrs. Walters
referred to the deep impression Es
ther had made upon her brother. She
thanked her for assuaging his lone
liness at Aeton. She felt warranted,
she expressed it, in aiming to dher
ish the ' acquaintanceship. Would
Miss Ryford feel it" strange if she
asked her to come down to Ross
more, their country home, just out
side ofWayburn, and spend a few
days with her during the business ab
sence of her brother? '
"How delightful!" exclaimed Es
ther upon the receipt of this missive.
"What a pleasant change from this
dreary existence it will be," and at
once replied to the letter, receiving in
return directions as to the time of
her arrival at Wayburn, where the
auto would meet her.
, Esther arrived at Wayburn the
next afternoon. There was the au
tomobile. JSJo 'her surprise, Boyden
wag at the wheel. No sister was in
view. He was. greeting Esther with
profuse and lying explanations when
two men came up behind him. Each
seized an arm.
"Got you, my heart!". observed
one of the men, and a pair of hand
cuffs was clasped upon hte wrists.
The other approached Esther and
drew her into conversation. Shame
facedly, falteringly, Esther stam
mered forth her story.