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MR. BETTLING'S HEIR
By Alice E. Ives
'(Copyright, 1917, W. G. Chapman.)
"I think," said Mr. Bettling, "I
might have been consulted."
"Oh, but you are being consulted
now," said Rennie.
She was small and slender, with a
good deal of shining, dark brown hair
-and gray eyes that had a direct, in
"Yes," replied Mr. Bettling, "but
at this late hour, when the affair
iseems to have been in a way settled,
it would seem almost superfluous to
consult me at all."
Mr. Bettling's tone was both hurt
and chagrined, and the small culprit
.before him seemed suddenly to real
ize that something in the nature of
an apology was imperatively de
manded. "Well, you see, guardy," she be
gan, "falling in love and getting pro
posed to are things you can't exact
ly give notice of a long time before
hand. They sort of happen."
"True, they may 'happen'," re
joined Mr. Bettling, not in the least
relaxing his tone of uncompromising
severity. "But you might at least
'have consulted me before you ac
cepted the young man."
"Yes, I might, but I supposed it
would make no difference."
"No difference!" snorted Mr. Bet
tling. "Ha! Well, really now "
"Why, no'; I always thought you
liked Jay, and "
"So I do. He is the most compe
tent and efficient secretary I ever
had, but he has nothing in the world
but this small salary to depend upon.
Suppose he should lose his position?"
"He is studying law, you know, in
his sare time, and will soon be
ready for his examination."
"Yes, but have you any idea how
long it takes a young lawyer to get
"No," answered Rennie, "not 'the
"I thought not. Now let us look
at this situation sensibly. Your fa
ther was my chum, my best friend.
When he died without leaving a pen
ny, and you, a little, lonely orphan,
ten years old, looked at me with his
eyes, there didn't seem but one thing
to do. I sent you to the best school
I could find. Nobody has interfered.
Nobody has seemed'to want to inter
fere." "Just let them!" cried Rennie. "I
think I have a mind of my own.
Why, no one could take me away
There was strong affection, as well
as defiance, in her words, and" her
look said even more. But Mr. Bet
tling did not meet her gaze. He was
grimly determined to thresh this
matter out dispassionately to the
"I hope indeed it will be some time
before any one takes you away. You
have grown to seem like my very
own. But now as to Jay: He hears
you call me guardy; does he think
you have a fortune over which I am
"Oh, no, no!" protested Rennie.
"He understands I have nothing ex
cept what you are good enough to
"Which it gives me the greatest
pleasure in the world to do. But per
haps he thinks I intend to make you
my heiress, and "
"Oh, you are unjust today!" she
broke in. "He isn't thinking about
"I shall have a talk with him, and
if he is building 'any false hopes I
shall let him know the truth. It is
only right for both of you that he
should. I think you understand that
I have an heir an heir whom I have
no right nor reason to disinherit"
'Yes," said Rennie. "He has been
the mystery of my life. At least the
last five years of my life. You never
spoke of him before."
"It is not a thing to discuss with
a child," he answered. "But it has
been the dream of years that when,