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Newspaper Page Text
By George Elmer Cobb.
Copyright, by W. G. Chapman.)
"This is detective work, pure
.and simple, Ashley, "But J am not
even an amateur. Just plain John
rBirt, once a town marshal, now a
Second rate lawyer. I am your
"friend, though, and your. wife's
Fifteen minutes later Bert was
leading from the place the recov
friend. And the friend of poor lit
tle lost Harry. Let me show you,
out of gratitude for the start you
gave me in life years ago, what
real genuine friendship is."
'. There was nothing heroic in
the speech. There wasno false
jpote of bombast. Richard Ash
ley, sick, disheartened, all at sea,
Jiad come up against the dead.
blank wall of "No clew" in a. case
where mystery and misery were
pretty well commingled, and no
visible thoroughfare back to hap
piness and peace.
Ashley had befriended Birt fif
teen years previous, and the loyal"
fellow had never forgotten it.
Ashley had married Lucia Ward.
A child was born to them, and
when Harry was five years of age,
a baseless disagreement had come
about. They had separated, Ash
ley taking the child in his keeping.
The abyss broadened. They did
not meet again.
Ashley went west with Harry,
and acquired a small fortune in
Idaho lands. His wife he seldom
heard from. She was heiress to
a large estate, he learned. Too
proud to meet her half way in a
reconciliation, she seemed to have
completely shut him and the
child out of her memory. She led
a hard, lonely life at the secluded
country home of a stepbrother.
All that kept Ashley in touch with
his old life were occasional let- '
ters from the loyal Birt. The lat
ter knew that the estranged wife
was a sore subject to his friend,
and rarely alluded to her. At
Ienth, however, a letter came that
brought Ashley east post haste,
with his son. rf
"I have learned," Birt wrote,
"that you have misjudged your
wife, just as she has'-'misjudged
you., She pines for you and the
child. I find, too, that Dunbar,
her stepbrother, spread all the
lies that separated you. He will
do all he can to keep you apart
for by doing so he hopes finally to
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