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those years could be wiped olit once
more! Hesaw?lier now as1 he;"'sat
musing ihr' his study, ''passing Ipwn
the village street, swinging her sun
bonnjjt; he saw the shy, quick glance
that she would cast up at him. He
had those letters that she had writ
ten to him, breathing so many hopes,
in the drawer of his desk.He had
never destroyed those; they were
sacred to him.
His wife would not return for three
days. Why, then, should-he not go
to her, to Clayton, the village of their
birth, and see her as she was now,
recall the thousand memories of their
love, steep his soul in those passion
ate memories which would encourage
him to take up the burden of life
anew? He sat down at his desk and
wrote her a letter at ,a thousand en?
dearments. He wascoming;back to
Clayton, he said. Wpuld she .meet"
him just at the placewjiere they used
to' meet, at the hottoih-of the garden
dividing the two cottages? And Would
shVwear tljatsunboniiet?. And would
se forget the.years thaiiiad escaped
aid .pretend that they were boy and
girl together again in- Clayton?
' No sooner had he posted "that let
ter than, the plan becoihe overwhelm
ing -in its insistence. He, .thrust a
few things into his suitcase, descend
ed in :the. elevator, hailed' a, taxicab,
and was on his way to the station. He
was singing as he entered .the broad
marble - portals. The ticket agent
stared at him; he might have been a
bridegroom off for his honeymoon.
'Ten minutes later he was Seated in
his ca watching the -flyinglandscape
as the'-train steamed through, the
pleasatit, country on its way .toward,
the little-Pennsylvania village.
It was !a:,six .hours' run. Croft's
heart was beating fast when at last,'
vrell toward sundown, the train slow
ed down and ran into the little sta
tion. He left his suitcase at the sta
tion, directing that it should be sent
up to the house where he had been
born. -The little tumble-down cottage
had long been empty, for his parents
had died since his first departure but
reasons ipfjsentiment had prevented
Croft from" selling it; 'besides, he had
always resolved one day to retUrn
there to live. He made his way down
the village street under the long shad?.
ows of the elm.
It was a long street, and before he7
had reached the end. the smr had. sett'
The gracious twilight.- of spring
shrouded all things in mystery. The
place had not changed at all. He
might have bcen returning, thither"
from college": All- sense?'of the inter
vening years had leftrhim. At last he
was standih'g-.at the'-'bottom of Mil
"Mildred!" he called.
Then his heart pounded violentlyin
his breast as he saw a slim figure in
a sunbonnet start out of the-house
and move toward him with the old,
leisurely grace. And so she passed be
tween the borders of flowering lilac
ancj at last stood before him. .Why,.!
this was his Mildred, unchanged.,
well, hardly changed, and not at all to
him. He knew now that he would love
her until he died. x K
"Mildred!" he cried, and then he
had clasped her in his arms and her,
heart was beating against his own. ,
And for a.long time they, forgot
everything, save that they two stood ,
tnere togetner as tney once naa done.
"John, deaf," she whispered, look-i
ing into his. eyes. -"Mlldred!"
"Jt has been all a mistake, hasn-'l
it? It was the ciythat 1111164' our"
love. .Dear, you don't know how hap
py -yourletter made me. If we could
always live ?her' together!" , , ?i
-. "Dear." he said, softly. "I want votn
flo know one thing. "I always loved"5
you. Sometimes, wnen we, were least3
happy, I fancied that there were, two 3
Mildreds my wife and the tsweetrA
heart who came from, Clayton t'o--marry
me five years ago-Bjit now
they are both, one and we5 will live
here together, and -start our. married
life anew." . " .
. (Copyright by W. G. Chapman.) It