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They laughed at it. I I knew you,
and besides "
"You needn't tell it!" almost shout
ed the old man. "You did that for
me?. And it's leaked out. And my
niece knew it first."
"Your niece Leila?" repeated
"Just that. She was here an hour
ago, crying. She twitted me for tak
ing your last dollar. Say, did I know
it? k An honest, well-meaning man,
hadn't I faith in my little mining
claim and a right to believe that the
bank saw it my way? Say, I feel it
hard you put the loan through for
me and risked your own money!
The old man sat down on his
satchel and dashed the tears from his
eyes. Max was really touched.
''I've ruined you, I see that," went
on Marsh quite brokenly. "I see it
all. It was Leila I was thinking of.
Say I feel mean!"
"Don't go worrying," said Max,
greatly moved at the old man's genu
ine misery. "You mean welL As to
Leila, I am very, very sorry that she
has learned of this."
"That is the hardest part of it,"
mourned Marsh. "Now, then, I'm
going to leave here. After that
money. There's one thing I can do
give up my foolish dream of raising
a million to exploit my mine and go"
back to the old grub basis. It's slow,
but sure. Just hold that note. I'm
going to make good."
, Max shook his head dubiously as
he left the old man. He was gloomy
all day. In fact, his spirits became
' so depressed towards evening that
I . he felt he must get sympathy, at
least distraction of mind somewhere.
So he went to see Leila.
She was formal, chilhng. He
spent an awkward hour trying to
i keep up a casual conversation. Then
I he grew fairly desperate. He had
I lost his money. It looked as if he
had lost his love, as well.
"There is something I must say,"
' he spoke in a strained, tremulous. ,
tone as he stood at the door in part- j
ing. "It is on my heart and will not ,
allow me to rest. Miss Marsh, Leila,
I love " 4
The solemn dignity of her uplifted
hand checked him.
"Not now," she said simply.
"There is a debt to pay, Mr. Wilber.
And about a week later Max knew
that Leila had done two things
opened a savings bank account and j
insured her life. He might admire i:
her high consistency to principle, but j
this set barrier against love made
They met at church, at some local
social events after that, but always a
distance between them. It nearly
broke the heart of Max to see a
marked economy in dress on the part
of Leila. She was an orphan and ,;
worked as" stenographer for the city
courts. Her pay was not large,
"Saving, skimping, suffering to pay 1
me me, who would give her my
life!" reflected Max, distractedly.
There came into the bank one day S
a bronzed, bearded man, with a l
ragged canvas satchel bearing traces 1
of long and difficult travel. He placed
it across the counter, opened it and j
took out a small wooden box.
The clerks watched him with some
interest- They had never before seen '
those little oblong yellow bricks,
stamped, "U. S. M., $110," "U. S. M., j
$112," "U. S. M., $114."
The stranger placed ten of them to
one side with a single question: j
"Where is Mr. Max Wilber?" i
And this is what Max saw when he j
came out from the directors' room. 1
"I promised you," said Simon 1
Marsh, extending a hand hard as a I
piece of gristle, "uata pan of water j
and a dip into the old, chute tailings. j
It's a sure ten dollars a day and I'm "
going back to the hills to repeat the
operation as soon as I see my niece."
Max Wilber saw his uncouth visitor
as far as the door. He whispered
into his ear:
"Speak one word for me."