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Newspaper Page Text
slashed the pony across the flank. It
started off, flinging him aside, and he
rollea in the dust, to see, when he
rose to his feet again, Miss Marchant
and the pony and the buggy far in the
A grinning countryman came by
and stopped to stare at Thornley,
who, in no good "humor, asked him
what he was looking at.
You be from old man Beach's?"
asked the fellow, still grinning.
"Well, what if I am? Is there any
thing amusing in that?" Thornley de
manded. The yokel scratched his head.
"Well, I guess there is," he drawled.
"Everybody seems to find old man
Beach and his mentals amusing."
"His what?" demanded Thornley.
"His mentals. His bugs crazy peo
ple, you know. I guess you're one of
'em, ain't you?"
Suddenly the explanation flashed
across Thornley's mind. Old Mr.
Beach, who had been unable to
make much headway with his board
ers five years before, had had flip
obsession that he could increase his
income considerably by catering to
those mentally afficted. No wonder
he and his had appeared embarrass
ed when he appear upon .the scene
so unexpectedly. And Miss Mar
He groaned. What a fool he had
been! He had mistaken the poor girl
fax a condescending and not very well
"bred woman, when she was only to be
pitied. Doubtless she-had suffered a
nervous breakdown, and with that
He left the grinning yokel in the
road and started back as hard as he
At the top of the hill he found the
pony grazing, the buggy behind it,
empty. Beside the road Miss Mar
chant was seated, looking about her
in a dazed manner. There was mud
on her dress. Thornley hurried up to
her. He aided her to her feet
"Now you must let me see you
home at once," he said, and taking
1 her unresisting arm in his hand, he
placed the other hand upon the ponyS
bridle, and the party proceeded home
ward. All the way Thornley caugtit
Miss Marchant watching him in the
same singular manner.
Mr. Beach was profuse In his apolo
gies. He would never have let Miss
Marchant have the pony if he had
known it was going to act in that
manner. Thornley cut him short.
"Have Mrs. Beach help Miss Mar
chant to her room," he said. "Then I
want to talk to you."
When they were alone he broke
"What do you mean by letting that
poor, afflicted young lady go out driv
Old Mr. Beach stared at him. "Af
flicted? She ain't no more afflicted
than you are," he answered.
"But you take cases of mental
breakdown," cried Thtrnley.
"Only one year," said Mr. Beach
grimly. "Year after you left. I had
enough of them. Now I'm trying to
build up a regular business "again.
But it's hard. When once a man has
taken mentals all his guests are sup
posed to be mentals. She thinks
"What!" cried Thornley. "Why
didn't you tell her? That accounts
for the way she has been treating
"What's the use?" asked Mr.
Beach. "She wouldn't have 'believed
me. Once a man takes mentals, ev
erybody suspects all his guests are
mentals. They'll be calling me a
mental soon. I hoped you'd find each
other out, but if I'd tried to speak it
would only have made things wbrse
than what they were."
Thornley's anger soon passed.
From his point of view the old man
was right If he had explained to
each of his guests that the other was
not a "mental" would they have be
He chafed and fumed the rest of
the day, because Miss Marchant did
not appear. Bu when, on the next