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Newspaper Page Text
A LESSON IN ETHICS
By Maud Smith Cottrell.
(Copyright by W. G. "Chapman.)
"I don't say you shan't marry my
daughter, Mr. Willis," said Hiram
Oakley, stroking his white beard
thoughtfully. "I say that you've
sprung this on me sudden like, and I
want time to think it over."
"And I say, Mr. Oakley, that Madge
is of age and entitled to choose for
"I Want Time to Think It Over."
herself," answered the young fellow.
"And since she has chosen to accept
me, I am asking you only as a mat
ter of form."
Hiram Oakley looked at the young
fellow quietly. He did not mind
Madge being married; she was flighty
and had not been too kind to her
father since her mother's death re
leased her from what she considered
unjustifiable chaperonage; but Mr.
Oakley wanted to know more about
Herbert Wills, who had appeared in
the town three months before and
taken a position with him in his de
He saw no harm in Wills, but the
young man had a great deal to learn.
So had Madge, for that matter.
The mystery was solved a few days
later when Madge and Wills contract
ed a secret marriage before an alder
man. Hiram Oakley received a de
fiant note from the couple announc
ing that they meant to go their own
way, unless he chose to make the
What their own way meant was
shown a few days later when Wills
opened a smaller rival store imme
diately opposite the Oakley premises
on Main street.
It developed that Wills had in
herited a snug little sum of money,
that he had met Madge at a watering
place the preceding summer, and had
come to the town to win her under
the guise of an assistant in her
Hiram Oakley was incensed at the
young man's roundabout methods.
He had the trade of Four Corners,
and he knew Wills coutd not ap
preciably cut into it. He resolved to
Revenge is not a good policy in
commerce, but still Wills' store open
ed with a 'great flourish of advertise
ments and bills in the store windows.
Wills made a specialty of displaying
the same kind of goods as his father-in-law,
only of a cheaper grade.
Everything that was in Mr. Oakley's
windows was in his son-in-law's, but
cut by one-third in price. And for
a time Wills' trade boomed at the ex
pense of Oakley's.
After a while, however, things be
gan to swing back the other way.
Oakley's trade went up and Wills
found his counters deserted. He
could not understand. He did not
realize that the district was not one
patronized by cheap shoppers, and
that his shoddy goods and cheap
stock had been tried and found wanting.