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clear, but the lost object had been
engulfed by the pebbles and sand.
"It was valuable?'' hinted Nate.
"No oh, it is not that. Indeed, I
must recover it! Is it possible, do
"I shall try hard," promised Nate,
and descended from the birdge. Miss
Ava utter a little dissuading cry as
Nate waded recklessly out into mid
stream. She quite besought him to
desist, as he reached the spot she
had indicated and thrust an arm clear
to the shoulder into the eddying
He reckoned on it that the missing
nng was held within the shallow
rock-fringed pocket that she had in
dicated. Nate worked carefully. He
would grope out a handful of sand
and gravel at a time until he had
filled his cap. Then he would sift
the sand free, much like a miner with
He was 'wet now from tip to toe,
but he kept up the labors of love in
dustriously, uncomplainingly. It
was with a real cry of satisfaction
that he at last held the lost ring aloft.
"There it is, he announced. With
a gasp of joy Ava took it from be
tween his fingers as ne held It to
ward the bridge, he knee deep in the
"You are soaking wet," said Ava
commiseratingly. "You must come
to the house and father will see that
you have "dry clothes. Sister, too,
will want to see you and thank you."
"I will make a quick dash for home
and call later, if I may," suggested
"You cannot know how glad I am
to get this back," said Ava. "It is an
engagement ring," and. she fondled it
as if it were a precious possession
With precipitate haste Nate waded
ashore and started away. Ava gazed
after him in manifest surprise, al
most feeling that he was discour
teous. Nate strode on in a passion of
vivid emotion. He was like one who
had received a smarting blow.
"Engaged!" he groaned, "Ah, it
will be hard to cure myself of this
He was terribly humbled and dis
appointed. He thought not of his
wet and uncomfortable condition.
His dream was over it's fair guard
ian spirit lost to him. Ava belonged
to another. Oh, the bitter awaken
ing! Nate wandered about for hours.
Then he lay down on the grass to
rest, to think. A cold wind came up.
He reached home chilled through and
through. The next morning Nate
was in the grasp of a hot fever.
It was a week later when he came
back to something like normal co
herency. His landlady explained to
him about the flowers that stood
upon the stand atthe head of the bod.
"Miss Ava Reese sent them, sir,"
she explained. "She has called twice.
I promised to phone her as soon as
you were well enough."
It would be pain ineffable to view
that fair face again, yet Nate could
not forgo the opportunity.
He saw a trap driven by a hand
some young man come up to the
house. Ava was with him in another
Her words were sweetest music to
his ear. She was gracious, gentle,
sympathizing. She told of how she
would never forgive herself, thdtshe
had brought upon him such serious
illness in his efforts to restore the
Nate hopelessly thought of the
handsome fellow in the trap prob
ably her lover. Happy rival! Ava
noted his glance.
"My brother," she explained. "He
is anxious to know 'the gallant
knight errant,' as he calls you. My
sister has yet to thank you, too "
"For what?" stammered Nate, not
"For restoring her engagement
ring. She bad loaned it to me. She
is a superstitious being, is Marcia,
"Your sister!" breathed Nate, a