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Rufus, Blair had told her in his.
heart story in. a burst of confidence. x He had married five years previously. He was making money then freely as a newspaper artist But reckless ways and a rapid crowd of worthless hangers-on had led him to dissipation. Day by day he neglected his wife. One night when intoxicated he had quarreled with her. For a time she endured his indifference. One day she disappeared, leaving a note tell ing him that she would try to forget him, for surely he no longer loved her. For three years he tasted the dregs of dissipation. Then he reformed. He sought his wife. He could find no trace of her. He had taken up anew now the earnest burden of life. In cidentally he had come across the Warringtons. His soul longed for companionship and the presence of the dear little children was a boon to him. "Come, children" finally spoke Mrs. Warrington, "it is time for school." Two of the little ones got ready. Nella, the eldest, reminded her moth er that she had been tardy the day before and the teacher insisted on- an excuse. "My old hand trembles so, I dread the task," spoke the invalid. "Won't my doing it serve?" in quired the accommodating Blair. "Oh, surely." Blair wrote the excuse in question and signed it with the name of Mrs. i Warrington. "You are still thinking of her?" spoke Mrs. Warrington, as the chil dren departed for school and -the oth ers .quietd down. "Always and ever," replied Blair sorrowfully. "Oh, if your lost wife could only see you now?" exclaimed the old lady. "If she could only-know hep faithful reclaimed husband!" Blair, shook his head and went away to" the business tasks of the daj. -"Oh,' Mr. 'Blair!" cried Nella as he returned that evening, "I have such a strange story to tell you." "Indeed?" responded Blair smiling" ly as he stroked the fair golden hair of his little favorite. "Yes, it's about Miss Foster." "The school teacher?" "Yes, sir. When I handed her the oat excuse yuu wrote sbe gave a great joy big start and turned pale." 9$ "Is that true?" murmured Blair '11,6 wonderingly, ' an "Then she. asked me to stay after j school for a few minutes, and I dld'uAl went on the rapid narration. "She got began to ask me all about our home. " Then she asked me who wrote the os excuse." ,a& "And what did you say?" asked adi Blair, getting interested, but as yef completely mystified. mo 1 "I told her you did. Then shefal asked your name, and I told her that,ift too. Oh, Mr. Blair! you should have idt seen her. She began to tremble.' Then her eyes closed, for she faints tea ed right straight away. I screameario and some other eachers. ran in and oJt carried her into the office room where there is a settee." 3 $ Blair had become pale. He drewbifr vp rigid. As a man in a dream he stood staring straignt Deiore mm. The invalid had come to her feet.,ocr She slowly hobbled to his side. She 0 whispered quiveringly in his ear: ,9. "May this mean happiness fpr allxjg you have done for us!" ' "And, oh," added little Nella. "Iroo couldn't help thinking an day long to? how much Miss Foster looks like the picture of the ,lady you drew on the joj window pane this morning. QT Mrs. Warrington was putting onna her hood and shawl. She touched uri tie arm of Blair. "Mr. Blair, will you stay here and irfj look after the children while I visit ri a neighbor for a little while?" she ba asked. i9 He did not speak, he only nodded ,da his assent." He sank to a chair thinking, dreaming, hoping! ab The little ones seemed to recog- nize a new mood. They must not dia- turb. They amused themselves .in