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Newspaper Page Text
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A SHY MAN'S WOOING
By George Munson
Nobody had believed in William
Merritt. He had been a dreamy,
imaginative boy and. had lost half a
dozen positions in hisnatlve village.
An orphan, brought up by a distant
relative who used him badly, he had
shaken the dust off his feet and gone
to the metropolis to earn a liveli
hood. Ten years later, a man of thirty
two, he was a national character. His
bridge across the Potomac was con
sidered a triumph of American en
gineering. The tunnel which he had
driven across the Kill van Kull had
been a model for all such undertak
ings in America and Europe.
With all his success and wealth he
was still desperately lonely. His suc
cess had been the result of native
genius and application. To his per
sonality the shy man owed nothing.
And there had come to him a long
ing to show himself before those who
had jeered him and win their esteem.
He did not long for any personal tri
umph over them.
He thought of Nettie Haines, the lit
tle girl who had lived across the street
from him. They had been childhood
sweethearts and he had told her that
one day he would marry her. Doubt
less she was married now and had
long ago forgotten him. He thought
of Saunders, who had dismissed him
from the grocery store; Boyce, the
undertaker, for whom he had worked
during one long week.. And he went
He registered at the only hotel the
village boasted and made himself
known to Flaxman, the proprietor.
The man shook hands with him cold
"Glad to see you back again, Mr.
Merritt," he said. Mr. Boyce? O, yes,
he's flourishing. Saunders does the
same old business."
Merritt had been too shy to ask for
Nettie. He made his way up the street
to Boyce's place. The man did not
recognize him at first.
"Well, I'm glad to see you," he said,
when his vistor had explained his pur
pose in calling. "Yes, things are so
so. It's pretty fortunate for you you
didn't go into the undertaking busi
ness. What with this health board
and the way folks has of clinging to
life nowadays there's simply no mon
ey in it at all."
Saunders' greeting was still more
frosty. He remembered Merritt and
Managed to Get Into Conversation
was glad he was doing so well. As
Merritt turned to leave, with a sense
of disillusionment in his heart, he saw
a young woman bending industrious
ly over a heap of bills in Saunders'
shop. It was Nettie, his old sweet
heart. Impulsively he strode up to her.
"Why, Nettie Miss. Haines!" he ex
claimed. She recognized him and her face,
grew red. "How do you do, Mr. Mer
ritt," she said demurely.
Shy as he was, Merritt managed to
get into conversation with her, Un-
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