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Tour dead brother's children," In
troduced the ladylady bluntly.
"My dead brother's children!"
murmured Johnson mechanically.
''Oh, yes, yes. Yes, Indeed!"
"You see, they are without a home
or relative except you. He died in
Macon, 50 miles away, and told the
neighbors you would care for them.
You look troubled, sir, and confused.
I will look after the dear little ones
iJJ until you get your bearings and de
cide wnai you wiu uo wmi mem.
"I see," nodded Johnson in a lost
dreary way. "Thanks."
The puzzle of existence was now
humbly accepted by him. He kept on
working at the plant He shut out the
strange dreams that came into his
mind. Evenings he would sit with the
children and amuse them. His life
became work and they that only.
All this time Mrs. Alice Messinger,
a lady residing in a fashionable quar
ter of the big city, was mourning her
life away over the strange inexplic
able disappearance of her husband,
He had been a good husband, but
not good to himself. Left a fortune,
he had married a woman he loved
and who returned the affection, but
he had a serious fault he was a con
vivialist, always that, and fast degen
erating into a confirmed inebriate.
More than that, after his spells of
dissipation there came a retroactive
spell of misery and suffering, which
he alleviated by UBing drugs. Leisure
and wealth were a curse to this well
meaning, but weak-willed man.
Mrs. Messinger sat in tears in her
elegant drawing room. With her was
the family doctor and the family law
yer. "No trace, madam, am grieved to
say," the latter was remarking. "I
fear foul play."
"I do not countenance that deci
sion," demurred the doctor. "As I
have often told Mr. Messinger, he
was slowly undermining brains and
nerves by the use of stimulants and
narcotics. .1 believe these have over
come him, casting a cloud over her
brain, and, while thus temporarily de
ranged, he has wandered away to a7
"Oh, try, try to find him," Bobbed
Rewards were offered in the news-.,
papers, but no trace discovered as to.
the whereabouts or fate of the miss-
ing'man. Then one day Mrs. Mes
singer, gazing listlessly from a win
dow, uttered a scream as "she Baw a
man come up the front steps.
Then her eager loyal heart died
down within her, for then she saw
that the person Bhe had mistaken fo
her husband was quite another per
son. She went to the door and open
"Mrs. Messinger?" questioned the
visitor, a shifty-eyed, coarse-looking
man. Then, as she nodded assent
he added: "I am wearing your hus
band's clothes, as I believe you per
ceive. I saw your advertisement I
have not come for the reward. On
the contrary, I ask you to deliver' me
up to justice."
"JJui my husband!" cried the lady:
"He is "
"Oh, take me to him, bring him
here!" pleaded the distracted wife.
"When I have told my cruel, wicked
story, madam," insisted this strange
visitor. "Listen, madam; my name
is Johnson. I tried to find hon'est
work. I failed. I came across your
husband in a hopeless condition, tl
drugged his drink. I led him 'to the
wretched quarters where I lived, ap
propriated his clothes and what mo
ney they contained and eloped.' '
"Where is he? oh, tell me quick
ly!" begged the anxious lady. "
"I will, in a moment When I ab
sconded, I supposed your husband
would wake up in the morning, real
ize that he had 'received a good les
son and go his way. TheNstrong
drug I used, along with the drink,
must have turned his brain for yes
terday I sneaked back io the old
tenement house to find tha he had