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Newspaper Page Text
By H. G. Egbert
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
Jim Bennett sat en. the sand of
Tan-tan island and looked out across
the sea, as he had done each day for
more than a year. Everybody in
Tan-tan island knew Jim Bennett
and the raggedest beachcomber
sneered when his name was men
tioned. It was not so much the depths
to which he had fallen as the fact
that he had fallen so far.
Three years ago he had left San
Francisco to make his fortune in the
South seas and come back to marry
Elsie Dale. But her father was many
times a millionaire, and had other
ideas for Elsie's future. Everything
depended, then, on Jim making good
on the copra trading trip, in which he
had sunk his little capital.
At least, so far as marrying Elsie
was concerned, her father would
never consent Jim knew Jack Dale
too well to hope for that. But if the
trip succeeded Jim could afford to
bear the old man's enmity, and Elsie
had said she would.
The ship was wrecked on an un
charted reef off Tan-tan. Jim saw
his little capital lost. He had barely
the fare home. Despair took hold
of him, then the lethargy of the life
in the little place. He had sunk down
and down. He had at last written
to Elsie releasing her and had for
gotten. He had quite forgotten by the time
Elsie's letter arrived. She had told
him she was going to -wait three
years. If at the end of that time he
did not claim her she would feel free.
But she loved him; let him remem
ber that every day of his life.
At the end of the first year Jim re
membered it occasionally. He was
tending bar in one of the island sa
loons. At the end of the second year
he had a hazy recollection. Then he
was doing odd jobs, in his sober mo
ments, along the wharf. At the end
of the third year, when he was noth
ing but a beachcomber, he remem
bered again, this time more clearly.
He remembered it when the month
ly vessel arrived. He expected that
it would carry a letter for him. No
letter had been at the postoffice, and
yet, when Jim looked up and saw a
young, athletic American, neatly
dressed, with sun helmet and blue
glasses, approaching him, he was
sure he had come upon business con
Jim looked up lazily from among
the little group of fellow loafers and
Sat on the Sand of Tan-Tan Island.
wondered, how any man could find
the energy to walk at that gait in
such a sun. The young man drew
up to the group and stopped.
"Any of you men know a fellow
named Jim Bennett?" he inquired.
The man nearest Jim nudged him
lazily; the rest did not even shift their
eyes fron? the far horizon.
"I'm Jim Bennett," said Jim, ris-