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THE nrilLIXOTON FREE PIlKSS: TIirilSOAV ,JTLY 21, 1 004.
10 f THE HERMIT A Story of the Wilderness Dy CHARLES CLARK ithor cl " Pockst Island," "Une'a Terry MUNN ' and " K-xkhaven (Copyright, 1M3, by UmlShl'lillll.) CHAPTER XXXV. A Tnortu.ui ooNScmxcu. A'hcn Xezer saw the will to-''Iaii fig ure of David Cur! Is burst out of tho house and vanish In tho darkness with ft yell of four. Ills Ingrained love of i mischief received ;i l;eeu hut mo mi ntary satisfaction, followed by a wlili n lread of consequences, and in stead of continuing his uliost parade- down t It o street, he sneaked away over i the hills and hid bin Hear Face ills- i pulse. The r.ext day he joined with j the rest in a search for David, and j when it culminated in Nezor's grow some discovery, for the first lime In his life he began to repent of his devil- I mint. It was fear of being found out, of co'irr.e, rather than regret; and yet its results were tho same That lect ins increared hour by hour, and by j tho time the tolling hell Founded its -solemn warning and the short pro- j cession started on its errand, Nozcf had reached a state of abject misery, i It seemed to him that, he must he mis- , peeled by some one, and if found out, tho dire punishment sure to follow was fearful to contemplnte. He had road . of lifelong imprisonment and hang- j ings the latter with eager interest and now it began to dawn on him that he might become the central llguro in j such a scene, and the thought was fearful to contemplate. He I;new ha 1 had done something awful: in its re- I suits at least, and rosslbly the law would consider it murder. He dared not confide in any one, so his imagination grew more terrible, with doubt until he was sure hang ing would be his fate if discovered. This dread certainty grew worse day by day, be could not eat nor study, and if a team stopped in front of Aunt Comfort's, or a tnua looked at him unduly, he felt worse. Then Lie begun to have troubled dreams, saw himself bound hand and foot and crvrried to Klverton. where the courthouse and jail were, then locked In a narrow cell, and twice lie dreamed that he was standine on a scaffold with a noose about liis neck. He began to grow thin and haggard, and as Aunt Com fort would call it, "wofully peaked. " And now ensued a most lutHcrouri game of cross-purposes, for there wasn't an ache or pain suggested by Aunt Comfort that he didn't have. The comedy was of short duration, however, for the chance to dose soulq one was consolation to Aunt Comfort, and she acted promptly. "Stick out your tongue," she said to Xi p' and a red and liealthyspccinion shot out of his fare. "Not bin' the matter with yor stum muk e I kin see." she ejaculated, feeling of his hands, "'n' no signs o' 1-vir You say your head aches, 'n' hack, 'n' legs, 'n' you nrt.alnly ain't i in' nat'vnlly. Do ye hev cold ehilla up n' down yor spine.''' 'Yessum," irsponded Xe.er, eagerly. "Feel div.J 7" "All the time." "Su 1; to cr stummick?" "Yi ssuni." "Had ilreums. you say?" "Ye '-.sum." "Well, yor gittin' bilyus," returned Aunt Comfort, wiping her "specs" on her apron, adjusting then) and pulling one of the invulid's eyelids down. "Let's see your tongue agin." For n moment she scanned it, and then added, "You want a good dose of thorough-wort 'n' I guess I'll begin with lobelia," and she started for tho attic. "It's eurus," she observed to Angle, after Ne.er had swallowed his dose, of lobelia tea without a murmur and hastened out of the kitchen, "I never paw that boy so wlllin' ter take medi cine afore, n'u yet ho ain't got no signs, 'ceptiu' loss of appetite 'n' a loetie yallor round the eyes. Must be Euthin' comln' on, though." If there was, she took prompt, vig- orous methods to head it off, however, and cave Nozor no lest. At first he had dreaded discovery and dreamod of hanging, but inside of two days, a persistent course, of thoroughwort, catnip, opodeldoc and lobelia, agnin varied by hot applica tions of burdock leaves and pepper tea, had made prison siii a blessed escape from trouble, and vinegar tasto sweet. Iiy this time Xozor was sick in ear ner, and Aunt Comfort, somewhat scared, sent for Dr. Sol. Ho examined him. and after Aunt Comiort had re counted th icmedlcs she had tried, ho laughed. "You've, both had a good time, I euess," ho said, "and tho boy won't soon forget it. but there's nothing the matter with hiin." Aunt Comfort was not convinced, however, and though Noor began to cat again, sin watched him contin uously for more sjinptoinu, and ills dread returned. For some, jear.s it hud boon Angle's custom to devote a lew Saturday aft ernoons to out-door excursions, usu ally lakliiri Ne.er along for company ivnd protection. In spring they went utter arbutus, cowslips, water-cress, and later lor strawberries and other uiinmor fruits In autumn, when the woods were brown and golden, nut Cathering was the incentive, and then Xeer was indispensable. They had been out twice since Martin had gone away, and now wtieu Saturday eaini) again, Mie tool. Xeer and started once more, and never was the boy more grateful for the olmnee. To him In spite of his mischievous nature Anglo was the one person whom In- most adored almost a goddess, tit whoso shrine lie worshipped. Ho had by tills time become so i educed in spirits thanks to "nrbs" ttiut he ielt tho ab solute need of making sorno one Ills confidante, lie had, in fact, kept his awful secret as long us posslblo, and ti no one but Angle would he or could t lie dare confess It I.lko tho young Indlnn he was, however, he always ap proached all things by circuitous routes, and when limy worn well away .from tho village this uutuinn after- solved the m terry of Anizts disap pearance a bit of news sure to aston ish Oreenvale, bul of doubtful effect on Anglo's ponce of mind, Mo was now In a position to secure justice for her, If nhe would permit such action, and yet ho dreaded to draw the veil aside and tell her what he must. Of his own hopes, and the chance to pose an a benefactor, be gave no thought. Ills one and only real anticipation va.i i noon, and while poking away the rust ling leaves In search of nuts, he be gan. "Do you s'pose 'twas a ghost us scared old David the night he runned away?" be asked. "Why, no," answered Angle, curious at once, and knowing Xeor never asked a question without an object, "there aro no such things as ghosts." "Wus it Anr.l come back 'n' peeUIn' In, do ye think?" "No. that Isn't possible," came the sober answer. ! "Wus It 'n Injun, do yo s'pose?" "There an- no Indians about hero," I responded Allele, with aroused aus I piclons, and looking sharply at Nozer. j "It might haw been a hart boy. I I know, dressed up as an Indian. Who i do you think it was?" ! Never, kuo'ding on the ground, j looked furtively up at Angle, and then suddenly became absorbed in his I search for nuts. ! "I dunno who 'twas." he said, '"thoilt 1 'f as a glio'U. Folks .say 't ,vas, 'u' the mill is haunted; I wouldn t go thar irter dtirl.. would you?'' Angle, knowing Noor full well. made no response, fei ling sure some admission would follow If she waited. Krr a few moments he pawed away at tiie rustling leaves, and then looked up at Angle agqin. "Say. Angle," lie said, "won't ye never tell nobody if I tell ye within?" "No. Xe.er," she answered seriously. "Hope tor die?" "Hope to die." "Hope the buggers '11 cany ye off if e do?" "Hope they will." Then Xezer, having thus sealed her lips, arose. "Come with me." lie said. V I'll show you sutliin'," and ho led the way into the woods. For a quarter mile Angle followed him inVi the forest, until a dark thicket of hemlocks, choked with boulders, was entered, and hero be dropped lirono to earth beside one. and reach ing into a crevasse bemad) it, drew forth a bundle, and. undoing it. hold tip thp hideous mask and head-dresj of "Scar Face." l'or a moment ho grinned at Anglo, and then put th-un on. "Would yo be skeered now tor meet me arter dark?" be queried.. It was such a naive and Noyer-like wav of oonfi i.sion, that, in spite of the recent tragic event, Angle almost laughed. "And so you are responsible for this awful happening." she said, as stoiiny as she could. "Now I know what Iiim ailed you lor a week, and 1 am glad Anile gan you lob'lia; you deserved worse medicine." it wasn't uttered with convincing force, however, and when No.cr's nice meigi d from the mask, lie looked both proud and relieved. "1 s'pose they'll put me in jail if 'twas iound out," be said. a ho hi! the mask again, and l"d di" way out of the woods. "You don't think they'd hung me. do ye, Angle?'' This time Angle had to laugh. "Now tell me all about it. Xezer," she said. "I've promised to keep jour secret, and 1 will." And when the bor der of the woods was touched, she sat on the leaf-carpeted gtouud and lis tened for an hour to Xeet's recital of his exploit. And of the two, It is certain tie en joyed the telling die more. "It was an awful thing to do, Xezer," Angle asserted when the tale was told, "and I'm glad it isn't on my conscience, if you don't quit moping mound die way you have, however, and act nat ural, nil (irofUMile will guess your :ectet before long." Hut Xozrr was cured already, and when the lowering sun had started them homeward, ho wus almost hilar ious in ills joy. On their way they passed .Martin's llsh-pond, and here a .-,ui prise a waited Angle, for tho long, liattow lakelet lay smiling ami gently tippled in the autumn breeze, a thin sheet of water iviured over the well built dam, and beside the pond, and bheltereil by a trec-i ro.vnod hillock, stood a tiny cottage with wide veranda. "It's for old Cy." explained Ne.er, witli almost the delight of possession. "Hlsu's so old hii' tumbledown, .Martin built this for him ter watch the pond, so us boys wouldn't bo koicliin' the trout. I wouldn't." he added, with as tonishing frankness, "for I kotched inore'ii 1.00 on 'oui ter put in, 'n' go ten cents apiece." It was evident Martin had won Xe zer's heart, and ns Angle pooped into the pretty cottage, with its two rooms below and open fireplace In the front one, and thought what a palace it, would seem to old Cy after his present hovel, somehow her heart felt hoavj. He who had built this, out of kindly feeling for old Uy, was onco her girl ish lover, and would be now again l she so willed, 1 Hut it must not be her resolution was made her duty plain, and to bo followed at all cost to herself or him. Only a few moments she looked at this labor of love for an almost out cast old man, and then turned away in silence. Over the hills toward the village slit) led the way, pausing a ye?" 1" ..nun, .,1 llwl the power he now held with certified facts to compel die contemptible David Curtis to an o.el of reparation, it was short-lived, for ns Martin, the bettm to enjoy the scenery and learn the lat est news from (Ireenvale. rode away with the driver, on his seat, that wor thy walled not to be asked what It was. "I s'pose." he said, "ye hain't hoerd how old Dave Curtis was found dead up In Mlzzy swamp, hev "(iood Lord, Is that so astonished Mat till. "Wnl, 'tis -for n fact." came dm an swer, In a tone that showed how Da vid stood In the driver's estimation. "Hi. wus took witli another tit the night o' ll.illowe'en, and lit out with nothln' but bis shirt on. Wo found tho cuss tip In Mlzzy swamp three days ; nrlor, stone dead, 'ti' stark naked. He ' v!lS tlli'idlltl' well done up, too, by In lorn V fnllln' owr rocks, we cnllateil, lilt tb'ir wan'l no tears shed on that account 'n' no mouruin' when we planted him. us lur ns I kin lain. The mills Is both shut down now, V An gle gits all the properly. I s'pose." And this was tho stare drivers con densed ohllunrv of die richest man in (Ireenvale, quoted wrbntitn. "Hut what droM' him out dint night." responded Martin, having Xezer in mind: "did lie so" another ghost?" "Wnl. w" cnllnte ho did, V that's what must hev skiei"d li I in. Thar'a been euri's things goin' on 'bout Ms premises die last three months, 'n' a good many b'llove they're hunted by Amzi's ghost. It's my private 'pinion though, 1 lint old Dave's conscience hail boon worrying hint lately since you come back. I'w hoerd." ho continued, glancing at .Mai tin. and anxious for information, "that jou've bought the MDzv property and was like to bourn losr.il peiTi'dings for Anglo; leastwise that's die stury." .Martin smiled at thi truly Yankeo method of ohtainit! new -. "I f i id nliiirti an out Ion on the prop erty," In- responded "Hut as tor bring ing any leg.l u-Mon. 1 vo never said I should I war, willim: to l,m the Mbzy powi r and land, howevev, and paj David's price." "Will, meblio tint won't be necessary now." with another inquisitive glance, "thoy'te nil cumin' to Anglo now, n' I 'n', wo all caliato it'll ho plain sailin' now fur you." Hut Mat tin made no response to this ' decidedly pointed insertion, and lit lie i did that Yankee stnpo driver realize how far away from "plain sailing" Martin's future course seemed to him. He had returned to (ireenvnlo pre . pared to astonish tho native, confound David funis, and save Anglo her her itage .only to find that the Croat Reaper had robbed him of Ills opportunity. For David, ho 1" 1 1 not one grain of j.iiy or logrd. and as for Anglo, his fii-t thought was--WHs it now wisest ot b"st to di.-rlo.se the fact of her latinis oNi ni o at all? It vva- but monieniai j . lor come what might, it wus Martin's fixed faith that nil enn foalmcnts v.icld prove unwi.-e in the end. UN l"'i ' i'1 vi hid b"on to go to Angi" as ,-i,(in po'silile after ho ar rived, and ti II li"f all. She. I'nsi and ioreniost. should hear it. He dreaded the telling, how over, for many reasons. Then its le.Milt on Angle's peace of ' mind and future was an all-important matter. hikI his own hopes as well, fievnnd those what must or could he done with hot lather? It was all a most perplexing problem, and the solu- i lion ot 11 must Inevitably devolve upon Anrie. For h.'i'f the slow journey to (Ireen vale. Mi. "1111 listened to the driver's repetition of all the grewsome facts of Davids fate, including the gossip that tollowed it. witli interest, and then, more absorbed in his own vexations, paid scant heed until tho doctor'. homo was reached. A cordril welcome here and a good supper restored linn somewhat, and alter an hour of patient listening to the doctor's version of the all-impor-Uiiit ikvvj, and still retaining his own. hn rose and declattd his Intention of calling upon Angle. "Oil, by ell nnnns," laughed the doc tor, "and 1 vlsh you success, if you j didn't pop tho question before you left, you ought to to-night, and mat ! tors between you must be settled soon, I as 1 ik od your advice reunllng her i. -.tate. I am appointed administrator ! and have awaited your return before ; doini' any thing." ! It vvnsa ,ii'!i;,:inl send-off. but a pro posal of marriage win; farthest from Virt In's thoughts just now. It was lute when ho reached Aunt Cotillon's, and she and Angle, always awaiting each other's wish to retire, wore alone in tho sitting room, The evening, a typical November one, wus chilly, the stars obscured, and a cold wind rustled the brown P"ives about tho ancient dwelling. Angle, ton, was in much the same mood as the night, and for many realms that need not ho specified, and die slow-ticking .clock imd low-burning lire, merely accented lor teoiiugs. Ltle hud for many yeais l,en without much color for her, and ' lately, less so than ever. And then mine a knock, and he who had boon absent for two long months, but ofi present iii her thoughts, met her when 'lie opened the door. His greeting, also, seemed unduly i constrained and formnl, and after to be told what 1 have learned." He paused a moment, looking frrst nt. Aunt ComTort, now wide eyed with astonishment, then nt Anglo, even more so, and then continued: "It's not bad news I bring yon, and yet not as good ns I could wish. You remember tho old hermit I told you about, Angle; well, he, Is ho Is still there and quite content and happy, and Improving some. In fnct, I found him more rational, and I left old Cy to care for him Ihln winter. It was fixing up hla cabin that hns kept mo so loin; In the woods." Once more Martin paused, for the dread secret wouldn't out, nnd a look of almost terror had come to Angle. "He Is nil right," continued poor Martin again, conscious lie was floun deriii!'. and feeling his throat grow ing husky, "and was and w-us glad to you left nif without thought or enro. nnd now lot us t:j being lovers again, I was forcdl li to put you out of my mind ntnl heart once, and I wouldn't care to live thioiigh another Btich evperionce. "l'.oyond thai, I have Aunt Comfort, and no love can set aside my duly to hor. She litis been my mother slnco n child, 1 am all thern Is In life for her, and her care nnd hnpplness la sacred and must lie to me so long ns I live. You have btotight to me also nnotlKr duty, and that, my poor father, 1 shall not rest, or feel a moment's content, until he l-i here and under my care. Yon tell me he is almost de mented, but contented where he Is, yet he Is very old, and to let htm re main and die In that miserable abode Is out of the question. I would s'art and wall; to where he Is, If it were pos- and when that Is performed, and no one needs me more than you, I will ho jottrii until death parts us. 1 could not do otherwise If I would, and I would not If I could." And when he parted from hnr, never before had he believed one woman conlfl seem r.o priceless. henr from us all, and and to see yonr i slhle, and he must b" brought here be- plclure." And now ensued a dramatic scene, for Anglo was on her feet instantly, with hands clasped and eyes dilated. "What do von mean who la she almost screamed. Martin also arose. "He calm, dear Angle," he said, "ha calm. It Is blessed news I tun trying to tell you. That poor old hermit Is is your father." l'or one moment she gazed at Martin wllh wide-open, terrified eyes, the next on hor knees with hor head In Aunt Comfort's lap, sobbing. Then onme Aunt Comfort's heart hurst, and all the years of her kindly patient life of love and hope were con densed into low words. For with hands upraised and eyes closed she whispered, "O Cod 1 thank Thee fot thl blessed news and all Thv good ness. O Cod, I thank Thee!" And then she, too, was sobbing. Martin turned away with misty eyes. Ho had heard piayors. but never one that touched Ills heart like this It was all over in less time than tho telling, yet a lifelong drama was en aored in those few moments, and when Angle arose again her face wet with tears and eyes still brimming she looked glorified. She could not speak, but two hands wore extended to Mar tin, and as ho clasped them, the long ago of llrst love nnd the now of strong er low were joined. "I can't thank you now, dear friend." she said, Ivokenly, "but I shall, never iear, I shall." It was midnight ore tiny parted; when she agiln stood before the open fireplace where only whi'o ashes re mained, anil ilaneed at the lull clock, the hoard not iis solemn voice, for a now life, a new joj, and a wondrous ly blessed hope had come to her. CHAFTICR XXXVII. A CONFDSFtON. Martin's lirst letiirn nnd wooin Angle naturally interested all vale, but the iiovv-k. of his discovery of the lung-lost Ara.i was, as ho expect ed, a veritpblr bombshell. No one ox ieit Aunt Comfort nnd Angle learned ot it until the next day. and then Dr Sil, v) to speak, was the one to sound the .ilarni. And no medicine ho ever cave had quite smoIi an electrical ef fect. Men driving on the highway were halted by odvis and told, women scurried ncro-s fli Ids to neighbots' houses nan headed to carry the news; Sqtlite IM.uinej s .More 1-erurK a loeitl point whore do'.enf fathered to hear the Jojful tidings toirl and I 'toUl again and aiaui. and Angie, or. lur wiy to school, had to give up and t.inv lui i ongrntulntions. And Ko i uidial w. ro llioj, so warm a sjot did she hold In (,ioi'iival"'s hear', that won, en in--iPt-od on ernliricnm and kWsmg her in din street, an I when she finally re-ir!,i ,1 the sehoolhouxo, niic of the (Ohimiitoo was then- awaiting her -uid declared the school closed for dial day. She lore I shall know a moment's peace.' In vain Martin pleaded dint marriage would be no bar to this double claim: her duty must and would bo his as lie?" j well and that Aunt Comfort would In! , Hie happier for this consummation. It was ful He, for all his specious plead ings and promises availed not. Duty to those already dependent upon her for happiness was hor guiding star and watchword, and Martin had to yield and accept It. She even reftfed to be considered , as engaged, and her reasons for It aro t worth quoting. ! "A verbal bond has no strength," j she said, "unless reason wills and tho heart wishes. If you need me and I i von for life, that need must hold until death, or It is worthless and u delusion. Promises can neither add to, or injure it. and lie it otio week, one year, or a lifetime hence, it must hold and remain the same divine obli gation TSoyonri that, I shall value a faith and fidelity, given without ask ing, and bound by no promise, a thou sand times more than all the vows utleiod by mortal lips. I did not ask Aunt Comfort to care for mo a help less child and not her own; she gave me iiotno and love wiinout it. hue would not ask mo to sacrifice one hour for her selfish needs, and jet I am ready, and shall if need be. to tie votes all my life sob Ij for her in return. This and t'ds o!,b is true and tin.-' lfish love, and -ill ilr.it is worth the nsnv " Then they bunco.) the subjei t into a disoii'-inti of ways and means to resell" .her laiher irom his wilder ness alxido "He has hi far .-s I could di... owr, forgotten ids r;rh life." as. -rted Mar tin, "and while I- seemed disturb d and in a v ,iv annost touched by tie) sirht of you:- penned tare, ailed as if the past was a blank In memory Old Cy he recalled well enough. In fact anil M wn.s curious ills coining there appeared u strike him ns perfectly natural, and in a iw days they liomnio like two old nchoolboys playing ot. 1-eeplng house. I'll wager at this very moment they aro content and telklng about their traps, die squirrels, ami llO'.V thick the Ire Ls on the kike, or how deep the snow is. They once were natural-born companions in outdoo. sports and sui h vays of living, and now ate .mlnn! etiioying t liej sane1 iifiiin. I took oli' Cy alni' sokly to li ratify this l.irmit. but builded v i- r ti,, in I 1 in v . and i turned our n.o.o than forlimati I w-n al.o so sire I hid found Anii that I took In extt.i i liitliing f i- V.tn. and b. lore I ! ft, 3-ent our luii.r to a settlement fi ii'oro provi-inn icd ne'diul art!' ! -It was by one of them th.it I .-ont w.i that birch-bark 1. (ter. for I wa-, with out even a pi mil We also i.p-irod land improwii the cabin; built in ad dition for t - i: to I left d ' re i "" (mer'.'oncn .. tl.ev have meal riii fmi supplies for a vetir, and when spring I comes, I'll lake you ami Aunt Comfort to pay them a visit. To go there now CHAPTUK XXXVIII. THANIts'dlVlNr: DAY. Thnnlisglvltig had always been tho most Important day In Aunt Comfort's calendar, and latterly the one most anticipated by Nezer. l'or many weeks previous to Its advent he began U) count the days ere It was due, and when preparations came, he whs not only a boy ready nnd willing to do all that was ti knl, but one who seemed to be hunting for chores and (buncos to assist. First (time the selection of the fnttoM turkev In the Mock a lew days ahead, and his moping and extra i feeding in duo preparation for the grand event. In tills occult matter Xezer displayed almost abnormal acumen, n"d ro'fld toll by the bird's strut and how he held his wings wliiwh one to choose. Chickens must also he selortod and shut up, and hero again Xiz.rr's night visit to the roost and choice of fowli showed (! 'retioti. The j-ollowrst rlne pinipHn wis picked out Irom the i lie lc 1 in. and n'l lnetiper of sr."ili"r vew'ib'es tin Well. !) eheertulh mil 1 a hi. basket of good thin.'s to i 1 i ( . an 1 others, nnd oor families ,i mile awav for Aunt foirfort; ho mr. v v. com plaint ;it cpoiit.ing wood, aim w'.n the i n iMn . : , ll. U-. "I-, i , , ,in- III' JUll cleani d i nt. 1,. wns ,in. i Hy the tore the nll-lmporti patlblo nnd so evidently In harmony wllh the law and sequence of event'Ji that no will can stem the current. Happiness nnd n union with the mar Angle's heart had never once swerved from, wore forcing themselves upon her, and with her will or against her will, no alternative was poHibto H mny he called divine law or die 1 w of natural Kdectlon no matter It It one nnd the ;,;ime. and a porr i h;ir. hns covered "this denr old world dni queer old world." with countless harpv Homes, nti'l liiteii its rues anu r. -j nnd ltovi s witli joy sitpremi f' i sweet rippling laughter of ehiMr . .Love was hers by Hat same divine right, liappirifss for o" r1- mean' 1 t own. and what was hi n lou.d ( escape, even If si e w i that, tho sell-sn' rtlh in nature fow men can eft1 rjr appreciate control!' ' adoration, .Something, of ti.is v oi'l Aunt Comfort thn t vl.. i guests had bc'i jnii '.i , iuv and and Am.-'.. Were ;,' in "I ha r. t f.pok a t r.or.f d Aunt roiup rt Martlt i oiiid Mop M ll ' s ot ink li'i in I 1 1 v 5 tb arrived ' most de' niinllv watching tarts in. ' kinds of pp to t he d( i i shovel To lowed to h- tr !' rb re;i' hod oxeitrin. fit all tho women f M 11! and mini '. I i hi de.th ''' on on a k 1 f on hit., rniro Ip nnd Anno ! an apron m ; "m and j apples or o'-.np-ilnu ni'M-o i ! Wht, -i p.-' ,.n radons were v Aunt Cotnfi ' who tir v - i ' to church, 1. iirb d aw r- t service. dr r, No,, r s reached Its i i r P-al stai . ;i a in u-. .m. ii into tn-ti tcmp'f d I, mi i nit 'M !''( boil pan.v cane . ,s ex i : i : creased, and -n keen was n don 1 1 1 1 1 beet cloth' o nm-t be . i" do li r' morning t-r of al , nil was li," while proi arlng In 1'iar.y ifTi f i rrei! n ' "mlle.-l "is al ii -"ill- put him piring n.f v v.cli on and 'oil. i it o CO ' il ' III'. I 1 . .' ' Mil' . I. ' U 1,'iv . 1 1 mi ll U rled tni 't no . I'd lit i ye will r , POIU' I ' that ' v yet " ' an I ion and I n in i t ,. l liar ver si i e an 'i 1' 1 1 I ' 'Hi le) t. I, ,, Ml! i 1 I . 8 r i r u i . lllsV 1 . as oii ii V hv Mllll' .!. Ill Oil V" and " ennui h P.v. y till- I .: tho d'iv i mode ore 'ro iiid io r How ,o ..lone m Ii wa-At'.'i. m. art. i t'ral pi i- e ate 1 or' d At. I hltr i I Hie i- ob- 1 1 on t' I . i ii r v" oOl "I rs I n,' ' k ' I . 1 I Ant s ev 11 I m - , r V" 1 Mf mi mi' i bo Ii jo vv ,t,t li si roil - d r I I 111- oC Oroon- mt elpa- r 1 mil' 1 with '), .I-;, re-i iirition 'l'.e omy rift w.thin d.e lilt, ot his norfi t joy was h'lvn.g to wr.it -o iiri'i. and. when the bntui'i"' was servo,, to be tho IppI to teieive his pr.-tion He made an ends, how iwr, in qc.anwj for his plate ha', to !. po'-.i'ii up throe dmos, and ho u-inilj found i nn for iwo piores of mire e pie besidi 1. Whn the 1'iylul day . ini" again, both Ann; Comfort an I An-.e .-' " about masim; it memo. clde. and in vited a g.ithor ng that was 11k ly to rowd their home to Its limit. First, Dr. Si 1 and his wife nnd Martin, of course, w.i'i his ir.odnr. si-.', r and her family , M.tilstin2 rf hi r busbar.. 1 nnd three il. ik. ron. from Uivtrti n. as i i -i v It i ' 1 f v l,-ii a n " . r- an sot a I iiiti'1 r . '!!' t !" C-ll'ill'i no world differ. id no ' .1 'o In i ,' id nt. vv li ami 1' - in -! n an i nn.x )' "i.tolv af" C'o,"f, i-i li a i at "! vo ' Ii - ut , ,VI-'l".i i ;i t 'w I ' fn r o 1. in t -i ti I ) cr in . 1 ' ! 1 11 1. a-s a s" 1 rr rg ) s' IO rirtT w. 'i . to r d hi I lid f V 1 U e.irf -i i w a ' i w l ' 1 sine out mills an 1 and j " well I.-.' ps yi l J iiivi I i - Mnnn ' to hit. i in 1 A Ml' and -. D .-. i up .O'-'l 1 p'ir.-' 'n the sprit) IK IV, if wf 11 1 h'-i A to a- r a wns e i.-. n. nl'. 1 ... I ik ; i 1 : Maiiin'- ' ".le. Mini Aunt ( o gllest will Il"od tWO spin,' "Wo '.. Aunt t'i (mhlo u sb-ep on In Loroj v.liof. ability , 'i n s . 'i 'in affair 'o I-., r u. at f li- Then Aunt Conie t naive admls-ion of rn'-o on mn w.i' ! "Why von j'.m 'n' Mir' ii w as marr i r i i il ii) k tt -i fin it in ore i r . s f . v tell l.r i f'T 1 ' , ' 1." 'ill f w lien's i 1, r - si e said ' ' i c ' 'Mr woiil'1 'i f " r ' v II I It Oft r r . n I II '!' , I. n n i worrv i" 1 1 ii t ; .i ut'ii vv die settle." of i in.;. H'H i nut all oil An- -1 e and 'n, their i people h vo only '. tritles." "vo kin -it. -I- kin A i r ' fon ' n- k her iill'l ' did jio- ful to ' whii h ( in b in CHAP'i !'! CIIIII5TMAS 11, i-h A - ,1 .'1 Vl "1 1 1 . 1-t hani. w . .1 V '1 - om an use it. her in was ti be mini, in Hi in i el. I'lM -n f' l I pie t 't 1. ) had wnllod there as her duty called but rho rode homo, the cynosure of all , s impossible, except to n. hardy woods eyes along the way, with most of her n)nn 0M .snowshoes. for the only high- moment at the bush-grown graveyard i MmiUxK i,;lI)(S wm, Aunt Comfort, and to place a wreath ol ground-plno on a sunken mound marked by u low, white stone Inscribed "Mother," and then kept on. And Nezer, following close, and feel ing It would be a privilege to kneel and kiss dm hum of her calico dress, wondered why her faco was sad, and Mio so silent. "Tliete is no need to dose Nezei any moio," she said to Aunt Comiort that night, "I've found out what alb him! It's a troubled conscience." CHAPTKU XXXVI. A NIJW LIFD. Martin's feelings, when ho began the fast day's journey to roach Creonvnlo ng'ilu, were about equully divided be tween di'e.iU and turk Ipatlou. llu had inquiring after her health, ho drew his chair to die Hie and h pauso came. It Is always a problem how either good or bad news can best he con veyed to I's recipient, and poor Mar till, after many days of worrlinent and dread, wus now facing such. And the one pei son in till the world now dearest to bis heart was die ono most inter ested. For a few moments lie watched the smouldering fire, the two ladles growing more curious each Instant, and then he turned to them. ' You must pardon my abstraction," ho suld, "but I've only Just arrived nnd have brought jou some strange news that will seem incredible, and I hnrdlv know how to tell it. The htaen driver has told me all Hint has happened here hut you two are iliiit pupils following. Martin also received an ovation wherever he went, nnd when he halted to describe the hermit home of Amzi, and toll the talo over and over acnin, as perforce he hud to, men left their work, and women nnd children their houses, to gather close nnd listen. Ilu war, really the hero of the hour, and his efforts to save Anglo her heritage now known io all his wisdom in not even hinting his suspicious of who the hermit v;s until proved true, and forethought in taking old Cy into the wilderness to care for him, were all a matter of comment. Hy night tho public sentiment had crystallizid into a general Invitation to all to meet in ibe town hall, and listen to Mat tin's telling his story in eon emit order nnd in full. He rather laughingly onn.iented, and for an hour Ik t cl tile unique guthlilig spellbound. At Its c'oso I'arson .loins wus called upon, as might he expected, and ut- I terod h lervent prayer of thiMikfiil- n"ss, and in It asciibing Martin's Intni- tious and mtlons, ns a pertinent ex ample of divine interposition, and when amen was reached, called upon 1 all to Join in "Praise Cod from whom I all blessings flow." ; It was rendered with unusual fer 1 vency, while Aunt Comtort wiped her tears away, and when the audience ills , perseil, Mat tin walked home with her. j Angle was not piesent, for she wan in a state of almost mental collapse. t and lor ample reason. i Collectively It was an exhibition of public, sendment and kindly feeling, the like of which could nowhere clso bo found. Creonvnlo had for many long years felt that u blemish rested upon it, and, like poor dog Tray, leallzed die stigma David Curtis was lesponsitile for. He had met a just and well-merited fate, and the general In lief was that conscience had driven him Insane. Anglo, well beloved, had come Into her rights, and at tho hands of ti long-faithful lover, who now hoped to heroine a citizen of that village, Aunt Comfort, too, was in a fair way to receive due reward for her unfailing chnritj and general benevolence, and all in all though slightly bigoted (ireenvale Hood ready, llko the rest of liunianit), to applaud and reward all goodness and condemn all vice. Hut there wan another, and to Mar tin oven more interesting, conclusion yet to ho settled, and alone in Aunt Comfort's warm sitting room that night they discussed It. What it wna need not ho specified, but nt tho close of Martin's plea for Angle's consent and speedy marriage, nllhotigh she permit I'd his arin-c Icis'P. t-ho shook her head. "No, no," aho said, 'not yU. Onco provide 1 big ovi n the pis, turkev s r ' ways are locked by ice in that Inch latitude, and snow is likely to bo a foot I or more deep. I thought of all a man i could to make your poor father safe 1 and c(v,-nfortablo. and believe he is. I ! will do an thing you ask, will take I you and Aunt Comfort there when ' possible, and then you must judge what ls best to be done. If old Cy's compan i ionship has the effect I hope It will 1 on him, he may bo changed into a 1 more normal .-.tato of mind, and ready nnd even anxious to return to civiliza tion. Tho lone years of solitary life have made hltn almost demented. however, and marly obliterated even! the memory of jou." Mu"h more alrcndj known was re lated bj Martin, and when the even ing ended, a lew words of defense for her own resolution wore utter'd by Anglo, and must also be quoted. "You have rendered my poor father I nnd myself," she said, "a service lor which all you ask of me is no more than just reward. Some day it shall be jours. And now ns partial pa.vmMit I will tell you what lias never par-fed nij lips, and Cod's truth. "Once and when a silly girl I grew into a strangely sweet illusion. I did not know what it meant then, line i blindly believed It must last for liio. j and that you would seem and be ever the same to me. It was selfish, as llrst love always is. but I did not know it. Now I do, and that the only love worth calling such means solf-snori-fico Then you went away, and I tried to forget you. It was useless, for noii.) can force thought or feeling either to come or to go l'or years I suffered as all fondl.v foolish girls must, and In silence. It was like Hie Saviour's cross to mo, and I helpless to escape its burden. In time and by trying to assume others' bunk ns, my own fwined lighter. I have never com iilalned. for It was useless. 1 could not will you back If I trHI. and dm I tho middle ot only peac I found was in living for I nicasui ing six Aunt Comfort nnd my pupils. At iirsi I hoped you might return some day, but finally forced that hope away. Other men and good ones tried to whis per love to mo. it made no dlfler etice, for I felt no response. I cer tainly would have done so If I could, hut I could not. It seemed to me Cod had willed me lo live my life alono and for others, and even now 1 feel the same. Your finding my father, your unaccountable impulse to return here, thou going had; to hltn again are all a part of my fate I may bo wrong, but I can no more escape my si n e of duty, and that It Is Cod's will you lioukl bring in- tlii. (i'ld"d one than I could put yuu mil of my heart i lop , atjo. My dutj now seems flr--.t, H!,o bad .-et about a role! rn't m that was one -,,i the n at t. r of i rowding was a i rifle of no an mint, and tho evrnt 'fli one the HI e of which her ancient dv.illlng had not held since i the joyous days of lu r youth. For time ii-iy the wotnep folks were more thnn bu-v. and the store of good tilings :ieined limitlt ss Twice the had to be heated to hake ill nnd again to hold the wo mil tempting spare rib. and Ne'T's nose was nearlv blistered while basting then. Mnrdn obtvnorl per mission 'O add Ills mite an 1 ho srn' to the i lty for Ikovers enough to turn the whole house into ; bower, an 1 had Aunt Comfort known whit they cost, she would have faiotef It mi' f chin. 1 and bin k at-r.:i f i ' n st. "You linve wnllvi'l - ti''' -1' ' i said, when she pt..t s i t!.- p ir u would consider them engaged, "a 1 i now you Have goi io nue, wni u. r i want to or not. As for what ft ks w .1 sav, 1 want them to consider us i- gaged, for I do." He pleaded wi'b 1 r until sho consented to resign hi r school at Christmas, and dun hurrl 1 av-iiv o to'l Squire Phinney. to ha e another teacher engaged, nnd onco a ,.,,1 i web-'kai hod bos of cut flnwfs w-a , li nt P.. r dwelling by dv stage Martin as. ronfe'r. I wl'h Comfort wl o v ..- l-ear' an , s -ul toi'ed not to 111 in, hovve, ,-, f " lie w ' iu that state of mind ' '" m.ei.. seemed Ufco the drv ii m . of nut-imn compared to Angle's h .') "" Xeer wus almo-.t 1.. do hii.is !" with joy when tie - .pi.-n, l-iv ai i Ived. but vv hen tie .: , .' ' 1 i i ill Klverton party dr v n ."io 'wo pert and pretty girl-, n! e' k vvn a-e alighted with the n - i t r lorhatw the second dm" in In '.' f' " scared Of the Inirodnci' m- I'M - tuikliu s and genteel effort.- to i.i i o- everjhodv feel at home and happy, n."' "is need he said. Dr. Sol and f.imllv '"Inod the party, and when lorma'itj had meix ! into die li'ippy-go-lu. I.y Vf rfulne-s of such an oica-l ui in I .!.e bamim t was served, no pn i an describe Its all-around enjoyment "r h larlty. Tho ilitnix of the fun i ame in the evening, liowev. r for Ansie, alvvavs thoughtful, itad Invited n little pariv of her oldest pupils to help entertain Mir tln's nieces and nephew, and the house was turned alinmt topsy-turvy by "Hllndman's Huff," "Puss In the Cor ner." "Croceries" and finally a gnmo of "Putton," in which even Aunt Com fort and nnt I orey had to join. The limit of rollicking fun vvus reached in this, when the latter wis rnlleil upon to pay a forfeit by ki'reling in the parlor llror and yerds of tape with Ne.er. This pcrfornmiico produced shouts of laughter on all sides, but It ls doubtful If Nezer enjoyed it. There was one slightly ludicrous In cident however, for Martin's mother, who was somewhat deaf and had some, how understood that her son and An glo were engaged, went to her at tho close of die evening and offered con gratulation1) In an unnecessarily loud lone. Her Intent was kindness Itself, hut It brought a blush nnd almost tears to Anglo, and no ono informed the old lady to the contrary. Neither did anv mi" consider It iuvdf,il to do ?o. or dm die out' onie was anvil-. '.a t hut n fir e.;oilc roue! iilrn nd i ' waR for dier.-i are -"Uie ail justiiiciit in itf" ) absolut.dy iom- dr1 e , ir on ! sinr t (in ' He div in 1 riv tho 'in le turn I'O' ' id", a' rliini s an i qui h. i i mil r. y to le ' at ' ' . , SO1 I i ' 1 I re l ( .1 III I . r:1 i. in ,. 1 fp iV v ti l m 3 I ' ) ' 1 .V U Or r.' ale found 'ht i w. r en enlisted N' f 1 1 jo ea I ' to ' i ;t vv ' w ii 1 .,nd 11 1. i lit missed mil i in i in i . s i ' I vv ioing. il-.' v . - 0 ill lll'li p a I - 111 e 1 V iv ' n pea' d le ' t ,ii s ' s 1. 'lis my ovv f. i ir ,'i'- - 1 at" inr foi ' h" - "! as II a-, an i I e man lot.- it' n nial e 'iri, Ymi :i'id" ' ' "I'm 1 i von fi el roil iy 'n :" r . b can't top my lo, nig v t ':i Mm you suj what you i boose." Thej lind an ainio.-t imke-bc'if o quarrel over the J-'. "i he pail over to her by Dr. P"k "I positively r lti' " 'rtr it " Mar t n declared, when sh. m lid h "i tha idii.tical roll of bills, -it's joirs by mhifi nice and aw. and 1 won t have it on my liuie' ." "I ti, ni' i consider It mine" she an sw. vi 1 as firmly, "and I won't keep it, s-o what shall I do with it?" "I don't care what you do vv th It," lie exclaimed with mock grandilo quence lu answer, "(live 'ti.. Hiroah, to Noor. lo the parson, or to the noor or whom jou choose, but .in cant make me till e it. 1 may insisi iha' yo i give tun a drrd of the property whin I tender tho balance of pajnunt, but that Is all. I only bought it to keep It away from strangers." There were other rills of (oy raw ing her way these days In si Us Mar tin's devotion, and one roinhrl her lHU't the closing day of lu r si hot , and in die form of an invitation to come Id die schoolhinise the in v Sat ut day and lie her scholars' guest ot honor. Sho could not oven guess what was In store tor hor, and when Martin vailed to convey her thither, he re fused to even hint It. She almost col lapsed, however, when sho once r n-o stepped into the long-familiar tomu tor it was packed in- all l or ,. , i ,3 nTii most of tie ir .Hen's. Wltb Sn lire 1'birnev as mis' 'mi" the s'i; :i song with her i , T' r or . l t " if '" n .r . 1 'mn. i us. 1, thm the