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on, “an' I covered my trail, and no man when I saw you coming down it. You rode ever knew what I found in Ben's shaft—no very fast. Did you lame your horse ? ” man but one"
The stranger was puzzled. “And he?" Hester spoke with a sudden “Me?” he answered. “Me ride down piercing anxiety.
the old Indian trail! I never come down "He!” screamed the other furiously. there any time, let alone last night.” “He's the man as wants to buy the shaftThe man rose. He looked at Hester hesfrom Horton. I was a thief-you said so. itatingly, and at Salome with an expression But damn him! He wore fine clothes-an' of something akin to compassion. paid me for stealing. An' he meant to buy " There's one more promise I want you to the shaft then, an'—an'—” A slow, intense make,” he said—“but I forget ; you haven't anger burned in the words as they fell from made ine any promise yet. You buy Old his lips. “The boys whipped me because a Ben's cabin and the little garden to the south gentleman—an honest man—when English -you, Hester Holland. Will you make Jack missed lead from Denny's pile, whis- me this one promise — me, that have come pered that I was the thief. An' he set 'em so far to serve you? It ain't worth much, on me—an' he was in the bowlin' alley, an' but if you would buy it I'd know you didn't saw 'em cut the locust branches—an'-" quite despise the wish, even of a no-account
Hester came before him with a white chap like me.” face of despair, and looked straight into his “I promise !” said Hester, deeply imeyes.
pressed by the almost painful humility that "He was—?” The suffering of a whole marked the request. lifetime seemed compressed in this one A brightness came into his face. “Somebroken question.
how, I think,” he said, "this isn't our last Salome, drawn by a spell she could not meeting. An' there's just one thing more I resist, drew near.
want to ask ye.” He took her slim white hand; A strange tenderness checked the pas- “Good bye,” he said. His voice faltered a sion of the gaunt man before them. With second. “Do you think,” he said brokenly, pathetic earnestness, he evaded her ques- "anything low and mean—even as low and tion.
mean as a thief-could ever get the welts on "I told you then,” he said, “I'd not for- his soul scarred over?” get your day's work. What matter who he H e was gone, and left her with a heart
newly torn with pain. The rain was over; The pale woman fronting him shrank away the moon broke through its rim of ragged with a new-born terror from him, and still clouds; the myriad voices of the night more visibly from Salome, mute and watch- awoke more rampantly than ever in the ful, at her side. She could not have explain- pauses of the sighing, fitful breeze. Hester ed why, but for the first time the aversion felt Salome's light touch upon her arm. All the child had excited in Lila appeared trans- her transient hostility died away, as she ferred to her. As if she fathomed these looked at her in the dim candle light. She feelings, Salome loosened her grasp on her bent down impulsively and kissed her, in slender arm, and faced the stranger reso- voiceless appeal for forgiveness. All her lutely.
old serene life seemed abruptly swept away “ Last night,” she said, "the children were from her. In her disturbed and troubled playing out there.” She pointed to the street. condition of mind, there remained one earth“The sunset was red on the old Indian trail, ly comfort-one support. It was-Salome.
Ada Langworthy Collier. [CONTINUED IN NEXT NUMBER.)