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The Fourteenth

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It has been said that it is always the uuexpected that happens, and that to be prepared for eniergencies cme must be both a philosopher and a fatalist. As Professor Sruythe, musician, piano tuner and general utility man- in a musical vvay was going to the Globe theater, where he was to play a flute obligato with the regular orehestra, he yonld have been much surprised if any hint of a new calamity in his run down fortunes could have been then and there foretold. He certainly thonght he had taxed tho ingenuity of adverse fate to its utmost, and he had enough misery on hand to last a lifetime. But the misfortune awaiting him was of a grotesque tum and quite unlike the others, which y?ere the commouplace ones of illness, poverty and bad luck in everything he tmdertook. As be walked along ín the snnninng, depressed fashiou that had become uatnral to hiin through habitude with misfortnne he was aware of the sudden opening of a door in a handsome residence he was passing and a flood of orange light beaming across his path. At the same time a man in evening dress ran lightly down the steps, seized hiin by the arm and said briskly : "My dear sir, excuse me, but would you do me a great favor?" Professor Smythe forgot to draw into his shell, so sndden was this attack. He stood still, like the wedding guest in the "Ancient Máriner," but flnally stammered his need of haste and the occasion of it. "I vill nav vou trvvice as much, and you will have nothing to do but make yourself agreeable. It will be -a great accornmodation, and I shall never forget it. I can see by your appearauce that you are a gentleman. Consider me a friend and accept my offer. " "But what service is required of me?" asked the professor, who had a vague, idea that a grand piano had suddenly gone wrong. "Why, you see, I am giving a dinner to some friénds. It is all on the table, and we have just discovered that there are 13 of us. That would never do at alL Now if you will diñe with us, yon sball be well paid for your services, aud 1 daré say you will be in time for your flute solo at the theater, as you can be excused when you desire. You will come? Thanks!" The professor f ollowed his host in a state of absolute subjection, as if he might have been hypnotized, but the f act was that the poor man had not broken his fast since morniug, and the deliciöus aroma of the d inner coming through the open door provod irresistible. He gave his name in a whisper, was handed over to a servant, who took him Tip stairs into a guest chamber, helped him remove his shabby overcoat and whisked off his best suit with a sil ver handled brush, takine its XQY liaiKllcU. UI Uhii, Laa-iLig ivo w"vj"m bare glint for dust. It was well he was engnged to play; otherwise he would uot liave been iu evening dress. He was beginuiug to eujoy the little comedy in which he was hijiisolf au actor. There was no iutroductioii, His host motioned bim to a seat between the maiden lady and a severe matron who ttirued her silken back on hiin to talk to her neighbor on the other side. The professor's pride did not once assert itself. He was masqüerading - that was all. Bnt fate had not done with Professor Sniythe. The consommé had a dash of champagne in it, and new life was infused iuto the veins of this professional diner out. The fish and game and pate that followed were all triumpbs of the culinary art, and the hungry man cloyed the edge of his appetite, not by the bare imagination of a feaet, but by the feast itself. Itwas no feast of the Barmeccde eilher, for the viands were actual, and the wine wás not a pretense, but a lightful vintage, served in cutglass Iets. The poor professor feit like saying to his neighbor, "Pinch me !" for it was like a dveam or an illusion rather than a reality. Butthestrikingof tho clockreminded him that hehad been there anhonr, and as be had broken the spell of tho unlucky 13 ho ventured to excuse himself and rose stiiïly froui his place and bowed himaell out of the room. He was followed by a servan t who handed him an envelope with the oompliments of the gentleman with whom he had jast dined. Not for worlds would he have opened it, though it was unsealed, bef ore -the man, but he accepted it graciously and went up stairs to get his hat aud overcoat unattended. A number of handsomely appointed chambers were on the upper hall, ciud the professor glanced into each as he passed on his way to theparticular guest chamber where he had lef t his belongings. Perhaps he was a trifle overeóme by sherry and other beverages, but he thonght the room liad been darkened and that he was right. He stood a moment in the doorway and looked cantiously in, peering about at the lnxuvy, bnt at the same time noting that it wan not the dressing room for which herwas lookiug. Bef ore he could step back and turn down the corridor again the ïr.icxpected happened. He received a sudden and violent push trom behind, which flung him forward out of the doorway into the room, the door was instantly locked upon him, and-hewas a prisoner. j "Smythe hick !" said the poor nmn !?.s he tried in vain to open the door and ' knew by the rumpus he could hear ; side that the house was in a state of excitemeut. "I suppose they will think I ■was trying to steal something. " And to add to his terror he heard the alarmed household coming up stairs, and the next moment the door of his room was opened, and his host, backed by all the n' Ie gnests, stood in the open doorway. "What ;?--L yon doing here?" was the nrst question his host propounded. "Teil tlie truth now as you would hope lor mercy. " "I carne here to get my hat and ooat," said the professor, the digritty of all the Smythes since Mount Ararat in his thin, rasping tones. "A likely story. Turn your pockets insido ont, " commanded the host. "I refuse to do it. " "Th en I will send for the pólice. I was villing to give you a chance, but if you refuse to be searched yon are gnilty. " "I am not a thief . " "I do not know. Your actions are very suspicious. Yon can explain matters to the chief cL pólice. There must be reasons why yêii refuse to bo searched. If you are honest, you can have nothine to conceal. ' ' A hollow laugh rang through the room. Was it possible the bold intruder dared to laxigh at thein? It was the laugh of despair, and as such it smote npon the heart of the bost, who looked troubled and perplexed. His enforced guest saw the look, and it suggested a line of action to him. "Seud these men away," he said, pointiug to the group of alarmed guerts srowding in at the door. He was glad the vromen had remained below stairs and not come to gaze upou his discomflture. He did not know that they weie locked np in fear and trembling in a disttiTit Tiiirlor. tam pciiiui. "We won 't go," chorused the group. ; "He may want to mnrder you. " "Idon'tthinkhowill," said the host, who was really soft hearted. 'Til trust him, and you fellows can go to the ladies. I'll cali if I need help. " They went, rather glad to be out of it, and the two men, left together, eyed each other, one waiting for the other to epeak. They were exactly opposite in appearance, one rosy and rubicund, the other thin and anxions - a meager tmvesty on a successful man. "Irefused tolet yousearch me," said the professor slowly, "becanse- oh, ïny God, how can I acknowledge it - I am athief!" The other man started and moved toward the door. Then he waited. "I have stolen f rom you - here, let me show you, and you will know why I eouldhave diedeasier than to have these people gloating over me. See here - and - here and here." He took the valuables out of his pocket one by one. They made a strange exhihit. as he niled them up on the tablo in front of him. They were a roll of dinner bread, a pate, a sweetbread rolled iu n leaf of lettuce, a chicken breast. a bit of toasted bread and a cariare sandwich. He brought them out to the last crumb, with themannerof one who lays his life ou the altar of sacrifice. "Qreat heavens, rnan, what does this mean?" asked the astonished host. "It meaiis," replied the other solemnJy, "that my sick wife and my ïittle ohildren are starving, and that I pilfered f rom my share of food at your table to give thèm, for my rent is overdnc, and the money I earned is already spent. ' ' "But -what did you eat yourself?" "More than I have eaten for many a day. But now do with me what you will." " Wonld you ïnind putting these things back iuto your pocket?" inquired his ' host vaguely. "Now come with me.' : TTp tonk him bv the arm and led him down stairs and into the presence of the sha'kiug guests. "I - I made a bad mistake, my friends," he said. "This gentleman has proved himself perfect ly innocent of any attempt at crime, and I must beg you to remain silent as to the events of this eveniug. He is under my protection from this time, and yon will all agree withme that we are extremely sorry that such a mistake should have occurred. ' ' Of course they all agreed with the sentiments of their host, whatever they were, and Professor Smythe was allowed to take his leave amid profuse


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