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A Temptation

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When Leander Ularte inarried Mabel Thorpe, he had no expectation of ever being a rich man, but as his affairs appear at the present time he is on the broad highway to fntnre wealth. It all arose from the f act that he took time by the forelock, the only way poor mortals have of ever getting even with him oi the scythe andhourglass. Now, Mabel Thorpe did not erpect her hero to swim the Hellespont of life with all his armor on, but she did deinand from him, as she had a right to do, a high moral Standard, for she had not married him tmtil she had seen, as she believed, his whole past life'laid open before her as a book. There is no time when a man is as weakly sentimental and as religious as when he is trying to live up to the standard of a pure yonng girl's ideal, and Leander became almost an angel. There are very few of ns capable of making human angels of ourselves. Good and evil are as persistently present in erar moral nature as light and darkness are in our atmosphere, and one eerves as the complement of the other. To banish night we use the light of science, to counteract wrong we invoke divine help, but so largely is our worldly nature in excess of our spiritual powers that we are constantly in danger of erring to be forgiven - in other words, sinning and repenting. Mabel Thorpe believed in an inflexible uprightness. The command to do evil that good may come was to her a perverted text. She was not aware that there are sins of omission as well as of commission, and that her unrighteous condemnation of sinners and her severe judgments were in themselves of a sinful nature. The self righteous are often harder to live with than the sinner. Leander Clarke had been a good son, and he intended to be a good husband. He was both proud and fond of his wife, but certainly regretted that he could not give her all the luxuries that she could appreciate, not even the grand piano that her musical talent deserved. But he went to work with a will to make her happy and hoped in a few years to be able to add all other needful things. Among the wedding presents of the young couple was one that far outshone all the rest - a superb set of diamonds sent by an unele of Leander's who was near to death and gave the residue of a large estáte in this extravagant present. Leander himself was genuinely sorry that such an undesirable gift had been made, but he argued that his wife was a sensible woman and wonld turn them into something more suitable to their condition in life - a piano, for instance, which was a necessity rather than a luxury. What was his surprise when his bride said: "I never was so pleased in my life. Diamonds represent to me the crystallization of everything beautiful in art and nature. I never dreamed that I should possess such magnificence. " ' ' But these have uo associations, ' ' said her husband. ' ' They are not heirlooms. ' ' "Tliey will be. All diamonds were newat some time. And are they not associated with the dear old man who gave them?" The dear old man had been a terror in the family and had only given the diamonds to Leander's wife because he hated that nephew a little less than the others, whom he hoped to make horribly jealous and angry and had succeeded. When Leander asked his wife to keep her diamonds in the bank, she promptly declined. ' ' But you surely will not wear them, dear?" he suggested. "Why not?" she asked. "It would in jure our prospects and not be consistent with our position. " "They were a gift tome. Surely I have the right to do as I pleasewith my own. ' ' "The right, yes. But Ithoughfrmy wife had more discretion. I did not know you'cared for gewgaws, Mabel. " So the flrst cloud carne on the horizon of their love, but Leander was good tenipered and Mabel satisfied, and it disappeared. The truth was that Leander had expected a handsome sum of money from this very unele, who was a bachelor and very old. But age had not mellowed an ugly disposition to thwart his relatives, and af ter raising the young man's hopes he took a malicious pleasure in disappointing them. The young couple began life in a pretty furnished cottage on the modern plan of a chafing dish and hand painted china, and it worked like a charm. Mabel presided over the dainty cuisine, the butler's pantry, the parlor, and really did wonders. Leander feil in love with her over and over again. Bnt for the diamonds they would have been as happy as larks. Did they hear a sound at night - it was a burglar af ter those preciöus gems. They were afraid t-o leave the house alone lest thieves break in and steal, and one or the other of the two was compelled to be the hiding place of the jewels when they went out together. Mabel did not careto adom herself with diamonds' when she went to market or to church, but she could not listen to a sermón in peace if the gems were not about her. Aud somehow it did annoy har to carry concealed wealth like a brigand or a smuggler. But when Leander had a chance to buy shares in the Little Catawba Lumber company and to make as much in three months as Le would in a year by his clerkskip Mabel won ld not listen ta :he suggestian that tho bank would advanee enough on the diamonds to enable him to make the investnient. Theu Leander discovered that his wife could be a very obstinate woiaau. It was in vain that he laid before her the benefit that would result froin a transient disposal of tho gems. She replied, not without logic on her side, that tho Little Catawba might be a failnre, and then her precious securities would be forfeited. Leander, man fashion, grew angi'y, and af ter some hot words reached the penultiniate of passion. "I wish," he said in tones of inveofcive, "that bnrglars would get thehateful stones. They might at least be of Bome use to them !" It is said that curses, like chickens, come home to roost. After Leander had askcd forgiveness for his rudeness and Mabel had sweetly extended the olive branch of conciliation he suggested that she be doubly careful of her cherished possessions. "The town is f uil of burglars, and they know the people who have fine diatnonds, and if they once set out to get them they '11 succeed. " Mabel did not sleep with tho diatnond.s in the same room. Womaulike, she thought if she secreted them in some place where they would never be detected they would be safe. Neither the ash barrel nor the ragbag entered into her calculations, but places just ae inconsistent did. One night there was a crash in the room below. Mabel shook her sleeping husband and whispered in his ear : "Burglars! Get your revolver and ge down stairs. The diamonds are in the bottom of the clock. ' ' Leander was startled and confused, but as the noise continued he hurricd on his clothes, and taking his revolver ran softly down the stairs. Mabel reniained where she was, shivering with fear. There was a fearful commotion below, the noise of falling f urniture, opening and closing of Windows and the rapid firing of the revolver after some flying robber. Then regard for her husband's life compelled Mabel to hurry to his assistance. She found him lying on the floor, grasping his revolver. She did not faint nor shriek, but, kneeling beside hirn, bathed his face and besought him to speak to her. "Where am I?" he asked feebly as he tried to raise himself. "Are the diamonds safe?" "Never mindthe diamonds," said his wife. "Are you mortally wounded anywhere?" "I don 't know," answered Leander feebly, and, to her credit be it recorded, Mrs. Leander assisted her husband to a couch and sent off, or rather called for, assistance before she even thought of her diamonds. Then the open door of the clock told the whole story. The diamonds were gone, root and branch 1 And they were the only things stolen. If Leander had been surprised at the marmer of his wife on receiving the jewels, he was astonished at the calm indifference with which she parted from them. She allowed the usual course to be taken to recover the thief or thieves to justice, but when no resnlts followed she said she was glad of it ; that the gems had been like an evil eye to them, and for her part she never wanted to hear of them again. "I wonder," she said, "that I did not see it in that light before. I will uever keep anything in my house again to tempt the cupidity of the wicked or ■onfortunate. To that extent am I my brother's keeper." But the effect upon her hnsband was entirely different. Either he caught cold on that night of the burglary or his nervous system received a shock, for he ■was almost ill from the effects of his tussle with the barglar. And ho could not endure to have the subject mentioned before him. Not even the success of the "Little Catawba, " in which a friend had invested for him, gave him the peace and rest he craved. A little incident that happened at that time did, however, help to restore him to his normal condition. His wife received a small package, accompanied bya soiled and dilapidated note, which, upon being opened, read : honord madem - i gets no sleap sence i stoal yure dimons ; no j'ure laidy an i am a reten if i giv them up pra fur me. an unnone frend. And in the package Mabel foun(T"her diamonds, exactly as she had last seen them. She was pleased - where is the woman who would not have been? - and she at once showed her confidence in her husband by placing the gems in his hands for safe keeping in the bank. "I wish I had taken your advice earlier," she said gracefully. "It would have saved us so much trouble. ' ' Leander murrnured something about all being well that ends well and at noon brought her a certifícate of deposit. There we leave them on the way to fortune and happiness if - if Leander 's conscience does not upset the whole scheme. He would give a great deal to know, what no clairvoyant could teil him, how much or how little Mabel has discovered. My own opinión is that she saw through it from the first and holds herself equally guilty as accessory after the crime, and with that sweet fickleness which even an upright woman employs she will make herself a loving accomplice, for it is a f oregone conclusión that Leander Clarke was his own


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