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A Precedent

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( "But don 't youthiuk, " said ItoMisa Hewitt, "tliat the end jnstifies the means?" She shook her head. "Oh, ; no," she said, "that's Jesuitical!" "Well, now, here's anexainple," I suggested. "Yon are anxious to sell the contenta of thisstall, aren'tyou?" "'Oh, yes!" responded Miss Hewitt. "And yon would be delighted if some one were to come and bny it all up? It won ld be of snch use to the charity. " "Certainly, " said Miss Hewitt promptly. "And would vex Miss Chndleigh over the way?" I added. Miss Hewitt lóoked at me with suspicion, but I'm sure I was very demure. "Oh, it would be nice, of course, to be successful, " she assented. "It would mean L50." "May I trouble yon for another ice?" said I, feeling that I was bound to do something after that. "Thank you - strawberryl Well, as I was saying, if you could LLnd a means of getting rid of all this, and thereby benefiting the charity by ao much, yon would feel disposed to fcake it, even if it wasn't quite- well -quite, you know. " "I wouldn't do anything dishonest, " put in Miss Hewitt qnickly. "Oh, I wasu't talking of anything dishonest," I protested. "I was oaly thinking that there might be other means, not dishonest, you know, bnt jasfc a little - well, not quite conventional, yon know. " "What sort of means?" asked Miss Hewitt curiously. "Why, now," I said, "yon have sold very little all the day, haven't you?" Miss Hewitt bit her lips, aud a disconsolate look came into her face. "While I've been here, " I said, "yon have only disposed of two pairs of stockings, one woolen comforter for the hot weather and a sort of - a kind of - I didu't quite see, bnt I thought it looked like a - " "I know I haven't sold much," broke in Miss Hewitt hastily, and with a slight aocession of color. "Yon have only bought a few ices." I looked meditativo. "So I have, "I said, feeling thát another cali was made opon me. "I wonder if I might - no perhaps better not. I suppose you haven 't snch a thing as a baby's perambulator, Miss Hewitf?" Miss Hewitt was not She had only an eye to a bargaiu. "No," she said eagerly, "I'm afráid I haven't, but I've got a very uioely dressed eradle, and some rattles - and" - "Ah, " said I, shakingmy head, "I'm afraid it's not oíd enough for those tliings. " She sighed and glanced across the way, where Miss Chudleigh was engaged in a roaring trade. "I think I might have one more ice," I said very bfavely. It was not so very hard, after aíl. The heat was very great, and they soon melted. ' Miss Hewitt was very nice abont it. "Are you sure you oughtto?" she asked doubtfully. "Miss Hewitt," said I, "you are mpch too scrupulous. That is the reason of yonr failure. And yet you would have sold me a eradle and rattles with perfect equanimity, knowing that I am a bachelor. The inconsisteney of your sex is a puzzle, ' ' I remarked, shakiug my head. "Oh, Trat I didn't think about that I" she said, with a blush. "I only thonght you waníed" - "Come, then," I said, "what would you do to get rid of all your articles of commerce?" Miss Hewitt 's eyes opened. "Oh, if I could only do that!" she exclaimed. "Well, how far would yon be prepared to go for it?" said I insinnatingly. Sho paused. "I'd - I'd give np the ball tonight, " she exclaimed impulsively. I shook my head. "I have no nieans of gauging the valué of that reuunciation," I said thoughtfully, "but postíibly it is greater than the one I know which would euable you to sell your stall. " "Oh. do vou know a wav?" cried she breathlessly. "Why, certainly,"said I, still reflectively. "Mr. Randall, teil ine, "sbe pleaded, clasping her hands aud putting her elbows on the stall. She looked eagerly into my face. I really had no notion until that moment, but somehow her action ijnt it into my head. "Have you ever heard of the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire, Miss Hewitt?" I asked. Miss Hewitt leaned, staring at me for a moment, and then a look of intelligen'ce came into her eyes, her color started, aud she moved away. "Idon'tthink yoa should make that kind of jest," she remarked disdaiufully. "It's not a jest," I answered reassuringly. "Then yon 're all the horrider, " she returned, foigniug to be busy with her commerce. "But,"I said in perplexity, "I don't see - I only asked you if you remembered the Duchess of Devonshire - the one What's-hi.s-name painted, you know. " Miss Hewitt was much embarrassed. Her face took on many expressions. "But you" - she began aud stopped. "Do you reniember her?" I asked. "Of," said Miss Hewitt snappishly. "Well, then," I said, "why aiu I horrid?" She paid me no atteution, but begun shiftjng thethiugsupou the .stal] in a recklees way. "Oh, " I exolaimed suddenly, "I see wliat you were thinking of I You thought I meant - I see uow. You thought that I was advising you to sell" - Miss Hewitt got redder than ever. "I didn't think anything of the sort, " she exclainied hurriedly and dusting aw.ay at nothing, "and I wish you'd go away if you 're not going to buy anything. " "I should like another ice, please, " said I. Miss Hewitt was somewhat taken aback and looked as if she would like to speak, but she only frowned and dumped another ice npon the oounter. "But now yon have snggested it," I went on, considering, "it'snotat all abad idea." Miss Hewitt moved to the farther end of the stall and sold anotber pair of stockings. "It'a quite worth thinking of," I aaid when she was within hearing again. "I am glad yon mentioned it. " "I never mentioned anything, " she retorted hotly. "No, of course yon didn't ruention it, " I agreed, "bnt I don 't see why yon shonld be angry, beoanse we are discnssing calmly" - "I'm not disoussing anything," she abserved tartly. "No," said I, "bnt if the Duchess of Devonshire thonght it a good deed to pnrohase what she considered the welfare of her country by allowing voters to kiss -her I dou 't think yon should be offended if, for the sake of an excellent charity" - "I am not the Dnchess of Devonshire, " said Miss Hewitt shortly. "I don't suppose," I said, "that it was much of a kiss." Miss Hewitt's nostrils curled in scorn. "Good people are always so particular, " I said philosophically. Miss Hewitt's indignation broke forth. "Do yon snppose, Mr. Eandall, " said she sarcastically, "that one would allow any one that wished to" - "Oh, I never said any one' I interrupted hastily. "No; certainly not any one. " She looked at me with undisgnised hanteur. I glanced abont the stall. "I shonld like to have a lot of those things," I said. "I oonld send them to a children's hospital, yon know. " Miss Hewitt's face relaxed elightly. "They would be veryusefnl, " she said. "It would be L50, wonldn't it?" I asked, as if enterine on a lation. "Yes," said Miss Hewitt, with a little show of excitement; "L45 if any one took the lot. ' ' I fingered in my pocket and hesitated. "I'm afraid" - said I. "You see, I forgot I had promised to buy a qnantity of flowers for the inflrniary, " I remarked, glaucing at Miss Chudleigh's stall. Miss Hewitt's face feil, but she said nothing. I took out toy pocketbook and extracted some notes, dividiug my looks between the two stalls in a hesita ting way. "I think the children in the hospital would like the toys very innch," said Miss Hewitt nervously. "Yës; they could play with the stockings nicely, couidn't they?" said I. She paid noheed tothis remark. "I wonder if Miss Clmdleigh would do what the duchess did?" I observed present ly. "Perhaps you had better ask her," said Miss Hewitt sarcastically. "Oh, no! I said hurriedly. "I was only wondering. For the sake of the poor, people do make sacriflces, I suppose. " "I don 't believe she did let them - let them kiss her," remarked Miss Hewitt, af ter a pause and contemplating a wooden horse. "Don't you?" I asked, looking up. "What did they do, do you think?" Miss Hewitt examined the toy carefully. "Oh, she said indifferently, "I should think she merely pretended. " "Pretended?" I echoed. "Yes; they only kissed - just - not quite - I mean they didn't really touch her," ene explained, with more interest in the horse. I considered this. ' ' But some of them, ' ' I objected, "would not have been content to be put off that way. They must have "Oh, if any one liked to be rude and take advantage like that." she eaid disdainfrilly, "she cotildn't help it, poor thing!" "No, "I aseented, "I suppose sheconldn't, and she must have hated it all the time. " "Of course she did," said Miss Hewitt, now inspecting a dolí. "Butshedid it out of a senEe of duty - to benefit her country," I concluded. "A man would never have been so unselfish, " said Miss Hewitt. "Never, " I said emphatically. "But do you think that women are capable of such an act of self sacrifioe in these days?" I asked. "Of course," said Miss Hewitt, watching some people go by with great interest, "if - if they only - only pretended to. " "But if there was an accident?" I ventured. Miss Hewitt apparently did not hear this. "Do yon really think," I persisted, "that awoman - a girl - would do a thing like that?" "She wouldn 't - she couldn 't - of course the duchess did not let it pretend to be done - in - bef ore any one else. " "Not, for example, in a room like this?" I said, looking round the bazaar. "How, then?" "Afterward," murmured Miss Hewitt, beuding down to piek up a pin, I suppose. "Oh," I said, "she would only promise, then. " Miss Hewitt said nothïng. I rose. "Well, I!m afraid I must be really going, " I said, holding out my hand. "I think if she were really honest she would have to keep her promise, " said Miss Hewitt in a low voice. I looked at her, bnt she was not looking at me. "I think you have given me two waltzes tonight, " I observed. "It isn't very generous usage." "I'm sure it's quite enough, " said Miss Hewitt flrmly. "Well, at any rate, let us sit out the second, " I suggested. Miss Hewitt looked at me in surprise. "I thought you liked dancing, ' ' she said innocently. "Oh, sometimes!" I said. "But we might have a talk in the coneervatory. It's sure to be very hot. " "Do you think it is?" said she. "Certain." "Oh, we'll see!" said she chalantly. I turned to go. "By the way," said I, leaning on the stal) confidentially, "shall I leave you the L50 dow? And then yon can send the things to the hospital at once, yon kuow. " Miss Hewitt avoided my eye. "I didn't know," she began and broke off. "Perhaps i t would be better, "she ïnnrmnred. I offered uiy hand. "Tonight, tbeu," I said. She did look at me at last, but it was quito by accident - just the sort of accident that happened in the


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