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Ruth's Romance

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CUAPTElt XII. One day, in late winter, a telegram lita brought to Ruth. It was from Wlnsted. "I'm afndd Anut Iiaehel's 6iek,"she said ipprehensively, as she uníokled the paper. It was a bvicf meesago - only this : "Mies Nugent dled last night. Come ai once." "Samuel Cra i okd." Dead! Aunt Roche] dead I She went about l&e ouc in a dream as made her preparatlons to go to Winsted. Had any one been with Aunl . h,ewondered, when the end carne, - any near friend, llke Arthur, or herself 1 she thought not, or t lie telegram would havo come (rom them inste'ita oí LÁwyer Crawíord. "Shemust have flied suddenly," thouglil l;nt!i. "If her slckuess had boen öt any lcugtb, die woulil have sent for me.1 Then, whaí Auut Rachi I satd to her at partiiii; c-:inr Into her mimi. "If Bhc was tíx ;¦- m i Bunuñcv, but perbape sho nilit f;;) auay. 11' .sli: dld, sliO wotid never come oackl" Now, kíic understood wliat Aunt Rachel incani. She had been thinking ol the last long journey, and n that Journey the weary feet liad Btarted. .ln' had gono away, and Bhe never wonld come back. Wlnstcd in lts winter robes was a diftcreni Wlnsted from the one shc bad known. Evervthing tras white and ohill. It made her ihiiik of the cbamber of de&th to whlch her lourney led hor. It fceemed In keeping wlth the time and eyont whiili eallecl her was waítüjg Coi' ' r at I "l'm sorry you couldn't nftVe been here before she dled," . ley started for the eld liomeatetul. "There ura8Monebat liutdv and me wlth her at the la . ' Puur Aunt Rachel I She had died, as Bhe had Ilved, alone. 'Havo vou sent for Arthur B"ordf" Ruth asked of Jonas. "The lawyer, he telcgiaphed to th ¦ plafè whero he waa tlie last tinte he wrote to Jflss Rachel, and thuy sent liaok word hewasn't there, and thoy dldn'l kntiw wbere 1 : :tain't, Ukely he'll be here to the luneral." Hosv stlll and straqgi cverything seemed as Ruth opened the gate and went up the path, The deod stalksoJ the pinks sbowcd hre and thera tbrougli tbe drif tid saow, llke gjiosta oí wbat bad been, up reaclnng froai the grave the hands of passing tune had dug. The libes secmi d d i I. í;: i ¦ ¦ was evi ryw here. tbe suowbirds tba( liitted about the dry, brown iveeds, wh eached abovc the sdow iu tin) fence-cornf r, '. i re in -i-t Ie ia In Steit seareb jiuKiy mi t uer at ith Uer aproa at her eyeg. [n the longyearssheh wlth Rochel Nug .;. shc had learncd to lorc the lonely woman. it v mld belonleier than dv r i.v. '¦I flidn't thinlt ir. would be lfk&thls wheu you camc ag'ln," ehu eaid, dn w Ruth Into the -: . where u Qreblazedon tbe bearth. b a i nptj looit Uu had! it seomed to Rnth tnal shewontd liftvtknovm Auni Kachel was di ad, U i be had uot knowu It v. hi d hi en . hpld. "Slu apokc "f you ¦ lie i n atiii .1 her la-t." Huldy sai:. "Sh'd been feelin' un.vrll tor b day or Uro, an' that afteraoop. Jonas an' me, wc pr. hertóhe?tbe doctor 80 Jonas, he went bimyandbe come un' give I11 wdersto makehcr rest Vf] ¦ away, 1 fgliered him ti the door, and aekcd him iL thcre was auy tliinj; Bcrious aili ; ¦, Dt, aii' he tiilil me ;:' ;. . ivi 'd kind o1 ha i an i ü ter quite a 8ell- Hiat 6he had huart dteèase an' she migbt drop oiïanytime. She'd know'd It. but she hadn'l said nothlu' t us sboat U. WalJ,) Bet with her till aiter Dlne o'dock, aa' we talk'.-ii al In' for you in the mornin', if she wasn't better. 'She'd beo greatdea) o' coinpany for me, ii Bhe was here,' she eaid. 'I gucea Bhe á rcaily lovc (he poov old womau,' or somethin' to tliat eileet. I was goin' to set up all night. an' see to li'iviu' her her mediein', but tlie wouldn't heartoit 'Lay duwh,' sez she, 'I'll caB, ii I want anythir.g.' Bo 1 lai i down ou the lounge' üi her "room, an' I kind o' foll asleep. Iliaiïu't been asleep more'n half ; 11 hour, when I w:is woke up by her breatbiu'. 1 run to the bed, an' fuund lnr almosi goaft. J run into the hall, au' ealled Jonas, an' 'u iji-n I eot back to the bed she was dead. Poor Ml 9 Nugentl" oHdHuldy wiped her eyes on her apron again, as she "linishcd telling if .'".uit Rachel's death. "Would you like te Bee her UOWÍ" "Tea," answeredEath and Ilulily led the n:iv tu the room Rachi Nusnt had occupjed bo inony weary, lonelj j-ears. Hov muchthat room could have toldl WLat'éccrets il helil But the secret i t held now was the straogest oue oi all- the weitd, awiul secret of death. Huid; opened the áoorsoftly, and Ruth went in. The room was iull ofgloom. Shewent to the window and drew baci the curtains. lettiug iu a flood of !d irray light. Then the ' turned and looked toward the bed. Ahitliat awfullv suggestive sliape beneath the white drapery! Wno that bas ever aeen it will ererforget iti She wenl up to Aunt Rachel's sido and fo!dod baak the elotli that hid the dead face. Tiie tliin, wasted features wore a look of peacei There was almoi 1 a smile un the coii liir-. "8he will be lonely again." Kuth Lhought, as the stood there in' the solemn ileneé oí üie chamber of death. "Never lonely any more. It may bc that the love deii d her here will be given there. Wh-i knows?'1 Ah, whoi A rtft in the clouds lel fhrough a ray of sun ligbt. [tcame inthroaghthe from whieli she had drawn away the onrtaiqs, uu] feil upon the dead face, making ii. dniost fair. Ruth waited till thecloud haü elosed, and the Bunlight had faded iroin the room. Then she bent down and kissed thecold chei k, eaid softl_v. "Good-bye, deal Aunt Rachel," eovered up the face again, and went softlv awav. Huldj was waitlog fot her in the hall. "Sbe looks awful natural, don't you think po:" Bheasked, as thcy went back to the slttüie room. "Very mach no." answerod Ruth, ¦¦onlv per tnan abe asea to. It scemsto methatthat hungry, lonely look bas left her face." "Jo8t what I told Jonas," uald Huldy. "I s'pose she's lived alone all these years becaiise he IüvciI onc man too well to ever .are for auother. Icouldu't doit; but if she could: she ought to be recompensad tai it, an" 1 b'leeve the Lord'll see it's done, Ín some uav." Twodays later the grare closeil Rachel Nugent, and Ruth went badt to the lonely house feeltng that her annt mus lád to goaway on the loug journey. "It was 'hér wishthat her í11 sliuuld be rea olrectlyafter her burial," Lawver Crawfoi said. "Dld she ever tell you how' sbe Intendei to diepose of herproperty';' "Wo sever talked about It at all," an luith. Sbe liad cared fur Annt Rachel, ni her money. "She left it iu a - well, a rather curlou inape," sald Mr. Orawford. "Youwlll doubt lees l)i' Miiprised. But yon willliml oulin tim that she meant tod) you justiee. I mu not a Uberty to Bay more, perhapa I ouulit not t nave said so mueh, oút of regard to ber u Ishi ion know filie was always a peculiar woman hat she did was generalij done iu a way verv different f rom other people's." "Whatevcr Aimt Rachel gaw fit to do, I sliall . find no faiilr. with," answcred lUith. "Hei property was her oivn, to dowlthaashetkoturb best." Mr. Crawford opened the v.ill and re overto Ruth, aaá Joños, and Huldali. To Arthur Ford she left thc sum of thMv thousand dollars. To Ruth Nus-ent. her nlfl BIble. wit li Uu' request tliat the wishes wrlUei on the paper ih whicb she had rrapped it In eomplled wlth. All other propertf belonging to her- with the exceptlon oí a farm in an aL joining town, and threc thonsana dollars wliicli abe leí t to Jonas and Uuldah Btrong in conslüeration of long years of fuJtliful service and frii-inNi.ii, was to goto bnlld a school tor poor chlldren in Winsted. Such, In snm and substancc, was Rachel Nugent'a wllC "Tothlnk!" crled Huldah, "íhe has left more")) weever expectcd to be trortb In a!l 6ur Jves to Jonas as' me; an' aothin' bul her BIbla ti you ! '1 here nmt besometbing ivrongabonl '.- Sho ncver meanl I i cui you ofl In thal way." 'I had mi claim upou lier," answered Ruth; "Ihavenonoedof morethanJ i-iin carn. She probably did luit sccmed beel tohcr. and I mi satisticil." jSnth spokc truly. Slie had thought it altogether likely that shc would bc remambered In a different way in Aunt Etechel'8 II. Hut the had ncver connted on a cent from hor. She liail no dcslro lor wealth. Thereiore, thé knowledgo tlial property Rachel Nugent left nras to go otherg, waa no disappointment to her, in the ordinary meaning of tlie word. It sarpriscd her a litfle, but bronght no (eeltnof injustice, or of being deprlved of BOrauthing to wl.kli shq bad a ïight, xw which shc bad been u.stiiii-il In reckonli liy anti by she went in to Aunt Rachel'e toom. On the taille in the corner lay a package buariii!i ber nam, . Beneath the name were wrlttcn In a trémbllDg hand, thoee irords: "Iglve to you, my dear nelce, Blblc wbich Lor mauy y ars has been the stall I have leaned npon- the frlend I luive novcr turned to in vaiu. Vuu wil] fina in its pages bêlj for : tlii-tiiiu' of need, fa this I bequeatb to yovti knowlngyottwlll appreciate it fully. If jou should imirry within three years- and somethinfi u-üs me you will- on the daj ofyourmarriage. Mini nu! iül ti.i'ii, open thfa Book and j read the verse 1 have marked, and let it ba the ruling spirit of your I1Í e. If you Bhonld not marry before that tiine. open 't, and may you flnd in lts pages the strengtb :iml comfort I have foiuul thereln. "AUXT lUdlEI..' CIIAl' XI ir. . Robert Havüand was Bltting in the readlngroomoí a Chicago hotel one day, about a ycar i'roin tlietlmellij nrote Ws good-bye message to Ruth Nugent. ¦ Some one carne into the room. lle did oot look np f rom hls paper, however, untll a hand wa? lal bissboulder, wiih ahearty, '-Miniare yóu, oíd fellou : ' "What! ifonheia Forflï" hc cj-ied, reacfiIng out hand to meet the strong and cordial graspol tlic other. "Ithought jou were out on the plalng, or In California, ft is good tor one'soycs to look at you agaln.11 "I'm glad to know ir, auswered AnhurFord, as hc ilrc-,v a seat ïieai'Iiavilanil's and .-at down totalk. "I'ow s the v.o;M used vou, old fellow, Sinco I wen! awav!" "Vcry Mell, Indeed," answered Havlland. "Ifit continúes touae me as well, I sball have no reasou to complain." "I'm glad of it,1' saki Arthur, i:i hb hearty fashion. "You deserve i;..'' "And you i" ausHcred Robert, wlth liis hand on the otber's arm, ''Have you enjoycdyour Western lite? It has laftite inarkon Joarlftec, I sec. 5Tou are 'bronzed aml bearded.' In the ful] meaning of the term." ¦Ves, 1 have enjqyed it aftei' a roanlon," an Arthur. "Í have come back feellng botter than v. ! en 1 weut away. I feit 'down at el,'ae the Bayltfggoi s.ïor $ome tinie !¦¦- forelleftherp." "Yes, I knoiv.'' said Ihivilami. "f beMeve I told } on that such a trip was the bei t medicine yon could takc. [amglad it, has done yon good. Areyou golngto setUe down to work ¦¦[ uní gi .in;; T.-.i-l ::f(or inv tirst,'1 reu Attbur. "Tour fortunei" t-aitl Havlland, questionngly. "Vou mean a wife by that, I Buposoi" 'Nö, I don't, but I-Wisji 1 did,"' answered Arthnr, v.itli a sljrïi. "Ilnren't you beard about tii" money that wa Icfl me laat Intcr?" "No, 1 havcheard nQthiug," answered ñavlland. "Acoü i;i of inv falner (lied, and lef) thirty tiiouïünd (oliars. ¦ explained Aiihur. '¦1 l:at:s w i?: moánt by my forfcúnfc.1' ¦'I congratúlate vou. " eajd Qavlland, cxti ndIng iiis hand, whlch thé olhcr almost crualied in Iiis Iiëarty grasp. "Tliank you," Arthur said, auáciglnri aiin. '¦'Do you kuinv. old fcilow.'.s a' ejrl al tl)e Easl fu givcallthc fortunes in the ivorld : 1' i were going aftcr her, I ghould fcel that 1 was going aftcr a fonuue that WOB Ui ni:ike me tiic cidieat man on i artli." "Perhaps you may succeed in bringiDg lier back iinua," sai l llaviland. "zou can't teil tiü you try. 'Falnt Ir. art,1 etc." "1 trie.:." said Arthur- "tricd and faili'd. '. at ailed me wheu everybody tliniiirli;. I was sict. Í was tvying to get over mj clisan] intment, and as long as I stald hcre aud ino;'id aljo'.i' ím i.iienc.-s. ] got worée. 1 nevcr told a;i; one else about it, my boy, and a? I've tolLyou soiuueh, l'llki you see her picture: I wouldn't sliow i!. (o etery on ¦." He t ']; :i li ttcr from lii . . and from lm dren" a photegraj and haudcd ! .;- rr:::i(!. ¦M God: - ButhNugint I" A.1 thur lookcd in astoulshincnl ai liavllantl, as h gaye Uit' rauee to the c.-l:iri::iti..u. The hand thiM u i ! i. ;¦', :ipw lioök, llke a h-af in thO ¦' ¦:¦¦''.. I !'.;,¦'¦ . :. . ,. i . tl) the llpe. ¦¦V.;u know r: ¦ -.-iid Arthur. 'i uever l vlore, Imt 1 knew yon carne ¦ ..i u I I M . l Tl - % ui "Knowhcr?" [lavihuid's toiic was ftiil ol intense UHterneas "1 yioughl I kneu Intrusee. „ in:l fonnd out m :,: ti r ii was too iat I, to- ti If a soro fleurt." ,„ "Iclon't. unlerstatiil:it al ali," sajcl Arthur. a "Cun'Èyuu expiainï Ybu sean to doubt her. ¦ ,. It' ever ih :¦¦ was a triíe wDmftn,fftilh Nuuvni Ie ,:, one. I'd stake m life on tliat." "gp wuuUl [, na,-.," answored Haviland. , "Aud Uifi treman jou wi.ulii m.trry isliutli Nn,- p-Ki. WhyP' suddcnly, atul wilh' au uxcitcd . ¦¦,.. 11 must l e the man :, t .. hom shejilud me. His name as Kord, Í re ,. m her sti : motín r 1. 1 d il to mein a 1. t.,. tor fnü:i liulli NueenPs miit." 0 "Seejicre," Arthur said. layiughie Land on v tne otherB èhtmldi t; "ei ra aöfwn enough t;, teil ;. me what yon Trican. T a keil Ruth to inarry ,f me. gherernsed. ïSial Is mv 6tory. Now e -teil i;:i' yours." 1 "IíovedRuth Nugent asi elialluever lovo ¦. any other woman," snswered Rplitrl Havlland. i' and ii!. face told limt. the coufesslon was n , pain ful one. "IbeUeved that shelovcdnje. I ' had pot aakcd lar tu iie my wife in forma] I fashion, bat I feit that bct;c6ij ás thero ïras ;: ' promtee as sacreías u spoken' ia words. Sbe t wenttdvfsit an aunt. Before shc bad been , away two weeks, k!h' vrrote to her stPDtnotber tüat tbis aunt had plaimed to have hcr'marrv a 1 man wlin ivas vlsltiug there; and. in case Bhe ¦' marriedhlm. thisaunt's moucv was to bc Ieft i totheia. Shc feit that I bada taeit claim upon . her, and so strong was her sense of honor that I sbe could aot accept any offer ivbich might bc f made bj the tover ol her aunt's chotee, uniese B Heli trilling toglvi herup. This she could r not a, k método, and her tepj dther wasdejpdtoaci as tier agent. The matter Waa ipiaeed before my consideratlon. I did uot have to congidi r il long. I bad been deceivi cl ¦ 1n I bad no claim that Icarcdtoenforce l on the Muían '.i v, hom I had been deceived. I t wreteher a Une or ti - all that waa neeessary ! fö convinecter that I relcased her fully froiii h hal had been, before God, on my part, 'an nnspoken engi gement of marriage, and 1 have : nol beard a word fvom her Binee then uutil toi ilay. I supposed siie umi-ried the man her ; aunt selected Cor lier. I cannot uuderstand . wby she.rcfused you." "Therè i iusI have been a mistake somewhere," Bald Arthur' "Buth Nueent never wüty nf t.ritliiir with any man's hearl. KUth Nugent would have triarried Uiroagh any uu-icenary motive. Vou wrons Ber Öavilaud.' ;'I I coiüd ¦!! sure of that." the other said. "Fioni the bottom of my deartl wish tliat. my inend: f.,i il gae the cruelesi ' luir! I ,vir feit, l„ tbink Ibe oman 1 bad U'oufl I tnte a, irulb iieli'was other than whal I üelifivüd ber to bc. Il is 6trange that ¦hr 1-,-jeeted JTnir rtifer. 8hé onfalnod release froiu my claims ior the purpose of marrylnsr you. I know that Hor stepmotber idii me that slh' askod lier (o flfl what she did witb that lutcBfioD'. lam at a loíjs to nudAvtand why the latahtloA as nol carriol ouf arr ,'u sav you avkcd hei te mawy you." ''fhiT!' was soinéthing wrong sorpewhere " ' rthur. "1 do uot bclieve éhe ever bad liie rainti st Idea of mariying ma Sbe told me ine tod no love to eive me,ai}d without that to givfi sbe wmilii niany po man. Tbere was someihiiii: she wohld have told me if I had urged her to. ut 1 saw tbat sbe would rather uot ten, nnlèfé I insisteJ, and I did not aak her togiveany reasous foV aoihg ás shedld; for k;iou Ing u Ifal bi í reas iuá wore wnuldu't help tnc any, ü 6he had told me tbat, ftmlebt have Ehrowii some light upon the matter for usnow lne thlnj; I know, Hobert üaviland; wben youthink ,i Ruth {fugajit as n woman of dohre delilxrate wrons-, von mlsfadce her I .would stakpuiv liie ou that." 'I hope 1 do," Robert Ilavüaud said, ', ostly, "Thereisa sorespotin my beartyet Boineofthe ftrst smart bas eeasèd. but the woniid la Uot lualed, and iwve will be for I Í loved uer- I love her and tl.,, worst pain o. all is tol hink, nol that I have been deceived bUt lln! I Ma dl e.ivi ; il ber."


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