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Clara's Fortune

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"Yon'rd to sparo 110 exponse, ït you picase," said Miss Ferningham loftily. "The parlors are to be deoorated frith real Üowers and sniilax in your best stylo. My :uint wishes this to bo the most elegant entertainment of thfl sea8on," The florist bowed low. "We want the eonservatory nearly iillcd," went on the VOUDg lady, "and to Uro an orango tree in fruit tor tho evening. " "But, rna'auj, l'm afrald- " "Expense is no object," emphatically prouounoed Miss Ferningham. "My nunt sajs - " Bat here she chccked herself, at the saine sceoud lixing her ej'es with a strong rlare of liaughty surprise on a lall, slender girl, who stood behind the lounter, busily making up a bouquet from the piles of jale, fragrant violets, crimson rosebuds, feathery stcühanotis, and searlet carnations Ibat Iay in profound drifts on thcir beds of wet moss. Miss Fernigham stared at hor as if, liko aneient Medusa, she would tranSform hor to slone, but tlie fair disoiple of Flora took no sort of notice of the fossilizing look. tW-.-.. ' " _uA-i-i_ i:„ ii".. Hardie?" sheasked, as she went briskly on twistiiig vine sterns around the-Üowers, and slipping bits of green fern and relieve the too great exuberance of odor. "Here is one," said the ilürist. "Take care; you are getting that bouquet too stifl'." "No, Í am not. Jook." She held up the tinted mosaic of llowers as she spoke Miss Feruingham gave a great sniile of contempt as she turned away. "You'll be sure to remember," said ske to the proprietor. "I shall not iorget," Mr. Hardie auswered, courteousl j . "Except the orange tree in fruit, i am not eertain that " "We must have it!" insisted Miss Ferningham. "I teil you agaiu that your bill will be p'omply sottled, whatever the a.mount may be." Aml men Miss i-erningüaru, steppmg into her silk-cushioned lamtau, bade the cor.ehman "driye home at onee " She hurried up stairs into her aunt's boudoir, where that august lady sat, surrounded by crested envelopes, perfumed paper und fancy writing miterials. "You havcn't sent olï any of the invitationa yet, have you, Aunt Penelope?" panted tho young lady. "Not yet. Why?" "Don't send Clara Anneslie's. " "Notsend Clara Annoslie'sinvitation! Why not?" exolainied Mrs. Ferningham with wide open eyes, and rnoufchgradually elongating itseif to correspond. "lts all true about het money being lost in the San Antonio." "Hoiv do you know? Have you seen her lawyer? "No, but I haveseen her. She's se'ling üowers behind Hardie's counter. Tho nexL thini we know she'll be gal loping up an5 down the aisles of lüe opera huuse selliug ten-cent uouquels on a board. Clara Anneslie oever hmi Why cuuldn'l she take in sewing or give muiu lessons, or do soruetliing genteel, if she must earn her own living?'' "Üid ,she see you?" "Yes, of eourse she did. We looked eachotherfullin the face." '■Did she speakf'J "I didu't give her a chance. Í turned away, ascold as ice." "That was right," said Mrs. Ferningham, approvingly, as she tore up the scenttd note that was to have been to Ciara Auneslie tho "Open Seeaine" of tho soiree, where no expense was to be spared. Miss Ferningham brightened up at once. It, liad been the darling a,mbition of her hcart, before Ciara Anneslie's beauty eclipsed her humble light, to become her cousin Herberos bride. Perhaps it was yet upon the cards that she should gain tho acmc of happincss. So sho put on lier torquoises, freshened up her laces, and tied pale-blue ribbons in her lusterless llaxen hair. And, in the pretty childish way she affected when with her cousin Herbert, she told her tale. "A horrid bore," .said Mr. Herberl Ferningham, playing with iiis sleevebuttons. "No end oí a nuisance. And Clara Annc-süe, tho prettiest girl out, too. What is it that Snakspuaro aays about a dear guzelle? I've got it somewhere in an old scrap-book, I believe. But of eourse there is no use in a fellow making eyes at a shop-girl. If I marry at all it must be a girl with ruoBcy. Didn't somo one say thatHattieCourtenay had thr?e thousaud a year of her own?" ♦ ."Clara, my dear!" Mrs. Estcote checked her little pouies on the corner of the street and beekoned her young friend to take a seat besideher; "where are you 2oing?" "To Surini's, to look at sorne basso relievos." "Well, 111 take you there, Jump íd. Have you board the news?" "1 have he.ird nothiug special." "So 1 concluded," said Mrs. Estcole, laughing "People are always the last to hoar directly concerns themselvcs. You don't know, tlieu that - stay, here eomes Mr. Herbert Ferningham! Let's seo if he will bow to you, "Of eourse he will bow to me. Why shouhlu'l, lic bovr to me?" said amazed Clara. Uut justas she was making ready to incline her head In the most gracious and ladylikc way in response "to the expected saluta'.ion. Mr. FerrningJiam passed on, deeply ntent on tlie cugraving in the opposite sbop window. "1 thought so," said ?rs. Estcote, with a curi of her lip. "What does it mean?" asked Clara in surprise, uot umniügied with mortifioatíon. "To come back u our news," said Mrs. Estcote, whipping up her pójlies by way of esoftpe-vaive to her óxoitod feeilngs. "You haven't iieard, tlnii, that, you have lost all your property- that the San Antonio wrs wreeked?" "The San Antonio was wreeked." Clara innoceutly made ftnawer, "but that niadü no differenoe to me. Mv guaulian sold, hei a moath ago to Messrs. Easy & Golightly, nndniy prop orty is all invegted in good, safo bonds and mortgage." "Neithur, 1 aopposo, havo yon hean. tliat yon had gone intó ;i Üorint's storo lo altend his counter tkere fora living? ■ 1 did 'j.o in;o a llurist store the dav beforo 'josterday," said Clara, ata i' i moment or two ut piizlud rctrospeetion 'Uut itwasonly to John Hardie's. Jolu iised to bi; papa's gardenor before hu went into the ilorist's business, aud . oíten i "un in and tuakeup bouquotè ou of iiis flowers to suil myseif. But J wasn't tiired, neither did Í seü the bouquets," she added, witli a laugb. at Uil oomicilily ot the vvholé niea. ■'Just ubout as mucli foundation to this aa tlit-iv is tu most of Mrs. (irundj s reuorts," su.idMrs. Kstcote, vviiii a tos oí ner prtUy littlc pluuicd hat "Novv yon h.'iuvv me reason nial Mr. Herbert Ferningnani didn'tsuu jou." ■Aiao, i 8Uppisu,'' said Miss Aimoslie, ""iiit; reasuii tliiit i have receivi.4 ii' curda to Airs. Fenntiliaui s forthoominj{ soiree. Never tuind, i oau enduré it. But wiio told you t.liis?" "MLy brother-iu-lavv, Jack Esteotc. ' "Did hu believe it?" "Of eourse he did. He had it Uireu froiu Uelestla Fernins;bam.w Clara colorad; her little lingors tight caed on the elasp of her gilded portemonnaie. "And yet lic called as luitial last niulit. Ho he asked me to marr) him." "What did you teil him?" "Í said I woüld oonsider." "Well, tlien, consider," said Mrs Escote, quietly. "it is a matter not Lifchrty u Luí JijLÚ.iiU- tttrtri cmciiibcr this, Clara; Jack Estoote would have married you if you had been a beggai girl holding out vour bands for pence at the sirei't corners." Clara Anneslie eut home anc tliought the question over at her leisure and tlie more sbe thought of it tk more sho becarne convinced in her inmost mimi of two things. One was that she had a lucky escape from the toils of Herbeit-vFeniinghani ; the other that siio vas almost certain thal she liked honest-hearted, frank-soulee Jack Estcote well euougk to marry him always provided, of cöurse, tfiftt he should ask her again. He did ask her again, an.l just as sho had said "yes," with the pre ttiesto: pink blushes upon hor cheek, thoi'e carne a at the door bell, and in stumbled Mr. Herbert Feruingham in a very great hurry. "Oü! 1 bcg your pardon, I'm sure,:' said that gentleman. "I iiopo I' ui not intruding." -:- .- i-Uu lauul ï ai.l T-wL' lirntu. complacently. "Uut my mother has sent a card for her soiree to-night. It was acei(leillaUy Omltteit. Í4.-vlroruc)7-.-rrKTrCTvj I'm sure, but - " bo Clara Auneslie baeame a ware that the curióos rumor about her poverty u-as eontradicted in society. "Yes,1" said she, quietly, "It is rather awkward, But sucli misunderstandings wiü cecur sometimes. I tm sorry th;tt I cannot accept," "Can't accept?" frowaed Mr. Ferninghatn. "Why not?" "Because." said Clara, with another blush and a smile, that made her face look like a rose in the sunshine, "1 am angaged. " And that was all the satisfaction that Mr. Herbert Ferniogham could get upon the subject.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News