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My Luck

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"It never ratna but it pours." Ttius runs the old proverb, and in our case it was fully verifled, save that the old siiw is eommonly applied to visitations of adverse fortune, wliile to us had come a run of such good luck as seldom occurs to mortals outslde of storiea. In the tirst place, Sister Aila had but just obtained the teacliership so long covettd- lor we were poor and each had to do our share toward the support of the family - when her lover, wlio had not expecleil to be able to marry for years yet, guddenly returned to us a wealthy man, and insisted upon hergiving np the school and becoming Airs. Burrell Imincditelv. We lived in a western minin; town,and Dick Burrell, liaviog become discouraged svith hisj prospecta ut home, had gone furthcr weet, wltli what success I have stateil. So Ada was unexpectedly made very happy, hile Dick was so generous with bli monei that he deel a red Ada's family shonld not want so long as he had a dollar, and the big, black eyed, openhearted fellow meant it, too. Theo, just as we were begin ning to rcali.e our ;ooi] luck, fatlier himself, "struck it rich," as the miners say, and our tortur.e was mude, for good and all. We, father, motlier and myself, moved from the hunib'e cottage to a spaciou?, elegant house just tuilt for us, and at once became the envy of the wholc town. Last, but not least, the handsome young eastern man wlio had purchased a íialf interest in my father's silver mine was coming to reside with us. Tliis, indeed, was the most vitally interegting fact of all to me, for I liad tallen in love with the handsome, winning countenance of Alfred Kent at lirst sijrht. Oh, thuse happy days, when the bri;!it sunlight, strcaming over the straggling streets, the rough cabins and the seamed and riven hillsides, was fulrei and lovelier in my eyes than the golden sun of' Italy, because it shone down on him 1 loved ! Oh, thoseblissful evening when his presence slieil a new and sweet delijzht over our happy home 1 Strolliug leisurely down the principal street one sunny afternoon, I chanced to meet Mr. Kent, who greeted me rileasautly, as usual, and turning, walked with me a short distance, chatting gayly as we went. Af'ter we pepaiaed, I had not gone more than balf a block, before I carne face to face with Lucy Holmes, who had, of coiirse, seen us walking toiiether. She was the diiughter of the principal merchant in the little town, and, pprhaps the most prominent young lady in it uutil my father's rich "strike'1 had lifted me into sudden and dozzling popularlty. She was not a pretty girl, and just now her grenish blue eyes were shiniiijr with an euviou, spitetul gleam not picasant to see. She stopped me, however, with a friendly saiutation. "How do, Cora?" she excialmed, very sweelly, holding out a daintily-gloved hand, with the smilethat hovered perpetually on her lip. "You and Mr. Kent seem to be excellent friends?" "Certalnly we are," was my brief reply. "Take care you don't let him become more than that," she rejoined, arclily, wüile the smile changed to a gay but disajrreeable little laugh. "Though Dame Kumor says that you have given him your heart already. And if he really has a wife in the east, ns tliey aay " "Who says that?' I llashed out, indlgnanlly. "What do you know against him, Lucy Holmes?'' "Now, my dear Cora," she smilinly remonstrated," don'l show your feellngs so plainly. Iid I say I knew anything ? Oh, dear, no! I only gave yeu a friendly warning as to what others say. I never talk about any one myself. But, if you are going to take it unkindly, l"m sorry I spoke. Remember, though, you may some time wish that you had listened to well-meant advice." And she moved on in her noiseless snaky way, with that everla?ting emile still on her lips, while I walked exciteclly in the opposite direction. "Knvious old thing !" I exclalmed tiotly to myself. "I don't believe one word of it. öhe is onlyjealous beeause he doesn't care to walk and and talk with her." Niverthcltss, her sinister hint lingered in my mind und made me strangely unhappy. Thut vcry cvening, when Mr. Kent and I ohanoed to be alone together in the pretty pnrlor, I bantered him. half playlul'y, balf eirncstly, about the wlfe wlmiii he Wassuppo8ed to have left in the east. To my Intense relief, he threw hll bandsome blonde head back against the sofa-cushion and langbed merrily, as if it were tlie best joke in the world. 'So they have got me marrled, have theyf" he exclaimed, still laughlnffly. "Well, tliat sn't strange, Miss Cora. Some people could not exist if we cruelly deprived tbem of their natural diet of gossip. So the subject of It may as well be my Iiumble self as any otlier. 'It pleases them and doesn't hurt me,' you know," he added, with tlie droll, irresistible humor so natural to Mm. "Then it i?n't one bit trueï" I brokein eagerly. "You never had a wife iu the east, did you Mr. Kent?" "Not even the gliost of a wlfe, that I ever heard of," he answered gayly. ' 'But If the gossips think I ought to bave one, it would be a pitty to disappoint them, little Cora." And then, somehow.his laughing mantier diü away and his voice grew very soft and gentle ; and, before I could realize it all, nis arms were around me and his blonde mustacbe rested against my blushing cheek, and I, careles, llghtliearted Cora Levering, was nctually engaged to be married. 1 sliall not attempt to describe the happiness of those next few weeks. I will only teil of iis rude ending. One evening, just after the eastern train had rumbled md siirieked itself into the town and out again, a strange lady presented berself at our house und Inquirid for Alfred Kent. "My husband," she added, in a cool, matter-of-fact way that made my beart grow sick with terror. Alfred chanced to be at home when slie entered the parlor, and, rising from hls sent at the sound of his name, the two stood face to face. The stranger wore a tasteful traveling dress, having just come from the train, and was a woman of some beauty, with a manner decidedly self-possessed, if not a trifle bold. Alfred Kent had grown pale to the very lips when she lirst made her astounding charge; but, with a linn and manly voice and bearing, he declared it to le absolutely false. With a great effort I had kept myself from faintiog, and I was now leaning forward with 6traiued eyes, and dry, feverish lip?, watching tlie strange scène witli breathless interest. "Ah, well!"' at length exclairned the lady, with a light, ronioal laugh, as she saw that Alfred would not yield a single inch ellher to her prayen or threats, 'j'our denial is only what I had reason to expect, knowlng you asi do. Therefore, I carne prepared tor it. See!" and she drew a folded paper from her breast and Qonrlsbed it before our eyes. "What do you say to this, Mr. Kent?" It was a marriage certifícate, made out in regular f'orm, describing the marriage of Alired Kent n New York, with naraes of clergyman and witness duly attaclied. "What do you say to that, sir?" she repeated.triumphantlj', as Alrreil glanucü from the paper toward myself, with a look of pleading agony in his beautiful cyea mpossible to describe. "I say just what I hd eaia from the flrst," be answered, baughtüy. "You oro actiug for some other, or others, In a base plot to prevent my marriage with this young lady whom I love. As God is my witness, Cora - Mr. Levering" - turning to us with inipressive solemnity, - "I never saw this woman's Tace until this very hour." But, whatever my fatlier's sympathies may have been, the certifícate liad thoroughly convinced hiin of my lover's baseness. He was very angry. Never had I seen such a stern, implacable frowu upou his brow. "I believe tliia lady's statement from beginning to end sir,'' he declared, faii ly trembliuK with indignation. "You are a scoundre), and, as such, I order you to leave my house, and never presume to address my daughterin the future." Altied's only answer was a grave and silent bow, though his flashing eyes and sternly comprossed lips showed what a tight rein hu was holding over a fierce and nv.ich tiied temper. "And, y o.i. Cora," he asked, turning to me with a sad, pleading sinile that went straight to my beart, "do you belive me guilty ?" "Oh,!" I crled, springing forward, forgetful of everythiug but that I still loved liiin. Then, catching my father's terrible frown, and that light mocklug laugh of the trlumphant strauger, and remembering Lucy Holme's warning words, and, above all, that fatal certifícate, 1 sbrank back in despair. "I- oh, Alfred, I- I don't know what to think I ' I muraued, fain ly. Yes, that was the weak, miserable answer that I gave him in my terror and confusión. "Enough," he answered, quietly. And, drawing bis noble ligure to its full, splendid helglit, with that sad, strange stnile still on bis lips, he turned and went from our sight. ♦ Lucy Holmes was dying. One night I was surprised by an imperativo summons to her bedside. What could she want of me ? But 1 went and found her dying, indeed - scarcely able to converse. "Three years ae;o, Cora Levering," slip began, in her weak, tremulous voice. "I did you and another a terrible wrong. I sent for you that I might confess it before I go, and asked you to forgive me, if you can. The one who came here, claiming to be Alfred Kenfs wife, was not his wife. She was a vile imposter. He had never seen her until that very hour. It was all a plot of my own to separate you, for I had fallen in love with hlm myself, and had vowed that you should never marry him. I paid that woman well for the part she played that nijrlit with her forged certillcate. A'.fred Kent is no more guilty of that crime than your own father is.1' Imagine my father's feeling when he leamea the truth ! To find the man whom he had wronged, however, was not now an easy matter; but patiënt and untiring Inquiry on his part was at last successful, ii nd Alfred Kent was once more joyfully welcomed beneath our roof. 1 am Mr?. Alfred Kent now, and a happier wife you will never flnd. Buf, to this day, if chance throws me into the society of any woman whose lips are perpetually wreathed in chansioless, honeyed smiles, I shun her as I would 8hun adeadly vipur.


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier