Friday, the Thirteenth
BY THOMAS W. LAWSON IN EVERYBODY’S MAGAZINE
In the previous part of the story we are told how Beulah Sands, a beautiful Virginia girl undertakes to regain by stock-market speculation the vast fortune lost by her father. She secures a place in the office of the great banking-house of Randolph and Randolph. Bob Brownley lepresentative of the hoiue on the floor of the st. ck-exchange is so impressed with her beamy that he plans for her benefit a great coup in sugar which results in a profit of nearly two million. Brownley has just announced his success to Miss Sands and is receiving her thanks when his telephone rings sharply.
(Continued from the February I.sue.)
HE listened for a moment, then answered, "Stand on it at 80 for 12,000 shares. I will be there in a second." He dropped the receiver. "Jim, we have struck a snag. Arthur Perkins, whom I left on guard at the pole, says Barry Conant has just jumped in and supplied all the bids. He has it down to 81, and is offering it in 5,000 blocks and is aggressive. I must get there quick," and he shot out of the office. "I sprang for Bob's telephone: "Perkins, quick!" "What are they doing. Perkins?" I asked a second later.
‘ ' Conant has almost filled me up. He seems to have a hogshead of it on tap.” he answered.
"Buy 50,000 shares, 5,000 each point down; and anything unfilled, give to Bob when he gets there. He is on the way.”
I shut off, and turned to Miss Sands :
"This is no time to stand on ceremony, Miss Sands. Barry Con ant is Camemeyer’s and ‘Standard Oil’s’ head broker. His being on the floor means mischief. He never goes into a big whirl personally unless they are out for blood. Bob has exhausted his buying power, and though I tell you frankly that I never speculate, don’t believe in speculation and am
in this deal only for Bob—and for you—I swear I don’t intend to let them wipe the floor with him without at least making them swallow some of the dust they kick up. Please don’t object to my helping out, Miss Sands. Ordinarily I would defer to your wishes, but I love Bob Brownley only second to my wife, and I have money enough to warrant a plunge in stock. If they should turn Bob over in this deal, he—well, they’re not going to, if I can prevent it.” and I started for the. Exchange on the run.
WThen I got there the scene beggared description. That of the morning was tame in comparison. A bull market, however terrific, always is tame beside a bear crash. In the few moments it took me to get to the floor, the battle had started. The entire Exchange was in a dense mob wedged against the rail behind the Sugar-pole. I could not have got within yards of the centre of that crowd of men, fast becoming panicstricken. if the fate of nations had depended on my errand. I had witnessed such a scene before. F; represented a certain phase of StockExchange procedure, where one man apparently has every other man on the floor against him. I understood: Bob against them all—he trying to
stay the onrushing current of dropping prices; they bent on keeping the sluice-gates open. He was backed up against the rail—not the Bob of the morning; not a vestige of that cold. brain-nerve-and-body-in-hand gambler remained. His halt was gone, his collar torn and hanging over his shoulder. His coat and waistcoat were ripped open, showing the full length of his white shirt-front, and his eyes were fairly mad. Bob was no longer a human being, but a monarch of the forests at bay, with the hunter in front of him, and closing in upon him, in a great half-circle, the pack of harriers, all gnashing their teeth, baring their fangs, and howling for blood. The hunter, directly facing Bob, was Barry Conant —very slight, very short, a marvellously compact, handsome, miniature man, with a fascinating face, dark olive in tint, lighted by a pair of sparkling black eyes and framed in jet-black hair; a black mustache w*as parted over white teeth, which, when he was stalking his game, looked like those of a wolf. An interesting man at all times was this Barry Conant, and he had been on more and fiercer battlefields than any other half-score members combined. The scene wTas a rare one for a student of animalized men.
While every other man in the crowd was at a high tension of excitement, Barry Conant was as calm as though standing in the centre of a ten-acre daisy field cutting off the helpless flowers’ heads with every swing of his arm. Switching stockgamblers into eternity had grown to be m pastime to Barry Conant. Here
was Bob thundering with terrific emphasis “78 for 5,000,” “77 for 5,000,” “'75 for 5,000,” “74 for 5,000, ” “ 73 for 5,000, ” ‘ ‘ 72 for 5,000, ' ’ seemingly expecting through sheer power of voice to crush his opponent into silence. But with the regularity of a trip-hammer Barry Conant’s right hand, raised in unhurlied gesture, and his clear, calm “Sold” met Bob’s every retreating bid. It was a battle royal—a king on one side, a Richelieu on the other. Though there was frantic buying and selling all around these two generals, the trading was gaged by the trend of their battle. All knew that if Bob should be beaten down by this concentrated modern finance devil, a panic would ensue and Sugar would go none could say how low. But if Bob should play him to a standstill by exhausting his selling power, Sugar -would quickly soar to even higher figures than before. It was known that Barry Conant’s usual order for such an occasion as the present was “Break the price at any cost.” On the other hand, every one knew that Randolph & Randolph were usually behind Bob’s big commissions; this w’as evidently one of the biggest; and every man there knew that Randolph & Randolph were seldom backed down by any force.
As Bob made his bid “72 for 5,000.” and got it, T saw a quick flash of pain shoot across His face, and realized that it probably meant he was nearing the end of my last order. I sized it up that there was deviltry of more than usual significance behind this selling movement ;
that Barry Conant must have unlimited orders to sell and smash. My final order of fifty thousand brought our total up to one hundred and fifty thousand shares, a large amount for even Randolph & Randolph to buy of a stock selling at nearly $200 a share. I then and there decided that whatever happened I would go no further. Just then Bob’s wild eye caught mine, and there was in it a piteous appeal, such an appeal as one sees in the eye of the wounded doe when she gives up her attempt to swim to shore and waits the coming of the pursuing hunter’s canoe. I sadly signalled that I was through. As Bob caught the sign, lie threw his head back and bellowed a deep, hoarse “70 for 10,000.” I knew then that he had already bought forty thousand, and that this was the lastditch stand. Barry Conant must have caught the meaning, too. Instantly, like a revolver report, came his “Sold!” Then the compact, miniature mass of human springs and wires, which had until now been held in perfect control, suddenly burst from its clamps, and Bari y Conant was the fiend his Wall street reputation pictured him. His five feet five inches seemed to loom to the height, of a giant. His arms, with their fate-pointing fingers, rose and fell with bewildering rapidity as his piercing voice rang out—“5,000 at 60. 68, 65.” “10,000 at 63,” “25.000 at 60.” Pandemonium reigned. Every man in the crowd seemed to have the capital stock of the Sugar Trust to sell, and at any price. A score seemed to be bent on selling as low as possible instead of for as
much as they could get. These were the shorts who had been punished the day before by Bob’s uplift.
Poor Bob, he was forgotten! An instant after he made his last effort he was the dead cock in the pit. Frenzied gamblers of the Stock Exchange have no more use for the dead cocks than have Mexicans for the real birds when they get the fatal gaff. The day'after the contest, or even that same night, at Delmonico’s and the clubs, these men would moan for poor Bob; Barry Conant’s moan would be the loudest of them all, and. what is more, it would be sincere. But on battle day away to the dump with the fallen bird, the bird that could not win ! I saw a look of deep, terrible agony spread over Bob’s face; and then in a flash he was the Bob Brownley who I always boasted had the courage and the brain to do the right thing in all circumstances. To the astonishment of every man in the crowd he let loose one wild yell, a cross between the war-whoop of an Indian and the bay of a deeplunged hound regaining a lost scent. Then he began to throw over Sugar stock, right and left, in big and little amounts. He slaughtered the price, undercutting Barry Conant’s every offer and filling every bid. For twenty minutes he was a madman, then he stopped. Sugar was falling rapidly to the price it finally reached, 90, and the panic was in full swing, but panics seemed now to have no interest for Bob. He pushed his way through the crowd and, joining me, said: “Jim, forgive me. I havé dragged you into an enormous loss, have ruined Beulah Sands, her father
and myself. I think at the last moment I did the only thing possible. I threw over the 150,000 shares and so cut off some of our loss. Let us go to the office and see where we stand.” He was strangely, unnaturally calm after that heartcrushing, nerve-tearing day. I tried to tell him how I admired his cool nerve and pluck in about-facing and doing the only thing there was left to do ; to tell him that required more real courage and level-headedness than all the rest of the day’s doings; but he stopped me :
“Jim, don’t talk of me. My conceit is gone. I have learned my lesson to-day. My plans were all right, and sound, but poor fool that I was, I did not take into consideration the loaded dice of the master-thieves. I knew what they could do, have seen them scores of times, as you have, at their slaughter; seen them crush out the hearts of other men just as good as you or I : seen them take them out and skin and quarterslice them, unmindful of the agony of those who were dear to and dependent on their owners, but it never seemed hard. It was not my heart, and somehow I looked at it as a part of the game and let it go at that. To-day I know what it means to be put on the chopping-block of the 1 System’ butchers. I know what it is to see my heart and the heart of one I love, and your’s, fcoo, Jim, systematically skewered to those of the hundreds and thousands of victims who have gone before. Jim, we must be three millions losers, and the men who have our money have so many, many millions that they can’t live
long enough even to thumb it over. Men who will use our money on the gambling-table, at the race-tracks, squander it on stage harlots, or in turning their wives and daughters or their neighbors’ wives and daughters into worse than stage harlots. Men, Jim, who are not lit, measured by any standard of decency, to walk the same earth as you and Judge Sands. Men whose painted pets pollute the very air that such as Beulah Sands must breathe. I’ve learned my lesson to-day. I thought I knew the whole game of finance, but I’m suddenly awakened to a realization of the dense ignorance I wallowed in. Jim, but for the loading of the dice. I should now have been taking Beulah Sands to her father with the money that the hellish ‘System’ sto':e from him. Later I should have taken her to the altar, and after who knows but that I should have had the happiest home and family in all the world, and lived as her people and mine have lived for generations, honest, God-fearing, law-abiding, neighbor-loving men and women, and then died as men should die? But now, Jim, I see a black, awful picture. No, I’m not morbid, I’m going to make a heroic effort to put the picture out of sight; but I’m afraid, Jim, I’m afraid.”
1 le stopped as we pulled up on the sidewalk in front of Randolph & Randolph’s office. “Here it is on the bulletin. See what did the trick, Jim. They held the Sugar meeting last night instead of waiting till tomorrow, and cut the dividend instead of increasing it. The world won’t know it until to-morrow. Then they
will know it, then they will know it. They will read it in the headlines of the papers—a few suicides, a few defaulters, a few new convicts, an unclaimed corpse or two at the morgue; a few innocent girls, whose fathers’ fortunes have gone to swell Camemeyer’s and 'Standard Oil’s’ street-walkers; a few new palaces on Fifth avenue, and a few new7 libraries given to communities that formerly took pride in building them from their honestly earned savings. A report or two of record-breaking diamond sales by Tiffany to the kings and czars of dollar royalty, then front-page news stories of clawing, mauling and hair-pulling wrangles among the stage harlots for the possion of these diamonds. They were not quite sure that the dividend cut alone would do the trick, and they w ere taking no chances, these mighty waniors of the ‘ System, ’ so their hireling Senate committee held a session last night and unanimously reported to put sugar on the free list. The people will read that in the morning, and probably the day after they’ll be told that the committee held another session to-night and unanimously reported to take it off the free list. By that time these honorable statesmen will have loaded up with t'he stock that you and I and Beulah Sands sold, and the other poor devils will slaughter to-morrowafter reading their morning papers.”
Bob’s bitterness was terrible. My heart w-as torn as I listened. He stalked through the office and into that of Beulah Sands. I followed. She was at her desk, and when she
looked up, her great eyes opened in w7onderment as they took in Bob, his grim, set face, the defiant, suillen desperation of the big brown eyes, the disheveled hair and clothes. For an instant she stood as one who had seen an apparition.
“Look me over, Beulah Sands,” he said, “look me over to your lieai t’s content, for you may never again see the fool of fools in all the world, the fool who thought himself competent to cope with men of brains, with men who really know how7 to play the game of dollars as it is played in this Christian age. Don’t ask me not to call you Beullah; that what I tried to do was for you is the one streak of light in all this black hell. Beulah, Beulah, we are ruined, you, your father, and I, ruined, and I’m the fool who did it,”
She rose from her desk with all the quiet, calm dignity that we had been admiring for three months, and stood facing Bob. She did not seem to see me; she saw nothing but the man who had gone out that morning thp personification of hope, who now stood before her the picture of black despair, and she must have thought, “It was all for me.” Suddenly she took the lapels of his torn coat in either hand. She liad to reach up to do it, this winsome lititle Virginia lady. With her big calm blue eyes looking straight into his, she said: “Bob.”
That, w as all, but the word seemed to change t'he very atmosphere in the room. The look of desperation faded from Bob’s face, and as though the words had sprung the hidden catch to the doors of his storehouse of
pent-up misery, liis eyes filled with hot, scorching tears. His great chest was convulsed with sobs. Again— clear, calm, fearless, and tender, came the one syllable, “Bob.” And at that Bob’s self-control slipped the leash. With a hoarse cry, he threw his arm around her and crushed her to his breast. The sacredness of the scene made me feel like an intruder, and I started to leave the room. But in an instant Beulah Sands was her usual self and, turning to me, she said: “Mr. Randolph, please forget what you have seen. For a.n instant, as I saw Mr. Brownley’s awful misery, I forgot everything but what he had done for me, what he had tried to do for my father, what a penalty he has paid. From what you said when you left and the fact that I got no word from either of you, I feared the worst and did not dare look at the tape; I simply waited and hoped and—prayed. Yes, I
prayed as my mother taught me I should pray whenever I was helpless and could do nothing miself. And I felt that God would not let the noble work of two such men be overthrown by those you were battling with. In the midst of a calmness that I took for a good omen, you came. Can you blame me for forgetting myself? Mr. Brownley,” the voice was now calm and self-controlled, “tell me what you have done. Where do we stand?”
“There is lithle to tell,” Bob answered. ‘‘Camemever and ¿ Standard Oil’ have taken me into camp as they would take a stuck pig. They have made a monkified ass ouft of me. ánd we are ruined, and I have
caused Mr. Randolph a heavy lpss. Roughly, I figure out. that of your four hundred thousand capital and the million four hundred thousand profit you had this morning, only your capital remains.”
Wishing to spare Bob, I interrupted and myself gave the girl briefly the details of what had happened. She listened intently and seemed to take in all the trickery of the “System” masters; seemed to see just what it meant to us and to her. But she made no comment, showed by no outward sign that she suffered. As soon as I was through she turned to Bob, who had stood with his eyes fastened upon her face, as though somewhere out of its soft beauty must come an asurance that this was all a bad dream.
“Mr. Brownley,” she said, “let us figure up just where we stand, so that we may know what to do to recoup. You have said so many times, since I have been here, that Wall Street is magic land; that no man may tell twenty-four hours ahead what will happen to him. You have said it so many times that I believe it. We know that this morning we were at the goal, that we were millions ahead, and all from twenty-four hours’ effort. We have yet almost three months left, and I do not see why we have not just as much chance as me had day before yesterday. Yes, and more, because we know more now. Next time we will include the dividend cuts and the Senate duplicity in our figuring. ” We both dumbly stared in wondering admiration at this marvelous woman. Was it possible that a girl
could have such neive, such courage? Or had woman’s hope, so persistent where her loved ones are concerned, made Beulah Sands blind to the awfulness of the situation ? As I looked at her I could not doubt that she fully realized our position, that she was really suffering more than either of us, that she was only acting to ease Bob’s anguish. Bob brought out his memoranda, and in half an hour we had the figures. The total loss was nearly three millions. As Beulah Sands’s 20,000 shares had cost less than ours and Bob figured to leave her capital of $400,000 intact, we felt some comfort. Beulah Sands had watched the figuring with the keenness of an expert, and when Bob announced the final figures, which showed that she still had what she started with, she drew the sheer containing the totals to her. “I was willing to accept your assistance,” she said, when the deal promised a profit to all of us, because T appreciated your goodness and knew how much it would hurt your feelings if I were churlish about .the division; but now that we all lose I must stand my fair share ; I must. ’ ’ She said this in a way that we both knew precluded the possibility of an argument. “We owned together 150.000 shares. I was to have had ‘the profits on 20,000 shares. Our total loss is $2,775,000, of which I must bear my just proportion. Mr. Brownley, you will see that $370,000 is charged to my account. I shall have $30,000 left. If our cause is as just as we think. God in his goodness will make this ample for our purposes.”
Though Bob and I were in despair
at her determination to strip herself of what Bob had worked so hard to accumulate, we could not help feeling a reverence for her faith and her sturdy independence. She now showed us in her delicate way thaï she wished to be alone; as we went she held out her hand to Bob. “Mr. Brownley, please for the sake of the work we have to do, look on the bright side of this calamity, for it has a bright side. You wanted me to send word to my father that we were about to grasp victory. Think if we had sent it— Then you will know that God is good, even when we think he is chastening us beyond endurance. ”
Bob took me into his office. “Jim, you see what a woman can do. and we are taught women are the weaker sex. Now listen to what you must do. Accept my notes for the whole loss, less one hundred thousand which I have to my ciedit, and which I will pay on account. I won’t listen fo any objection. The deal was mine; you came in only to help us out, and I ought never to have tempted you. If I remain in my present busted condition, the notes will be blank paper. Therefore you do me no harm in taking them. If I should strike it rich, I should never feel like a man until I made up the loss.”
It was no use arguing: with him in his dogged mood, so I took his demand notes for $2,405,000. I begged him to go home with me to dinner, but he insisted 'that he could not face my wife with his last night’s break still fresh in her mind. Next day he did not turn up. Along in the afternoon I received a telegram from him.
saying that he was on his way to Virginia, that he needed a rest and would be back in a week. I was worried. nervous. It takes until the next day and the day after, and the week after that, to get down to the deepest misery of an upset such as we liad been through. I did not feel easy with Bob out of sight in his desperate frame of mind. I went to Beulah Sands in hope we might talk over the affair, but when I told he»* that Bob was to be gone for a week and ,that I was uneasy, she said in her calm, deliberate way: “I don’t think there is anything to worry about. Mr. Randolph. Mr. Brownley is too much of a man to allow an affair of dolíais to do anything more than annoy him. He will be back all the better for his rest.” She dropped her long lashes in a way that we had come to know closed the conversation.
The following week Bob returned to the office. He had not changed, and yet he had changed greatly. Rest had apparently done much for him. His color was good, his step elastic as of old. and his head was thrown back as if he had buckled up for the fiay and wanted all to know it. Ye;fc there was something in the eye. in the setness of the .law, in the calm, deliberate, yet fiercely savage way in which he closed his strong hands on the arm of his chair, that told me more plainly than words that this was not the optimistic, softhearted Bob Brownley I had known and loved. I could not help feeling that if I had been a leader of the Russian terroiists. and 'this man who now sat before me had come to my
ken when L was selecting bombthrowers, I would have seized upon him of all men as the one to stalk the Czar or his marked minions. Surely the iron that had entered Bob’s soul a week before had affected his whole being. I think Beulah Sands had some such (thoughts. For I saw7 a shadow of perplexity cross her broad, low7 forehead after her first meeting w’ith him, a shadow that had never been there before.
For days after Bob’s return I saw’ little of him. I think Beulah Sands saw less. During Stock Exchange hours he spent most of his dime on the floor, but he executed few of our orders. He merely looked them over and handed them out to his assistants. As far as I could learn, he spent much of his time there in walking about, w7atching (things and thinking. So strong had become this habit of going about from pole to pole with bent head and a far-off gaze that his fellow members began to humor and respect it. They all knew7 tint!: the Sugar panic had hit Bob hard. No one knew7 how hard, but all guessed from his changed appearance and habits that it must have been a staggering blow’. Nothing so quickly and so deeply stirs a Stock Exchange man’s feelings for his brother member as to know7 that Fate has w etched him a back-handed welt—that is. if he has been a good fellow’. They will humor his every whim and patiently await the day when he shall be again in normal condition; for all stock-gamblers whom Fate has door-matted, either disappear immediately or eventually round to. Every day as soon as the Stock
Exchange closed, Bob disappeared, where I could not find out. I had tried once or twice to draw him out, under pretence of insisting upon his accepting my wife’s invitation to dine with us. He always had a ready excúse for me to take to Kate, but that was ail. Apparently he had no idea that I took any interest in his movements after business hours.
As for Beulah Sands, there was but one change noticeable in her. Whenever a footstep stopped in front of her office she looked up from her work with an expectant, almost appealing gaze, as though she were always waiting for some one. I had not seen Bob in her office since that disastrous Sugar day, and as he went directly to the Exchange every morning and left there every afternoon without returning to the office, doing all liis business by messenger or over the wire, there was but little chance of liis meeting her.
November 1st had come and gone, and the books showed no change in Beulah Sands’s acount. There was the poor little $30,000 balance; no other entries. One afternoon Beulah Sands had asked for a meeting between Bob and myself in her office. She could hardly have asked Bob to come without me, but I knew it was Bob she wanted to see, and I felt that the best thing I could do for them was to leave them alone. So I made some excuse for a moment’s delay at my desk, telling Bob to go on into her office, and promising to follow shortly. He went in, leaving the door partly open. I think that from the moment he entered the room both of them utterly forgot
my existence. From her desk Beulah could not see me, and Bob sat so that liis back was half toward me. “I dislike to trouble you about my account,” I heard her begin in a voice a trifle uneven, “but as I must go back to father Christmas week,
I wanted to get your advice as to the advisability of writing him that, though 'there is still a chance for doing wonders, I do not think we shall be able to save him. Of course I won’t put it in just that blunt way, but it seems to me I should begin to prépaie him for the blow. I have not talked over any more plunging with you, Mr. Brownley, since the
unlucky one in Sugar, and-”
‘‘Miss Sands, I understand what you mean,” Bob broke in, “and I should apologize for not having consulted with you about your business affairs. The fact is, I have not been quite clear as to the best thing to do. I hope you don’t think I have forgotten. Never for a moment since I took charge of your affairs have I forgotten my promise to see that they^ were kept active. Truly I have been trying to think out some successful plunge, but—but”—there was a hoarseness in his voice—“Í have not had my old confidence in myself since that day in Sugar when I killed your hopes and destroyed the chance of saving your father,— no, I have not had that confidence a man must have in himself to win at this gambling game.”
There was a silence, and then I heard an indescribable fluttering rush that told as plainly as sight could have done that a woman had answered her heart’s call. Looking
up involuntarily, I saw a sight that for a long moment held my eyes as if I had been fascinated. It was Bob bowed forward with his face hidden in his hands, and beside him, on her knees, Beulah Sands, her arms about his neck, his head drawn down to her bosom. “Bob, Bob,” she said chokingly, “I cannot stand it any longer. My heart is breaking for you. You were so happy when 1 came into your life, and the happiness is changed to misery and despair, and all for me, a stranger. At firs! I thought of nothing but father and how to save him, but since that day when those men struck at your heart, I have been filled with, oh ! such a longing to tell you, to tell you, Bob-”
“What? Beulah, what ? For the love of God, don’t stop; tell me, Beulah, tell me.” He had not lifted his head. It was buried on her bieast, his arms closed around her. She bent her head and laid her beautiful, soft cheek, down which the tears were now streaming, against his brown hair. “Bob, forgive me, but I love you, love you, Bob, as only a woman can love who has never known love before, never known anything but stern duty. Bob, night after night when all have leff I have crept into your office and sat in your chair. I have laid my head on your desk and cried and cried until iffc seemed as though I could not live till morning without hearing you say that you loved me. and that you did not mind the ruin I had brought into your life. I have patted the back of your chair where your dear head had rested. I have covered the arms
of your chair, that your strong, brave hands had gripped, with kisses. Night after night I have knelt at your desk and prayed to God to shied you, to protect you from all harm, to brush away the black cloud I brought into your life. I have asked him to do with me, yes, with my father and mother, anything, anything if only he would bring back to you the happiness I had stolen. Bob, I have suffered, suffered, as only a woman can suffer. ’ ’
She was sobbing as though her heart would break, sobbing wildly, convulsively, like the little child who in the night comes to its mother’s bed to tell of the black goblins that have been pursuing it. Long before she had finished speaking—and it took only a few heart-beats for that rush of words—I had broken the power of the fascination, that held me, had turned away my eyes, and tried not to listen. For fear of breaking the spell, I did not dare cross the room to close Beulah’s door or to reach the outer door of my office. which was nearer hers than it was to my desk. I waited—through a silence, broken only by Beulah’s weeping. that seemed hour-long. Then in Bob’s voice came one low sob of joy :
“Beulah, Beulah, my Beulah!”
I realized that he had risen. I rose too, thinking that now I could close the door. But again I saw a picture that transfixed me. Bob had taken Beulah by both shoulders, land he held her off and looked into her eyes long and beseechingly. Never before nor since have I seen upon human Pace that glorious joy which the old
masters sought to get into the faces of their woishippers who, kneeling before Christ, tried to send to him, through their eyes, their soul's gratitude and love. I stood as one enthralled. Slowly and as reverently as the living lover touches the brow of his dead wife, Bob bent his head and kissed her brow. Again and again he dj ew her to him and implanted upon her brow and eyes and lips his kisses. I could not stand the scene any longer. I started to the corridor-door, and then, as though for the first time either had known J was within hearing, (they turned and stared at me. At last Bob gave a loud, happy laugh .
“Well, Jim, deal’ old Jim, where did you come from ? Like all eavesdroppers, you have heard no good of yourself. Own up, Jim, you did not hear a word good or bad about yourself, for it is just coming back to me that we have been selfish, that we have left you entirely out of our business conference. ' '
We all laughed, and Beulah Sands, with her face a burning mass of blushes, said: “Mr. Randolph, we
have not settled what it is best to do about father's affairs.,"
After a little while we did begin to talk business, and finally agreed
that Beulah should write her father, wording her letter as carefully as possible, to avoid all direct statements, but showing him that she had made but little headway on the work she had come noith to accomplish. Bob was a changed being now; so, too, was Beulah Sands. Both discussed their hopes and fears with a frankness in strange contrast to their former manner. But there was one point on which Bob showed he was holding back. I finally put kt to him bluntly: “Bob, are you working out anything that looks like real relief for Miss Sands and her father ?’'
‘“I don't know how to answer you, Jim. I can only say I have some ideas, radical ones perhaps, but— well, I am thinking along certain lines."
I saw he was not yet willing to take us into his confidence. We parted, Bob going along in the cab with Miss Sands.
Two days afterward she sent for us both as soon as we got to the office.
“I have this telegram from father —it makes me uneasy: 1 Mailed today important letter. Answer as soon as you receive.' "
(To be continued.)
Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear, and with a manly heart.—Longfellow.