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foolish theing quite and in his working
cause it nearesilient Man. May I
every one and living entirely by him- July and August were fading into
the past and September was drawing Auntie Fay laughed a low, clear, near, when one evening the Silent rippling laugh. Betty's seriousness Man's canoe again touched shore behad always amused her. "What a fore the vine-covered arbor, and Betty foolish thought, child. He impresses in keen anticipation of the pleasure me as being quite an average man, which lay before her, skipped lightly very much engrossed in his work." down to the water's edge and took her And Auntie Fay returned to her book, place among the cushions. leaving Betty to her own thoughts. It was an unusually warm evening.
That evening out on the wide east The sun still held its own in all its veranda, Mrs. Fay was struggling sunset glory above the western hills, with a large wicker chair which had so the Silent Man and Betty under the caught in the reed rug as she tried to mystical lure of the North—the lure move it nearer the porch rail. In an of the setting sun — ventured farther instant the Silent Man, who stood up the lake than was their custom, and near, came to her side. “May I help when they found themselves beyond you? It seems to be rather heavy." the bend of the first point, with the
Mrs. Fay's smile was one of wel- darkness of the coming night still come as she thanked him, and to the poised in unreality, they decided to go man who towered so far above her ashore and stroll the short distance she confided that because of her want through the wood to the little spring of greater physical strength she did which bubbled clear and cool under sometimes mind her meager height. the willows just beyond this point.
"I assure you I would hardly think Following the trail which lay close of it as a grievance if I were you. It to the water's edge, they went on for has given me pleasure to be of help,” some distance until suddenly, to their and the Silent Man turning sank into astonishment and surprise, the trail a chair near the one he had placed for ended in a tangle of vines and underAuntie Fay's comfort.
brush. They had taken little heed of When Betty came out later in the the oncoming darkness, and now when evening, she paused in mild surprise they turned, confident that they could and would have turned back if Mrs. still retrace their steps, they saw even Fay had not spoken to her. And this this part of the trail lost in the deepwas the beginning of a friendship ening shadows of the forest. But which slowly drew Betty into its Betty's mind held no thought of fear. meshes and held her fast.
She knew the man who stood beside During the days which followed, the her would be able to find a way out, Silent Man often joined them in the lit- and take her safely back to Birch tle arbor, or invited them to go for a Croft. Turning she spoke to him, but stro!l along the lake shore in the early the Silent Man did not seem to hear. evening. And sometimes after his He stood looking out across the lake, canoe had swung out into the lake and deep in thought. rounded the pier, he would touch shore Suddenly he took a step forward again on the white sands before the and drew the girl into his arms, bringarbor and call a glad invitation to the ing her near, nearer his heart. "Betty two people there. This invitation, how- —Girl, do you know how much I love ever, Auntie Fay always declined, for you?" His voice though vibrant with she had a fear of the water after the emotion held firm, and in a torrent of shadows began to lengthen, though words and caresses he poured forth she would urge Betty to go, for the his love — a love which had grown girl loved to be out on the water at deep and still. The quick change in any time of the day and found keen his mood startled Betty, but soon his delight in skimming along over its words conveyed his meaning to her smooth surface.
and she felt a warmth and light filling
her life which she had never felt be- the road led straight to the highway fore. It was a dream. A beautiful which passed the Birch Croft grove. dream. The dream of her life come While they were forging their true. And then, swiftly following his way through the brushwood neither words of love came a plea in the in had spoken except as they were contensity of a strong man's will: "Betty cerned in each other's safety, and as tell me it isn't too late. It isn't too they passed along the woodland road, late, Girl?"
the silence was broken only by the As slowly as his words of love had sound of their footfalls. But when awakened the warmth in her heart, so they at last reached the highway, slowly, but surely, did these words fill where the rising moon cast a white her heart with an icy fear. “Too late, light over the dry grasses and the too late!" The words echoed and re- sands, Betty turned to the Silent Man echoed through her mind. What weird with a plea for an understanding in spectre was this lurking in the fore- her eyes. "Tell me tell me about it," ground to rob her of her dream of she said. happiness? Was all life coming to The Silent Man gave a slight start her, too late?
as if suddenly brought back into the Gently but firmly, Betty drew present. “Must you know, Girl? Do away, the Silent Man offering no re- you really want me to tell you ?". sistance, his arms falling slowly to Betty's answer came without the his sides. The thought which had least hesitation. “Yes, tell me in jusprompted the utterance of those fate- tice, since you have told me the rest.” ful words evidently prompted him Surely the truth no matter what it also, to hold in reserve any further might hold could only bring to her a expression of his love.
keener pain than this doubt, this For a time they stood still in the dread of an unknown certainty. silence of the night, each trying to un- Slowly, falteringly the Silent Man ravel the invincible web of destiny. told her the story of his early life. A light breeze blowing in from the He pictured for her the home of his lake, and a sense of the creeping dark- boyhood, with a fond mother and an ness brought to them a realization of indulgent father. He told her of his a present problem still unsolved. It life at college and of the dark-eyed was Betty who first broke the silence. little girl he met in his senior year,
"It is steadily growing darker. and of the care-free love which had Don't you think we had better try to grown until it had ended in an early find our way out?"
marriage, and then"Yes," said the Silent Man, "let They had reached the place on the me think—to try to locate the canoe high road, beyond the brown shingled would be useless, it is quite safe cottage, where the blackberry bushes where it is until tomorrow. The road brow by the road side. One of them which leads to the old lumber camp is had caught in Betty's sleeve and the only a short distance east from here. Silent Man stooped to free her from If we keep our bearings and push
ir bearings and push its thorny hold. steadily on through this bit of brush “Go on,” said the girl in a calm, low wood, we will reach it in a short time. voice, as they resumed their walk, Come, we will at least try. If you "tell me—all." will keep close behind me, I will lead It was quite evident, from the man's the way and part the bushes.”
hesitation, that the story was growing As they expected, the old lumber infinitely harder to tell. However, camp road was soon reached, and af- with an effort he continued. “The first ter that they had no difficulty in find- two years were happy enough, and a ing their way, for although the over- son was born to us. I think it was he arching trees cast their shadows along who brought the first differences into the way, the ground was smooth and our lives. We didn't seem to agree
met When an dening for meter that.
where he was concerned, and after a “It is because I love you that I am while there was little else upon trusting in your strength to do right, which we did agree. A little girl came and if you truly love me, you will go to us later. I left shortly after that. back. A strong love can bridge the There was an opening for me in Den- petty differences in life. Keep your ver. When I first went out there, I love strong for her.” Again the girl meant to send for her, but I never did. paused. "I shall not ask you to forAll the warmth had gone out of my get me. It would be folly to do that, love for her.”
but whenever you remember — be a "Were you long in the West ?" little kinder to her, a little more asked Betty in even tones.
thoughtful. It is only a mean nature "Three years by the calendar,” an- which would fail to respond to such swered the Silent Man.
an appeal, and hers is not that.” “And you have not been happy?" "Betty-Girl!" came the girl's second question.
For an instant the girl's head "Happy?" echoed the man in a drooped, but it was soon lifted and voice now grown harsh, “how can a she looked bravely up into the strong man be happy with a dead thing like face above her. That last kiss out that hanging about him?"
under the dome of the Birches and the "There were the children,” ven greater dome of the sky was not the tured Betty.
breaking of a trust, but rather the "The children-They were only in sealing of a vow that each one would fants when I left. I hardly knew live in the greater faith which had them."
grown in the hearts of both. During the latter part of their walk, It was with a keen sense of relief that the road lay flooded in light, the Auntie Fay welcomed Betty, for she moon now sailing high in the eastern had been gone longer than usual; but sky. The two travelers were again in- noting the pallor of her face and the tent upon their own thoughts, but tenseness of her manner, she rewhen they turned and entered the frained from asking any questions afgrove at Birch Croft, the Silent Man ter Betty explained about the lost drew Betty nearer and in a voice in trail. Some time or other she knew tense with feeling, he asked her again, Betty would tell her, tonight the gir “Betty, tell me, Girl, if I came back needed rest; so after Betty assured free, would it be too late ?"
her that she was quite well, she bade For an instant, Betty stood as if her goodnight, and the girl crossed hesitating, doubtful; the man beside the hall to her own room. her grew hopeful, but it was only for Slowly Betty sank to the floor bea fleeting moment. Her answer came fore the window which overlooked the low and clear. “Free! One cannot buy lake, and pillowing her head upon her freedom through the pain one gives arm, she rested her cheek against the to others. Go back-go to the chil- cool sill. The first rays of the morning dren who need you. They need a fath- light found her still there, with a longer's love and protection. You will find ing in her heart which only time could happiness there.” Betty paused and still. then went bravely on. “Go back to Three days later a messenger was the little woman you have deserted. sent across the lake with an order for She has learned her lesson by this the steamer Leelanau to stop at the time. If she ever loved you, she loves Birch Croft dock, on her downward you now—a woman's heart does not course, as one of the guests was leavforget.”
ing. “Betty, if you loved me, you would Since the eventful evening when not tell me this."
fate had played so important a part The girl struggled to free herself, in the lives of two people, they had but the man's strength held firm. gone on, at least from all outward ap
pearances, very much the same as be- time, and it is quite evident that she fore. Neither the Silent Man nor has been weaving tales about me for Betty had made any effort to avoid the entertainment of the children. the other, although their meetings They take me quite for granted, and were always in the presence of Auntie have set me up as rather a hero in Fay. But on the morning of the third their small lives, a delusion which I day Betty did not see him, and Auntie will at least have to try to live up to, Fay who saw that the girl was living or fall in their high esteem. My stay under a nervous strain suggested a in the East will be short as I am rewalk to a neighboring farm house in turning to my work in Denver about search of harvest apples. Betty wel- the first of October. And this time comed the invitation and rambled I am taking my family with me. We along in her conversation, dwelling are all looking forward to the new life only upon light, trivial things. Not in the West.” until their return did she speak the And that was all, not one word for thought which was uppermost in her Betty. She did not want it; had not mind.
expected it. He would not have been "Auntie Fay," the girl stooped to strong in the strength she wished him pick a bunch of wild asters, "when to have if he had failed her. But the Silent Man comes to say good with the finality came the breaking of bye, will you please ask him to write the tension, and burying her face in to you ?"
her hands she gave way to broken "And you, child ?" Auntie Fay's sobs, “Oh, I am glad; I am so glad.” tones were full of loving solicitude. "Yes,” said Auntie Fay as she tried
“For me, he will always be just the to comfort the girl, “and in the years Silent Man,” said Betty as she rose to come you will find a greater happiand went on down the hill.
ness than the one which could have In the early afternoon the Silent been yours at such a price." Man paid his last visit to the little The following evening Birch Croft arbor. It was hard for him to bid fare was giving its annual party, the rooms well to the two friends who had come were decked in festive gaiety, and out to mean so much to him; but under in the grove lanterns were hung. All Auntie Fay's guidance that last hour girlhood bloomed in dainty summer which they spent together would al- frocks; and young manhood came corways be a pleasant one to remember. rect, debonair, clothed in light sport And he did not see them again, for suits, their jovial natures leaping in Auntie Fay and Betty were not among happy anticipation of a pleasant eventhe people who thronged the pier, ing spent under the Birches. later in the day, in the excitement of Betty was at her best in a roseseeing the steamer dock.
colored voile, excitement lending For Betty the North had lost its color to her cheeks and a sparkle to charm, but she was reluctant to leave her eyes. Without any apparent efbefore Auntie Fay heard from the Si- fort her spirits soared at will to the lent Man. Just a few days before their sound of the drifting music. Her prodeparture, the long looked for letter gram was well filled before the evenarrived. It told of a pleasant trip to ing fairly began, and young Thomas the East, of his meeting with his own Turner wishing to detain her after a people, and of meeting old friends; dance, tried to lure her out into the and then he told of the little woman night and the moonlight. and the children. He had found them “I say, Betty, lets get away from with her parents. The closing words this music for a while." His boyish of his letter were:
voice held a note of anxiety. "I say “We made quite a happy family we go down by the lake and talk party. Mrs. Howard had been look- about something serious. This light ing forward to my return for some stuff tires me."
The following narrative of merchant marine accomplishment in the past presents a striking contrast of our present lack in this direction. The historic incidents told in this story have a direct bearing on the plan to upbuild a strong merchant marine to safeguard our interest in the future.—The Editor.
T HE quaint old city of Salem, In 1807 Salem boasted of a fleet of
Mass., has felt more keenly, 252 ships engaged in deep sea com
perhaps, than any other port in merce; the largest fleet owned by any the United States the decay of the community of its size in the world. By American shipping industry that pre- the year 1900 Salem's famous mervailed previous to the declaration of chant fleet had dwindled to nothing. war. At that time only ten per cent The story of the pepper trade is an of our shipping was carried in Ameri- interesting one. Ever since the year can bottoms, while in 1810, 91 per 1509 Portuguese vessels had brought cent of American commerce was pepper from Sumatra, on their return handled by our own merchant marine. trips from searching for the fabulous