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- Her Weight in Gold - 40/40 -


"I couldn't eat a mouthful of turkey bought with Joe Delapere's money," she said, and he felt his heart throb joyfully for some strange cause.

Homeward they wended their disconsolate way, her arm through his, clinging fondly to him, he proud of the honour she was bestowing upon him--poor, poor lovers! In spite of all, he felt better for that which had happened. He had begun what might have been a career of crime. Circumstance and her sweet influence had averted that career. She, too, had learned a lesson, deeper in its meaning than any logic could have been; she had distrusted him. Honour, love and duty bound them together again. They were going home to dine on dried beef, water and perhaps bread--Christmas day, too.

Firmly they turned their wistful eyes from the shop windows; they had nothing in common with them, save desire.

At last they came to the dingy entrance which led to the long halls and multigenerous stairways of their abiding place. Without a word they began to climb the steps, tired and with returning discouragement. They were thinking of the baby. Tears came to the father's eyes, but he turned his face away and attempted to whistle. She pressed his arm again in silence, but for the same reason she looked toward the wall. At the first landing he paused and drew her to his breast. As their lips met in one brave, compassionate kiss a sob fled from the heart of each.

Drawing nearer the top floor they heard strange sounds coming from their own room. A gruff, hoarse voice was prominent and they stopped to look into each other's eyes with hopeless alarm.

"It's the landlord," whispered Digby. "I might have known it would all come at once!"

"What shall we do?" asked Kate, with feminine dismay.

"Do? What do we usually do? Nothing! I don't know how I'm going to put him off again--we're over three weeks behind with the rent. Oh, Kate!" he almost sobbed.

"Well, dear!" She was trembling. So was he.

"What if he orders us to leave the place?" She could not reply and they stood silent, looking toward the door that they feared to enter.

"Where is the baby?" he finally asked.

"I left her with the woman across the hall."

"But I hear her voice in our room. What is she doing in there with that infernal old brute?" Digby's alert ear had caught the sound of the child's prattle, mingling with the discordant growls of the man.

"Oh, Digby, I'm so frightened! What can they be doing in there?"

"Don't be afraid. I'll chuck him out of there on his head if he has been tormenting that child with his compliments--and it would be just like the old scoundrel, too." He took several steps forward.

"Do be careful!" murmured his wife, following faithfully. Digby threw open the door defiantly and stood glaring into the little room.

A big, portly man was seated near the stove, little Helen on his knee. As the door opened he raised his chop-whiskered face and then, placing the child on the floor, drew himself erect and came hastily toward the pair in the doorway, exclaiming:

"My boy! At last I have got you! God knows I've searched the town over and over for you--and I find you in a hole like this! Come to my arms --oh, demme! demme! demme!"


Her Weight in Gold - 40/40

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