BEGIN HERE TODAY
JOHN VV. BROOKE. widower
and hardware magnate, before
leaving the city for two months
arranges with a firm of effi
ciency engineers to manage his
home. He fails to say anything
about this to his three grown
children, Constance, Billy and
Alice. They fail to grasp the.
significance of it all until.
H. HEDGE, assigned to the
job, has taken over complete
control of the Brooke household,
occupied their father's suite and
turned the library into an office.
Hedge has been "monarch of all
he surveyed" for about two
weeks. While he refused to allow
a Christmas trie in the house be
cause "it is » useless expense”
he has relented sufficiently to ar
range for a New Year party.
Imagine the shock of the
“children” when they find all
their guests being forced to take
a physical examination before
admittance to the "festivities."
On this, tlte night of the party,
everything is going along as well
as can be expected under the cir
cumstances. The guests that
PH sued the doctor's close scrutiny
have danced and are now receiv
ing sterilized sandwiches and le
nronaue in tne dininsr*room.
NOW GO ON WITH TUB STORY
But of all this Constnnee was un
conscious. She had escaped to a far
corner of the con: ervatory, where
she wept dismally into a tiny square
of lace. It was there that. Tommy
Treadwell found her, and presently
: h was weeping against Tommy’s
shoulder while he tried awkwardly
to soothe her,
“J can never look anybody in the
face again,” site wailed. “I can't
stand it. I’m going to run away!”
“Honestly, will you?” he demand
“I’ll do anything to escape this,”
‘‘Will you run away with me?"
Tommy’s voice wras trembling and
his eyes pleading ns she looked up
”I’ve Miked you to marry mo three
times already," he went on. "Won’t
you, Connie? Please!"
Connie buried her face against his
coat again and tried to think. She
was fond of Tommy Treadwell, and
it was true that he had asked her
three times. But Constance had
never taken Tommy seriously, be
cause she did not want to . She had
never felt like marrying anybody.
’She was still living her gill day .
There would be plenty of time to
marry late on. As for Tommy— well,
when the time came, ft might be
him, or it might he somebody else.
She did not love Tommy, she was
quite sure; but she did like him tre
It was hard think, although she
wrestled with her problem heroically.
A voice seemed to be crying into In
curs, "F scape! Escape! It’s your
chance!” The idea of escape domi
nated her. And Tommy was offering
the way to freedom.
“Please marry me, Connie,” he
urged softly. "I’ll be awfully good to
She knew thafTSha knew tommy
Treadwell for true blue, apd she
knew that he would walk Broadway
on his hands and knees for her, if
she commanded. But she did not love
“Escape!” urged the little voice.
Tommy stroked her hair and talk
“Marry me, Connie, and I’ll take
yon away from it all. Yon ju;*t see
if I don’t make you happy.”
He talked with the fire confidence
and sincerity of youth.
“ArsWer me, Connie dear. Will
you marry me?
Constance did not answer. She did
not have time. The voice of a third
“Miss Brooke will not marry you,”
said the efficiency man calmly.
Constance nprang back with a cry,
and Tommy Treadwell flushed but
stood his ground. , a
“What have you got to say about
it?” he demanded.
“Everything. Kindly get your hat
and coat from the butler and leave."
“\ou mean to tell me I haven’t a
light to ask Connie to marry me?"
“No; I did not say that. You have
the right. You have exorcised it.
Very good. That settles it.”
“I do the answering; you do the
asking," said the efficiency man
blandly. “You will go now.”
“And supose I don’t take your an
swer ? ”
“Take it or leave it—it goes.”
Constance’s first emotion was one of
utter humiliation, which was quickly
succeeded by rage. She flashed a look
of defiance at H. Hedge.
s “I will marry whom I please!” she
stormed. ! will—”
“You will go to your room, Miss
Brooke, interrupted the efficiency
“I wdn’t, I”l!—’”
Tommy Treadwell with a sense of
true delicacy, put an end to the
“You’re all unstrung, Connie,” he
sa!d gently. “Better get some rest.
She hesitated, then buried her face
in her hands and walked away slow
ly, As she passed Tommy he whis
*I'll ’phone tomornw. Be ready.
He did hot yven say good night to
II. Hedge, but strode from the con
servatory and a minute later left the
As for the party, it ended accord
ing fixed time limit, at eleven o'clock.
There were not very, many left at
that hour, so that no extensive hard
ship was done. Only the efficiency,
man v.’ii1 about downstairs when the
New Year came in with a tolling of
"He looks rather sound and sensi
ble,” mused H. Hedge as lie turned
out the desk light. ‘‘But as for mar
rying Constance— certainly not! I
cannot permit it.”
Constance arose early. It was
scarcely seven o'clock, but there was
a strategic reason for the? un
usual event. Constance was going n
way; she was about to quit the shel
“Miss Ilronke will not marry you."
tor of the Brooke roof-tree for that
of another, uml it was essential that
the efficiency man should be unaware
of the fact until it had been accom
Constance was going to be married
Veil, to Tommy Treadwell, of course.
He wwi her refuge in time of tribu
lation and despair.
“It makes no difference.” mused
Constance as she dressed hastily,
"that I don't love Tommy. Ite under
stands. He knows 1 like and admire
him, and he’s going to be satisfied
with that. I think ire’s almost heroic
to marry a girl that he knows doesn’t
love him. But 1 can't exist hero. And
1 must—yes, must—find a new home
for Billy and Alice. Tommy has pro
mised to take both of them until
father returns, I suppose it will get
into the papers, hut—-Oh, anything is
better than this!"
The breakfast gong had not sound
ed when Constance made a final sur
vey of herself, seized a big muff,
picked up the grip, and moved brisk
ly to the door of her room. At the
threshold she paused long enough to
look up and down the hall. She did
not want to meet either Billy or
Alice; she would telephone them after
it was over. The hall was empty of
life, r.o Constance stepped out and
headed for the rear staircase.
One flight she descended rapidly,
I which curried her as far ns the main
| floor, and then she began to follow
\ more cautiously the second flight,
which was poorly lighted and had
two >hnrp turns. At the first turn
she paused abruptly. Slip heard foot
steps in tile semi-gloom below.
Somebody was coming up the stairs.
Constance peered over the balus
trade and held her breath. A servant
she did not mind.. But it was not a
servant.—it. was H. Hedge. Tier first
impulse told her to turn and run; Ijut
the time was too short and the grip
“Face it!“ she told herself quickly.
But site did not want to face the
efficiency man with the grip, so she
tried to hold the latter behind her
rk'rts. It.' was an awkward maneu
ver. The grip hammered at her heels
as she resumed descent of the stair
case. Then it slipped from her f'ngcrs
An instant later it struck her in the
hollow, of a knee. Constance stagger
id swayed, and pitched forward, ut
tering a sharp cry. >
She came to a halt half a dozen
steps below. Tighly gripped around
her waist was one arm of the effi
ciency man; the other was clinging
desperately to the rail. Both of Con
stance's arms were around his neck.
She could feel him struggling desper
ately to maintain a balance. With
a gasping intake of his breath he
presently achieved it. The grip shot
past them, rounded a turn, and land
ed noisily on the floor of the base
He twisteu ms neau to poor into
her face; Their eyes were not six
relies apart in the half list.
‘It’s Constance!” he exclaimed.
Never bad the efficiency man call
ed her that before.
‘Yea, it’s I!’
“You're unusually early this morn
“ Possibly. ”
H. Hedge seemed willing to pro
long the conversation.
“It’s not eight yet.” he remarked.
“I know it.”
‘ Didn’t you drop something?”
“I'll go down and get; ii for you.”
But he made no move.
“Don’t bother. I’ll get it.”
“But 1 insist.”
He paused and considered.
“It’s a nice morning,” he observed
“1 belive so.”
“Going for n walk?”
“Why not say ‘perhaps’—you get
the same idea compressed into one
Constance was becoming anxious.
She knew that Tommy Treadwell and
his blue roadster were waiting below
in the court-yard.
“ me go!’ she exclaimed.
Up to that point she had been toe
bewildered to notice that there had
been no change in their positions
since H. Hedge interrupted her head
NEXT CHAPTER: Hedge frus
trates an elopement.
WHY NOT THIS WEEK?
Most of the severe eases of
eye trouble are caused oy neg
lecting the eyes after the
symptoms of eye strain are
An immediate examination
and the relief of the strain
will in almost every case pre
vent furtheB trouble.
If you have any symptoms
of eye strain, why not have
your eyes examined nov. and
get glasses if they are need
DR. D. M. MORRISON
Upstairs Over Fannings.
Ideal Ice & Fuel Co.
NIGHT OR DAY
WE NEVER CLOSE.
AND THOSE WHO HAVE NOT FULLY DECIDED WHAT TO GIVE WILL FIND
THIS STORE AN INSPIRATION AND GREAT HELP IN MAKING QUICK
GIFT SUGGESTIONS ARE DISPLAYED ON EVERY HAND.
There are thousands of pretty handker
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en. for men, for boys and girls. If you don't
know what to give, visit the handkerchief
section and you’ll be able to solve the gift
25c 50c 75c TO $1.00 Box
Madeira Handkerchiefs ..59c to $1.00
Fancy woven borders. Some with initials,
Shirts, Ties, Gloves, Pajamas, Socks, Bath Robe or House Slip
MEN’S TIES 50c
Ask your neighbor about
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than the price asked.
In gorgeous coloring. The*
kind that hold their shapes af
ter constant wearing.
$1.00and $1.50 !
MEN’S FANCY SOCKS
Just the kind he’d buy for
50c 75c $1.00
When you say broadcloth,
enough had been said. We
have them at—
$2 $2.50 t0 $3.50
$1.95 to $3.50
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\ Hosiery is a dress ac
\ cessory one can’t have
j too many and, there
j fore, always appreci
j ated as a gift.
} Humming Bird $1.50
| U wcr ur -1-# i_» r_«
' SILK UNDERWEAR
j The intimate gift—
\ the gift that always
i pleases is one of silk
1 underwear— Teddies
| Gowns, Bloomers,
J Step-ins. Reasonably
5 Shelby High School
> The gift with a per
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j with rouge and pow
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In Gloria and Silks
are here in large range
og colors and shapes.
W. L. Fanning & Co.