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that his heart went out at the very start to the younger of the two men. And he was poor. He liked Alfred Strong because Strong reminded him of the army. He was bold, vigorous, impetuous, and a little intolerant. He spoke rapidly in an argument, almost nervously, but he talked well, for in his life as a newspaper man, from reporter to editor, he had seen a good deal of the world-"A good deal," he himself said, "which a man would be better for not seeing and knowing."

Philip Malcolm, Strong's friend, on the other hand, had never earned a penny in his life. He had been constantly in Miss Hardeservice's court for three years. He was rich, he was slow, and he was grave. The Colonel had great respect for his good sense. He decided that Malcolm was a most desirable son-in-law, and although he would have preferred Strong, he accepted the conditions, soldier-like, and was firm in his duty.

The striking difference between the two friends, Strong and Malcolm, was something like this:

"You are a lucky dog, Phil, to have your disposition," said Strong once, when Malcolm came up to the editorial rooms after a rambling trip abroad. "If I had your money, it would kill me. I should be chasing fancies from the north to the south pole. I could n't keep still, should get out of breath and run myself to death die from heart-failure."

"I work just as hard in my way," Malcolm answered, "as you do. I am forced to amuse myself. That is the hardest work in the world. I'm not fit for real, honest work. You can make your own living. That ought to be satisfaction enough."

He turned his dark eyes to look after something that was beyond his reach.

"Paint! paint!" cried Strong. "You paint well. That last bit of yours was good. Every one says so. How long did it take you? Two years!" exclaimed the editor. "I should drive at a picture night and day, spoil it in no time, and smash the canvas on a chair. You have patience; paint and do something."

Malcolm smiled at his ardor. "My dear fellow," he said, "it is easy enough for you to say that. That feeling is part of you. But I am different, and I make the best of it." Nevertheless, he looked discontented.

What made the Colonel attached to Strong was the editor's iconoclastic way of smashing at things.

"A newspaper man," said Strong to him, "is a freak of nature. He is shut out from those things which most people regard as the best part of life. He should never get married, for instance. It is n't fair to his family. He is an independent slave-a slave so long as he

earns his living; independent when he starves. His whole self is put away, checked at the door, you might say, when he goes to his editorial desk. He gets no rest and no consideration, because every one around him lives at the same high tension, until he breaks down. Then there is a flurry. Every one is shocked. His paper sends him to Europe-can't do enough for him; but his nerves are gone. They are on so fine an edge that inactivity jars them. Look at me-thirty-five, a young man, and my paper has to exile me to Bar Harbor for the summer. I should not have lasted here a week," he added with a smile, "if you had not come along to cheer me up. It's frightfully dull and flat. When I was a reporter I could work thirty-six hours at a stretch without a wink of sleep or a bite to eat save a sandwich wherever I could grab it. I would then go home, sleep ten hours, eat a good breakfast, and report at the office, bright and smiling for another fast. Nowwhy, it would kill me now," he said with a laugh.

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"A soldier, too," said the Colonel. "Just like us. But you would n't change it." Strong leaned back in his chair and smiled into the keen old eyes of the soldier. "No, I would n't," he said; "not for the world. I live on it. The excitement and stimulus of it would keep me alive."

"So it does; so it did with me," cried the Colonel, warmly. He wished that Strong were wealthy. "I would give-oh, it's all over with me now," he added gloomily.

After this talk Strong held first place in the Colonel's estimation.

Strong was on the veranda of the Colonel's hotel, talking with the veteran and Malcolm, when he first met Miss Hardeservice. She came walking up slowly from the water, a jacket trailing in her hand. There were then two small spots of color in her cheek, which looked brighter than they were above the white of her yachting-gown. It was after dinner, and the slanting sun sent shining flashes through her hair. When she sat down with them to rest, her several winters in New York showed in her face, for it became pale; but at times, as she talked, a touch of pink was in her cheek again.

"That color will refuse to come in two years more," said Strong to himself. He looked at her while he chatted with the little dark-eyed one, as he called the younger Miss Hardeservice.

"She is older than she looks," he thought. "Twenty-eight, or twenty-nine; no, twentyeight." He wronged her by two years. After a while he drifted into conversation with her alone. It was perfectly aimless. He became

a trifle impatient with her. "She poses," he forces were often thrown into utter confusion, said mentally.

When he and Malcolm were walking to their hotel, he broke out suddenly, "She is handsome."

"Who is handsome ?" said Malcolm.

"Why, Miss Hardeservice, of course." He knew all about Malcolm's suit, but he was very frank with his friend.

"I did n't like her mannerisms," Strong went on; "that is, I thought she assumed a weariness of some things. Perhaps she piqued my vanity by appearing to be a little bored. Isn't she just a bit of a coquette?" he blurted

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'Well, I like the little one better," said Strong. "She is full of good sense, and she knows a deal. She rests me. She's calm and placid, like the water down there. Her sister is more like those straight trees up on the hill." Malcolm gave him no answer.

"But I must say, Phil," Strong went on, "that I have never seen a more handsome woman. She carries herself superbly. She seems to be all that a man could picture to himself. If she would only feel! Do you know," he said earnestly, "I can't get it out of my head that she poses. Hang it, Phil!" he jerked out in his quick way, forgetting his friend, "I think that girl wants to marry money."

"I don't believe it," answered the other, quietly, looking up over the hill. "No; you will like her better. She is much like her father."

"He is a sterling old soldier and a fine gentleman," said Strong. "I like him. I like the little one. I think I like them all, but I like the Colonel best."

It did not take the Colonel long, with his fine perceptions, to discover that Strong was falling in love with his younger daughter. This complicated affairs, but it eased his mind, for he would have found it against his inclination to oppose the editor had he tried to win Eleanor. Now he had only to broaden his field of operations and to make use of his military talents in massing his forces or performing flank movements. So the Colonel's ruddy face beamed, and his heart was light; but this campaign was no easy one.

"My troops," he used to say when holding councils of war with himself, "are undisciplined. They have a tendency to lose their heads." And this was quite true, though perhaps not in the sense which the Colonel meant it. They rather bewildered him at times. The

so that he could not direct them all.

One of the difficulties was that Strong was impartial in his attentions. He was as uncertain as the wind. Malcolm's suit made little headway. It was impossible to tell whether he felt shy or hopeless.

There was also one phase of the situation which the commander-in-chief failed to take in: Strong and Malcolm were not so cordial to each other as they had been. This was scarcely the fault of Strong. He believed in a fair fight and the laurels to the victor. Malcolm, on the other hand, could not take up arms against a friend. He was never sure of his own position, and was even in more doubt about Strong. He was a shuttlecock on a battledore held by an irresponsible hand. If he went canoeing with Bess, it was because Miss Hardeservice and Strong were on the water together. If he found himself playing tennis with Miss Hardeservice for a partner, it was because Bess and Strong had already formed an alliance. Realizing this, Malcolm felt uncomfortable. But the Colonel was untiring in the use of his tactics, so that in the end he usually had the supreme satisfaction of seeing the battle wage as he wished. Then he would draw aloof and survey the field with a calm dignity and a soldier's pride. One could almost fancy him sweeping a plain with his field-glass. As he examined the war maps in his brain, his smile grew more eloquent and his face more ruddy.

One night, when he gave Bess a good-night kiss, he pinched her cheek affectionately, and looked down into her dark eyes with such a meaning glance that his daughter blushed furiously and ran away from him, involuntarily trying to hide her treacherous cheeks with her hands.


Strong is in love with our Bess, dear," he said to his wife.

"I think he is, Frank," answered his wife, complacently.

"This has been known to me for some time," said the Colonel, nodding his gray head sagely.

"I don't think that Bess is very-fond of him," she answered, hesitating over the word.

"Don't you?" said he, with a mysterious smile. "He is just the husband for Bess, frank, brave, able, and-handsome," he added, looking at himself in a glass. "You are n't opposed to it, are you?" he asked anxiously.

"Not in the least. Bess will marry the man she loves. She could not be made to do otherwise. She has a great deal of spirit, only she seldom shows it."

"But she likes Strong."

"Yes, she does; but Bess is very shy. If she loved a man, she would be more likely to re

treat from him. I should say that she was more likely to love Mr.—a man like—well, a man like Malcolm."

"You don't mean to say," cried the Colonel, jumping up in alarm, "that—”

"Oh, dear, no," cried little Mrs. Hardeservice, frightened by her husband's voice. "What do you mean, then ?" he asked in a relieved tone.

"I think that Mr. Strong is in love with Bess, that Mr. Malcolm has always been in love with Nell, but that such an idea never entered Bess's little head, while Nell does n't care for either of them. Nell seems to be tired of every one but us. She says that she is going to spend the winter at home. She has written to her aunt, and Helen is greatly vexed about it."

"My dear," said the Colonel, smoothing his ruffled dignity, "you should see with my eyes. Nell will be engaged to Malcolm before we leave this place."

"Never mind, Frank," answered his wife, gently; "it will all come out right."

"How blind women are!" reflected the son of Mars; and he smiled serenely.

PERHAPS Strong and Malcolm first confessed to themselves that their relations were a little strained on the evening when they just escaped a serious accident. They were out canoeing with the two sisters. Strong managed a canoe with fine skill. His boat was a mere shell, and his quick arms drove it through the still water like a knife-blade. It was as delicately poised as a spinning bicycle-wheel, and Strong, with another person in the craft, could keep it at all times on a perfect balance. He and the younger Miss Hardeservice were shooting about on the water before the island, while Malcolm and Miss Hardeservice, in a much heavier boat, were following in their wake. Strong wheeled his frail craft around in a pretty half-circle, a streak of white behind them showing their course. Then with a long sweep of his arm, showing brown and sinewy where his sleeves were uprolled, he sent the canoe skimming over the water, and drew in his paddle. This circular course brought them nearer Malcolm and Miss Hardeservice. Strong and the younger sister watched the water drip from the shining paddle as they drifted.

Malcolm was propelling his heavy canoe vigorously, and his boat promised to cross Strong's bows. He seemed a little excited. Miss Hardeservice's back was toward them, and she held her glove up where the sun touched her cheek.

They were not twenty yards away, and would cross very near the light canoe, when suddenly Malcolm's paddle stopped as he leaned forward saying something earnestly; his boat swerved,

and came straight toward the other canoe. Strong's paddle was lying across his lap.

"Look out, Phil!" he shouted, as he seized it, and thrust it into the water; "you will cut us down!" His paddle gleamed behind him, and the canoe sprang ahead. Malcolm had not seen them. Before he could lift his hand, his boat shot along the stern of Strong's, grazing it and sending a shiver over the lighter craft.

"Sit still, sit still," said Strong in a low voice to the younger Miss Hardeservice, as the canoe tipped and rocked. Her face was pale. He brought his boat around until he was close up to Malcolm. He looked at his friend, and then at Miss Hardeservice. Malcolm was dazed, but she had a fine light on her beautiful face. Strong's eyes flashed, and when he spoke his voice was trembling.

"You just missed drowning us all, Phil," he said curtly, and turned his canoe toward the shore. His glance fell on his companion as his paddle flashed back and forth.

"I hope you were not frightened,” he said, trying to smile.

"Oh, no," she answered; " you were so quick that I had no time to know that there was any danger." But her lip quivered.

Strong did not seem to hear her. His lips were pressed together, and where his straight brows approached each other there was a little knot.

Malcolm apologized to him that evening.

"I nearly made a fatal blunder," he said, "and I am ashamed enough of myself. You saved us all, Fred. Thank you very much," and he tried to wring the other's hand. "I was thrown out of my senses," he went on, hesitating. “I—I was greatly surprised by something. Don't be so stiff about it, Fred," he added, with a rising color. "Miss Hardeservice - that is, I made a terrible blunder.”


"All's well that ends well," answered the other, with a little laugh that was slightly harsh.

Not until the season was nearing its end did Colonel Hardeservice lose faith in his strategy, and not even then would he believe that he had been entirely mistaken in his plan of conducting his campaign. But he was harassed by misgivings. Apparently he had won the day. Strong was nearly always with Bess, and Miss Hardeservice was more kind to Malcolm than she had ever been before; but there was now an open restraint between every one. Strong and Malcolm had no more to do with each other than courtesy and civility demanded. The Colonel himself did not find the editor so entertaining or frank as he had been. Eleanor was the most natural of them all. She was as dignified as always, and if she were more bored

than usual, she did not allow herself to show it. Mrs. Hardeservice thought Bess was growing pale, and hinted at malaria. The Colonel poohpoohed at her alarm, but went off for a drive with his favorite child.

"Your old father is unhappy, Bess," he said, as they followed the winding road down by the "What is the matter with us, anyway?" He cut his horses sharply.


She looked at him with startled eyes. "I think we are all homesick, papa," she answered softly. She was looking away from his eyes. "It is too gay for us here," she continued, laughing. "Look at that." A merry party in a large buckboard passed them on the road, sending up a cloud of white dust. Bright ribbons fluttered and colored caps danced as the party greeted the popular Colonel and his daughter. "You are an old soldier, and I am nothing but a soldier's daughter, and I think we are we are out of our element."

The Colonel scented danger afar, but he could not locate it. He looked down at his daughter. Her dark eyelashes were low, but he thought he saw something bright there. He put out his big hand over her little one, trying to stroke it in a clumsy way.

“Would you like to go home?" he asked. She turned her soft eyes to his. They were


"Yes-thank you, papa," she said. Her words were only breathed. She hid her face on his sleeve for a moment, and the grizzled warrior slashed his horses furiously as if with a saber.

THE Hardeservices were going to leave Bar Harbor. Every one was sorry. The last season's débutantes begged the Colonel to stay until they went. He smiled at them all, and, shaking his gray head, reminded them that he was a soldier. Strong did not come near them for two days. Malcolm was unchanged. They were to start on Saturday. On Friday, Strong, reaching the top of Newport after a rapid climb, found Malcolm sitting on a rock. He was smoking a cigar, and did not notice the approach of his friend until Strong stood before him. Then he flushed.

"Hallo, Phil," said Strong in a friendly voice which strained after a natural tone, "communing with nature?"

"No," said Malcolm; "I came up here because I was disgusted with myself. Left my buckboard on the road down there. Did you pass it?"

"I did n't notice it," answered Strong, scanning the other's face. "Look here, Phil," he went on, "I came up here to work off steam.” He looked down the mountain's steep side. "You don't dare go down Newport with me?"

Malcolm pulled out his watch.

"We have n't time," he said. "It takes four hours when you have good luck. It will be dark before we strike the road."

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"Will you go and risk it?" asked Strong. Yes," said the other, with a glance at the sinking sun.

They began the descent rapidly. They were both in the mood for hard work. As they slipped down shelving rocks or made downward leaps, catching at roots and bushes to stop their too hurried course, their spirits lightened. They warmed to each other as in their college vacation days, when they had tramped through the White Mountains. Strong caught his foot once, and went stumbling headlong for fully twenty feet. His neck was in danger, but when Malcolm came up to him, making long jumps, the editor was laughing and panting. His cheeks were tinged, and his eyes were filled with flashing light.

"This is fine!" he said, between his heavy breathing.

"You'll break your precious neck if you do that again," said Malcolm, and laughed.

The descent became more difficult. They reached the cliff part, and it took them over an hour to make thirty yards. They were lowering themselves by inches now on jutting rocks, exposed roots, and outhanging limbs of stunted trees. Strong was leading. He deftly slipped down to a shelf formed by the edge of a huge rock jutting out from the mountainside. Malcolm was heavier, and could not get down. Strong jammed himself close to the rocky formation and leaned over, throwing his arms around the sharp protuberances of the rock.

"Put your foot on my back, and don't kick me over the side of the cliff, or we shall both be in the papers-in the obituary column," he said, laughing.

Malcolm let himself down upon Strong's back.

"Where is Atlas?" said Strong between his teeth, for Malcolm was heavy. "God, Phil!" he cried an instant later, throwing out one arm and catching Malcolm around the waist as he suddenly slipped off. "Steady, old man." Malcolm was suspended in air. Strong's muscles were like steel. He gripped the sharp rock with his left arm until the edges cut into his flesh. Bending his knees slowly, and with his teeth set, he strained down and back, dragging Malcolm up to the narrow shelf. He trembled when his arm released its hold. Malcolm was white. He looked down and shivered.

"It's getting late," said Strong, not waiting for the other to speak. "We can't go down that way," he went on hurriedly. "I have

been down Newport a dozen times, and I never before got into such a box."

He looked around him. A rough line, a sort of crease, like a wrinkle in a stone face, ran along the side of the rocks.

"Stay where you are, and I will see where this leads to," said Strong.

He worked his way carefully until he disappeared around a knob of granite. Then Malcolm saw him crawling back.

"Come on," said Strong when he reached the shelf. "I guess we can make it this way." The two felt their way, holding to the wall at their side. Malcolm was in advance.

"Here it is," said Strong, after they had turned the corner. "Now," he said, "I don't want you to be foolish, Phil. Don't object to what I am going to say. This is probably the only place on this side of the mountain which is practically impassable. We have had the bad luck to get into it. Now we can't both get out of it." He flashed a look straight into the other's eyes. Malcolm's jaw was set.

"Don't look that way," Strong said. "I know you want to stay, but that is out of the question. You could not get me down, and I can drop you as lightly as a feather. And now I am going to show you how. You see it is n't fifteen feet to the next place of footing. All you have to do is to land there. Now, if I lie down here," and he started to take off his coat, "and hold on to that sapling"-he kicked it with his foot-"I can swing you out far enough to drop you there. Now for it."

"I won't go," said Malcolm, doggedly. "I'll stick it out with you."

"No, you will not," answered the other. "Don't you see that it is our only hope of getting out of this? I let you down. You get shaken up, but not hurt. There, not forty yards from us, is a little ravine. That means that it is easy going there until you reach the brush. Get into the bed of the ravine, crawl under the briers, and you strike the road. You will probably meet a buckboard in the road. You can be back in two hours-three, anyway. Mark the place where you come out, get a rope and lantern, and return for me. You can throw up the rope to me, and then I am out of it."

Strong got down on his knees to carry out his program. Malcolm put his hand on his friend's shoulder to stop him.

"Wait a minute," he said. "The Colonel is to go away to-morrow morning." Strong got off his knees, but he did not answer. Malcolm also paused.

"Well?" said Strong, finally. "Well," answered Malcolm, echoing the word, "it's just this, Fred. I did come up the mountain to-day to think, and I made my

decision before you met me. I made up my mind to ask her to-night, and if I go down I shall go straight to her and ask her. So I refuse to go, for I know that you- besides," he broke out, "you have just saved my life."

Strong leaned against the mountain-side. The sun had gone, and his shirt-sleeves shone white in the dusk. He started and picked up his coat. One arm was thrust into a sleeve, when he stopped and dropped the garment again. Getting down once more, he circled the young tree with his left arm.

"Come," he said; "I will let you down." "Very well," said Malcolm, slowly. He sat on the edge of the rocky platform. He felt Strong's arm clench him just under his two arms. He could feel the nervous strength of it as it pinned him. Then Strong pushed him gently off. As Malcolm went over the side his eye caught sight of a crimson stain on the white of Strong's sleeve where the knife-like rock had gashed him when he saved Malcolm's life. "What's that?" cried Malcolm. "Blood?" 'Good-by, Phil, and good luck to you," said Strong, swinging the other out, and dropping him to the firm earth below.

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"This is an outrage," cried Malcolm from below. "I shall stay here. You are cut, Fred." "Run along and get that rope. It's getting cold up here," answered Strong.

He could barely see Malcolm in the dusk as he reached the head of the ravine and turned to wave his hat. He heard an occasional crash as Malcolm beat his way through the brush; then there was silence, broken now and then by a rumble on the road far below him where some vehicle rolled along toward the town. He shivered with the chill of the approaching autumn, and buttoned his coat around his throat. He tried to follow in a mental calculation Malcolm's progress toward the town. He counted the steps he must have made, and as he thought of him getting nearer and nearer to the hotel where the Hardeservices were staying, his breath came quicker. He paced up and down on the little ledge. The cold stars were mocking him. His restless eye caught the sapling near him. He seized it and tugged at it. His hand stretched up as high as it could reach, and, with the vein in the center of his forehead swelling, he bent the young tree down until he held it fast in both arms. It was over the drop. He reached out, and, shutting his eyes even in the darkness, swung clear on the swaying tree. It sank and sank until he released his hold. He heard its hissing as it cut the air, springing erect again, and he was on the ground, shocked and stunned. He sprang to his feet and ran, half feeling his way to the spot where he knew the ravine began. He leaped, he ran, he stumbled over its uneven bed. His head was whirl

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