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Linnette to hold out long in the face of his ardent
wooing. Their situation was somewhat to blame for
the denouement that speedily took place. As he
told her, with a happy laugh, they were already
housekeeping and knew each other as well as an
unwedded couple was ever likely to. He had de-
termined to ask his uncle for a place in some depart-
ment of his business, where he could honestly earn
the living he received. The difference in worldly
wealth between him and his hoped-for bride had
been shown to be a very thin and flimsy one. It
would not be a " marriage in high life," in any sense,
now that he was no longer the prospective heir of
Montvale.

" We are just two ordinary human beings, Maud,"
he said, " in whom the world at large has not the
slightest interest. Don't put me off any longer.
Let me take you to the nearest minister and have it
over."

And this is what was done, a few days later. The
ceremony took place in the clerical parlor, with as
little fuss as possible.*

* The author of this novel is conscious at this point of
departing from the rule which belong ago adopted, never to



290 LOTS AT 8ETENTT.

The first visitor the newly wedded couple received
was old Tom Hobbs. The superintendent, who had
only once or twice in his life made a journey of this
magnitude, had come to New York with a most noisy
bee in his bonnet. He brought the astonishing news
of Eva's flight with Guy, and of the effect it had had
upon the senior Linnette.

" He's a very sick man," said Hobbs, in conclu-
sion. " The doctors don't know yet whether they
can save him. Everything is confusion at the house,
or they would have sent you word sooner."

Roland looked at Maud, who sat silently listening.

" I shall go at once, of course," said he.

Hobbs nodded his approval of this plan.

" You ought to understand, though," he went on
to say, " just what the situation is. Your uncle is
violently in love with that girl. He confided to me
weeks ago his intention to marry her. Knowing how
much you thought of her, I "

The younger man stopped the speaker by a
gesture.

" You surprised me so by your unexpected ap-
pearance," said he, " that I forgot a very important
matter. Mr. Hobbs, let me present to you my wife"

write anything in the remotest degree immoral. He must
agree with the conscientious reader that Roland Linnette,
after his life of dissipation, deserved no such happy fate as
to wed a pure, virtuous maiden like Mise Arline. It looks
like rewarding vice, instead of punishing it, which should be
the object of all truly moral literature. But in this case, to
do otherwise than as I have would dearly spoil my story,
and I must choose the lesser of two evils. A. R.



" YOU HAVE M AKRIED HEK I" 291

The superintendent rose with old-fashioned form-
ality, and took the hand that the blushing Maud ex-
tended. He was so confused, however, that he could
not utter a syllable.

" You don't understand it," smiled Roland, " and
there is no need that you should. My uncle hat
been here and fully approves my choice. I lik*d
Miss Warren very well, but Maud is the only woman
I ever really loved. Now, you can proceed to finish
your story, which is not so much of a surprise to me
as you might imagine. It was probably the knowl-
edge of this feeling on my uncle's part that drove
Eva to such a desperate step."

There was a pause of several minutes, during
which Mr. Hobbs was allowed to recover himself.
Mr. and Mrs. Linnette, Jr., went into the next room
and talked over Roland's projected trip to Montvale,
which it did not seem best for her to take with him.
It was their first parting, and Maud was doing her
best to appear brave.

" Well, that's about the whole of your story, isn't
it ?" said Roland, cheerily, when he returned to his
guest's presence.

" Heavens and earth, no !" exclaimed Hobbs.
" You say you were not astonished at what I've
already told you, but I'll guarantee you will be
before I get through with the rest of it."

Roland and Maud surveyed the speaker with new
interest.

"You have heard," said Hobbs, "that Mi. Guj
Dalton formerly lived at Ryegate, Vermont ?"

" Yes/' assented Roland.



292 LOVE AT BKVEHTT.

" And that your uncle had detectives looking for
him, in the hope that he would be of valuable service
in the recovery of his lost child ?"

" Yes."

"And you knew, I suppose, that the name of the
child's adopted mother was Lincoln?"

Roland bowed again.

"Well, what would you think," asked Hobbs,
impressively, " if you heard that this same Mr.
Dalton's real name is Lincoln, too?"

The wedded pair looked at each other in wonder-
ment.

" How do you know this ?" asked Roland.

" I'll tell you. I came to the conclusion some
days ago that if anything was to be accomplished in
finding that child, someone besides the city detec-
tives would have to take a hand. Without saying a
word to your uncle I sent Dalton to Vermont to
hunt up a son that had been raised by Miss Bertha
Lincoln, now deceased, and whose present where-
abouts is a matter of pressing interest. I "

Roland burst into a loud laugh.

"And you think he went off to hunt for himself !"
he cried.

" It looks like it," said Hobbs, gravely. " I hap-
pened to ask him once before if he knew the Lin-
coins of Ryegate, and he admitted that he did. He
knew the date of Miss Bertha's death, too. When I
found him the last time and asked him to go on this
errand, he had the strangest look in his eyes you
ever saw. And you know how proud he always was
ubout money. Well, he took over a hundred dollars



"TOTT HAVE MARRIED HER!" S9S

that I handed him, without even counting it. He
must have known that he would soon be able to pay
it back."

Roland shook his head as if to say it was mysterU
ous, truly.

" Where was it you found him ?" he asked.

" Right in the middle of the Ellsworth road at
Montvale, after ten o'clock at night," answered
Hobbs. "Look at the smartness of the fellow. He
was undoubtedly hanging around there and com-
municating with Miss Warren. And, when he
learned through my story to him that he was the
lost heir, he arranged this runaway match for fear he
would encounter his father's opposition, if he waited
until his identity was established. Oh, he's deep
enough, I tell you !"

It looked like a sure case, but another question
came to Roland's lips.

"You haven't told me," he said, "how you dis-
covered his true name."

" It was this way," replied Hobbs. " As I said
before, I got tired waiting for these slow detectives.
I went to Ellsworth and found a conductor who
remembered taking Miss Eva and her maid, whom
he knew, to the city on his train. The young fellow
shrewdly kept out of the way, and the conductor sup-
posed the girls were travelling alone for some good
reason. Inquiring among the depot hackmen, I dis-
covered the driver who took the entire party to the
Bartholdi Hotel. There I learned the name of the
minister who was called to perform the marriage,



294 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

and when I went to him he said he had not married
any person by the name of Dalton."

The listeners looked with admiration upon the
amateur Vidoq.

"Goodness!" exclaimed Poland. "You should
apply for the position of Chief Inspector at once."

" The minister told me, pursued the now unruffled
Hobbs, " that he had married a ' Mr. Clarence Lin-
coln ' to a Miss Eva Warren, at the Bartholdi, day be-
fore yesterday. The description of the party tallied
with that of our acquaintances."

As this seemed the end of the superintendent's
tale, Mrs. Linnette inquired why Mr. Hobbs had not
looked on the hotel register.

"I did, "was the reply. "And I found that the
young fellow had written there, 'Joseph Gibbs and
party.' He did not mean to be tracked so easily."

Roland smiled softly to himself.

"Just tell us where this Mr. Lincoln is now," said
he, " and your remarkable history will do for the
foundation of a romance."

" I wish I could," said Hobbs. " The morning
after their marriage they left the Bartholdi, and no
one remembers anything indicating the direction
they took. The hotel folks supposed it an ordinary
wedding trip, and paid no attention to the carriage
In which they left."

The upshot of the conversation that now followed
was a decision that the most vigorous search must
be instituted for Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Lincoln as
it seemed most absurd to call them. Mr. Lincoln
must be apprised as soon as possible of the preca-



M TOU HATE MARRIED HER!" 295

rious condition of his father's health. If all else
failed a newspaper personal must be used.

Mr. Hobbs confessing to being nearly exhausted
from lack of sleep, a bedroom was assigned him in
which to recuperate, and Roland went out upon the
street to begin his search alone. By one of those
strange happenings for which no one can account,
he had not gone a dozen blocks when he met the
object of his hunt, on the Broadway sidewalk.

Flushing rosy red, Dalton, or Lincoln, as he may
now be called, made a stiff bow and attempted to
pass without further recognition. But Roland
planted himself directly in front of him and spoke
with determination.

" You are the very man I want," he said, with
earnestness. " Come, don't be the first to reject ad-
vances. Whatever harm I may have done to you
was unpremeditated, and should be forgotten now
that you have married another woman. I have a
most important message to give you. My uncle has
been taken very ill, and your presence is conse-
quently wanted at Montvale."

Lincoln's face bore no sign of relenting.
"Excuse me," he said. "I have no desire or in-
tention of returning to that village. If you know of
jy marriage you understand why."

M I do not understand at all," retorted the other.
"After taking the liberty of inheriting the estate
that was to have been mine, you can afford to treat
me with politeness. If I committed any fault toward
Maud Arline, you can hardly reproach me with it,
now that she is my wife."



296 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

Lincoln's manner changed with lightning speed.

" You have married her !" he cried.

" More than a week ago."

The extended hand was grasped and shaken
heartily, and the two young men were again friends.

" Well," asked Roland, as they walked along,
" how do you like the prospects of becoming a
millionaire ?"

" I do not know what you mean," answered
Clarence.

" Do you tell me," asked Roland, stupidly, " that
you have learned nothing about your parentage ?
You are unaware that your father is living and very
rich ?"

"Some one has deceived you," was the reply.
" My father died twenty years ago."

Roland shook his head with decision.

"You are the one who is mistaken," he said.
"Your father is certainly living unless he has died
within a few hours. In short, you are the son of
Willard Linnette, the owner of Montvale. Why, you
must know that what I say is true !"

Then Lincoln smiled for the first time.

"I know it is not," said he, "and for the best of
reasons. I was sent by Mr. Hobbs to ferret out the
whereabouts of that child, and I have done so.
Before many days I will prove to you what I say."

Overcome with astonishment Roland invited
Clarence home with him, and the invitation was
accepted.



EVERYTHING EXPLAINED. 297

CHAPTER XXXL

EVERYTHING EXPLAINED.

Some days later nearly all the characters in our
story were gathered at the mansion of the optical
instrument maker of Montvale. Seated in the large
parlors were Roland Linnette with his wife, Clarence
Lincoln with his, Tom Hobbs, Mrs. Warren and a
Mr. Lewis, the latter representing the detective
agency that had undertaken to restore the missing
child of the millionaire. Between all of these
people there appeared to be the greatest cordiality,
in marked contrast with the divisions that had sep-
arated some of them so long. Indeed, there was on
each face a good-natured smile, as if the present had
a happiness that completely atoned for the troubles
of the past.

It was evident that Mrs. Warren had entirely for-
given the escapade of her daughter, for she sat with
that young lady's hands in hers, while the proud
young husband, not faraway, listened with brighten-
ing eyes to the conversation between them. And
well might he be pleased, for the burden of Eva's
remarks, delivered in a tone just loud enough for
him to hear, was that no other girl had ever pos-
sessed such a wonderful treasure in the form of a mar-
ital mate. The mother's critical eye had no fault to



298 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

find with her daughter's choice, and she was a witness
to the old adage that " all's well that ends well."

Mrs. Roland Linnette, if possible, seemed happier
even than her newly-made friend, Eva. Her hus-
band was talking in a low key with the detective,
Mr. Lewis, and her sweet face was completely
wreathed in smiles at the remarks he was making.
Occasionally Roland interposed some word that
sent the rosy blood to her fair cheek, making her
still more beautiful. She had to touch his arm sur-
reptitiously very often to keep him within proper
bounds, lest the attention of the detective should be
called to the stolen pressures given to her hand that
lay nearest the contented fellow. The experiences
of the bride had not caused her to lose, but rather
had accentuated, the modesty so charming in her as
a maiden.

Old Tom Hobbs, of all that group, sat alone.
But his face was not a sad one, either. He was
pretending to look over a book, that lay on a table
at his elbow, and glancing about three times a min-
ute at the tall clock in the corner, as if impatient at
some delay.

Finally a door opened, and a tall figure was seen
at the threshold. Every one present rose, with the
greatest politeness, to welcome Willard Linnette.
Tom Hobbs, crossing the room, took the arm of his
employer, who was evidently still weak from his
sudden illness. In response to a whispered direc-
tion, Mr. Linnette was piloted to a seat by his
nephew and Maud. The old gentleman walked
slowly, but otherwise he looked remarkably well>



EVERYTHING EXPLAINED. 209

considering everything. Eva whispered to her hus-
band, " Isn't he handsome !" as he passed her, and
the tired face of her foster-father lit up as the faint
sound reached his ear. When Mr. Linnette and the
others were seated, Mr. Lewis rose and asked if he
should proceed, to which an answer was given in the
affirmative.

" Ladies and gentlemen," began the detective.

" Not so formal," protested the weak voice of Mr.
Linnette, Sr.

"Talk it right out," put in Tom Hobbs. "You
can't tell many of us much that we don't know."

This remark raised a laugh, just the thing that was
needed. Mr. Lewis was as glad as the others to
have the icy air of the room melted.

" You all know this, at least," he proceeded. " I am
the head of the detective bureau of Lewis & Co., New
York. Some weeks since, Mr. Willard Linnette came
to me and said he had found evidence that a child of
his, in relation to whose birth he had been deceived,
had been brought up by a certain Bertha Lincoln,
its aunt, residing near the town of Ryegate, Vt. The
woman had died some time previous, and the child
had disappeared. He wanted us to find it and restore
it to him."

"Which you never would have done if it had not
been for me," interposed Hobbs, at which sally every-
body laughed again.

The detective could not resist the general contag-
ion, though he felt injured in his professional feel-
ings by the observation.

" I would not say too much if I were you," he



300 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

responded. "You made about the worst mistake in
the entire business, as I shall show."

Then the laugh turned upon Hobbs, who was
restrained with difficulty from defending himself,
then and there. Only the protesting hand of Mr.
Linnette, with its warning finger raised, prevented
him.

" I undertook the job myself," continued Mr.
Lewis, when quiet was restored. " I went to Rye-
gate with Mr. Linnette, and found that all the points
he had been able to give me were correctly made.
I found also that Miss Bertha had left her small
fortune to her adopted child, committing its interests
to a guardian who lived some distance away, in
another State. And I discovered that this guardian
had proved quite unworthy of his trust, if not
actually dishonest, as I believe I shall yet demon-
strate."

Tom Hobbs had fidgeted uneasily in his chair for
several seconds, and at this stage in the proceedings
he could contain himself no longer.

"I must protest," he ejaculated, "against this
continual speaking of Miss Bertha's adopted child
as '//.' When we all understand the matter, it is
simply exasperating. That confounded pronoun has
bothered me enough, and I don't want to hear it
again."

Another laugh, this time a very hearty one, passed
around the circle.

"You will have to humor him," spoke up the
voice of Mr. Linnette. " Tom is a privileged char-
acter in Montvale, Mr. Lewis."



EVERYTHING EXPLAINED. 301

' What shall I call the child ?" asked the detective,
mischievously. " Shall I say ' he f "

" No, that would be worse yet !" blurted the
superintendent.

All eyes were now turned on Maud, whose face
was suffused with blushes. Her husband's uncle
had motioned her to his side, and his shaking arm
was clasped about her form. Strangely enough,
Roland did not seem to object in the least to the
proceeding.

"Very well," said Mr. Lewis. "We will use the
right pronoun this time and call the child ' she.'
The girl, then, that Miss Bertha Lincoln brought up,
and which I have absolutely proved to be the daugh-
ter of Willard Linnette, was left in the care of a
man named Redding, with the sum of seven thousand
dollars. He was believed to be a most honorable
man, who would educate her well and give her
whatever balance was left when she reached
the age of twenty-one. On her deathbed Miss
Lincoln's conscience overcame her, and she asked
her religious adviser to make an effort to find the
child's I should say the girl's father, which we
all know he failed to do. If he could not make this
discovery, according to Miss Lincoln's desire, the
girl was not to be told of her origin, as it would
only add to her distress of mind. In that case she
was to continue to bear through life the name by
which she had been known."

But here Roland interposed.

" Not ' through life,' Mr. Lewis f " he protested.

"Until her marriage, then," corrected the detec-



302 LOVE AT SEYKNTY.

tive. " Miss Lincoln had pretended that the gir!
was taken from an asylum and that her right name
was Arline. The man Redding kept this girl till she
was of age, and then coolly informed her that the
amount left with him for her care was exhausted and
that she would have to shift for herself. I have
learned and I hope the lady in question will not
prevent my repeating it that his course was influ-
enced by her refusal of his offer of marriage, he
being at that time a widower and much fascinated
by his ward's beauty. It is also said "

Maud's distress was so evident at this point that
the detective desisted of his own accord ; while
Roland, with a dark look, declared that he would
go that very day to find this Redding, and punch
his head.

" At any rate," resumed Mr. Lewis, when the
pretty object of his remarks had succeeded in par-
tially quieting her beligerent spouse, " this guardian
turned Miss Arline out without a penny. She
obtained work at the hotel here in Montvale, and
from that time her story need not be repeated. She
is now acknowledged as the daughter of the father
she lost so long, and, as the story books say, they
ought to live happily ever after."

Congratulations to Mrs. Roland followed, lasting
several minutes. Eva and Mrs. Warren kissed her
several times, and so did her husband, and Mr. Lin-
nette, while Tom Hobbs and Mr. Lewis looked as if
they had as lief follow suit.

"And now I wish Mr. Lincoln would explain pre-



EVERYTHING EXPLAINED. 303

cisely the hand he had in this matter," said the elder
Linnette, with his feeble voice.

Clarence blushed like a school-girl.

"I had very little part in it, I assure you," he
replied. " I knew Miss Arline quite well, and she had
told me considerable of her early history. It inter-
ested me when I learned where she came from, for I
recognized her adopted mother's name as that of a
distant relation of my own, whom I had never hap-
pened to meet. After this search was begun, Mr.
Hobbs, who had heard me speak of Ryegate, engaged
me to go there to pick up evidence. In the course
of what he told me I learned enough to make me feel
sure that Miss Arline would prove to be the lost
child. I traced her to the town where she had lived
with her guardian and satisfied myself beyond doubt.
Then I returned to Montvale "

He paused, reddening more than ever ; but Mr.
Linnette smilingly encouraged him to proceed.

" And then I went to New York on my on my
wedding trip," stammered Lincoln. " I was so full
of my own happiness that I could think of nothing
else for a few days. I meant to write the full text
of my discoveries to Mr. Hobbs, but before I reached
that point I met Roland in the street. He told me
of his marriage and I saw that everything would be
clear."

A glance of gratification was exchanged between
Mrs. Linnette and her father.

"One thing more," said Roland. "How did it
happen that you took the name of ' Guy Dalton ?' "

" I will tell you. When I left my home in Rye-



304 LOVE AT SEVENTY.

gate I believed I should succeed in making a
fortune for myself and return crowned with success.
My experience was far otherwise. Bad luck seemed
to follow me everywhere, and at the time I came
into the counting room here I was so reduced as to be
ashamed to own my true name. When you asked it
I gave the first one that came to my lips."

Mr. Linnette called all present to witness that the
speaker should never have a like tale to tell after
that day. He would give him one of the most im-
portant positions at his New York office. At this
Eva rose impulsively and went over to press a warm
kiss on her foster-father's cheek.

"The only thing wanting now," said Mr. Lewis,
with a smile, " is to have Mr. Hobbs tell us how
near he came to convincing Mr. Linnette that our
friend Lincoln was his long-lost daughter !"

The merriment that followed was terrific. Out of
it all Tom Hobbs came, resolute and defiant.

" If some of you had known enough to describe a
female child as l she % instead of 'if,' there would have
been no trouble," he retorted. " Oh, you needn't
join in the laugh at my expense !" he cried, to his
employer. "It's the first time I've been wrong in
over thirty years, as you'll have to admit."

Dinner was announced at this juncture, and all
proceeded to the dining-room. Willard Linnette
walked with a much stronger step than when he en-
tered the parlor, for the contagion of good cheer
had had its effect on him as well as the others. He
was placed at the head of the board, with Maud on



EVERYTHING EXPLAINED. 305

his right and Eva on his left, their husbands next to
them, of course. -

When the champagne was brought, he rose and in
a steady voice asked all present to drink the health,
of " My darling daughter, the heiress of Montvale."



306 LOVE AT SEVENTY.



CHAPTER XXXII.

A PEEP AT THE STARS

Although our story can now be said to be fairly
finished, the reader may, if he desires, witness a
scene or two that took place in Montvale six months
after the events narrated in the last chapter.

The Linnettes and their most intimate friends and
relations were gathered in the mansion, for a re-
union. It was evening; and while Willard Linnette
and old Tom Hobbs were playing their game of
chess in the library, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Lincoln
and Mr. and Mrs. Roland Linnette were engaged in
a merry talk over old times.

" I never shall forget," said Roland, " how pictur-
esque Eva's husband looked that day he came into
the counting room, If I had been an artist 1 would
have given him a hundred dollars to sit for his por-
trait. And Rufus what a fuss he did make because
the door had let in a little cold air ! I expected his
stay at the works would be cut short when the new
order of things went into effect."

" Oh, no," responded Lincoln^ who had reddened
a little under his friend's compliment. " Rufus is
too valuable a man to turn off. He came to me and
offered his resignation, and I told him to tear it up.
It won't do to remember old grudges when the time
for them has passed."



A. PEEP AT THE STABS. 307

The ladies applauded this statement, though Eva
declared that she could not see how anyone could


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