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ent, for Benson is away, and I am very busy, for I want to get away early next month. Suppose you take a run up there and see to it? You are not particularly busy at present, are you?"

"No. I'll go up and see to it for you. Give me the letter. I'm off on the morning train. Good-night."

"Good-night, and thank you, my son," and he took my hand and laid his other hand across my shoulders in his old, loving way.

I was glad, too, for an excuse to be away from father for a few days, or until I could accustom myself to the idea of having to receive a step-mother, and to get control of myself again.


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I had been at Alameda and San Francisco for about a fortnight, taking in the sights and pleasures of San Francisco, after having transacted the business for father satisfactorily, and concluded to go back to Los Angeles by steamer. We steamed out of the Golden Gate, and I stood leaning on the rail, watching the city as it faded from our view. Soon my attention was caught and held by a pretty, girlish figure, sitting alone and gazing wistfully out upon the expanse of water, while a book lay unnoticed in her lap. A long white veil had been pushed back, and was fluttering and waving gaily in the breeze. She looked lonesome and sad, I thought, and I wondered if she was leaving some loved one behind. I noticed, too, that I was not the only one whose attention was centered upon her, for other young men were gazing with admiration -but she heeded not the admiring glances. I was suddenly filled with resentment at their laughter, light talk and glances, trying to attract her attention; and I wished earnestly for an opportunity to make her acquaintance, that I might protect her, which soon came, and in a most unexpected manner. The breeze suddenly wrested the fluttering veil from its fastenings, and carried it across the deck, and wrapped it securely across my eyes, and around my neck, completely blind-folding me. It was such a soft, flimsy affair that I was afraid of tearing or ruining it, and I struggled in vain to free myself from its soft caresses, while the offending young men giggled and shouted with glee; when

a soft voice at my elbow said: “Pardon me; let me extricate you from these fetters," and two small, soft hands crept around my neck, sending a thrill through me at every touch, and soon holding the fractious veil in their possession; and two sparkling eyes smiled merrily into mine.

"Now, let me place the 'fetters' on you, where they belong," I said, taking the veil from the little white hands, and arranging it around her white sailor hat in automobile style, as artistically as any lady could-though not so quickly, perhaps; while the young men looked on enviously. We sat down and were soon deeply interested in each other. We were both surprised to find that the home of each was in Los Angeles. "I shall be so glad to be at home again; I have not been home since the holidays," she said. "And I have been home only about a week, since last September, and have been home only about two months in each year for the last four years; but I am home to stay now," I said.

We sat out on the deck talking until about nine o'clock that evening, and as she arose to go to the cabin: "May I have the pleasure of your company at breakfast in the morning?" I asked.

"I shall be very glad of your company, for I know no one on the boat. I'll meet you at the door of stateroom No. 10. Goodnight," and she smiled sweetly as she disappeared down the stairs.

I turned to take a little stroll around the deck, and to think of her, of every word she had said, every smile, every glance. My heart was in a strange commotion. I knew I had met my ideal woman, that she was my choice among all; and I believed that I had made a favorable impression on her. Suddenly I came upon something white, lying near where we had sat. I seized it eagerly, thinking it might be her handkerchief or something she had lost. It was a letter. I held it to the light, then gave a start as I read, "Miss Charlotte Ferrar, Berkeley, California." I gave a prolonged whistle, and exclaimed, "Gee whizz! My stepmother!" The writing was in a bold. manly hand-writing, but it was not my father's. I gazed at it with a strange tumult of feelings, of which disappointment, disapproval and jealousy formed a prominent part; yes,

I was jealous of my own father. What right had he to select this beautiful young girl-this queen among women? I felt that if it had been any other woman on earth but this one, I could have forgiven him, and become reconciled-nay, I could have received her gladly; but this oneto be my step-mother! Then I looked again at the writing and grew resentful at her apparent double-dealing with my father. What right had she to correspond with other men now? And had she not led me on and encouraged me, also? How could I go to my father now? Our relations would be more strained than they would have been had I not left for a few days. I wished I had not taken this trip. The friendly, affectionate relations between my father and me could never be resumed. I spent a restless, miserable night, but I went to keep my appointment, and to escort her to breakfast. up appearances as best I could, but I fear I was anything but a pleasant companion. After breakfast I accompanied her up on deck. We sat silently gazing out on the waste of water, and she gave furtive glances toward me from time to time as if trying to fathom the change in me. Finally she said, without looking away from the water: "Some people are like the ocean, do you not think so?"

I kept

"In what way, do you think?" "Well, some are subject to moods, and are changeable as the tides," with a furtive glance at me.

"The ocean is also deep, deceptive and dangerous," I answered, looking boldly at her, but the thrust missed its mark, for she did not look up, but answered quietly: "But the ocean is safest where it is deepest, is it not?"

I was exasperated at her diplomacy, and did not answer, and she continued: "You seem somewhat displeased this morning. Have I offended you in any way?"

"Your name is Miss Charlotte Ferrar?" I paused for an answer, half-expecting, and wishing with all my heart, to hear a denial.

"Yes: how did you know?" "By this," producing her letter. "You dropped it here last nightnight"

"Oh, thank you," taking it eagerly and slipping it into the bosom of her dress. "I missed it, and wondered where I had left

it. But is that what has displeased you so-to know who I am?"

I frowned a disapproval, and said in rather a stern voice: "My name is Birrett William Birrett," and I watched her face narrowly, but she only said: "Oh," and bowed slightly, and smiled up at me archly, as if acknowledging an introduction.

"Miss Ferrar, you are a diplomat. You ask if you have offended me. Permit me to ask if you think it becoming in a young lady who is to be married so soon to correspond with other gentlemen, and toencourage others ?"

"To be married soon?" opening her eyes in wonder.

"Yes, I am well acquainted with the man you are going to marry. I have known him all my life. His name is William Birrett.”

"Is that so?" and her eyes grew still wider.

"Yes, and it is in his interest, and in the interest of our good name that I speak to you as I do."

"Undoubtedly, you are a very singular

young man."

"And you are to be married next month," I said, ignoring her remark. "Do you think so? I do not understand you."

"Oh, you know well enough what I am alluding to, and I feel that I have a right to speak plainly to you, inasmuch as we are to live under the same roof in the future."

"Mr.-Birrett, are you trying to-propose to me?" she faltered.

"Great Scott!" I exclaimed, and paused helplessly, wringing my hands. Blushes and a look of embarrassment quickly spread over her face. She broke into a musical laugh, and I arose, and walked quickly away, and out of her sight.

I avoided her until dinner was announced, when I stepped up to her, offering my company at dinner. She accepted smilingly. After dinner I escorted her to her door and withdrew. I kept her in sight without her seeing me, for most of the rest of the journey. When we reached our destination, I came gallantly to her side, took her cloak from her, picked up her suitcase, and escorted her from the boat, and saw her comfortably seated in

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One evening, a few days after my return from San Francisco, father and I stepped into the auto for a little spin out to the beach. We had avoided the subject of his approaching marriage since my return, confining ourselves to business. I took the wheel, and as we started off, father said, "My son, I would like to have you meet my fiancee, and we might call. there now, as it is right on our way. She has returned home and would like to see you."

"Please excuse me, father; I'd rather not." I glanced into his face, and it was full of pain and anxiety, and I was glad to keep my eyes riveted on the road before us, for I pitied him.

"My son, you must not feel that way. You do not know how it hurts me," and he laid his hand over my shoulder in his old way.

"But I have met her, father." "Why, how can that be?"

"I chanced to meet her on my way home and I do not approve of her."

"What! Why, she is the nicest little lady-- What possible objection you have

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"Please do not ask me, father; she may be all you say, but I had rather not discuss her."

"And you cannot approve of her?" still trying to solve the problem.

"Not as your wife!"

He looked sharply at me, and sighed. Just at that moment, I saw two ladies directly in our road in front of us. I slowed down, and as they turned their faces toward us. I recognized Miss Ferrar as one of them. The other was a handsome lady, some few years her senior, and not quite as tall as Miss Ferrar. Father recognized them at about the same time that I did, and we both lifted our caps.

"Stop a moment, Will," said father quickly. I obeyed, and he jumped out,

and walking up to the ladies, he shook hands cordially with the elder one, bowing slightly to the younger.

"Mr. Birrett, this is my daughter Lottie, of whom you have heard me speak. She has just returned from Berkeley, where she has been attending school," said the elder lady, while I looked from one to the other in consternation for a moment, then jumped out and joined them.

"Mrs. Ferrar, this is my son Will, of whom you have heard so much-Mrs. Charlotte Ferrar," said my father. I took her hand and muttered something about being glad to meet her, which but faintly expressed my pleasure, for I was fairly beside myself with joy. "And this is Miss Lottie Ferrar, who is to be your little sister."

"Not by a" I muttered to myself, "I and continued: "Miss Ferrar," but I must have looked as I felt a happy, blundering idiot, for she broke into a merry, silvery peal of laughter as she looked at me, and I was obliged to join in with her. (Her mother had told her of her approaching marriage to Mr. William Birrett the evening she arrived home, and she understood the situation at once.)

"Lottie for I may call you Lottie now? can you ever forgive me for my unpardonable rudeness," I began again.

"Well, yes," she answered quickly, "for am I not going to be a good little sister to you ?"

"Not for very long, if I can help myself," I answered, and glanced at father, who looked from one to another with a foolish, happy smile, as if searching for the solution of the puzzle, and I thought, "There's a pair of us."

"Let's all take a ride," suggested father, to which we all agreed.

"Wouldn't you like to know who that letter was from?" whispered Lottie, as we spun along the road.

"Well, yes-but it doesn't matter much now," I answered.

"Oh, doesn't it?" she said, archly; then, after a pause, "Well, that letter contained a check for $25 which I won at a contest."


An interesting tale of pioneer days is told in "Lights and Shadows of Life on the Pacific Coast," by one, who, with his parents and three other children, made the trip to California around Cape Horn in 1849. It describes not only the conditions of those days, but the people and the notable men and women who ventured to the new Land of Promise. Bret Harte, Edwin Markham, Noah Brooks, Lawrence Barrett, John McCullough, Edwin Booth, Garibaldi, "Emperor Norton," and many other notables, are among those characters are described.


Funk & Wagnalls, New York. $1.20 net.

Dr. A. Per Lee Pease has produced in book form, under the title "Winter Wanderings," a compendium of a series of articles previously written for the Pittsburg Dispatch, descriptive of his experiences in four consecutive winter trips abroad, during which he visited Abyssinia, Samoa, Java, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, and several South American countries. It is an entertaining volume, very instructive, and gives many glimpses of life and conditions in those countries not found in most books of travel. It is well-illustrated in half-tones, from photographs taken during Dr. Pease' travels.

Cochrane Publishing Company, New York.

An extremely well-written, interesting and valuable book is "Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest," in which Katharine B. Judson has gathered some choice specimens of old Indian legends. It is well illustrated, and gives the origins of many items of Indian folk-lore and customs even now in vogue among the red


A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago and San Francisco.

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There is no better authority and no better writer on early California history and individuals than George Wharton James, whose latest work, "Heroes of California, is an admirable, well illustrated volume on the subject chosen. It holds the interest from start to finish, and while a reliable history, reads like a romance, as, indeed, was the story of the founders of the Golden West. It deals not only with the early pioneers, such as Father Junipero Serra and the 49ers, but with later empire. builders of the West.

Little, Brown & Co., Boston.

A very interesting booklet is "How to Read Character in Handwriting," in which Mary H. Booth, herself a handwriting expert, gives us, in clear, simple form, the primary rules for judging character by the handwriting. It is illustrated. with numerous specimens of various forms of chirography, each of which is interpreted, with reasons given for the interpretations.

The John C. Winston Co., Philadelphia.

"The Land of Living Men" is another volume in which the author, Ralph Waldo Trine, discusses some of the greatest problems of the day. It arraigns present industrial conditions, but speaks hopefully of the fact that silent agencies are ever at work tending to ameliorate them. It is strongly written, and its arguments, as a general thing, are convincing.

Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York.

"Billy in Camp" is the latest of the "Billy To-morrow Series," by Sarah Pratt Carr. Like its companions, it is a delightful tale of and for boys and girls. It exalts the healthful, open air life for the growing generation, and is written in a style really as entertaining to grown-ups interested in the growing generation as to the latter.

A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago.

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