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I have read your Wall Street stories with much interest. Keep it up. There is one story you ought to write, about a man in this office that we call Willie the Puke. He is a stinker. He always brags when he wins, but when he loses it's always the broker's fault. He owes us some money, and we can't sue him because everything is in his wife's name. He is a lightweight, and he is full of hot air. He therefore weighs seventeen pounds less than a toothpick. You ought to write him up. Awaiting your reply, I remain, Yours truly,

P. S. You can call him Willie the Puke. Everybody here would know who you mean. Let me know in what number it appears.

I made the mistake to thank the Toledo man, telling him I knew the type, and I tried to be funny, and suggested that the title of Willie the Puke would look bully in the Century's table of contents. He wrote back McClure's was the place for it-I suspect he was thinking of the Century's 35 cents per-and then began a one-sided correspondence that lasted a year. He evidently travelled for his firm, for I used to get letters in hotel stationery from various cities, all full of fresh and

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abominable details about Willie the P., and asking when it was coming out.

The Golden Flood brought me a deluge. Some of them, received while the story was running serially, were published in the April BOOKMAN. Half a dozen more were of the same tenor-from people who were making or about to make gold. Several were from schoolboys. One from Kansas wished to know if the story was "founded on fact," because the principal of the high school said it couldn't happen and the boy thought it might. A "wide circle of readers" has its drawbacks. How is this:

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You will observe, dear madam, that I write from a new address. I am staying at the Schloss in the forest, whither I have been obliged to follow the Duke. He did not return to the capital,-remaining with the Duchess, and as there were some pressing matters I have been compelled to come here. Even now I cannot fix his attention. He pushes everything aside in his anxiety.

In her I have noticed a decided change. She appears less blooming. Indeed, she has become very pale and thin. I can clearly perceive that Doctor Tüchtig grows more and more apprehensive every day. He is unmistakably troubled and distracted. His former almost merry humour has entirely gone and he is very

grave in his words and in his bearing. Matters are approaching a climax. If the Duchess becomes steadily worse, as apparently is happening, I cannot tell what the effect may be upon the Duke. Even now he quite frantic.


The place is very quiet and pleasant. The trees have just taken on their foliage and the forest never was more beautiful. Many think the spot dark and repelling, but in these bright spring days I find all here even more delightful than the more formal beauties of the Palace gardens of Herzogenstadt. The Duke and Duchess seem to share my opinion, for they spend many hours wandering through the green little glens and by the sides of the brown foaming brooks. I am grieved to the heart every time that I see them, they appear so sad and subdued. They are ever conscious of the shadow across their path and all spirit and youth have gone from them. But they love each other as they never did before. I can see that. I felt it last evening as I met them returning hand in hand like two children and discreetly hid behind a tree so that they should not be disturbed by my appear


A celebrated physician has been summoned from Paris. Dr. Pelletier is the most distinguished man of the day. His arrival is anxiously awaited. The only possibility is that he may be able to accomplish something, to supply some remedy. If he can do nothing there is no hope.

I have been obliged to see a good deal of Doctor Tüchtig and he puzzles and interests me. Much to my surprise he energetically opposed the plan of bringing Dr. Pelletier here. He seemed singularly troubled when this was first suggested. Never a quiet person at the best, his nervousness and activity now are prodigious. Apparently he cannot remain still for an instant. He seems greatly preoccupied and very anxious, excited, and distressed.

WALDWEBEN, May 28. Owing to the state of the Duchess's health, von Poufflars informs me that the importance of obtaining her signature for a number of papers is very great. There are many family and political reasons that make this imperative. Among the documents is a last will and testament. No one dare suggest to the Duke or to her that it should be made. In her former health and youth there was no thought of these things, but now failing as she clearly is, something must be done. I decidedly refuse to act in the matter. Baron von Poufflars with great misgivings has been obliged to undertake the business himself.

The Duke has just sent for me.


I have had a most painful interview with the Duke. The matter of the will has been a great shock to him. It has made him realise as nothing else has how imminent the danger is. I can see now his drawn young face, his disordered dress. He told me that he had not slept all night.

The poor young gentleman is quite beside himself. I am very sorry for him. The Duchess signs the will to-morrow.. I am to be witness with von Poufflars.

The Dr. Pelletier also comes to-mor


"You will be glad of the assistance of your illustrious colleague," I said to Tüchtig.

"Yes, yes," he replied absently and hurriedly.

"The responsibility will be less you."


He looked at me earnestly, almost appealingly, as if about to say something. Then he stood silent and hurried away.

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The Duke sighed.

"The Duchess will be here at once," he said.

Never do I expect to see a prettier exhibition of affection than I witnessed when at length the Duchess hurriedly entered the room. The Duke sprang forward to greet her. As their eyes met I could read the tenderness of their love, and as he bent to kiss her hand I recognised the depth of his devotion.

"We are sorry to disturb you," he said, himself bringing forward a chair for her. "But Baron von Poufflars has arrived with some of his tiresome papers that he says are of great moment."

"It is nothing," answered the Duchess gently and looking at him fondly. I noticed that the tears stood in her eyes and that she was striving to conceal this from the Duke. But the Duke saw it too, and-well-von Poufflars was bending over the papers and I made a bad preBut tence to look out of the window. I could not help being aware that the Duke kissed the Duchess quickly and tenderly.

"Best beloved," he whispered, "it is very hard.”

"No-no," she cooed, and now they were so absorbed that they did not notice whether I could hear or not. "Has it not given us back to each other? Have we not found what we had lost? And if it can only be for a little time, it is such a good, blessed time that it is worth all-" "I cannot bear it," he groaned. "But I am glad of it, that is, almost glad," she said tenderly. "Think if we had continued as we had. It is hard to leave you, but while I have had this little time life has been so much better."

I saw the Duke's mouth firmly set. I knew that he would have been glad if Death had been a visible, tangible presence that he might seize-from whom by brute strength he might wrest his treas


"It is a dear good-bye," she said. "It is not good-bye. It cannot be goodbye," he cried suddenly.

He caught her up in his arms, utterly disregarding von Poufflars and myself, as if to defend her against all danger, as if to hold her from being torn from him. There was an awkward pause. Von Pouf

flars with all his formality was utterly abashed, and I with a considerable diplomatic experience was somewhat at a loss what to do or where even to look.

Suddenly the beat of horses' hoofs on the hard drive and the roll of wheels came as an interruption and a release.

"There is some one who seems in haste," said von Poufflars, much relieved to have something to say.

The room in which we were gave upon the courtyard, and going to a window, the Councillor looked out.

"A stranger," he said with greater quickness than usual. "The Dr. Pelletier at last, I believe-"

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In a moment the newcomer was in the room. The greetings of the Duke were the briefest. The Duchess looked at him earnestly as the arbiter of her fate.

"Could we ask you to proceed at once," the Duke asked.

I saw the Duke draw a long breath, though the look of anxiety on his face increased. If Pelletier could do nothingwe must despair.

One of the Grooms in Waiting appeared.

"I don't understand," said the Duke at length. "Doctor Tüchtig-"

"The Dr. Pelletier," he began. "Have him brought at once,' commanded the Duke. "We will give him tig was wrong. Dr. Pelletier says so." audience here."

"Carl," cried the Duchess, "Dr. Tüch

"The old fool to give us this fright," thundered the Duke. "Oh, we should never have listened to one with only his small knowledge. I can never forgive him."

Dr. Pelletier bowed gravely. He was a heavy, stout man, with a strong, intel-, ligent face.

"As your Highness desires," he said. "I can readily understand your anxiety. What I need is in the next apartment-if I might accompany accompany her Highness her Highness


With a look of infinite love toward the Duke the Duchess turned away. As the door closed upon the doctor's black figure a solemn silence fell on the room. The oppression was so great that I hesitated to move. The suspense was so intolerable that the moments appeared literally hours. For the Duke I could see that the verdict meant more than life or death to him. With the affection that had steadily grown in my heart for these young people, you can understand what the time was even for me.

The door opened slowly. The Duke sprang to his feet.

Dr. Pelletier entered.

"Is there hope?" the Duke cried. "Can you do anything?"

"I can do nothing," said the doctor, in a tone I could not understand.

The ticking of the clock, von Poufflars's excited, heavy, asthmatic breathing, were unbearable.

"Then there is no hope," exclaimed the Duke desperately.

"I can do nothing," repeated the Dr. Pelletier in an even tone. "Because there is nothing to do. The Duchess is as well as she ever was as well as any one can be."

"Well!" cried the Duke.

"Perfectly," announced the doctor, producing his snuff-box and taking a pinch.

"Carl-Carl," cried the Duchess, running into the room and throwing herself into the Duke's arms.

For myself I must say I was astounded. Dr. Tüchtig had always seemed to me a remarkably capable and well-informed person. Like the Duke, I could not understand.

"Something should be done to him!" the Duke stormed.

"Yes," said the Duchess gently, "he should be forgiven, when we are so happy."

One by one we stole away. I firstthe Dr. Pelletier following-and von Poufflars bringing up the rear. In spite of his noisy exit their Royal Highnesses did not notice it. They had forgotten everything except everything except themselves. They were but young lovers reunited again after an averted danger.


I have returned to the capital. The first person who came to see me was old Tüchtig. At a glance I read what I believed was dismay and humiliation in his bearing. What it must mean to him to have been so greatly at fault I felt I


could readily understand. He sat down without saying anything. Then instead of the apologies and explanations I expected he burst out with laughter.

"Dr. Tüchtig," I said, somewhat scandalised.

"Ah," he exclaimed, "and you also have been deceived."


"On the contrary," I answered rather sternly, "you apparently were the one.' "Do you think, too, that I made a mistake?" he chuckled. "No-no. What I have done has been on purpose. It was my little plan-my little trick-"

"You mean-" I began.

"I mean," interrupted Doctor Tüchtig unceremoniously, "that I saw their Highnesses were drifting apart, further and further each day. There was growing indifference-weariness. I determined then to force them to realise that life is not so certain that one may let the moments go trusting to the next to make up what may be lost. They were too sure of all-too sure of each other. I wished to make them understand that only on the most precarious of tenures do we hold our happiness. I had to teach them that the uncertainty of life and happiness has its uses also, for who will value what he knows he may always have. Let life be endless-let happiness be eternal-how soon should we tire even of these. The consciousness in our hearts that the hours are fleeting is what makes them precious. When we must snatch our joy as it passes it is more sweet and dear. Í allowed them to believe that the Duchess might die. At once the Duke began to prize what he feared to lose. Ah, lately I have been anxious! The Duchess through her trouble has been really made. a little unwell. I could not let her continue in her mistake. I must speak. But when? What I had hoped had happened and I was about to tell the truth at last. Then Baron von Poufflars came with his stupid death's head papers that would frighten her more. And then this Dr. Pelletier, who thinks me an ignorant provincial, came from Paris. Ach, but it is Iwell. I have shown them much! What does my reputation matter? See-they are happy again,-they love one another as they did. They will waste no more time. They will let no more hours pass

in indifference and coldness. Ach, the sentiment is so beautiful. All will be as it was. They will make no more mistakes. The greatest fact of like-deathhas come too close to them and they will remember. They have learned the lesson. What matters about me?" The doctor paused abruptly.

"But I shall do something. I shall see them. I shall explain-"

"No-no," said the old doctor. "That might detract if they knew the truth. Let them think as they do. Nothing is expected of an old country doctor. It will not matter."

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My heart is beating so that I can almost hear it. I cannot remain in one place. Probably I shall be in England before this reaches you, for I start at once and travel with all possible speed. You say that I need not wait for the day, that all was a mistake, that we shall waste no more time in misunderstandings and uncertainties, that you have learnt the doctor's lesson and taken it to heart. Bless old Dr. Tüchtig, and may his years be many.

The Duke and the Duchess are living in a new honeymoon. But I can think of them no longer, only of myself, ourselves, for whom at last there shall be a honeymoon too. And we shall always remember the lesson.

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