|Newspaper Title||Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||A Christmas Story|
A CHRISTMAS STORY.
(By Hilda Back, aged 14.)
Richard Leiphton raised his hand to his fore heid— ''Guilty." The words rang out in his ears. All the world seemed against him. Only that morning the manager of the great Sydney firm. Hall & Thomson, had entered his office, and asked him to unlock the iron safe and hand out five hundred pounds Richard with a
smile, had opened the safe, but stared aghast, lor his astonishment the money had vanished. The manager looked at him ;uspiciously, and stited in a stern voice, 'How do you iccount for tiiis, Leighton?'' . 'SirJ' enswered the clerk, 'I cannot tell where the money is. All I know is that when I quilted this office last night the money was safe in its felace.' 'I don't hellpve you,' roared the manager. *'Wbere Is John Mob e?' A few minutes later that individual appeared, but swore he knew not where tU- money was. Upon -he ing this the manager instantly ordered S search of Vie office to be made, and straight way ? rpened Brighton's desk. There, beside an art messed envelope, lay the^ missing oney. 'You thief,' roared the manager, gazing at the horror-stricken face of his clerk. Then, turn ing over the envelope, he said. 'How dare you wri. letters to your young lady during business hours?' 'I swear -I never wrote any,' answered Leighton lfliil^rnntly. ,. . With » prim smile the manager carelessly opened the letter, and lend aloud its contents. ?'My dorlimr Ida— You say your father objects f.you marrying me because I have eo little money. Wonder what you will say. when~I tell you that I. have .got. five hundred pounds. Never nrin-J
wnere i roi, u irom, uui meet me as usual at tlie trystinp-place, and I will show it. to you. lu great hiiste, ever your fond Dick. P.6. — Don't let anyone see this letter.— R.L.' */(' looks pretty suspicious, doesnU; it?' - growled the manager, while Leighton, conscious that someone, lie knew not who, had done him Mine groat wrong, tried to explain, but bis voice ceemes far away, 'No excuses,' went on the manager, 'the money wbb' found in your desk, -and isn't that letter enough to convince any detective that' you are guilty.' Xelchton turned around, and faced his fellow clerk. 'Can't you help me, Monroe?' he a&ed.- Monroe was about to reply, but the manager put £ firm hand on Leighton's shoulder, saying as he aid eo, ? : 'You're a thief. Your place is in a prison cell.' ???Oh, -God,' murmured -the clerk, and withoilt ' another' word -wns ushered Iron the --.room. - ^JHAPTEE It It was Christmas Day, Ida Aversly aat looking at » pnoto of *er lover, which hung on the wall, ' Great sobs Bbook her frame. - She had pleaded a headache, s*d' begged to be alloweS to retire to her room. Her thoughts were far away from the merry-tnaktag downstairs, for she was thinking ot Dick. 'How could nbo help him?' ' He was in tioccnt she knew, but, 'Oh, how could She save' blm?' The 'words -rang out in her 'ears, and she r Cried -*lpttd,7 for there was no one to hear' her ' nd'w; ^-- ':?? ? -~ : . -' ?? ? ? .-??.-. . ... ... Suddenly die started is she beard the hall door **U *^V but ttinldng Itvms only a late euest anMfV «he *4t hewoll Sown aBain,-' but hearinif
lc*Mcp» epproadiiiig W dow abe,^roB(V,«jna i maid entered 'the fobni. beariuB * Mver, in which;, was a -telegram. '. ? V1^' ????- .^*?i--:. .?.-:? '- ,-'?: . ?-?.. 'Ida hastily opened -It, and an exclamation broke, from her lips its sue read ite contents, 'Come at ?once- Monroe .flying, is asking for you-T* 'Mb turned pale; she knew this was the man whom her' parents wished her to marry, the man she bated. - 'What could he want her forT' ^: lbe maid, teeing her mistress' ashen face, poured out a glass of wine from a decanter near by, and handing it to her said, 'Drink this, dear mistress, and you will 6c better.' Ida obeyed; then donning her hat,' bade the servant tell tio. one of her abrupt departure. CHAPTER HL ?Tda. forgive me.' These were the words that greeted the young girl's ears as she stood by the -bedside of the sick man. 'It was enly because 1 loved you. so.' ? . ? _ Ida had braved herself fpr * trying, ordeal, but this was more than she could stand. 'What hare I to forgive you Tor?' etaj- asked, In her gentle voice-.' ?? - 'Ah,' moaned the dying. man,''tt»u would not spenk bo kindly to me if you knew' it was I who ?cent your lover to prison; it was I who wrote that cruel letter. Yes,' he added, after a pause, I stole the money from the safe and put It in his desk so tliRt he should bear the blame, but I am sorry for it, Ida.' The girt took a step back- I warc., the truth seemed to dawn suddenly upon her. Before she could speak, the dying man said in a low tone. 'Be quick, Ida, and get a witness . n2iy ^tession. or it may be yet too late.' «. j girl raJ t0-the top -of the stairs, and seeing ' the doctor, beckoned him to come quickly. This tne good man did, -and a few minutes Jater a siatied document, which would mean so much to her and Dick, lay by her side, while the man who had ? 'assed ? obta-ned her forgiveness and ' A year later, ft was again Christmas Day. Out- ! ado the little birds sang merrily, and all tbe world seemed glad, for it was the beautiful Aus tralian girl's, wedding day. Ida stood lookin-- she IL! W' ShC W0S thinkine how happy Suddenly she heard a firm step in the corridor, ready. V0ICe kaCW *° wel1' askillff ' sue were 'Quite ready Dick,' came her answer, as eho ' lan to open the door. Here rm tlie thrpshold we will 2Z? = TV!tw° ^ souIs- He foldedher in hi