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How She Helped Him
by [?]


“Well, tell me about Henry Woodruff. How did that match turn out?”

“Bad enough thus far. He is the same delightful, good-hearted fellow as of old; always ready to do a kind, or courteous act. But this woman will be the ruin of him.”

“How? What is the trouble?”

“The trouble is she is spoiled to death! She fancies herself an invalid, lies around, does nothing but read Charlotte Braeme and Bertha M. Clay–has every foolish whim gratified, and, in fact, I don’t see how he stands it.”

“Did she have any property?”

“Not a cent. It was an out-and-out love match. She has expensive tastes; she is indolent and extravagant. Why, his carriage hire is a big item of itself. She couldn’t walk a block, you know.”

“Perhaps she really is a sufferer.”

“Nonsense; nobody believes it. She had that fall, you recollect at the skating rink. At first her spine was thought to be seriously injured. Woodruff paid out several hundred dollars to have her cured, and the doctors discharged her, well, they said. But it has pleased her to drag around, a load on his hands, ever since. It is thought that he is much crippled financially. I know positively that he has lately mortgaged his interest in the firm. If he can’t manage to make, or save five thousand dollars by the end of this year, it is all up with him. And he will never do it at his present rate of living,”

“Why doesn’t he tell her? Has she no sense, or feeling at all?”

“None, except for herself; and he is so fond of her that he will indulge her to his very last cent.”

“I thought he looked a little down as he passed us this morning.”

“Yes, he is beginning to realize that he has gone too far, and, poor fellow, it is tugging at him hard.”

Did she hear aright? Was it of her, Eleanor Woodruff, that they were talking? Swiftly she sped out of the dark, heavily-curtained back parlor of the stylish boarding-house, and into her room, a gorgeous alcove apartment on the first floor. She could not mount the stairs on account of her weak spine. Weak spine? She forgot all about it as she paced the floor, angry tears gushing from her large brown eyes. It was shameful–it was wicked–to be so abused. She had never in her whole petted life been found fault with. As to money, what did she know about it? Her father, before his failure and death, had always gratified her. Her husband had never made any difference. These men were friends of his.

Her bitter sobs ceased, and her wounded vanity gradually lost itself in better thoughts. Did all her world think of her like the scathing criticisms of those two chance callers, who thus killed the time of waiting for someone to come down to them? She began to feel glad that she had overheard it. The merest accident had sent her into the back parlor. Was it true? What ought she to do? What could she do? Her dear, kind husband in trouble, and she the cause. Long she sat buried in thought, and when the well-known step sounded at the door her face was radiant with a new resolve.

He came to her large easy-chair with a step somewhat weary, but his kiss was as usual.

“All right, Nellie? Had a good day? Why, you look–let me see–how do you look?” he satd, his kind eyes noting the brightness that shone in hers.

“I look as if I love my big boy very much, don’t I?” she responded merrily.

His answer was another kiss, and as he turned toward his dressing closet, her heart ached with unspoken tenderness. Her dinner was brought in. She was not considered strong enough to sit at table. For this service an extra charge was made.