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The Heir [from The men who succeed]
by [?]

“My bicycle,” she said; “punctured.”

In a minute he was on his knees beside the machine. A rapid examination convinced him that she had not over-stated the truth, and he whipped from his pocket the repairing outfit without which he never travelled.

“I can do it in a moment,” he said. “At least, if you can just help me a little.”

As she knelt beside him he could not fail to be aware of her wonderful beauty. The repairs, somehow, took longer than he thought. Their heads were very close together all the time, and indeed on one occasion came violently into contact.

“There,” he said at last, getting up and barking his shin against the pedal. “Conf—- That will be all right.”

“Thank you,” she said tenderly.

He looked at her without disguising his admiration; a tall, straight figure in the sunlight, its right shin rubbing itself vigorously against its left calf.

“It’s absurd,” he said at last; “I feel as if I’ve known you for years. And, anyway, I’m certain I’ve seen you before somewhere.”

“Did you ever go to The Seaside Girl?” she asked eagerly.


“Do you remember the Spanish princess who came on at the beginning of the Second Act and said, ‘Wow-wow!’ to the Mayor?”

“Why, of course! And you had your photograph in The Sketch, The Tatler, The Bystander, and The Sporting and Dramatic all in the same week?”

The girl nodded happily. “Yes, I’m Marie Huguenot!” she said.

“And I’m Jack Summers; so now we know each other.” He took her hand. “Marie,” he said, “ever since I have mended your bicycle–I mean, ever since I have known you, I have loved you. Will you marry me?”

“Jack!” she cooed. “You did say ‘Jack,’ didn’t you?”

“Bless you, Marie. We shall be very poor, dear. Will you mind?”

“Not with you, Jack. At least, not if you mean what I mean by ‘very poor.'”

“Two thousand a year.”

“Yes, that’s about what I meant.”

Jack took her in his arms.

“And Mary Huggins can go and marry the Pope,” he said, with a smile.

With a look of alarm in her eyes she pushed him suddenly away from her. There was a crash as his foot went through the front wheel of the bicycle.

“Mary Huggins?” she cried.

“Yes, I was left a fortune on condition that I married a person called Mary Huggins. Absurd! As though—-“

“How much?”

“Oh, quite a lot if it wasn’t for these confounded death duties. Five million pounds. You see—-“

“Jack, Jack!” cried the girl. “Don’t you understand? I am Mary Huggins.”

He looked at her in amazement.

“You said your name was Marie Huguenot,” he said slowly.

“My stage name, dear. Naturally I couldn’t–I mean, one must–you know how particular managers are. When father died and I had to go on the stage for a living—-“

“Marie, my darling!”

Mary rose and picked up her bicycle. The air had gone out of the back wheel again, and there were four spokes broken, but she did not heed it.

“You must write to your lawyer to-night,” she said. “Won’t he be surprised?”

But, being a great reader of the magazines, he wasn’t.