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JUST A MOMENT, PLEASE!

SUPPOSE that you had been in Mary Meacham's place, what (I wonder) would you have done!

Let us say that you are married. And

suppose that just before the ring had been placed upon your finger, you had been led to a cashier's desk, and the cashier had said, “ This will cost you fifty thousand dollars

cash down in advance, please!”

Would you have paid it?

Or suppose someone had come to you at the proper time, saying, “Here's a man who wants to marry you. Look at him. And here's fifty thousand dollars in cash. You can take

your choice, but you can't have both!”

Which would you have taken—the money or the man?

Or let us say you aren't married. You are attractive, you are accomplished, you like the good things of life. You also know the value of money, the value of financial independence. Suppose, then, that somebody comes to you to-morrow and says: “My dear young lady, I will pay you fifty thousand dollars—here, count it out for yourselfprovided you will promise me never to marry!” Would

you

take the money? Wouldn't you? Are you very sure you wouldn't?

So much for the ladies.
A word, now, to the gentlemen.

Sir, suppose at your demise (which Heaven postpone as long as is humanly possible!) you leave a daughter with fifty thousand dollars, and you know she will lose every cent of it if she marries. Knowing mankind as well as you do, would you advise your daughter

to give up that fifty thousand dollars for a husband?

In this way, I have tried to give you an idea of only one of the problems which were suddenly placed before a girl I know, whose name was Mary Meacham.

And now I will tell you her story.

OH, MARY, BE CAREFUL!

CHAPTER I

MARY MEACHAM lived with her Aunt Myra in the big, white house on the top of Black Hill, where the Meachams have lived for over two hundred years. If

you are ever in our part of Eastern Connecticut, you will know the Meacham house when you see it; first, because it commands one of the most beautiful views in New England, and, second, because it has a knocker on the front door-a knocker made of brass and fashioned in the shape of an eagle.

Day and night this eagle looks down the road and over the valley. It is perpetually poised as though for flight, its claws full of arrows, its glance menacing and grim.

When I first saw it as a boy I'

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