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It was an ecstatic cry from Mellicent that came first to Mr. Smith's ears.

"Oh, Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith, you can't guess what's happened! You couldn't guess in a million years!"

"No? Something nice, I hope." Mr. Smith was looking almost as happily excited as Mellicent herself.

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"Nice—NICE!" Mellicent clasped her hands before her. "Why, Mr. Smith, we are going to have a hundred thousand—"

"Mellicent, I wouldn't talk of it—yet," interfered her mother sharply.

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"But, mother, it's no secret. It can't be kept secret!"

"Of course not—if it's true. But it isn't true," retorted the woman, with excited emphasis. "No man in his senses would do such a thing."

"Er—ah—w-what?" stammered Mr. Smith, looking suddenly a little less happy.

"Leave a hundred thousand dollars apiece to three distant relations he never saw."

"But he was our cousin—you said he was our cousin," interposed

Mellicent, "and when he died—"

"The letter did not say he had died," corrected her mother. "He just hasn't been heard from. But he will be heard from—and then where will our hundred thousand dollars be?"

"But the lawyer's coming to give it to us," maintained Mr. Frank stoutly. Then abruptly he turned to Mr. Smith. "Here, read this, please, and tell us if we have lost our senses—or if somebody else has."

Mr. Smith took the letter. A close observer might have noticed that his hand shook a little. The letterhead carried the name of a Chicago law firm, but Mr. Smith did not glance at that. He plunged at once into the text of the letter.

"Aloud, please, Mr. Smith. I want to hear it again," pleaded Mellicent.

DEAR SIR (read Mr. Smith then, after clearing his throat),—I understand that you are a distant kinsman of Mr. Stanley G. Fulton, the Chicago millionaire.

Some six months ago Mr. Fulton left this city on what was reported to be a somewhat extended exploring tour of South America. Before his departure he transferred to me, as trustee, certain securities worth about $300,000. He left with me a sealed envelope, entitled "Terms of Trust," and instructed me to open such envelope in six months from the date written thereon—if he had not returned—and thereupon to dispose of the securities according to the terms of the trust. I will add that he also left with me a second sealed envelope entitled "Last Will and Testament," but instructed me not to open such envelope until two years from the date written thereon.

The period of six months has now expired. I have opened the envelope entitled "Terms of Trust," and find that I am directed to convert the securities into cash with all convenient speed, and forthwith to pay over one third of the net proceeds to his kinsman, Frank G. Blaisdell; one third to his kinsman, James A. Blaisdell; and one third to his kinswoman, Flora B. Blaisdell, all of Hillerton.

I shall, of course, discharge my duty as trustee under this instrument with all possible promptness. Some of the securities have already been converted into cash, and within a few days I shall come to Hillerton to pay over the cash in the form of certified checks; and I shall ask you at that time to be so good as to sign a receipt for your share. Meanwhile this letter is to apprise you of your good fortune and to offer you my congratulations.