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By Philip Wylie

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To Barney, the Muriel Leigh who had lived and matured in Philadelphia had already been thrust into the background of events. In her place was the unknown girl from Mayville, Ohio,-a shining-haired deity destined for ascendency to a throne of romance. The romance was of Barney's own making and if he gave a thought to the tenuous substance of its construction it was to reiterate that Jonathan Leigh would not have preserved a strange address in his safe unless it pointed toward the girl, that the girl herself must be charming because nearly all the Leigh ladies were charming and because the beauty of Leigh's wife had been an international toast in the bizarre and misty golden nineties.

He caught himself wishing that he had looked at a picture of Daisy Storey before he left Philadelphia. That thought was submerged in a personal reverie. And then he remembered his manners. "I-I wanted--" he began. She spoke at the same time, and he checked himself as if to listen for her voice. It was an infinitely gentle and appealing voice-one that no display counter, no professional practice could have made impersonal. It ignored his rudeness probably because she was accustomed to such a thing but seemingly as if he had not been rude.

He was shaken by yearning sentiment. The fact that he would see her again in a few hours did not lessen its poignancy. A Sunday hush permeated everything. He took the photostat from his pocket and walked to the brook edge. There were numerous tracks of bare feet--many of them quite clear. He bent over, realizing suddenly that his suspense was almost insufferable. The small tracks with the high, narrow mound in the center. Admiration was lost in interest. A few showed faint lines. He chose the best one.

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Footprint of Cinderella by Philip Wylie

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Categories: Nonfiction 3