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  • Esther Bourne, a public stenographer, desires to become a novelist. She realizes that one must creep before trying to walk, and sends short stories to the magazines. They are all returned as unsuitable, and she despairs. But Leonard Ames, writer and critic, who has rooms in the same building, encourages Esther to keep on trying. He warns her, however, that to depict life one must have lived and suffered. One day a girl applies for employment at Esther's office, and, on being refused, faints at the door. Esther revives her and learns her story. Her recent employer, Mason Downs, a promoter of mining enterprises, had taken advantage of the girl's situation to insult her. Only a knock on the door had saved her from further ill treatment at his hands. Afraid to return for her wages, she had sought employment in vain. Esther takes Dora Thomas home with her and installs her as housekeeper of the little flat. Then she goes to Downs' office for the girl's wages. The promoter takes her card, and later, being still without a stenographer when an important report has to be written, calls on Esther at her office. He also has an employee follow her home to learn her address, because Dora is there. Dick Stuart, a mining engineer, brings to Esther's office a report to be copied. When it is completed he takes it to Downs, who has engaged him to report on a worthless mine. Downs tries to bribe Stuart to make a favorable report, and, failing, determines to forge a new report above the engineer's signature. He takes the work to Esther, who, recognizing that there is something queer about the transaction, calls up Stuart. He tells Downs what he thinks of him, and the latter, enraged, hounds Esther as a stenographer who betrays the confidence of her employers. As a result she loses patronage and is forced to close her office. Stuart becomes a steady caller at the flat, and Esther sees him falling in love with Dora. At last Dora discovers the state of affairs and, through gratitude to Esther, determines to go away. She answers an offer of employment and finds herself in Downs' clutches. The promoter tricks her into sending for Esther, who calls up Stuart and goes at once to the house, where, as she expects, Downs tells her: "You robbed me of a fortune and you are going to pay !" Using all her wits, she cajoles him until he is off guard for an instant, then sets fire to the house and frees Dora. Under the title of "The Love That Failed," Esther writes her life story and wins fame.


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