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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 2, 1906)
Copyright, 1903, by
Henry Holt and
Hi' Hinv tlioli startled eve's turn mist
lilm Id ii.x uikI swung sharply round.
For mi instant lie stood poised like n'
serpent about to strike; then I biiw Ills'
OVlV 11 V 111 II iVtirtil t'nl !. 1. 1., e I
" "'h"""i "i"Hi 1UI.U
turned livid, ami witli a strangled ory
In foil hack and down. Together wo
lifted Iiiin to tlio low window seat, pur
suers and pursued alike, loosened Ills
collar, elm fed his hands, hathed his
temples, did everything wo could think
of doing, hut ho lay there staring at!
the celling with clinched teeth. At last1
l.i'...i !,....( .....I I.. l.i 1. 1.. , . t.. I
.,-- ijviii uiju litiu mim tar iiaiusi uis
"It Is no use," he Bald. "He Is dead."
I looked to see them wince under the
"Mow, but they did not. The younger
woman went slowly to the window and
stood there sobbing quietly; the other's
face lit up with a positive blaze of Joy.
"So," she exclaimed In that low, vi
brant voice I so well remembered "so
he is dead!"
Iloyce gazed at her a moment In as
tonihliuient. "Mine. Alls," he said at last, "you
know our errand."
She bowed her head.
" know It, monsieur," she answered.
"But for him there would have been
no such errand. As It Is, I will help you j
all I can. CecIIe," she called to the!
woman at the window, "go and bring '
your sister to these gentlemen." I
The younger woman dried her eyes
and left the room.
Celeste came In slowly, listlessly. Ii
Have me a shock to see the pallor of her
face. Then she glanced up and saw
Hoyce standing there. She drew In
her breath with a quick gasp, a great
wave of color swept over her cheeks
and brow, a great light sprang Into her
"Oh, Johnl" she cried and swayed to
He had her In his arms, against ula
heart, and the glad tears sprang to
my eyes as I looked at them.
"And I have come to take you away,
my love," he was saying.
"Oh, yes; take me away," she sobbed.
She stopped, her eyes on the window
seat, whore "the other" lay, and tuc
color died out of her cheeks again.
"ne, at least, has paid the penally,"
She was sobbing helplessly upon his
shoulder, but as the moments passed
she grew more calm and at last stood
upright from him. The younger wom
an had come back Into the room and
was watching her curiously.
"Come, let us go," snld the girl.
But Hoyce held back.
"There has been u crime committed,"
he said slowly. "Wo must see that It
"A crime? Oh, yes; but I forgive
"The crime against yourself you may
forgive, but there was another crime
"There was no murder!" burst In
Cecllo Allx. "I swear It to you, mon
sieur. Do you understand V"
I saw Miss Holladay wince at tho
other's voice, and Itoyce saw It too.
"I must got her to the Inn," he said.
"Stay and get the story, Lester. Then
we'll deckle what It Is best to do."
He led her away, out of the house
mid down the path, not once looking
back. I wntohed them till the trees hid
thorn, aud then turned to the women.
"Now," 1 said, "I shall be happy to
hear the story."
"It was that man yonder who was
tho cause of It all," began the mother,
clasping her hands tightly In her lap
to keep them still. "Four years ngo ho
came from Paris hero to spend tho
summer he was ver' 111 his heart.
Wo had been living happily, my daugh
ter and I, but for tho one anxiety of
her not marrying. Ilo mot hor and
proposed marriage. Ho was ver good
ho asked no dowry, and, besides, my
daughter was twenty-live years old
past her llrst youth. But she attracted
him, and they wero married. He took
her back to Paris, where he hnd a llttlo
theater, a hall of the (lance, but ho
grew worse again and camo back hero.
It was then that ho found out that I
had another daughter, whom I had giv
en to a rich American. I was ver'
poor, monsieur," she added plteously.
"Yes, madiimo, I know," I said,
touched by her emotion.
"So he wrote to friends In Amorlque
and mado questions about M. Holla
day. Ho learned oh, ho learned Hint
ho was ver' rich; what you call a man
of millions nnd that ills daughter my
daughter, monsieur was living still.
From that moment he was like a man
possessed. At once he formed his plan,
building I know not what hopes upon
It. no drilled us for two years In
speaking tho English; he took us for sir
months to Londre3 that wo might bet-
tor learn. Day 'after day we took our
les-ions there, always and always Eng
lish. Cecllo learned ver' well, mon
sieur, but I not so well, as you can see.
I was too old. Then at last we reached
New York, and my daughter this one '
was sent to see M. Holladay, while I I
was directed that I write to Celeste '
to Mile. Holladay. She came that ver'
afternoon," she continued, "and I told
her that It was I who was her mother,
lie was with me and displayed to her
tho papers of adoption. She could not '
but be convinced. He talked to her
as an angel oh, he could seem one
when he chose; he told her that I was
in poverty; he made her to weep, which ,
was what ho desired. She promised to
bring us money. She wns ver' good.
My heart went out to liqr. Then, just j
as she had arisen to start homeward,
In Cecllo came, crying, sobbing, stain
ed with blood."
She shuddered nnd clasped her hands
before her eyes.
"But you have said it was not mur
der, madamo," I said to the younger
"Nor wns It!" she cried. "Lot me
tell you, monsieur. I readied the great
building, which my husband had al
ready pointed out to mo. I wont up
In the lift; I entered the ofllce, but saw
no one. I went on through an open
door and saw an old man sitting nt n
desk. I Inquired If Mr Holladay was
there. The old man glanced at me and
bowed toward another door. I saw It
was a private ofllce and entered It.
The door swung shut behind me. There
was another old man sitting nt a desk,
sharpening a pencil."
" 'Is it you, Frances?' lie nsked.
" 'No,' I said, stepping before him.
'It is her sister, M. Ilolladoy!'
"Ho stared up at mo with such a look
of dismay and anger on his face that
I wns fairly frightened; then, In the
same Instant, before I could draw
breath, before I could say another
He fell buck ond down.
word, his face grow purple, monsieur,
and ho fell forward on his desk, on his
hand, on the knlfo which was clasped
In It. I tried to check tho blood, but
could not, it poured fortli In such a
stream. I knew not what to do. I was
distracted, and in a frenzy I left the
place and hurried to our lodgings. That
Is the truth, monsieur; bellevo me."
"I do believe you," I said.
"It was then," went on her mother,
"that that man yonder had auother In
spiration. Before It had been only
what you call-blackmail a few thou
sands, perhaps a pension. Now It was
something more, no was playing for
a greater stake. I do not know nil that
ho planned, ne found Celeste suspect
ed of having killed her fnUior. no
must get her released nt any cost, so
he wroto a note"
"Yes!" I cried. "Yes, of course; I see.
Miss nollnday under nrrest was be
yond Ills reach."
"Yes," sho nodded, "so he wroto a
note. Oh, you should have seen him In
those days! He was llko some furious
wild beast. But after she was set frco
Celeste did not como to us as she had
promise. Wo saw that she suspected
us, that sho wish to huvo nothing moro
to do with us. So Victor commanded
that I wrlto another letter, Imploring
her, offering to explain." Sho stopped
a moment to control herself. "Ah,
when I think of it! Sho came, mon-
sleur. We took from her her gown and
put It on Cecllo. Sho never left tlio
place again until the carriage stopped
to take hor to tlio boat. As for us, wo
wero his slaves."
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There was no need that she should
tell me more.
"And, tho gold?" I asked.
She drew a key from her pocket and
gave It to me.
"It Is lu n box upstairs," she said.
I took the key and followed her to
tho lloor above. The box, of heavy oak,
bound with iron, with steamship and
express Inbels fresh upon It, stood In
one comer. I unlocked It and threw
back tho lid. Package upon package
lay in it, just as they had como from
the subtrensury. I locked tho box
again and put the key in my pocket.
"Of course," I said as I turned to go,
"I can only repeat your story to my
companion. Ho nnd Miss Holladay
will decide what steps to take."
Thoy bowed without replying, and I
went out along the path between tho
trees, leaving them alono with their
Joy Is a great restorer, nnd a week
of hnppInesB in this enchanted Paris
had wrought wonders In our junior
and his betrothed. It was good to look
at them, to smile at them sometimes,
as when thoy stood unseeing before
some splendid canvas at tlio Louvre.
The past wns put aside, forgotten.
They lived only for the future.
And a near future too. There was no
reason why it should bo deferred, and
so thoy wero wedded, with only wo
three for witnesses, at the pretty
chapel of St. Luke's, near the Boule
There aviis a little breakfast after
ward at Mrs. Ivomball's apartment,
and then our hostess bade them adieu,
and her daughter nnd I drovo witli
them across Paris to the (Jaro do Lyon,
where they wero to take train for a
fortnight on tho Hlviora. Wo waved
them oft and turned buck together,
"It is a desecration to uso a carrlago
on Buck a day," said my compnulon.
So wo dismissed ours and sauntered
toward tho river.
"So that Is the end of the story," sho
"Of their story, yes," I Interjected.
"But there are still certain things I
do not quite understand," she contin
ued, not heeding me.
"For Instance, why did thoy trouble
to keep her prisoner?'
"Family affection V"
"Nonsense! There could bo none.
Besides, the man dominated them, nnd
I bellevo him to have been capable of
"Perhaps he meant the hundred thou
sand to bo only the llrst payment. With
her at hand, he might hopo to get moro
ludellnltely. Without her"
"Well, without her?"
"Oh, tho plot grows and grows the
moro one thinks of It! I believe It grow
under his hands lu Just tho same way.
I don't doubt that It would hnvo como
nt last to Miss Holladny's death by
some subtle means, to tho substitution
of her sister for her. After n year or
two abroad who could have detected
it? And then oh, then sho would
have married Fnjollo again, nnd they
would have settled down to tho enjoy
ment of her fortune. And he would
hnvo boon a great man oh, a very
My companion nodded.
"Touche!" sho cried.
I bowed my thanks. I was lenrning
"Hut Frances did not see them again?"
"Oh, no. She preferred not."
"And the money?"
"Wns left In the box. I sent back
tho key. Sho wished It so. After all,
It was her mother"
"Yes, of courso. Perhaps Bho was
not ronlly so bad."
"Sho wusn't," I said decidedly. "But
"Was a genius. I'm almost sorry no's
"I'm moro than sorry. It has taken
an Interest out of llfo."
We had come out upon the bridge of
Austerlltz and paused Involuntarily.
"And now tho mystery Is cleared
away," she said, "and the prince and
tho princess are wedded, Just as they;
wero in the fairy tales of our child
hood. It's a good ending."
"For all Btorles," I added.
She turned nnd looked at me.
"There are other stories," I explained.
"Theirs Is not the only one."
The spirit of Paris or perhaps tho
Juno sunshine wns In my veins, run
ning riot, clamorous, not to be re
pressed. "Certainly not. There might bo an
other, for Instance, with you nnd mo
as the principals."
I dared not look nt her. I could only
stare abend of 1110 down nt tho water.
Sho made no sign; the momenta
"Might bo," I said desperately. "But
there's a wide abyss between tho pos
sible and the actual."
Still no sign. I had offended her I
might have known! ,
But I mustered courage to steal a
sidelong glance at her.
Sho was smiling down at tho water,
and her eyes were vory bright.
"Not always," sho whispered. "Not
THE END. '
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