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About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 16, 1897)
"Good morning, Mrs. Bruner. I just
thought i'd step in a minute thin morn
ing and Bee how jnu was getting along.
I smelted your doughnuts too as I camo
around the corner and besides, I had a
bit of news to tell to you."
"Well I'm glad you've come. Have
some doughnuts," said Mrs. limner as
she slowly lifted several delicious brown
cakes from the kettle of seething greaso
and placed them on a plate. "I was
just thinkin' I would run over and see
you when theso doughnuts wa9 frhd,
for I had some news too, and now, may
be," she continued, without taking
breath, "my news is the same as journ."
Airs. King, the iirst speaker, was a tall,
largo boned woman with iron grey lnir
brushed straight back and revealing to
the best advantage the light in her
kindly brown eyes. She was the good
Samaritan of the village and a splendid
person to tell the news. Her mcst in
timate friend, Mrs. Bruner, a rather
stout, easy-going woman had tho same
characteristic of gathering and spread
ing news quicker than anyone in the
village, quicker even than tho editor of
tho "Jonebville Sunrise," who often de
clared good-naturedly "he'd either have
to hire them two women on his staff or
g'.vo up the business."
Mrs. King did not wait to hear what
Mrs. Bruner had to say for fear ehe
might get to tell it iirst if it was tho
same. "I've heard tho new minister is
coming tomorrow afternoon on tho two
forty-tive train, but his wife and little
girl won't come till Saturday night so 1
don't 'spcso we'll get to see them till
preachin Sunday morning ' -
"Yes, that's my news too," answered
Sirs. Bruner cheerfully for she had
something to add, "and they do say
that she's a step mother to the little girl
whose own mother died when she was
just a little thing."
So the news spread until everyone in
the to'n was discuesing the new Meth
odist minister, his wife and littla girl.
They wondered if hs wouldn't be far
ahead of the Congregational preacher,
whether his wife made a good step
mother and which one of the five empty
houses in town they would take, for
there was no parsonage. They had pic
tured their minister tall and broad
shouldered, light and dark, sociable and
sullen; so that when tho train pulbd up
at the Iittlo depot on Wednesday af tor
noon there were quite a number stand
ing around besides the committee with
blue ribbons who were to receive him,
to catch the first glimpse of the new
The subject of Euch great interest
quietly stepped off of the train, shook
hands with them as he told them he
was Rev. Stanhopo whom they were ex
pecting, before they hardly realized it.
The next few days ho was very busy,
securing a house and getting it repaired
so that by Sunday everyone in the vil
lage knew that he was a rather slight,
stoop shouldered man of about medium
height with black hair and blue ejes,
rather quiet and pale-looking, with a
weary troubled expression which never
left his faca for an instant, and now
they wero ready to see his wife.
Sunday morning tho Methodists were
all out to church early, and a few Con
gregationalists as well. The little
church was packed when a stir was
heard and the suppressed whispers told
of tho arrival of the minister and his
family. The little girl and her mother
entered their pew as the minister reach
ed the pulpit. Tho service btgan im
mediately and the well prepared sermon,
simple but touching, haU held the atten
tention of the whole audience 60 that
only by peeping through their ringers
during prayer and during the singing of
the hymns did tho female part of tho
congregation note the light curly hair of
the minister's wife and her proud pale
fuce, as well as the hand -so me silk gown
fhe wore. Tho little girl was dressed in
whito crshmere and ribbons and the
fame sad expression which they raw in
her father's faco seemed reflected in
The following week all tho prominent
ladies in the church hnd called at tho
parsonage, and at tho Dorcas society
Saturday afternoon had given vent to
"She'll never bo t' o president of tho
aid society, the secretary of tho mission
ary society, and tho head of Mercy and
Help as wo planned,'" said Mrp. King
"She looks like a big wax dol! with
that whito frizzly hair." added one lady.
"Well," said Mrs. Bruner quietly as
she settled back comfortably in a rock
ing chair. "I'll invito her to my liouo to
tea and seo how she acts. I believe
eho'll bear acquaintance; we'll try her
Mrs. Bruner gave her ta and as sho
told Mrs. King the next day. "Shf jupt
talked and laughed and praised my light
biscuit and we had a real good timo.
She's real delirato for she didn't rat
enough for a bird, but I don't think it's
'cauFceho didn't like my supper for sho
said it was splendid."
So the days passed in gossip" and
tea" until the minister's wife herself en
tertai ie. Sho had prepared an elegant
supper but tho dear women invited
couldn't imagine where oho cooked it
for tho room that was a kitchen was
now a very pretty dining room. The
finger bowls botbered them and they
wondered why 6ho had six cushions on
tho sofa in such a disorderly fashion.
Sometimes she was very pleasant and
agreeahl, and again so stiff and distant
in her manner that they were at a loss
for something to say. By and by when
ever they called tho minister and his
little girl. Marie, talked to them, always
saying. "Mrs. Stanhopo is ill today."
The lit'Ie girl clung to her father and
no one had ever seen his wife smile or
talk to her.
The good ladies had planned a pound
Burprif-e party and only gave the minis
ter un inkling of it so ho would bo at
home. They all came early and wero
talking and laughing with the minister
when his wife hastily left the room. Lit
tle Marie and her father glanced at each
other, and he excused himself hastily,
presently returning to say, "Mrs. Stan
hopo is ill."
Mrs. Bruner went upstairs to seo her,
thinking "the poor thing ought not to
bo left alone." She camo down in a few
moments and tho party soon broke up.
On tho way homo Mrs. Bruner, for once
very much excited, talked to them in
broken sentences. "Brethren and Eis
ters the door was shut tight and poor
little Marie was holding the door knob
and she 6ays so pitiful TIease Mrs.
Bruner you cannot go in. Papa would
not like it and he has gone for n.e licine'
and just then sharp screams and
moans and curses came from that room
and scratching and tearing like a wild
animal. Tlia' child with tears stream
ing down her face begged mo to go or
papa would be so angry and I left her
clincing to the door knob.'-
Silence reigned a moment unbroken
save by the sobs which Mrs. Bruner
seemed unablo to control, and then a
burst of voices told of the terrible con
sternation which had siezed them after
such a recital. Explanations were use
less for no one was satisfied, and the
longer the discussion the deeper the
my3tery grew. Finally they separated
for their various homes and not a few
spent half the night in earnest prayer
for their minister and his family.
A few days later the loafers around
tho depot were surprised to seo tho
minister's wife step on the train unat
tended and veiled.
Two weeks later the minister told his
people he too must eave and with his
little girl was standing at tho depot
bidding them good byo where so short a
timo before ho had received their
As they still talked, tho train was in
with its roar and steam; a message was
placed in the minister's hand, which bo
anxiously and nervously tcro open. Ttio
next moment tho faces pretsod against
the car windows saw a tirin sway and
then fall heavily on tho platform h a
yellow paper Muttering in his lingers;
and then a little girl bending over him,
tearfully entreating him to speak to her.
Tenderly the villagers bore him into
the waiting-room and while some en
deavored vainly to bring back life
another examined the bit of yellow
"The body of well dressed lady -proven
by soveral articles fonnd on body
to be Mrs. Klizabeth Stanhope,- found
dead in her room Windsor Hotel. Both
arms civered with little needle pricks.
Overdose accidental no doubt. Mor
phine case half empty marked E. S.
found on body. Come immediately for
Tho next day the train bore the min
ister to his wife, but ho did not travel
with tho Iittlo girl dressed in deep
mourning who sat in tho second coich,
but back a!oao in tho baggage car.
"We have purchased (because It Is
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neatly bound, four volumes of thean
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