The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa on August 26, 1891 · Page 5
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The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa · Page 5

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Algona, Iowa
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Wednesday, August 26, 1891
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BANCROFT, IOWA, Artistic work guaranteed. Pictures enlarged at reasonable prices. T. M. OSTRANDER, Veterinary * Surgeon Bancroft, Iowa. Has his barn ready for tho sick and lamo horses, so bring them along. Charges reasonable. R, M, RICHMOND, President, A, B. RICHMOND, Cashier. BANCROFT, IOWA. The place to make your Farm Loans, buy, sell or rent a farm, buy, sell or rent prairie land, or anything in the real estate line. Also write insurance, sell tickets to and from Europe. ISpOur new flre proof vault will soon T be ready for tho safe keeping of your valuable papers. Call and see us. BANCROFT, IOWA. low running under new management. ft T. BBHffiii, Loans aid Insurance. BANCROFT, IOWA. F. A. Sewing Machines, Carpets, Pictures and Frames. BURIAL CASKETS. Undertaking n .Specialty. Done anywhere in the County At Bed Rod Prices, We guarantee— Or no Pay. AWTHOHN COPYRIGHT BY AMERICAN PRESS ASSOCIATION, 1801. CHAPTER XII. SALLIE M A T C III N . Mrs. Harry Trent, widow of the late diamond merchant and formerly Sallie Matchin, arrived at tho count's residence late in the afternoon, in order to talk over the arrangements with him. She was dressed for the dinner, hut wore a silken wrap over her arms and shoulders. She was somewhat thinner than when we last saw her",, but not less handsome; her finely molded face was of the pure patrician type. Its expression was impassive, but it was easy to see that thia was tho result of resolute training. There was passion underneath; you could see the latent sparkle of it in her black eyes and, now and then, in an unconscious movement of the lips. Her dress was of golden lined satin, set off with black lace, so as to give her a Spanish look. Whether or not the role she had assumed for this evening were in good taste from the society point of view, she undoubtedly was as well fitted to undertake it, on tho score of beauty, dignity and distinction, as any woman in New York. A face of refined strength and feminine subtlety; a highly wrought, nervous temperament, constantly watched over and steadied by a strong will; all feminine graces and accomplishments, but exercised, .perhaps, rather as a sort of contemptuous concession to social usage than as the flowering of a native impulse; a low contralto voice, and a Imbit of slightly narrowing her eyelids when making a direct glance—these were features that one noticed in first meeting Mrs. Harry Trent. Whether she had an inner character and nature few people knew her intimately enough to say. She was not a woman to blab secrets or to win confidence by giving them. She could rule others, but no one had as yet ruled her. The figure stood erect; it was clothed In •• black. "Welcome to my home!" said the count, meeting her as she entered. "But you already know it better than yon know me. I hope you will not disapprove my alterations." "What you have done is sure to be right," she answered, "but you are mistaken in thinking I know the house. This is my first visit to it." '•Really the very first?" said the count, retaining her hand n, moment in his and looking in her eyes. "Well, I am glad. I had supposed you were hero at the time your husband met his death; but I was wrong; 1 " "You were misinformed." "So much the better. You will have no painful associations to contend with. But, pardon me, am I indiscreet in speaking frankly of these things?" He had led her into a small room off the hall, where a clear fire was burning softly in the grate and where they were alone. "It is my impression," he went on, "that you are not as other women; you have a strength and elevation that despise the common frivolities of your sex; and though you are too proud to wish to appear eccentric, yet in your heart you think your own thoughts and live your own life. You are a rebel and a heretic in the garb of orthodoxy*. You are not offended?" he added, smiling. "You please me immensely," she replied. "I like to be told about myself, and I dare say you are quite right about me. But I never studied my own character—I have no talent in that way—and I really don't know whether I am just like other people or not. If seeing very few people can make me peculiar, I ought to be so." "My own experience," observed the count, after a pause, "has made me prefer the realities of life to any shows. When I a?ked you to come acre and help me I feared you would refuse. Most women would have done so, because they are either fools who do not think or cowards who dread critics. Your husband was murdered in this hoiise three years ago tonight. Even to this day it is unknown who struck the blow." "No, counfc^ I must correct you there," interposed she, slightly disturbed, for the count's manner was strangely emphatic, and the topic upon which he hud fallen was not, after all, an attractive one. "There was no doubt about who com, mitted the crime. There was no mystery." "No? And was the true criminal punished?" "Yes; so far. as the jury wa^ concerned. But he did not Uve to serve ojut his— But, really, my dear broke oft', laag'hjug, "we musk "I will say, however, what was in my mind," rejoined he.regarding her gravely. "I hope to have .the honor of knowing you better, inadaftle; but no friendship can be secure which is liable to the opening of skeleton closets. I wish to have your assurance that you have no secret horror of this place on account of what was done here? You do not fear to sen specters? You do not scent blood in the air? In a word, madame, you are not superstitious— you do not believe- that the influences of an evil deed are to bo felt more in one place than another? That the ghost of your husband, or of the man who was condemned as his murderer, is more likely to confront you in this house than anywhere else?" "Why do you say these things to me, Count de Lisle?" she asked, leaning back in her chair and regarding him between her narrowed eyelids. "Do you think it is quite considerate? I am not of a hysteric temperament, but if I have any nerves, you are not taking tho best means to soothe them; and what has my late husband to do with our acquaintance or with this dinner? I am not superstitious; I don't believe in ghosts. I accepted your invitation to come here because I wanted to come; I wanted to greet the first guests who came to Harry Trent's house. At the time of his death he was planning a reception here, and if It had taken place I should have been the hostess. Our marriage, as you may have heard, was a secret one. I had felt for a long time the injustice of my position, and I looked forward very eagerly to that reception in our own house as a public recognition and acceptance. Instead of that I was forced to tell my own story in a courtroom. "It was more of a disgrace than a vindication. Now, after years have passed, and I have kept to myself, your request appeared to me in the light of a long delayed opportunity. Society here knows that this house has just passed from ray hands to yours, and I am glad to be able to stand here beside you tonight and say 'It was mine to give, and I gave it!' I do not mind their criticisms. I have the means and the power to take my place in New York society, and tonight my new life begins. If I meet with some antagonists, so much the better; it will make life more interesting. I don't wish to stagnate in success any more than in failure. I have sometimes thought that I should value a deadly enemy more than the dearest friend. War is wholesome. Well," she added, in a different voice, rising and standing before him with a smile, "what do vou think of me?" "I was not mistaken in you," said the count, nodding his head amusingly. "1 ask forgiveness for my discourtesy and brutality, but I do not regret it, since it has moved you to speak as you have done. There is something akin in us, madame; we may perhaps find some means of rendering life more interesting for each other. But 1 am not going to bore you any further at present. Come and see what I have done to make the hpuso pretty." ' The lower rooms of the house were so arranged that when the sliding doors were withdrawn they seemed to constitute a single large hall, interrupted by massive, irregular pillars rising from the polished floor to the ceiling. As you moved from one point of view to another the scene took on new changes of beauty, the tone of the decorations inclined to a warm depth of hue, against which stood out here and there delicate shafts and arcs of brighter color. Lamps iii jeweled shades hung here and there, looking themselves like pendant jewels, but the main illumination of the rooms came through the frieze, which was of semi-transparent sheets of alabaster and other oriental marbles, cut as thin as panes of glass, and lighted from within, so as to appear self luminous. The ceilings of the rooms had been covered with white and pink roses, arranged in geometrical figures. The house, though kept at a summer temperature, was perfectly ventilated, and tho freshness of tho perfume of the flowers circulated through the air like au ethereal essence of fragrant life. Tho deep einbnu .ures of the windows and the alcoves that broke the uniformity of tho walls were curtained with eastern fabrics, soft as gossamer to the touch and exquisitely tinted. There were many nooks and corners that would bo regarded by handsome youths and lovely maidens as ideal retreats for love making. The ample scale of the apartments was partly disguised by their accurate proportions. They seemed not too large for the daily habitation of an ordinary household, and they would easily accommodate three or four hundred guests. The host'd fair colleague had nothing but admiration to express. But at length, when they have made the circuit of the suit, she turned to him in perplexity and said: "But what have you done with the dining room — and the dinner?" "They are in 'the back yard," replied he with a smile; "come and see!" A portiere was drawn aside from a broad doorway, and through the opening came a fresh blooming of brightness and color and a vision of new space and beauty. Here extended a vaulted saloon, oval as an egg, and walls and ceiling all one solid surface of flowers. Such a sight had never been beheld in New York or elsewhere. For a height of seven feet from the floor all was violets; countless myriads of the tiny purple blossoms overlapped one another, so that but the tip of a child's little finger could have been inserted between them. Above the violets was a bunch of yellow jonquila and narcissuses, three feet in width, forming a frieze, and, above all, the domed roof was a vault of roses, the color perfectly graduated from white below, through pink, to red at -the tup. Three great candelabra of Venetian glass, shaped in the form of many branching flowers, depended from the ceiling. By some invisible contrivance fine sprays of water played over the flowers and kept them fresh. The floor was of polished oak, constructed for dgpotyg, fhe wbxrte. magical coveri '-' Jill the guests, and yet keeping them all in sight and speaking distance of one another. The table service was Indian porcelain, with Center pieces of silver wrought by hand. At the tipper end of the saloon a fountain splashed in n great basin of crystal, surrounded by delicate ferns, and behind a silver trellis work, covered with growing vines, were accommodations for musicians. The count explained to his companion that the table was so contrived that it could be removed in a few minutes, and the floor left free for dancing. "I have some other little features," he added, "which will nppear when the time comes; I will not tire you by forcing you to review them now. You have seen enough." The beautiful Sallie sighed. She was an ambitious woman, and she loved splendor and power. She understood that Count do Lisle had suggested more than he had performed in his preparations for this unparalleled entertainment. Everything was made to appear us simple as possible; only an educated intelligence could divine the enormous resources necessary to create this result. She had dreamed of such resources, and was conscious of the ability to administer them, had she had them. By her side stood the man who could, if he would, endow her with them. He and she together could command as brilliant 6 destiny as had ever fallen to the lot of mortals. She drew a long breath and arched her brows. Had she not within herself the means to attract him? Was not the fact that she was here tonight an indication of his preference? She put her hand within the ami he offered her and leaned upon it, and looked up in his face. "You are not disappointed?" he ;;ai.l. "I have never been content till r.w." she answered. "You are quite content, then?" "Yes—almost!" He met her glance as if he understood, and accepted a veiled meaning in her words. They moved out of the saloon and returned to the reception room. "I will take you upstairs," he said, "to the room which I have placed at your exclusive disposal for the evening. There you can rest while I attend to what remains to be done. There is still an hour or two before the guests will arrive. When it is time I will summon you." They mounted to the second floor accordingly, she still leaning on his arm. He left her on the threshold of the room, and the door closed behind her as she entered. There was a fire of logs in the fireplace, and in the chandelier a score of flames burned steadily. The room was like the chamber of a fairy princess. Every appliance that could render a woman's existence luxurious and exquisite was there; every sense was flattered, every soft impulse stimulated. She moved about, resting her eyes on one delight after another. The bed, the toilet table, the washstand, the low chairs and divans, the soft nigs under .foot, the walls hung with lovely tapestry, the numberless minor beauties of decorations that only women of a certain fineness of taste and temperament know how to appreciate—all seemed designed for her. Was it so, indeed? She seated herself at length and fell into a long revery. Opposite to where she sat was a tall and wide mirror, in which she saw herself reflected at full length. It was set in the wall, the heavy bevel of the glass and its frame of ebony with ivory filigree pattern inlaid showed that it was a rare antique—such a mirror as the magicians of old time were fabled to employ in necromantic mysteries. One might expect to behold in it secret scenes from the future or the past—reflections from a heart that kept its own counsels. A dreamy rnood came over the woman. Her mind wandered vaguely from one region of thought to another. She sat with eyes half closed; all around her was still. G-linipses of her earliest life passed before her, and then pictures nearer to the present and not so fair. She strove to banish them, and fix her mind on the anticipation that had lately suggested itself to her. To be the mistress of this house—the wife of this man —the dispenser of his fortune 1 But by a perverse infelicity her memory reverted to their talk in the reception room. She saw the court room, the judge and jury, herself in the witness box, and then in the prisoner's dock the pallid countenance, framed in black hair, of the youth who was on trial for his life. He was condemned; ho was dead; his look seemed to reproach her for his death. Either her eyes were dim or the room had grown strangely dusky. What light there was appeared to concentrate on the mirror. In its depths a figure darkly appeared, growing more distinct as she gazed upon it. What was it? Not her own reflection. She had not moved from her position. No. This figure stood erect; it was clothed in black garments; it advanced from a shadowy background. It was the figure of a man; surely" she had seen it before! Her nerves thrilled cold and her joints stiffened as she looked. Was her visitor assuming concrete f orrn before her eyes? The face was still obscure; but in that slowly increasing and lifting light it dawned into appalling visibility. And now it was revealed! It was he—it was Keppel Darke! A black veil seemed to swathe the lower part of his countenance; his features were contorted in a ghastly stare, directed upon her. He raised his hands and appeared to struggle with the semblance of a, rope about his neck. Then he pointed to the floor at her feet, and with a sudden flash of conviction she knew that tliis •foom, so cunningly disguised, was the room in which Harry Trent had fallen, stabbed to the heart! With a shriek she sprang to her feet and staggered forward. (To be Continued.) YVANTEI>. Girl for laundry work at the Phoenix House, Bancroft. * GUdd^jj; wire cheap at I. J. Bruer's. * Fjesfej^is every morning at M. Q> H. vtyp— — Pioneer Drug Store Has a fine new stock of Stationery at Bed Rock Prices. This is Headquarters for Oils, Medicines, Toilet Articles, Everything guaranteed the best quality and the lowest prices. A. J. BERBYMAN, Registered Pharmacist. A large number of CORKS, CAPS, AND SEALING WAX COMPLETE.' The best of Fruit Jars and the Cheapest. Also a Full Assortment of FOR THRESHERS AND OTHERS. The usual line of Groceries always kept on hand. BOOTS AND' SHOES, 'The Best is the Cheapest." "We have the Host. V -Agent for- Savery I Call on him and get prices and can suit you in the selection QJ wild

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