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NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA, RBPNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1893.
We have bought at panic prices goods for SPOT CASH
at the lowest prices, thereby giving our customers
and friends the benefit. NOW IS YOUR
TIME TO BUY FOR CASH
Clothing, : Boots, : Shoes,
Hats and Caps and
Gents' Furnishing Goods
FOR LESS MONEY THAN YOU EVER
HAVE HERETOFORE OR YOU WILL AT
ANY TIME HEREAFTER:
Do not DELAY the GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY now
offered to YOU, but come at ONCE and see the
of goods, see our prices, examine the quality and con
LEADERS OF LOW PRICES.
3vazg .Einstein, .Proprietor.
North Platte National Bank,.
NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA.
!Paid up Caipital,
C. F. IDDIXOH,
a. r. tmtxrrz.
O. II. CARTER,
M. 0. LINDSAY,
D. W. BAKER.
A. D. DUCKWORTH.
All business uitrusted to us handled promptly, caret uHy, and at lowest'rates.
C. P. IDDINQS,
! LUMBER, j
j COAL, I
i , '
Order by telephone from Newton's Book Store.
Dr.-N. MoCABE, Prop. J. E. BUSH, Manager.
NORTH PLATTE PHARMACY,
Successor to J. Q. Thacker.J
WE AIM TO HANDLE THE BEST GRADE OF GOODS,
JELL THEM AT REASONABLE PRICES, AND WARRANT
, , , - "
EVERYTHING AS REPRESENTED.
ardors from the country and along the line of the Union
Pacific Railway Solicited.
IT. J. BROEKE !R,
LARGE STOCK OF PIECE GOODS,
embracing all the new designs, kept on hand and made to order.
PERFECT ijlT GUARANTEED.
PRICES LOWER THAN EVER BEFORE
Spruce Street, between Fifth and Sixth.
THE CASINO BILLIARD HALL,
J. E. GRACE, Proprietor.
SUPERIOR BILLIARD and POOL TABLES.
Bar Stocked with the Finest of Liquors.
A QUIET AND ORDERLY RESORT
Where gentlemen will receive courteous treatment at all times and
where they will always be welcome. Our billiard and pool hall
is not surpassed in the city and lovers of these games can
be accommodated at all times.
A Transferred Identity,
By EDITH SBB8I0H8 TUPPEB,
Copyright, UN. by American Frees Assoc!
THE CRT 15 THE NIGHT.
The night had grown very dark- Black
clouds were drifting over the moon and
fast blotting out the somber light of the
As I leaned from the carriage and with
straining eyes vainly sought to pierce
the gloom of the night the soughing of
the wind through the great pines fore
told the oncoming storm.
A feeling of intense depression seized
me. Why had 1 come?. At this moment
I wished myself miles away. What a
senseless qnest this upon which I had
entered! Suppose I were to find my old
friend; would she be glad to see me?
Was it not an nnpardoname intrusion to
arrive thus, unheralded, at dead of night?
Was there, in fact, any greater imbecile
ou earth than I, driving here, near-mid
night, over miles of rough country road
in search of Portia Vane?
Ten years had gone by since Portia
and I were graduated from the Canadian
convent in which we had spent four
hauuv. uneventful years. During that
time we were as inseparable as any
schoolgirl friends. Ibad idolized the beau
tiful, amiable southern girl, whose tales
of plantation life in all its tropical color
and indolence had completely captivated
me. Born and brought up m a rigid
northern atmosphere, the glimpses I got
through her conversation and letters of
Portia's home life were visions of fairy
land. Portia was stately, clever and
talented. I was poor, inferior and plain.
But the loveliest and wealthiest girl in
the convent singled me out as her friend,
and my gratitude and devotion to her
After pur graduation we corresponded
for two years, during which time I was
employed in teaching and laying by
money, for I intended some day to visit
Portia in her southern home. She wrote
me of her approaching marriage, urging
me to be oner of her bridesmaids, which
pleasure I was forced to forego.
I received a few letters after her mar
riage, in which she spoke in glowing
terms of her new life. Then I heard no
more. We drifted apart, as all school
friends invariably do.
It is always the unexpected which
happens. Whoever would have fancied
that from his numerous train of rela
tives my uncle, John Mason, would have
selected me, poor Prudence Mason, as
the heir to his great property? When I
had finished gasping over the announce
ment his lawyers made me, my first
thought -was of Portia, and that I would
seek her at once to tell her the good
news. Perhaps we might travel togeth
er; perhaps she was poor and needed as
sistance. Possibly there were children
for whom I might do something. Re
member an obscure plain teacher has
few trends, and never in all my desolate,
colorless existenco had I so clung to any
human being as to Portia Vane. I
thought of her now as the carriage went
jolting through this wilderness over the
uneven roads, occasionally banging
against a stump or the root of a tree. I
saw her sweet face and heard again her
gentle voice and remembered all her
gracious and kindly acts.
'Will we Boon be there?" I asked my
He was a typical specimen of the
southern "cracker," and in the monoto
nous, mellow accents borrowed from the
negroes drawled out:
"Putty soon, ma'am. It ah 'bout tu
mile. Boon's we uns git by Dead Man's
Bwamp ye kin see the lights down yon
dah." "Dead Man's swampl" I repeated in
voluntarily, "What a horrible a dis
"Dismal place, tu," he replied, "thah
hain't white noh niggah dah go in thah
at night. All sorts o' curus an awful
goin's on thah."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Waal," ho droned, "I hardly know
myself what I du mean. Thet's it. You
know, ma'am, thct it's the mystery,
thet's what skahs. Now, if ye knows
what's happened, it takes half the scab
off, but if thah's only stories an nobody
willin to find out it's kind o' awful.
Anyway, I Inn tell yo this much thah's
lights seen in thah at midnight and ter
rible sounds heard. An some says, an
they don't hahdly like to whispah the
word, thet thah's whah the voodoos
"The voodoos?" I said.
"Yes, niggahs, ye know, what do un
earthly things eat dead babies, tali out
folks' hearts an play with sahpents"
"Oh, don't tell me anything more!" I
exclaimed. 'Tve road of them."
"Waal, ma'am, it is somethin disgustiu
an awful to think on. I'm alius powah
ful glad when I'm past the place."
A few rods farther the great forest
broke away a little, and in the pallid t
ugot i coma aisccrn under the scattered
trees stretches of morass, black, slimy
and filthy. From the gaunt trees the
long gray moss hung like lifeless figures
dangling and dipping in the sullen sur
face of the stagnant pools. Tho swamp
seemed interminable, reaching away in
endless gloom under the low hanging
branches. The moon came out from
the clouds for one moment and sent a
cheerless light down on the forbidding
scene, but quickly withdrew, as if
alarmed at what she saw.
It was a frightful place weird and
uncanny. The wind shuddered through
the trees, and ghostly shadows seemed to
lurk beneath their swaying, writhing
"What a horrible place!" I exclaimed..
"Horrible? Yes, this hyah is Dead
Man's swampr whispered my compan
ion. Though I was oppressed by these hid
eous EurroundingB, yet I was at the same
time unaccountably fascinated, and lean
ing out I looked as far into the black
vistas as the waning moonlight would
permit. It seemed to my excited fancy
that the trees beckoned me, and that the
moaning wind muttered that this awful
place held secrets for me. I was con
scious of a strange mental exaltation
almost a clairvoyaucy. Away, away in
the depths of that melancholy swamp
was there not something calling me?
Hark! What was that?
With a frantic grasp I clutched my
companion's arm as out of the night,
out of this dismal swamp, trembled and
shrilled an awful cry like the wail of the
It reverberated through those black
mysterious avenues and was caught up
by a hundred mocking echoes, then slowly
"My God! what is it?' T cried.
They're at it' whispered my driver, 1 JteD .ti?sllt1 Portif 88 a mother.
and he struck the tired horses a smart
blow, which sent them flying over sticks,
stones and roots of trees. On, on we
dashed in our wild flight from a cry.
It was not-repeated.
The dead silence that followed by its
contrast made the remembrance more
We were both, relieved when we turn
ed into a broad avenue lined on either,
side by a donble row of pines, at the end
of which lights could be seen.
I clutched my companion's arm.
"Thah is Swamplands, KunnelMahch
mont's place," said tho driver, "an thah
hain't a finahjibuitation in Georgah.
Lord! I can't go back to town tonight
nohow. I'll ask Jake to put my team up
an let me sleep nyah some human crit-
tah. An I reckon, ma'am, yeah "powelr
ful glad to be at yob. jouhney's end."
I did not answer. Before me rose the
great corinthian pillars and broad porti
coes of the house of Portia Marchmont.
I was trembling from apprehension.
What if she were not at home? Would
we be obliged to return over the dismal
road we had come? Should I again hear
that doleful cry? My nerves were
stretched to their utmost tension as we
drew up in front of the great house. :
I looked at my watch. Half past 11
Tho hall door was wide open, and a
flood of light poured out upon the broad
piazza. As I looked a shadow moved
from out a dra&eener.-'-A-figure drift
ed into the doorway. It was a woman,
tall, graceful, dressed in white. Some
thing in hor graceful, languorous move
ment set the wheels of memory rolling..
I forgot my doubts, my fears, my ter--
"Portia!" I cried.
Thero was no answer. ""
The woman stood "motionless
carved from stone.
IfTl A" T 1 "
Slowlv she moved across ihn ma.
"Who calls me." she asked.
"Portia, it is I your old friend,"
dence .Mason. ,.Oh,.do net-
you nave torgotton mer-that you are
Dot glad to see me. Ihavecome so far,"
and choked with my emotion I hurried
up the steps, holding out my arms to her.
The light from the huge bronze lamp
in the hall shone straight upon my host
ess. 1 saw the-face of which I had so
often thought the'face of my old friend.
T. L. :ao -
U) , Willi b WilS Hi
I stopped, dazed and bewildered. This
was not Portia!
I had prepared myself for a great
change m my friend. I had not lookdd
to see the girl. I remembered the morn
ing we bade each other farewell, but
had anticipated seeing anolder, a lna-
turer Portia, in whose features I yet
might trace the lines and expression of
my friend of Ipng ago
But this cold, proud ves, insolent
faced woman, wherejwero the amiabili
ty, the sweetness and the tenderness I
remembered? Vanished all and in
their stead I remarked only disdain and
She saw my surprise, my hesitation
yes, my alarm and a singular expression
crept in her face, an expreesion of min
gled cunning and dread.
"Why, you are not Portia!" I stam
mered. "Oh, yes, I am," she replied, with a
light laugh "yes, and very glad to see
you. Prudence. It was good of you to
come so far. Yon think I have changed?
So I have. But lara Portia," and she
bent and kissed rae.
The ;aress was intolerable. I could
have icreamed when her cold lips
touched mine. Ah, how different a re
ception I had pictured! What did it
mean? Was it she who was changed or I?
She led me in, with many polite in
quiries, uttered in perfunctory and me
chanical fashion. Servants were sum
moned; tea was brewed: my bags and
wraps taken; everything that the most
punctilious hostess could do for a guest
was done for mo. And yet through all
these kindly offices I was conscious of a
vague feeling of uneasiness and distrust.
Under tho glow of the great drawing
room chandelier I studied Portia's face
closely. What was it? Where was the
great change which seemed to separate
the friend of my youth from me as by a
gulf. There was the same lustrous hair,
untinged by a thread of silver; there
were the great almond shaped liquid
eyes, like black velvet; the same faultless
ly faultless features; the same ivorylike
complexion. But the soul was gone
from the face; the essence of an exquisite
nature no longer looked out from the
eyes. It was Portia and yet not Portia.
She caught my intent scrutiny.
"I have grown old, Prudence," she
said in answer to my inquiring looks,
"and our southern climate has not im
proved my complexion. Then, too, 1
have lived a monotonous life, have been
very much alone, and that, you know,
is not good for one," and then she
I recalled Portia's laugh mirth pro
voking, contagious, hearty. I could hear
again its silvery sweetness ringing
through the leafy avenues of the old con
vent gardens. My hostess' laugh was
hollow, sinister and harsh, like the crack-
How tender, loving and womanly she
. would be in that relation! I had pic
tured her holding a baby on her breast
and looking down at it with that divine
.expression only to be seen in a young
mother's eyes, and I had fancied her
surrounded by merry, romping, happy
children. Her scarcely veiled distaste
for maternitv shocked me.
"You must be very weary, Prudence,"
she said after a little. "If you like, I
will show you to your room."
As I was only too anxious to be alone,
I signified my wish to retire at once.
Rising, my hostess' took from the man
tel a tall silver candlestick and led the
way through tho wide -hall and up the
old time winding stairs.
I followed, with a strange sinking at
myjheart. My reception, though cour
teous, had been, utterly mechanical. I
saw my blunder in having thrust an un
solicited, visit upon an old friend who,
1 . M . - . - -
aiasi was not tne menu of old. I re-
fjjifed, however, that it was not neces
sity to prolong my stay and decided that
as Boon as possible I would return north
with my stock of disillusions, which now
weighed upon me like the burden on
The room into which Portia led me
was large and gloomy. Thero were a
vast four posted bed and a huge ward
robe with carved panels. A fireplace
withancient andirons, mahogany table,
cbiirs and old fashioned lounge, made
upuraniain furnishings of the apart
ment. Thero wore quaint gilt candelabra
on the marble mantle.and a few portraits
of dead and gona Marchinonts adorned
thevalls. The only modern piece of
furniture was a tall cheval glass stand
ing directly opposite the enormous win
daifohich, by the way, opened on a
balcony running the entire side of the
The room oppressed me quite as much
as Portia. Dismal forebodings seized me
as F looked at the somber hangings of the
bed' and windows. Tired and unnerved
from my long, tedious night ride, as well
I taw the. reflection of a face.
my disappointment, I was on the
of giving way. However, I man-
to control myself and receive my
&Hfti!)srigidrgood- night kiss.
-I, listened to the sound of her retreat
ing footsteps as-they died along the cor
ridoY. I heard a distant door open and shut.
, At last I was alone.
Conscious of my relief, I yet experi
enced half defined sensations of terror
quite-new to me. I bad always been a
.singularly self reliant and courageous
woman. But for tho first time in my
life I felt the presence of mystery. Mys
tery seemed written on the doors of this
gloomy room and on tho icy face of the
woman who had just left me.
"Well," I said aloud, and my voice
sounded thin and strango in tho lonely
room, "well, I don't know what it
means. Never did a human being
change as she has changed. I was an
idiot to come, and I'll go as soon as I can
make an excuse."
The air of the room was oppressive
and musty, and I opened the shutters to
allow the frssh night wind to creep in.
Xthen unpacked my bag and proceeded
to make myself as comfortablo as possi
ble for the night. Back and forth across
tho.room 1 walked, each time passing
the tall cheval glass.
It was during one of these turns that,
chancing to glance in the mirror, I saw
something which caused my heart to
6top beating and my blood to freeze.
I have already said that tho glass
stood opposite the windows. In its glit
tering depths I saw the reflection of a
But what a face! Malignant, crafty
and yet with a lurking trace of terror, it
surveyed me through tho window Por
tia'aface! It was but a momentary glimpse, and
then' as my heart slowly beat once more
I heard a soft, catlike tread on tho bal
cony. She was gone!
Frozen with terror, I listened for are
turn of thoso velvet footsteps, but no
sound was heard.
I threw myself dressed as I was on
the bed. I did not dare sleep. The can
dles in their vast gilt sticks burned lower
and lower. I watched them with strain
ing eyes, shuddering as I thought of the
darkness which would come. At last
they went out. I was alone in the pro
found and awful silenco of night.
Toward morning I slept from utter
exhaustion, and when I wakened the sun
was shining full in my eyes. I turned
drowsily. Then, sitting upright, Hooked
at my dusty, travel stained gown in
which I had slept. Suddenly the occur
rence of the night before returned to me.
What did it .mean? Why was Por
tia spying upon me? What possible ex
planation could there be of that stealthy
survey through the window?
"She must be mad, I said as I weari
ly rose. ."Yes, that must be it She
has had poor health, and possibly her
brain may be turned a trifle. Dear me,
I don't relish the idea of being watched
like that. Well, I must get away as
soon as possible. I wonder if it would
do to go today?'
There was a knock at the door, and a
trim Quadroon maid entered with hot
ling of thorns under a pot. Had the ' water She explained that her mistress
years wrought a complete revolution in
her character as well as her face?
"I am sorry Colonel Marchmont is not
at home," sho said after she had gra
ciously pressed a second cup of tea upon
me. "He went to Atlanta last week. I
expect him back very, soon possibly to
morrow." "You have children, Portia?'
"One," she replied coldly, as if the
subject were obnoxious "a little girl
6 years old a headstrong little creature,
lean do nothing with her. Pm glad I
have but one.""
I looked at her in amazement. I had
had delegated her to wait upon me dur
ing my stay.
"W'y, you all dressed already?" she
cried in surprise.
Without thinking, I carelessly an
swered, "Yes, I slept in my clothes."
The girl gave me a quick glance.
"I was so tired," I said, "that I must
have dropped to sleep before knowing it."
"Yes'm,"she glibly replied, but there
was a aueer expression on her face.
j Presently she went over to the window
as if -to open it wider.
"Wy.you slep wid y.ou'ah shuttahs
open!" she exclaimed. "Wouldn't do
dat ef I.wnz you, miss."
"Why?" I demanded.
"Waal," she answered in some confu
sion, "I doan' no, but sometimes folks
gits kinder skeery. Wouldn't sleep wid
my shuttahs open, 'deed I wouldn't. I'd
like to keep my winders shet, but den
rm on de swamp side dat s worse."
"Why is it worse?" I asked.
"Waal, miss, we ain't 'lowed to speak
Txrat it missus dat mad w'ensho hyahs
us sayin anythin. But I tell ye some
times de goin s on in dat swamp just
"Look here," I said, with a consider
able show of asperity. "What do you
mean by 'goin's onr "
waai, sue hesitated, "screams an
hollerin an de debble's own noise some
times. Dey say dat whah do voodoos
"Why doesn't Colonel Marchmont put
a stop to itf
ye, miss, he doan' care
A lot ob drunken nig-
nuffin 'bout it.
gahs, he says. Ho jest gives ordahs none
ob de niggahs off his plantation go dah.
An dey doan' dast go. But we hyahs
de awfulest noises, an Sue Some seen
lights, an ole Pete tole me las' night he
wah down by de marsh, an he declah he
done see somepin comiu out de swamp,
wid horns an tail an pitchfork."
"Nonsense," I said severely; "don't let
me hear anv more of such superstitious
"All light, miss," Lizzie said meekly,
and as my toilet was now completed I
told her she might go. I laughed hearti
ly when I was alono.
"I am tasting some of the delights of
southern life." I said. "Portia used to
tell me about these superstitious slaves,
but I don't remember that she said anv-
thing about voodooism. I must speak
to her about it. It should be quite an
interesting study. Of course that hide
ous scream I heard last night must have
come from some of their horrid orgies."
Musing thus, I wended my way down
the corridor and stairs into the'lower
hall. The great front doors were opened
wide, and a flood of glorious sunshine
was pouring across the tessellated floor.
The sunlight cheered me. I banished all
care and forgot my uneasiness of the
"I must have been mistaken," I urged.
"It was only my tired nerves and disor
dered fancy. Of course Portia would
never stoop to spying in that fashion.
I stood in the door and looked down
the noble avenue before tho house. The
groinds of Swamplands were extensive
and beautifully cared for. Great beds
of brilliant blossoms, splashing foun
tains, parterres of closely clipped box
and spruce and winding paths combined
to make the picture most attractive.
Far in the distance I could see the cotton
fields, yonder stretched Dead Man's
swamp, and here on tho piazza, with
her back turned to mo and evidently
quite unaware of my presence, sat Portia.
She was dressed in a filmy white gown.
Her massive coils of hair revealed the
shapely neck. Her head was bent. She
Before I cculd speak a side door opened
and a little girl about C years of age
came out upon the piazza. She held a
bunch of scarlet blossoms in her hand
and approached Portia with a timid air
which troubled me.
She was a beautiful child, a miniature
reproduction of tho Portia I remem
bered. Long' black curls fell over her
shoulders. Her eyes were large and
dark, but had an appealing, frightened
expression pitiful to see in ono so young.
She was daintily dressed in white.
"Mamma," sho murmured.
Portia paid no attention.
"Mamma," she said a little louder.
Portia lifted her head and turned, her
face toward the child. I could see tho
mother's profile. Sho was frowning
"Here are some beautiful flowers I
picked for you, mamma," said the little
girl, still with that air of timidity. Sho
appeared to desire to placate her mother.
I expected to seo Portia tako the flow
ers, fasten them in her bodice and kiss
the child for her sweet attention. Judge
She held a bunch of scarlet blossoms in
then of my dismay, when snatching tho
verbenas from her hand with an angry
gesture she cried:
"How dare you, you little imp? How
often have I told you not to pick the
flowers? And theso scarlet verbenas,
too, which I am saving to wear to Mrs.
Redmond's ball tomorrow night. You
deserve a good beating," and she sud
denly boxed the child's ear.
"Portia," I cried involuntarily.
She turned and saw me. Yes, thero
was no longer any doubt of it tho wom
an was mad. Her face was like that of
a fiend, but it suddenly changed, and an
almost humble look took the place of her
expression of fury.
The poor, grieved little child was sob
bing quietly. I held out my arms to
her. With a baby's instinct sho came
to me and crept close to my heart. She
did not cry out as most children would
under the circumstances, but moaned
sadly, almost under her breath, "Oh,
"How could you, Portia?" I asked.
"Well, she is such a torment. Come,
now, Daphna, stop crying. You know I
am sorry I boxed your ears. I al ways am."
"I always am!" So then this treat
ment of her lovely little daughter was
not unusual. Decidedly my friend was
I held tho grieving littlo creature in
my arms until her sobs had ceased, and
then, still clinging to my hand as to some
protecting power, she went into break
fast with me.
There was a pile of letters at Portia's
plate. She glanced over them hurriedly
and paused at one.
"Here is a letter from Colonel March
mont," she said. 'Now I shall know when
he is coming."
As she read, her face became trans
figured. The hard, stern lines softened;
a flush crept to her cheek. She looked
more like the old Portia than at any
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"He is coming," 6he cried, "coming
tomorrow. Thank God! I haven't lived
since he went. I have simply existed.
Prudence, you will see him my hus
band, my love, my god."
Her passionate tones amazed and de
"She has at least kept her love for her
husband pure and fresh," I said to my
self. "That is a good sign. But if she
loves him so intensely, why is she so ir
ritable to his child?'
"He will be in time for the ball," she
rattled on, "and you, Prudence, must
go with us. It's a ball at thenext planta
tion. We have so little gaj-ety in this
forsaken country that we appreciate
every opportunity for pleasure."
"Oh, you will excuse me," I said. "I
would cut a sorry figure at a ball. Let
me staj at home with Daphne."
The littlo one's hand stole into my lap.
I pressed the tiny fingers warmly.
"As yon please," cried Portia. "What's
A shadow crossed her face. She bit her
lip and stared desperately at the letter
sho still held in her haud.
"What shall I do?" I heard her mut
ter. "What shall I do?"
Then without one word of apology
Mrs. Marchmont abruptly rose from the
table and left the room.
THE CLOSED GATE.
When Portia rejoined me, two hours
later, her eyes were heavy and swollen
"Pardon me, my friend," she said sad
ly, "for leaving you so unceremoniously,
but I had received a terrible blow. I
felt I must get away by myself. Come,
Prudence," she concluded, "come, let us
walk. I cannot remain quiet."
Puzzled by her looks and manner, I
complied with her request. We left the
honso and entered one of the broad,
densely shaded and winding paths. For
somo time we walked in silence. When
I stole occasional glances at my compan
ion, I could see she was far from com
posed. Tho anxiety lurking in her eyes,
the hard, despairing lines about the lips,
betokened the inward conflict. At last
"I am really grieved, Portia, to see
you suitenug so. Is there anything i
can do for your'
"No, nothing," she broke out wildly.
"No, there is nothing- you can do, or,
for that matter, that any ono can do. I
tell you, Prudence," and stopping short
at a turn in the path she seized my
arm in a convulsive grasp, "God him
self could not help me. I am in awful
"Danger!" I cried.
"Hush!" sho exclaimed, looking ap-
preheusivelj' about. Hush! Yea, in dan
"My dear, my dear." 1 said soothingly
patting her arm as I might a child's
your nerves are in a bad stato. on
need rest. Why, Portia, what danger
can there be to you in your own home
and with your husband's protecting
Iovo to guard 3'ou? Why, these are the
idlest fancies. Dismiss them at once.'"
"My husband ! sho cried in agonized
tones. "Ah! it is through him that dan
ger threatens me. ant what am 1 say
ing? Oh, Prudence! Sometimes I fear
I am going mad," and she bowed her
head upon my shoulder and wept.
My distrust, my dislike, faded instant
ly. This cold, liarsih woman I had been
condemning was my Portia after all-
racked by disease perhaps, crazed by
fancied terrors. Poor, suffering girl! I
put my arms about her and comforted
her as best i could.
When she had growu calmer, we
walked on, nud rcaclung a rustic arbor
sat down. Portia still sighed mournful
ly and wiped tho straggling tears from
"A charming visit you will have," she
said, with a forced attempt at gayety.
1 am ashamed of my weakness, but
when these frightful fits of depression
seizo me 1 cannot possihiy control myself."
"Are you subject to these moods, Por
"Oh, yes," sho sighed. "For two years
1 have either been torn with feverish
panics or plunged into the depths of fore
boding. Dut today today"
"There, there, never mind. Don't think
of it." I murmured: "think of something
pleasant. Look at the glorious sky, the
sunlight, tho trees, tho flowers. Think
of some happy event of your life. Think,
Portia, of thoso dear, peaceful days of
long ago our schooldays when life had
not a care"
I stopped abruptly. Portia's face bad
onco again assumed that inexplicable;
expression a look of mingled cunning
and alarm; tho same awful glance 1 had
seen through tho window the night be
fore I received now. But I floundered
"Do you remember, dear girl, what
Sister Agatha said to you tho morning
of our graduation? I can see her now,
as sho laid her hand upon your shoul
der" "Oh, j-es!" interrupted Portia, "Dear
Sister Agatha, she was always so lovely
and gentle, and her precepts so sound
I stared at her in amazement.
"Why, Portia, you must bo dreaming.
Sister Agatha was anything but gentle.
She was the terror of tho school. No
one was so feajred and dreaded next to
"Why, of course," laughed Portia
that same sinister, mocking laugh of last
night "how stupid of me! I must have
been thinking of some other sister."
"Doubtless you were thinking of Sis
1 'Yes Sister .Madeline. It was she."
"Sister Agatha said, if I recall it aright,
'Portia, you have every, prospect of hap
piness. Wealth, youth, beauty; are yours.
See to it, my child, that the avenue along
which the beacons of this life are placed
leads, to the heavenly city.' Portia, 1
have never forgotten that scene. The
nun, with her white, ascetic face glow
ing with spiritual fervor, one hand lifted
as in benediction; you in the flush of
beauty and expectancy listening to the
farewell ef that so woman. What a
picture it would have made!"
"I cannot' remember it very well,"
Portia said, with a curious air of impa
tience as if the subject bored her, "at
all events I am convinced that I am not
in spirit very near the pearly gates. I
really think I am in tho neighborhood of
the bottomless pit. But come. Prudence,
how much longer are you going to daw
dle here"' and springing up she hastily
walked on, leaving me" to follow in a
more perplexed state of mind than ever.
' I had hoped to touch Portia with the.
remembrance of that convent goodby,
but had only succeeded in annoying her.
She appeared' vexed when I spoke of our
school days, and now that I gave tho
subject somo reflection I recollected that
tho night before when I had once or
twice referred to our convent life she
had quickly changed the conversation.
She had not asked once after any of our
former associates and appeared abso
lutely to have no interest in the old life.
We pursued our way slowly and
silently. The drip of the fountains, the
rustle of the leaves and the shrill, sweet
notes of the mocking birds broke the
stillness. Occasionally Portia would
bend over a bed of flowers, examine
them intently, pick one or two, then
aimlessly wander on.
We came at last to a little slope which
descended abruptly toward Dead Man's
swamp. Here tho tangles of thicket
and vine grew closer and denser. Birds
rose in frightened flight at our coming.
Once I saw a snake wriggle quickly
across our path.
"This is a gloomy part of the grounds,"
I returned. "It is near the swamp, is it
"Yes," said Portia, almost sullenly.
"Yes. I hate it. I never walk here. 1
don't know why I have come today. Is
it an omen, I wonder?'
"An omen of what?" I asked lightly.
"You surely do not expect to be voo
dooed." Again I paused abruptly at sight of
my friend's face.
"Voodooed I" she cried angrily. "What
do you mean? What do you know of
"Only what I have read and heard," I
"Oh!" she returned, as if relieved. "I
didn't know but some of the servants
had been chattering their abominable
stuff to you. I don't allow it to be talked
"Well, is there nothing in it, Portia.'"
I asked carelessly. "My driver was tell
ing me that it was a common rumor in
these parts that unholy rites are prac
ticed in that swamp, and as we came by
It last night I heard"
"What did you hear?' she demanded,
with distended eyes and quivering nos
trils. "I heard an awful cry a fearful
Bcream. Do you know I could only think
of one thing."
"Murder!" I scarcely breathed
Portia turned so pale I was alarmed.
VOh, my dear girl, forgive me for
speaking of these things when you are
already so unstrung. But why did we
come to this desolate spot.1 The very
surroundings suggest all sorts of ghastly
topics. Let us return."
But Portia went on down the slope
as if impelled by some unseen power.
Straight toward the swamp she went.
"Come back, dear," I urged; "come.
"Come aicay," the hissed.
A sudden quick turn in the path
brought us up against a high wall com
pletely overrun with creepers and other
"See!" whispered Portia. "See, beyond
that wall lies the swamp. Yes, it is a
gruesome place. I hate it! I fear it!"
My eyes running along the wall caught
the outlines of a door or gate half hid
den under the luxuriant growth of tan
gled and running vines.
"Why, Portia!' I cried, "hero is a
gate. Let us open it and have a peep
into thi3 land of terror."
As I pushed the vines away a cold
hand the hand of a corpse was laid on
mine. I turned in terror to seo Portia's
maddened eyes burning like hot coals
in her livid face.
"Come away," she hissed in my ear;
"come. Don't dare to try to open it.
TO BE CONTINUED.
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