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Newspaper Page Text
P THE SONGBIRD
f ' By Victor Radcliffe.
A beautiful young -woman stand
ing at the window of a drawing
room, superbly furnished, a young
man leaning "towards lier.-Jall, aris
tocratic looking, graceful and composed-
and with a fine intellectual
face this was-jthe picture. The day
was sadly dying; all nature dim and
eere, and a weird mournfulness at-
She Sank to the Window Seat.
tached to the actors in a vital life
drama and their environment.
This was White Shadows, with
princely hospitality known far and
wide to the polite world of its dis
trict. The young man was the
brother and the lonely girl the warm
est friend of widowed Beatrice Lane.
"You are determined Lura?" the
young man was saying, eer go slight
a shade of coldness showed In the
delicate curve of his finely chiseled
Lura Belden lifted both hands
clasped in a pleading, distressed way.
Her eyes were tender, her voice gen
tle and appealing.
"Elwyn," she said softly, but with
intense eagerness, "it is only two
bright years of my life that I ask, not
for myself just for art's sake and
and for others."
"Then it is good-bye," definitely
responded Elwyn Durand, almost
harshly. "The lure of applause, the
dower of gold must I meet it at
every step? It is unworthy of you
to throw self and frame into the frail
scales as against the love of a true
and honest heart."
"Oh, you do not understand," cried .
Lura, but he was gone. She sank to
the window seat and watched the
dull, dark sun go down in a veil
of misty gloom. Her eyes stared
straight ahead as though life had
suddenly become a void, happiness
a mockery and love a lie.
"The songbird, Lura," thus they
had called her, and truly she of the
rapt, glorious voice, whose varied ac
cents thrilled the men and drove
women to tears, soothing wonder
eyed little ones to placid sleep and
making all the world love her.
The gift had been born with Lura.
When a great business crash had
wrenched from her mother a royal
fortune she had come to the rescue
with her peerless voice. First her
'public singing had been confined to
special programmes at the homes of
the wealthy of her own set, where
she was an honored guest. Then
twice she had sung with a great
opera company to fill the place of a
cantatrice suddenly taken 111.
She had won laurels unexpected,
the public prints discovered a real
imperatrice. Offers had come to her
that were bewildering to her girlish
"Qnly two years, EJwyn,'-&Ue ha4
tr i "Y - "-fr"