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Newspaper Page Text
THE TELLTALE HANDS
By Ma rah J. Locke.
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman)
The beautiful - inusic steals out
upon the ambient air soft and sooth
ing, and I lean over and kiss the dear
hands at the piano. It is a vernal
paradise without, comfort and peace
within, and she the cherished queen
"You Are a Physician A Chemist?"
of it all. How could I live without
Go back with me five years and let
' me tell you a strange wierd story of
"which she, Alma, was the center and
' whose hands, now so raptly weaving
a delicious sonata, played a dreadful
yet heroic part in one of those life
dramas which called for sacrifice and
'devotion of no ordinary caliber.
It was in a third rate city of Aus
1 tralia that I had found myself after
wasting three years and a small in
1 heritance prospecting, speculating
i and trading. I had studied medicine
'and when I found myself with only
a few hundreds of my former thou
sands left, I bought out an obscure
pharmacy in Balleran. I had to play
the doctor free gratis in order to sell
my drugs, but it brought me a living
and, my old ambitions dead, I settled
down grudgingly to the poor exist
ence fate had awarded me.
One chill October evening I sat in
my little office back of the store
apartment when I heard the front
door open sharply and close as
abruptly. A veiled woman, young I
could guess from the rare grace of
her movements, brushed hastily past
the counter. Uninvited she passed
through the doorway, lifted her veil
and sank to a seat before the table at
which I was reading. Her breath
came in quick gasps, she was
trembling all over, her face was
"You are a physician a chemist?"
she asked instantly, with an appre
hensive glance over her shoulder in
the direction of the street.
I nodded assentingly. Her tragic
appearance, her statuesque pose,
above all her agitation and the love
liness of her face dumbed me. I
fancied L noted two lurking forms
slouch past the front window.
"Listen and act quickly," she di
rected. "There is your fee."
I stared hard. My strange client
had placed a hundred dollar bill on
the table. She pushed it toward me.
Its magnitude attracted and then be
"I wish you to procure and bring
to me in a saucer or some hollow
dish," went on the young woman,
"some corrosive fluid that will will
remove a blemish from the skin."
I regarded her wild rose face, un
able to detect a flaw in its velvety
softness. Was she meditating sui
cide was she a prospective vitrol
thrower? I managed to speak with
professional steadiness, although in
a deep maze of speculation and dis
trust. "There are a number of such
acids," I said.