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Newspaper Page Text
THE JASMINE TOKEN
By Walter Joseph Delaney
Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
A jasmine in a wooden box the
box painted red, the leavesgreen, the
flower white. It stood within the
open casement above the street, in
nocent looking enough, yet many a
man, passing on the opposite side of
the thoroughfare, gazed full upon it
Such pedestrians would slow up in
their walk, would look behind, in
front, around them. They they would
take in the figure of the man stand
ing inside the room beyond.
Quickly, deftly, this man, Sior
Franco, would engage in mysterious
finger signs. A message was seem
ingly conveyed. The men would pass
on a little more speedily Reaching
the corner and turning it, they would
start a swift run as though they had
become suddenly messengers bent on
an urgent and important mission.
This was at Ribera, an Italian town,
but held close in the Austrian clutch.
War was in the air. Half the popu
lation had fled to Milan. Sior Franco
had lingered. First, because of duty,
next, because Pepina, the pretty flow
er girl, lived in the same sprawling
tenement, and Franco loved Pepina.
She came tripping across the broad
court and into the room where the
jasmine was, eyes bright, face aglow.
She wore a token of mourning, a
crepe bow at the neck, but affliction
and bereavement could not quell love.
She took the hand of her affianced
lover with a warm clsp. Excitement
and anxiety were commingled in her
"It is tonight?" she asked eagerly.
"Yes, . surely tonight," assented
Franco, as he bent forward and rev
erently kissed her white forehead.
"The jasmine pot has done its mis
sion. My friends have received the
warning and there will be a hegira
before dawn It is well fnr alrpariv
the Austros are arresting those whom 1
they suspect Everyone so taken
makes one brave soldier the less for
the army of Italy."
"Ah! Had my brother but lived!"
said Pepina, her brow clouding, a
quiver of sorrowful memory crossing
her lips. "Shot as a spy, and I be
reft" "Except for me," interrupted Fran
co. "My sweet! Once over the bor-
Would Look Behind, in Front, Around
der you shall become a soldier's
She nestled closer to his protecting
embrace. Then suddenly:
"Ah, Franco, I forgot about this
pretty plant I loaned you. It belonged
to my dear brother, Cesaro. There
is a secret about it. I will tell you "
"What is that?" abruptly broke in
Franco. "The Austros!"
Following the ring of musket ends