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In the midst of the "long prayer" nt
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leaned oer to bis mother und whis
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nm nwful tired of sitting still."
MM Morn in
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15 he Mystery of
Copyright by George 11. Dortn Co.
CHAPTER XIV Continued.
lie paused and looked nt me ns If
to see whether he wns reaching any
hidden spring which If touched and
Mining would open the secret, lie
did not believe I wns truthful.
"Mr. Sidney's life Is open, honorable
mid full of nothing but good for fifty
years back," Morgan continued. "We
have Investigated very thoroughly.
But fifty years back, Mr. Sidney ills-
appears, evaporates. There Is no Mr.
Sidney that can bo found. We find
n young mnn of twenty, and nothing
back of him. There wo stop. It Is
I a blind alley. You come to nothing
but a wall. That stopped Investiga
tion. "Now, I go a good deal by hunches
call It Intuition, guessing, Inspiration.
It Is not good detective method. I
don't claim It's good detective work.
I never work on a hunch nnd neglect
a. rational method, but frequently
when I do work on n bit of guessing
we get results.
"I've been working, around here, on
n guess that was so wild when It first
started that It seemed too preposter
ous even for m6. I'll tell yon tint t we
nre not Investigating Mr. Sidney nny
more. We nro looking for another
person, nnd I believe we nre going to
find him. Then we nre going to find
some one else. Doctor, I tell you. If
you don't know It, as you say. It Is
the strangest case I ever have known.
It Is one of hate. M' -d, I'm only
Thnt touch was so Impressive that
I betrayed an emotion. He saw It.
"I had you there," he said.
"Mr. Morgan," I snld, "you will not
believe me, and for that reason It Is
useless for mo to say and keep on say
Jng thjit I know of nothing here I
could help you on. You suggested
something io me Just now, and you
saw that you had done so. But that
was because of a coincidence Imma
terial to what you call a case."
"Very well." sa'ld MofgAn. "I did
not expect to get abend by comliig
here, but I want to bo fair and reason
able. You do not know anything, but
I am not allowed to talk to any one
who might know."
"You have talked to .Ted," I said.
"You cannot reasonably expect to be
allowed to annoy the ladles of the
house or to flutter the servants. Mr.
j fSIdney Is very III and very weak.
I you would refrain from Introduc-
' lug your case to him If you -au him.
I If we seem to avoid jour Inquiries
I It Is unfortunate. We have nothing
"I follow my hunch," snld Morgan,
getting to his feet. "If I am right,
snmetlilng will be revealed '.hat even
I could not compromise. I am afraid
ymi must prepare yourself for some,
"I have told you before that you
must select your own course," 1 re
plied, nnd Morgan took bis leave, driv
ing away through the snow.
We had our Christmas eve In Mr.
Sidney's room. He was very feeble
physlenlly and could be raised on pil
lows in bed but nothing more. Hut
he was the spirit of joviality, lie
hail .led sit In a great armchair by his
bed. and early In the evening he hail
a bottle of claret opened for him.
Nothing would do but Mrs. Sidney and
Isabel should have a bottle of Madeira,
nnd I had a whisky toddy. A great
punch-bowl was brought In, nnd .led
mixed gallons of llquur nnd ninny
spices in It.
Four of the men servants came in
with u great log for the tire, and had
Mr. Sidney Evidently Was Determined
I t0 Corrupt the Wholo Household.
large cups of punch before they went
out Mr. Sidney evidently wns deter
mined to corrupt the whole household.
I'll never be able to give an nde
quaM Idea of the Joviality of that
Christmas eve In the sick-room. Mr.
Sidney und Jed bad conspired for
some months to mnke a festival.
Our dinner, served In Mr. Sidney's
room, brought n boar's hend, carried
by a laughing maid.. Wine was sent
to the servants. Isobel found a pearl
necklace In what had seemed to be n
baked sweet potato. I found a gold
wntch In n box under n few leaves of
lettuce. Mr1!. Sidney found merely n
note in a bunch of violets which wns
given her with ceremony.
She read It and had difficulty to re
mnln wholly composed. She nrose nnd
went to her husband, taking one of
his hands mid putting an nrm about
his shoulders. Then she kissed him
nnd stood a moment before the fire
before she trusted herself to come
back to the table.
When the dinner wns done nnd the
covers were removed, more wine was
brought In. A large Chrlstmns tree
was lighted, and all the servants were
called. Knch found a valuable present
in the tree; each had punch from the
great bowl, and ench, coming to slinke
Mr. Sidney's band, wns given by Jed
an envelope which, I learned after
ward, contained n hundred-dollar bill.
There wns no constraint nnd no
nwkwiirdnes such as might ninrk
Mich proceedings; the people of the
hou-t knew Mr. Sidney too well. One
of the maids kissed him, and then we
hud them all doing It.
I was fearful that the excitement
would Injure him, but he was plncld,
smiling nnd happy. When we were
alone, we snt an hour by the lire, and
then I dismissed every one peremptor
ily. Jed, who had been about his duties,
returned. The lire was tended. An
other bottle of wine was ordered. I
had my Inst look nt Mr. Sidney nllve
ns I stood by the door giving Jed
his final instructions for the night.
Jed sat In the armchair. All the
lights except one by Jed's chair .had
been extinguished. The I'erslnn cat
was stretched by Mr. Sidney's side.
The canaries were asleep perched on
the head of his bed. The fire was
"Good night, Mr. Sidney," I said.
"Good niyht, Jed. A pleasant eve
ning." "Good night, doctor," snld Mr. Sid
ney. "Just a minute, boy. Come here."
He reached out his hnnd.
"Good-bye," he snld.
Mr. Sidney filed between three nnd
four o'clock Clulstmas morning. He
passed so easily that Jed, sleeping
In the lounge-chair beside him, did
not know that death had gone through
the chamber until nn hour after the
event. Jed awnkened me. In the ease
of such n expected happening as this,
the perceptions start slowly. The
fact thnt Hie benignity which so Im
perceptibly had dominated the bouse
had ceased to exist took hours to ns
Jed was composed when he aroused
me. Later, when the sun came up to
make radiant all the white witchery
the storm left, his sense of loss began
to assert itself, and nettle as was the
grief In the house, none was deeper
seated or more profound than that of
the rascally old servant.
Mrs. Sidney accepted the event with
a serenity which I discovered after
ward was horn of a long-fixed resolu
tion. For years her life had been a
denial of her moral Instincts happy,
In spite of that, because of her great
devotion to the wonderful man she
loved. The chapters which he domi
nated In her book were ended. With
tenderness -he lafd them aside.
Isobel did not permit herelf In
dulgence in any weakness. What had
happened was written in Hit' contract
of life. " In later full knowledge of
Isohel, I never ceased to admire the
wonderful acceptlvlty with which she
met her trials. Nothing came to her
with catastrophic shock. She had
reality within her vision, and she per
ceived. For myself I saw the, end of a mode
of life which, even when unhappy.
had been ecstatically so. My reason
for being In Hartley bouse lay dead
' in bed.
; I should look back, I knew, many
times, as a struggling practitioner,
possibly In poorer districts of the city,
possibly In n small town, to the
strange but beautiful time when I was
I at Hartley. This experience would be
nuly an episode, remaining us the
memory of a time when my life halted
, for a wonderful moment, satisfying,
rich and joytui, nnuuavtng nan tins
moment went oh In the drab fashion
ordained for It. ' An occasional kindly
letter from Mrs, Sidney, or possibly
I from Isobel, might quicken the mem
ory, but I anil this period would fade
from their lives us It never could from
mine. I should be pncklng a pill
case on late und unprofitable rounds
in thnt soul-destroying routine with
Its ceaseless Invasion of the Intimate
personal economics of uninteresting
people, abnormally- egoistic In the pain
of a small or large disorder the
cheerless life of a small physician,
serving his useful purpose, I have no
doubt, but how little serving his own!
We got through Christmas day In
a dazed fashion, The necessary ofllces
for the dead compelled r routine
which relieved the tension, although
they contributed a dulled terror to the
day those terrible, exacting practical
details with which some one In the
bereaved family must occupy himself.
Mortuary detail! are Joccne to the pes
simist. I know no more comic figure
than nn undertnker, no more gigantic
shaft of human egotism than n tomb
stone. Mr. Sidney, we found, had left brief
but explicit directions for his burial.
This, In the ense of a mnn with life
so well conceived, was strange, but
his wishes, as we found them, were
simple and startling. He was to be
burled by the river, close to the pool
which had been Invested with the ndd
ed charm of a ghost-story. His grave
was to be marked by an unostenta
tious stone. The Inscription wns to
he as ho directed In n noto In n scaled
enclosure to be opened at the time
Mrs. Sidney thought appropriate.
It might be, he hnd written, thnt
Mrs. Sidney would not want the stone
erected during her life. Her wishes
were to bo consulted. When the grave
was marked, If It ever was, the In
scription was to be as he directed.
Mrs. Sidney, acquainted with the
terms of this extraordinary mortuary
note, said thnt it was her wish to have
the sealed envelope opened Immediate
ly and Its Instructions carrjed out.
Christmas night hnd set In, nnd the
place was a fairyland of glistening
white. Far-off-churcb-bells sounded
faintly ncross the snow. In the In
creasing cold, following the ubatement
of the storm, timbers In the old house
creaked and snapped, and when one of
the people of the house, on an outdoor
chore, passed within earshot, the sound
of footsteps was audible and the crisp
crunching which, even as does a high
wind, emphasizes the comfort of a
secure and warm shelter.
I was In the ofllce when Mrs. Sid
ney's Instructions to open the sealed
enclosure were received.
I proceeded to do so. There wns
a brief note, as follows:
I desire the marking on my gravestone,
when It Is put up, to read:
Born May 22, 1840
I was holding that document, star
ing nt It, and grasping for elusive
threads of perception, when Jed enme
hi. Ho carried a manuscript In his
Jed drew n chair up to the fire by
my side. It wns with a strange feel
ing of relief that I accepted the sig
nificance of the manuscript he carried.
"I'm a strange man, doctor," ho said
by way of beginning. "You'd never
understand me. I'm n strange man
and I do strange things. I'm going to
do one now. I've seemed conscience
less, haven't 15"
"I've never tried to conceal my
opinion of you," I said.
"No, yon haven't. I like a candid
mnn. That's why I've always liked
you, although I can't say much for
your Intelligence. But you're honest.
I'm not honest, but I'm Intelligent.
I've looked at my life as something
to make the best of, and I haven't
been foolish about scruples.
"I've managed my chances, and I
linve not allowed sentlmentallsni to
stop me when something real was to
lie gained. It's a real world, not a
fanciful one. That's the way I think."
"Half the people would be swinging
on gallows," I suggested. "If your ami
able Ideas prevailed generally."
"That's copy-book stuff that's so Ir
ritating," he said. "The only thing
extraordinary about mo Is my candor.
My Ideas do prevail, but the people
who adopt them have less frankness.
But what I wunt to say Is that I'm
going to do a strange thing. You'll
probably think it nn act of contrition.
It Isn't at all, but you'll think it so.
However, that's unimportant.
"You may not know It, but I wns
very fond of Mr. Sidney. He wns the
best friend I ever had or ever shall
"Now, I have guarded against nct-
Ing Impulsively or sentimentally. I
know I am in nn acutely emotional
condition. -I hnve guarded against
that. I am still considering the world
as a real world and myself iih a real
cteatur! In It. And hero's the way
I figure It. Mr. Sidney's death has
taught me that materialism Is not
enough. It is necessury, but there Is
something else. 1'vo got to find an
other something else. That's more
Important than nny money or comforts
physical that I can find.
"Where Is this something else to lie
found agnln If not right here In this
family? I have determined to remain
In your service nfter you marry Miss
Sidney, and to take care of you nnd
her and Mrs. Sidney. I couldn't leave.
The roots are too deep. I could be
cut down but not dug up. I'm too
old. Sons a real creature In a rea
world I consult my real good, now as
always, and 1 hope ! do not seem to
you to be acting sentimentally,"
"You seem to me to be wholly crnzy,"
I said. "When you speak of Miss Sid
ney's mnrrluue (0 me, you are not only
Ironic; you nre cruel, I should think
that this particular day might muke
you at least considerate."
"lou re tne niinuest man 1 ever
knew," snld Jed. "but I'm not dealing
with what you think hut with what
I know. I told you once your engage
tnent was an unreal thing and that
I did not consider it nt nil. Later I
took that duck, now i can tell you
thnt It Is a very 'col thing, but It Is
different now with ma. I have suffered
a shock. Something's Oie matter with
my world.' It Is not bold ol confi
dent. "What I'm getting nt Is thla." He
held up the manuscript. "This is Mr.
Sidney's diary I have talked to Mrs.
Sidney. She thinks, as I think, that
you should re.td It. You'll probably
wnnt to confirm what I sny, 4U'U
have to nsk Mrs. Sidney. I know you
are Itching to rend It. I also know
thnt If one of your scruples Inter
vened, you'd let your Itch go unscratch
ed. But this Is what I came In for,
nnd here's the manuscript.
"You understand thnt In giving It
to you I surrender unconditionally. I
know It, but I wnnt friends. The only
one I had Is dead ; I must make other
The extraordinary fellow shook my
band, left the manuscript In my Inp
und went out, a more pftthetlc figure
of sorrow than I ever expected to
see In Jed.
I went nt once to Mrs. Sidney. Jed,
I snld, hnd left the dlnry with me.
"I Think You Should Read It, John,"
Would It serve nny useful purpose for
me to read It, or should It not go di
rectly to the fire?
"I think you should read It, John,"
she said. "I told Jed so. He Is very
shrewd. Ills judgment nnd mine In
this case agree."
I went back to the office, put a log
on the fire nnd sat down to read the
I shall not pretend to give more
tbnn an Idea of the mannscrlpt I rend
there by the fire that night. It was
narrative and reflection and contained
the story of the life of Arthur Dobson,
known to me heretofore as Mr. Sid
ney. I shall give extracts from It:
"A family is an odious imposition
of cruel conventionalities upon Indi
viduals who, accepting conventions,
however odious and cruel, are helpless.
The bond of blood Is one no animal
(animals being rationalistic) tolerates,
even recognizes, but It Is Imposed up
on hnman beings, who find that thtf
most antagonistic natures must rec
oncile themselves to an arbitrary mil
of life which etin come only to hhkl
"There were In onr family two chll-
dren, my brother Richard and myself.
Our parents were the ordinary folk
who marry nnd have a family. My
father was an uncommunicative man,
whether from n habit of silence or a
lack of anything to say, I do not
"My mother, ns I reenll her, was
gentle but, I Imagine, futile. I think
If she had had a chance of establish
ing a personality my silent, gluio fa
ther had destroyed It.
"Richard was my elder by two years.
My father was wealthy, very wealthy,
ind Rielmrd and I were not disciplined
us to money. My fnlhw was not pe
nurious, but I never knew n man who
obtained so little good of his mont-y.
He had no social Instincts; he had no
"He liked occasional ostentation a
petty form t vanity und ef-otlstn. I
regarded hltn, or my memory of blm,
as wholly detestable a sentiment
which will offend the sentimentally
conventional, or the conventionally sen
timental. I know he was the lnst iuno
I would have chosen ns a father.
(TO HE CONTINUED.)
Autograph Hunter's Coup.
Autograph hunting sometimes
proves n most profitable pursuit. I.ud
ovlc l'icard, n French Bohemian of
the TiOs, made a steady Income out it
It for several years.
One of his most successful coups
wns accomplished with a fetter In
which he posed as "a member of the
unhappy rnce of the unappreciated
who Is meditating suicide nnd seeks
for counsel nnd aid In this hour of
This drew a number of celebrities,
including Bernnger nnd Heine. I.ncor
dalre sent him ten closely written
pages, which were promptly converted
Pickens nlso fell a victim of his
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him In French. Kventunlly IMcnrd was
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