A Easter Story
By CLARISSA MACKIE
Copyright by American Press Asso
Anne Wilbur walked to the window
and looked out at the spring sunshine.
Tall, graceful and very lovely, hei
slender form was silhouetted against
the light. There was no one to ad
mire Anne save the little orowu eyed
secretary across the room, and she
looked and adored with all her foolish
heart She thought it must be glorious
to be young and rich and lovely and
quite her own mistress, as was the
lease with her employer, but then the
little secretary thought of her own
large family of brothers and sisters
and was immediately very thankful
"that she was not as lonely as Anne
Wilbur, who lived in the stately house
with a cold and stiff guardian aunt.
Miss Wilbur looked out at the sun
shine and the deep grassv yard behind
the dwelling, with its careful grouping
of shrubs, its freshly raked brown
earth beds where prim rows of tulips,
daffodils and crocuses flaunted their
It was merely a city lot, yet money
and skill had combined to make it a
pleasant retreat from the glaring
streets or the stuffiness of the house in
midsummer. Sometimes in the early
morning Anne walked along the grav
eled paths, but it was used principally
by the servants in the big house, who
sought relaxation there after the day's
work was done.
At the rear wall of the yard there
abutted another lot inclosing a shabby
cottage which was sadly in need of
fresh paint the neglected yard sur
rounding it showed the accumulation
of a winter's debris. The charitable
mantle of snow which had covered it
.had now melted, exposing old bottles,
tin cans, rags, papers and broken
boxes to the searching light of the
spring sunshine. In all the yard there
was not one tuft of green grass, not a
flower nor anything that was beauti
fuland yet it was spring.
Anne Wilbur owned this shabby cot
tage, and a succession of destructive
tenants had ravaged the place of its
original cozy prettiness. At last, de
spairing of maintaining it in any sem
blance to respectability, she had or
dered it demolished, only to find that
her agent had unwittingly leased the
premises to a new tenant. The little
secretary had just read this news to
her from the agent's letter, and Anne,
with an indifferent shrug of her shape
ly shoulders, had walked to the win
dow that overlooked the cottage
For a moment there was vexation on
her face that her intention had gone
awry. The next dissatisfaction disap
peared at a sudden remembrance. In
a week she was to be married Her
fiance lived in a distant city. Sht
would not be obliged to contemplat'
from her rear windows the shabby
cottage, the tomato cans, the old
brooms, bottomless coal scuttles and
broken crockery It would be
others to view this inartistic scene
while she would look upon more invit
A moving van was backed up b&*
fore the door of the cottage, and in
its cavernous depths Anne could see a
pitiful gathering of furniture The
men began to unload the van, and
Anne noted that the few pieces,
though somewhat shabby and worn,
were of handsome quality and in ex
cellent taste She also saw that the
windows of the house had been bright
ly polished and that crisp, clean mus
lin curtains hung within.
These things promised a more am
bitious occupant for the house. Anne
turned to the secretary: "Miss Binns.
will you please telephone to Mr. Col
lins and ask bim about the new ten-
Presently Miss Binns returned. "Mr.
Collins says it is a widow and her lit
tie daughter. The mother is employed
in a millinery establishment down
town She seems a quiet, refined
young woman, and her name is Rod
man, Mrs Marcia Rodman."
Anne Wilbur dismissed the little sec
retary and turned once more to the
window, pressing her face against the
cold glass. The van had gone away
and all was silent about the shabby
cottage As she watched with hag
gard face the back door opened and a
woman accompanied by a child came
out and looked at the neglected yard.
The woman was small and slight,
with a dark, piquant face and sweet
lips. There was a flush in her cheeks
as she talked to the child, who was a
fairylike image of the mother. It
was evident that they were discussing
the possibilities of improving the
yard, and Anne wondered what they
could do, for it was plainly to be seen
that they were poor. When the moth
er and child had re-entered the cot
tage Anne left the window and sat
down before the glowing grate fire.
There was a fierce joy in her gray
eyes and her fine lips were scarlet
with the pressure she exerted to re
strain her emotion. It had come her
turn at last. Five years before she,
Anne Wilbur, a petted daughter of the
rich, had lost her lover to the poor
woman who now occupied her wretch
ed cottage. The girl had been a no
body, and thriftless Jack Rodman had
thrown over friends, position and pro
fession and eloped with the dark eyed
teanty. Jack had died afterward pen*
niless. Now his 'widow, straggling foi
a livelihood, had drifted back to the
city and into the cottage owned by
the deserted sweetheart.
Again she approached the window
and stared at the cottage. The moth
er and child were gathering the rub
bish into a heap, and presently they set
fire to it and watched it burn to ashes.
Presently the mother brought a trow
el and dug a small bed in the poor
soil of the yard, and the child plant
ed some flower seeds with eager mud
dy little fingers.
When that was done they came to
the dividing fence and peeped over
into Miss Wilbur's pretty garden.
There was a brave showing of crocus
es and tulips, and the strangers look
ed wistfully at the purple and gold of
the blooms then they turned and dis
appeared within the cottage.
The sun declined, sending long sift
ing rays of yellow across the yards and
finally into Anne Wilbur's thoughtful
face, now stern and severe.
Tomorrow's sun would rise on a fair
Easter morning the churches and
dwellings would be sweet with blos
soms. Her own church was noted for
its magnificent floral display, and she
knew that in the drawing room her
servants were arranging flowering
plants from her conservatory.
The barren little yard about the cot
tage haunted her and blotted out the
After awhile she strolled into the
conservatory and wandered through
the green alleys, touching here and
there a blooming rose or inhaling the
sweetness of a clambering jasmine
flower. Her gardener, James, was
working among the potted plants in a
"How many red geraniums have you
now, James?" inquired his mistress.
"About 300 plants, Miss Wilbur."
"And pansy plantsand sweet alys-
"About the same number, ma'am."
"Set aside a hundred plants of the
finest of each. Take two men over to
the cottage and clean out the yard
thoroughly. After that is done report
"It's getting late, Miss Wilbur," hesi
tated James respectfully.
"You will receive double wages for
overtime," she said coolly.
"Yes, ma'am," said James with alac
Anne thrust a bunch of bright eyed
pansies into the laces of her bosom
and went back to the library. She
seated herself at the desk and wrote
a brief note to her agent.
"Please have the cottage thoroughly
repaired inside as well as out. Con
sult the new tenant's wishes regarding
paint and paper. Try to start the
work by next Monday."
Later in the evening James reported
the task accomplished and received
other orders from his mistress, some of
which seemed impossible of accom
plishment, but Anne Wilbur possessed
a magic tool that could achieve aston
ishing results, and for the first time
she realized the value of the gold
which had always been hers and which
she had accepted as her natural birth
Before Anne retired that Saturday
night she peeped once more through
the window that overlooked the cot
tage yard. It was almost midnight,
and the little house was dark, but
there were shadowy forms moving
about the yard, and occasionally there
was the clink of a shovel against stone.
Anne drew back with a satisfied smile,
and as she mounted the broad stairs to
her room she hummed a little tune un
der her breath.
"Call me at 6, Marie," she said when
she dismissed her maid.
At 6 o'clock on Easter morning Anne
looked eagerly from the library win
dow toward the cottage. A strange
transformation had taken place over
night, for the trusty James had done
his work well.
Instead of the squalid disorder of the
bare, grassless yard there was a cov
ering of fine green turf. Quantities of
rich brown earth had been formed into
flower beds all around the house. Beds
of glowing red geraniums were massed
here and there, while gorgeous pansies
filled every available space that was
not occupied by snowy sweet alyssum.
It was like the transformation scene
in a pantomime
The back door of the cottage opened,
and Anne almost heard the cry of
amazement that burst from the lips of
Marcia Rodman and her little girl.
The mother stared with unbelieving
eyes, while the child danced with de
light among the floweis and then dis
appeared around the path that led to
the front of the cottage.
"Oh, mother," Anne heard her cry
"it's splendider in front than it is in
back. It's the beautifulest place we
ever lived in
The little mother pressed a hand
kerchief to her sweet eyes, and Anne
saw her approach the fence where
James had presented a placidly inter
ested countenance. He had been in
structed to say that his mistress wish
ed the grounds to be beautified for
Easter and that he was to take care
Anne saw the widow's eyes fill with
grateful tears as she turned them to
ward the big house, and then she knelt
down on the dewy grass and buried
her face in the fragrant alyssum.
Anne knew that she was praying. She
was probably asking God's blessing on
Anne Wilbur's proud head.
Then a transformation came over
Anne Wilbur's heart until it blos
somed like the barren cottage garden.
Tears filled her gray eyes, and through
the tears she seemed to see herself
grown stronger, more tolerant, more
pitiful. She saw herself making the
way smooth for Jack Rodman's wife
and child, and the brightness of the
Easter sunshine seemed to fall all
about her until she was enveloped in
a golden flood of happiness.
The Court of
A Nerve Trying Experience In a
By CLARISSA MACKIE
Copyright by American Press Asso
The broad mouth of the wonderful
Yangtsekiang is a turbid, muddy flood,
whose yellow stam colors the waters
of the Pacific for many miles Wood
ward's speedy motor launch darted
out of the little tidal tributary, Huang
po, -skimmed over the shallows of the
sand bar on which clumsy junks were
helplessly teetering and, easily riding
the choppy seas, turned southward and
bore along the coast.
Vance Woodward was of the con
sular service, and his friend Dr.
Leeds was a prominent physician in
the American concession of Shanghai.
Dr. Leeds removed his cap and let
the breeze ruffle his wavy thatch of
graying hair. "Jove, but it's good to
get away from pulses and pills once
in awhile! This day off with you will
make a new man of me, Vance."
The younger man looked up from
the wheel. "It's only fair to give your
victims a chance for life once In
awhile," he chuckled. "When old Chen
Sao gave me the tiffin basket he said,
*AU same bring back doctor manno
can do against the evil spirits without
he.' He also mentioned he was going
to burn some joss sticks before the
image of the god who watches over
those on the sea. How's that for ap
The doctor smiled cynically. "Old
rascal, that Chen Sao likes me be
cause I'm the only one who pretends
to take any stock in his multitude of
"Typical of his race, Chen Sao is
deep, and he is crafty. Once when I
took him to task for being asleep at
his post he blandly explained that he
had been born in the shadow of the
Court of Silence and Repose and con
sequently was subject to brief trances
in which he was transported to regions
of delight," remarked Woodward dry
ly. "I soon cut all that out"
"How?" asked the other with amuse
"Transported him to the culinary re
gions with a hop, skip and jump at the
LEEDS GRABBED HIS COMPANION'S HAND.
end of my walking stick and told him
to cut the opium out Been like a kit
ten ever since There's Chusan island
Want to run into Hangchow bay?"
"I'd rather stay out here, if you
don't mind It's heavenly to get away
from the filth and smell of the water
front," said the doctor, taking deep
breaths of the strong air.
"Suits me Speaking of the Court of
Silence has set me to thinking What
do you know about it?"
The doctor hesitated a brief instant
before replying Then, with a shrug of
his shoulders, he said slowly: "My ex
periencf is limited to two widely
separated cases la each instance the
7ictim had bpen brought to my office
in a state of catalepsy by anxious rela
tives, and both died. It was explained
that each one had dared to enter the
Court of Silence and had emerged to
fall in a fit As both men were from
Chekiang province I came to the con
clusion the Court of Silence must be
situated there, although no native
will divulge its whereabouts In reply
to my sharp questioning each and
every one replied vacantly "I have
forgotten. I have never been there
"That's just what old Chen Sao said
when I asked him about the place."
remarked Woodward disgustedly.
Woodward parted his lips to speak
when a curling wave struck the bow
of the launch and filled his mouth
with salt water. "Woof!" he splutter
ed, shaking his head. "Guess we bet
ter run in under shore. It's blowing
up quite a sea. Your eyes are better
than mine, doe. Do you make out a
group of trees yonder?"
The doctor squinted through his
arched hands. "Yesquite a grove un
less I'm mistaken Not a bad place to
sample Chen Sao's basket."
The launch was now headed for the
low lying shore that rapidly drew near
er with each onward leap of the little
craft It was a desolate bit of land
scape that met the eyeflat, level, un
interesting. Undulating pastures of
rank grass wavered into a serrated
horizon line: in the foreground was a
dark grove of thickly leaved chestnuts
the shore sloped down to a pebbly
Ifi *J\-ftf 4* jW**^3Sa4e.%ttsii
PRINCETON U3ST10JST: THUKSDAY, APRIL 27, 1911.
beach, on which the launch was care^
"Shall we eat?" asked Woodward
hungrily as he opened the basket and
spread sandwiches, fruit and wine be
The doctor's silent appropriation of
a sandwich signified his consent, and
the repast was unbroken save for an
occasional careless word. When it was
over and the basket had been replaced
Woodward stretched himself lazily and
felt for his pipe.
"Feel like taking a stroll?" he asked.
The doctor nodded and, lighting a
cigar, joined his companion, and to
gether they walked toward the grove
"Quiet enough here," muttered the
doctor as he reached for another cigar.1
"Too quiet for meseems almost un
canny. I haven't heard a bird song
since we landed, have you?"
"I don't recollect, Vance," said the
other, with a quick glance at the young
man. "If it's a case of nerves I can
fix you up in a jiffy," he said sugges
"I'll be glad if you will, doctor.
What's that?" He stopped abruptly
and pointed ahead.
Dr. Leeds looked curiously in the di
rection indicated. At first he could
see nothing save the green tangle of
undergrowth then against its back
ground there came into view the hide
ous outlines of a colossal idol. Before
they reached it they became aware
that they were passing between widely
placed columns that must once have
supported a temple roof, although
there was nothing overhead now save
the arch of chestnuts and the sky.
Chinese idols are notoriously ugly
and repulsive, and this one was no ex
ception to the rule. Above its painted
head there were curved and sinuous
bodies of reptiles that slid down upon
the massive shoulders like gigantic
ringlets. The painted reptiles grinned
and showed fangless mouths. One of
its many arms held a sword, and the
other hand was raised in a mighty
The doctor turned to his companion,
who was approaching the image with
interest in his concentrated gaze. "I
believe I'd have a picture of that fel
low if I had my kodak here." He stop
ped abruptly, for although he had
raised his voice in speaking not a
sound broke the stillness. He had open
ed his mouth and spoken the words
and they had died before utterance.
He was really mouthing at nothing.
He was dumb
At the same moment Woodward
looked back and threw a remark over
his shoulder. His startled glance and
sudden return to the doctor's side in
dicated that the doctor was not alone
in his strange affliction. He, too, had
spoken and his words had gone into
silence. A glance at the doctor's
blanched face was enough.
They shouted at each other, they
clutched each other by the shoulders
and shouted into ears that might have
heard if it had not been for the dull
cloud that seemed to settle down over
body and intellect. They were stand
ing directly under the great idol, and
its nearness seemed to exert some ma
levolent influence over them. They
looked up at the grinning image and
then they screamed desperately at
each other. The silence was awful.
When their words had vanished, so
to speak, they leaned breathlessly
against either foot of the idol and
stared at each other. Dr. Leeds was
endeavoring to concentrate his mind
upon the events of the past fifteen
minutes and hoped to arrive at some
rational elucidation of the mystery of
this silent placethis spot that com
pelled silence from its visitors. Within
this sixty foot parallelogram, outlined
by the columns, it was impossible to
utter a sound that might be heard.
There was only one thing to do, and
that was to get back to light and life
Leeds was stung to action. He had
been watching his companion's face
and saw it sink into dreamy abstrac
tion A sudden fear seized him that
Woodward might be overcomemight,
like the victims of the mysterious
Court of Silence, be frightened into fits.
With what might be called an un
yelled yell, for it died on his lips, Dr.
Leeds grabbed his companion's hand
and turned and ran down the narrow
path up which they had come. Wood
ward panted heavily beside him, never
seeking to withdraw his hand from the
other's violent grasp
At last the doctor, who had been
muttering formless words to himself
as he raced away toward the launch,
heard his words uttered on the air.
He repeated them and others. Then
he stopped and noticed with thankful
ness that Woodward's face was rapid
ly regaining its usual composure.
"What is it, doctor? Is it a great
silence or a great sound that dwarfs
all other sounds?"
The doctor shook his head. "It is
the Court of Silence, I believe," he said
slowly He flung himself over the
gunwale and sank down in the launch.
"Let's get back into the world, Vance
I can't stand any more of this," and
then, hesitating: "What do you make
of it all, Woodward? You have been
in the country longer than I. You must
know many things that I can only
guess at What is the Court of Silence?
Where is it that we have been?"
Woodward had pushed off, and the
launch was now clearing away* from
the flat shore where the dark group of
chestnuts loomed blackly. What blot
did they cover?
"What is the Court of Silence?" re
peated the doctor dreamily.
"t do not knowI have never been
there," said Woodward, with a vacant
smile, and then, as if unconscious of
his own words, his face broke into
eager inquiry, "What is the Cofcrt of
And the doctor's face drooped heavi
ly as he responded absently. "I do not
knowI have never been there"
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