'-shut himself up absolutely in his
Dome ana aamiuea no visitors.
if There had been reported mysterious
r jdsits of strangers from some other
towns two ladies, a gentleman who
suggested a physician. At times for
several days a woman was said to be
flitting about the upper rooms, but
never in the grounds outside.
Then one night a village lad pass
ing the place arrived at his home,
pale and breathless, with a queer
story to relate. He had seen a white
robed figure appear on an outer bal
cony of the house sfnging a wierd,
curdling strain and accompanying
the same with wild, frantic gestures
to'the rising 'full moon. A man had
'appeared, forcibly bearing her intd
the house amid her ringing screams.
There was a local art society and
several times Mr. Russell had lec
tured on studio work at the request
of its director. It was at the rooms
of the society that Mina, had met
him, and his statuesque face, classic
and clean-cut, had attracted her. He
had returned her greeting when he
met her on the "street, but nothing
-Mina conquered a natural innate
dread and went nearer to the house
and right up to the broken window.
She ventured to glance in through
the window to see if any further
damage -was done.
"Oh, dear!" palpitated Mina and
her -brow wrinkled in pretty dismay.
The snowball had landed against
a chandelier after bursting through
the pane. The impact had shattered
it, so solid was the well-packed ball.
Outspread upon- a drawing board di
rectly under the chandelier was a
sheet of paper, near to it drawing
utensils and ?ater color plaques.
There was heat in the house, it -was
evident, for Mina could see where
the particles' of grimed snow were
In a flash she realized the condi
tion. Here was possibly some fa
vored conception of the artist's fan
fx in peril of mutilation, possibly de
struction. The grime and wet would
irreparably damage the sheet Mina
acted on a speedy impulse. She. ran
around to the front door and rang
the -doorball frantically several times.
No one appeared in answer to her
summons. She sped back to the
"If it will only raise!" she uttered
breathlessly and she gave the lower
sash a push. To her perfect satis-;
faction it went up easily. Mina util
ized a nearby flower box for a plat
form, got through the window quite
gracefully considering her urgency
and reached the table.
"Just In time I am so glad!" Mina
uttered fervently to herself, andwith
the exception o one or two trifling
stains the sheet was unmarred after
she had swept it clear of the melting
snow. Only then didvher eyes take in
the subject of the almost completed
picture it was a portrait of herself!
A strange thrill pervaded her be
ing. The secret interest of . Victor
Russell in herself somehow stirred
her. She was startled from a puzzled
.reverie by a voice at the window.
"Whfit's the matter, lady? afire?
I saw yer climb in " and a wonder
eyed urchin drew back as Mina pre
cipitately got outside through the
"A snowball broke the window,"
she explained, "and I I was trying
to fix things," and then, literally, she
took to her heels, for, in the distance,
coming down the street, was Victor
And the urchin told Victor Russell
all he knew, which was enough to
enlighten the interested artist. He
was a frank, outspoken man and two
days later when he met Mina on the
street, he thanked her for her friend
ly efforts in his behalf.
"But it was all my fault," she con
fessed, aflush with embarrassment.
He did not allude to the portrait,
but after that the ice seemed broken;
He made no attempt at concealing
.his pleasure whenever they met at
the art rooms or on the street Then
xml | txt