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THE MYSTERY OF MONA HOUSE. *i i%U •••• t ©8®© By CHARLOTTE M. BRAEME. ®22® o®8® _ _2©2® The house had been empty for some time, and had a weird, forlorn aspect. The windows were broken, the railings rusted, and tall, rank weeds filled the garden. Yet it was, to my mind, the prettiest house in the terrace. It was separated from the others and overloked a broad ex panse of green meadow land. We—that is, my mother and I ;—came to live in Western terrace some nine years before the story I have to relate opens. Western terrace is the last row of houses in that pretty outskirt of London which I wrill call Surbiton. The beautiful, fertile country lay fair and smiling on either side of us; in the far distance we caught a glimpse of a chain of blue hills. The mea dows were green and studded with white and golden flowers. The Terrace is far from the city, far from all the haunts of men; there are no shops near it; no busy crowds ever pass by. The silence of the summer evenings is unbroken, save by the singing of the birds and the distaut chiming of the church bells. When we first came to live here, the next house was empty. My mother often wondered that no one took it; but there were many ob jections; it was so far from all the shops; then it lay back, apart and distant from all the other houses; there was, too, a grove of solemn, melancholy pine trees near it, air! on wintry nights the wrind wailed and moaned there until it shook one's nerves. sun, 1 Deneve tne real reason wny no one cared to take it was that a dreadful murder had been committed there. In the silence and stillness of a dark night a deed had been committed in Mona House that cried up to high heaven for vengeance. We never cared to inquire about the particulars. It was some sad story of an unhappy marriage—a few years of sullen resentment and gloomy misery—a wild outburst of hot anger—a fierce and cruel blow, followed by the stillness and hor rors of death. Perhaps, before telling my little story, I should introduce myself, in order that you may fully understand why I relate it. My mother, Mrs. Gresham, had been for some years a widow. I was her only child. My profession was that of a barrister and I am glad to say I stood fore most in the ranks. My mother had ar ample fortune of her own and my father had bequeathed to me the savings of a iong life. My mother loved the country; she could not endure the city. She must have fresh, pure air, large rooms, green fields. I was obliged to live somewhere near town. We found exactly what we wanted in Western Terrace. It was in the country, yet within an omnibus ride of the city. We had many friends, many acquain tances, but no relatives living. Pew weeks passed without my mother giving a dance of an evening party. We had a constant succession of visitors, and altogether life in West ern Terrace was very gay and agree able. Strange to say, and unlike most mothers, mine wished me to marry. I had already reached the mature age of thirty-six, and had never yet been in love. I laughed at the no tion. I had seen pretty girls and beautiful women, but no face, as yet, charmed or haunted me. My mother continually made a point of inviting young and attractive girls to the house. It was all in vain; love to me was a stranger. It happened just at this time that I was confined to the house for a week or two, from the effects of a severe cold, and then it became to me a source of continual amusement to watch Mona House and the doings there. I rom a dull, dusty, dirty building it gradually changed into a bright, light, cheerful one, with freshly painted railings. It amused me to watch the arrival of large vans of furniture and other effects. We often speculated as to what our neigh bors would be like. Would they be old or young, dull or sociable? For some time after all the arrange ments at the house had been com pleted there w'as no sign of them. An elderly -woman of respectable ap pearance took up her abode there. We saw' no arrival or the usual fore runners of a family moving. Once I heard (late in the evening and quite dark) the sound of a carriage, driving slowly up to the next door. I could distinguish some slight con fused sounds, and in a few minutes it drove away again. Three days afterwards I was walk ing home, when suddenly, at one of the upper window's of Mona House, I caught sight of a face that I shall never forget. The fair, pale face of a lady, w'ith the saddest expres sion in her dark eyes I ever beheld; a beautiful face, set in a frame of golden hair, with sweet, patient lips, that looked too grave and mournful to smile. * I cannot tell w'hy the face affected me so keenly; it seemed like the realization of a want I had long felt ■—like the completion of a dream. In that one moment it was photo grahed on my heart, and will be there till I die. All night long it haunted me; those sweet, sad eyes seemed ever looking into mine. I longed to hear the voice that should come from those patient lips. I told my mother that our new neighbors had arrived, and that one of them was a most fair and lovely lady. "It is strange,” she remarked, “that I have neither seen nor heard anything of them.” And as the days went on the fact grew more and more strange. We neither saw nor heard anything of them. I could not obtain another glimpse of the fair, sad face ihat haunted me. I am not ashamed to say how much I tried to do so. I lingered in the road and watched from the window, but there was no sign of it. Other things struck me as strange and mysterious. Whoever resided there—whether the lady I had seen was alone or not, I could not tell; but no one ever called. I never once saw friend or guest or visitor approach that closed door. The post man never took letters to Mona House. No one ever crossed the threshold; it was silent and solitary as a large tomb. Early in the morning I saw the old servant at work; but look when I would, whether in the bright, warm flush of morning or in the dewy evening, early or late, I could not see the pale, lovely face I could never forget. Was she maid, widow, or wife? I could not tell. I might have lived a thousand miles from Mona House, and I should have known just as much of it as I did then. We won dered often whether any one else lived with the lady I had seen. Once again I saw her. It was early in the morning. Unable to sleep, I had come out into the gar den to look for some favorite cfowers. She was in her own garden, leaning against the lattice-work that sepa rated our grounds from those of Mona House. She had gathered a few flowers, but during her fit of musing they had fallen from her hands. For full half an hour I stood under the flowering lilac trees, drinking in the beauty of the pale, drooping girl, who neither moved nor stirred. Presently the old wom an came out and touched her gently on the arm. “Come in, Miss Clarice, and .ake some breakfast,” she said. “You look tired to death. A long sleep will do you as much good as l'resh air.” Slowly and wearily the girl fol lowed the old servant into the house. “Why should she be worn and j wan? Why should she be tired or wearied?” I asked myself. “Why should she have watched through the long hours of night? What shadow had fallen upon the young life? What was the mystery hanging over Mona House? There was no guilt, shame or crime. I could have doubted any thing rather chan the pale, sad face upon which the morning sun had shone so lovingly. I asked ray mother to make some advances towards our neighbor. She tided to do so but her efforts were all in vain. The lady seemed to shrink from observation, and only wished to avoid notice. At last we began to notice that a closed carriage stopped once a day at the door; a gentleman descended from it, and remained some few minutes in the house. For a long time I wondered who he could be; one day I saw him plainly, and re cognized the celebrated physician, Dr. James. The mystery seemed now to be solved; doubtless the lady was a great invalid—thr.t accounted for her pale face and utter seclusion from all society. I told my mother of my discovery, and she, always kind of heart, resolved to do some thing to help and aid the young girl who seemed so utterly friend less. The next time she saw the old housekeeper, my mother stopped her and Inquired after the health of her mistress. ivxy mistress is quite well, re plied the woman, taken by surprise and thrown off her guard. T am glad to bear it,” said my mother. ‘‘I was afraid, from Dr. James’ frequent visits, she might be ill.” Something seemed to come over the woman, like a start of recollec tion. "She is not well,” she stammered, “but there is nothing serious the matter.” There -was a strange hesitation about the old servant that my mother could not understand. “Can I be useful to her in any way?” she asked again. “No!” replied the woman abrupt ly; “she wants nothing but quiet.” My mother saw there was some thing constrained about her manner; she 4noticed, also that she seemed anxious to end the conversation. From that time the housekeeper avoided all chance of meeting with any one from our house. But for tune favored me again. A few evenings afterwards I was in the garden. The lady from Mona House stood, holding a heavy flower pot in her hand. She was trying to open the door of the little conserva tory. I cannot tell if a small slate fell from the house-roof, or if some one passing along the wall flung a stone; I saw only one thing; the heavy flower-pot was broken into a hundred pieces, and the little white hands that held it were fearfully cut and bruised. In one moment I had leaped over the wall and stood by her side. “Are you hurt?” I cried. I shall never forget the look she turned upon me; it was one of the most intense terror. “How did you come here?” she asked. “Who are you?” I never in my life saw anything like the wild fright in her eyes; her face was white an,d quivering. “I am your next-door neighbor,” I replied quickly; “from my garden I saw the accident which happened, and came to help you.” “I am not hurt,” she said faintly. “You must be,” was my reply, pointing to a large crimson stain on her dress; “see how your hand is cut. You look faint; sit here and rest, while I tell your servant.” “No,” she gasped, rather than spoke, while her feeble fingers clutched my arm, “no, no; do not enter the house.” I bowed, and was turning away, when she said, gently: “You are very kind, and I thank you very much indeed. Pray do not think me rude or ungrateful.” “It would be impossible to imag ine you either,” I replied. “Let me at least bind up your hand. I saw her give one quick, eager glance at the windows of the house, then with the trusting simplicity of a little child she laid that little white hand in mine. Nothing ever took me so long as that act of kindness did. It was like the realization of a bright dream to see that fair, sad face—to look into the sweet, shy eyes. I was obliged to finish at last, and then she gave me a grateful, gentle smile. “Do not thank me,” I cried, see ing she was about to speak. “Will you grant me one favor? Will you allow me to call and see how your hand is to-morrow or in a few days time?” 'Fray do not ask me, she said, in such evident terror I could not persist in the demand. Seeing my presence really dis tressed her, I went away, bearing with me a passionate love of the fair, sad face, haunted by the musical tone of that sweet voice. Yet afterwards, in thinking over the interview, I was more at a loss than ever. What was the mystery'? Why did she look so frightened? Why did she evidently dread lest I should enter the house? What was concealed or going on there? My dear mother was moved to compassion when I related the in cident. ■') shall certainly go in and see her,” she said. “Poor young lady! I cannot help thinking she suffers from a nervous disease.” That evening when I returned home, she, my mother, had a strange tale to tell me. She looked pale and scared. “Paul,” she said, when we were seated alone in the drawing-room. "I have had a great fright to-day. I have been to see our next-door neighbor.” Before I had time to reply she continued: ''Yes, I have been to see her; but I shall never go again. There is something either very mysterious or very wrong going on there. The old servant seemed terri fied when she met me. I asked to see her mistress. At first she said the young lady was engaged; then she said her mistress was not at home. What alarmed me so much was that as I turned to leave the room, I heard a noise. ‘‘I cannot, describe it,” continued my mother, shuddering, and turning quite pale; "it was unlike anything human—unlike anything I have ever heard. Just as I stood still, paral yzed by the awful sound, I distinctly saw the young lady herself cross the landing above the stairs.” “It. seems very strange,” I replied, musingly. “She was evidently in the house the whole of the time,” resumed my mother. “What can be the reason of her mysterious seclusion? What could be the cause of that fearful sound?” Even as we sat, trying to solve the mystery of Mona House, there came a violent ringing at the hall door. ‘ Who can be there?” said my mother. ‘‘It is eleven o’clock.” Before I had time to reply the old servant from the next house hastily entered the room, and went straight up to my mother. Will you come in to see my mis tress now, directly?” she said. “He is dying at last, and she is all alone.” "Who is dying?” asked my be wildered mother; but the woman had gone out again, and we followed. In silence we entered Mona House and followed her up the broad stair case. We heard a strange, half moaning sound. The old woman opened the door of a room, and we entered. I can never forget the sight. On a bed near the fire lay a most beau tiful boy; but at one glance we comd see be was not only an idiot, but also dumb. A mass of short golden curls lay on the pillow. His large, bright eyes wandered restlessly. The beau tiful face was flushed, and the damp of death hung heavily on the broad, white brow. From his lips there came incessantly that moaning, half articulate sound that chilled one’s very blood. By his side knelt the gentle lady I loved so well. She rose as we entered the room, and coming towards us, said, simply; “You have been kind before; be kind to me again. He is dying and I am all alone.” My mother—Heaven bless her for it!—clasped the slender, girlish fig ure In her arms, and kissed the vhite face over and over again. Then we knelt by the side of the bed. Hour after hour passed, and no sound was heard, save the moaning of the poor dumb boy and the biiter sobs of his sister. The gray dawn of morning ap peared before the struggle ended, and the beautiful face wore the pallor and stillness of death. Then, while tears rained down her face, Clarice Holte told her simple story. Her father had been a wealthy London merchant, who had made a large fortune entirely by his own skill and exertions. He died when Clarice was fourteen, and her little brother a babe in his mother’s arms. She told us of her mother's de spair, when the toy, who had the most beautiful face and soft golden curls, was declared to be utterly and hopelessly imbecile. From that time she withdrew herself entirely from the world. She went no more into society; she shut herself up with her children, and devoted every moment, every thought, every tare of her life to her boy. Clarice willingly shared her solitude. When she was eight een her mother died. Then the real troubles of this life commenced for Clarice Holte. On the mother’s death-bed she exacted from the young girl a promise that, while her brother lived, she would devote her life to him, even if it obliged her to forego all love and all happiness. Clarice promised, and she kept her word nobly. To her great alarm one or two friends wished her to send the boy to a public asylum, saying he would be better cared for. Then she determined upon leaving her old home and going to some se cluded, quiet spot, where no one who knew her could find her—where- she could devote herself, as her mother naa acme, to me unfortunate boy. Her faithful old nurse discovered the house in Western Terrace. It suited them exactly, and in the f lence of the night the poor idiot was brought home. It vva ; a heavy bur den for young shoulders to carry. The constant watching, both night and day, drove the bloom from the fair face, and imprinted there a look of dreamy sadness, pitiful to see. To add to her troubles, poor Her bert began to droop; he pined after his dead mother, and could noc be comforted. Ur. James at ill attended him, as he had done during his mother’s life. Clarice lived in con tinual dread lest the kind but offi cious friends, who were so anxious to remove her brother from her care, should discover her residence. Hence her terror when 1 suddenly ap peared in tlie garden. She believed herself discovered. For the same reason, she dreaded any one visiting or entering the house, fearing that, if her brother’s existence became known, she would he deprived of him. The mystery was solved at len S'th. We helped Clarice—we stood by her when her brother was laid in the pretty cemetery near Surbiton. We soothed her sorrow, and helped her to bear her grief. Gradually the shadow passed from the fair face, and the lilts learned to smile. She looked perfectly happy, one morning, when the golden sunbeams fell upon her, and we stood side by side at the altar. She looked per fectly happy, for on that morning Clarice Holte became my wife.— Good Literature. To Mark the Okl Trails. In Kansas an effort is being made to have the Legislature appropriate funds to mark the course of the Santa Fe trail, which is perhaps the most historic highway in the Union. In California a society lias been formed to locate the route of "el ca mino real,’’ or kings nignway, the road used by the Franciscan mission aries from Mexico who founded mis sions from San Diego to San Fran cisco more than a century ago. It is proposed to restore this road and make of it a wide boulevard for its whole length. The project is thus practical as well as sentimental, a circumstance which augurs well for its success. Many historic trails remain to be marked, however, and the work will have to be inaugurated soon if it is to be done at all. The wagon trails from the Missouri River to Sait. Lake City on the south and to Fort Fetter man on the north will soon be oblit erated through disuse. The railroads have long ago taken all the traffic that once passed over these trails. Nothing now remains to mark where they once ran except an occasional deep-worn rut which tkna has yet failed to fill up and the ruins of a "station" far away from any human habitation. For many miles no trace of many of the overland routes can be found, and history and tradition will often have to be relied upon to relocate them. Yet the task of picking up the old trails is not at all impossible, as is shown by the success which has at tended efforts to locate the old mili tary road over which General Brad dock marched from Virginia to death and defeat near old For Duquesne, now Pittsburg. Thanks to the exer tions of individual investigators, the route of practically the whole road is now defined, and he who has leisure and inclination can follow it from its beginning to the very spot where George Washington and his “irregu lars” saved the broken remnant of the Braddock expedition from anni hilation.—Chicago Chronicle. A NIGHT WITH THE WOLVES. From the wilds of Carp Lake, Michigan, comes an account of peri lous adventure with wolves, not un like those of our forefathers in pio neer days. On the afternoon of March 17 Mr. George Bigge, who lives at the Nonesuch Mine, twenty miles out of Ontonagon, was on his way home from that place with a load of supplies in a long pack. Night overtook him before lie had covered more than half the distance. He con tinued his journey, but between nine and ten o'clock was startled by the howling of -wolves close at hand. He had no weapons, and urged his horse to a faster gait, but as the road is up a heavy grade, progress was slow at best. He had gone only a short distance farther when he noticed twenty-five or thirty wolves emerge from the brush into the roadway just behind him. On the front of his conveyance was a lantern with a reflector. Mr. Bigge seized this, and turned the strong light upon the wolves. It frightened them so that they slunk back into the shadows of the woods, but soon became bolder, and began closing in again. tie now realized tnat lie was in a desperate plight. In the pung was a tin pail and a quantity of hay. Filling the pail with hay and setting it in the rear of the pung, lie applied a match. The blaze cowed the ani mals. The fire was kept burning brightly, and the team urged for ward. For a time the wolves held hack. But they gradually came closer again, advancing along the sides of the road. The supply of hay gave out. In desperation Mr. Bigge lore open a box of canned goods, and commenced hurling cans at them with some effect, checking their pro gress for the third time. The stock of cans was soon ex hausted, however, and once more the howling pack closed up behind. The man was now, in despair; but immediately an opening in the for est showed ahead, and as the pant ing horses drew into it, the wolves dropped back. The place was an abandoned mine property where several of the build ings were still standing. Lashing the horses on, Mr. Bigge reached one of these old structures and se cured his team inside it, but was obliged to leave the pung and robes to the pursuing pack. In ihis old shed, which luckily had a door that could be barricaded, he passed the night with his horses. Toward morning the wolves left the place, hut not until they had torn the robes to shreds and trod den i he snow down hard all round the old shed.—Youth's Companion. FEARLESS SWIMMERS. Tn the water the Hawaiians are absolutely fearless. As soon as they can walk, little babies are taken to bathe in the sea, and in a very short time they are able to swim like por poises. The author of "Hawaiian Yesterdays” gives a reminiscence of the courage of the natives; Our party had arrived In Hilo Bay, and we were all seated upon the platform of a big double canoe, paddling ashore from the schooner which lay out in the harbor. A throng of natives lined the beach, waiting to welcome their returning teachers. Just as we were entering the surf that rolled upon the sandy shore, through some accident the canoes suddenly filled and sank, leaving us ail sitting half submerged in the shallow water. With a loud roar of "Auwe!" (oh and alas!) the as sembled crowd rushed as one man into the waves and bore us safely to land. On one occasion, about the same date, a coasting vessel was upset in a violent squall between the islands of Hawaii and Maui. Although the nearest land was twenty miles dis tant, the native crew and passengers boldly struck out io swim ashore, and several of them did come safe to land after a night and day in the deep. Among the survivors of the wreck was a poor woman who for several hours swam with her husband upon her hack; but the poor man died of cold and fatigue, and had to be aban doned at last before the coast was reached. AX ALITXK MISADVENTURE. The story of iho first serious acci dent to a climber in the Xew Zealand Alps, told in tbe Times to-day, is one of the most thrilling and astonishing that the records of Alpine misadven ture can show. It begins with a bumping fall of the solitary climber, Mr. It. S. Low, down an icy couloir, which recalls Mr. Whymper’s famous solitary tumble on the Matterhorn— with in this ease, the additional cir cumstance of an abysmal bergsehrund waiting to engulf the climber at the bottom of the slide, unless he manages to pull himself up somehow. lie does, and lies for hours half-conscious with a badly dislocated ankle, a lacerated knee and minor wounds. Then he drags himself, in this condition, and without an ice-axe, down this fearful couloir, that would have been no child’s play, probably, to a property equipped party. He then crawls on hands and knees, dragging his knapsack after him at the end of a rope, for two days to the Bivouac Bock, six miles away, crossing hideous moraine and badly crevassed glacier all the way. and lias to wait at the rock six days for rescue, with only day’s supply of food to last out the whole ten days. It is marvel lous that a man should have survived all this, and non-climbers will have more vivid ideas than ever as to (lie .joys of mountaineering. But moun tains are much the same in Switzer land and at the Antipodes, and the old, old moral as to the folly of climbing alone is almost too obvious to be men tioned.—Pall Mall Gazette. FIGHTING FOR LIFE. The professional "faster” who goes without food for four or five weeks, who is carefully watched and tended, and whose progress is chronicled by the daily papers, is but a trifler in the experience of starvation com pared with the castaway fisherman of the Grand Banks. The New York Sun prints an account which includes several adventures that make the performances of Dr. Tanner read like child's play. It seems almost incred ible that a scantily clad man could live for twenty-nine days on a barren rock without food or drink, blistered by the hot sun in the daytime and benumbed by the night’s cold. Yet a Newfoundland fisherman went through such an ordeal, and lives to tell the tale. In 1904 two trawlers remained adrift for eleven days, with only a small jug or water to afford them subsistence. When found they were lying insensible ou the bottom of the dory. Terrible as the sufferings of these fishermen are in summer they are far outclassed by the miseries of those who go astray in winter. Two dory mates were caught in a midwinter snowstorm 100 miles off Newfound land a few years ago. They lost sight, of their vessel in the blizzard, and tried to row to land, one toiling at. the oars while the other bailed out the boat. When night came they made a drag or sea anchor of trawl kegs. While thus engaged Blackburn’s mil tens were washed overboard, and with naked hands his plight was des perate. But he gallantly held on. The next day his comrade collapsed, and the third morning froze to death. Blackburn, taking the mitts and socks from the dead man, tried to cover his own hands, which were now positively frozen into the shape of the grip on the oars so that he could not straighten them. Bays passed and he toiled on with out food or drink. On the evening of the fifth day he reached the coast and moored his boat at a deserted, fishing wharf. His work was not over, for he bad promised to give his companion a burial on shore. Satisfying his thirst by eating fresh snow, Blackburn lay on a heap of nets all night, the agony of his hands preventing sleep. The next morning he found that the dory had sunk with ihe body still in it. With great difficulty he hauled the boat on the rocks and got the body upon the wharf above. Then getting into the dory once more lie rowed all day, seeking signs of human beings. At nightfall he came upon a little settle ment, hut would not accept the prof fered iiospitaiity until some of the men had set out to bury his dead companion. As for himself he lost all his fing ers and toes. Yet this man has since won fame as a daring mariner, hav ing twice crossed the Atlantic alone in a dory, besides making a cruise of the seaboard from Boston to New Orleans without any companion. ESCAPED DEATH BY MIRACLE. Patrick Stewart, of West Philadel phia, lives to tell the story of how he miraculously escaped death despite the fact that he was buried beneath twenty tons of dirt and stone from •Lot) a. m. until 11 o’clock, when he was rescued by a group of laborers. Stewart says that a man named YTi .... l Tr. llcuu^y was preparing a blast in a quarry near Second street and Wyoming avenue, and as he ig nited the dynamite fuse he warned Stewart of his danger, but before he could leave the place the explosion took place. He was standing under a high embankment and the concus sion loosened the mountain of dirt and stone. Fortunately Stewart fell into r hole in the ground, and was first cov ered with a large stone which gave him the opportunity to breathe, the embankment of dirt covering him fully three or four feet. The labor ers who removed the dirt in double quick time were surprised at not unding a dead man, and hurried Stewart to the hospital.—Philadel phia Record. CIRL KILLS Cl XX AM OX BEAR. Miss Bertha Jones, a recent arrival in the Entiat Valley, is said to have celebrated her coming by shooting and killing a 1000 pound cinnamon bear, one of the largest ever seen in that section. Miss Jones, who lives in Walla Walla, went to Entiat to join her brother, who is prospecting Muddy Creek. Last Friday morning, her brother being absent, Miss Jones left camp for a few minutes for water. On her return she found a bear in side the tent investigating and bolt ing everything eatable in sight. A • JOJO rifle was close at hand. Miss Jones killed the intruder at the first shot.—Spokane Chronicle.