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The Wheeling daily intelligencer. [volume] (Wheeling, W. Va.) 1865-1903, September 09, 1897, Image 12

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& FIRE At
A New Story by Flora Annie Steel, p
Author of "On the Face of the Waters":
It was in a little lath and plaster house *
down by the river that It all happened, f
The merest confection of a house, look- 1
Ing for nil I he world as If it were a 1
Neapolitan lee. Strawberry aud vanilla 4
. - ?..It-li.ac <a'ltk ^hiitloroil win.
in aiiwimic am|.p0l ?..??*
dows of coffee, and a furled wafer of an
awning ovar the filigree chocolate balcony.
And It rested, so to speak,
against a platter of green plantain
leaves, bright as any emerald. No
doubt the trees belonging to the leaves
grew somewhere to the back or the side
of it, but from the wide street In front
you could see nothing but the green
leaves surrounding the ice cream.
For the rest it was a three-storied
house outwardly, Inwardly a twostoried
one, or, to be more strictly accurate,
it consisted of a story and a
half, since the further half of the
ground lloor and the whole of the mlddle
story belonged to a different house,
having a different entrance in a different
street which lay in a different quarter.
A very respectable quarter, Indeed,
whereas the less said about the
morals of the wide street down by th<
river the better. They were so bad
that the modesty of the middle story
diii not permit of a single window
whence they could be seen. And this
gave the house u queer, half-hearted
look, for the top story and half of the
lowest one which belonged to It was
lull of windows and doors opening on
to the broad path leading to destruction.
There were live, with fretted
wooden architraves lining up the whole
of the ground floor, so that you could
see straight into the long, shallow hull,
whence there was no exit save by a
narrow silt in the middle, showing a
dim, steep staircase. It was always
empty, this hull, though It was carpeted
with striped carpets and painted
elaborately In flowery arabesques of a
dull pale pink and flaming crimson; an
oud mixture, reminding you vaguely of
blood stains on a rose leaf. And there
was a red lamp over the center door,
which scut a rosy radiance Into the
gro\ying dusk; for it was lit early.
.So was the pale, the palest of green
lights on tin? top story, which you
euuld swimrlnir from the roof when the
? ICE &
ireaence of the quaint little over dresad
dead baby awaiting its bier on the
>ed did not prevent an ark and defense.
"They favor thee, Bister, replied Uurar.l
suavely, "in mind also, to Judge 1
rom what I see. Therefore I shall
tvvalt God's will in the ruture fire j
'boose one to educate."
I'ttgigan tittered sarcastically, deiplte
her half-dried tears. " 'Tls iny
holce first, nevertheless. The beat of
he bunch in looks, aye, in brains too,
jerchance, marries my brother's son
tccordlng to custom. Sure my mother
hose thus, and I must do the same,
lister."
She spoke evenly, though for the monent
the longing to strangle something
lad transferred Itself to the saffroncolored
sugar drop, all spangled with
illver, which had emerged from its
hrysalls of a burka. What business
lad the poor thin creature with such
coffee-ice .shutters were thrown back
as the evening breeze came down the *
river. It was pale, yet bright, like the c
first star ut sun setting.
And sometimes,; but not often, of you s
watched in tin? early dusk you might 1
see the ower of the ice cream house Hit 1
across the open window. She was like
a sugar drop herself, j;ose or saffron c
decked with silver leaf. A slender t
scrap of a creature, who tinkled as she c
walked and gave out a perfume of
heavy-scented flowers. Hut this was r
peldom; more often you only heard the K
tinkle, either of* silver or laughter, since a
Uurl'ani?for that was her name?wa3 [
of those who barter the one for the j
other, it was in truth her hereditary j
trade, though neither her father nor u
hov mother had practiced it, their role ,
in life having been that of pater and J
matorfamlllas. A very necessary one if
tin- race is to survive, and so In this .
Innovation also her brother had under- ,
1 . i the duty iiy marrying his first ^
< .-Uiin. The young couple being now in H
toe privacy and propriety of the second ?
biory. engaged in bringing up a fine 1
family of giiis to succeed to the top P
h.ory when Hurfani'sage should drivo c'
h."1 to a lower place in life. In the lj
meantime, however, she allowed them 0
r<> much a month?enough to enable E
Ml Xull'kar to tight quail in the bazaars 1
and keep his wife Laglgan In the ?
rictest seclusion, as befitted one filch- 1<
ul from the profession of bartering e
j'.iillcH iii order to fulfill the llrwt auty oc n
voimitt -the rearing of babes. a
Thua In mprc ways than one the q
house waa conglomerate. On the side t
overlooking the broad path there was h
the rone-leaf hull, empty, sweet anil
garnished, und the dark stair lending s
up and up to the wandering star of a
lamp twinkling out into the sunset
amid the sound of laughter and money. ?
( 11 the side giving upon narrow respectnullity
a hall full of household gear and J
dirt, where the little girls played, and 1
a -lark Htnlr leading to a darker room J
where Laglgan sat day after day be- '
ivailing her sad fate; for, of course, life a
v.ould have been much gayer over the s
v ay since she was a beautiful woman, w
Inr ln'Mu beautiful in a lavish, some-?
loud fashion than the lady belong- V
Ing to the leu cream house with her ti
delicate small faco; but that was the tl
very reason why she had teen chosen n
out from many to carry on the race as
It ought to be carried on. Hurfanl, of c
< ourse, was clever, and that counted t
f<?r much, but it never did in their pro- ti
fi ssloti t?? rely on brains above looks, a
Nevertheless Laglgan. when In a bad n
temper, was In the habit of telling herself
ihat if she had been taught to sing |j
unci dance a* the little lady had been
taught, she could have made the Ice- e
?ream house a more paying concern c
than It was?to Jud^e by the pittance fl
they received from It. And this angry n
complaint grew with her years, until,
tit she sat suckling her fourth child, she ^
frit sometimes as If she could strangle
It, even though It was a boy. unvl
though, as a rule, she was an affectionate
mother. In truth, the sheer animal
instinct natural to so finely developed
a creature lasted out the two or three f
years during which her children were 11
hors alonei after that, when they began
crawling down stairs and playing J1
In the hall, where she might never go, f
she became Jealous, and then forgot all (1
about them. 1'
Nevertheless, the boy being some *'
nine months old when he was suddenly ?
carried off by one of those mysterloui '?
diseases common to Indian children, t(
f he wept profusely, and told Pur fan I? ?'
who ns In duty bound came round do- ''
? ntly swathed In a burka to offer con- "
do nee on hearing of the sad event? t:
that some childless one had doubtless h
? i"t a shadow on him for his beauty's s,
f ike, seeing that-thank heaven! nil <
tur hildren were beautiful- there was l>
alway:-. ? militant llavor underlying the s
j^ollteiu'Hs^of^ these two, and even the p
ALARM
n
"Why doM Hint Hlrl mskn such u noiiiu w
'Hht'c knocked tentad."
rarments when her beauty was hidden
jy mere rags?
Uurfanl laughed in her turn; an easy,
ndlfferent laugh, and stretched out her
illm henna-dyed palm with the usual
riendty offering cnrdamons.
"Take one, sister," she said soothlngy;
"they are good for spleen and exess
I ve grief. Hal! Hal! thou wilt be
'orlorn Indeed, now thy occupation Is
fone."
Laglgan, with her mouthful of spices,
Ittered again more artlllelally than
iver. "I can do other things, per- {
ihance, besides suckle babies. Maybe I
veary of it and am glad of a change."
The saffron-colored sugar drop, seatd
on a low stool In front of the white- I
heeted bed, with Its solemn llttly gayly j
Iressed burden, looked at its companion |
llstastefully through its long, lashes,
atchlng some loops of the jasmine
haplets it wore, held them like a bouim-t
close to the crimson-tinted lips.
"It Is a virtuous task, my sister,"
[uoth Hurfatil, gravely, snlfling away
it the heavy perfume as If she needed
omethlng to make her environments
ess objectionable. "Besides, it Is ever
i mistake to forsake the profession of
me'B birth."
"And wherefore should I?" lnterrupt?d
Laglgan, seizing her opportunity
ecklesBly. "Hast thou forsaken It, and
tie we not sisters?'*
Again the cold critical look of dislike
ame from tin- long, narrow eyes with
heir drowsy lids,
"Such words are idle, sister. Forget
hem. Thou wouldst not find it
aster?"
"How canst tell?" Interrupted Lagljan
once more. "As well say that thou
:ouldst put up with my life."
The saffron and sliver daintiness
drifted its look toward the bod, and the
lenna-dyed hand straightened a wrln- I
tie In the sheet softly.
"God knows," she said with u sudlen
smile; "anyhow, sister, 'tis not wise
o change one's profession as one grows 1
ild."
As ono grows old! This parting shot |
ankled long after the decent fcurka hud j
lipped like a shadow through the
iwept and garnished hall, and so lip j
he dark stair to the wandering starIght
shining feebly out into the sunset. I
^ong after the preacher and the bier, i
nil the family friends had carried the
;ayly dressed1 baby to its grave, leav-1
ng the mother to the select and seluded
tears of her neighbors. Long af- I
er the little girls, wearied out with exilement,
had fallen asleep cuddled to-1
ether peacefully, inocent of that choice ,
f the future. Long after Zulkfar, full of
Iquor, tears, and curses due to a sur- |
ilusage in the funeral expenses allowd
by Rurfanl to parental grief and to I
ad luck at cards, carne home desirous
f sympathy, lie got none, for Lagl- I
;an, despite her seclusion, had never j
ost the empire which he felt she deerved
as the handsomest woman he
;ne*v. 'Twas his own fault, she said,
urtly; he could marry another wife,
ave more liquor, anil Ramble as much
s he liked If he chose. It was but a
uestlon of money, and, If he were concnt
to put up with n beggarly alma for
its sister, that ended the matter.
Whereupon, being in the maudlin
tate of drink, he wept still more.
It must have been fully three months
tier the baby's funeral procession of
one down the respectable street, and
.? by a side alley found Its way Into
he broad path leading alike to detraction
and the graveyard, that Buranl
went round to her sister-in-law
gain. This time she was In pink and
ilver like a rose-water Ice, and her
fords were as cold as her looks.
"Say what thou wilt, Laglgan, the
outh lingers. Ilave I not windows to
ly home? Have I not eyes? And such
flings shall not be bringing disgrace to
L'spectable families."
Laglgan tittered as usual: "Lo what n
oil because an idle stranper lingers at
ho back Instead of the front. TIs for
hy sake, doubtless, fister, though thou
rt unkind. I wonder at it, seeing he Is
ot Ill-favored."
"So thou hast seen him. So be it. See
I'm no more, or I tell Zulfknr."
"Tell him what? That thou hast cast
yes on a handsome stranger, and, beauso
he comes not to thy call, would
fisten the quarrel upon me? Zulfkar Is
0 fool, sister; he will not listen!"
"If he listen not. he can leave my
ouse?for 'tis tline. And," murk my
,-nrds, Laglgan JJibl, no scandal comes
Igli It."
Caesar's wife could not have spoken
itli greater unction, and In good sooth
lie meant lier word*, since In no class
1 seclusion bound to be more virtuous
So as the motes In the sunbeam of
Ife danced along tho broad path In
ront of the Ice cream house and drift
d up Its dark stair, the painted and
erfumed little lady under the pale
recti lamp kept an eye upon tin* virtue
f h?'r family. Thus ere long It came to
e Zulfkar's turn to listen to his sls r's
naming; and, as ho listened, he
uckcd fiercely, confusedly, at tho Inild
hookah which stood for the use of
pproved visitors; for in good sooth
liero had been more money to spend of
He, and Laglgan was discreet enough,
nve to those watchful, experienced
yes. The sound of his hubbllng* and
ubbllngs, therefore, was his only nnwer,
and they tilled the wide, low,White
Insured upper st.iry, t'n scn.-il minxl
ING.
lien she walks?"
each coffee-shuttered window wltl
flowery devices, until Burfaui lost pa
tience and began coldly:
"Hast been taking lessons of u cam
el, brother?" she asked, rustling thi
tinsel-decked fan she held; and the:
suddenly she seemed to grasp some
. thing, and the contemptuous ludlffer
ence of her bearing changed to passion
ate anger. Her silver set feet clashed a
they touched the floor, and she ros
first to a sitting posture, finally t
stand before the culprit tho very per
sonlflcation of righteous wrath.
"So! tliou hast taken gold. This 1
why thou canst ruflle with the best a
C.uiaban's?base-born parvenu ivh
takes to the life of wickedness?as ah
hath done, bringing disgrace to th
screened house where thy mother dwel
in decency. But thou dwellest there n
longer?thou eatest no bread of mineI
will choose my pupils from anothe
brood."
"Nay! sister, 'tis not proved," stam
mered Zufkar.
"Not proved?" she went on still mor
passionately; "nay, 'tis not proved t
thy neighbors, maybe; but to me. Mln
eyes have seen?I know the trick?an
<?ut thou goest. I will have no such dc
inns in my house, and so I warned he
months ago. Hut there! what need fo
railing? Live on her gold, and tiio
wilst; It shall not chink beside mine."
She sank hack upon the silk coverlc
again, and with a bitter laugh began t
rustle the tinsel fan once more. An
Zulfkar, after unavailing protests,sluni
down the dark stairs, and so along th
streets to a certain house over the llt|
uor seller's shop, about which u nois,
crowd gathered all day long.
And that night screams and blow
came from the second story, and un
availing curses on the mlschief-makei
Hut if the latter heard them she guv
no sign to the approved visitors drink
ing sherbet in the cool upper story, wltl
the windows set to the stars.
It was Kulflcar beating his* wife, o
course, because she was so handsonv
primarily; secondij', because she ha<
been foolish enough to be found out
thirdly, because Burfani would keep he'
| word.
And she did. The supplies stoppei
from that day. Within a week the sec
ond story lay empty, while Laglgan wop
tears of pain and spite In a miserable lit
tie lodging In the very^ieart of the city
It is difficult even to hint at the impoten
I rage the woman felt toward her slater
In-law. Even Zulfkar's blows were for
1 gotten in the ono mad longing to re
venge herself upon the pink and saffroi
| daln'tlness which would not sparV i
I crumb from n full table. For so to Las
lgun's coarse, passionate nature th
matter presented Itself, bringing with 1
a fierce delight at the perfections of he
own lover. He had deserted her for th
time, It Is true, but that was the way o
lovers when husband* were angry; b
and by he would come back and ther
would be peace, since Zulfkar must hav
gold.
So ran her calculations, but she rock
oned without a certuin fierce Intoleranc
which the latter shared with her sister
also on the somewhat premature empty
Ing of his pockets. Hut luck was not a:
against him. And so, when a few day
after the Hitting from the second storj
she, being sick to death of dullness
thought the time had come for self-as
Rertlon, she found herself mistaken. Zulf
kar, still full of Dutch courage, fell upo;
her again and beat her most unmercl
fully, finishing up with an intlmldator
slash at her nose. It was not much, no
half so serious as tho beating, but th
very thought of possible dlsfiguremen
drove Jut mad, and th^ madness drov
her to a corner where she could plan re
venge while Zulfkar slept heavily?fo
he was more than half drunk. And this
too, was tin* fault of the saffmn and ros
devil In the upper story, who had he
amusements and upled upon cthe
women's ways. Anil this meant day
more ere she. Lnglgan, would be present
able, even If sh<* did not carry the marl
to ht*r grave, and nil because that ah
devil was Jealous?jealous of her lover.
Oh, for revenge. And why not? Th
door was unlatched, since Zulfkar 'ha<
forgotten It In his rage; the streets wer
deserted. Even th<* broad path dowl
the river would be asleep, the greon Ugh
I gone from above, only the red lain]
I fii InrrI,n" ni*or thn fntirtr Annv :
glow fire! The thought leap
to her brain like a flame itself. Wh:
not? Zulfkar had purposely kept?nl
unbeknown to the she devil?a secont
key to that empty second floor, and h<
was In a drunken sleep. If she stole It, I
I she took the bottle of paraffin, If she so
lire to the wooden partltldb separatlni
the stair*, If she brok<? the red lamp an<
pretended that was 1t.
She did not stop to think. She had be
pun the task almost before she ha(
thought out the details, fumbling li
Zulfkar'* pockets ns be lay. And theri
were two bottles of paraffin In the eor
ner; that was becauso he had brough
one home and the market woman an
other by mistake. Bo much the better
so much the bigger blaze. Then out lnt<
the street, not forgetting a box of safet:
matches. Strange companions to such j
task. She knew her way well, havlnj
wandered free enough as a child befor
tho lot was drawn, tho dJe cast whlcl
sent her to suckle babes. Yet being i
woman beset by a thousand superstition
fears. It needed all hrr courage ere sh
found herself face to face with the thli
wooden partition surrounding the steei
wtalrs leading upward. IIow many time
had she not listened to fet ascendini
those unseen stairs and heard the tlnkl
of laughter as the unseen door abov
opened.
Well, It would blar.e finally and cut of
at once all means of escape. A devlllsl
plan. Indeed, and the leaping flames cr
she left them to their task showed thi
face of a devil Incarnate.
And so to wait for a few minutes be
I fore the whole world must know that thi
saffron and rose daintiness was doomed
No more laughter?no more lovers?tha
would be for her, Laglgan, not for th<
other with her cold sneer*.
A licking tongue of flame showed fo
nn Instant and made her pray heaver
none might see It too soon. Then i
crackle, a puff of smoke. Next a cry o
Are; but, thank heaven, only from tin
broad path. And what good war- tin
running feet, what good were the shouti
of the crowd In which her shrouded fig
lire passed unnoticed, unless the uppei
story had wings?for the stairs must b<
gone?hopelessly gone by thl.? time.
More than the stairs, for with one sud
MUST E
;or
3L
Mrs. nldltlrl 1 >o? t<?r. 1 ?Mi to consult
very Irritable, altd, tilthouuh ho love
Dootor?All, 1 see. You want to have
i den blaze the lath and the plaster home
- warned to melt like Ice Itself before the
sheet of ame which the soft night winds
- bent rlverward.
e And still the top story slept, or w*t It
i suffocated? No, there was someone at
the window, someone gesticulating wlld
ly. A man?not a woman! "Throw
- y lurself down!" cried an authoritative
s foreign voice; "'tis your only chance."
f Surely since {he Ice melted visibly durt>
Ing the sudden hush which fell upon the
- jostling crowd. "Throw yourself down,"
came the order again. "We'll catch you
3 If we can. Stand back, good people!"
,t "Quick, it's your last chance," came
o the Inexorable voice once more. Then
e there was a leap, a scream?a crash, as
e in his despair the man overleapt the
It mark and fell among the parting crowd,
o Fell right at Lagjgan's feet, face upper
most. And It was* the face of the handr
some stranger?of her lover.
Her shriek echoed his as she flung her
self Reside him. And at the sound something
white and ghostlike slipped back
e from tho window with a tinkle of
o laughter.
e "Burfanl! Burfnnl!" shouted the
j crowd. "Drop gently, we'll save you.
Burfanl! Burfanl!"
r But there was no answer, and the next
r moment, with a roar and a crash, vice
u fell upon virtue, and both together upon
the swept and garnished hall and the
t hall where the little girl had lived.
0 The Ice cream house had become a
j blazing pile of Are.
e PASSING OF LORD FAUNTLEROY.
" The Mother Tried Co bi Iliave when the
y Curls Fell.
8 Washington Star: The scene was In a
- Ninth street barber shop atid the time
was a morning earlier In the week. The
"tonsorlal artist" nearest the door had
l4 just called out "Next!" when there entered
a very pretty ycung woman leadc
ing by the hand a four-year-old bny.
? with long, golden ringlets. He was a
manly looking little fellow, and his hair
' was Just the shade of the young woman's,
although she looked almost too
, young to be his mother.
"Are you the man who cut this little
' boy's bangs last time?" she nsked.
"Yas'm; want 'em cut ag'ln?"
"No, not this time. I want his hair y
' cut short nil over. And won't you try
to cut each curl off separately, for I
3 want to send some of them out of town
" and one to his grandmother."
~ She had a pasteboard box In her
hand in which to take away the gold
that was more precious to her than any
~ that has come from tho Klondike. She
t said she wanted the little boy's haircut.
p It was probably the lad's father who
p wanted It; she had only acquiesced.
f several ot im? ~euuny-nueu aritaia
y gathered around to watch, while the lad
q took his seat In a big chair, as proud as
0 Punch, for he was to be a "mother's little
Lordy Pauntleroy" no longer. Ho
. smiled, but there was a suspicious trec
mor about his mother's Hps as she took
1 a brush, and for the last time curled his
beautiful ringlets about her slim and
I) tapering finger.
tl Snip, snip! went the scissors, and
one by one the curls were carefully laid
away in the box. Before the last one
i- was gone the young mother was hud
died up In the boot-blaek's chair cryn
Ing as If her heart would break. There
- was no doubt now that she was the
y child's mother. He was a baby no lonit
ger. It was much more comfortable for
0 the child, and It was tlmo It was done,
1 and all that, but Just the same he would
o never be mamma's llttlo baby agaln.and
- she could not see the wealth of falling
n gold for the tears In her eyes.
?, Not a man In the place smiled, and
e even the "Shine,mister," seemed to see a
o bit of pathos In the scene. The barber
v over In the corner had to stop a moa
ment while the man he was shaving
- wiped a sudden tear from his own eye.
k The man, gray-haired and somewhat
0 crusty, was thinking of a lock of gold
tucked away in the back of his desk
ft in a busy, down-town office, and his
memory had gone back to the time
e when ho tucked that strand beneath his
'i blue soldier's blouse and with musket
t on his shoulder had started for the
[J front.
1 "Next!"
t
V IN HUMOBOUB VEIN.
I
1 "Mrs. Henry Peck has sued for a dl5
vorce."
U "What's the trouble?"
t "Her husband meant to write of her "
i ns his better half, but wrote It 'bitter.' "
J ?Philadelphia North American.
Hrown?I see that the seal question
I has come up again.
1 Jones?Oh, yes. My wife notified me
p last night that she must have a com
plete sealskin outfit next winter.?Puck.
"It's Jos' my luck," said Farmer Corn'
toast?}, gloomily. "I'm the wust guessn
er a-goIn\ The only sure way for a
man to Kit along Is tor make up his
1 mind what he's a golnter do, an' keep
z doln* Jes' that."
? "Have you had bad luck?"
1 "Nothln' else. Last year I raised
1 wheat when I ortor have tuck In sum1
mer boarders. This year I tuck In sump
mer boarders when I orter hev raised
jj wheat."?Washington Star.
1 Bott>K (admiring the India-Ink tat*
toolfiK on Dickey's arm)?Did It hurt
much?
Dickey?Not till my mother saw It.?
f Boston Transcript.
^ "You say the duel was declared off?"
(, "It had to be. Ther was no one present
capable of deciding whether the
duke had a right to wear nil his clffar?
rue buttons on the Held."?Indianapolis
Journal.
! Reporter?Well, I've Interviewed her.
Editor?Did she talk without ref
stralnt?
y Roporter?I should say nit! She would
x not say -.i word until her husband came
f In and told her to keep still.?Detroit
? Tribune.
i Miss Emily (aged forty or there
abouts, to Lord Harry Shaver)?Oh,how
r I should lovo to lie a jubilee bride!
Lord Harry?Well, cheer up! You
won't have to wait very long.?London
Punch.
IE CRAZY.
foWr
W $?> /
ipif?
von with n"!mi to my husband. Ho in
'H mo dearly, he?
lilin coiniiiliicii to an Asylum.
THOSE DECEPTIVE STAGE SCENES.
V s ' 1 """"" "T^-r,
f
1?Farewell, Pauline, may the good angel watch o'er you. 1 go to join th?
>asaing regiment. Farewell, farewell.
e rn
V , i ! i? m J.
2?(This shows how tho passing regiment was worked by the scene ehlfter.)
BUSINESS VIEW. 1
"My father Ih n Rroat bollovcr In bicycling."
"In he a dealer?"
"No. Doctor."
LAST OR LATEST.
Arllrft?Tltl* l? my InPt picture
Vliltor?1That'll a comfort,

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