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FROM OUTSIDE THE WINDOW. It was Christmas eve, and Mlas Thorne v. as tired. The week before Christmas is a busy one for most of us, but it is especially busy for fashionable young ladies like Miss Thorne, who belong to many and various charitable organizations and conscientiously try to perform all the duties thus devolving upon them. There had been the kindergarten children, the old people in the home, the sailors at the Bethel, the Chinese at the mission, the prisoners at the jail, the invalids in the hospital, the Working Girls' and Newsboys' clubs and the church poor, all to be looked after. There had been trees and pres ents to be attended to and visits to be made to all quarters of the city, and Miss Thorne had worked "like a tiger," as she expressed it, through it all. This afternoon had been passed in the rooms of the Fruit and Flower Mission making bouquets and packing baskets to be sent to the hospitals on the following day, and when the last scrap of a flower had been utilized and the last orange tucked away the load of responsibility which had burdened Miss Thome's shoulders for the past few days had rolled off them. The yearly "rush" was over, and she could look forward to doing such good works as might be required of her in a leis urely and comfortable fashion for twelve months to come. A perfumed bath and a dinner, eaten for the first time in a week as a din ner should be, had done much to re fresh Miss Thorne both bodily and mentally. She was still tired enough, however, to enjoy a quiet season in her own room in a loose wrapper and a soft-cushioned lounging chair in front of a cheery grate fire before dressing for the evening's festivities. Indeed she declared to herself as she sat there, warm and comfortable and thoroughly content, that she would really be far happier if she could spend the evening in her cozy room instead of being dragged out to a ball in which she felt not the faintest interest. However, go she must, for Mrs. Van Aleyne's Christmas eve ball was sure to be one of the "events," if not the "event" of the season, and it was almost obliga tory that all society people — least those of the "inner circle" — should ap pear there. If only Mark Sheldon were in town now she would feel very differently about the prospect before her. Of course she did not care any thing about Mark now that he had proved to be of such a suspicious, jeal ous and domineering disposition. She had not been actually engaged to him, anyway. "Perhaps" is not "yes," and she had just taken his case "under ad visement," as it were. Therefore he certainly had no right to be angry and say disagreeable and untrue things just because she had given young Van Aleyne three dances before supper at the Pinxleys! He had accused her of "flirting," of being "fond of admiration," "frivo lous" and "vain!" She certainly never would forgive him for that! and then then she had told him icily that it was plain that they "were not meant for each other," and that it was "better for them to part." and he had taken her at her word— stupid! And the next thing that she had heard about him he had gone up to some poky place in the mountains to spend the holidays, and she — well, she was going to Mrs. Van Aleyne's, Christ mas eve ball, and that afternoon a box of flowers each blossom so perfect in form and tint as to be worthy of spe cial admiration even here in flower embowered California— arrived i "with Mr. Van Aleyne's compliments." Plainly there was no necessity for her to wear the willow, and to-night a cer tain pair of accusing eyes would not be present to note every word and smile that she chose to bestow upon any other than their owner. Surely A VERITABLE "COUSIN PONS" Paris may now lay claim to a veri table "Cousin Pons," whose collection of art treasures, bric-a-brac and curios of the centuries will hereafter adorn I with a vast number of originalities the ! copies and imitations of masterpieces ! gathered in the Ecole dcs Beaux Arts. i This attractive endowment of the in j stitution Is pronounced by critics and connoisseurs to be scarcely less valu able and varied than the fanciful col lection which was at once the joy and Burgundian Virgin, Fifteenth Century — Wood. she ought to be very happy over the prospect before her, but just as surely, she was not. Someway she had never thought nearly so much of Mark during all his months of devoted at tendance upon her slightest whim as she had during the few days that had passed since he had renounced his alle giance. She had seen — now that it was per haps too late— that she had been mis taken in not listening to him more pa tiently. Unjust as he had been It would have been better to have gently tried to have convinced him of that fact than to have parted with him in anger. Besides, she was not quite sure, after thinking the matter over quietly, that she had not been a little bit to blame in reality, and she had determined, If it were possible to do so with dignity, to convey a hint of this to him at their next meeting. Not because she wanted to win him back — no indeed; simply as a matter of justice. When one has been even a trifle in the wrong she should be willing to acknowledge the fact, and Miss Thorne felt that, as a mere matter of self-discipline, she ought to be very strict with herself in this particular instance. Meanwhile, however, Mark was away and she must kill time as best she could until his return. A piece of coal falling out of the grate roused her from her meditations, and she suddenly realized that the tears were very near her eyes. She also realized that it would never do to let them fall, therefore she rose hast ily and turned up the gas, humming it gay little French air as she did so. Her gown lay on the couch beside the dressing table, still wrapped in its white tissue covering. Jane would be late coming in she knew, for her aunt would be even more difficult to please than usual when preparing for so grand an occasion, therefore she un pinned the dainty robe, shook out its shimmering folds, smoothed out its ribbons and laces with caressing touches of her soft little hands and made other small preparations for her toilet- Then, .with her hands lightly clasped behind her graceful head, she began to pace slowly up and down the room. The curtains of the French window at the end had not yet been drawn, and the glow of the fire and the rose shaded light combined to make a pretty picture of her slender figure against the darkness of the night. So clear was the reflection that Miss Thorne could almost imagine that it was a real young woman who was walking up and down on the veranda, and, moved by a whimsical impulse, she nodded and smiled as she, for the second time, drew near the glass. The girl outside nodded and smiled in re turn, and then as . Miss Thorne drew nearer still and gazed out at her cu riously she was conscious of experi encing an odd little fluttering of* the heart. The face that looked in at her with eager shining eyes out of the gloom seemed in some strange way to have suddenly acquired a separate individ uality, and to be no longer merely a shadow of her own! It was still her image that stood there — perfect in every detail, from the quaintly fash ioned jeweled comb which fastened the knot of rippling brown hair to the pointed toe of the dainty slipper that was just visible under the edge of her skirt. Her image as clearly defined as if reflected from a mirror, but that im age was no longer simply imitative in action and expression. It had become a separate entity a distinct existence, a young woman per se, although of such extreme airiness of composi tion that as Miss Thorne bent forward with her hands over her eyes and gazed at her, more than half doubting the evidence of her own vision, she saw the veranda railings and the misery of the existence of the most minutely eccentric characterization in Balzacian fiction. The donor, M. Achille Wasset, upon leaving college fifty-six years ago took a clerkship under the Minister of War and was advanced rapidly to the post of bureau manager or chief, in which he remained until shortly be- Carrying the Cross — Wood. fore His death. A few months after an early marriage he lost his wife and ever afterward found in his passion ate search for relics of the past an emollient for his profound grief. Of THE SAX FRAXCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1567 clambering vines quite as clearly as though the young woman in question were not standing directly between them and herself! The pretty face gazed back at her with evident dis approval. "'I should consider it extremely rude to stare through a window at a per son like that," said a clear voice which had a strangely familiar sound to her hearer's ears, and with a marked emphasis on the personal pro noun, and Miss Thorne straightened herself up hastily and blushed. It was not only surprising to find that this extremely diaphanous young person possessed the power of speech, but it was unpleasing to feel that the reproof was a just one. "We outsiders look through windows ourselves, of course," went on the voice with less severity of tone. That is our business, but we do it deli cately. We couldn't move, in good so ciety at all if we went about staring at people and making ourselves disa greeable. Everybody would draw their curtains before sunset if we did that way. By the way," with a sudden change of subject and manner, "I have been outside here for a long tin.c, and it looks very pleasant in there. Would you mind my coming in for a Christ mas eve call?" Miss Thorne glanced at the clock. Jane would not be in for at least twenty minutes yet, and meanwhile this adventure promised to be interesting. "I should be pleased to have you do so," she said politely— that is, if you can. I thought that you belonged to the outside entirely or I would have asked you in before." "I can always come In Christmas eve if lam invited." The stranger stepped lightly over the sill as Miss Thorne slipped the bolt and swung the sashes back and looked about with a little sigh of satisfaction. "I was always sure that it must be charming in here," she said, "and it is; but stuffy, don't you think? and a trifle crowded and choked up with things? How ever, I suppose you do not notice it— it all depends upon how one is brought up." It is rather unusual and slightly as tonishing to be called upon to entertain his taste for antiquities he made a second and a deathless bride. From the outset he pursued his pleasure systematically, scarcely a day of fifty years passing that he did not devote some part or all of his leisure time to searching through the musty dens of the Latin quarter for art products of the dead past. His fancy, though confined periodically to the completion of series and the ac cumulation of works covering- a given century or period, took excursions through the entire domain of art, until a visitor whose body is of so ethereal a nature that you can look directly through her and see the various be longings of your apartment, which happen to be on the other side of her, with perfect distinctness. It is more unusual and astonishing still when that visitor looks at you with your own eyes, smiles at you with your own smile and speaks to you with your own voice. Taking all things together, Miss Thorne felt that it was really necessary for her to sit down and en deavor to collect herself a little. "Won't you be seated also," she said to her guest, indicating her own pet chair with a gracious gesture as she took possession of the beribboned rocker: but the invitation met with brisk negation. "I prefer to stand, thank you, If you do not mind. You see 1 have done just what you have done for so many years that it is refreshing to do just exactly what you* are not doing for a little while — it gives me a delightful feeling of independence. Now tell me about yourself, please," ceasing from • her tour of Inspection around the room and coming over to stand with one shadowy arm resting upon the mantel, while she looked down at her hostess. "I've always been curious' about you. Do you like living inside? And do you like being solid and hitting against solid things all the time?" '■',:.. "It is our duty to like that state of life Into which it has pleased Prov idence to call us," replied Miss Thorne a trifle primly, "and I never 'hit against things.' None but extremely awkward persons do such things. Why should you be curious about me? I should think that you would know all about me after watching me so long." "We only see the outside of you solid people," explained the visitor, "and you can't tell anything by that. Now we outsiders are different. We can see right through each other, you know, and it makes things easy. We never make mistakes or deceive each other, because we couldn't if we tried. We are just as we seem, but you people seem so many different ways that it is puzzling. One can never be quite sure how you really do feel about things. Gothic Virgin, Thirteenth Cen tury — Wood. the immense and incredibly valuable collection he bequeathed to the Beaux Arts is of evolutionary rather than eccentric interest. Wasset's first collection was of the French and German engravings of the sixteenth century, which is said to be of the rarest and most complete. His you know, because you have a body to hide behind." "It is very convenient sometimes," said Miss Thorne reflectively, "and I don't think that I should like your way at all. It would be very embarrassing often, and lead to unpleasant compli cations. Do you like it always your self?" "It is our duty to like the state of life." The girl from outside interrupt ed herself with a confused little laugh. "I beg your pardon, but we do get so accustomed to parroting! It is aw fully stupid to be obliged to copy some one else all the time, especially when they do silly things, and you Inside people do tremendously silly things sometimes, you know. What makes me envy you the most of anything, though, is because you are so inde pendent. You don't have to follow any one else's lead all the time and do fool ish things just because some one else does!" Miss Thorne glanced involuntarily at the fashion magazine that lay on the stand near by and then down at the squeezed up toes in her dainty slippers, and the color deepened guiltily in her cheeks. She sought to create a diver sion. "Don't you find it lonely out there In the dark?" she asked, "after ! the curtains are down and you can't I look in?" The shadowy head shook decidedly. That is our pleasantest time, fro then we are off duty and can associate with each other. We of the 'smart set' have our paper chases and our animal races, and all the other silly things that you have. You see we can't get rid of be ing you, even when you are out of our sight, and sometimes it is very tire some. I assure you." , Miss Thorne looked up at the clock. "I do not wish to seem inhospitable," she said a .little coldly (this young woman was not altogether pleasing, she thought, and her call had already extended over fifteen minutes)^ "but my maid will be here directly, so if there is anything ; special that you would "like to speak about before she comes you would better.- do so at once." v* *: vT.'-y'-' .■* Her visitor took her arm off the mantel, and coming around to the front of the fire settled down comfortably into the big chair. Miss Thorne noted with disapproval, and yet with secret consciousness of her fidelity to nature as she had seen it, that she glanced into the mirror as she passed it, and that as she sat down she drew back her skirts with a surreptitious turn of her dimpled wrist so that one small foot was innocently exposed to view. Having arranged this matter to her satisfaction she smiled across at her hostess most engagingly. "It was ever so sweet of you to ask me in," she said, "but I suppose that I ought to have told you something first. It wasn't exactly honorable of me to take advantage of your kindness, but I was just determined to come in for next series was of the eighteenth cen tury French stamps, which cost him 8000 francs and is now appraised at $111,000. About the same time he be gan his series of French and Italian medals, now of inestimable worth. The collection of rings, jewels and seals, rare and precious, consumed the odd moments of many years. During the last twenty years of his life he de voted his energies and rcsoures to completing series of heraldic devices, Ivories and religious statuary. It transpired at the death of this disinterested and enthusiatic old man that he had been animated throughout by the determination to create and leave as a legacy to the Beaux Arts an art collection that could not fail to stimulate the students of a symposium until then composed almost wholly of reproductions, destitute of the essen tials of original suggestion. Of the Wasset antiquities the most notable of the first virtue, Greek and Roman, are several beautiful bronzes, a mirror fragment with an engraved frame, two figures of Phryg ian headdress, the Venus of the an cient Grcau collection, a grotesque male figure of the same collection, an old squatty Taurus, a very old pan ther, a number of ornamental potteries and terra cottas, engraved stones, metals, Gallic - Roman and Mero vingian bronze statuary, and curiosi ties of all sorts. The. middle age is represented in a show case of the most varied and im posing aspect, including dozens of ivo ries and works of the goldsmiths' craft chalices, ciboriums, ostensoires, reliquaries, and sacred chandeliers; heraldic treasures, fierce and stern figures of Christ on the cross and of saints holding the phylactery, and of rich ornamental designs of the ancient Roman and Byzantium period. The thirteenth century is represented by a charming statuette of the Virgin, done in wood, her eyes lowered and her head covered by the skirt of her man tle. Then comes a collection of Italian bronzes, ' followed ■by the renaissance and the dazzling medallion works of Dupre and Warm. Such is a mere skeleton idea of the incomparable patrimony of the stu dent at the Beaux Arts, who have. to thank the early bereavement of an ob scure Frenchman who earned the means with which he - might enrich their art resources in a life long strug gle with dull figures, filings and ac counts of the "War Department. once, and — you won't mind it so much for one night, will you?" Miss Thorne sat up very straight, chilled by a sudden foreboding. "Mind what?" she demanded with unwonted sharpness, and the young woman from outside the window laughed softly. "Changing places with me," she an swered. "You see, there Is only body enough for one of us, and since you in vited me in I have a right to it until half-past 3 in the morning the 'turn ing time," you know — and — well, you have to go — outside!" Miss Thorne gasped. "It is impossi ble!" she declared, "quite impossible! I am sorry to seem selfish and disap point you, but I was never out in the street alone after dark in all my life; and, besides, I have an engagement for this evening. I couldn't think of changing places with you, really." The "outsider" laughed again — a de murely, mischievous little laugh this time. "You do not need to think of it," she said, "for— see?" and with a comprehensive wave of her hand she directed MissThorne's attention to the fact that a swift and singular change was taking place in her personality. From being transparent she had be come translucent, and was rapidly be coming opaque! At the same instant Miss Thorne felt an odd "creepy" sensation pass over her, and as her horrified eyes looked down at herself she became in dignantly aware that in some myste rious way she had been robbed of her physical being, and that her visitor was In possession, not only of her ap pearance, but also of her substance. "I think you are very rude, half sobbed, "and very ungrateful! and you ought to be ashamed of yourself!" "I am," said the newly solidified Miss Thorne earnestly. "I really am, I as sure you, but that doesn't make any difference under the circumstances. You'll be obliged to go." "But I absolutely decline to help carry, out this absurd arrangement," persisted the rightful owner of the pretty face that was now regarding her with mischievous triumph, and the young woman in possession rose with an air of gentle decision. "Our rules are never broken," she said, "and you really must submit. I couldn't change back now until the right time if I wanted to. And now I must bid you good-evening, for Jane is coming. Be sure to be close at hand at half past 3 or you will have to stay outside until next Christmas eve. Thanks and good-night." And before she could at all realize what had occurred the deposed daugh ter of the house of Thorne found her own window bolted behind her and the curtain drawn, shutting her out com pletely from the life that had been hers. Mr. Van Aleyne was the first to bow before Miss Thorne when she made her appearance, unusually late, under the brilliant lights of the crowded ball room, and she graciously granted him the privilege of putting down his name for two dances and a "may be," dis tributing the rest impartially among the especially favored ones of "her set." Outside the window a pair of unseen eyes watched her every movement, for was there not a painful possibility that this fair pre tender might compromise the real Miss Thorne beyond redemption? What might not a girl who had spent all her existence on the outside of life be ca pable of when she found herself. Inside of the charmed circle? The independ ence for which she had longed was hers for this one night, and she could make what use of It she would. She was flirting abominably— that was certain." "Was it possible, thought the girl whose place she had taken, that Miss Thorne, of whom she purported to be a perfect copy, ever "made eyes" at people in that way? Was the real Miss Thorne always so conscious of her pretty face and her pretty shoul ders and her pretty hands and her pretty waist and her pretty feet and her pretty gowns, and was this coun terfeit a true presentment : of her? Was the real Miss Thorne so full of "nods and becks and wreathed smiles," and did she bestow them so lavishingly upon her little court? And was the real Miss Thorne so rosily triumphant over the small victories of a ball room? If so, then Mark was surely justified in feel ing himself aggrieved and taking excep tions to her conduct. Poor Mark! It was no wonder that he had remon strated, and she had treated him most unkindly. 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' : ; ; wrappers are so beautiful, from an artistio point of* Palace and Epicurean Good* were -i eWi that they atrike the eye wherever they are selected In preference to all others to be seen. tor their Superior Merit by the v f "_p\/I *? _*>_"_^'• ;; buyers for the Arctic RelieS Expc- "• LEVI Or vU«__j d * tion - ■' 117-119 Market St., S. F. an opportunity she would certainly tell him how sorry she was for it all. But j perhaps he had been so deeply wound- * ed that he never — The watching eyes fell suddenly on a tall, broad-shouldered young man who I was making his way determinedly I through the crowd in the direction of 1 the false Miss Thorne. Mark had come \ back, and was evidently eager to \ make friends again! And here shT^** was, on the outside of the window, and i the happiness of both their lives lay in J the hands of that heartless little flirt, I who, sailing under false colors as she I was, might do or say something that 1 would send him away again— time i forever! She could look in at them no longer. Sick at heart she sought the deepest shadow and waited there in silence and solitude until the "turning hour" was at hand. Then she stationed her self by her own window, and presently a white hand drew aside the curtain and a tired and rather cross little face looked out at her. "Oh, you are there, are you?" The voice was a trifle ungracious, as the window swung open. 'I am glad of it, for I am just tired out dragging about this clumsy body of yours! My head aches and my back aches and ,my feet ache, and that awkward Mr. Tomkins stepped on my toes and nearly crushed two of them. I woudn't be bothered taking care of such things all the time for anything! Come in, do, and don't let so much cold air in." Miss Thorne stepped into the warmth and brightness of the pleasant room, realizing as she did so that she had never appreciated how very pleasant it was until she had been shut out i :' it— just as she had never appreciated a certain loving heart until it wk-, perhaps, lost to her for all time. >% "I told Jane I shouldn't need her, for I knew you would want to talk," went on the interloper, tugging at the fas tenings of her gown, "and it wouldn't be fair to leave you to take off all these _A things when you didn't have the fun of™ wearing them. Hand me that wrapper that I wore in here, please. I wouldn't trouble you, but it is close on the half hour, and — "Do tell me about your evening," in terrupted Miss Thorne. "You see, I am responsible for everything that you did, and I am a little anxious. Did anything special happen?" The other Miss Thorne sat down on an ottoman, and, pulling off her satin slippers, caressed her liberated feet affectionately. "I am thankful that I shall leave all my aches behind me when I leave here!" she said. " 'Anything spe cial'? Well, Mr. Van Aleyne asked me to marry him." "And you — "Refused him, of course. Do I look like a girl who would jump at her first offer? Besides, he asked me in his own house — shockingly bad form, that! There, now," glancing at herself ap provingly, "I'm all ready, and it's twenty-nine minutes past. Thank you for lending me your things, but I would rather stay on my side of the window hereafter." Again that strange sensation shiv ered over Miss Thorne, and then she saw that she was once more in her own form, and that the airy semblance of herself was bidding her "good night." She hurried across the room and laid her hand on the bolt. "And what did Mark say?" she asked, forgetting her pride in her anit iety to know what had occurred. ™-— "Mark? Oh, yes; the big fellow. He only had about two minutes alone --.sth me, but he managed to talk a quantity of nonsense. Said he 'just couldn't stay away,' and that he had been 'cross,' and 'unreasonable,' and all that." "And what else?" "Well, he said that he had come for a decided answer. It must be 'yes' or_A 'no' right then and there, and so—re ally, you must let me out this instant or I won't answer for consequences!" Miss Thome's trembling fingers drew* the bolt. "Please tell me which you said." The words were almost whis pered, and the "outsider" looked back at her roguishly as she passed out into the night. » "Guess, for I'll never tell!" said she, teasingly. And then, relenting*, "'he'll tell you himself, though, for he is coming to-day to wish you, as I now do, a merry Christmas!" And then Miss Thorne closed the window. FLORENCE MATHESON.