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l /xrHv’ EdmondS ,* , • LOCK H&K, Aulhor of “The Sifter Blade!', “The Taternogter JZub£' Etc ' <s 'gpys/GHY IS>J2. TH.Cf.74 c CZZZR& & CtQ BOOK I. t The Silent House. CHAPTER I. Number 1313. As Rudolph Van Vechten entered the outer doorway of his club, the handsome mission clock in the hall was chiming the three-quarter hour after eight. The young man’s thin, sensitive lips assumed a rueful curve and his brow gathered in a scowl. “Fifteen minutes yet until nine/’ he muttered in a tone of complaint, star ing hard at the dial. “Whatever I shall do until night the gods alone know. Plague on such rotten luck!" And having thus given audible ex pression of his feelings, he dismissed the temporary irritation with a re signed shrug and sauntered listlessly into the luxurious but deserted loung ing-room overlooking the street, where he dropped heavily into a huge, bil lowy leather chair which stood facing one of the windows. He immediately discovered that the chair was insuffer ably hot, and bounding to his feet, glared round for an attendant. None was to be seen; so he shoved the stuffy chair away—it was too heavy to kick —and jerked a cooler and more inviting willow one into its place, wherein he once more seated himself. "Somebody ought to kick me for having come here,” he feelingly re marked. Then he turned again to his Incipient contemplation of the hot empty street. Van Vechten might have told you, If he had paused to analyze his feel ings respecting the Powhatan, that hie attachment to his club was based upon some sort of sentiment. His slender, modishly attired figure, and his finely chiseled, high-bred features (which were much paler than they should have been) were by no means strange, to their present rich and elegant sur roundings. In point of fact, no mem ber of the Powhatan more assiduously availed himself of the club’s exclusive privileges than did he. Among the small coterie of his intimates and friends, and the much longer list of acquaintances who would have liked to share the closer relationship, no body ever thought of calling for him at his own handsomely appointed bache lor apartments in the Kenmore until the Powhatan Club had first been tried, and even then not before noon. Because, prior to that hour, all at tempts to communicate with him so invariably had been frustrated by his diplomatic valet, Barnicle, that every body had long since learned that he was not in the habit of rising before twelve o’clock. Familiar, therefore, as his appear ance was to the astonished and dis comfited club attendant (in season), it was associated —reluctantly as the fact must be admitted—only with late hours, the poker or bridge table, and a multitude of cocktails whose num ber was known by no man save that miracle of divination, the Powhatan’s steward. He carefully indexed and preserved all the checks which Van Vechten so promptly forgot Without spending too much time, or trying to interpret too many words, let us endeavor to make the situation clear; for it was all very strange, the manner in which the commonplace sit uation described interlaced torith what immediately followed. Here—and this is the point to be brought to the front and borne in mind —was a concurrence of time, place and individual which had never happened before, and in all likelihood would never happen again, but which wore every outward aspect of one of those, rare and inexplicable tricks on the part of Fate, as rare and mysterious as mushrooms, freakishly contrived to land some poor mortal plump in the midst of a troublesome predicament, like Napoleon’s star at Waterloo. Mer cury blazed at mid-day on that mem orable occasion, if you have not for gotten this apocryphal footnote to history. Certain it is, at any rate, if Van Vechten had been anywhere else at this particular hour on this particular Sunday morning, he would have missed Witnessing an . incident which presently was to jar him from the lethargy of his ennui as effectively as if the rotation of the earth upon its axis were suddenly to be reversed. And the incident, but one of a start ling series, was not long in coming. HOW QUEER FISH ARE BRED Curious Results Obtained by Chinese and Japanese In Selection and Crossing. The telescope fish, a monstrous va riety of carp, is a creation of the Chinese and Japanese fish breeders, who are past masters in the art of de forming nature. It has an almost globular glistening body, gilded on the sides, double dorsal fins and a long tail of peculiar shape. Its eyes and their sockets are very prominent and resemble the object glasses of tele scopes, whence the name telescope fish. A carp possessing this abnormal feature was discovered in Japan in the sixteenth century, since which ep och the peculiar character has been perpetuated and combined with many variations in form and coloring, by careful selection and crossing. The variety known as Yen-tan-yen or “veil tail” preserves the normal structure of the eye during life, but its delicate transparent tail attains an enormous size and falls in graceful folds, like a veil, producing effects Again from the hall floated the state ly, melodious chime. Nine o’clock. With the first dulcet note, Van Vech ten’s regard fell idly upon a man who was passing along the farther side of the street —the first human being he had seen since taking up his position at the window. He was not at all in terested in the man, who was entirely unknown to him; but the stranger had advanced within his field of vision, and it was much easier to follow him than it was to look away. So he con tinued to watch him, albeit but hazily conscious of the fact, because his thoughts were' occupied with matters of vastly more importance to himself. That Is to say, at the time he fancied they were of more importance; subse quently his opinions on this score un derwent a decided change. Only a few seconds later, in truth, he regretted that he had not given the man more of his attention —sufficient, at least, to recall something of his appearance. But even at that, he never dreamed how nearly the epi sode affected himself at the moment, nor did he have any premonition of the extraordinary events that were to en .gue in the immediate future. The man was walking with a certain halting, indefinite slowness, the while he studied the house numbers, as if in search of a particular one. All at once he stopped stock-still. Van Vechten, as it chanced, failed to observe this., for his eyelids, heavy with loss of sleep, chose this precise second to curtain the scene. Nothing had yet occurred to prick his curiosity. His lids drooped only for an instant, to be sure; but within that brief space the strange man’s bearing had sud denly altered. He had thrown off his irresolution, and had gone quickly up the steps of the house directly oppo j site. Van Vechten opened hie eyes ' only just in time to see him disap , pearing through the doorway, and the door itself swing shut. The Silent House! The House of - Mystery! The house wherein nobody had even been seen to enter! There was no mistaking the fact that Van Vechten was galvanized into an alertness which, had it been almost anybody else under the same condi tions, would have amounted to excite ment. “Say!” he demanded of himself un der his breath. “Is this a pipe-dream? Or did somebody really go into that house?” And after a reflective pause: “No, X wasn’t asleep,” he deliberate ly settled the unwonted occurrence in his mind; “I saw the chap coming along the walk. Let’s see—what did he look like? What was he doing? What the dickens does it mean, any how?” There was nothing or nobody to an swer these puzzled inquiries. He was convinced that he had remained awake, although drifting along the bor derland of slumber, because he dis tinctly recalled having heard the clock in the hall strike nine. He glanced at his watch. Yes, only nine. So he could not have been asleep, even for a second. All of which may seem a ridiculous ly trivial matter to be the occasion of so much concern; but anybody ac quainted with the circumstances would not have thought so. To begin with, there was something positively repellent in the very appear ance of the house across the way. ' Even the number on the fanlight—by pure accident, 1313, for it was an old, old number and not the true one at all —was doubly and reiteratively un inviting to persons owning supersti tious weaknesses. And who of us, to some extent, does not? Erected in the days when high, narrow brownstone fronts were accepted as the hall-mark of affluence, it still successfully re . sisted the encroachments of improve : ment which otherwise modernized and beautified the thoroughfare. At the time the Powhatan Club moved into its new quarters Number 1313 was vacant, and had remained so up to‘something like three months • prior to the opening of this story; • that is to say, not quite two years. How long previously to that it had stood empty no club member could say. During all the period within their knowledge its begrimed facade had ' been an eyesore and an object of exe cration; somber and brooding, it was a sort of memento mori to the idlers behind the big plate glass windows of the lounging-room, a silent but per petual rebuke to the folly of their lives; which attribute had more than ■ once called forth a passionately resent . ful tirade from some member who had I that a “serpentine” dancer might envy, when a little fish moves in the sun i light. Other Japanese varieties of the tele scope fish are the "sheep’s nose,” which owes its name to the convexity ■ of its body; the “pig’s snout,” which s has a head resembling those of Asiat , ic swine, and the “fan tail,” which • raises and spreads its tail in the : manner of a fan-tail pigeon. ! The Chinese breeders of telescope ; fish disdain these abnormalities of l structure and devote their attention l chiefly to coloring. By modifying the ■ temperature of the water, and by im > pregnating it with lime and Iron, I they produce startling shades and i markings. Among the innumerable ■ varieties thus obtained we may men i tion the “spotted,” with a belly of ’ silver, and sides and back marked ’ with blue, yellow, black, rose and car mine dots; the crimson “ruby” and i the “superb,” with glittering scales, l scarlet belly, and black or bright red : markings on the back. i l More than 2,000,000 men have been i killed in battle in the last 50 years. been unlucky at cards, or had con sumed too much alcohol the night be fore. Then one afternoon the club was electrified. Tom Phinney had been staring unseeingly into the street for some minutes. It struck him all at once that the wundows and the front door across the way were no longer boarded, and that all the windows wore blinds; the red stone steps, how ever, showed no indication of having been recently cleaned. "I say, fellows,” he abrutly sang out, “thirteen-thirteen's occupied!” There was a concerted movement toward the club’s window; everybody present left off whatever he happened to be doing at the moment and stood silently gaping at the gloomy front. “Blinds close-drawn,” somebody presently remarked. "Wonder who it can be ?’’ < What was learned during the word less, curious inspection Avas about all the information respecting Number 1313 that was to be vouchsafed dur ing the succeeding months. During that time it was scarcely possible that any person could have come or gone within the eighteen hours that are the liveliest of the twenty-four, without attracting somebody’s attention at the Powhatan. For as the weeks passed, and the shades remained down by day, and the windows dark by night, curiosity grew apace; the house be came more and more a fruitful topic of speculation; and with its secret front constantly staring one in the face, the sign of life or activity must have been noted. Why should anybody want to main tain such persistent, unnatural seclu sion? Inquiry at the estate’s office build ing was productive of no enlighten ment. Considerable difficulty was ex perienced in gaining access to the manager; then he at once denied Num ber 1313’s occupancy. Whereupon Tom Phinney felt that the Powhatan’s committee was not being treated with the deference which it unquestionably deserved.- “See here,” he said, thumping the desk under the manager’s nose; “your confounded house is situated right across the street from the Powhatan club—” For the first time the manager’s eye contained a gleam of interest. He interrupted. "Isn’t Mr. Percy Bonner on your house committee?” he inquired. "Yes, he is,” returned Tom, not re- At That Instant the Clock in the Hall Began Striking Ten. ceding in the least from his determined stand. He waited a moment, but as the gleam died in the manager’s eye, proceeded. “Our body is select, you must be aware, and we are proud of the quiet respectability of our neighborhood. There’s enough influence in our mem bership to run out anything of a shady nature —we won’t 6tand for it, in ( short.” The manager acknowledged the jus tice of this ultimatum, but merely said: “If you see or hear anything wrong, run ’em out; I don’t care.” “We have a right to know who our neighbors are,” insisted Tom. - “Inquire of them,” said the mana ger; “I can’t tell you.” “Do you mean to say you don’t know ?” —incredulously. “Just that. The present tenant nev er applied to us at all —have never seen him. in fact. Occupancy of the NEW WAY TO FIND PARTNERS Up-to-Date Hostess Used Tiny Bou quets Made in Pairs ' to Match. At a large card party ’ the hostess had her guests find partners by pass ing tiny bouquets around in which were put little lace paper frills. The stems were wrapped in silver paper, and the card attached said “Table 1,” “Table 2,” etc. The four who had table 1 found their place and the two whose bouquets matched played part ners. Fancy headed pins were thrust through the cards so the flowers could be worn. Every one was charmed with this pretty idea, and in this same way a hostess had her guests served 30 at a time at a big large “tea;” one of the assisting ladies handed the bou quets as those who were served passed out and in this way It was easy to keep track of those who had had re freshments. If real flowers are hard to get tiny artificial ones may be used with good effect, and if purchased at a worthy shop, would be quit* expensive. Clever THE FROSTBURG SPIRIT, FROSTBURG, MD house was arranged in quite another manner. Really, gentlemen, that is all I am at liberty to tell you.” And the Powhatan’s committee was bowed politely out. It was not for nothing that the house was called the House of Mys tery. CHAPTER 11. On the Stroke of the Hour. A perpetual mien of Impassivity which effectively repulsed advances or familiarities on the part of the strangers and persons whom he dis liked, was perhaps Rudolph Van Vech ten’s most noticeable physical char acteristic; for an impassive face, and the ease of manner which customarily accompanies it, is due to one of two things: Either a set of sympathetic emotions that are sadly atrophied, or else an acquired self-control so habit ual that every genuine feeling is per fectly masked. In either case habit is not long in asserting itself. And it has been shown that Mr. Rudolph Van Vechten was capable of being startled and astonished. On the present occasion, therefore, he did not long permit his amazement to flaunt itself. Quite soon he was the same imperturbed individual whose presence had surprised the club at tendant a few minutes previously. It pccurred to him by and by that while he had missed witnessing the stranger’s entrance into the House of Mystery, it did not necessarily follow that he must fail to see him when he emerged. Sooner or later the man must depart. Van Vechten was eminently well qualified to wait, since all his energies, and such ambition as he possessed, were directed toward that most labori ous of all tasks, “killing time;” despite which, backed by a considerable fen tility of invention, most of the min utes of each passing day flitted by, leaving him more bored than ever. So he resolved to keep his station at the window—all day if necessary—and sat isfy his curiosity respecting the man’s general appearance. The .first twenty minutes or so were alleviated by a lively anticipation that the door would open almost any mo ment, and the man come forth; but nothing of the kind happened. The house remained as still as it had been for months. Not a blind was raised; no sign of life was ma'nifest. Then the watcher began to grow restless. As the minutes ticked off and nothing occurred, he glanced at his watch with increasing frequency. Presently he rose and went over to a push-button, upon which he pressed with unnecessary violence, afterwards hastening back to the window under a sudden apprehension that the man might take advantage of his brief in attentiveness to vanish —as the fellow had caught him napping before. A cocktail was presently set beside him upon a tabouret; he gulped it down, then lighted a cigarette which he began to smoke feverishly. But he tossed it away after a puff or two; he had smoked too much the night be fore, and the tempered spirits could not remove the furry taste from his tongue. Another glance at his watch; near ly an hour had he waited, for it was now ten minutes to ten. Would the fellow never appear? And then Van Vechten’s attention was all at once diverted. He had or dered and consumed a second cock tail, and was attempting a fresh cigar ette, when he paused, the blazing match suspended in mid-air. He saw another and quite different stranger approaching along the oppo site walk. He knew instinctively that this could not be the first man, but his manner copied that worthy’s so pre cisely that Van Vechten was con strained to watch him instead of main taining his unprofitable vigil. He lighted his cigarette, flipped the match away, and waited. This second Individual was walking hesitantly, just as the other had done, and also seemed to be devoting his at tention to the house numbers. He paused before the house across the way. There could be no doubt but which was only imperfectly outlined upon the red-curtained fanlight. Then that he was searching for the number, abruptly all signs of hesitation van ished from his bearing; he went de terminedly up the steps and rang the bell. At that very instant the clock in the hall began striking ten. f TO BE CONTINirBm.S fingers will easily make them at home. Rambler roses and forget-me-nots are lovely. Clever Ruse. One of the favorite stories of Major Le Mesurier Willoughby, who died re cently at Cheltenham, England, con cerned a soldier who had several times complained of thefts of articles from his kit; but the culprit could not be detected. It was therefore de cided to subject the men in barracks to an ordeal by touch, and the cor poral in charge of the affair explained to the assembled soldiers that on the floor of the mess-room he had placed the barracks cat beneath an inverted tin dish. The cat, he assured them, would mew at the touch of the thief. After the lights had been lowered the men filed past to touch the dish. The cat did not mew, but when the lights were turned up it was found that every man who touched the dish had blackened his hand with soot which had been placed on it. Only one man had failed to soil his hand. A sub sequent search of his possessions re vealed the stolen articles. Luxurious Wrap for Cold Weather I ONE of the full, short coats trimmed with fur which are unlike those of any previous season and immensely successful now, is shown in the pic ture. A muif of the fur used for a bor der about the bottom of the coat and appearing in the collar is worn with coats of this kind. Costly broadtail fur is used in the body of this luxurious wrap, and Fitch fur trims it.* Few wraps of broad tail are worn, in deference to a senti ment which has grown up against it. The handsomest plushes make up into wraps quite as beautiful, and are fur nished with the same expensive furs in borders and muffs. The heavier furs will not answer for wraps of this kind. Natural and dyed squirrel and ermine are used, and sealskin is ideal for ample gar ments which must not be too heavy. Instead of furs, handsome plushes are used for garments which are to be within a reasonable cost. These plushes in the best grades are high priced fabrics, but at that, much less costly than fur. There are cheaper grades that will look well and outlast the season. For wraps and outside garments nothing is more fashionable and more satisfactory than the plush imitations of fur, which are often so close in appearance to the original as to deceive the average eye. The furs most favored for trimming coats are martin, skunk, civet cat, fitch and fox. These are the moderately long haired furs. Mink and sable and ermine (all growing higher in price constantly) are also employed. All furs are used in wide and narrow band- HIGH COIFFURE PROMISES TO BE LEADING STYLE HATLESS ladies at the horse show in New York appeared to be in dulging In a go-as-you-please style of hair dressing. But coiffures were well taken care of. Waves and small curls reappeared, and there was a plentiful showing of high coiffures. Among these were a few extremely high and really very pretty new ideas. Changes are coming and, in fact, have arrived, but no definite style has established itself as a universal favor tie yet. The liking for covering the top of the ear remains. But hair which has been encroaching upon the face, over the cheeks, is no longer good style. The chances are that in the many new coiffures which have been de signed for this season the ears will be wholly or partly covered. Light fringes over the forehead, middle and side parts, hair coiled high or low, but al ways waved, and little, short, full curls are in evidence everywhere. For popularity the high coiffure promises to be the winner in the race for favor. Much depends upon the styles in millinery which are favored for spring. For evening wear, and especially where hats are removed, or not worn at all, Miladi may wave and curl and cull and pile up her crowning glory to her heart’s content. Also her coiffure ings, and in trimmings for costumes and millinery. Sleeves in the new wraps are very roomy—the kimono and bat-wing styles prevailing. 1 There is no trou ble about crushing the bodice under fur wraps, because of the light weight of furs used in the body of the wraps, and there are ample sleeves and arms eyes. The hat worn with this pretty coat is of black velvet, one of few hav ing a blocked crown. The trimming is a generous, fan-shaped spray of soft white feathers. There is an attractive and novel bag carried for the accom modation of the various belongings which vanity fair must needs have near at all times. The coin purse, handker chief, powder puff, etc., placed in small compartments on the inside, do not distort the shape of this plain and elegant accessory. It is of knitted silk finished with silver rings and silver filagree monogram, and is car ried by a silk cord. Good furs, in garments or in trim mings, amount to a good investment, if well cared for. It is not likely that the cost will grow less; all the chances are that it will increase for several years. But furs must be cared fcr. The industrious moth will succeed in finding them when one thinks he is well shut out. Cold stor age is therefore good for furs, but ' they may be protected by placing them in paper bags with moth balls, and in cedar chests. They should be| examined occasionally, hung in the' sun and beaten. The sunlight is death to moths. JULIA BOTTOMLEY. ornament or evening head dress may be as elaborate as any of which we have a history. Sqme of those design ed for wear in Paris are said to be twenty-eight inches in height, which is something over two feet, you know. But the Parisiennes have a certain grace in carrying off extremes which is peculiar to them, their stock-in-trade for setting styles before the rest of the world. They are to be followed at a conservative distance. Flower Boutonnieres. The dark-hued costumes of winter must be enlivened by a touch of color, and this is often accomplished by the wearing of a colored boutonniere. Some very odd materials are used. Metal bouquets are artistically tinted, and medium-sized orchids made of metal and delicately tinted are pretty and frail, set off by dark green vel vet leaves. Porcelain flowers are a decided novelty, dyed or painted in nature’s own colors. Small flowers or fruits are seen in rich wintry tones that harmonize with the costume. Even oranges, lemons and grapes are pressed into service. White velvet gardenias are enhanced by gilt buds. When combined with metal flowers they acquire distinction. Flowers are also made of a cloth that resembles patent leather and is called “oil cloth.” Its softness makes it possible to twist it into realistic blossoms. Fads and Fancies. Jet is increasingly used as the sea son advances. Last year’s gown may be rejuvenated by a fichu. The gown of one color may have two or three girdles. There is a slash in almost every skirt worn by women. For little girls the Russian blouse dresses are in the lead. The smartest tailored <ostumes em phasize the belted coat. Coming of Beads. There is a great vogue in beads; they are used for embroideries, fringes, girdles, and all sorts of things in dress. Time was when sequins took their place, but now beads are back again tn full possession, and sue* sequins as are used bear a stronger resem blance to beads than to scales. RUN JJEBOSSES Democratic Party Dominated by the Caucus. 1 Machinery Handled Relentlessly tot Crush Opposition—Genuine Dia cusslon on Important Measures i an Impossibility. Out of office the Democratic party la always a zealous champion of freedom; including free methods of carrying oni public business. Then it is strongly in favor of the most liberal conduct of debates in congress. It stands for the abolition of caucus rule whenever its own caucus decisions have no power to shape legislation. In office there is a remarkable trans formation. The party of freedom be comes despotic. It uses the most rig orous methods of smothering opposi tion to the decrees of its leaders. Its machinery is handled relentlessly to crush those who dissent from the poli cies of its bosses. Senator Cummins told the truth, in: the United States senate, when he de clared that the course which was be ing followed by the Democratic ma jority in that body in respect to the currency bill was autocratic and prac tically destructive of real debate, and deprived the senate of any other par ticipation in vital legislation than the empty form of ratifying caucus deci sions. It was true, as he said, that the bill had virtually been passed in the Democratic caucus and all genuine discussion had ended there, as far aa the ultimate fate of the measure was concerned. It is nothing new in American gov ernment. It is not revolutionary. There is nothing worse than the meth ods which have long prevailed. But it is wholly antagonistic to the declara tions and “official” principles of the Democratic party. In that respect the practice of the Democratic leaders now 1 in power mocks the professions of a long series of Democratic conventions. By What Warrant? The abolition of party national con ventions proper, as proposed by the president, would mean the demolition of one of the most inspiring, pic turesque, characterstic, and on the whole successful features of American political life. There is absolutely no commensur ate reason or demand for any such ar bitrary destruction of a distinctively 1 American institution that is the natur al outgrowth of our party system. Must every spontaneous and indigen ous political growth in this supposedly free country be mown down by the scythe of statute, to make way for Some arbitrary model cut to the pat tern of the theory monger? Issue Sharply Defined. The issue created by the new tariff bills is clear and unmistakable. The Republican party has always con tended that the remarkaole progress and prosperity of the United States have been due in a large measure, to the protective tariff. The Democratic party, presumably, argues that there would have been equal prosperity un der a tariff which would force Ameri can industry to compete with cheap labor Eyrope in the American market. The test is now to be made. The country will soon know whether a tariff for revenue only will be as sat isfactory as the policy of protection to American industry and labor. “The Nonprogressing Party.” Since the Democratic party now oc cupies the national stage, we had not intended to indulge in speculation re specting other political organizations at this time. Nor shall we do so In any comprehensive way because of the value which should attach to time and space. And yet we can not whol ly ignore the suspicion that, If ever remarks are to be adventured con cerning the Progressive party, they would better be set forth without de lay, to avert a quite strong probability that presently there will be nothing of the kind to write about.—George Harvey in the North American Re view. Effect of Democratic Tariff. One of the first real effects of the Democratic tariff measure passed by congress to strike the Wisconsin 1 farm ers will be the closing down of the Rock county Sugar company’s factory at Janesville. Orders have been re ceived by the management from Capt. James Davidson, the owner, to close down the factory permanently as soon as the present run of sugar is through. —Chicago American. Not Likely to Be Tried. While tariff receipts do not come up to Democratic estimates, the national administration hopes to make up the deficit from the income tax. A prun ing of expenditures and promised Dem ocratic economy might, however, be a more effective means of attacking the threatened deficit. Remains to Be Seen. Mr. Wilson seems to be a strict con stitutionalist as to Mexico, and a loose constructionist as to the United States. Strange that the party of Jefferson, the .arch enemy of federalism, should now be making extreme proposals in federalism at which Hamilton and the “monocrats” would have balked! How is the Democratic south, which is so insistent on running its own elections in its own way, going to relish Mr. Wilson’s move In the direction of fur ther federal interference with elec tions? Should Take Lesson to Heart. The Republicans of the nation, plan ning for next year’s campaigns, may profitably note the ways of the Repub licans of Massachusetts, who are now; worse off than they were last year. Everything that the Massachusetts Re publicans have done it is for the other Republicans not to do. —Providence! Tribune. So many stalwart Progressives are returning to the fold that by the time he gets back the colonel will feel at home right in the Republican party.