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The Riverside Press, Cambridge





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Copyright, 1892,

All rights reserved.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., 0.8.A.,
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co

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On a mild day in October a carriage was waiting before the door of a small hotel in one of the quieter streets of New York. At the window of its reception-room stood Miss Wilton, dressed for a journey and putting on her gloves. She was a woman of twenty-five years, tall, with light-brown hair, to which a gleam of sunshine gave a tint almost golden. Her figure was erect, her movements quick and effective, betraying both youth and health.

She had landed only the day before from a European steamer, and, unaccompanied except by her maid, had presented herself at this hotel, where her appearance had insured her a respectful reception. She was, however, the object of some curiosity, and as she stood by the window was accosted by the landlady, who had followed her into the room.

"You have a beautiful day,” she said, basing her remark on an interlude of fitful sunshine.

“It is warm, certainly,” returned Miss Wilton, “but the clouds look showery. I have sent my maid for an umbrella."

She made no further remark, and the landlady


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slipped out as the maid came down carrying a book and an umbrella. The maid was hardly more than a girl, her face not pretty, unless Madame Swetchine was right in saying that every woman who has been young has been pretty, and her look and accent were foreign, though she spoke in English.

“I'm glad you brought the book, Elsa,” said Miss Wilton, taking it from her. "I shall be fully two hours on the cars either way.”

“And Mademoiselle travels quite alone?”

“Of course; this is America, the land of freedom. Besides, I shall be back by dark. Well, good-bye,” she added, with an extremely bright look towards the girl; “keep a warm corner in your heart for


for this is really a plunge into the cold world. They are relatives, to be sure, but relatives are like summer houses, the chilliest resorts imaginable when the season is backward."

All day long Elsa watched the weather closely, and indeed it furnished her much occupation. The sun went continually in and out among the clouds, and the wind blew, first mildly like a June breeze, then rushing as if it had millions of dead leaves to keep aloft.' At one there was a shower, then the wind became colder, the sky more gray, and when the time for Miss Wilton's return had come, the fine rain had been falling for an hour, and the night had crept on early.

Miss Wilton was not wholly accurate in saying that she was going among relatives. It would have been hard for her to find any one in New York or vicinity who was related to her by blood. Her

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