Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

13 articles on this Page

*- -y Old Pamela's Secret.…


-y Old Pamela's Secret. —— ft It will be such fun," said merry-hearted Amelia Ledyard, "I don't think it will be fan at all re- marked Fanny Heath, gravely. Only see what a dismal place it is under that ledge of rocks, with only the owls and crickets for neighbours. Let us run, Amelia, and we shall sUieJv reach home before the storm breaks." "flush Amelia held up her finger as a low growl of thunder rolled along the edge of the horizon and the big drops began to patter among the leaves of the beech oopse, on whose outskirts they stood. "Another five minutes and the tempest will be upon us in all its force. We must not lose an instant in Seeking shelter." And seizing her companion's hand reso- lutely, Amelia Ledyard almost dragged her along over the rough inequalities of the mountain path to the little cabin which bestled beneath an overhanging ledge of rocks. Once, twice, she rapped, and, receiv- ing no response, boldly pushed the door open and entered, while Fanny followed with beat- jng heart and cheeks blanched by vague, untle- 4ned terror. A fire of sticks blazed on the stone hearth, and an old woman sat before it, smoking a (hort black pipe. She turned her head as they entered. "Why don't you say come in P" inqtiired Amelia, with good-humoured imperiousness. "Didn't you hear us craving for admis- sion." "I heard you knock," hoarsely answered the old crone. "And why didn't you reply?" "I want no company," was the brief answer. But Amelia, instead of being repelled by this ungracious reception, drew a wooden Btool to he fire, beckoning Fanny to follow her example. *You're a cross old thing, Pamela," she laid, laughing. Would you have kept us out in the rain ?" "Better to be drenched by the rain than to leek a shelter like this," said Pamela, her face still turned away from her uninvited gUMtfi. "Why, Pamela, you speak as if this plaoe Were uncanny." "So it is, said Pamela, sternly, "Are there ghosts here, or evil spirits?" persisted Amelia, the words sounding strangely in her gay young voice. "Amelia! Amelia! pleaded Fanny, pulling her slaves, "don't talk so; you make my blood-run cold!" "Bat it's all nonsense," laughed Amelia. w Oh, do listen to the raiu how it poors upon the roof, and just lee those vivid flashes! You can't turn us out, Pamela, now that we are here!" Pamela Cameron's rigid old face softened somewhat as she looked into the fresh beautv of tbe sweet young countenance upturned to bwa. I would never have invited you to come in, Miss Amelia," she said; "but since you are her, I must do my best to make you comfortable." "And you will give us some milk out of those darling old blue-rimmed bowls and lome rve bread?" "Yes." Amelia clapped her hands like a delighted Dhild. And may we sleep up in the garret under the eaves ?" You bad better go home, Miss Amelia this hut is no plaoe for the likes of you dainty young ladies to lay your heads!" Inhospitable old thing!" pouted Amelia. "As if we could go home in auoh a tempest, is this! Why, it will rain all night 1" "They will send the carriage for you." How can they, when they haven't an idea orhorm we are ? We started to walk to Buck- leycrwt, and then I remembered what beautiful scenery there was about here, and wandered off, scarcely knowing where, until we heard the thunder peal, and found our- lelves close to your cottage. It's a regular adventure, Pamela, and you may as well give in to it first as last. Fsnmy Heath sat silent the while, and when Pamela had limped into the bedroom to get fresh fuel wherewith to replenish the falling fire, she whispered to her companion, "I don't like the looks of this place, Amelia! I wish we had never come to it!" What nonsense said Amelia, gayly. "I think it is all splendid Old Pamela is a perfect character, and a night upon the mountain side will be an adventure to talk of for weeks." The supper of rye bread and milk was delicious to the hungry girls, and when, after- wards, Pamela showed them the way up a steep flight of steps more like a ladder than stairs, which led into the garret, Amelia's delight was greater than ever. "What a love of an old place," she ex- claimed, looking round her at the bare beams and rafters, which, at their apex, almost touched her head. "flow nice the rain sounds, and how cosy that little bed under the beams looks, only vre shall have to go on our hands and knees to get into it. Oh, fanny, what do you suppose we shall dream about ?" "Hash cried Fanny, seizing her com- panion's arm. "What noise was that p" "Only an owl hooting in the woods. What a bundle of Yidiculous nerves you are, Fanny!" A h, but the strange grating sounds as if skeleton fingers were feeling over the roof." Amelia burst into a laugh. "Nothing on earth but the trees that hang ever the ledge of rocks, and brush to and fro across the ridge-pole at every gust of wind. What will you fancy next?" Fanny drew a deep sigh of relief. But [ shall not undress," she said quietly. W by not ?" Because I think it is safer to lie down ftist as I am." Fanny, you are a goose!" exclaimed Amelia. However, I don't care; we'll just draw the patchwork coverlid over us and sleep as soundly as if we were in our own ohamber at Drumlargriff, for I think I never was so sleepy in all my life." I shall not sleep a wink all night," said Fanny. Oh, Amelia, I wish we had kept on through the vailey. I wish we had not come here." "Fanny, what ails you?" cried Amelia, almost impatiently. I wouldn't be such an old woman as you for a thousand pounds. Do lie quietly down and let me go to sleep." Fanny Heath said no more, but at mid- night she noiselessly waked her companion. Amelia, Amelia Hush Do not speak;" the whimpered; a face was looking into the window just now." "Into this window, Fanny No one but a bird could reach it. You are dreaming." "I am not dreaming—neither have I been asleep. But I tell you it face did look in just now—a face ghastly in the moonlight, with shaggy hair and beard." Amelia raised herself on her elbow, and perceived that the violence of the storm was over, and tbat the moon was shining so as to cast'a square of white radiance on the bare floor. Suddenly the flood of light was darkened. Fanny forced her companion back into a reclining posture, and whispered "Iiush pretend to be asleep-it is oar only safety." I And in the same indaot a euri»u?> dwarfed figure climbed into the room, its face looking I ",in¡r.1rl\T fellow and corpse-liUo in t-Uc- in'opc 1 light, framed in as it was with a mat of coarse, red hair. A ragged coat hung loosely on ita mis-shapen shoulders, and its feet were cased in something that looked like leggings of sheap-Skin. And as Amelia lay there she could feel the blood pulsing in wild leaps to her heart. She could not speak—she had no voice I to scream. It seemed to her for the moment that she must surely go mad with terror. The creature, whether apparition or reality, crept stealthily across the creaking floor to where the girls' neoklaces and ear-rings lay glittering on a plain deal table, and uttered a strange, chuckling sound as he gathered them together and dropped them into some receptacle hidden away in his olothing. Then, horror of horrors, he approached the bed, leaning over and listening so intently that they could feel his hot breath on their temples for an instant. Asleep he murmured, H asleep r' And when Amelia and Fanny next dared to open their eyes he was gone. They lay there trembling and fearing a repetition of the strange visit until daybreak, and then hurried down to Pamela Cameron to tell the story of their night's adventure. The old lady listened with an incredulous face. "Nonsense!" she croaked, "all stuff and nonsense! You were dreaming But our rings and necklaces, and Fanny's 9. oral brooch ?" There they are," said Pamela, with a motion of her head towards the pillow of her own rough couch in the corner. J came up last night to see that you were sleeping well, and saw them all spread out, and knew it wasn't safe; so I brought them down with me, and put 'em under my pillow for safe- keeping." Amelia lifted op the home-spun linen, and there, sure enough, lay the sparkling treasures She looked at Fanny, almost inclined to disbelieve the evidence of her own senses. "But, Pamela," said Fanny, quietly, "1 saw it with my own e3*es—the horrid dwarfed creature gather up our rings and charms and drop them into his pocket. I saw his face, very white, with his glittering eyes and red, tangled hair. I felt his very breath upon mv face!" "Dreams! dreams! dreams!" muttered Pamela, impatiently. Are you ready for your breakfast, young ladies ?" But neither of the girls could eat after the hideous night they had passed. They re- wardud the old woman liberaliy for her grudgingly given hospitality, and set out to walk down the mountain side, with what speed they could. "But I know it was no dream"' said Amelia, in a whisper, as if even the copses and birds and boulders of rock had ears to hear. About a week afterwards tha lady's maid, who daily came up to brush Miss Ledyard'a lovely golden hair, was brimful of tidings. Dear heart alive, miss said she, did you know that Widow Cameron, who -iives up on the mountain, where you stopped all night in that tremendous storm, you know 1} "Yes," said Amelia, impatiently. "Go on." Well, she's got a orazy son that's been wandering about in the woods, living on nuts and berries, like a wild man, these three months, for he's esoaped from the asylum, where they didn't use him well noways, and his poor mother hadn't the heart to put him back there again; and last night he slipped on those rooks by Creefell's Creek,and fell in, and was drowned. And Widow Cameron, she takes on just as bad as if he wasn't a poor de- formed creature without common sense!— and to think she's kept the seoret all the years she lived there, having a mad son Amelia spoke no word but her eyes met tho&e of her oousin Fanny. That explains the mystery," said the latter, quietly. Poor Pamela No wonder she was so unwilling to shelter us from the rain She must herself have taken the jewels from him afterwards and told a false- hood to keep the awful secret."—Evening World,




Christmas Day in the Bush,…


A Tragic and Strange Life.

Spotted at the Free Lunch,


About Millionaires.

The Star of Bethlehem.

A Steer" Bucked the Post.…