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Hidden Hand   By: (1819-1899)

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First Page:

HIDDEN HAND

by

MRS. E. D. E. N. SOUTHWORTH

Author of THE CURSE OF CLIFTON

New York Hurst & Company Publishers

CONTENTS.

I. The Nocturnal Visit

II. The Masks

III. The Quest

IV. Capitola

V. The Discovery

VI. A Short, Sad Story

VII. Metamorphosis of the Newsboy

VIII. Herbert Greyson

IX. Marah Rocke

X. The Room of the Trap Door

XI. A Mystery and a Storm at Hurricane Hall

XII. Marah's Dream

XIII. Marah's Memories

XIV. The Wasting Heart

XV. Cap's Country Capers

XVI. Cap's Fearful Adventure

XVII. Another Storm at Hurricane Hall

XVIII. The Doctor's Daughter

XIX. The Resigned Soul

XX. The Outlaw's Rendezvous

XXI. Gabriel LeNoir

XXII. The Smuggler and Capitola

XXIII. The Boy's Love

XXIV. Capitola's Mother

XXV. Cap's Tricks and Perils

XXVI. The Peril and the Pluck of Cap

XXVII. Seeking his Fortune

XVIII. A Panic in the Outlaw's Den

XXIX. The Victory Over Death

XXX. The Orphan

THE HIDDEN HAND.

CHAPTER I.

THE NOCTURNAL VISIT.

Whence is that knocking? How is't with me when every sound appals me? I hear a knocking In the south entry! Hark! More knocking! Shakespeare.

Hurricane Hall is a large old family mansion, built of dark red sandstone, in one of the loneliest and wildest of the mountain regions of Virginia.

The estate is surrounded on three sides by a range of steep, gray rocks, spiked with clumps of dark evergreens, and called, from its horseshoe form, the Devil's Hoof.

On the fourth side the ground gradually descends in broken, rock and barren soil to the edge of the wild mountain stream known as the Devil's Run.

When storms and floods were high the loud roaring of the wind through the wild mountain gorges and the terrific raging of the torrent over its rocky course gave to this savage locality its ill omened names of Devil's Hoof, Devil's Run and Hurricane Hall.

Major Ira Warfield, the lonely proprietor of the Hall, was a veteran officer, who, in disgust at what he supposed to be ill requited services, had retired from public life to spend the evening of his vigorous age on this his patrimonial estate. Here he lived in seclusion, with his old fashioned housekeeper, Mrs. Condiment, and his old family servants and his favorite dogs and horses. Here his mornings were usually spent in the chase, in which he excelled, and his afternoons and evenings were occupied in small convivial suppers among his few chosen companions of the chase or the bottle.

In person Major Warfield was tall and strongly built, reminding one of some old iron limbed Douglas of the olden time. His features were large and harsh; his complexion dark red, as that of one bronzed by long exposure and flushed with strong drink. His fierce, dark gray eyes were surmounted by thick, heavy black brows that, when gathered into a frown, reminded one of a thunder cloud, as the flashing orbs beneath them did of lightning. His hard, harsh face was surrounded by a thick growth of iron gray hair and beard that met beneath his chin. His usual habit was a black cloth coat, crimson vest, black leather breeches, long, black yarn stockings, fastened at the knees, and morocco slippers with silver buttons.

In character Major Warfield was arrogant, domineering and violent equally loved and feared by his faithful old family servants at home disliked and dreaded by his neighbors and acquaintances abroad, who, partly from his house and partly from his character, fixed upon him the appropriate nickname of Old Hurricane.

There was, however, other ground of dislike besides that of his arrogant mind, violent temper and domineering habits. Old Hurricane was said to be an old bachelor, yet rumor whispered that there was in some obscure part of the world, hidden away from human sight, a deserted wife and child, poor, forlorn and heart broken... Continue reading book >>




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