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Madge Morton's Secret   By:

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First Page:

MADGE MORTON'S SECRET

by

AMY D. V. CHALMERS

Author of Madge Morton, Captain of the Merry Maid; Madge Morton's Trust, Madge Morton's Victory.

[Illustration: The Girl in the Apple Tree Read on.

Frontispiece. ]

Philadelphia Henry Altemus Company Copyright, 1914, by Howard E. Altemus

CONTENTS

CHAPTER. PAGE.

I. THE INTERRUPTED STORY 7

II. WHAT MADGE FOUND IN THE ATTIC 18

III. AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 35

IV. THE CHALLENGE 46

V. THE MYSTERIOUS BOX 57

VI. FLORA BETRAYS A STATE SECRET 66

VII. AWARDING THE PRIZES 76

VIII. THE HOUR OF TRIUMPH 95

IX. MADGE MORTON'S SECRET 102

X. ADRIFT ON CHESAPEAKE BAY 108

XI. THE AWAKENING 120

XII. A DESERTED ISLAND 132

XIII. LIFE IN THE WOODS 142

XIV. CAUGHT IN A STAMPEDE 152

XV. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS 165

XVI. THE DISAPPOINTED KNIGHTS 173

XVII. CAN WE GO TO THE RESCUE? 183

XVIII. A NEW USE FOR A KITE 193

XIX. THE IMPOSSIBLE HAPPENS 201

XX. THE RECOGNITION 212

XXI. BACK TO THE "MERRY MAID" 219

XXII. THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER 226

XXIII. THE SURPRISE 237

XXIV. THE TELLING OF THE SECRET 248

Madge Morton's Secret

CHAPTER I

THE INTERRUPTED STORY

A girl in a green gown was cosily ensconced among the spreading branches of an old apple tree. She was reading, and she never stirred except to turn the pages of her book or to reach out for another red apple after dropping the core of the previous one.

It was a glorious morning in early September, and the old Virginia orchard was sweet with the odor of ripening apples. A press under a tree still dripped with the juices of yesterday's cider making. The bees and flies buzzed lazily about it. There was no one but the girl in sight.

Some distance to the left was a red brick house, separated from the orchard by a low stone fence and the length of the kitchen garden. It had a big, white colonnaded balcony in front and a smaller veranda in the rear.

The girl in the apple tree read on, unaware that a carriage had driven up to the front of this house and that a woman and a young man were alighting from it. A few moments later a girl came out on the back veranda. She put her hands to her lips and hallooed. She whistled and called. Then she ran up and down the garden, searching everywhere.

"Madge, Madge! where are you?" she cried. "Oh, do answer me in a hurry! I have something so important to tell you!"

The girl in the apple tree did not stir. She was oblivious to everything except her story. Her cousin, Eleanor, called and called again, then ran to the stables. Pompey, the colored boy, declared that he had not seen Miss Madge all morning. Once Eleanor leaned over the orchard fence. The green of Madge's frock was too near the color of the foliage to show through the trees. Eleanor gave up her search in despair.

"All right, Madge Morton," she murmured, "if you will go off by yourself without telling a soul where you are going, you must take the consequences though I am so sorry," added Eleanor. "Poor Madge will be so disappointed."

An hour later a book dropped from the apple tree to the ground, bringing a scurry of leaves with it... Continue reading book >>




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