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The Mask A Story of Love and Adventure   By: (1865-1942)

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THE MASK

A Story of Love and Adventure

by

ARTHUR HORNBLOW

Author of the Novels "The Lion and the Mouse," "The Gamblers," "Bought and Paid For," "By Right of Conquest," "The End of the Game," Etc.

Illustrations by Paul Stahr

[Frontispiece: A small jewelled hand struck him full on the mouth.]

G. W. Dillingham Company Publishers New York Copyright, 1913, by G. W. Dillingham Company

The Mask

ILLUSTRATIONS

A small jewelled hand struck him full on the mouth. . . . Frontispiece

"Yes, you are my brother. We are twins."

"I adore you I adore you," he murmured, as he kissed her again.

THE MASK

CHAPTER I

"There! What did I tell you? The news is out!"

With a muttered exclamation of annoyance, Kenneth Traynor put down his coffee cup with a crash and, leaning over the table, pointed out to his wife a despatch from London, given prominence in the morning paper, which ran as follows:

Advices from Cape Town report the finding on a farm near Fontein, a hundred miles north of here, of a diamond which in size is only second to the famous Koh i noor. The stone, which is in the shape of an egg with the top cut off, weighs 1,649 carats, and was discovered after blasting at the foot of some rocks on land adjacent to the tract owned by the Americo African Mining Company of New York. It is understood that the American Company is negotiating for the property; some say the transfer has already been made. If this is true, the finding of this colossal stone means a windfall for the Yankee stockholders.

The Traynor home, No. Gramercy Park, was one of those dignified, old fashioned residences that still remain in New York to remind our vulgar, ostentatious nouveaux riches of the days when culture and refinement counted for something more than mere wealth. Overlooking the railed in square with its green lawns, pretty winding paths and well dressed children romping at play, it had a high stoop which opened into a wide hall, decorated with obsolete weapons and trophies of the hunt. On the right were rich tapestries, masking the folding doors of a spacious drawing room, richly decorated and furnished in Louis XIV. period. Beyond this, to the rear of the house which had been built out to the extreme end of the lot, was the splendidly appointed dining room with its magnificent fireplace of sculptured white marble, surmounted by a striking portrait in oils by Carolus Duran of Mrs. Traynor a painting which had been one of the most successful pictures of the previous year's salon.

In a clinging, white silk negligée gown, the gossamer folds of which only partially veiled the outlines of a slender, graceful figure, Helen sat at the breakfast table opposite her husband, toying languidly with her knife and fork. It was nearly noon, long past the usual breakfast time, and by every known gastronomical law her appetite should have been on keen edge. But this morning she left everything untasted. Even the delicious wheat cakes, which none better than Mammy, their Southern cook, knew how to do to a point, did not tempt her. They had been out to dinner the night before. Her head ached; she was nervous and feverish. Always full of good spirits and laughter, ever the soul and life of the house, it was unusual to find her in this mood, and if her husband, now voraciously devouring the tempting array of ham and eggs spread before him, had not been so absorbed in the news of the day, he would have quickly noticed it, and guessed there was something amiss.

Certainly the appearance of the dining room was enough to upset the nerves of anyone, especially a sensitive young woman who prided herself on her housekeeping. All around was chaos and confusion. The usually sedate, orderly dining room was littered with trunks, grips, umbrellas and canes enveloped in rugs all the confusion incidental to a hurried departure.

She took the newspaper, read the despatch and handed it back in silence.

"Isn't that the very deuce!" he went on peevishly... Continue reading book >>




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