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Mona   By: (1843-1926)

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Or, The Secret of a Royal Mirror



Author of Virgie's Inheritance , A True Aristocrat , Trixy , Lost A Pearle , Helen's Victory , etc.




"Appleton, don't look quite yet, but there's a woman just behind you whom I want you to see. I never before saw such a face and figure! They are simply perfection!"

The above remarks were made by a young man, perhaps thirty years of age, to his companion, who, evidently, was somewhat his senior.

The two gentlemen were seated at a private table in the dining room of a large hotel in Chicago, Illinois, and were themselves both handsome and distinguished in appearance.

"There!" the speaker continued, as a slight commotion near them indicated that some one was rising from a table; "she is about to leave the room, and now is your chance."

The gentleman addressed turned to look as the lady passed; but the moment she was beyond the possibility of hearing he broke into a laugh of amusement.

"Oh, Cutler!" he exclaimed; "I never would have believed that you could rave so over a red head you who all your life have held such hair in detestation!"

"Well," returned Mr. Cutler, flushing guiltily, "I acknowledge that I have always had a peculiar aversion to red hair; but, truly, hers is an unusual shade not a flaming, staring red, but deep and rich. I never saw anything just like it before. Anyhow, she is a magnificent, specimen of womanhood. See! what a queenly carriage! what a figure!" and his glance followed the lady referred to, lingeringly, admiringly.

"Yes, she certainly is a fine looking woman," his companion admitted; "and, if I am any judge, the diamonds she wears are worth a small fortune. Did you notice them?"

"No; I saw only herself," was the preoccupied response.

"Aha! I see you are clean gone," was the laughing rejoinder of Mr. Appleton.

The lady referred to was indeed a strangely attractive person. She was rather above the medium height, straight as an arrow, with a perfectly molded figure, although it was somewhat inclined to embonpoint , while her bearing was wonderfully easy and graceful. Her complexion was exquisitely fair, her features round, yet clearly cut and regular. She had lovely eyes of blue, with a fringe of decided, yet not unbecoming red upon their white lids, while her hair was also a rich but striking red, and was worn short, and curled about; her fair forehead and down around her alabaster neck in bewitching natural rings.

She was apparently about twenty five or twenty eight years of age, with all the strength and verve of perfect health in her movements. She was dressed wholly in black, which served but to enhance her fairness, while in her ears and at her throat she wore peculiar ornaments shaped like small crescents, studded with diamonds, remarkable for their purity and brilliancy.

For several days Mr. Cutler and Mr. Appleton sat at the same table, and were quietly observant of this lovely woman.

She came and went, apparently unconscious of their notice or admiration, was gently dignified in her bearing and modest in her deportment, and the two gentlemen became more and more interested in her.

Upon inquiring, they learned that she was a young widow a Mrs. Bently, whose husband had recently died very suddenly. He was supposed to have been very wealthy, but, there being no children, there was some trouble about the settlement of the property, and she was boarding in the city until matters should be adjusted, when she contemplated going abroad.

She seemed to be an entire stranger to every one, and very much alone, save for the companionship of a maid, by whom she was always attended, except at meal time. Mr. Appleton was called from the city about ten days after his attention was first called to her, but his friend, Mr. Cutler, was still a guest at the hotel, and before the expiration of another week he had managed to make the acquaintance of the fascinating widow... Continue reading book >>

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