Canadian Free Press. (Canadian, Tex.), Ed. 1 Sunday, January 1, 1888 Page: 1 of 4
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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.
A CHRISTMAS STORY.
THE STAIN IN THE SNOW.
A conservatory dimly lighted with sil-
ver lamps, clear soft strains of music
coming from the distant ball-room, with
the hum of many voices, and the low-
laughter of society, all mellowed 1 >y the
distance. Then the music stopped, and
the two started, as if just woke up to the
realities of life.
"I must go," said she, with startled eyes.
There was only time to whisper, as lie
just put her fti the brougham, "On Christ-
mas Day I shall come and—" The rest
was lost in the grating of the
wheels on the ground, and that
was the last that Ida Haugliton
saw of Captain Roy Trevor un-
til she had learned to conju-
gate the verb "to^love"' in all
"I can't say you've treated
me well, Miss Haugliton," said
Lord Mowbray, his eyes flash-
Christmas" scrolled in evergreens over
tlie doorway, was filled with a cheerful
crowd. It seemed to the pirl, watching
with anxious eyes and straining ears for
the one that never came, as if they were
all absurdly happy. Even her mother,
who was always grave with a sweet dig-
nity of her own. had been persuaded to
join in quite a rollicking "Lancers." Ida
felt annoyed with every one at the mo-
ment, and gave an impatient sigh. Lord
Mowbray came in throurh the crowded
doorway and walked across the room to
where she was standing. "Miss Haugli-
ton," he said, in a low voice, which nev-
ertheless to her ears seemed to have a
ring of triumph in it. "I have found out
on indisputable authority that Captain
she had set herself. For the rest of the
evening she was the merriest of them all,
and when she came back she laughed and
joked with them as if there were no grim
skeleton at her feast. "Darling, how you
are enjoying yourself," said her mother,
with a smile at her lovely flushed face,
and the earl marched her oif to the con-
servatory with an air of triumphant ap-
propriation as soon as 12 o'clock tolled
solemnly through the frosty air.
"Only be quick," was the prayer in her
heart, as she stood before him in the
glory of her beauty, shaking like a leaf.
"The day is over, and I claim your
promise," looking down with his eyes
Her head drooped a little lower, and
"He wants ns
something up. I
to follow him; there's
wish I could get one of
the other fellows to come with me."
"Nonsense; the governor would have a
"He wouldn't know anything about it."
He protested, but she persisted, moved
by an instinct which she chose to follow
without waiting to understand. They
reached the gates, which liad been inten-
tionally left open, and wondering how
much further, went on down the high
road. Suddenly the dog stopped and
waited for them to come up. There was
a dark patch on the snow and Hans was
whining piteously. Harry lighted a
match and held it close to the stain; it
pencil-case which he
ing, as he leaned his
against the mantel-piece.
"What have I done?" look-
ing up innocently at him.
"You've broken your prom-
"I never made one,
"Excuse me, you said you
would think of it."
"And so I have," with a
"You girls are the cruelest
out. You delight in saying
'no' just to aggravate."
"I beg pardon, but how many
times have you tried?"
He frowned. "I was reason-
ing by induction. I don't go
about like a peddler hawking
myself. You liked me once,
that I'll swear."
"And I do now"—gently.
"And am I to be content
with that? Good heavens!" lie
broke out, excitedly, "after all
you looked and said and smiled.
They told me you were spoons
on Trevor but I wouldn't be-
lieve it. I knew he was after
Lady Marjory. The engage-
ment will be out before Christ-
"I don't think so," with a
radiant blush. "He is coming
to 11s at Christmas. "|
He was silent for a minute,
then he bent down, looking
into her lovely face with a pas-
sion of entreaty in his. "And
if he doesn't—if lie goes to the
"But he can't—he won't,"
beginning to tremble.^
"He will, Ida, I know it;
put him from your mind. Ho
if he doesn't come you will
have me, Ida—promise."
"If he doesn't—ye3." So low
that he could scarcely hear it.
The next moment lie caught
her hand to his lips and kissed
it passionately, but she snatched
it away angrily.
An old-fashioned Christmas,
with the Snow lying 011 the
broken bracken, the frost
gleaming like diamonds 011 the
leafless branches and the sun-
set glowing like a huge con-
flagration behind the pines—a
day when the young felt as if
they must dance instead of
walking, when the old felt as if
youth were coming back, when
the poor were gladdened by
the kindly gifts of the rich,
and the rich were rejoiced by
the blessings of the poor—a
day when a fire, with crack-
ling logs and red-hot coals,
seemed as pleasant a sign as an
old friend's face. There was a
large gathering at Haugliton
Lodge and the young people
meant to enjoy themselves.
Lord Mowbray was there in
constant attendance on the
Colonel's only daughter, ex-
cept when she went to church
with a troop of visitors, and
then he refused to accompany
her, as he had a headache. In
fact, during most of that day
he seemed inclined to leave
her to herself, for in the after-
noon his headache took him
out for a lonely stroll. Ida
was excited and restless, her ears strain-
ing after every sound. The hours went
on? It was 5 o'clock and Captain Trevor
had not come. Rather odd, when, in
talking of his proposed Christmas visit to
her brother Harry, he had said he should
certainly arrive for tea.
Ida Haughton never had looked so
charming as on that particular evening,
when she was all in a flutter with hope
and fear. She had trusted him so im-
plicitly, and now it was 10 o'clock, and
the most tardy of all the other guests had
come long since. The brilliantly-lighted
drawing-room, with the camelias and ferns
grouped in the corners, with the "Happy
had often noticed on Lord Mow-bray's
watch-cliain. He stared at it, knowing
that it was a clue—a clue to what? His
brain felt bewildered. A detective would
have known whether to hide or show it,
but he was puzzled.
"Harry, what can it be?" in an awe-
"Oh, nothing," pulling
gether with an effort, as lie
pencil-case into his pocket,
perhaps; he said he liad shot one. Come
along—its beastly cold. *'
* * # * * * * *
After a wretched night, in which she
was always surrounded by a sea of blood,
on the other side of which stood Roy
Trevor, Ida came down to the
late breakfast w ith sore throat
and headache. The news of
her engagement had already
spread through the house and
her hand was nearly crushed
by the tender squeezes which
accompanied wide-spread con-
gratulations. She shuddered
on finding Lord Mowbray by
her side; ready to wait on her
assiduously, but she refused to
eat anything, so there was lit-
tle for him to do. Directly
after breakfast was over she
made him a sign to follow her
into the boudoir, and then
standing before him with
parched lips and watchful eyes,
told him what they had found
in the snow. He seemed
very much put out, but the
risk to her was all that vexed
him. "It might have killed
you," he said, almost angrily.
"That fool of a dog to make
such a fuss about a rabbit. I
muffed the shot and threw the
little brute over the liedle, so
that the keeper mightn't deride
Harry gave him back the
pencil-case, when lie slipped it
on to his chain with a careless
"I must have dropped it
when I picked up the rabbit.
I wonder you did't see its
is spending his Christmas at the
"I don't believe it," her breast lieavin
her eyes looking wild and scared.
An' evil look came upon the earl's
face. "If you don't, ask Mackenzie; he
will tell you that he sent for his portman-
teau to follow him there."
"I shall do nothing of the kind," strug-
gling bravely with all her strength not to
break down and disgrace herself. "I
suppose Lady Marjory was too much for
him. An earl's daughter, and—and quite
Lord Mowbray had the tact to leave her
to herself until" she had recovered, and
turned away. Bravely she acted the part
then she felt his arms about her, his pas-
sionate kisses on her lips, and knew that
her dream was over forever.
That night, in spite of the biting cold,
a dog sat on the steps outside and howled
dismally. Hariy, who liad a natural affin-
ity with either dogs or horses, crept softly
downstairs to see what was the matter.
Opening the door he found Hans, a
Dachshund, which Trevor had given Ida,
and Ida herself, wrapped in a fur cloak
thrown over her evening dress, vainly
trying to soothe him.
"What does he want?" she asked in de-
spair, finding all efforts vain, as lie strug-
gled from her arms and wagged his tail.
was bright crimson, like the stain of
blood, and the match fell from his fin-
gers! Ida clutched his coat-sleeve con-
vulsively while her teeth chattered. The
stillness was broken by the howling of
the dog. Something or somebody had
been hurt, mangled or done to death.
Was it bird, beast or man? Would the
dog howl for bird or beast? And why
should Hans be the only one to howl-
there were plenty of other dogs about be-
sides the one that Trevor gave her? The
sickening horror of an intangible fear
came over her. Harry's tongue seemed
tied, like her own. He lighted another
match and the feeble ray fell on some-
thing that glittered. He picked it up; it
"Poor brute!" said Harry,
with a sportsman's indignation
at anything but a clean job.
"Hemust liaveblead to death."
Mowbray muttered to him-
self as soon as the bov's back
was turned: "I wish there
hadn't been so much blood, it
makes me uneasy."
Still pursued by a haunting
fear, Ida prevailed on her
brother, much against his will,
to go over to the Castle with a
message about some books. It
was late when lie came back.
She was watching for him at
the hall window and ran to the
door as lie rode up to the steps.
He called out, "Lady Marjory
didn't see why you should
have bothered yourself about
the books. I told you there
was no hurry. Oil! and Trevor
had an accident yesterday. He
was thrown from his horse on
his way to the Castle—nothing
serious, I suppose, as the the-
atricals are coming off all the
same. They were mad at our
not being able to come."
She turned away without a
w ord. "On his way to the cas-
tle!" Then he liad never in-
tended to come—and all her
fears were causeless. Thank
heaven! lie didn't know how
she liad longed for him
through the endless hours, how
she had been drawn out into
the cold for love of him, how
she liad conjured up all sorts
of horrors concerning him as
she stared at that patch of
snow—how the whole future
seemed empty because he was
missing from it.
Struggling with a feverish
cold, Ida threw herself with all
the energy she possessed into
the preparations for the wed-
ding, which liad to lie hurried
as much as possible. Lord
Mowbray watched her in a
fever of anxiety. What if her
health failed and she couldn't
be married in time? He had
been appointed Governor of
Salambria, one of our princi-
pal colonies. The government
at last, roused to the necessity
of keeping those sliivping out
of her hands, selected the earl
as a zealous convert to the policy of fed-
eration of the British Empire. He had
only three weeks left of his leave, so
dressmakers and lawyers had to bestir
The day before the wedding Harry ran
down into Blanfcshire, and, having met
Lady Marjory out for a ride, was carried
off to luncheon at the Castle. He did
not see his sister alone till after the cere-
mony was over, for a large party were
assembled at dinner by the time he
reached home, and she retired early.
Her mother kept gnard over her the next
morning, and would not let anyone go
near her, and Harry, not having been
(Conflotted on Fourth Page.)
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« ^cre present.; comb. VMdhanVand Ochiltree'yej?*, ■,
Montromerv fur- in the Panhandle, could be bou eh t for _ T.ie Daily Gazette, aeknow ledged t
ÜTGet oar prices before purchasing
StationeryQpodg. Boots and
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Harm & Ludwick. Canadian Free Press. (Canadian, Tex.), Ed. 1 Sunday, January 1, 1888, newspaper, January 1, 1888; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth183631/m1/1/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hemphill County Library.