The Alto Herald (Alto, Tex.), No. 33, Ed. 1 Thursday, February 1, 1951 Page: 3 of 10
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THH At.TOHHHAI.T). A!TO THX.AS
Mc Me re-
is a mis-
[es or not.
bh a belief
^f Christ. If
elf. but that
hat you ran
jf trts which
tact is that
pc. that he
h its tracks.
en an extra-
tto have such
t' !. and iikj
ft 'ie out at
!h< ^e miracles
^cre not done
" !f did not
p!" m trouble
)He is not re-
J*[!'d ad Me
]h'<t onty one;
l .^c himself
^'tn from fear,
P "as than
lit to help a
J" arotm<) to
p'"k to )ife
< "d Mere is
'id it) the
' '* Weils,
t otdy dis-
, ' To put
I' '"as },„w
T ' "'"ry.be-
St*!!* Hw*r*, maaqatridtng *t Dof!n.
gatfaman tweegn!*td htf. Grand
matbtf Therndyh* and Htt!)a'afri!fnd,
tnywt^r!aa< ftnamwtantfa. Randy, a pup
Utathmant, hat dHapptand and Htt!!a
haaataftbtdtvetywhwre buttn )th*at.
ada at the !nt)<ttntaofKdwafdThorn
dyht, danaf Mra. Thorndyht, whodtd
Dorir.da shook her head. "No, I
want to see for myse!f. I don't
think he's there either, but I've
looked everywhere else."
Greer handed the key to her
without further protest. "Please
be sure to return it to me," he
cautioned. "It was lost once and
Mrs. Thorndyke didn't like it at
all. Though we found it later in a
drawer of old keys. I never could
figure how it got there." He
frownfd a little, remembering. "So
please don't forget to give it back."
As she neared the head of the
stairs she could hear a rhythmic
tapph/g from behind the door op-
posite Grandmother's old room.
Fay, writing the letters which she
so often used as an excuse for re-
maining in her own apartment Do-
rinda had seen her typewriter once,
an efficient little portable enam-
eled in blue and silver. The typing
ceased as Dorinda took the last
step, and a moment later the door
opened and Fay looked out.
"Oh, it's you, Dorinda. I heard
that third step from the top creak
—I think it's the only thing that
creaks in this solid old house—and
thought perhaps it was Edward."
Her hand on the knob of her door,
she added civilly, "Have you found
"No, Cm still looking for Mm.
I'm going up in the attic." She
held up the key.
"I wouldn't go up there," Fay de-
clared. "The place is filthy. It's
cleaned up once a year but it must
be thick with dust now. You'll be
a mess if you do much searching."
"It wop't hurt to try," Dorinda
insisted. "I'll be careful. If I get
dirty, I can always clean up."
"Well, it's your funeral." Fay's
shoulders moved in a barely per-
C/eve onc^ Dor/nc/o
To^e ^!c/e mfo Town
The big attic space was dim and
shadowy. The only marks in the
whole wide space were some shape-
less, scuffing ones which crossed
the floor from the top of the stairs
and ended at a big ieather-covered
trunk on the opposite side. Greer,
Carrie, anyone niight have made
She followed them idly and
stopped in front of the trunk. About
her the piled-up refuse of the house
was gray with the fine dust which
day after day had sifted in and lain
undisturbed for the past year. Only
the top of this trunk was clean and
free from grime.
That meant nothing—only that
someone had added to whatever
store the trunk contained, old linen,
old garments, anything. She bent
and pulled at the lid. It did not
open. The trunk was locked.
But suddenly, surprisingly, as if
in response to her touch the trunk
had become a sentient thing which
threatened her, she was enveloped
by fear. The trunk? Was it the
trunk which caused her terrors? She
stumbled toward the stairs and
heard footsteps, made audible by
haste, on the treads below. Then
the soft closing of the door. Some-
one had been there, someone who
had followed without sound and
But when she came down into the
upper hall once more, she saw only
emptiness Every door was closed,
everything still behind them. As
she listened, the clack of Fay's
typewriter came to her ears again.
She turned the key carefully in
the lock and went along the hall to
her room. Half-way there, Harriet's
latch clicked and she stepped out
into Dorinda's path. The older
woman wore a dark blue coat and
skirt and blue felt hat. A dotted
veil swung in front of her colorless
Downstairs, Greer had just
opened the front door. Dorinda, on
the stairway, could see Cleve as
he stood in the white portico and
ran to meet him. He took both her
hands in his and scrutinized her
"What is it, Dorinda?" he asked
anxiously, "You're white as a
ghost. Nothing—nothing more—has
happened, has it?"
"No, except Randy—" She
stopped, caught her breath sharp-
ly. before she could go on. "Randy
is lost. You didn't find him any-
where. did you. Cleve?"
"Randy? No. Did he run away?" ,
She took Cleve out to the canvas- i
covered lawn swing under the }
trees. There she told him of ,
Randy's disappearance, and. after
a little hesitation, of the terror she
had felt in the attic
"Maybe someone here didn't like
dogs," Cleve suggested. "Didn't
like your having him and seized an
opportunity to get rid of him. Had
you thought of that?"
She nodded. "But I didn't think
anyone hated him that much."
It s hard to think of any other
reason for his disappearance. Un-
less someone accidentally let him
out and doesn't want to admit it
stnee he seems to be lost. He may
show up yet, honey."
"Maybe." But her voice was
"You need to get away from
"Tell you what—let's get the
car and beat it, now, before lunch.
We'll drive around and get dinner
somewhere and not come back till
late this evening. How's that?"
Oh, I'd like that!" Dorinda's
eyes shone. "Maybe things will
seem different if I get away from
the house for awhile."
They bought hamburgers and
coffee at a roadside stand, food
made ambrosia by spring and the
appetite of youth. At twilight they
came into a small town near Los
She stopped in front of the
Angeles. A neon restaurant sign on
a white building with a glassed-in
front attracted them. Inside they
found small tables with snowy
linen and tall red candlcs. A wa t
ress in red-checked gingham and
tiny white apron brought them fried
chicken, chiiied salad, hot biscuits
feather-light with crisp brown
"Fresh air and good company.
The combination does wonders for
the appetite." Cicve's ey<-S were
warm and teasing. "You see. 1 ad-
mit I'm good company." He
drained the last drop of his coffee.
"Let's take a walk art.und town "
he suggested. "Then I'm afraid
we'll have to go back."
fdward, 8/onde Woman
/ire Seen by Coup/e
"I hate to go back." For a second
her face was somber. Hut 1 wi n !
think about it. Let's start on that
Cleve caught her arm as she
would have stepped down from the
curb. "Look out for that machine,"
he warned as a long black sedan
slid toward them.
"Silly, there's a stop sign on the
comer. See, they're braking now,"
Dorinda scoffed, as the black car
came to a stop not more than a
Against the glow of the street
lamp across the road, Dorinda
could see the driver's face, a dark
silhouette, clear as if cut front
black paper, and beyond him,
catching the first impact of ti e
light, fair hair that lifted gently-
the breeze and made a misty g"M-
en halo about the head of the
woman tn the passenger seat.
Dorinda's fingers clutched at
Cleve's sleeve as the car. the
smooth hum of its motor almost
soundless, glided on in the datk-
"Cleve!" she gasped, the w. rds
catching in her throat. "Did you
see them? The man who drove — a
was Uncle Edwatd. And there w. s!
a woman with him-a woman wit)',
"Your Uncle Edward!" Cleve re
peated. "AM you certain. Do;
rinda?" . „h,
-I know it." There was no doubt
"And a blonde woman? lethap^
it was Fay. I" this . ,
"Her face was hidden behind
shoulder. But Her hair was ).,
tow. Not silver. I could see .
enough to know I'm not mistaken
about that." .
They stood on the cutb iu
down the road in the !
car hndg.ne l.'."n !t.e r,t1 ,
light had disappeared ' '
"Cleve, ayellow-li.'tyedw' -
You remember what i'oo
The Silver Slipper—'
day Anne—that day—
-No!" Cleve s \oice wn ^
the quiet night. lt<<< ;
girl. There'll be Mm*
Simple explanation for this. You'll
see Some friend of his we don't
Know about maybe. Your uncle has
aiways been, according to my
mother, what a generation or two
ago they called a lady-kiiler."
"An old-fashioned wolf?" The
eyl's giggle was half-hysterical and
Lieve put his arm about her should-
ers in a reassuring pressure.
Honey, don't go imagining
things But, lifting her eye3 to
his face, she caught the harassed
took which lingered there. Cleve
was not as certain of his ground as
he would have her believe.
It was not until they wore within
a few miles of Thorndyke House
that he spoke again.
Dorinda," he said, almost vio-
lentiv. I hate to take you back
there! ' After a moment, he went
on more calmly, "You and I
haven't talked seriously to each
other very often. But I want to tell
you something about myself. You
know I'm going into a law firm in
Los Angeles in the early summer.
The firm is known as Pierce and
Grayson, although Grayson's been
dead for some years. Mr. Pierce
was an old friend of my dad's—he's
been practically another father to
me since my own died. The thing
is my prospects are more than good
withhim. Inafewyears, ifour
plans work out, 1 11 be junior part-
ner in the firm.
"Now I've been thinking—you
know how I feel about you. Why
don't you marry me, as soon as we
can manage it, and let me take
you away? We won't be able to af-
ford butlers and Cadillacs—not for
a long time anyway. But somehow
I don't believe you'd care. We'd
have enough to be comfortable.
Even have a little frosting on our
cake. How about it?"
"Marry you?" A surge of joy
rose in her breast. And died almost
C/cve Warns Dor/ncfa
7o Be Very Care/a/
"Marry you?" And now her voice
was lost, forlorn. "I can't, Cleve."
She felt the jerk he gave re-
flected in the movement of the car.
He turned his head and stared at
her. The dashboard light showed
his face dark, troubled by a be-
"You mean you won't? Then you
don't love me?"
"It isn't that. Don't ask me why.
Please, not tonight." She could feel
tears streaking her MM cheeks.
"You're crying, sweet." He
sounded baffled. "All right, I don't
understand but I won't say any
"Cleve, don't hate me, Clove."
"Hate you!" He laughed shortly.
"I don't think you need worry
Ho said no more until just before
he left her. He had unlocked the
front door with the key sho gave
him and gone with her into the de-
serted lower hall.
The hands of the grandfather
clock set midway of the side wall
pointed to twelve. The silvery whir
of the chimes began just as they
st'pped inside. Edward's tan hat
and light topcoat hung on the rack.
He was, then, home before them.
There was another hat there too.
A dark blue Horn burg with a tiny
pheasant feather making a small
splotch of color. Whose? The ques-
tion hardly formed in her mind be-
fore she remembered. Grandmoth-
er's attorney—Edward had said he
was to come Thursday night.
Cleve, his hands on her should-
ers, pulled her to him for a mo-
ment. "I don t understand you, Do-
rinda," he said, as he had said
once before. "You're not the type
to be associated with mystery and
there is some mystery connected
with you. I believe now that if
Anne's death wasn't an accident—
although, mind you, I'm not con-
vinced it wasn t — she wasn t in-
tended to be the victim. I spent
most of yesterday in Trentville—
that's why you didn't sec me here
—talking to people who knew her.
I'll swear she didn't have an enemy
in the world. I wouldn't have
thought you had but I can't be cer-
t i nof that without knowing all
He bent his head and kissed her
lightly on one cheek. 'No." he
went on as he met her protesting
look, "I'm not going to ask you
aiestions, not tonight. Though
J,-:netime"—his jaw set firmly,—
' sometime you're going to tell me
Snd in the meantime, for God's
cike.be careful. Lock your door
v: en you go to your room. Promise
tne you'll do that '
"I always do," she told him.
Tears stung her eyes again as
th door closed behind him and she
v js left alone in the empty hall.
^ ran upstairs, eager for the
warmth and light of her own room
with danger locked out.
Beyond the threshold, the room
Mi dark. The faint light from the
I dl penetrated for a little way and
wed her the gray carpet and
the shadowy outline of a chintz-
ercd chair, then merged tnto
Her finger fumbled for the light
s^itchandpresseditdown Bu' nn
.eating radianct followed the
! ;,ok of the switch.
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F. L. Weimar & Son. The Alto Herald (Alto, Tex.), No. 33, Ed. 1 Thursday, February 1, 1951, newspaper, February 1, 1951; Alto, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth215171/m1/3/: accessed January 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Stella Hill Memorial Library.