Newspaper Page Text
' : s - " -1 a i i
NEW BLOOMFIELD, IA.., TUESDAY, PEBIIUAHY 5, 1878.
in Independent Family Newspaper,
18 PCBUSnBD BVERT Tl'ltSIUT T
F. MORTIMER & (JO.
9UB8CHIPTIOM P 11 ICE.
(WITHIN THE COUHTT.
(me Year II 2
Six Mouths, "!i
(OCT 0 TH C'OUNTT.
One Year. (Pottage Included) II fO
Hi Months. (I'ostage iucluded) 85
Invariably iu Advance I
-Advertising rates furnished upon appli
cation. THE DRAMA. OF A WIG.
WHAT a sigh was that ! not noisy,
but profound and eloquent at once
of an old grief and a fresh perplexity.
Hob Withers, the gentleman In his
shirt-sleeves before the mirror, had
heaved that sigh every night for ten
years, simultaneously with the act of
removing from his head the fine chest
nut wig which conceals the almost com
plete destitution of the natural covering.
The grief Is therefore an old one, but an
dement of perplexity has mingled with
this nlghtlj sigh more lately namely
since having wooed and won Angle Mc
Lane in his wig, he has been screwing
up his courage to the point of revealing
to her that it is a wig, as he feels in
fairness he ought to do. He has put it
off, never finding the right opportunity
for the confession, until now the wed-,
ding is but a month off, and the task
fseems harder, more Impossible, than
ver. He is at present spending a
couple of days at the house of the Mc
Lanes in the country, with a view to
getting acquainted with the family.
For the sake of enjoying unalloyed the
pleasure of Angle's society for this short
time, he has compromised with his con
science by resolving at once on leaving
to write to her, and tell the truth, and
toy no means to procrastinate further.
Meantime the process of getting ac
quainted with the family does not get
on very prosperously. Bob is a poor
match In the parental point of view,
and a bitter disappointment to the Mc
Lanes. Nothing but Angle's resolute
character could have extorted the grudg
ing consent which their engagement
had at length received. The family con
sisted, besides Angle, of her father and
mother, and two brothers, John and
George. Mr. McLane kept his room,
'being a confirmed Invalid. John, strong
willed and arrogant In temper, ruled the
family with a rod of Iron George being
kinder tempered, but of much less
strength of character. Angle was the
only member of the family whom John
could not rule, and she had carried the
point of her engagement against his
bitter opposition. Mrs. McLane was a
anere shuttlecock between John and
Angle, receiving an impulse from one
which lasted till the other got hold of
her. John had accepted the engage
ment with an exceedingly bad grace,
and made scarcely a decent pretense of
concealing from Bob his contempt and
his desire to lind any pretext for forcing
a quarrel. This was particularly unpleas
ant and demoralizing to Bob, because
th6 injury to his own self-respect by the
sense of the tacit deceit he was guilty of
-as to his wig left him unable to meet
John's overbeariug insolence with the
iulet dignity he would have liked to
After going to bed 1" lay awake a
couple of hours thinking over these
embarrassing circumstances, and the de
lightful fact of Angle's love, to which
they were offsets. In the course of his
tosslngs he became aware that his seal
ring, was not on his ringer, and instant
ly remembered that, after using it for a
forfeit In a parlor-game that evening, he
had forgotten to replace it. Vexation
at his carelessness instantly made him
-awake. The ring must be on the library-table.
If. not, then he knew not
where; and there, it might be filched
by a servant in the morning. Associa
tion made it invaluable, and he found
himself so uneasy about its safety that
nil he could do was to quietly step down
stairs in his stockings without disturb
ing any one, and make sure about it.
He knew that he could, even in the
dark, steer his way straight to the libra
ry. In this sleepless, excited state of
his mind the slight tinge of adventure
in his plan had an attraction.
Jumping out of bed he put on a part
of his clothes, and softly opening the
door of his room, went across the hall
and down the stairs to the ground floor.
It was quite dark, but he found his way
easily, having a good typographic in
stinct. From the lower hall he entered
the dining-room, and from that to the
library. The sea-coal fire In the grate
was still flickering brightly .illuminating
the sumptuously furnished room with a
faint, soft glow of peculiarly rich effect.
There on the table his ring glittered
in the fitful firelight, and, as he slipped
it on his finger, he felicitated himself
on his successful enterprise. The room
was so charmingly cosy that he felt It
would be a sin not to linger awhile. 80,
throwing himself on a sofa before the
grate, he fell Into a delightful reverie.
Just there in that chair, Angle had
sat during the evening, and there he
pictured her again, finally going and
leaning over it in a caressing attitude,
fondly cheating himself. Over there
had sat Mrs. McLane, and the chair
back at once transfixed him with two
critical eyes, till he was fain to look
away. The brothers were tiiere and
Bob chuckled with a cosy sense of sur
reptitiousness as he thought how they
would Btare could they see him now.
The subtle pleasure of clandestine things
is doubtless partly the exaggeration of
the personality which takes place as the
pressure of other minds is withdrawn.
To persons of Bob's sensitive mental
atmosphere that pressure Is painful
when such minds are hostile, and often
Irksome even when they are friendly, if
not In perfect accord. Bo that now it
was with a positively voluptuous sensa
tion that his personollty expanded till it
filled the whole room.
The fire burned, and busily flew the
shuttles of his fancy, weaving once
again the often-varied patterns of the
future. Those shuttles had little leis
ure now-a-days, for all the web must be
unravelled and re woven, that through
it all might run the golden thread of
Angle's love. How rarely did It light
up the fabric, before so dull and dark 1
The bronze mantle-clock sounded with
a silvery tinkle the hour of two, but the
sound fell apparently unheeded on the
ear of the dreamer. It was a full min
ute before the impression reached his
mind. There are times when the
thoughts throng so that each new sensa
tion has to take its place in the cue and
wait its turn to get attention. Then he
stirred and roused himself, emerging re
luctantly from the warm, voluptuous
atmosphere of imagination, as one
leaves an enervating bath. He had
been lying thus a full hour, and it was
high time to return to bed. He left the
library and started across the dining
loom with a hasty step.
Perhaps long gazing at the fire had
dazzled his eyes, or perhaps his haste,
together with an undue confidence in
his skill in navigation by dead reckon
ing, rendered him less careful than when
he had come down. However that may
be, a light stand which he had easily
avoided then, he now blundered fully
Everybody knows that when one
stubs the toe in the dark, instead of de
livering the blow when the foot is mov
ing slowest, at the beginning or the end
of the step, it always happens so that
the toe strikes with the maximum mo
mentum. So it was this time. If Bob
had been kicking football he could not
have made a nicer calculation of force,
and the shock sent the stand completely
It would have made noise enough
anyhow, but it must happen that on
this stand the family silver was laid out
for breakfast, and the clangor was simi
lar to that of Apollo's silver bow, when
he let fly at the Grecian bout before Troy.
Bob stood paralyzed with horror. Even
the anguish of a terribly stubbed toe was
forgotten In an overpowering sense of
the awful mess he had made, and the
unimaginable consequences that would
at once ensue. As the hideous clangor
aud clatter rang through the house,
scattering its sacred silence, he shrank
together and made himself small, as if
he could impart a sympathetic shrink
age to the noise. The racket to his own
ears was splitting enough, but he felt,
in addition, as if he heard it with the ears
of all the family, and he wilted before
the conception of the feelings that were
at that moment starting up in their
minds toward the unknown cause of it.
His first rational idea was, to bolt for
his room, and gain It before any one was
fairly roused. But the shock had so
scattered his wits that he could not at
once recollect his bearings, aud he real
ized, with Indescribable sensations, that
he was lost. He consumed precious mo
ments bumping himself all about the
room before he found the right door.
As he reached the foot of the stair
case, voices were audible above, and
lights were gleaming down. His retreat
was cut off, he could not get back to his
room without being discovered. He
now distinguished the voice of Mrs.
McLane In an agitated tone entreating
somebody to be careful and not to get
shot, and the gruff voices of the broth
ers responding, and then their steps rap
Idly descending the stairs. Should he
go up and take the risk of it volley
while announcing himself? It would
be a pretty tableau. Presenting himself
In such a guise and under such circum
stances, what sort of a reception could
he expect from John, who treated him
with undisguised contempt in the drawing-room
and whose study it was to
place him at a disadvantage ? He might
have hesitated longer, but at this mo
ment the voice of Angle, crying down
to her brothers to be careful, decided
him. He could not face hep under such
terribly false circumstances, and with
out his wig.
All this took place far quicker than I
can write it. The glimmer of the de
scending lamp already shone dimly in
the hall, and Bob frantically looked
about him for a hiding-place. But'all
the furniture stood up too high from the
floor, and Hie corners were distressingly
bare. He sprang into the dining-room,
but in the dark he could not see how the
land lay, and hurried on into thellbrary.
The dying fire still shed a dim light
around, aud he eagerly canvassed the
various possibilities of concealment
which the room offered. Youthful ex
perience in the game of hide-and-seek
now Btood him in good stead, and show
ed him at a glance the inutility as ref
uges of half a dozen places that would
have deluded one less practiced by the
spacious but too easily guessed shelter
Vainly seeking a refuge, he ran around
the apartment like a rat in a trap. He
heard the brothers in the dining-room
picking up the silver and wondering to
find it all there, when, obeying a sudden
inspiration, he clambered upon a lofty
bookcase that ran across one end of the
room, arching about the dining-room
door, and reaching within a few feet of
the celling. In cold blood he never
could have scaled it. Lying at full
length upon the top of the bookcase
with his back to the wall, the bulge of
him was still visible from the further
part of the room, iu case it should occur
to his pursuers to look so high.
The latter now entered the library,
and, peering over the edge of the book
case, Bob recognized with singular sen
sations the two gentlemen with whom
he had been quietly conversing a little
earlier In the evening. Then they were
arrayed In faultless evening dress, and
their manner, although supercilious
enough, was calm and polished. Now
he saw them half dressed, with dishev
elled hair John carrying a student's
lamp in his left hand, and in his right
an ugly looking Bword-cane with its
blade painfully naked, while George
held a revolvei at full cock.
Talking In a low tone, as they called
one another's attention to various spots
where possibly the burglar might be
concealed, they went slowly from corner
to corner ; probing every recess with the
sword, and in an attitude of strained
attention to every sound. Their faces,
grotesquely lit by the mingled fire and
lump light, showed a fierce hunter's look
that made Bob fairly sick.
He did not dare to look at them long
lest the magnetism of his gaze should
attract their Involuntary attention. Nay
he even made a frantic ellbrt not to
think of them, from the fear that some
physical current might have the same
effect for he believed strongly, though
vaguely, la the mysteries of animal
magnetism, and had a notion that a per
son sensitive to such influence! might
detect the presence of his victim by the
very terror the latter had of him.
He could scarcely believe his fortune
when, a moment later, the two brothers
passed again beneath him back into the
From there they went on through the
rooms beyond, and the ton tut of their
footsteps died away entirely.
Perhaps five minutes after, they re
turnedthat is, as far as the dining
room and Bob gathered from their con
versation that they had found one of
the fastenings in the basement in a con
dition indicating that the burglar might
have escaped there.
Mrs. McLane and Angle,, having sat
isfied themselves that the coast was
clear, descended to the dlbing-room, and
a lively discussion of nJl aspects of the
problem ensued, which was highly edi
fying to Bob.
Then the conversation became still
more interesting, as it turned on him
self. He heard Mrs. McLane savins::
"He must be a hard sleeper, fori
knocked several times on his door."
Then one of the brothers grunted
something contemptuously, and he
heard Angle's voice excusing him on
the ground that he m.it be tired after
his long journey.
" Are you sure you looked every
where in the library ?" was Mrs. Mc
Lane's next question , at which a cold
sweat started out on Bob's face. He
had just begun to feel quite comfortable.
John and George, however, declared
that they had looked everywhere.
" Hid you look under the sofa 5"'
" Behind the window-curtains ?"
"In that dark corner by the hook
case ?" asked the ladles, in succession.
Ingenious cruelty of fate! Even An
gle was racking her brain to guess his
hiding place. What if it should be she
who hit upon it 1 .
Bob drew a breath of relief as John
replied with some asperity, to all these
questions, that he had told them once
that they looked everywhere.
This silenced them, but Angle said, a
moment after :
Just let me ask one more question ?
" Did you look on top of the book-case?"
It seemed to Bob that he died then,
and came to life again to hear John re
ply, contemptuously :
" Over the bookcase ? There's no
room there ; and if there were, no body
but a monkey could get. up."
" There's room enough," persisted
Angle, "and I have often noticed when
sitting in the library, what a nice hiding-place
it would be. What if he should
be up there now, and hear what I'm
saying!" she added in an agitated
" Nonsense I" says John.
" Well, there is no harm in looking,
anyway," said Mrs. McLane,
" Come along, then," grumbled John,
" You shall see for yourselves."
At this Bob shut his eyes, and turned
his face to the wall. The ostrich in
stinct Is the human instinct of despair.
He tried to fly away from himself, and
leave his body there as a derelict. The
effort was desperate, and seemed almost
successful. But he could not quite sever
the connection, though his soul appear
ed to be hovering over his body, only
attached by a single thread but a thread
which, alas ! would not break.
A moment after they all passed
through the door directly beneath him,
and, going clear to the other eud of the
library, stood on tip toe, and. peered at
his hiding-place. There seemed to be
eyes in his back, which felt their scru
tiny. But the lamp they carried did not
suffice to bring out his figure clearly.
" I'm sure I see something," said An
gle, getting up on a chair.
" It's only the shadow of the fire
light," replied John.
" Light the gas and let us make sure,"
said Mrs. McLane.
George stood up on a chair under the
chandelier, and lighted one of the
An inarticulate ejaculation fell from
every mouth. A human figure was dis
tinctly visible, reclining along the top
of the bookcase, with his face toward
the wall. The ladies would have forth
with run away but for the fact that one
door of the room watt directly beneath
the bookcase, and the other close to it.
Upon Bob's paralyzed senses fell the
sharp words of John :
" We've gov you. Git down I"
He did not move, but at the summons
his soul, with inexpressible reluctance
and disgust, began to return from the
end of Its floating thread, and re-inhabit
the quarters for which.it oould not quite
shake off responsibility.
" Get up, or I'll shoot !" said George.
" Oh, don't shoot hltoi-!" cried Mrs.
McLane, while Bob, still motionless,
dimly hoped he would.
"Get up!" reiterated John.; and he
did get up. His own will was lhactivef'
and John's was the force that move
bis muscles. He turned around and sab
up, his legs dangling over the edge of
the bookcase, and his wet, white,
wretched face blankly directed toward"
the group a most pitiable figure.
"Jump down," said John; "and", if
you try to escape, y&u will get shot !"
Bob let himself drop, without regard;
to how he was to alight, and in conse
quence was severely bruised against a.
'chair and the edges-of the bookcase.
He stood facing the group. His eyes
mechanically sought Angle's.. What
was his surprise not to perceive in her.
expression of mingled curiosity, and
fright the slightest sign of recognition I
A glance showed him that it was the
same with the others. John and George
evidently supposed they were dealing
with an ordinary burglar, and the others
were apparently quite as devoid of sus
picion as to hie identity. His wig.!. He
had forgotten all about it. That ex
plained their singular demeanor.
The bald mian in stockings, trousers
and shirt, caught hiding in the library
after an attempt on the silver, quite
naturally failed to recall to their minds,
the youth of rather foppish attire and
luxuriant locks who bade them good
night a few honrs previous.. As this
fact and its explanation broke upon
Bob's mind he felt an immense sense of
relief instantly followed by a more
poignant perception of the inextricable
falsity and cruel absurdity of his posi
tion. He had little time to think it ever
and determine his best course.
John stepped forward, and with the
point of his cane-sword motioned him
into, a corner, thus- leaving the way
clear to the ladies, who at once hurried
into the dining-room, throwing glances
of fear and aversion upon. Bob. as they
passed. Angie paused, at the doorway
aud asked :.
" What are you going to do. with the
dreadful man ?"
Bob even then was able to notice that
he had never seen her so. ravishlngly
beautiful as now, with her golden hair
falling over her charming deshalriUe,
while her eyes scintillated with excite
ment. She would not have been seen
by him in such an undress toilet, but,
with a feeling of being doubted be per
ceived that she now regarded him as she
would have an animal.
" George and I wUl attend to. him.
You had better go to bed," replied John
to her question; and then he sent George
after some cord, meanwhile standing in
front of Boh with a cocked revolver.
Had he scanned his prisoner closely, he
might have detected something familiar
in his lineaments, but in careless con
tempt be took hita in with a sweeping
glance as an average burglar, whose
Identity was a question for the police.
Bob had not ottered word. In the
complex falsity of his position he could
not indeed muster presence of mind to
resolve on any course, but regarded
with a kind of fatuity the extraordinary
direction events were taking. But when
George returned with the rope, and or
dered him to put his hands behind him,
he said In a tone so quiet that it surpris
ed himself ;
" Hold on, Mr. McLane ; this joke
has gone far enough. I am Robert
Withers, at your service, and respect
fully decline to be considered in the
light of a burglar any further.".
George's jaw dropped with astonish
ment, and John was scarcely less taken
" D d If It isn't! ejaculated the for
mer, after a moment, in a tone of in
credulous conviction, as he recognized
at once the voloe and now the features
of Bob ; " but Where's your hair ?"
Bob blushed painfully.
"I wear a wig," he replied, "and to
night, coming down stairs after you
were all abed to get my ring which I
had left on the table here, I did not fully
dress. Going back, it was my luck to