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A Nose And A Half

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Precisely a nionth after our marriage, I - Mrs. Algernon Sidney Westmoreland - was informeel by my lord and master tliat sucli and suek business - iniperative enough, I owned - called him immediately to the continent; and, although both Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Westmoreland murmured somewhat at fate and L600 per annnm, Algy was compelled to leave me" my lanc," and go on his way the wifeless husband of a month's standing. He was to be back certainly in three weeks, if not sooner, and I was ckarged to write hourly, to telegraph if I had the headache, and to keep ttp a good heart besides? Instead of fulfilling which commands, I wrote- wbll it is truo, almost hourly - in serapa; forebode from telegraphing ei'cher my head or my heartaohes; and, alas for cheerfulness ! I moped about my bit OÍ a house in Bayswater, as thogh i was a widow instead of a brido ; stared at Algy's big photo oveï my bed; rem rubered, almost with tears, thaó 1 tad watched him completely un', oí sight - a most tmlucky roceeding; tried the piano, but found it out a fiad reminder of our courting days; poked my fingers in all the pockets of the coats Algy had left at home, but found nothing save a few old envelopes; gazed at all my new gowns, and feit no inclination to put them on; and last, but by no means least, fe?isted my eyes on my sole dot - a superb set of diamonds that had been in my family for over so raany years, and that my father, even in his darkest days, would in no wise part with. There was a necklace and cross, a brooch, and a pair of earrings with exquisite pendents that one oould detach at pleasure; a bracelet and ring, that put AlgyS solitaire, spark'ing on my smail third flnger, to the most unquestiogable blush; but I loved the solitaire with most unreasonablo pas sion, and, in contrast, looked coldly on the stoned gem lying among its fellows in the big morocco case; nothing would induce me to wear it. One week, two, three ; Algy was not at home, and was not coming. I was to join him at L i Manche. ECe conld not be spared to come and f etch me, so I was to go to him, and alone, without even the meager " protection " cf a maid, and with naught save the sense of being Mrs. Algernon Sidney Westmoreland as a shield and buckler for my timidity, my nineteen years and babyish face, and a journoy of five days' duration. Still, I did not dread it, The idea of travel in itself alone was enchanting to my untraveled soul ; the idea that I was to see Algy in something short of a week, and feel his big brown mustache on my mouth, redoubled the enchantment in a most singular manner ; and, moreover, in the fact of performing this voyage nnattended there was to me a sweet üavor of unaccustomedness, so to speak, that quite bewitched me, as I rehearsed the deportment I should display to admiring tourists over the packing of my brand-new trunk. I crossed the Channel, sufficient to say, not less a sufferer froni naal-de-mer than any woman on board the pitching, lurching vessol ; and, after three hours at the Hotel Nationale for refreshment aud rest, I took my seat in the railwaycars bound for P , where I was, according to Algy's express injunotions, " to stay at the Hotel du Bon-Dieu over night," - armed with a small travelingbag, containing sundry necessaries, in the one hand, and my shawl-straps in the other, girded around my thick blanket plaid, which, in its turn, was folded securely around my dot - the precious diamondd, which I was too much afraid of losing to trust in my trunks, knowing full well that the company would not be responsible for even a tithe of their value. 1 settled myself and my possessions quite comfortably, whon, just as the cars were about to start, some one tapped me on the shoulder, and a pleasant voice, with just the faintest flavor of foreign accent, spoke : " Are you expecting a companion ? Is this seat engagod V' pointing to the ouo beside me. " No - oh, no !" I answered. " With your permission, then?" " Certainly, madame." I looked up then at the person whose two small canvas bags and ono wicker basket wero deposited on top of my own portable luggage in the sido rack - a tal!, old - well, perhaps I should use the milder form - elderly lady, with bunches of soft gray curls on eitber side of her face, a coffee-colored complexion, two bright gray oyes, a small mouth - aud a nose ! The foregoing exclamation point is not intended to imply that I was in Ifee habit of associating with persons whose faces lacked that important feature, the nose ; but simply to indícate tho extreme astonishment I feit on boholding this particular ncse. To say that it was long gives but a faint idea of the actual state of the case, but it was of a great length, and vory thin, and very pink, and a vast deal more fchwi very uupleasaut ; it seomed, as it wero, to bo pceriuij and investigating evorything1, to be inquiring and 1 erreting out all visible and invisible objects, and to have quite an independent character and time of its own. It extended well over the old lady's long upper lip ; and, in brief, it was not only a nose that my companion was mistress of, bnt a nose and a half. " I hope I do not inoommode you ?" The pleasant, courteous voioe recalls me to my senses. " Not in the least, I assure yon," j reply, casting one moro tuitivo glance at the noBo. " 'Tis a little chilly- is it not? I thiuk I need more wrappings." With which the elderly lady arose ant took down one of lier smnll canvas bags, drawing therefrom a blue cloak, with whieh she enveloped herself, and, snapping the catch, reinstated the bag in itu place. " Can I not hand you your plaid?" the elderly lady asked me, courtcously, before seating herself. I glanced up as I answered her, and read the small card that was neatly on the bottom of her satchel, "Mine. ïa Comtesse de Girondelle, Faïis." "No, thanks. Ah, I beg pardon, it is chilly. I am sorry to trouble you, but I will take it, please." And she hands it to me, resuming her seat with a nice, cheerful smiíe, I unbuckle the straps, unroll my plaid, and leave my preciows morocco case quite bare with its brass mounting and padock, and the new plate papa nad put on it for my wedding-day. " " Liet me aasist yon," Mme. la Com i tesse says politely, helping me on with mybigshawl. " Fellow-traVelêrS should be on excellent tering especially wlien they chance to bi two ladies yoyaging alone. Yöu have been on the Continent before, I presume ? The Énglish ladies are snch ladies for sight-seeing." "No," I replied, bashfully, and - why I know not - feeling mortified to think i that I had not been abroad before. "No! Is it possible? You are so i seïf-powseïssed that I imagined you famili iar with all these scones." Worthy Comtesse ! Her eyes were beginning to fail her, I fearetí. "I- ah, alai! 1 have been many times over Ëurope, and alone also, since j the death of my husband." Here it occurred to me to wonder, with another furtive glance, how any man could havo mo-rriGd such a üose. " Yon are göihg to Baden to join your raother and father- to F ? I will so gladly chaperone you so far as in my poor power. I know what it is to be so young, though never so pretty" - with a sigh - "and voyaging alone." "You are very kind," I reply, with a feeling of groat satisfaction as I take in the idea of once more being dependent upon some one - wbich is to teil the truth, my normal state - and that some onc a worthy olderly lady, although with more than the usual share of nose. "Bat I am not going to F , only to Baden---" " 80 ?'' interi-upts the Comtesse, with a smile oï genuine delight. "I go to Baden myself. The waters have been prescribed for me by my pbysician." "Yes?" I say, interestedly. "I aii sorry that I do not stay there. I go right on by coach to P , and thence to La Manche, where" - I blush painfullv at this point- " my husband awaita me."' " Your husband !"- Tlie Comtesse ttttero a little scream of astonishment. " My child - unc enfant I yeritablement ! Ah, what is this age arriviug at ?" I laügh a small, happy, foolish langh, and proceed to givo the Comtesse a brief resume of the principal events in rny history - ohiefly consisting, I can assure you, in my courtship, marriage, wedding (inclnding my dot, which reposes in the rack), Algy's imperativo tour, and my now going on to be with him once more after nearly four weeks of cruel separation ; to all of which the Comtesse listened attentively and courteoüsly, with interest, and little, sympathetic, womanly smiles and nods. Beforo I liavo ñnished, I think her the most delightful, motherly, chamüng lady that I have ever encountered - were it not f or her nose ; but I endeavored to avoid looking at that, and strive to rivet my attention solely on her bright eyes and pleasant smile. Mme. la Comtesse in return confldes to me her card- a fac-simile of that so neatly tacked to her satchel- and tells me that la Oomte is long since deceased, leaving her the mistress of a small independence ; that she resides in London, "so she loves the dear English ;" and just now is en route for Baden to drink 'ifi famous Traten?. We get on faniously, the Comtesse and I, and I think joyously of how glad Algy would be to know of my being uuder the wing of so oharming and educated a person. In fact, at the end of our fourth day together, I feel as if I had known the Comtesse all my life, and I feel sure also that she likes me. The nose oppresses me frequently, but I ontract a habit of talking and listening to her without looking, and this somewhat ameliorates the situatiou. On Friday evening at 4 o'clock we arrive at Baden, and, as the Southern train does not start for two hours yet, I accept my new friend's offer of spendiug the time with her at her hotel quite gratefuDy. I am installed in the little parlor of the Comtesse's pretty apartment - en troisieme, it is true, but aflbrding a delightful view of everything and everybody that shall pass. I am seated alone, for my friend has gone down to see to the arrangement of her baggage. She returns, her face f uil of alarm, and a coarse, reddish envelope in her hand. ' ' Be not alarmed, my ehild ; 'tis a telegram for you, I think. ' Mme. A. S. Westmoreland,' " reads the elderly lady from the wretchcd thing iu her hand. " Monsieur Von liindon just gave it to me now as I passed by the office." I take it, and with trembling fingers tear open the envelope and unfold the bit of paper. A smile breaks over my face and the blood resumes its place in my cheeks - nothing more terrible than tliis: " Wait over a day at Badon. I will join you on Saturday evening. Aiiï." I read it aloud to the Comtesse, who shares my joy in charmiug fashion, and instantly offers to ring the bcli, summon the hostess, and secure me a room at once for my stay. J accede gracefully, and ore long am comfortably - nay, luxuriantly - ensconced in a bright, tlegantly-furnished room adjoining the suite of the Comtesse - in fact, communicatiug with it by a door, which I beg may .stand opon, as I am considorably moro than timid. After a sumptuous supper, served in my new frieud's apartmont, with great neatnoss, by a protty, bluc-oyed Oermíin girl, I make my excusos and retire. I am, in truth, worn out with sleepluss nightfi in railway-coaches, and am very thankful when I liud myseíf once more in a veritable bed. I dream - a queer, coufnsed mass of nonsense- and, amid tlie vagaries of my night in tho hotel of Monsieur von Linden, I dream that I am Huffocating, Hmotheriug with some strangc-smelling stuff held tightly over my mouth ; then that it is removed, and tliat I can see distinctly, although 1 eau move no inope than if I were a stone. I see that tho conimunicatiug little door between my room and the Cointesse's little parlor stands open, letting in a flood of bright, warm candle-light ; I see a woman in a rose-colored wrapper gliding stealthly about my apartment. She is young, and a pretty woman with short, very blonde hair curling all over her head, and she keeps walking carefully about my room, peering into this corner and that, under my clothes, under the loungecushion, and into the chest of drawcrs ; and flually she creeps up ts the bed. I feel her hands crawliog over the blankets, and at last searching under the piled-up pillows beside me - for wbat? My dot, my precious diam9nds, which I placed there for safety. I try to scream, but cannot ; I am as silent as tho dead, and I watch her, helplessly, recross the room, gliae through the door, close it, and then no inore = When I awake in the morning, the bright Baden suushine is streaming in my windows, and I feel strangely unrested; my eyes ache, and my temples throb. I rise and close the creaking shutters. As I do so I hear a low wañ from the apartment of the Comtesse, and like a flash of lightning my dream occurs to me. I make one piunge to the bed again, pull aside tho pillows - my dot is gone ? A kiióck comes át the comniunicating door, accompanied by another wail. "Oome in !" I Cry, as I sit staring distractedly about me. "Ah, Mme. Westmoreland ! What bavelhere? Ah! ah! my few jewele gone ! The thieves, the burglars ! Ah ! I will have satisfaction from Mons. von Linden I Ah ! what will become of me V' The Comtesse had then been robbed also, poor lady ! Sho was well nigli beside herself as she recounted to me almost my own experience; the sensation of suffocation, and of hearing some one walking stealthily about her room. As my new friend aaid nothing about having seen the robber, I held my peace, being f ather ashamed oí telling what I now know must have been a dream, mixed up, oddly enough, with truth. When I told her my misfortune, she condoled with me in the most tender and heartfelt manner, and between her tears over her own petit bijoux, tried, in her pretty French fashion, to suggest ways to me of recovering my splendid "eins. But, while the Comtesse made iier toilet with all possible haste, and flew down to worthy Monsieur von Linden, I sat like a smail statue staring at tliO tumbled pillows, and then began to cry liko a baby, which performance I iept tip a full hour at least, and at last determined to do nothing. In reality ;here was nothing for me to do, for my iusbar3 was traveling toward mo just as fast os steam could bring him, and, as Í assured the Comtesse, I feit that, "when Algy carne, all would bo discovered." So í whiled away the long day gazing at tlie passeiSrby out of tlic Comtcsse's ■windows, and listening to her alternato nioans over her own gemst and clescriptions of the gayeties of Baden in the gone garniug days, when she was young. Shc was a trne daughtcr of La' Belle France, volatility itself, and indeed I envied her quick spirits that mournful day in Baden At 6 o'clock Algy would be with me, and it was 6 now. A knock at the door. Another of those detestable, terrifying pinkish envelopes the Comtesse hands me, and I read it while she, with adjusted glasses, peruses her own documenta. "This is too much," I say, fairly bursting into tears, as my eyes feil on the sera wied message : " Imposeible to come on start at once. ".Algx." " Ah, mon enfant ! what is it ! Let me assist you. Ah, mon angc ! dry those tears, for your husband must not see your beautiful oyes spoiled when he comes.'' " He's not coming !" ï exclaim, with a fresh sob. "ïiead that, Madame. " "Ah, 'tis too much ? Well, he says to go to hirn, my darling, and so you see him justnow, iminediately. Yss - though I griee to part with yon, still - the train leaves in an hour, and 'tis best il faut obeir un maris, n'est-ce-pas 't" With the assistance of the Comtesse, I hastilly pack my things in my bag, and strap up the, alas ! empty shawl, array myself in my traveliag hat and veil, and, cheered by her kind, motherly words, I start in the little hackney-carriage for the depot. I arrive thera, buy nay ticket of the surly Austrian official, with quivering ñngers, and am just about to step into the coach, when I met my husband face to face ! I fall into his open arma without regard to the 300 weiting travelers, and he, with equal indifferonce, exclaims : "MyGodI my little Dorothea, what is the matter ? Where have you been ? Where are you going ?" He puts me into the hack, and bids the man drive back to the hotel of Monsieur von Linden. During that twenty-minuto drive through the streets of Baden, I managed - being a brief, direct little woman - to teil Algy my every word and moveinent, f rom the moment I left Dover until the moment I feil into his big, protecting arms. He utters at the conclusión a prolonged and manly whistle, and then, in a most ferocious voico, asks, in one breath, ' ' If any man has spoken to or looked at me on the journey?" and to "show him the two telegrama. " I answered "No," emphatically, to the question, and produced the two bits of coarso paper for my husband's inspoction. . " Theso aro not gennine telegrama. I sent you no telegrama, " says Algy, in a very curious voice. "I waited aud waited last night and to-day till I almost went mad ; and then I carne af ter you." We reached the hotel. My husbaud is a gentleman of fow words, but he has given mo somo very minute iustructions. I go up-stairs and knook, much after tho manner of a maid, on tho door of Mme. la Comtesso de Girondelle. No answer. Again I knock, üiis time even louder, with a liko result. A waitor comes by. and informs me that the Comtesse has gone out to spend the evening with a sick friend in the Hcidelberg btrasse. I return to Algy, who bids mo array myself bocoa ingly ; that lio i:: giring to take me to the Kursaal to seo a littlo gayety and hear u good deal of good mvisic. Mr. Westmorelaud has a tlark, not a sinister, exprossion on Iris coniely face as he issues his mandatos, and at the samo timo puts himself into the dress snit I have brought in my trunks froni London for him. Wo aro sooii driven to tho Kurnaal, BOOD hear the band phiying ouc of the loveliest things uuder the sun - tho "Dichter unt Bauer " overture. l maroh around oji Algy'a ftrrn, too happy to Bpeak, with only the visión of my lost dot to trouble me, about which Mr. Wostmorelaud is eingularly reüoent and singularly hopeful ; and occasionally the faco - especially the nose - of tho Comtcsse comes across me, and I innocently wondey what slio will say to-morrow at breakfast wheii she sees Algy and me back agnin ? We are meandering around, wheu I suddenly give a little scream. "WJiat is it?" Algy snys, frowning. " There she is! don 't you see? with all my diamonds on I" ïhat's the woman, Algy - that's thewoman!" Algy looks; so do I. She is leaning her arm on one of the tables, and sipping wine from a goblet - the same woman that I watched in my dream, only I see her clearly now. Tall, with a fair complexion, a small ínouth, a perfect little straight nose, two bright gray eyes, enhanced by the artful black pencil, and lovely blonde hair, dressed with superb artificial braids; she is attired in a rosecolored satin gown, covered with black late flounces, and she wears all my dot sparkling and shiinmering in her ears, on lier neck and bosom, and ar and flnger. Algy tells me to keep very still, and presently puts me in the cab and leaves me, with strict injunctions to the driver to take me back to the hotel of Monsieur von Linden. As may be imagined, I sleep but little that night, roy husband comes home late, very; says there is a certainty, almost, of recovering my jewels; calis me "anervous, foolish little wife 1" and bids me "go to sleep." Again the Baden stmlight shincs in the windows, and again I hear the Comtesse moving about her apartment, without wailtng, however, this moming. At 10 o'clock, just as Mme. la Oomtesse's breakfast was being set before her on tho pretty, polished table, a burly gentleman, accompaniod by two pólice officers, came clattering up to the door - nay, into her parlor itself - and Algy and I at the same moment also appeared to pay our respects to my kind friend. She greeted us with charming politeness, but uttered a little scream on beliolding the burly gentleman who entered simultaneously with ourselves. "Nein, nein!" said the burly gentleman pieasantly ; " no screaming, Oomtesae. Permit me !" I looked on with indignation wnile the burly gentleman literally proceeded to sealp the Oomtesse do Gircndelle; with flngers defter than an Indian's he removed the entire chevelure of gray, soft curls, leaving exposed a beautiful head of blonde, waving hair. "Nein, nein, no screaming !" repeateei the burly gentleman, suavsly; and then - I blush to record it - he seized the long, pointed, invostigating nose of the Comtesse delicately, between his thumb and forefinger, and - lifted it gracefully into the air. The Oomtesse did Dot follow; she remained seated on her chair, displaying another nose ! - a small, straight, pretty, white nose ! I was terrifled. " Yah, y ah" cxclaimed the burly gentleman. Thereupon he took up a wet napkin and procoeded to rub the face of the Comtesse with vigor. In a few moments the coffee-colored complexion had disappeared, and the titled lady rejoiced in a skin matching tho hue of her new nose. " Ver are dis ladee's diamonds?" inquired the official, courteously. The Comtesso at onco fainted, revived. Bcreamed, called on all tho saints and demons in tho calendar to protect her and annihilato the burly gentleman respectively; finally she glanced in the direction of the wardrobe. Thence the official drew my morocco. case - my dot. Algy took me away wholly in hysterics. Algy swore that no earthly power should luie him into leaving me alone for five minutes again, so long as we both lived. And I - I cannot help it - I look with distrust - nay, aversión of the most positive hind - upon aiiy one who has a nose that is pink and pointed, and even one nail's breadth longer than it ougut to be. - -JEnglish Magazine.


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