Book I. The Purple Orchid
I. A CRY ON THE HILL
The dance was over. From the great house on the hill the guests had all departed and only
the musicians remained. As they filed out through the ample doorway, on their way home, the
first faint streak of early dawn became visible in the east. One of them, a lank, plain-featured
young man of ungainly aspect but penetrating eye, called the attention of the others to it.
"Look!" said he; "there is the daylight! This has been a gay night for Sutherlandtown."
"Too gay," muttered another, starting aside as the slight figure of a young
man coming from the house behind them rushed hastily by. "Why, who's
As they one and all had recognised the person thus alluded to, no one
answered till he had dashed out of the gate and disappeared in the woods on
the other side of the road. Then they all spoke at once.
"It's Mr. Frederick!"
"He seems in a desperate hurry."
"He trod on my toes."
"Did you hear the words he was muttering as he went by?"
As only the last question was calculated to rouse any interest, it alone
"No; what were they? I heard him say something, but I failed to catch the
"He wasn't talking to you, or to me either, for that matter; but I have ears that
can hear an eye wink. He said: 'Thank God, this night of horror is over!' Think
of that! After such a dance and such a spread, he calls the night horrible and
thanks God that it is over. I thought he was the very man to enjoy this kind of
"So did I."
"And so did I."