The War Terror HTML version

The Beauty Mask
"Oh, Mr. Jameson, if they could only wake her up--find out what is the matter--do
something! This suspense is killing both mother and myself."
Scenting a good feature story, my city editor had sent me out on an assignment, my sole
equipment being a clipping of two paragraphs from the morning Star.
Virginia Blakeley, the nineteen-year-old daughter of Mrs. Stuart Blakeley, of Riverside
Drive, who has been in a state of coma for six days, still shows no sign of returning
Ever since Monday some member of her family has been constantly beside her. Her
mother and sister have both vainly tried to coax her back to consciousness, but their
efforts have not met with the slightest response. Dr. Calvert Haynes, the family
physician, and several specialists who have been called in consultation, are completely
baffled by the strange malady.
Often I had read of cases of morbid sleep lasting for days and even for weeks. But this
was the first case I had ever actually encountered and I was glad to take the assignment.
The Blakeleys, as every one knew, had inherited from Stuart Blakeley a very
considerable fortune in real estate in one of the most rapidly developing sections of upper
New York, and on the death of their mother the two girls, Virginia and Cynthia, would be
numbered among the wealthiest heiresses of the city.
They lived in a big sandstone mansion fronting the Hudson and it was with some
misgiving that I sent up my card. Both Mrs. Blakeley and her other daughter, however,
met me in the reception-room, thinking, perhaps, from what I had written on the card,
that I might have some assistance to offer
Mrs. Blakeley was a well-preserved lady, past middle-age, and very nervous.
"Mercy, Cynthia!" she exclaimed, as I explained my mission, "it's another one of those
reporters. No, I cannot say anything--not a word. I don't know anything. See Doctor
Haynes. I--"
"But, mother," interposed Cynthia, more calmly, "the thing is in the papers. It may be that
some one who reads of it may know of something that can be done. Who can tell?"
"Well, I won't say anything," persisted the elder woman. "I don't like all this publicity.
Did the newspapers ever do anything but harm to your poor dear father? No, I won't talk.
It won't do us a bit of good. And you, Cynthia, had better be careful."