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VOL. XIII. PLYMOUTH, N. C, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1902. NO. 41.
" - - ' i - -
THE FACE AGAINST THE PANE.
THUM1S BAILEY ALDSICH.
Mabel little Mabel,
With face against the pane,
Looks out across the night
And sees the Beacon Light
A-trembling in the ram.
She hears the sea-birds screech,
And the breakers on the beach
Making moan, making moan.
And the wind about the eaves
Of the cottage sobs and grieves;
And the willow-tree is blown
To and fro, to and fro.
Till !t seems like some old crone
standing out there all alone
With her woe,
Wringing as she stands.
Her gaunt and palsied hands'.
While Mabel, timid Mabel,
With face against the pane,
Looks out across thc-night,
. And sees the Beacon Light,
A-trembling in the rain.
Set the tab'c, maiden Mabel,
And make the cabin warm;
Your little fisher-lover
Is out there in the storm,
And your father you are wecpiir !
O Mabel, timid Mabel,
Go spread the supper table,
And set the tea a-steeping.
Your lover's heart is brave.
His boat is staunch and tight;
And vour father knows the perilous
That makes the water white.
But Mabel, darling Mabel,
With face against the pane,
Looks out across the night
At the Beacon in the rain. '
The heavens are veined with fire!
And the thunder how it rolls!
In the lulling of the storm
The solemn church-bell tolls
For lost souls!
But no sexton sounds the knell
In that belfry old and high;
Unseen finders sway the bell
As the wind goes tearing by;
How it tolls for the souls
A 'PIANO THAT LAUGHED.
NO one could play upon it that
is, no one Avhose nerves
were very sensitive or whose
q horrors of the uncanny or the
inexplicable were in the ascendancy.
A magnificent piece of Avorkmanship
it was, to bo sure, famous since its
completion 'for its sweet tone and its
wide compass, of expression.- Yet it
stood there in Mi Briggs's parlor ready
to indulge in mocking laughter-at who
soever should dare to seek its music.
The laughter in Itself v.-as sufficient
to unnerve even the most courageous,
scoffer at Ihe possibilities of ghostdom.
It was a harsh, grating "Ila, ha, ha!"
such -as a merrymaking bedlam will
give vent to, and with as little occa
sion for utterance. The longer any
ne played the louder the laughter' be
came, until even the boldest would
clasp his hands to his cars and arise
in nervous haste. Another strange
thing was that it did not begin until
the performer touched the note G, con
tinuing until he ceased playing,
whether that note was sounded again
or not. It stopped as soon as the
last echo died away, which caused
more than one to gaze back at the
instrument in shame-faced confusion.
-What , shall we do Avith it?" said
Mrs. 'Briggs. helplessly, after a final
effort to play upon it without heading
"Sell it," replied her husband
promptly. " - .
"Xo, , no. no!" she said. "Father
made me promise upon my knees that
rdcvev part Aviih it. Besides, Avho'd
aa.-. it? I must have a piano that I
can' play upon, for I cannot live Avith
out music," ,
"Well, then. I'll send an expert 10
examine it Avhat say you?"
"Send him, of course. ' But what
good can lie do? The laughter was
not heard until after father died, and
you know that the letter G was his,
initial-G of Gottlieb."
"It is a strange coincidence, to be
sure. But G may also stand for
3retna," said the practical Mr. Briggs.
"Let's see what the piano-maker will
will discover before we worry further.
Then if he cannot remedy the trouble
I'll get you a new one."
The next day the expert came, taking
apart the beautiful instrument and
minutely Inspecting every detail in its
make-tap. 1 To their dismay he discov
ered nothing out of the ordinary, in
forming them instead that It was the
best-made instrument he had ever ex
amined. Ills efforts proved a failure,
obviously; for as soon, as he had put
Of the sailors ori the sea!
God pity them," God pity them.
Wherever, .they may ,be !
God pity wives and sweethearts
Who lvair. nnH wair. in vnin!
And pity little Mabel.
With face against th
against the pane.
A boom! the Lighthouse gun!
(How its echo rolls and rolls!)
Tis to warn the home-bound ships
Off the shoals!
See! a rocket cleaves tire sky
From the fort; a shaft of light!
See! it fades, and fading leaves
Golden furrows on the night!
What makes Mabel's cheek so pale?
What makes Mabel's lips so white?
Did she see the helpless sail,
That, tossing here and there,
Like .--r, feather in the air,
Went down and out of sight?
Down, down, and out of sight!
Oh. watch no more, no more,
With face against the pane;
You cannot see the men that drown
By the Beacon in the rain!
From the shoal of richest rubies
Breaks the morning clear and cold;
And the angel on the village spire,
Frost-touched, is bright as gold,
Four ancient fishermen,
In the pleasant autumn air,
Come toiling up the sands,
With something in their hands
Two- bodies stark and white,
Ah, so ghastly in the light.
With the sea.-weed in' their ha'. '
O ancient fishermen,
Go to yonder cot?
You'll find a little child,
With face against the pane,
Who looks toward the beach, .
And looking, sees it not,
She will never watch again!
Never watch and weep at night !
For those pretty, saintly eyes
Look beyond the stormy skies.
And they see the Beacon light.
it together again it stood ready to emit
that blood-curdling laughter in the
face of any and every performer.
The instrument was made in Ger
many by the father of. the cultured
Mrs. Briggs. Gottlieb Vandofen had
been one of the leading manufacturers
of pianos in Berlin, also OAvning large
manufacturing interests in Paris And
London. He Avas reputed as fabulous
ly wealthy, yet at his death the entire
bulk of his fortune did not exceed
53,000,000 in American money. This
was to be divided equally between his
daughter, Mrs. Briggs, and his son,
Karl Vandofen. A sense of disappoint
ment was experienced by the former,
though she tried to persuade herself
j that she had known so little about
her rather s business affairs that per
haps she had overestimated his finan
The. son Avas absent in Australia arid
its neighboring islands Avhen the father
Avas attacked with his final illness,
failing to receive the letter bearing
the news of his approaching demise.
Three months previously he had gone
thither, led by his roving disposition
and the desire to see that part of the
world. The two had had a lengthy
conversation previous to Karl's depar
ture, but Gretna had not learned the
purport of it; neither did she let it con
cern her very much. She knew that
her father and brother Avere upon the
best of terms.
Two months after Gottlieb Yando
fen's' death his daughter Gretna was
married to Augustus Briggs, an Ameri
. can professor who had gone to Ger
many to study the language. This
seemingly hasty marriage was but in
accordance with the father's request,
for he knew that his daughter's inter
ests Avould be safe in the hands of
that gentleman. As soon as the busi
ness could b3 adjusted, the happy pair
sailed for America, expecting Karl
to reappear upon the scene at any
day to take charge of affairs there at
But he did not come, and, unknown
to them, was anxiously awaiting word
from the beloved Fatherland. Finally,
he wrote his sister a letter of inquiry
as to her silence, which reached her a
few days after her arrival in America.
Three months more passed, and at the
time of the final struggle with the mys
terious piano Mrs. BrSggs was daily
expecting - another, missive from her
The letter failed to come, but the
brother arrived in its stead. Sun
burned, weary and heartily satisfied
to refrain thereafter from his long,
aimless Journeys, 'he appeared at her
door one morning, to be welcomed as
none but a sister can AA-elcome.
Explanations over, he began to
glance casually about the room, and
immediately his eyes fell upon the
"What's this for?" he queried.
"Where's father's piano?"
"It's ' haunted," replied Mrs. Briggs,
with subdued voice.
"Haunted?" Tut, tut!" And without
further comment he seated himself at
the familiar old Instrument at the op
posite side of the room. Eagerly he
struck the central note E, then list
ened intently. Next the note F, and
listened again. Lastly the note G;
and as the laughter began its weird
reverberations he turned to his sister
with a smile of triumph.
"Haunted, is it?" he cried, exult
antly. "No, no, Gretna. That's just
what I was hoping for. Come, sit
down, and I'll tell you all about it."
Leading her to a divan near by, he
seated himself beside her, and began
to explain carefully the hitherto - un
"When .1 was about to leave on this
last trip, you remember, father called
me to him and we had a long conver
sation. That morning he told me for
the first time the exact amount of his
fortune about $10,000,000 in American
money and gave me a working knowl
edge of his three establishments. He
had long been thinking of selling his
Interest in the factories at Paris and
London, but was not yet ready to close
negotiations. Whenever he did so, that
would necessitate the handling of large
sums of money, and he Avas then at
a "loss to know just which city
Avhether London, Paris, or Berlin
to deposit th-j bulk of his fortune in.
He expressed the fear if such should
be the case he knew that you could
not manage affairs, as you had never
handled money except to spend it. I
read his thoughts and offered to give
up my trip, but he would not consent
to that. Instead, he exacted a promise
from me that when I should return
this time I would remain "at home and
devote myself to business.
"Well, when he had explained every
thing so thoroughly that I knew just
Avhat was depending upon me, he then
told me that he was afraid to leave his
fortune all in one bank, and that, he
Intended to divide It into two sums.
The smaller amount he would leave in
the bank Avith which our family has
always done business: the other and
now comes the great secret of the
"You know as well as I that father
did every bit of the work on this in
strument except, perhaps, the carving.
He spared neither pains nor expense
iii building it, for it was to be a family
treasure so long as an atom of it
remained. Well, that morning he took
me to it and removed a part of the
case, showing me that the rear of the
musical framework was double, with
space enough between the boards to
admit one's hand. In that space is a
peculiar bit of mechanism of father's
own devising, which he termed a laughing-jack.
It can be connected with the
musical apparatus by means of a very
slender Avire, which is brought around
past the sounding board in such a way
that no one can find it unless he knows
beforehand just where to look for it.
"To show me how it worked he at
tached the Avire to the hammershank
of a string near the centre of tho in
strument, and struck that note with his
finger. At once the laughter began,
iyst as it will do uoav. He played a
strain or two and the thing kept laugh
ing as loug as the piano continued to
sound. This amused me so that I
laughed in earnest. He feared that
you might hear us, so -he released the
hammershank from the secret wire.
"He then told me that he was think
ing seriously of depositing his money
in a bank in a foreign couutrj. so that
the lawyers and sharpers would not
be so apt to discover it and perhaps
purloin part of it in case I should not
be at home. He mentioned England
and France, because of his factories
being at the capital of each country.
I sanctioned the suggestion, whereupon
he explained that if he deposited his
money in England, at London, he
would attach the laughing-Jack to the
note E, by which I should know that a
letter of introduction to the cashier of
the Bank of England was secreted in
this recess at the back of the piano.
If he left the money in Paris he would
attach the wire to the note F, mean
ing France; If in our home city, to the
note G, signifying Germany. Of
course when he gave me these instruc
tions he took It for granted that I
would get word immediately if he
should die ere I returned, so that you
would not need to be alarmed by the
laughing-jack's merriment. He said
further that if he should die so sud
denly that he could not attend, to this
matter, then I must look for the letter
in the secret recess in his desk at
home, with which you also are fami
liar. I searched for it thre as soon as
I reached home, but finding nothing, I
concluded that you had either taken it
or that it was in the. piano."
"I found nothing of importance," re
turned the sister; "There AA-as no letter
there, at any rate nothing but some
old bills and about fifty marks in
"Then I'll inspectthe piano."
With that Kaii Vandofen arose and
moved the instrument to a lighter part
of the room. In a very few moments
he had taken away a portion of the
casing, and his first act was to 'sIioav
his sister the thread-like wire attached
to the base of one of the hammer
shanks, the prime cause of all -t'hat
hideous laughter. Witlt a small stool
which he had brought for the purpose
he unwound the wire, whereupon ho
struck the middle G note of the key
board to prove to her that the en
chantment was gone.
He next gave his attention to the
double back of the instrument, dis
closing the unusual bit of space to
which he had alluded, with its queer
piece, of mechanism Avithin the laughing-jack.
Near the latter was a care
fully sealed envelope, addressed t:o
Karl in scrawling hand and lettered in
faultless German the father's special
legacy to his son and daughter.
With trembling hand Karl opened it,
to find therein the following message,
also in German:
"My Dear Son The money awaits
you, as I promised all in twenty-mark
pieces. Present this letter to the cash
ier of our national bank, whereupon
he will produce an exact duplicate of
it and will give you the key to a box
in the safety vault. Take the money
and divide it equally between yourself
and Gretna; but first give the cashier
100 marks as a reward for his fidelity,
although I have, already paid him a
handsome sum. Sell our interests In
Paris and London, and live in the old
home, remembering the blissful days
when your mother lived and we were
an unbroken family. Awaiting death's
call, GOTTLIEB VANDOFEN."
Thus the magnificent piano delivered
its message, which touched a tender
spot in the heart of each recipient.
Nothing was left them but to obey,
with Karl as the principal actor in
A few months later the wishes ex
pressed in the letter were all fulfilled
save one. And Karl had taken the in
itial step toward its consummation,
having begun to pay attention to a
buxom little lass in Berlin with a vieAV
to installing her finally as mistress of
the Vandofen mansion. New York
The Poet and the Check.
Getting a check cashed is no easy
matter sometimes. A poet solved the
difficulty last week pretty successfully.
Walking into the Fifth Avenue Bank
he said to the cashier, "I don't suppose
you will cash this check Avithout I am
identified?" The cashier seemed to
agree with him that something of the
sort would be required and handed him
over to ' the manager. The latter
scanned the check and said: "Well, I
know your writings, but I have not
had the pleasure, of meeting your be
fore." The poet said the disappoint
ment had been mutual. Then there
was a pause. "Have you got anything
about you, except letters, Avhich would
be likely to lead to your identifica
tion?" The poet said he had not.
'Well," hummed the manager, "have
you, for instance, any initials in your
hat?" The poet said he had not, but
if the manager would allow him five
minutes' grace, he Avould go round to
the nearest hatter's and have them put
in. Then there was a mutual smile.
"Have you a card?" The poet had.
As this did not seem to satisfy the dis
penser of cash, the poet at last said
with a sigh, "You say you know my
writings?" "Yes!" "Well,' I will sit
down now, and write you a poem "
"Mr. ," hurriedly ejaculated the
manager, "we will cash your check!"
And he did it at once. The Journalist.
Imitation Sea Water.
Experiments made last year seemed
to indicate that sea water could not
be imitated, but in a later trial pure
water mixed in correct proportion with
the six chief salts of the ocean sup
ported sensitive marine animals, and
appeared to have the physiological ef
fects of natural sea water.
HOW SALT COOLS COFFEE.
A Little Experiment Worth The Trying
Out of Mere Curiosity.
Between bites of simple breakfast
he had ordered, the young clerk gazed
nervously at the restaurant clock. It
was plain he had overslept himself,
and was paving the way to future In
digestion by bolting his food. The cof
fee was the stumbling block. It was
hot, very hot, but the clerk needed it
badly, and he sipped It carefully, hav
ing due regard for his mouth and,
But time pressed, and, with a parting
glance at the clock, he reached for- his
glass of ice water and prepared to
pour some of the frigid fluid into his
"Don't spoil your coffee, young man,"
said an elderly gentleman, Avho Avas
eating his breakfast on the other side
of the table. "You take all the good
out of it by putting ice or ice-water
The clerk was at first inclined to re
sent the interference, but the patri
archal appearance of the other man
tempered his resentment.
"What am I to do?" he asked. "I
am late for the office, and I want this
"Let me show you a little scheme,"
said the elderly man. Taking the
cylindrical salt cellar from the table,
he wiped it carefully with a napkin,
then reaching over, deposited the glass
vessel In the. cup of coffee.
. "Salt, you 4 know, has peculiar cool
ing properties," he said, meanwhile
holding .the receptacle firmly in posi
tion. "They put it with ice to inten
sify the cold Avhen making Ice-cream.
It is used extensively In cold storage
warehouses for cooling purposes, and I
being incased In glass does not affect
its poAver to any great extent."
As he spoke he withdrew the salt
cellar, from the coffee and motioned
to the younger man to drink. He
raised the cup to his lips, and to his
surprise found the liquid cooled to
such an extent that he could drink it
"The uses of salt are manifold," said
the elderly man with the air of one be
ginning a lecture. "I remember once
Avhen I was in Mexico "
But the clerk, with another glance
at the clock, thanked him profusely
and dashed out of the restaurant.
New York Mail and Express.
Skinning a Pearl.
The lapidary Avas skinning a pearL
He had on gloves., of a very delicate
sort of kid,, and the glasses that he
wore had lenses of such great magni
fying power that his eyes, through
(hem, looked as big as saucers. "I
wear gloves," he said, "because the
hands perspire freely in this work, and
perspiration has often been known to
iiscolor pearls. This stone was injured
by the accidental dropping on it of
some acid. The disaster discolored it,
you see. With this very delicate littla
tool I am removing its outer skin, and
if I find that the acid has filtered
through and discolored the inner skin
also I may remove that as well. A
pearl, you see, is composed of concen
tric layers, or skins, and you can, if
you are a clever workman, peel it down
and down until it disappears. That
operation, indeed, is often done by the
apprentices of the lapidary trade. They
work on spoiled, Avorthless pearls, and
the experience is very good for them.
It teaches them a great deal about
the pearl's anatomy, and it gives a;
wonderful cunning to their hands. The.
pearl is the only precious stone that
can be skinned. To skin it is often the
only way to restore Its milky color."
Killed by Hit Own Inrentlon.
It is a sad tale of an inventor being
killed by his own very harmless inven
tion Avhich the Gaulois tells concerning
the conductor's baton. The famous
French musical composer, Jean Bap
tiste de Lully, got tired of marking
time in the time-honored manner of
beating the floor with he sole of his
foot or clapping his hands together.
Instead, he introduced an enormous
cudgel, six feet long, and knocked it
rhythmically against the floor. One
day, however, he knocked his own foot
by accident, and as he took no notice
of the wound mortification soon set in
and very soon Lully was dead. But his
Invention lived; one musical conductor
after the other caused, the six-footer
to shrink: in size till it rdached its pres
ent elegant proportions J
An Acute British Question.
The housing question is getting to be
an acute one hr the British country
districts as well as in the municipal