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   Chapter 13 LUCILE’S DREAM

The Crimson Thread: An Adventure Story for Girls By Roy J. Snell Characters: 5099

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


That evening on the L train Lucile read a copy of the morning paper, one which she had carefully saved for a very definite reason. It was the paper which was exploiting the Lady of the Christmas Spirit. Lucile always got a thrill out of reading about the latest doings of that adventurous person who had managed to be everywhere, to mingle with great throngs, and yet to be recognized by no one.

"Well, I declare!" she whispered to herself as a fresh thrill ran through her being. "She was to be in our store this very afternoon; in the art room of the furniture store. That's the very room in which I saw Cordie and the Mystery Lady. This Lady of the Christmas Spirit may have been in the room at that exact moment. How very, very exciting!"

Closing her eyes, she tried to see that room again; to call back pictures of ladies who had entered the room while she had been looking down upon it.

"No," she thought at last, "there isn't one that fits; one was tall and ugly, one short, stout and middle aged, and two were quite gray. Not one fits the description of this Christmas Spirit person; unless, unless-" her heart skipped a beat. She had thought of the Mystery Lady.

"But of course it couldn't be," she reasoned at last. "It doesn't say she was to be there at that very moment. I was not standing on the stair more than ten minutes. There are six such periods in an hour and nine and a half working hours in a store day. Fine chance! One chance in fifty. And yet, stranger things have happened. What if it were she! What--"

Her dreamings were broken short off by the sudden crumpling of paper at her side. Cordie had been glancing over the evening paper. Now the paper had entirely disappeared, and Cordie's face was crimson to the roots of her hair.

"Why Cordie, what's happened?" exclaimed Lucile.

"Noth-nothing's happened," said Cordie, looking suddenly out of the window.

That was all Lucile could get out of her. One thing seemed strange, however. At the stand by the foot of the elevated station Cordie bought two copies of the same paper she had been reading on the train. These she folded up into a solid bundle and packed tightly under her arm.

"I wonder why she did that?" Lucile thought to herself.

As often happens in bachelor ladies' apartments, this night there was nothing to be found in their larder save sugar, milk and cocoa.

"You get the cocoa to a boil," said Lucile, "and I'll run over to the delicatessen for something hot. I'm really hungry to-night." She was down the stairs and away.

Somewhat to her annoyance, she found the delicatessen packed with students waiting their turn to be supplied with eatables. The term had ended, and those who were too far from home to take the holidays away from the University were boarding themselves.

After sinking rather wearily into a corner seat, Lucile found her mind slipping back over the days that had just flown.

"To-morrow," she told herself soberly, "is the day before Christmas. It is my last day at the store. And then? Oh, bother the 'and then'! There's always a future, and always it comes out somehow."

That she might not be depressed by thoughts of the low state of her finances, she filled her mind with day dreams. In these dreams she saw herself insisting that Cordie reveal to her the secret hiding place of the Mystery Lady. Having searched this lady out, she demanded the return of her well worn, but comfortable, coat. In the dream still she saw the lady throw up her hands to exclaim:

"That frayed thing? I gave it to the rag man!"

Then in a rage she, Lucile, stamps her foot and says: "How could you! Of course now I shall keep your cape of fox skin and Siberian squirrel."

"Ah," she whispered, "that was a beautiful dream!"

Glancing up, she saw there were still six customers ahead of her and she must wait for her turn.

"Time for another," she whispered.

This time it was the Lady of the Christmas Spirit. She saw her among the throngs at the store. Feeling sure that this must be the very person, that she might steal a look at her hands, she followed her from department to department. Upstairs and downstairs they went. More than once she caught the lady throwing back a mocking glance at her.

Then, of a sudden, at the ribbon counter she caught sight of her hands.

"Such hands!" she whispered. "There never were others like them. It is the Lady of the Christmas Spirit."

Putting out her own hand, she grasped one of the marvelous ones as she whispered: "You are the Lady of the Christmas Spirit."

At once there came a mighty jingle of gold. A perfect shower of gold went sparkling and tinkling to the floor.

"Oh! Oh!-Oh! It will all be lost!" she cried, leaping forward.

She leaped almost into the delicatessen keeper's arms. To her surprise she saw that the store was empty. Her day-dream had ended in a real dream; she had fallen asleep.

Hastily collecting her scattered senses, she selected a steaming pot of beans and a generous cylinder of brown bread, then drawing her scarf about her, dashed out into the night.

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