Mrs George Sheldon
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Title: Mona
Author: Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
Release Date: December 23, 2004 [eBook #14425]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Mary Meehan, and the Project
Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Or, The Secret of a Royal Mirror

Author of _Virgie's Inheritance_, A True Aristocrat, Trixy, Lost A
Pearle, _Helen's Victory_, etc.
"Appleton, don't look quite yet, but there's a woman just behind you
whom I want you to see. I never before saw such a face and figure!
They are simply perfection!"
The above remarks were made by a young man, perhaps thirty years of
age, to his companion, who, evidently, was somewhat his senior.
The two gentlemen were seated at a private table in the dining-room of
a large hotel in Chicago, Illinois, and were themselves both handsome
and distinguished in appearance.
"There!" the speaker continued, as a slight commotion near them
indicated that some one was rising from a table; "she is about to leave
the room, and now is your chance."
The gentleman addressed turned to look as the lady passed; but the
moment she was beyond the possibility of hearing he broke into a laugh
of amusement.
"Oh, Cutler!" he exclaimed; "I never would have believed that you
could rave so over a red-head--you who all your life have held such
hair in detestation!"
"Well," returned Mr. Cutler, flushing guiltily, "I acknowledge that I
have always had a peculiar aversion to red hair; but, truly, hers is an

unusual shade--not a flaming, staring red, but deep and rich. I never
saw anything just like it before. Anyhow, she is a magnificent,
specimen of womanhood. See! what a queenly carriage! what a figure!"
and his glance followed the lady referred to, lingeringly, admiringly.
"Yes, she certainly is a fine-looking woman," his companion admitted;
"and, if I am any judge, the diamonds she wears are worth a small
fortune. Did you notice them?"
"No; I saw only herself," was the preoccupied response.
"Aha! I see you are clean gone," was the laughing rejoinder of Mr.
The lady referred to was indeed a strangely attractive person. She was
rather above the medium height, straight as an arrow, with a perfectly
molded figure, although it was somewhat inclined to embonpoint, while
her bearing was wonderfully easy and graceful. Her complexion was
exquisitely fair, her features round, yet clearly cut and regular. She had
lovely eyes of blue, with a fringe of decided, yet not unbecoming red
upon their white lids, while her hair was also a rich but striking red, and
was worn short, and curled about; her fair forehead and down around
her alabaster neck in bewitching natural rings.
She was apparently about twenty-five or twenty-eight years of age,
with all the strength and verve of perfect health in her movements. She
was dressed wholly in black, which served but to enhance her fairness,
while in her ears and at her throat she wore peculiar ornaments shaped
like small crescents, studded with diamonds, remarkable for their purity
and brilliancy.
For several days Mr. Cutler and Mr. Appleton sat at the same table, and
were quietly observant of this lovely woman.
She came and went, apparently unconscious of their notice or
admiration, was gently dignified in her bearing and modest in her
deportment, and the two gentlemen became more and more interested
in her.

Upon inquiring, they learned that she was a young widow--a Mrs.
Bently, whose husband had recently died very suddenly. He was
supposed to have been very wealthy, but, there being no children, there
was some trouble about the settlement of the property, and she was
boarding in the city until matters should be adjusted, when she
contemplated going abroad.
She seemed to be an entire stranger to every one, and very much alone,
save for the companionship of a maid, by whom she was always
attended, except at meal-time. Mr. Appleton was called from the city
about ten days after his attention was first called to her, but his friend,
Mr. Cutler, was still a guest at the hotel, and before the expiration of
another week he had managed to make the acquaintance of the
fascinating widow.
The more he saw of her the more deeply interested he became, until he
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