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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

VII Night And A Voice

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Not to be outdone by the editor, I insert the article here with all its details, the importance of which I trust I have anticipated.

SANTA FE, N.M., April --.

Arrived in Santa Fe, I inquired where Abner Fairbrother could be found. I was told that he was at his mine, sick.

Upon inquiring as to the location of the Placide, I was informed that it was fifteen miles or so distant in the mountains, and upon my expressing an intention of going there immediately, I was given what I thought very unnecessary advice and then directed to a certain livery stable, where I was told I could get the right kind of a horse and such equipment as I stood in need of.

I thought I was equipped all right as it was, but I said nothing and went on to the livery stable. Here I was shown a horse which I took to at once and was about to mount, when a pair of leggings was brought to me.

"You will need these for your journey," said the man.

"Journey!" I repeated. "Fifteen miles!"

The livery stable keeper--a half-breed with a peculiarly pleasant smile--cocked up his shoulders with the remark:

"Three men as willing but as inexperienced as yourself have attempted the same journey during the last week and they all came back before they reached the divide. You will probably come back, too; but I shall give you as fair a start as if I knew you were going straight through."

"But a woman has done it," said I; "a nurse from the hospital went up that very road last week."

"Oh, women! they can do anything--women who are nurses. But they don't start off alone. You are going alone."

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"Yes," I remarked grimly. "Newspaper correspondents make their journeys singly when they can."

"Oh! you are a newspaper correspondent! Why do so many men from the papers want to see that sick old man? Because he's so rich?"

"Don't you know?" I asked.

He did not seem to.

I wondered at his ignorance but did not enlighten him.

"Follow the trail and ask your way from time to time. All the goatherds know where the Placide mine is.

Such were his simple instructions as he headed my horse toward the canyon. But as I drew off, he shouted out:

"If you get stuck, leave it to the horse. He knows more about it than you do."

With a vague gesture toward the northwest, he turned away, leaving me in contemplation of the grandest scenery I had yet come upon in all my travels.

Fifteen miles! but those miles lay through the very heart of the mountains, ranging anywhere from six to seven thousand feet high. In ten minutes the city and all signs of city life were out of sight. In five more I was seemingly as far removed from all civilization as if I had gone a hundred miles into the wilderness.

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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