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Who is the Thief?

by Elizabeth Campbell

Mrs. Van Ansel was a proud and haughty woman—proud of the old Dutch name which her husband had left her—proud, also, of the one son and daughter who bore the same name, and proud of the money which she had brought that husband when they were both young, and which was now swelled to about three times its original bulk—making her one of the richest widows in that very aristocratic and exclusive village in which she dwelt, the principal street of which was also so honored as to bear the late Mr. Van Ansel’s name.

Rupert Van Ansel was a gay, handsome, genial lad of twenty-two, and any mother might well be excused for being proud of him. He had never cost her one heart-pang, from the day he was born until that on which a governess arrived for his little sister Gertrude; and though Mrs. Van Ansel perceived at once how much he was smitten with the pretty face and graceful figure of Miss Sherman, she could not find it in her heart to reprove him for it—to make such an apparently harmless thing the ground for a first quarrel with her boy—for she argued to herself it must be harmless; Rupert could not have any serious intentions toward “that girl,” and it would in time “blow over,” if she did not fan the flickering flame into an undying blaze. Mrs. Van Ansel, you see, was wise, after her generation.

However, as there really seemed a probability that Rupert’s admiration was quietly fanning itself into a blaze, aided by the increasing sweetness and lovliness of Miss Sherman, who only became more charming on more intimate acquaintance, Mrs. Van Ansel determined to bring an enemy into the camp.

She wrote to an old friend of hers, Mr. Bowler by name, to bring his daughter, and pay her that long promised visit. Mrs. Van Ansel became very wise in her generation, and manifested it in this… Read More