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The Unknown Assassin


We stood together, my brother and I, one summer evening, on the grassy, undulating slope that led from the house to Fairy Glen; a narrow, tortuous, bush-fringed ravine, running parallel with, and not more than one hundred yards from, the house. Through the glen meandered a stony stream, which we called Elfin Brook, and it surely merited the name. Entering the glen with a plunge over a miniature precipice, some three or four feet in height, it rose from its fall, bubbling and laughing, and pursued its winding, gleeful course, laving the tangled roots of the fragrant mints and spicy cresses which transgressed on its pebbly domain, burrowing under the larger stones, whirling in circles and diminutive eddies around the obstructions, and reflecting in fantastic and ever-varying shapes the branches overhanging it.

I was nineteen, and well developed for my age, and my brother Charlie was scarcely fourteen. He was a noble little fellow, and loved me with an affection that partook somewhat of reverence. Our parents had long been invalids, and we had, therefore, been deprived much of their society. Our acquaintances were few, and we were thus thrown almost exclusively in each other’s company.

I had been pursuing my studies at home under the eye of a tutor, but the following week I was to leave home, and was spending my last days under the parental roof in surveying the scenes which were endeared to me by long familiarity.

The day was nearly spent. The slanting sunbeams bathed the landscape in a flood of amber-colored light, and we saw the gorgeous picture through a medium of burnished haze. Although accustomed to views fully as magnificent from childhood, I was that evening strangely impressed by… Read More