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Olbrich, M. B. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. 1, No. 7 (June 1904)

HFP
The silent five,   pp. 254-259


Page 259


THE SILENT FIVE
  He filled my glass, then his own, staggered to his feet and
drank to the four dead members of 'The Silent Five."
  Being a rather plain and matter of fact man myself, I de-
cided without hesitation, that the man was plainly and simply
drunk, and his story the mere creation of a drink-touched
fancy. After sitting in silence for a while, I proposed to re-
tire. My host, rousing himself from a half stupor, called to the
negro, who lighted me up to my chamber. While passing
through the lower hall, I noticed the four portraits on the
walls which I had noted earlier in the evening. Of a sudden
it struck me that perhaps they were the likenesses of the
dead members of "The Silent Five." I passed it off, how-
ever, as a fancy. The silent, gloomy hall upstairs along
with my host's morbid tale rather unsettled me despite my-
self, and as Joe was leaving I suggested that he better get
his master to bed.
  I undressed, blew out the light and got into bed. But no
matter how hard I tried, I could not get to sleep. Those
four portraits passed and repassed before my eyes. I lay
perhaps for half an hour tossing about when I heard Joe's
step outside my door. I called him to fetch me a pitcher of
water. He started off on his errand and in a minute I heard
him at the well outside drawing the water-crack! It was
the report of a revolver, without doubt. I leaped from my
bed instantly and rushed down the stairway. Joe came
screaming and hobbling along as I reached the lower floor,
and in my haste I bowled him over. Bursting into my host's
room, I found him lying prone upon his face, with an ugly
wound in his head. I rolled him over and felt his heart. It
was perfectly still. On the table lay a small mahogany box
and on the hearth a partially consumed piece of paper. I
picked it up. It was one of the two remaining "Silent Five"
slips.                                        H. F. P.
2 59


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