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The House of a Thousand Candles by Meredith Nicholson

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The House of a Thousand Candles

Meredith Nicholson

The House of a Thousand Candles

Meredith Nicholson
Author of The Main Chance
Zelda Dameron, Etc.

With Illustrations by
Howard Chandler Christy

“So on the morn there fell new tidings and other adventures”



To Margaret My Sister


I The Will of John Marshall Glenarm
II A Face at Sherry’s
III The House of a Thousand Candles
IV A Voice From the Lake
V A Red Tam-O’-Shanter
VI The Girl and the Canoe
VII The Man on the Wall
VIII A String of Gold Beads
IX The Girl and the Rabbit
X An Affair With the Caretaker
XI I Receive a Caller
XII I Explore a Passage
XIII A Pair of Eavesdroppers
XIV The Girl in Gray
XV I Make an Engagement
XVI The Passing of Olivia
XVII Sister Theresa
XVIII Golden Butterflies
XIX I Meet an Old Friend
XX A Triple Alliance
XXI Pickering Serves Notice
XXII The Return of Marian Devereux
XXIII The Door of Bewilderment
XXIV A Prowler of The Night
XXV Besieged
XXVI The Fight in the Library
XXVII Changes and Chances
XXVIII Shorter Vistas
XXIX And So the Light Led Me

The House of a Thousand Candles



Pickering’s letter bringing news of my grandfather’s
death found me at Naples early in October. John
Marshall Glenarm had died in June. He had left a
will which gave me his property conditionally, Pickering
wrote, and it was necessary for me to return immediately
to qualify as legatee. It was the merest luck
that the letter came to my hands at all, for it had been
sent to Constantinople, in care of the consul-general
instead of my banker there. It was not Pickering’s
fault that the consul was a friend of mine who kept
track of my wanderings and was able to hurry the
executor’s letter after me to Italy, where I had gone to
meet an English financier who had, I was advised, unlimited
money to spend on African railways. I am an
engineer, a graduate of an American institution familiarly
known as “Tech,” and as my funds were running
low, I naturally turned to my profession for employment.

But this letter changed my plans, and the following
day I cabled Pickering of my departure and was outward
bound on a steamer for New York. Fourteen
days later I sat in Pickering’s office in the Alexis Building
and listened intently while he read, with much
ponderous emphasis, the provisions of my grandfather’s
will. When he concluded, I laughed. Pickering was a
serious man, and I was glad to see that my levity pained
him. I had, for that matter, always been a source of
annoyance to him, and his look of distrust and rebuke
did not trouble me in the least.

I reached across the table for the paper, and he gave
the sealed and beribboned copy of John Marshall Glenarm’s
will into my hands. I read it through for myself,
feeling conscious meanwhile that Pickering’s cool gaze
was bent inquiringly upon me. These are the paragraphs
that interested me most:

I give and bequeath unto my said grandson, John Glenarm,
sometime a resident of the City and State of New
York, and later a vagabond of parts unknown, a certain
property known as Glenarm House, with the land thereunto
pertaining and hereinafter more particularly described,
and all personal property of whatsoever kind
thereunto belonging and attached thereto,—the said realty
lying in the County of Wabana in the State of Indiana,—
upon this condition, faithfully and honestly performed:

That said John Glenarm shall remain for the period
of one year an occupant of said Glenarm House and my
lands attached thereto, demeaning himself meanwhile in
an orderly and temperate manner. Should he fail at any
time during said year to comply with this provision, said
property shall revert to my general estate and become,
without reservation, and without necessity for any process
of law, the property, absolutely, of Marian Devereux, of
the County and State of New York.

“Well,” he demanded, striking his hands upon the
arms of his chair, “what do you think of it?”

For the life of me I could not help laughing again.
There was, in the first place, a delicious irony in the
fact that I should learn through him of my grandfather’s
wishes with respect to myself. Pickering and
I had grown up in the same town in Vermont; we had
attended the same preparatory school, but there had
been from boyhood a certain antagonism between us.
He had always succeeded where I had failed, which is to
say, I must admit, that he had succeeded pretty frequently.
When I refused to settle down to my profession,
but chose to see something of the world first,
Pickering gave himself seriously to the law, and there
was, I knew from the beginning, no manner of chance
that he would fail.

I am not more or less than human, and I remembered
with joy that once I had thrashed him soundly
at the prep school for bullying a smaller boy; but our
score from school-days was not without tallies on his
side. He was easily the better scholar—I grant him
that; and he was shrewd and plausible. You never
quite knew the extent of his powers and resources, and
he had, I always maintained, the most amazing good
luck,—as witness the fact that John Marshall Glenarm
had taken a friendly interest in him. It was wholly
like my grandfather, who was a man of many whims,
to give his affairs into Pickering’s keeping; and I could
not complain, for I had missed my own chance with
him. It was, I knew readily enough, part of my punishment
for having succeeded so signally in incurring
my grandfather’s displeasure that he had made it necessary
for me to treat with Arthur Pickering in this
matter of the will; and Pickering was enjoying the
situation to the full. He sank back in his chair with
an air of complacency that had always been insufferable
in him. I was quite willing to be patronized by a man
of years and experience; but Pickering was my own
age, and his experience of life seemed to me preposterously
inadequate. To find him settled in New York,
where he had been established through my grandfather’s
generosity, and the executor of my grandfather’s estate,
was hard to bear.

But there was something not wholly honest in my
mirth, for my conduct during the three preceding years
had been reprehensible. I had used my grandfather
shabbily. My parents died when I was a child, and he
had cared for me as far back as my memory ran. He
had suffered me to spend without restraint the fortune
left by my father; he had expected much of me, and I
had grievously disappointed him. It was his hope that
I should devote myself to architecture, a profession for
which he had the greatest admiration, whereas I had
insisted on engineering.

I am not writing an apology for my life, and I shall
not attempt to extenuate my conduct in going abroad
at the end of my course at Tech and, when I made
Laurance Donovan’s acquaintance, in setting off with
him on a career of adventure. I do not regret, though
possibly it would be more to my credit if I did, the
months spent leisurely following the Danube east of
the Iron Gate—Laurance Donovan always with me,
while we urged the villagers and inn-loafers to all manner
of sedition, acquitting ourselves so well that, when
we came out into the Black Sea for further pleasure,
Russia did us the honor to keep a spy at our heels. I
should like, for my own satisfaction, at least, to set
down an account of certain affairs in which we were
concerned at Belgrad, but without Larry’s consent I
am not at liberty to do so. Nor shall I take time here
to describe our travels in Africa, though our study of
the Atlas Mountain dwarfs won us honorable mention
by the British Ethnological Society.

These were my yesterdays; but to-day I sat in Arthur
Pickering’s office in the towering Alexis Building, conscious
of the muffled roar of Broadway, discussing the
terms of my Grandfather Glenarm’s will with a man
whom I disliked as heartily as it is safe for one man to
dislike another. Pickering had asked me a question,
and I was suddenly aware that his eyes were fixed upon
me and that he awaited my answer.

“What do I think of it?” I repeated. “I don’t know
that it makes any difference what I think, but I’ll tell
you, if you want to know, that I call it infamous, outrageous,
that a man should leave a ridiculous will of
that sort behind him. All the old money-bags who pile
up fortunes magnify the importance of their money.
They imagine that every kindness, every ordinary courtesy
shown them, is merely a bid for a slice of the cake.
I’m disappointed in my grandfather. He was a splendid
old man, though God knows he had his queer ways.
I’ll bet a thousand dollars, if I have so much money in
the world, that this scheme is yours, Pickering, and not
his. It smacks of your ancient vindictiveness, and John
Marshall Glenarm had none of that in his blood. That
stipulation about my residence out there is fantastic.
I don’t have to be a lawyer to know that; and no doubt
I could break the will; I’ve a good notion to try it,

“To be sure. You can tie up the estate for half
a dozen years if you like,” he replied coolly. He did
not look upon me as likely to become a formidable
litigant. My staying qualities had been proved weak
long ago, as Pickering knew well enough.

“No doubt you would like that,” I answered. “But
I’m not going to give you the pleasure. I abide by the
terms of the will. My grandfather was a fine old gentleman.
I shan’t drag his name through the courts,
not even to please you, Arthur Pickering,” I declared

“The sentiment is worthy of a good man, Glenarm,”
he rejoined.

“But this woman who is to succeed to my rights,—I
don’t seem to remember her.”

“It is not surprising that you never heard of her.”

“Then she’s not a connection of the family,—no long-lost
cousin whom I ought to remember?”

“No; she was a late acquaintance of your grandfather’s.
He met her through an old friend of his,—
Miss Evans, known as Sister Theresa. Miss Devereux
is Sister Theresa’s niece.”

I whistled. I had a dim recollection that during my
grandfather’s long widowerhood there were occasional
reports that he was about to marry. The name of Miss
Evans had been mentioned in this connection. I had
heard it spoken of in my family, and not, I remembered,
with much kindness. Later, I heard of her joining a
Sisterhood, and opening a school somewhere in the

“And Miss Devereux,—is she an elderly nun, too?”

“I don’t know how elderly she is, but she isn’t a nun
at present. Still, she’s almost alone in the world, and
she and Sister Theresa are very intimate.”

“Pass the will again, Pickering, while I make sure
I grasp these diverting ideas. Sister Theresa isn’t the
one I mustn’t marry, is she? It’s the other ecclesiastical
embroidery artist,—the one with the x in her
name, suggesting the algebra of my vanishing youth.”

I read aloud this paragraph:

Provided, further, that in the event of the marriage of
said John Glenarm to the said Marian Devereux, or in
the event of any promise or contract of marriage between
said persons within five years from the date of said John
Glenarm’s acceptance of the provisions of this will, the
whole estate shall become the property absolutely of St.
Agatha’s School, at Annandale, Wabana County, Indiana,
a corporation under the laws of said state.

“For a touch of comedy commend me to my grandfather!
Pickering, you always were a well-meaning
fellow,—I’ll turn over to you all my right, interest and
title in and to these angelic Sisters. Marry! I like the
idea! I suppose some one will try to marry me for my
money. Marriage, Pickering, is not embraced in my
scheme of life!”

“I should hardly call you a marrying man,” he observed.

“Perfectly right, my friend! Sister Theresa was considered
a possible match for my grandfather in my
youth. She and I are hardly contemporaries. And the
other lady with the fascinating algebraic climax to her
name,—she, too, is impossible; it seems that I can’t get
the money by marrying her. I’d better let her take it.
She’s as poor as the devil, I dare say.”

“I imagine not. The Evanses are a wealthy family,
in spots, and she ought to have some money of her own
if her aunt doesn’t coax it out of her for educational

“And where on the map are these lovely creatures to
be found?”

“Sister Theresa’s school adjoins your preserve; Miss
Devereux has I think some of your own weakness for
travel. Sister Theresa is her nearest relative, and she
occasionally visits St. Agatha’s—that’s the school.”

“I suppose they embroider altar-cloths together and
otherwise labor valiantly to bring confusion upon Satan
and his cohorts. Just the people to pull the wool over
the eyes of my grandfather!”

Pickering smiled at my resentment.

“You’d better give them a wide berth; they might
catch you in their net. Sister Theresa is said to have
quite a winning way. She certainly plucked your grandfather.”

“Nuns in spectacles, the gentle educators of youth
and that sort of thing, with a good-natured old man for
their prey. None of them for me!”

“I rather thought so,” remarked Pickering,—and he
pulled his watch from his pocket and turned the stem
with his heavy fingers. He was short, thick-set and
sleek, with a square jaw, hair already thin and a close-clipped
mustache. Age, I reflected, was not improving

I had no intention of allowing him to see that I was
irritated. I drew out my cigarette case and passed it
across the table,

“After you! They’re made quite specially for me in

“You forget that I never use tobacco in any form.”

“You always did miss a good deal of the joy of living,”
I observed, throwing my smoking match into his
waste-paper basket, to his obvious annoyance. “Well,
I’m the bad boy of the story-books; but I’m really sorry
my inheritance has a string tied to it. I’m about out
of money. I suppose you wouldn’t advance me a few
thousands on my expectations—”

“Not a cent,” he declared, with quite unnecessary
vigor; and I laughed again, remembering that in my
old appraisement of him, generosity had not been represented
in large figures. “It’s not in keeping with
your grandfather’s wishes that I should do so. You
must have spent a good bit of money in your tiger-hunting
exploits,” he added.

“I have spent all I had,” I replied amiably. “Thank
God I’m not a clam! I’ve seen the world and paid for
it. I don’t want anything from you. You undoubtedly
share my grandfather’s idea of me that I’m a wild man
who can’t sit still or lead an orderly, decent life; but
I’m going to give you a terrible disappointment. What’s
the size of the estate?”

Pickering eyed me—uneasily, I thought—and began
playing with a pencil. I never liked Pickering’s hands;
they were thick and white and better kept than I like
to see a man’s hands.

“I fear it’s going to be disappointing. In his trust-company
boxes here I have been able to find only about
ten thousand dollars’ worth of securities. Possibly—
quite possibly—we were all deceived in the amount of
his fortune. Sister Theresa wheedled large sums out of
him, and he spent, as you will see, a small fortune on
the house at Annandale without finishing it. It wasn’t
a cheap proposition, and in its unfinished condition it is
practically valueless. You must know that Mr. Glenarm
gave away a great deal of money in his lifetime. Moreover,
he established your father. You know what he
left,—it was not a small fortune as those things are

I was restless under this recital. My father’s estate
had been of respectable size, and I had dissipated the
whole of it. My conscience pricked me as I recalled an
item of forty thousand dollars that I had spent—somewhat
grandly—on an expedition that I led, with considerable
satisfaction to myself, at least, through the
Sudan. But Pickering’s words amazed me.

“Let me understand you,” I said, bending toward
him. “My grandfather was supposed to be rich, and
yet you tell me you find little property. Sister Theresa
got money from him to help build a school. How much
was that?”

“Fifty thousand dollars. It was an open account.
His books show the advances, but he took no notes.”

“And that claim is worth—?”

“It is good as against her individually. But she contends—”

“Yes, go on!”

I had struck the right note. He was annoyed at my
persistence and his apparent discomfort pleased me.

“She refuses to pay. She says Mr. Glenarm made her
a gift of the money.”

“That’s possible, isn’t it? He was for ever making
gifts to churches. Schools and theological seminaries
were a sort of weakness with him.”

“That is quite true, but this account is among the
assets of the estate. It’s my business as executor to collect

“We’ll pass that. If you get this money, the estate is
worth sixty thousand dollars, plus the value of the land
out there at Annandale, and Glenarm House is worth—”

“There you have me!”

It was the first lightness he had shown, and it put me
on guard.

“I should like an idea of its value. Even an unfinished
house is worth something.”

“Land out there is worth from one hundred to one
hundred and fifty dollars an acre. There’s an even
hundred acres. I’ll be glad to have your appraisement
of the house when you get there.”

“Humph! You flatter my judgment, Pickering. The
loose stuff there is worth how much?”

“It’s all in the library. Your grandfather’s weakness
was architecture—”

“So I remember!” I interposed, recalling my stormy
interviews with John Marshall Glenarm over my choice
of a profession.

“In his last years he turned more and more to his
books. He placed out there what is, I suppose, the
finest collection of books relating to architecture to be
found in this country. That was his chief hobby, after
church affairs, as you may remember, and he rode it
hard. But he derived a great deal of satisfaction from
his studies.”

I laughed again; it was better to laugh than to cry
over the situation.

“I suppose he wanted me to sit down there, surrounded
by works on architecture, with the idea that
a study of the subject would be my only resource. The
scheme is eminently Glenarmian! And all I get is a
worthless house, a hundred acres of land, ten thousand
dollars, and a doubtful claim against a Protestant nun
who hoodwinked my grandfather into setting up a
school for her. Bless your heart, man, so far as my inheritance
is concerned it would have been money in my
pocket to have stayed in Africa.”

“That’s about the size of it.”

“But the personal property is all mine,—anything
that’s loose on the place. Perhaps my grandfather
planted old plate and government bonds just to pique
the curiosity of his heirs, successors and assigns. It
would be in keeping!”

I had walked to the window and looked out across
the city. As I turned suddenly I found Pickering’s
eyes bent upon me with curious intentness. I had never
liked his eyes; they were too steady. When a man always
meets your gaze tranquilly and readily, it is just
as well to be wary of him.

“Yes; no doubt you will find the place literally
packed with treasure,” he said, and laughed. “When
you find anything you might wire me.”

He smiled; the idea seemed to give him pleasure.

“Are you sure there’s nothing else?” I asked. “No
substitute,—no codicil?”

“If you know of anything of the kind it’s your duty
to produce it. We have exhausted the possibilities. I’ll
admit that the provisions of the will are unusual; your
grandfather was a peculiar man in many respects; but
he was thoroughly sane and his faculties were all sound
to the last.”

“He treated me a lot better than I deserved,” I said,
with a heartache that I had not known often in my
irresponsible life; but I could not afford to show feeling
before Arthur Pickering.

I picked up the copy of the will and examined it.
It was undoubtedly authentic; it bore the certificate of
the clerk of Wabana County, Indiana. The witnesses
were Thomas Bates and Arthur Pickering.

“Who is Bates?” I asked, pointing to the man’s signature.

“One of your grandfather’s discoveries. He’s in
charge of the house out there, and a trustworthy fellow.
He’s a fair cook, among other things. I don’t know
where Mr. Glenarm got Bates, but he had every confidence
in him. The man was with him at the end.”

A picture of my grandfather dying, alone with a
servant, while I, his only kinsman, wandered in strange
lands, was not one that I could contemplate with much
satisfaction. My grandfather had been an odd little
figure of a man, who always wore a long black coat and a
silk hat, and carried a curious silver-headed staff, and
said puzzling things at which everybody was afraid either
to laugh or to cry. He refused to be thanked for favors,
though he was generous and helpful and constantly
performing kind deeds. His whimsical philanthropies
were often described in the newspapers. He had once
given a considerable sum of money to a fashionable
church in Boston with the express stipulation, which
he safeguarded legally, that if the congregation ever
intrusted its spiritual welfare to a minister named
Reginald, Harold or Claude, an amount equal to his
gift, with interest, should be paid to the Massachusetts
Humane Society.

The thought of him touched me now. I was glad to
feel that his money had never been a lure to me; it did
not matter whether his estate was great or small, I
could, at least, ease my conscience by obeying the behest
of the old man whose name I bore, and whose interest in
the finer things of life and art had given him an undeniable

“I should like to know something of Mr. Glenarm’s
last days,” I said abruptly.

“He wished to visit the village where he was born,
and Bates, his companion and servant, went to Vermont
with him. He died quite suddenly, and was buried beside
his father in the old village cemetery. I saw him
last early in the summer. I was away from home and
did not know of his death until it was all over. Bates
came to report it to me, and to sign the necessary papers
in probating the will. It had to be done in the place of
the decedent’s residence, and we went together to Wabana,
the seat of the county in which Annandale lies.”

I was silent after this, looking out toward the sea
that had lured me since my earliest dreams of the world
that lay beyond it.

“It’s a poor stake, Glenarm,” remarked Pickering
consolingly, and I wheeled upon him.

“I suppose you think it a poor stake! I suppose you
can’t see anything in that old man’s life beyond his
money; but I don’t care a curse what my inheritance is!
I never obeyed any of my grandfather’s wishes in his
lifetime, but now that he’s dead his last wish is mandatory.
I’m going out there to spend a year if I die
for it. Do you get my idea?”

“Humph! You always were a stormy petrel,” he
sneered. “I fancy it will be safer to keep our most
agreeable acquaintance on a strictly business basis. If
you accept the terms of the will—”

“Of course I accept them! Do you think I am going
to make a row, refuse to fulfil that old man’s last wish!
I gave him enough trouble in his life without disappointing
him in his grave. I suppose you’d like to have
me fight the will; but I’m going to disappoint you.”

He said nothing, but played with his pencil. I had
never disliked him so heartily; he was so smug and
comfortable. His office breathed the very spirit of prosperity.
I wished to finish my business and get away.

“I suppose the region out there has a high death-rate.
How’s the malaria?”

“Not alarmingly prevalent, I understand. There’s a
summer resort over on one side of Lake Annandale.
The place is really supposed to be wholesome. I don’t
believe your grandfather had homicide in mind in sending
you there.”

“No, he probably thought the rustication would make
a man of me. Must I do my own victualing? I suppose
I’ll be allowed to eat.”

“Bates can cook for you. He’ll supply the necessities.
I’ll instruct him to obey your orders. I assume
you’ll not have many guests,—in fact,”—he studied the
back of his hand intently,—“while that isn’t stipulated,
I doubt whether it was your grandfather’s intention
that you should surround yourself—”

“With boisterous companions!” I supplied the words
in my cheerfullest tone. “No; my conduct shall be exemplary,
Mr. Pickering,” I added, with affable irony.

He picked up a single sheet of thin type-written
paper and passed it across the table. It was a formal
acquiescence in the provisions of the will. Pickering
had prepared it in advance of my coming, and this assumption
that I would accept the terms irritated me.
Assumptions as to what I should do under given conditions
had always irritated me, and accounted, in a
large measure, for my proneness to surprise and disappoint
people. Pickering summoned a clerk to witness
my signature.

“How soon shall you take possession?” he asked. “I
have to make a record of that.”

“I shall start for Indiana to-morrow,” I answered.

“You are prompt,” he replied, deliberately folding in
quarters the paper I had just signed. “I hoped you
might dine with me before going out; but I fancy New
York is pretty tame after the cafés and bazaars of the

His reference to my wanderings angered me again;
for here was the point at which I was most sensitive.
I was twenty-seven and had spent my patrimony; I had
tasted the bread of many lands, and I was doomed to
spend a year qualifying myself for my grandfather’s
legacy by settling down on an abandoned and lonely
Indiana farm that I had never seen and had no interest
in whatever.

As I rose to go Pickering said:

“It will be sufficient if you drop me a line, say once
a month, to let me know you are there. The post-office
is Annandale.”

“I suppose I might file a supply of postal cards in the
village and arrange for the mailing of one every

“It might be done that way,” be answered evenly.

“We may perhaps meet again, if I don’t die of starvation
or ennui. Good-by.”

We shook hands stiffly and I left him, going down in
an elevator filled with eager-eyed, anxious men. I, at
least, had no cares of business. It made no difference
to me whether the market rose or fell. Something of
the spirit of adventure that had been my curse quickened
in my heart as I walked through crowded Broadway
past Trinity Church to a bank and drew the balance
remaining on my letter of credit. I received in
currency slightly less than one thousand dollars.

As I turned from the teller’s window I ran into the
arms of the last man in the world I expected to see.

This, let it be remembered, was in October of the
year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and one.



“Don’t mention my name an thou lovest me!” said
Laurance Donovan, and he drew me aside, ignored my
hand and otherwise threw into our meeting a casual
quality that was somewhat amazing in view of the fact
that we had met last at Cairo.

“Allah il Allah!”

It was undoubtedly Larry. I felt the heat of the
desert and heard the camel-drivers cursing and our
Sudanese guides plotting mischief under a window far

“Well!” we both exclaimed interrogatively.

He rocked gently back and forth, with his hands in
his pockets, on the tile floor of the banking-house. I
had seen him stand thus once on a time when we had
eaten nothing in four days—it was in Abyssinia, and
our guides had lost us in the worst possible place—with
the same untroubled look in his eyes.

“Please don’t appear surprised, or scared or anything,
Jack,” he said, with his delicious intonation. “I
saw a fellow looking for me an hour or so ago. He’s
been at it for several months; hence my presence on
these shores of the brave and the free. He’s probably
still looking, as he’s a persistent devil. I’m here, as
we may say, quite incog. Staying at an East-side lodging-house,
where I shan’t invite you to call on me.
But I must see you.”

“Dine with me to-night, at Sherry’s—”

“Too big, too many people—”

“Therein lies security, if you’re in trouble. I’m about
to go into exile, and I want to eat one more civilized
dinner before I go.”

“Perhaps it’s just as well. Where are you off for,—
not Africa again?”

“No. Just Indiana,—one of the sovereign American
states, as you ought to know.”


“No; warranted all dead.”

“Pack-train—balloon—automobile—camels,—how do
you get there?”

“Varnished ears. It’s easy. It’s not the getting there;
it’s the not dying of ennui after you’re on the spot.”

“Humph! What hour did you say for the dinner?”

“Seven o’clock. Meet me at the entrance.”

“If I’m at large! Allow me to precede you through
the door, and don’t follow me on the street please!”

He walked away, his gloved hands clasped lazily behind
him, lounged out upon Broadway and turned
toward the Battery. I waited until he disappeared, then
took an up-town car.

My first meeting with Laurance Donovan was in Constantinople,
at a café where I was dining. He got into
a row with an Englishman and knocked him down. It
was not my affair, but I liked the ease and definiteness
with which Larry put his foe out of commission. I
learned later that it was a way he had. The Englishman
meant well enough, but he could not, of course,
know the intensity of Larry’s feeling about the unhappy
lot of Ireland. In the beginning of my own acquaintance
with Donovan I sometimes argued with him, but I
soon learned better manners. He quite converted me to
his own notion of Irish affairs, and I was as hot an
advocate as he of head-smashing as a means of restoring
Ireland’s lost prestige.

My friend, the American consul-general at Constantinople,
was not without a sense of humor, and I
easily enlisted him in Larry’s behalf. The Englishman
thirsted for vengeance and invoked all the powers. He
insisted, with reason, that Larry was a British subject
and that the American consul had no right to give him
asylum,—a point that was, I understand, thoroughly
well-grounded in law and fact. Larry maintained, on
the other hand, that he was not English but Irish, and
that, as his country maintained no representative in
Turkey, it was his privilege to find refuge wherever it
was offered. Larry was always the most plausible of
human beings, and between us,—he, the American consul
and I,—we made an impression, and got him off.

I did not realize until later that the real joke lay in
the fact that Larry was English-born, and that his devotion
to Ireland was purely sentimental and quixotic.
His family had, to be sure, come out of Ireland some
time in the dim past, and settled in England; but when
Larry reached years of knowledge, if not of discretion,
he cut Oxford and insisted on taking his degree at
Dublin. He even believed,—or thought he believed,—
in banshees. He allied himself during his university
days with the most radical and turbulent advocates of
a separate national existence for Ireland, and occasionally
spent a month in jail for rioting. But Larry’s
instincts were scholarly; he made a brilliant record at
the University; then, at twenty-two, he came forth to
look at the world, and liked it exceedingly well. His
father was a busy man, and he had other sons; he
granted Larry an allowance and told him to keep away
from home until he got ready to be respectable. So,
from Constantinople, after a tour of Europe, we together
crossed the Mediterranean in search of the flesh-pots
of lost kingdoms, spending three years in the pursuit.
We parted at Cairo on excellent terms. He returned
to England and later to his beloved Ireland, for
he had blithely sung the wildest Gaelic songs in the
darkest days of our adventures, and never lost his love
for The Sod, as he apostrophized—and capitalized—his
adopted country.

Larry had the habit of immaculateness. He emerged
from his East-side lodging-house that night clothed
properly, and wearing the gentlemanly air of peace and
reserve that is so wholly incompatible with his disposition
to breed discord and indulge in riot. When we
sat down for a leisurely dinner at Sherry’s we were not,
I modestly maintain, a forbidding pair. We—if I may
drag myself into the matter—are both a trifle under
the average height, sinewy, nervous, and, just then,
trained fine. Our lean, clean-shaven faces were well-browned
—mine wearing a fresh coat from my days on
the steamer’s deck.

Larry had never been in America before, and the
scene had for both of us the charm of a gay and novel
spectacle. I have always maintained, in talking to
Larry of nations and races, that the Americans are the
handsomest and best put-up people in the world, and I
believe he was persuaded of it that night as we gazed
with eyes long unaccustomed to splendor upon the great
company assembled in the restaurant. The lights, the
music, the variety and richness of the costumes of the
women, the many unmistakably foreign faces, wrought
a welcome spell on senses inured to hardship in the
waste and dreary places of earth.

“Now tell me the story,” I said. “Have you done
murder? Is the offense treasonable?”

“It was a tenants’ row in Galway, and I smashed a
constable. I smashed him pretty hard, I dare say, from
the row they kicked up in the newspapers. I lay low
for a couple of weeks, caught a boat to Queenstown, and
here I am, waiting for a chance to get back to The Sod
without going in irons.”

“You were certainly born to be hanged, Larry. You’d
better stay in America. There’s more room here than
anywhere else, and it’s not easy to kidnap a man in
America and carry him off.”

“Possibly not; and yet the situation isn’t wholly tranquil,”
he said, transfixing a bit of pompano with his
fork. “Kindly note the florid gentleman at your right
—at the table with four—he’s next the lady in pink.
It may interest you to know that he’s the British

“Interesting, but not important. You don’t for a
moment suppose—”

“That he’s looking for me? Not at all. But he undoubtedly
has my name on his tablets. The detective
that’s here following me around is pretty dull. He lost
me this morning while I was talking to you in the
bank. Later on I had the pleasure of trailing him for
an hour or so until he finally brought up at the British
consul’s office. Thanks; no more of the fish. Let us
banish care. I wasn’t born to be hanged; and as I’m a
political offender, I doubt whether I can be deported if
they lay hands on me.”

He watched the bubbles in his glass dreamily, holding
it up in his slim well-kept fingers.

“Tell me something of your own immediate present
and future,” he said.

I made the story of my Grandfather Glenarm’s legacy
as brief as possible, for brevity was a definite law of our

“A year, you say, with nothing to do but fold your
hands and wait. It doesn’t sound awfully attractive to
me. I’d rather do without the money.”

“But I intend to do some work. I owe it to my grandfather’s
memory to make good, if there’s any good in

“The sentiment is worthy of you, Glenarm,” he said
mockingly. “What do you see—a ghost?”

I must have started slightly at espying suddenly
Arthur Pickering not twenty feet away. A party of
half a dozen or more had risen, and Pickering and a
girl were detached from the others for a moment.

She was young,—quite the youngest in the group
about Pickering’s table. A certain girlishness of height
and outline may have been emphasized by her juxtaposition
to Pickering’s heavy figure. She was in black,
with white showing at neck and wrists,—a somber contrast
to the other women of the party, who were arrayed
with a degree of splendor. She had dropped her fan,
and Pickering stooped to pick it up. In the second that
she waited she turned carelessly toward me, and our
eyes met for an instant. Very likely she was Pickering’s
sister, and I tried to reconstruct his family, which I had
known in my youth; but I could not place her. As she
walked out before him my eyes followed her,—the erect
figure, free and graceful, but with a charming dignity
and poise, and the gold of her fair hair glinting under
her black toque.

Her eyes, as she turned them full upon me, were the
saddest, loveliest eyes I had ever seen, and even in that
brilliant, crowded room I felt their spell. They were
fixed in my memory indelibly,—mournful, dreamy and
wistful. In my absorption I forgot Larry.

“You’re taking unfair advantage,” he observed quietly.
“Friends of yours?”

“The big chap in the lead is my friend Pickering,”
I answered; and Larry turned his head slightly.

“Yes, I supposed you weren’t looking at the women,”
he observed dryly. “I’m sorry I couldn’t see the object
of your interest. Bah! these men!”

I laughed carelessly enough, but I was already summoning
from my memory the grave face of the girl in
black,—her mournful eyes, the glint of gold in her hair.
Pickering was certainly finding the pleasant places in
this vale of tears, and I felt my heart hot against him.
It hurts, this seeing a man you have never liked succeeding
where you have failed!

“Why didn’t you present me? I’d like to make the
acquaintance of a few representative Americans,—I
may need them to go bail for me.”

“Pickering didn’t see me, for one thing; and for
another he wouldn’t go bail for you or me if he did.
He isn’t built that way.”

Larry smiled quizzically.

“You needn’t explain further. The sight of the lady
has shaken you. She reminds me of Tennyson:

“ ‘The star-like sorrows of immortal eyes—’

and the rest of it ought to be a solemn warning to you,
—many ‘drew swords and died,’ and calamity followed
in her train. Bah! these women! I thought you were
past all that!”

[Illustration: She turned carelessly toward me, and our eyes met for an instant.]

“I don’t know why a man should be past it at twenty-seven!
Besides, Pickering’s friends are strangers to me.
But what became of that Irish colleen you used to
moon over? Her distinguishing feature, as I remember
her photograph, was a short upper lip. You used
to force her upon me frequently when we were in

“Humph! When I got back to Dublin I found that
she had married a brewer’s son,—think of it!”

“Put not your faith in a short upper lip! Her face
never inspired any confidence in me.”

“That will do, thank you. I’ll have a bit more of that
mayonnaise if the waiter isn’t dead. I think you said
your grandfather died in June. A letter advising you
of the fact reached you at Naples in October. Has it
occurred to you that there was quite an interim there?
What, may I ask, was the executor doing all that time?
You may be sure he was taking advantage of the opportunity
to look for the red, red gold. I suppose you
didn’t give him a sound drubbing for not keeping the
cables hot with inquiries for you?”

He eyed me in that disdain for my stupidity which
I have never suffered from any other man.

“Well, no; to tell the truth, I was thinking of other
things during the interview.”

“Your grandfather should have provided a guardian
for you, lad. You oughtn’t to be trusted with money.
Is that bottle empty? Well, if that person with the fat
neck was your friend Pickering, I’d have a care of
what’s coming to me. I’d be quite sure that Mr. Pickering
hadn’t made away with the old gentleman’s
boodle, or that it didn’t get lost on the way from him
to me.”

“The time’s running now, and I’m in for the year.
My grandfather was a fine old gentleman, and I treated
him like a dog. I’m going to do what he directs in that
will no matter what the size of the reward may be.”

“Certainly; that’s the eminently proper thing for
you to do. But,—but keep your wits about you. If a
fellow with that neck can’t find money where money
has been known to exist, it must be buried pretty deep.
Your grandfather was a trifle eccentric, I judge, but
not a fool by any manner of means. The situation appeals
to my imagination, Jack. I like the idea of it,—
the lost treasure and the whole business. Lord, what a
salad that is! Cheer up, comrade! You’re as grim as
an owl!”

Whereupon we fell to talking of people and places we
had known in other lands.

We spent the next day together, and in the evening,
at my hotel, he criticized my effects while I packed, in
his usual ironical vein.

“You’re not going to take those things with you, I
hope!” He indicated the rifles and several revolvers
which I brought from the closet and threw upon the
bed. “They make me homesick for the jungle.”

He drew from its cover the heavy rifle I had used
last on a leopard hunt and tested its weight.

“Precious little use you’ll have for this! Better let
me take it back to The Sod to use on the landlords.
I say, Jack, are we never to seek our fortunes together
again? We hit it off pretty well, old man, come to think
of it,—I don’t like to lose you.”

He bent over the straps of the rifle-case with unnecessary
care, but there was a quaver in his voice that was
not like Larry Donovan.

“Come with me now!” I exclaimed, wheeling upon

“I’d rather be with you than with any other living
man, Jack Glenarm, but I can’t think of it. I have my
own troubles; and, moreover, you’ve got to stick it out
there alone. It’s part of the game the old gentleman
set up for you, as I understand it. Go ahead, collect
your fortune, and then, if I haven’t been hanged in the
meantime, we’ll join forces later. There’s no chap anywhere
with a pleasanter knack at spending money than
your old friend L. D.”

He grinned, and I smiled ruefully, knowing that we
must soon part again, for Larry was one of the few
men I had ever called friend, and this meeting had only
quickened my old affection for him.

“I suppose,” he continued, “you accept as gospel
truth what that fellow tells you about the estate. I
should be a little wary if I were you. Now, I’ve been
kicking around here for a couple of weeks, dodging the
detectives, and incidentally reading the newspapers.
Perhaps you don’t understand that this estate of John
Marshall Glenarm has been talked about a good bit.”

“I didn’t know it,” I admitted lamely. Larry had
always been able to instruct me about most matters; it
was wholly possible that he could speak wisely about my

“You couldn’t know, when you were coming from
the Mediterranean on a steamer. But the house out
there and the mysterious disappearance of the property
have been duly discussed. You’re evidently an object
of some public interest,”—and he drew from his pocket
a newspaper cutting. “Here’s a sample item.” He read:

“John Glenarm, the grandson of John Marshall Glenarm,
the eccentric millionaire who died suddenly in Vermont
last summer, arrived on the Maxinkuckee from Naples
yesterday. Under the terms of his grandfather’s
will, Glenarm is required to reside for a year at a curious
house established by John Marshall Glenarm near Lake
Annandale, Indiana.

This provision was made, according to friends of the
family, to test young Glenarm’s staying qualities, as he
has, since his graduation from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology five years ago, distributed a considerable
fortune left him by his father in contemplating the
wonders of the old world. It is reported—”

“That will do! Signs and wonders I have certainly
beheld, and if I spent the money I submit that I got
my money back.”

I paid my bill and took a hansom for the ferry,—
Larry with me, chaffing away drolly with his old zest.
He crossed with me, and as the boat drew out into the
river a silence fell upon us,—the silence that is possible
only between old friends. As I looked back at the lights
of the city, something beyond the sorrow at parting
from a comrade touched me. A sense of foreboding, of
coming danger, crept into my heart. But I was going
upon the tamest possible excursion; for the first time
in my life I was submitting to the direction of another,
—albeit one who lay in the grave. How like my grandfather
it was, to die leaving this compulsion upon me!
My mood changed suddenly, and as the boat bumped at
the pier I laughed.

“Bah! these men!” ejaculated Larry.

“What men?” I demanded, giving my bags to a

“These men who are in love,” he said. “I know the
signs,—mooning, silence, sudden inexplicable laughter!
I hope I’ll not be in jail when you’re married.”

“You’ll be in a long time if they hold you for that.
Here’s my train.”

We talked of old times, and of future meetings, during
the few minutes that remained.

“You can write me at my place of rustication,” I
said, scribbling “Annandale, Wabana County, Indiana,”
on a card. “Now if you need me at any time I’ll come
to you wherever you are. You understand that, old man.

“Write me, care of my father—he’ll have my address,
though this last row of mine made him pretty hot.”

I passed through the gate and down the long train
to my sleeper. Turning, with my foot on the step, I
waved a farewell to Larry, who stood outside watching

In a moment the heavy train was moving slowly out
into the night upon its westward journey.



Annandale derives its chief importance from the fact
that two railway lines intersect there. The Chicago
Express paused only for a moment while the porter deposited
my things beside me on the platform. Light
streamed from the open door of the station; a few
idlers paced the platform, staring into the windows of
the cars; the village hackman languidly solicited my
business. Suddenly out of the shadows came a tall,
curious figure of a man clad in a long ulster. As I
write, it is with a quickening of the sensation I received
on the occasion of my first meeting with Bates. His
lank gloomy figure rises before me now, and I hear his
deep melancholy voice, as, touching his hat respectfully,
be said:

“Beg pardon, sir; is this Mr. Glenarm? I am Bates
from Glenarm House. Mr. Pickering wired me to meet
you, sir.”

“Yes; to be sure,” I said.

The hackman was already gathering up my traps,
and I gave him my trunk-checks.

“How far is it?” I asked, my eyes resting, a little regretfully,
I must confess, on the rear lights of the vanishing

“Two miles, sir,” Bates replied. “There’s no way
over but the hack in winter. In summer the steamer
comes right into our dock.”

“My legs need stretching; I’ll walk,” I suggested,
drawing the cool air into my lungs. It was a still, starry
October night, and its freshness was grateful after the
hot sleeper. Bates accepted the suggestion without
comment. We walked to the end of the platform, where
the hackman was already tumbling my trunks about,
and after we had seen them piled upon his nondescript
wagon, I followed Bates down through the broad quiet
street of the village. There was more of Annandale
than I had imagined, and several tall smoke-stacks
loomed here and there in the thin starlight.

“Brick-yards, sir,” said Bates, waving his hand at
the stacks. “It’s a considerable center for that kind of

“Bricks without straw?” I asked, as we passed a
radiant saloon that blazed upon the board walk.

“Beg pardon, sir, but such places are the ruin of
men,”—on which remark I based a mental note that
Bates wished to impress me with his own rectitude.

He swung along beside me, answering questions with
dogged brevity. Clearly, here was a man who had reduced
human intercourse to a basis of necessity. I was
to be shut up with him for a year, and he was not likely
to prove a cheerful jailer. My feet struck upon a graveled
highway at the end of the village street, and I
heard suddenly the lapping of water.

“It’s the lake, sir. This road leads right out to the
house,” Bates explained.

I was doomed to meditate pretty steadily, I imagined,
on the beauty of the landscape in these parts, and I
was rejoiced to know that it was not all cheerless prairie
or gloomy woodland. The wind freshened cud blew
sharply upon us off the water.

“The fishing’s quite good in season. Mr. Glenarm
used to take great pleasure in it. Bass,—yes, sir. Mr.
Glenarm held there was nothing quite equal to a black

I liked the way the fellow spoke of my grandfather.
He was evidently a loyal retainer. No doubt he could
summon from the past many pictures of my grandfather,
and I determined to encourage his confidence.

Any resentment I felt on first hearing the terms of
my grandfather’s will had passed. He had treated me
as well as I deserved, and the least I could do was to
accept the penalty he had laid upon me in a sane and
amiable spirit. This train of thought occupied me as
we tramped along the highway. The road now led away
from the lake and through a heavy wood. Presently, on
the right loomed a dark barrier, and I put out my hand
and touched a wall of rough stone that rose to a height
of about eight feet.

“What is this, Bates?” I asked.

“This is Glenarm land, sir. The wall was one of
your grandfather’s ideas. It’s a quarter of a mile long
and cost him a pretty penny, I warrant you. The road
turns off from the lake now, but the Glenarm property
is all lake front.”

So there was a wall about my prison house! I grinned
cheerfully to myself. When, a few moments later, my
guide paused at an arched gateway in the long wall,
drew from his overcoat a bunch of keys and fumbled at
the lock of an iron gate, I felt the spirit of adventure
quicken within me.

The gate clicked behind us and Bates found a lantern
and lighted it with the ease of custom.

“I use this gate because it’s nearer. The regular entrance
is farther down the road. Keep close, sir, as the
timber isn’t much cleared.”

The undergrowth was indeed heavy, and I followed
the lantern of my guide with difficulty. In the darkness
the place seemed as wild and rough as a tropical wilderness.

“Only a little farther,” rose Bates’ voice ahead of
me; and then: “There’s the light, sir,”—and, lifting
my eyes, as I stumbled over the roots of a great tree, I
saw for the first time the dark outlines of Glenarm

“Here we are, sir!” exclaimed Bates, stamping his
feet upon a walk. I followed him to what I assumed to
be the front door of the house, where a lamp shone
brightly at either side of a massive entrance. Bates
flung it open without ado, and I stepped quickly into
a great hall that was lighted dimly by candles fastened
into brackets on the walls.

“I hope you’ve not expected too much, Mr. Glenarm,”
said Bates, with a tone of mild apology. “It’s very incomplete
for living purposes.”

“Well, we’ve got to make the best of it,” I answered,
though without much cheer. The sound of our steps
reverberated and echoed in the well of a great staircase.
There was not, as far as I could see, a single article of
furniture in the place.

“Here’s something you’ll like better, sir,”—and Bates
paused far down the ball and opened a door.

A single candle made a little pool of light in what I
felt to be a large room. I was prepared for a disclosure
of barren ugliness, and waited, in heartsick foreboding,
for the silent guide to reveal a dreary prison.

“Please sit here, sir,” said Bates, “while I make a
better light.”

He moved through the dark room with perfect ease,
struck a match, lighted a taper and went swiftly and
softly about. He touched the taper to one candle after
another,—they seemed to be everywhere,—and won
from the dark a faint twilight, that yielded slowly to a
growing mellow splendor of light. I have often watched
the acolytes in dim cathedrals of the Old World set
countless candles ablaze on magnificent altars,—always
with awe for the beauty of the spectacle; but in this
unknown house the austere serving-man summoned
from the shadows a lovelier and more bewildering enchantment.
Youth alone, of beautiful things, is lovelier
than light.

The lines of the walls receded as the light increased,
and the raftered ceiling drew away, luring the eyes upward.
I rose with a smothered exclamation on my lips
and stared about, snatching off my hat in reverence as
the spirit of the place wove its spell about me. Everywhere
there were books; they covered the walls to the
ceiling, with only long French windows and an enormous
fireplace breaking the line. Above the fireplace a
massive dark oak chimney-breast further emphasized
the grand scale of the room. From every conceivable
place—from shelves built for the purpose, from brackets
that thrust out long arms among the books, from a
great crystal chandelier suspended from the ceiling, and
from the breast of the chimney—innumerable candles
blazed with dazzling brilliancy. I exclaimed in wonder
and pleasure as Bates paused, his sorcerer’s wand in

“Mr. Glenarm was very fond of candle-light; he
liked to gather up candlesticks, and his collection is
very fine. He called his place ‘The House of a Thousand
Candles.’ There’s only about a hundred here;
but it was one of his conceits that when the house was
finished there would be a thousand lights, he had quite
a joking way, your grandfather. It suited his humor
to call it a thousand. He enjoyed his own pleasantries,

“I fancy he did,” I replied, staring in bewilderment.

“Oil lamps might be more suited to your own taste,
sir. But your grandfather would not have them. Old
brass and copper were specialties with him, and he had
a particular taste, Mr. Glenarm had, in glass candlesticks.
He held that the crystal was most effective of
all. I’ll go and let in the baggageman and then serve
you some supper.”

He went somberly out and I examined the room with
amazed and delighted eyes. It was fifty feet long and
half as wide. The hard-wood floor was covered with
handsome rugs; every piece of furniture was quaint or
interesting. Carved in the heavy oak paneling above
the fireplace, in large Old English letters, was the inscription:

The Spirit of Man is the Candle of the Lord

and on either side great candelabra sent long arms
across the hearth. All the books seemed related to architecture;
German and French works stood side by side
among those by English and American authorities. I
found archaeology represented in a division where all
the titles were Latin or Italian. I opened several cabinets
that contained sketches and drawings, all in careful
order; and in another I found an elaborate card
catalogue, evidently the work of a practised hand. The
minute examination was too much for me; I threw
myself into a great chair that might have been spoil
from a cathedral, satisfied to enjoy the general effect.
To find an apartment so handsome and so marked by
good taste in the midst of an Indiana wood, staggered
me. To be sure, in approaching the house I had seen
only a dark bulk that conveyed no sense of its character
or proportions; and certainly the entrance hall
had not prepared me for the beauty of this room. I was
so lost in contemplation that I did not hear a door open
behind me. The respectful, mournful voice of Bates

“There’s a bite ready for you, sir.”

I followed him through the hall to a small high-wainscoted
room where a table was simply set.

“This is what Mr. Glenarm called the refectory. The
dining-room, on the other side of the house, is unfinished.
He took his own meals here. The library was the
main thing with him. He never lived to finish the house,
—more’s the pity, sir. He would have made something
very handsome of it if he’d had a few years more. But
he hoped, sir, that you’d see it completed. It was his
wish, sir.”

“Yes, to be sure,” I replied.

He brought cold fowl and a salad, and produced a
bit of Stilton of unmistakable authenticity.

“I trust the ale is cooled to your liking. It’s your
grandfather’s favorite, if I may say it, sir.”

I liked the fellow’s humility. He served me with a
grave deference and an accustomed hand. Candles in
crystal holders shed an agreeable light upon the table;
the room was snug and comfortable, and hickory logs
in a small fireplace crackled cheerily. If my grandfather
had designed to punish me, with loneliness as
his weapon, his shade, if it lurked near, must have
been grievously disappointed. I had long been inured
to my own society. I had often eaten my bread alone,
and I found a pleasure in the quiet of the strange unknown
house. There stole over me, too, the satisfaction
that I was at last obeying a wish of my grandfather’s,
that I was doing something he would have me do. I
was touched by the traces everywhere of his interest
in what was to him the art of arts; there was something
quite fine in his devotion to it. The little refectory
had its air of distinction, though it was without
decoration. There had been, we always said in the
family, something whimsical or even morbid in my
grandsire’s devotion to architecture; but I felt that it
had really appealed to something dignified and noble
in his own mind and character, and a gentler mood
than I had known in years possessed my heart. He had
asked little of me, and I determined that in that little
I would not fail.

Bates gave me my coffee, put matches within reach
and left the room. I drew out my cigarette case and
was holding it half-opened, when the glass in the window
back of me cracked sharply, a bullet whistled over
my head, struck the opposite wall and fell, flattened
and marred, on the table under my hand.



I ran to the window and peered out into the night.
The wood through which we had approached the house
seemed to encompass it. The branches of a great tree
brushed the panes. I was tugging at the fastening of
the window when I became aware of Bates at my elbow.

“Did something happen, sir?”

His unbroken calm angered me. Some one had fired
at me through a window and I had narrowly escaped
being shot. I resented the unconcern with which this
servant accepted the situation.

“Nothing worth mentioning. Somebody tried to assassinate
me, that’s all,” I said, in a voice that failed
to be calmly ironical. I was still fumbling at the catch
of the window.

“Allow me, sir,”—and he threw up the sash with an
ease that increased my irritation.

I leaned out and tried to find some clue to my assailant.
Bates opened another window and surveyed the
dark landscape with me.

“It was a shot from without, was it, sir?”

“Of course it was; you didn’t suppose I shot at myself,
did you?”

He examined the broken pane and picked up the bullet
from the table.

“It’s a rifle-ball, I should say.”

The bullet was half-flattened by its contact with the
wall. It was a cartridge ball of large caliber and might
have been fired from either rifle or pistol.

“It’s very unusual, sir!” I wheeled upon him angrily
and found him fumbling with the bit of metal, a
troubled look in his face. He at once continued, as
though anxious to allay my fears. “Quite accidental,
most likely. Probably boys on the lake are shooting at

I laughed out so suddenly that Bates started back in

“You idiot!” I roared, seizing him by the collar with
both hands and shaking him fiercely. “You fool! Do the
people around here shoot ducks at night? Do they
shoot water-fowl with elephant guns and fire at people
through windows just for fun?”

I threw him back against the table so that it leaped
away from him, and he fell prone on the floor.

“Get up!” I commanded, “and fetch a lantern.”

He said nothing, but did as I bade him. We traversed
the long cheerless hall to the front door, and I sent him
before me into the woodland. My notions of the geography
of the region were the vaguest, but I wished to
examine for myself the premises that evidently contained
a dangerous prowler. I was very angry and my
rage increased as I followed Bates, who had suddenly
retired within himself. We stood soon beneath the
lights of the refectory window.

The ground was covered with leaves which broke
crisply under our feet.

“What lies beyond here?” I demanded.

“About a quarter of mile of woods, sir, and then the

“Go ahead,” I ordered, “straight to the lake.”

I was soon stumbling through rough underbrush similar
to that through which we had approached the house.
Bates swung along confidently enough ahead of me,
pausing occasionally to hold back the branches. I began
to feel, as my rage abated, that I had set out on a foolish
undertaking. I was utterly at sea as to the character of
the grounds; I was following a man whom I had not
seen until two hours before, and whom I began to suspect
of all manner of designs upon me. It was wholly
unlikely that the person who had fired into the windows
would lurk about, and, moreover, the light of the lantern,
the crack of the leaves and the breaking of the
boughs advertised our approach loudly. I am, however,
a person given to steadfastness in error, if nothing else,
and I plunged along behind my guide with a grim determination
to reach the margin of the lake, if for no
other reason than to exercise my authority over the
custodian of this strange estate.

A bush slapped me sharply and I stopped to rub the
sting from my face.

“Are you hurt, sir?” asked Bates solicitously, turning
with the lantern.

“Of course not,” I snapped. “I’m having the time
of my life. Are there no paths in this jungle?”

“Not through here, sir. It was Mr. Glenarm’s idea
not to disturb the wood at all. He was very fond of
walking through the timber.”

“Not at night, I hope! Where are we now?”

“Quite near the lake, sir.”

“Then go on.”

I was out of patience with Bates, with the pathless
woodland, and, I must confess, with the spirit of John
Marshall Glenarm, my grandfather.

We came out presently upon a gravelly beach, and
Bates stamped suddenly on planking.

“This is the Glenarm dock, sir; and that’s the boat-house.”

He waved his lantern toward a low structure that rose
dark beside us. As we stood silent, peering out into the
starlight, I heard distinctly the dip of a paddle and the
soft gliding motion of a canoe.

“It’s a boat, sir,” whispered Bates, hiding the lantern
under his coat.

I brushed past him and crept to the end of the dock.
The paddle dipped on silently and evenly in the still
water, but the sound grew fainter. A canoe is the most
graceful, the most sensitive, the most inexplicable contrivance
of man. With its paddle you may dip up stars
along quiet shores or steal into the very harbor of
dreams. I knew that furtive splash instantly, and knew
that a trained hand wielded the paddle. My boyhood
summers in the Maine woods were not, I frequently
find, wholly wasted.

The owner of the canoe had evidently stolen close to
the Glenarm dock, and had made off when alarmed by
the noise of our approach through the wood.

“Have you a boat here?”

“The boat-house is locked and I haven’t the key with
me, sir,” he replied without excitement.

“Of course you haven’t it,” I snapped, full of anger
at his tone of irreproachable respect, and at my own
helplessness. I had not even seen the place by daylight,
and the woodland behind me and the lake at my feet
were things of shadow and mystery. In my rage I
stamped my foot.

“Lead the way back,” I roared.

I had turned toward the woodland when suddenly
there stole across the water a voice,—a woman’s voice,
deep, musical and deliberate.

“Really, I shouldn’t be so angry if I were you!” it
said, with a lingering note on the word angry.

“Who are you? What are you doing there?” I bawled.

“Just enjoying a little tranquil thought!” was the
drawling, mocking reply.

Far out upon the water I heard the dip and glide of
the canoe, and saw faintly its outline for a moment;
then it was gone. The lake, the surrounding wood, were
an unknown world,—the canoe, a boat of dreams. Then
again came the voice:

“Good night, merry gentlemen!”

“It was a lady, sir,” remarked Bates, after we had
waited silently for a full minute.

“How clever you are!” I sneered. “I suppose ladies
prowl about here at night, shooting ducks or into people’s

“It would seem quite likely, sir.”

I should have liked to cast him into the lake, but be
was already moving away, the lantern swinging at his
side. I followed him, back through the woodland to the

My spirits quickly responded to the cheering influence
of the great library. I stirred the fire on the
hearth into life and sat down before it, tired from my
tramp. I was mystified and perplexed by the incident
that had already marked my coming. It was possible,
to be sure, that the bullet which narrowly missed my
head in the little dining-room had been a wild shot that
carried no evil intent. I dismissed at once the idea that
it might have been fired from the lake; it had crashed
through the glass with too much force to have come so
far; and, moreover, I could hardly imagine even a rifle-ball’s
finding an unimpeded right of way through so
dense a strip of wood. I found it difficult to get rid of
the idea that some one had taken a pot-shot at me.

The woman’s mocking voice from the lake added to
my perplexity. It was not, I reflected, such a voice as
one might expect to hear from a country girl; nor could
I imagine any errand that would excuse a woman’s
presence abroad on an October night whose cool air inspired
first confidences with fire and lamp. There was
something haunting in that last cry across the water;
it kept repeating itself over and over in my ears. It
was a voice of quality, of breeding and charm.

“Good night, merry gentlemen!”

In Indiana, I reflected, rustics, young or old, men or
women, were probably not greatly given to salutations
of just this temper.

Bates now appeared.

“Beg pardon, sir; but your room’s ready whenever
you wish to retire.”

I looked about in search of a clock.

“There are no timepieces in the house, Mr. Glenarm.
Your grandfather was quite opposed to them. He had
a theory, sir, that they were conducive, as he said, to
idleness. He considered that a man should work by his
conscience, sir, and not by the clock,—the one being
more exacting than the other.”

I smiled as I drew out my watch,—as much at Bates’
solemn tones and grim lean visage as at his quotation
from my grandsire. But the fellow puzzled and annoyed
me. His unobtrusive black clothes, his smoothly-brushed
hair, his shaven face, awakened an antagonism
in me.

“Bates, if you didn’t fire that shot through the window,
who did—will you answer me that?”

“Yes, sir; if I didn’t do it, it’s quite a large question
who did. I’ll grant you that, sir.”

I stared at him. He met my gaze directly without
flinching; nor was there anything insolent in his tone
or attitude. He continued:

“I didn’t do it, sir. I was in the pantry when I heard
the crash in the refectory window. The bullet came
from out of doors, as I should judge, sir.”

The facts and conclusions were undoubtedly with
Bates, and I felt that I had not acquitted myself creditably
in my effort to fix the crime on him. My abuse of
him had been tactless, to say the least, and I now tried
another line of attack.

“Of course, Bates, I was merely joking. What’s your
own theory of the matter?”

“I have no theory, sir. Mr. Glenarm always warned
me against theories. He said—if you will pardon me—
there was great danger in the speculative mind.”

The man spoke with a slight Irish accent, which in
itself puzzled me. I have always been attentive to the
peculiarities of speech, and his was not the brogue of
the Irish servant class. Larry Donovan, who was English-born,
used on occasions an exaggerated Irish dialect
that was wholly different from the smooth liquid tones of
Bates. But more things than his speech were to puzzle
me in this man.

“The person in the canoe? How do you account for
her?” I asked.

“I haven’t accounted for her, sir. There’s no women
on these grounds, or any sort of person except ourselves.”

“But there are neighbors,—farmers, people of some
kind must live along the lake.”

“A few, sir; and then there’s the school quite a bit
beyond your own west wall.”

His slight reference to my proprietorship, my own
wall, as he put it, pleased me.

“Oh, yes; there is a school—girls?—yes; Mr. Pickering
mentioned it. But the girls hardly paddle on the
lake at night, at this season—hunting ducks—should
you say, Bates?”

“I don’t believe they do any shooting, Mr. Glenarm.
It’s a pretty strict school, I judge, sir, from all accounts.”

“And the teachers—they are all women?”

“They’re the Sisters of St. Agatha, I believe they call
them. I sometimes see them walking abroad. They’re
very quiet neighbors, and they go away in the summer
usually, except Sister Theresa. The school’s her regular
home, sir. And there’s the little chapel quite near the
wall; the young minister lives there; and the gardener’s
the only other man on the grounds.”

So my immediate neighbors were Protestant nuns
and school-girls, with a chaplain and gardener thrown
in for variety. Still, the chaplain might be a social resource.
There was nothing in the terms of my grandfather’s
will to prevent my cultivating the acquaintance
of a clergyman. It even occurred to me that this might
be a part of the game: my soul was to be watched over
by a rural priest, while, there being nothing else to do,
I was to give my attention to the study of architecture.
Bates, my guard and housekeeper, was brushing the
hearth with deliberate care.

“Show me my cell,” I said, rising, “and I’ll go to

He brought from somewhere a great brass candelabrum
that held a dozen lights, and explained:

“This was Mr. Glenarm’s habit. He always used this
one to go to bed with. I’m sure he’d wish you to have
it, sir.”

I thought I detected something like a quaver in the
man’s voice. My grandfather’s memory was dear to him.
I reflected, and I was moved to compassion for him.

“How long were you with Mr. Glenarm, Bates?” I
inquired, as I followed him into the hall.

“Five years, sir. He employed me the year you went
abroad. I remember very well his speaking of it. He
greatly admired you, sir.”

He led the way, holding the cluster of lights high for
my guidance up the broad stairway.

The hall above shared the generous lines of the whole
house, but the walls were white and hard to the eye.
Rough planks had been laid down for a floor, and beyond
the light of the candles lay a dark region that gave
out ghostly echoes as the loose boards rattled under our

“I hope you’ll not be too much disappointed, sir,”
said Bates, pausing a moment before opening a door.
“It’s all quite unfinished, but comfortable, I should say,
quite comfortable.”

“Open the door!”

He was not my host and I did not relish his apology.
I walked past him into a small sitting-room that was,
in a way, a miniature of the great library below. Open
shelves filled with books lined the apartment to the
ceiling on every hand, save where a small fireplace, a
cabinet and table were built into the walls. In the
center of the room was a long table with writing materials
set in nice order. I opened a handsome case and
found that it contained a set of draftsman’s instruments.

I groaned aloud.

“Mr. Glenarm preferred this room for working. The
tools were his very own, sir.”

“The devil they were!” I exclaimed irascibly. I
snatched a book from the nearest shelf and threw it
open on the table. It was The Tower: Its Early Use
for Purposes of Defense. London: 1816.

I closed it with a slam.

“The sleeping-room is beyond, sir. I hope—”

“Don’t you hope any more!” I growled; “and it
doesn’t make any difference whether I’m disappointed
or not.”

“Certainly not, sir!” he replied in a tone that made
me ashamed of myself.

The adjoining bedroom was small and meagerly furnished.
The walls were untinted and were relieved only
by prints of English cathedrals, French chateaux, and
like suggestions of the best things known to architecture.
The bed was the commonest iron type; and the
other articles of furniture were chosen with a strict regard
for utility. My trunks and bags had been carried
in, and Bates asked from the door f or my commands.

“Mr. Glenarm always breakfasted at seven-thirty, sir,
as near as he could hit it without a timepiece, and he
was quite punctual. His ways were a little odd, sir. He
used to prowl about at night a good deal, and there was
no following him.”

“I fancy I shan’t do much prowling,” I declared.
“And my grandfather’s breakfast hour will suit me exactly,

“If there’s nothing further, sir—”

“That’s all;—and Bates—”

“Yes, Mr. Glenarm.”

“Of course you understand that I didn’t really mean
to imply that you had fired that shot at me?”

“I beg you not to mention it, Mr. Glenarm.”

“But it was a little queer. If you should gain any
light on the subject, let me know.”

“Certainly, sir.”

“But I believe, Bates, that we’d better keep the shades
down at night. These duck hunters hereabouts are apparently
reckless. And you might attend to these now,
—and every evening hereafter.”

I wound my watch as he obeyed. I admit that in my
heart I still half-suspected the fellow of complicity with
the person who had fired at me through the dining-room
window. It was rather odd, I reflected, that the shades
should have been open, though I might account for this
by the fact that this curious unfinished establishment
was not subject to the usual laws governing orderly
housekeeping. Bates was evidently aware of my suspicions,
and he remarked, drawing down the last of the
plain green shades:

“Mr. Glenarm never drew them, sir. It was a saying
of his, if I may repeat his words, that he liked the open.
These are eastern windows, and he took a quiet pleasure
in letting the light waken him. It was one of his oddities,

“To be sure. That’s all, Bates.”

He gravely bade me good night, and I followed him
to the outer door and watched his departing figure,
lighted by a single candle that he had produced from
his pocket.

I stood for several minutes listening to his step, tracing
it through the hall below—as far as my knowledge
of the house would permit. Then, in unknown regions,
I could hear the closing of doors and drawing of bolts.
Verily, my jailer was a person of painstaking habits.

I opened my traveling-case and distributed its contents
on the dressing-table. I had carried through all
my adventures a folding leather photograph-holder, containing
portraits of my father and mother and of John
Marshall Glenarm, my grandfather, and this I set up
on the mantel in the little sitting-room. I felt to-night
as never before how alone I was in the world, and a
need for companionship and sympathy stirred in me.
It was with a new and curious interest that I peered
into my grandfather’s shrewd old eyes. He used to come
and go fitfully at my father’s house; but my father had
displeased him in various ways that I need not recite,
and my father’s death had left me with an estrangement
which I had widened by my own acts.

Now that I had reached Glenarm, my mind reverted
to Pickering’s estimate of the value of my grandfather’s
estate. Although John Marshall Glenarm was an eccentric
man, he had been able to accumulate a large fortune;
and yet I had allowed the executor to tell me that
he had died comparatively poor. In so readily accepting
the terms of the will and burying myself in a region of
which I knew nothing, I had cut myself off from the
usual channels of counsel. If I left the place to return
to New York I should simply disinherit myself. At
Glenarm I was, and there I must remain to the end of
the year; I grew bitter against Pickering as I reflected
upon the ease with which he had got rid of me. I had
always satisfied myself that my wits were as keen as his,
but I wondered now whether I had not stupidly put myself
in his power.



I looked out on the bright October morning with a
renewed sense of isolation. Trees crowded about my
windows, many of them still wearing their festal colors,
scarlet and brown and gold, with the bright green of
some sulking companion standing out here and there
with startling vividness. I put on an old corduroy outing

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