Part 5 out of 6
“Unjust,—my God, what do you expect me to
take from you! Haven’t I known that you were in
league with Pickering? I’m not as dull as I look, and
after your interview with Pickering in the chapel porch
you can’t convince me that you were faithful to my interests
at that time.”
He started and gazed at me wonderingly. I had had
no intention of using the chapel porch interview at this
time, but it leaped out of me uncontrollably.
“I suppose, sir,” he began brokenly, “that I can hardly
persuade you that I meant no wrong on that occasion.”
“You certainly can not,—and it’s safer for you not
to try. But I’m willing to let all that go as a reward
for your work last night. Make your choice now; stay
here and stop your spying or clear out of Annandale
within an hour.”
He took a step toward me; the table was between us
and he drew quite near but stood clear of it, erect until
there was something almost soldierly and commanding
in his figure.
“By God, I will stand by you, John Glenarm!” he
said, and struck the table smartly with his clenched
He flushed instantly, and I felt the blood mounting
into my own face as we gazed at each other,—he, Bates,
the servant, and I, his master! He had always addressed
me so punctiliously with the “sir” of respect that his
declaration of fealty, spoken with so sincere and vigorous
an air of independence, and with the bold emphasis
of the oath, held me spellbound, staring at him. The
silence was broken by Larry, who sprang forward and
grasped Bates’ hand.
“I, too, Bates,” I said, feeling my heart leap with
liking, even with admiration for the real manhood that
seemed to transfigure this hireling,—this fellow whom I
had charged with most infamous treachery, this servant
who had cared for my needs in so humble a spirit of
The knocker on the front door sounded peremptorily,
and Bates turned away without another word, and admitted
Stoddard, who came in hurriedly.
“Merry Christmas!” in his big hearty tones was
hardly consonant with the troubled look on his face. I
introduced him to Larry and asked him to sit down.
“Pray excuse our disorder,—we didn’t do it for fun;
it was one of Santa Claus’ tricks.”
He stared about wonderingly.
“So you caught it, too, did you?”
“To be sure. You don’t mean to say that they raided
“That’s exactly what I mean to say. When I went
into the church for my early service I found that some
one had ripped off the wainscoting in a half a dozen
places and even pried up the altar. It’s the most outrageous
thing I ever knew. You’ve heard of the proverbial
poverty of the church mouse,—what do you suppose
anybody could want to raid a simple little country
chapel for? And more curious yet, the church plate
was untouched, though the closet where it’s kept was
upset, as though the miscreants had been looking for
something they didn’t find.”
Stoddard was greatly disturbed, and gazed about the
topsy-turvy library with growing indignation.
We drew together for a council of war. Here was an
opportunity to enlist a new recruit on my side. I already
felt stronger by reason of Larry’s accession; as to
Bates, my mind was still numb and bewildered.
“Larry, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t join forces
with Mr. Stoddard, as he seems to be affected by this
struggle. We owe it to him and the school to put him
on guard, particularly since we know that Ferguson’s
with the enemy.”
“Yes, certainly,” said Larry.
He always liked or disliked new people unequivocally,
and I was glad to see that he surveyed the big clergyman
“I’ll begin at the beginning,” I said, “and tell you
the whole story.”
He listened quietly to the end while I told him of my
experience with Morgan, of the tunnel into the chapel
crypt, and finally of the affair in the night and our interview
“I feel like rubbing my eyes and accusing you of
reading penny-horrors,” he said. “That doesn’t sound
like the twentieth century in Indiana.”
“But Ferguson,—you’d better have a care in his direction.
“Bless your heart! Ferguson’s gone—without notice.
He got his traps and skipped without saying a word to
“We’ll hear from him again, no doubt. Now, gentlemen,
I believe we understand one another. I don’t like
to draw you, either one of you, into my private affairs—”
The big chaplain laughed.
“Glenarm,”—prefixes went out of commission quickly
that morning,—”if you hadn’t let me in on this I
should never have got over it. Why, this is a page out
of the good old times! Bless me! I never appreciated
your grandfather! I must run—I have another service.
But I hope you gentlemen will call on me, day or night,
for anything I can do to help you. Please don’t forget
me. I had the record once for putting the shot.”
“Why not give our friend escort through the tunnel?”
asked Larry. “I’ll not hesitate to say that I’m dying
to see it.”
“To be sure!” We went down into the cellar, and
poked over the lantern and candlestick collections, and
I pointed out the exact spot where Morgan and I had
indulged in our revolver duel. It was fortunate that
the plastered walls of the cellar showed clearly the cuts
and scars of the pistol-balls or I fear my story would
have fallen on incredulous ears.
The debris I had piled upon the false block of stone
in the cellar lay as I had left it, but the three of us
quickly freed the trap. The humor of the thing took
strong hold of my new allies, and while I was getting a
lantern to light us through the passage Larry sat on the
edge of the trap and howled a few bars of a wild Irish
jig. We set forth at once and found the passage unchanged.
When the cold air blew in upon us I paused.
“Have you gentlemen the slightest idea of where
“We must be under the school-grounds, I should say,”
“We’re exactly under the stone wall. Those tall posts
at the gate are a scheme for keeping fresh air in the
“You certainly have all the modern improvements,”
observed Larry, and I heard him chuckling all the way
to the crypt door.
When I pushed the panel open and we stepped out
into the crypt Stoddard whistled and Larry swore
“It must be for something!” exclaimed the chaplain.
“You don’t suppose Mr. Glenarm built a secret passage
just for the fun of it, do you? He must have had some
purpose. Why, I sleep out here within forty yards of
where we stand and I never had the slightest idea of
“But other people seem to know of it,” observed
“To be sure; the curiosity of the whole countryside
was undoubtedly piqued by the building of Glenarm
House. The fact that workmen were brought from a
distance was in itself enough to arouse interest. Morgan
seems to have discovered the passage without any
“More likely it was Ferguson. He was the sexton of
the church and had a chance to investigate,” said Stoddard.
“And now, gentlemen, I must go to my service.
I’ll see you again before the day is over.”
“And we make no confidences!” I admonished.
“‘Sdeath!—I believe that is the proper expression under
all the circumstances.” And the Reverend Paul
Stoddard laughed, clasped my hand and went up into
the chapel vestry.
I closed the door in the wainscoting and hung the
map back in place.
We went up into the little chapel and found a small
company of worshipers assembled,—a few people from
the surrounding farms, half a dozen Sisters sitting somberly
near the chancel and the school servants.
Stoddard came out into the chancel, lighted the altar
tapers and began the Anglican communion office. I had
forgotten what a church service was like; and Larry, I
felt sure, had not attended church since the last time
his family had dragged hint to choral vespers.
It was comforting to know that here was, at least, one
place of peace within reach of Glenarm House. But I
may be forgiven, I hope, if my mind wandered that
morning, and my thoughts played hide-and-seek with
memory. For it was here, in the winter twilight, that
Marian Devereux had poured out her girl’s heart in a
great flood of melody. I was glad that the organ was
closed; it would have wrung my heart to hear a note
from it that her hands did not evoke.
When we came out upon the church porch and I stood
on the steps to allow Larry to study the grounds, one of
the brown-robed Sisterhood spoke my name.
It was Sister Theresa.
“Can you come in for a moment?” she asked.
“I will follow at once,” I said.
She met me in the reception-room where I had seen
“I’m sorry to trouble you on Christmas Day with my
affairs, but I have had a letter from Mr. Pickering, saying
that he will he obliged to bring suit for settlement
of my account with Mr. Glenarm’s estate. I needn’t
say that this troubles me greatly. In my position a lawsuit
is uncomfortable; it would do a real harm to the
school. Mr. Pickering implies in a very disagreeable
way that I exercised an undue influence over Mr. Glenarm.
You can readily understand that that is not a
“He is going pretty far,” I said.
“He gives me credit for a degree of power over others
that I regret to say I do not possess. He thinks, for instance,
that I am responsible for Miss Devereux’s attitude
toward him,—something that I have had nothing
whatever to do with.”
“No, of course not.”
“I’m glad you have no harsh feeling toward her. It
was unfortunate that Mr. Glenarm saw fit to mention
her in his will. It has given her a great deal of notoriety,
and has doubtless strengthened the impression in
some minds that she and I really plotted to get as much
as possible of your grandfather’s estate.”
“No one would regret all this more than my grandfather,
—I am sure of that. There are many inexplicable
things about his affairs. It seems hardly possible
that a man so shrewd as he, and so thoughtful of the
feelings of others, should have left so many loose ends
behind him. But I assure you I am giving my whole
attention to these matters, and I am wholly at your
service in anything I can do to help you.”
“I sincerely hope that nothing may interfere to prevent
your meeting Mr. Glenarm’s wish that you remain
through the year. That was a curious and whimsical
provision, but it is not, I imagine, so difficult.”
She spoke in a kindly tone of encouragement that
made me feel uneasy and almost ashamed for having
already forfeited my claim under the will. Her beautiful
gray eyes disconcerted me; I had not the heart to
“I have already made it impossible for me to inherit
under the will,” I said.
The disappointment in her face rebuked me sharply.
“I am sorry, very sorry, indeed,” she said coldly.
“But how, may I ask?”
“I ran away, last night. I went to Cincinnati to see
She rose, staring in dumb astonishment, and after a
full minute in which I tried vainly to think of something
to say, I left the house.
There is nothing in the world so tiresome as explanations,
and I have never in my life tried to make them
without floundering into seas of trouble.
PICKERING SERVES NOTICE
The next morning Bates placed a letter postmarked
Cincinnati at my plate. I opened and read it aloud to
On Board the Heloise
December 25, 1901.
John Glenarm, Esq.,
Annandale, Wabana Co., Indiana:
DEAR SIR—I have just learned from what I believe to
be a trustworthy source that you have already violated
the terms of the agreement under which you entered into
residence on the property near Annandale, known as
Glenarm House. The provisions of the will of John Marshall
Glenarm are plain and unequivocal, as you undoubtedly
understood when you accepted them, and your absence,
not only from the estate itself, but from Wabana
County, violates beyond question your right to inherit.
I, as executor, therefore demand that you at once vacate
said property, leaving it in as good condition as when
received by you. Very truly yours,
Executor of the Estate of John Marshall Glenarm.
“Very truly the devil’s,” growled Larry, snapping
his cigarette case viciously.
“How did he find out?” I asked lamely, but my heart
sank like lead. Had Marian Devereux told him! How
else could he know?
“Probably from the stars,—the whole universe undoubtedly
saw you skipping off to meet your lady-love.
Bah, these women!”
“Tut! They don’t all marry the sons of brewers,”
I retorted. “You assured me once, while your affair
with that Irish girl was on, that the short upper lip
made Heaven seem possible, but unnecessary; then the
next thing I knew she had shaken you for the bloated
masher. Take that for your impertinence. But perhaps
it was Bates?”
I did not wait for an answer. I was not in a mood
for reflection or nice distinctions. The man came in
just then with a fresh plate of toast.
“Bates, Mr. Pickering has learned that I was away
from the house on the night of the attack, and I’m ordered
off for having broken my agreement to stay here.
How do you suppose he heard of it so promptly?”
“From Morgan, quite possibly. I have a letter from
Mr. Pickering myself this morning. Just a moment,
He placed before me a note bearing the same date as
my own. It was a sharp rebuke of Bates for his failure
to report my absence, and he was ordered to prepare to
leave on the first of February. “Close your accounts at
the shopkeepers’ and I will audit your bills on my arrival.”
The tone was peremptory and contemptuous. Bates
had failed to satisfy Pickering and was flung off like a
“How much had he allowed you for expenses, Bates?”
He met my gaze imperturbably.
“He paid me fifty dollars a month as wages, sir, and
I was allowed seventy-five for other expenses.”
“But you didn’t buy English pheasants and champagne
on that allowance!”
He was carrying away the coffee tray and his eyes
wandered to the windows.
“Not quite, sir. You see—”
“But I don’t see!”
“It had occurred to me that as Mr. Pickering’s allowance
wasn’t what you might call generous it was better
to augment it—Well, sir, I took the liberty of advancing
a trifle, as you might say, to the estate. Your
grandfather would not have had you starve, sir.”
He left hurriedly, as though to escape from the consequences
of his words, and when I came to myself
Larry was gloomily invoking his strange Irish gods.
“Larry Donovan, I’ve been tempted to kill that fellow
a dozen times! This thing is too damned complicated
for me. I wish my lamented grandfather had left
me something easy. To think of it—that fellow, after
my treatment of him—my cursing and abusing him
since I came here! Great Scott, man, I’ve been enjoying
his bounty, I’ve been living on his money! And
all the time he’s been trusting in me, just because of
his dog-like devotion to my grandfather’s memory.
Lord, I can’t face the fellow again!”
“As I have said before, you’re rather lacking at times
in perspicacity. Your intelligence is marred by large
opaque spots. Now that there’s a woman in the case
you’re less sane than ever. Bah, these women! And
now we’ve got to go to work.”
Bah, these women! My own heart caught the words.
I was enraged and bitter. No wonder she had been
anxious for me to avoid Pickering after daring me to
We called a council of war for that night that we
might view matters in the light of Pickering’s letter.
His assuredness in ordering me to leave made prompt
and decisive action necessary on my part. I summoned
Stoddard to our conference, feeling confident of his
“Of course,” said the broad-shouldered chaplain, “if
you could show that your absence was on business of
very grave importance, the courts might construe in
that you had not really violated the will.”
Larry looked at the ceiling and blew rings of smoke
languidly. I had not disclosed to either of them the
cause of my absence. On such a matter I knew I should
get precious little sympathy from Larry, and I had,
moreover, a feeling that I could not discuss Marian
Devereux with any one; I even shrank from mentioning
her name, though it rang like the call of bugles in
She was always before me,—the charmed spirit of
youth, linked to every foot of the earth, every gleam of
the sun upon the ice-bound lake, every glory of the winter
sunset. All the good impulses I had ever stifled
were quickened to life by the thought of her. Amid the
day’s perplexities I started sometimes, thinking I heard
her voice, her girlish laughter, or saw her again coming
toward me down the stairs, or holding against the light
her fan with its golden butterflies. I really knew so
little of her; I could associate her with no home, only
with that last fling of the autumn upon the lake, the
snow-driven woodland, that twilight hour at the organ
in the chapel, those stolen moments at the Armstrongs’.
I resented the pressure of the hour’s affairs, and chafed
at the necessity for talking of my perplexities with the
good friends who were there to help. I wished to be
alone, to yield to the sweet mood that the thought of her
brought me. The doubt that crept through my mind
as to any possibility of connivance between her and
Pickering was as vague and fleeting as the shadow of a
swallow’s wing on a sunny meadow.
“You don’t intend fighting the fact of your absence,
do you?” demanded Larry, after a long silence.
“Of course not!” I replied quietly. “Pickering was
right on my heels, and my absence was known to his
men here. And it would not be square to my grandfather,
—who never harmed a flea, may his soul rest in
blessed peace!—to lie about it. They might nail me for
“Then the quicker we get ready for a siege the better.
As I understand your attitude, you don’t propose to
move out until you’ve found where the siller’s hidden.
Being a gallant gentleman and of a forgiving nature,
you want to be sure that the lady who is now entitled to
it gets all there is coming to her, and as you don’t trust
the executor, any further than a true Irishman trusts a
British prime minister’s promise, you’re going to stand
by to watch the boodle counted. Is that a correct analysis
of your intentions?”
“That’s as near one of my ideas as you’re likely to
get, Larry Donovan!”
“And if he comes with the authorities,—the sheriff
and that sort of thing,—we must prepare for such an
emergency,” interposed the chaplain.
“So much the worse for the sheriff and the rest of
them!” I declared.
“Spoken like a man of spirit. And now we’d better
stock up at once, in case we should be shut off from our
source of supplies. This is a lonely place here; even
the school is a remote neighbor. Better let Bates raid
the village shops to-morrow. I’ve tried being hungry,
and I don’t care to repeat the experience.”
And Larry reached for the tobacco jar.
“I can’t imagine, I really can’t believe,” began the
chaplain, “that Miss Devereux will want to be brought
into this estate matter in any way. In fact, I have heard
Sister Theresa say as much. I suppose there’s no way
of preventing a man from leaving his property to a
young woman, who has no claim on him,—who doesn’t
want anything from him.”
“Bah, these women! People don’t throw legacies to
the birds these days. Of course she’ll take it.”
Then his eyes widened and met mine in a gaze that
reflected the mystification and wonder that struck both
of us. Stoddard turned from the fire suddenly:
“What’s that? There’s some one up stairs!”
Larry was already running toward the hall, and I
heard him springing up the steps like a cat, while Stoddard
and I followed.
“Where’s Bates?” demanded the chaplain.
“I’ll thank you for the answer,” I replied.
Larry stood at the top of the staircase, holding a
candle at arm’s length in front of him, staring about.
We could hear quite distinctly some one walking
on a stairway; the sounds were unmistakable, just as
I had heard them on several previous occasions, without
ever being able to trace their source.
The noise ceased suddenly, leaving us with no hint of
I went directly to the rear of the house and found
Bates putting the dishes away in the pantry.
“Where have you been?” I demanded.
“Here, sir; I have been clearing up the dinner things,
Mr. Glenarm. Is there anything the matter, sir?”
I joined the others in the library.
“Why didn’t you tell me this feudal imitation was
haunted?” asked Larry, in a grieved tone. “All it needed
was a cheerful ghost, and now I believe it lacks absolutely
nothing. I’m increasingly glad I came. How
often does it walk?”
“It’s not on a schedule. Just now it’s the wind in
the tower probably; the wind plays queer pranks up
“You’ll have to do better than that, Glenarm,” said
Stoddard. “It’s as still outside as a country graveyard.”
“Only the slaugh sidhe, the people of the faery hills,
the cheerfulest ghosts in the world,” said Larry. “You
literal Saxons can’t grasp the idea, of course.”
But there was substance enough in our dangers without
pursuing shadows. Certain things were planned
that night. We determined to exercise every precaution
to prevent a surprise from without, and we resolved
upon a new and systematic sounding of walls and floors,
taking our clue from the efforts made by Morgan and
his ally to find hiding-places by this process. Pickering
would undoubtedly arrive shortly, and we wished to
anticipate his movements as far as possible.
We resolved, too, upon a day patrol of the grounds
and a night guard. The suggestion came, I believe,
from Stoddard, whose interest in my affairs was only
equaled by the fertility of his suggestions. One of us
should remain abroad at night, ready to sound the alarm
in case of attack. Bates should take his turn with the
rest—Stoddard insisted on it.
Within two days we were, as Larry expressed it, on a
war footing. We added a couple of shot-guns and several
revolvers to my own arsenal, and piled the library
table with cartridge boxes. Bates, acting as quarter-master,
brought a couple of wagon-loads of provisions.
Stoddard assembled a remarkable collection of heavy
sticks; he had more confidence in them, he said, than in
gunpowder, and, moreover, he explained, a priest might
not with propriety hear arms.
It was a cheerful company of conspirators that now
gathered around the big hearth. Larry, always restless,
preferred to stand at one side, an elbow on the
mantel-shelf, pipe in mouth; and Stoddard sought the
biggest chair,—and filled it. He and Larry understood
each other at once, and Larry’s stories, ranging in subject
from undergraduate experiences at Dublin to adventures
in Africa and always including endless conflicts
with the Irish constabulary, delighted the big boyish
Often, at some one’s suggestion of a new idea, we ran
off to explore the house again in search of the key to the
Glenarm riddle, and always we came back to the library
with that riddle still unsolved.
THE RETURN OF MARIAN DEVEREUX
“Sister Theresa has left, sir.”
Bates had been into Annandale to mail some letters,
and I was staring out upon the park from the library
windows when he entered. Stoddard, having kept watch
the night before, was at home asleep, and Larry was off
somewhere in the house, treasure-hunting. I was feeling
decidedly discouraged over our failure to make any
progress with our investigations, and Bates’ news did
not interest me.
“Well, what of it?” I demanded, without turning
“Nothing, sir; but Miss Devereux has come back!”
I turned and took a step toward the door.
“I said Miss Devereux,” he repeated in dignified rebuke.
“She came up this morning, and the Sister left
at once for Chicago. Sister Theresa depends particularly
upon Miss Devereux,—so I’ve heard, sir. Miss
Devereux quite takes charge when the Sister goes away.
A few of the students are staying in school through the
“You seem full of information,” I remarked, taking
another step toward my hat and coat.
“And I’ve learned something else, sir.”
“They all came together, sir.”
“Who came; if you please, Bates?”
“Why, the people who’ve been traveling with Mr.
Pickering came back with him, and Miss Devereux came
with them from Cincinnati. That’s what I learned in
the village. And Mr. Pickering is going to stay—”
“At his cottage on the lake for a while. The reason
is that he’s worn out with his work, and wishes quiet.
The other people went back to New York in the car.”
“He’s opened a summer cottage in mid-winter, has
I had been blue enough without this news. Marian
Devereux had come back to Annandale with Arthur
Pickering; my faith in her snapped like a reed at this
astounding news. She was now entitled to my grandfather’s
property and she had lost no time in returning
as soon as she and Pickering had discussed together at
the Armstrongs’ my flight from Annandale. Her return
could have no other meaning than that there was a
strong tie between them, and he was now to stay on the
ground until I should be dispossessed and her rights
established. She had led me to follow her, and my forfeiture
had been sealed by that stolen interview at the
Armstrongs’. It was a black record, and the thought of
it angered me against myself and the world.
“Tell Mr. Donovan that I’ve gone to St. Agatha’s,”
I said, and I was soon striding toward the school.
A Sister admitted me. I heard the sound of a piano,
somewhere in the building, and I consigned the inventor
of pianos to hideous torment as scales were
pursued endlessly up and down the keys. Two girls
passing through the hall made a pretext of looking for
a book and came in and exclaimed over their inability
to find it with much suppressed giggling.
The piano-pounding continued and I waited for what
seemed an interminable time. It was growing dark and
a maid lighted the oil lamps. I took a book from the
table. It was The Life of Benvenuto Cellini and “Marian
Devereux” was written on the fly leaf, by unmistakably
the same hand that penned the apology for
Olivia’s performances. I saw in the clear flowing lines
of the signature, in their lack of superfluity, her own
ease, grace and charm; and, in the deeper stroke with
which the x was crossed, I felt a challenge, a readiness
to abide by consequences once her word was given.
Then my own inclination to think well of her angered
me. It was only a pretty bit of chirography, and I
dropped the book impatiently when I heard her step
on the threshold.
“I am sorry to have kept you waiting, Mr. Glenarm.
But this is my busy hour.”
“I shall not detain you long. I came,”—I hesitated,
not knowing why I had come.
She took a chair near the open door and bent forward
with an air of attention that was disquieting. She
wore black—perhaps to fit her the better into the house
of a somber Sisterhood. I seemed suddenly to remember
her from a time long gone, and the effort of memory
threw me off guard. Stoddard had said there were
several Olivia Armstrongs; there were certainly many
Marian Devereuxs. The silence grew intolerable; she
was waiting for me to speak, and I blurted:
“I suppose you have come to take charge of the property.”
“Do you?” she asked.
“And you came back with the executor to facilitate
matters. I’m glad to see that you lose no time.”
“Oh!” she said lingeringly, as though she were finding
with difficulty the note in which I wished to pitch
the conversation. Her calmness was maddening.
“I suppose you thought it unwise to wait for the
bluebird when you had beguiled me into breaking a
promise, when I was trapped, defeated,—”
Her elbow on the arm of the chair, her hand resting
against her check, the light rippling goldenly in her
hair, her eyes bent upon me inquiringly, mournfully,—
mournfully, as I had seen them—where?—once before!
My heart leaped in that moment, with that thought.
“I remember now the first time!” I exclaimed, more
angry than I had ever been before in my life.
“That is quite remarkable,” she said, and nodded her
“It was at Sherry’s; you were with Pickering—you
dropped your fan and he picked it up, and you turned
toward me for a moment. You were in black that
night; it was the unhappiness in your face, in your
eyes, that made me remember.”
I was intent upon the recollection, eager to fix and
“You are quite right. It was at Sherry’s. I was
wearing black then; many things made me unhappy
Her forehead contracted slightly and she pressed her
“I suppose that even then the conspiracy was thoroughly
arranged,” I said tauntingly, laughing a little
perhaps, and wishing to wound her, to take vengeance
She rose and stood by her chair, one hand resting
upon it. I faced her; her eyes were like violet seas.
She spoke very quietly.
“Mr. Glenarm, has it occurred to you that when I
talked to you there in the park, when I risked unpleasant
gossip in receiving you in a house where you had
no possible right to be, that I was counting upon something,
—foolishly and stupidly,—yet counting upon it?”
“You probably thought I was a fool,” I retorted.
“No;”—she smiled slightly—“I thought—I believe
I have said this to you before!—you were a gentleman.
I really did, Mr. Glenarm. I must say it to justify
myself. I relied upon your chivalry; I even thought,
when I played being Olivia, that you had a sense of
honor. But you are not the one and you haven’t the
other. I even went so far, after you knew perfectly
well who I was, as to try to help you—to give you another
chance to prove yourself the man your grandfather
wished you to be. And now you come to me in a shocking
bad humor,—I really think you would like to be
insulting, Mr. Glenarm, if you could.”
“But Pickering,—you came back with him; he is
here and he’s going to stay! And now that the property
belongs to you, there is not the slightest reason why
we should make any pretense of anything but enmity.
When you and Arthur Pickering stand together I take
the other side of the barricade! I suppose chivalry
would require me to vacate, so that you may enjoy at
once the spoils of war.”
“I fancy it would not be very difficult to eliminate
you as a factor in the situation,” she remarked icily.
“And I suppose, after the unsuccessful efforts of Mr.
Pickering’s allies to assassinate me, as a mild form of
elimination, one would naturally expect me to sit calmly
down and wait to be shot in the back. But you may tell
Mr. Pickering that I throw myself upon your mercy.
I have no other home than this shell over the way, and
I beg to be allowed to remain until—at least—the bluebirds
come. I hope it will not embarrass you to deliver
“I quite sympathize with your reluctance to deliver
it yourself,” she said. “Is this all you came to say?”
“I came to tell you that you could have the house,
and everything in its hideous walls,” I snapped; “to
tell you that my chivalry is enough for some situations
and that I don’t intend to fight a woman. I had accepted
your own renouncement of the legacy in good
part, but now, please believe me, it shall be yours to-morrow.
I’ll yield possession to you whenever you ask
it,—but never to Arthur Pickering! As against him
and his treasure-hunters and assassins I will hold out
for a dozen years!”
“Nobly spoken, Mr. Glenarm! Yours is really an
admirable, though somewhat complex character.”
“My character is my own, whatever it is,” I blurted.
“I shouldn’t call that a debatable proposition,” she
replied, and I was angry to find how the mirth I had
loved in her could suddenly become so hateful. She
half-turned away so that I might not see her face. The
thought that she should countenance Pickering in any
way tore me with jealous rage.
“Mr. Glenarm, you are what I have heard called a
quitter, defined in common Americanese as one who
quits! Your blustering here this afternoon can hardly
conceal the fact of your failure,—your inability to keep
a promise. I had hoped you would really be of some
help to Sister Theresa; you quite deceived her,—she
told me as she left to-day that she thought well of you,
—she really felt that her fortunes were safe in your
hands. But, of course, that is all a matter of past history
Her tone, changing from cold indifference to the
most severe disdain, stung me into self-pity for my stupidity
in having sought her. My anger was not against
her, but against Pickering, who had, I persuaded myself,
always blocked my path. She went on.
“You really amuse me exceedingly. Mr. Pickering
is decidedly more than a match for you, Mr. Glenarm,
—even in humor.”
She left me so quickly, so softly, that I stood staring
like a fool at the spot where she had been, and then I
went gloomily back to Glenarm House, angry, ashamed
While we were waiting for dinner I made a clean
breast of my acquaintance with her to Larry, omitting
nothing,—rejoicing even to paint my own conduct as
black as possible.
“You may remember her,” I concluded, “she was the
girl we saw at Sherry’s that night we dined there. She
was with Pickering, and you noticed her,—spoke of her,
as she went out.”
“That little girl who seemed so bored, or tired? Bless
me! Why her eyes haunted me for days. Lord man,
do you mean to say—”
A look of utter scorn came into his face, and he eyed
“Of course I mean it!” I thundered at him.
He took the pipe from his mouth, pressed the tobacco
viciously into the bowl, and swore steadily in Gaelic
until I was ready to choke him.
“Stop!” I bawled. “Do you think that’s helping me?
And to have you curse in your blackguardly Irish dialect!
I wanted a little Anglo-Saxon sympathy, you
fool! I didn’t mean for you to invoke your infamous
gods against the girl!”
“Don’t be violent, lad. Violence is reprehensible,”
he admonished with maddening sweetness and patience.
“What I was trying to inculcate was rather the fact,
borne in upon me through years of acquaintance, that
you are,—to he bold, my lad, to be bold,—a good deal
of a damned fool.”
The trilling of his r’s was like the whirring rise of
a flock of quails.
“Dinner is served,” announced Bates, and Larry led
the way, mockingly chanting an Irish love-song.
THE DOOR OF BEWILDERMENT
We had established the practice of barring all the
gates and doors at nightfall. There was no way of
guarding against an attack from the lake, whose frozen
surface increased the danger from without; but we
counted on our night patrol to prevent a surprise from
that quarter. I was well aware that I must prepare to
resist the militant arm of the law, which Pickering
would no doubt invoke to aid him, but I intended to
exhaust the possibilities in searching for the lost treasure
before I yielded. Pickering might, if he would,
transfer the estate of John Marshall Glenarm to Marian
Devereux and make the most he could of that service,
but he should not drive me forth until I had satisfied
myself of the exact character of my grandfather’s fortune.
If it had vanished, if Pickering had stolen it
and outwitted me in making off with it, that was another
The phrase, “The Door of Bewilderment,” had never
ceased to reiterate itself in my mind. We discussed a
thousand explanations of it as we pondered over the
scrap of paper I had found in the library, and every
book in the house was examined in the search for further
The passage between the house and the chapel seemed
to fascinate Larry. He held that it must have some
particular use and he devoted his time to exploring it.
He came up at noon—it was the twenty-ninth of
December—with grimy face and hands and a grin on his
face. I had spent my morning in the towers, where it
was beastly cold, to no purpose and was not in a mood
for the ready acceptance of new theories.
“I’ve found something,” he said, filling his pipe.
“Not soap, evidently!”
“No, but I’m going to say the last word on the tunnel,
and within an hour. Give me a glass of beer and a
piece of bread, and we’ll go back and see whether we’re
sold again or not.”
“Let us explore the idea and be done with it. Wait
till I tell Stoddard where we’re going.”
The chaplain was trying the second-floor walls, and
I asked him to eat some luncheon and stand guard while
Larry and I went to the tunnel.
We took with us an iron bar, an ax and a couple of
hammers. Larry went ahead with a lantern.
“You see,” he explained, as we dropped through the
trap into the passage, “I’ve tried a compass on this
tunnel and find that we’ve been working on the wrong
theory. The passage itself runs a straight line from
the house under the gate to the crypt; the ravine is a
rough crescent-shape and for a short distance the tunnel
touches it. How deep does that ravine average—about
“Yes; it’s shallowest where the house stands. it
drops sharply from there on to the lake.”
“Very good; but the ravine is all on the Glenarm side
of the wall, isn’t it? Now when we get under the wall
I’ll show you something.”
“Here we are,” said Larry, as the cold air blew in
through the hollow posts. “Now we’re pretty near that
sharp curve of the ravine that dips away from the wall.
Take the lantern while I get out the compass. What
do you think that C on the piece of paper means? Why,
chapel, of course. I have measured the distance from
the house, the point of departure, we may assume, to
the chapel, and three-fourths of it brings us under those
beautiful posts. The directions are as plain as daylight.
The passage itself is your N. W., as the compass
proves, and the ravine cuts close in here; therefore, our
business is to explore the wall on the ravine side.”
“Good! but this is just wall here—earth with a layer
of brick and a thin coat of cement. A nice job it must
have been to do the work,—and it cost the price of a
tiger hunt,” I grumbled.
“Take heart, lad, and listen,”—and Larry began
pounding the wall with a hammer, exactly under the
north gate-post. We had sounded everything in and
about the house until the process bored me.
“Hurry up and get through with it,” I jerked impatiently,
holding the lantern at the level of his head. It
was sharply cold under the posts and I was anxious to
prove the worthlessness of his idea and be done.
“There’s a place here that sounds a trifle off the key.
You try it.”
I snatched the hammer and repeated his soundings.
There was a space about four feet square in the wall
that certainly gave forth a hollow sound.
“Stand back!” exclaimed Larry eagerly. “Here goes
with the ax.”
He struck into the wall sharply and the cement
chipped off in rough pieces, disclosing the brick beneath.
Larry paused when he had uncovered a foot of
the inner layer, and examined the surface.
“They’re loose—these bricks are loose, and there’s
something besides earth behind them!”
I snatched the hammer and drove hard at the wall.
The bricks were set up without mortar, and I plucked
them out and rapped with my knuckles on a wooden
Even Larry grew excited as we flung out the bricks.
“Ah, lad,” he said, “the old gentleman had a way
with him—he had a way with him!” A brick dropped
on his foot and he howled in pain.
“Bless the old gentleman’s heart! He made it as
easy for us as he could. Now, for the Glenarm millions,
—red money all piled up for the ease of counting it,—
a thousand pounds in every pile.”
“Don’t be a fool, Larry,” I coughed at him, for the
brick dust and the smoke of Larry’s pipe made breathing
“That’s all the loose brick,—bring the lantern closer,”
—and we peered through the aperture upon a wooden
door, in which strips of iron were deep-set. It was fastened
with a padlock and Larry reached down for the ax.
“Wait!” I called, drawing closer with the lantern.
The wood of the door was fresh and white, but burned
deep on the surface, in this order, were the words:
“There are dead men inside, I dare say! Here, my
lad, it’s not for me to turn loose the family skeletons,”
—and Larry stood aside while I swung the ax and
brought it down with a crash on the padlock. It was
of no flimsy stuff and the remaining bricks cramped me,
but half a dozen blows broke it off.
“The house of a thousand ghosts,” chanted the irrepressible
Larry, as I pushed the door open and crawled
Whatever the place was it had a floor and I set my
feet firmly upon it and turned to take the lantern.
“Hold a bit,” he exclaimed. “Some one’s coming,”
—and bending toward the opening I heard the sound
of steps down the corridor. In a moment Bates ran up,
calling my name with more spirit than I imagined possible
“What is it?” I demanded, crawling out into the
“It’s Mr. Pickering. The sheriff has come with him,
As he spoke his glance fell upon the broken wall and
open door. The light of Larry’s lantern struck full
upon him. Amazement, and, I thought, a certain satisfaction,
were marked upon his countenance.
“Run along, Jack,—I’ll be up a little later,” said
Larry. “If the fellow has come in daylight with the
sheriff, he isn’t dangerous. It’s his friends that shoot
in the dark that give us the trouble.”
I crawled out and stood upright. Bates, staring at
the opening, seemed reluctant to leave the spot.
“You seem to have found it, sir,” he said,—I thought
a little chokingly. His interest in the matter nettled
me; for my first business was to go above for an interview
with the executor, and the value of our discovery
“Of course we have found it!” I ejaculated, brushing
the dust from my clothes. “Is Mr. Stoddard in the
“Oh, yes, sir; I left him entertaining the gentlemen.”
“Their visit is certainly most inopportune,” said
Larry. “Give them my compliments and tell them I’ll
be up as soon as I’ve articulated the bones of my friend’s
Bates strode on ahead of me with his lantern, and I
left Larry crawling through the new-found door as I
hurried toward the house. I knew him well enough to
be sure he would not leave the spot until he had found
what lay behind the Door of Bewilderment.
“You didn’t tell the callers where you expected to
find me, did you?” I asked Bates, as he brushed me off
in the kitchen.
“No, sir. Mr. Stoddard received the gentlemen. He
rang the bell for me and when I went into the library
he was saying, ‘Mr. Glenarm is at his studies. Bates,’—
he says—‘kindly tell Mr. Glenarm that I’m sorry to interrupt
him, but won’t he please come down?’ I thought
it rather neat, sir, considering his clerical office. I
knew you were below somewhere, sir; the trap-door was
open and I found you easily enough.”
Bates’ eyes were brighter than I had ever seen them.
A certain buoyant note gave an entirely new tone to
his voice. He walked ahead of me to the library door,
threw it open and stood aside.
“Here you are, Glenarm,” said Stoddard. Pickering
and a stranger stood near the fireplace in their overcoats.
Pickering advanced and offered his hand, but I
turned away from him without taking it. His companion,
a burly countryman, stood staring, a paper in his
“The sheriff,” Pickering explained, “and our business
is rather personal—”
He glanced at Stoddard, who looked at me.
“Mr. Stoddard will do me the kindness to remain,”
I said and took my stand beside the chaplain.
“Oh!” Pickering ejaculated scornfully. “I didn’t
understand that you had established relations with the
neighboring clergy. Your taste is improving, Glenarm.”
“Mr. Glenarm is a friend of mine,” remarked Stoddard
quietly. “A very particular friend,” he added.
“I congratulate you—both.”
I laughed. Pickering was surveying the room as he
spoke,—and Stoddard suddenly stepped toward him,
merely, I think, to draw up a chair for the sheriff; but
Pickering, not hearing Stoddard’s step on the soft rug
until the clergyman was close beside him, started perceptibly
It was certainly ludicrous, and when Stoddard faced
me again he was biting his lip.
“Pardon me!” he murmured.
“Now, gentlemen, will you kindly state your business?
My own affairs press me.”
Pickering was studying the cartridge boxes on the
library table. The sheriff, too, was viewing these effects
with interest not, I think, unmixed with awe.
“Glenarm, I don’t like to invoke the law to eject you
from this property, but I am left with no alternative.
I can’t stay out here indefinitely, and I want to know
what I’m to expect.”
“That is a fair question,” I replied. “If it were
merely a matter of following the terms of the will I
should not hesitate or be here now. But it isn’t the will,
or my grandfather, that keeps me, it’s the determination
to give you all the annoyance possible,—to make it
hard and mighty hard for you to get hold of this house
until I have found why you are so much interested
“You always had a grand way in money matters. As
I told you before you came out here, it’s a poor stake.
The assets consist wholly of this land and this house,
whose quality you have had an excellent opportunity
to test. You have doubtless heard that the country
people believe there is money concealed here,—but I
dare say you have exhausted the possibilities. This is
not the first time a rich man has died leaving precious
little behind him.”
“You seem very anxious to get possession of a property
that you call a poor stake,” I said. “A few acres
of land, a half-finished house and an uncertain claim
upon a school-teacher!”
“I had no idea you would understand it,” he replied.
“The fact that a man may be under oath to perform
the solemn duties imposed upon him by the law would
hardly appeal to you. But I haven’t come here to debate
this question. When are you going to leave?”
“Not till I’m ready,—thanks!”
“Mr. Sheriff, will you serve your writ?” he said, and
I looked to Stoddard for any hint from him as to what
I should do.
“I believe Mr. Glenarm is quite willing to hear whatever
the sheriff has to say to him,” said Stoddard. He
stepped nearer to me, as though to emphasize the fact
that he belonged to my side of the controversy, and the
sheriff read an order of the Wabana County Circuit
Court directing me, immediately, to deliver the house
and grounds into the keeping of the executor of the
will of the estate of John Marshall Glenarm.
The sheriff rather enjoyed holding the center of the
stage, and I listened quietly to the unfamiliar phraseology.
Before he had quite finished I heard a step in
the hall and Larry appeared at the door, pipe in mouth.
Pickering turned toward him frowning, but Larry paid
not the slightest attention to the executor, leaning
against the door with his usual tranquil unconcern.
“I advise you not to trifle with the law, Glenarm,”
said Pickering angrily. “You have absolutely no right
whatever to be here. And these other gentlemen—your
guests, I suppose—are equally trespassers under the
He stared at Larry, who crossed his legs for greater
ease in adjusting his lean frame to the door.
“Well, Mr. Pickering, what is the next step?” asked
the sheriff, with an importance that had been increased
by the legal phrases he had been reading.
“Mr. Pickering,” said Larry, straightening up and
taking the pipe from his mouth, “I’m Mr. Glenarm’s
counsel. If you will do me the kindness to ask the
sheriff to retire for a moment I should like to say a
few words to you that you might prefer to keep between
I had usually found it wise to take any cue Larry
threw me, and I said:
“Pickering, this is Mr. Donovan, who has every authority
to act for me in the matter.”
Pickering looked impatiently from one to the other
“You seem to have the guns, the ammunition and the
numbers on your side,” he observed dryly.
“The sheriff may wait within call,” said Larry, and
at a word from Pickering the man left the room.
“Now, Mr. Pickering,”—Larry spoke slowly,—“as
my friend has explained the case to me, the assets of
his grandfather’s estate are all accounted for,—the land
hereabouts, this house, the ten thousand dollars in securities
and a somewhat vague claim against a lady
known as Sister Theresa, who conducts St. Agatha’s
School. Is that correct?”
“I don’t ask you to take my word for it, sir,” rejoined
Pickering hotly. “I have filed an inventory of the
estate, so far as found, with the proper authorities.”
“Certainly. But I merely wish to be sure of my facts
for the purpose of this interview, to save me the trouble
of going to the records. And, moreover, I am somewhat
unfamiliar with your procedure in this country. I am
a member, sir, of the Irish Bar. Pardon me, but I repeat
“I have made oath—that, I trust, is sufficient even
for a member of the Irish Bar.”
“Quite so, Mr. Pickering,” said Larry, nodding his
He was not, to be sure, a presentable member of any
bar, for a smudge detracted considerably from the appearance
of one side of his face, his clothes were rumpled
and covered with black dust, and his hands were
black. But I had rarely seen him so calm. He recrossed
his legs, peered into the bowl of his pipe for a moment,
then asked, as quietly as though he were soliciting an
opinion of the weather:
“Will you tell me, Mr. Pickering, whether you yourself
are a debtor of John Marshall Glenarm’s estate?”
Pickering’s face grew white and his eyes stared, and
when he tried suddenly to speak his jaw twitched. The
room was so still that the breaking of a blazing log on
the andirons was a pleasant relief. We stood, the three
of us, with our eyes on Pickering, and in my own case
I must say that my heart was pounding my ribs at an
uncomfortable speed, for I knew Larry was not sparring
The blood rushed into Pickering’s face and he turned
toward Larry stormily.
“This is unwarrantable and infamous! My relations
with Mr. Glenarm are none of your business. When
you remember that after being deserted by his own flesh
and blood he appealed to me, going so far as to intrust
all his affairs to my care at his death, your reflection
is an outrageous insult. I am not accountable to you
or any one else!”
“Really, there’s a good deal in all that,” said Larry.
“We don’t pretend to any judicial functions. We are
perfectly willing to submit the whole business and all
my client’s acts to the authorities.”
(I would give much if I could reproduce some hint
of the beauty of that word authorities as it rolled from
“Then, in God’s name, do it, you blackguards!”
Stoddard, sitting on a table, knocked his heels together
gently. Larry recrossed his legs and blew a
cloud of smoke. Then, after a quarter of a minute in
which he gazed at the ceiling with his quiet blue eyes,
“Yes; certainly, there are always the authorities. And
as I have a tremendous respect for your American institutions
I shall at once act on your suggestion. Mr.
Pickering, the estate is richer than you thought it was.
It holds, or will hold, your notes given to the decedent
for three hundred and twenty thousand dollars.”
He drew from his pocket a brown envelope, walked
to where I stood and placed it in my hands.
At the same time Stoddard’s big figure grew active,
and before I realized that Pickering had leaped toward
the packet, the executor was sitting in a chair, where the
chaplain had thrown him. He rallied promptly, stuffing
his necktie into his waistcoat; he even laughed a little.
“So much old paper! You gentlemen are perfectly
welcome to it.”
“Thank you!” jerked Larry.
“Mr. Glenarm and I had many transactions together,
and he must have forgotten to destroy those papers.”
“Quite likely,” I remarked. “It is interesting to
know that Sister Theresa wasn’t his only debtor.”
Pickering stepped to the door and called the sheriff.
“I shall give you until to-morrow morning at nine
o’clock to vacate the premises. The court understands
this situation perfectly. These claims are utterly worthless,
as I am ready to prove.”
“Perfectly, perfectly,” repeated the sheriff.
“I believe that is all,” said Larry, pointing to the
door with his pipe.
The sheriff was regarding him with particular attention.
“What did I understand your name to be?” he demanded.
“Laurance Donovan,” Larry replied coolly.
Pickering seemed to notice the name now and his eyes
“I think I have heard of your friend before,” he said,
turning to me. “I congratulate you on the international
reputation of your counsel. He’s esteemed so highly in
Ireland that they offer a large reward for his return.
Sheriff, I think we have finished our business for
He seemed anxious to get the man away, and we gave
them escort to the outer gate where a horse and buggy
“Now, I’m in for it,” said Larry, as I locked the gate.
“We’ve spiked one of his guns, but I’ve given him a new
one to use against myself. But come, and I will show
you the Door of Bewilderment before I skip.”
A PROWLER OF THE NIGHT
Down we plunged into the cellar, through the trap
and to the Door of Bewilderment.
“Don’t expect too much,” admonished Larry; “I
can’t promise you a single Spanish coin.”
“Perish the ambition! We have blocked Pickering’s
game, and nothing else matters,” I said.
We crawled through the hole in the wall and lighted
candles. The room was about seven feet square. At
the farther end was an oblong wooden door, close to the
ceiling, and Larry tugged at the fastening until it came
down, bringing with it a mass of snow and leaves.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “we are at the edge of the
ravine. Do you see the blue sky? And yonder, if you
will twist your necks a bit, is the boat-house.”
“Well, let the scenic effects go and show us where
you found those papers,” I urged.
“Speaking of mysteries, that is where I throw up my
hands, lads. It’s quickly told. Here is a table, and here
is a tin despatch box, which lies just where I found it.
It was closed and the key was in the lock. I took out
that packet—it wasn’t even sealed—saw the character
of the contents, and couldn’t resist the temptation to
try the effect of an announcement of its discovery on
your friend Pickering. Now that is nearly all. I found
this piece of paper under the tape with which the envelope
was tied, and I don’t hesitate to say that when
I read it I laughed until I thought I should shake
down the cellar. Read it, John Glenarm!”
He handed me a sheet of legal-cap paper on which
was written these words:
HE LAUGHS BEST WHO LAUGHS LAST
“What do you think is so funny in this?” I demanded.
“Who wrote it, do you think?” asked Stoddard.
“Who wrote it, do you ask? Why, your grandfather
wrote it! John Marshall Glenarm, the cleverest, grandest
old man that ever lived, wrote it!” declaimed Larry,
his voice booming loudly in the room. “It’s all a great
big game, fixed up to try you and Pickering,—but principally
you, you blockhead! Oh, it’s grand, perfectly,
deliciously grand,—and to think it should be my good
luck to share in it!”
“Humph! I’m glad you’re amused, but it doesn’t
strike me as being so awfully funny. Suppose those
papers had fallen into Pickering’s hands; then where
would the joke have been, I should like to know!”
“On you, my lad, to be sure! The old gentleman
wanted you to study architecture; he wanted you to
study his house; he even left a little pointer in an old
book! Oh, it’s too good to be true!”
“That’s all clear enough,” observed Stoddard, knocking
upon the despatch box with his knuckles. “But why
do you suppose he dug this hole here with its outlet on
“Oh, it was the way of him!” explained Larry. “He
liked the idea of queer corners and underground passages.
This is a bully hiding-place for man or treasure,
and that outlet into the ravine makes it possible to get
out of the house with nobody the wiser. It’s in keeping
with the rest of his scheme. Be gay, comrades! To-morrow
will likely find us with plenty of business on
our hands. At present we hold the fort, and let us have
a care lest we lose it.”
We closed the ravine door, restored the brick as best
we could, and returned to the library. We made a list
of the Pickering notes and spent an hour discussing this
new feature of the situation.
“That’s a large amount of money to lend one man,”
“True; and from that we may argue that Mr. Glenarm
didn’t give Pickering all he had. There’s more
somewhere. If only I didn’t have to run—” and Larry’s
face fell as he remembered his own plight.
“I’m a selfish pig, old man! I’ve been thinking only
of my own affairs. But I never relied on you as much
“Those fellows will sound the alarm against Donovan,
without a doubt, on general principles and to land
a blow on you,” remarked Stoddard thoughtfully.
“But you can get away, Larry. We’ll help you off
to-night. I don’t intend to stand between you and liberty.
This extradition business is no joke,—if they
ever get you back in Ireland it will be no fun getting
you off. You’d better run for it before Pickering and
his sheriff spring their trap.”
“Yes; that’s the wise course. Glenarm and I can
hold the fort here. His is a moral issue, really, and I’m
in for a siege of a thousand years,” said the clergyman
earnestly, “if it’s necessary to beat Pickering. I may
go to jail in the end, too, I suppose.”
“I want you both to leave. It’s unfair to mix you
up in this ugly business of mine. Your stake’s bigger
than mine, Larry. And yours, too, Stoddard; why, your
whole future—your professional standing and prospects
would be ruined if we got into a fight here with the authorities.”
“Thank you for mentioning my prospects! I’ve
never had them referred to before,” laughed Stoddard.
“No; your grandfather was a friend of the Church and
I can’t desert his memory. I’m a believer in a vigorous
Church militant and I’m enlisted for the whole war.
But Donovan ought to go, if he will allow me to advise
Larry filled his pipe at the fireplace.
“Lads,” he said, his hands behind him, rocking gently
as was his way, “let us talk of art and letters,—I’m going
to stay. It hasn’t often happened in my life that
the whole setting of the stage has pleased me as much
as this. Lost treasure; secret passages; a gentleman
rogue storming the citadel; a private chaplain on the
premises; a young squire followed by a limelight; sheriff,
school-girls and a Sisterhood distributed through
the landscape,—and me, with Scotland Yard looming
duskily in the distance. Glenarm, I’m going to stay.”
There was no shaking him, and the spirits of all of
us rose after this new pledge of loyalty. Stoddard
stayed for dinner, and afterward we began again our
eternal quest for the treasure, our hopes high from
Larry’s lucky strike of the afternoon, and with a new
eagerness born of the knowledge that the morrow would
certainly bring us face to face with the real crisis. We
ranged the house from tower to cellar; we overhauled
the tunnel, for, it seemed to me, the hundredth time.
It was my watch, and at midnight, after Stoddard and
Larry had reconnoitered the grounds and Bates and I
had made sure of all the interior fastenings, I sent
them off to bed and made myself comfortable with a
pipe in the library.
I was glad of the respite, glad to be alone,—to consider
my talk with Marian Devereux at St. Agatha’s,
and her return with Pickering. Why could she not always
have been Olivia, roaming the woodland, or the
girl in gray, or that woman, so sweet in her dignity,
who came down the stairs at the Armstrongs’? Her
own attitude toward me was so full of contradictions;
she had appeared to me in so many moods and guises,
that my spirit ranged the whole gamut of feeling as I
thought of her. But it was the recollection of Pickering’s
infamous conduct that colored all my doubts of
her. Pickering had always been in my way, and here,
but for the chance by which Larry had found the notes,
I should have had no weapon to use against him.
The wind rose and drove shrilly around the house.
A bit of scaffolding on the outer walls rattled loose
somewhere and crashed down on the terrace. I grew
restless, my mind intent upon the many chances of the
morrow, and running forward to the future. Even if
I won in my strife with Pickering I had yet my way
to make in the world. His notes were probably worthless,
—I did not doubt that. I might use them to procure
his removal as executor, but I did not look forward
with any pleasure to a legal fight over a property that
had brought me only trouble.
Something impelled me to go below, and, taking a
lantern, I tramped somberly through the cellar, glanced
at the heating apparatus, and, remembering that the
chapel entrance to the tunnel was unguarded, followed
the corridor to the trap, and opened it. The cold air
blew up sharply and I thrust my head down to listen.
A sound at once arrested me. I thought at first it
must be the suction of the air, but Glenarm House was
no place for conjectures, and I put the lantern aside and
jumped down into the tunnel. A gleam of light showed
for an instant, then the darkness and silence were complete.
I ran rapidly over the smooth floor, which I had traversed
so often that I knew its every line. My only
weapon was one of Stoddard’s clubs. Near the Door
of Bewilderment I paused and listened. The tunnel
was perfectly quiet. I took a step forward and stumbled
over a brick, fumbled on the wall for the opening
which we had closed carefully that afternoon, and at
the instant I found it a lantern flashed blindingly in
my face and I drew back, crouching involuntarily, and
clenching the club ready to strike.
“Good evening, Mr. Glenarm!”
Marian Devereux’s voice broke the silence, and Marian
Devereux’s face, with the full light of the lantern
upon it, was bent gravely upon me. Her voice, as I
heard it there,—her face, as I saw it there,—are the
things that I shall remember last when my hour comes
to go hence from this world. The slim fingers, as they
clasped the wire screen of the lantern, held my gaze for
a second. The red tam-o’-shanter that I had associated
with her youth and beauty was tilted rakishly on one
side of her pretty head. To find her here, seeking, like
a thief in the night, for some means of helping Arthur
Pickering, was the bitterest drop in the cup. I felt as
though I had been struck with a bludgeon.
“I beg your pardon!” she said, and laughed. “There
doesn’t seem to be anything to say, does there? Well,
we do certainly meet under the most unusual, not to say
unconventional, circumstances, Squire Glenarm. Please
go away or turn your back. I want to get out of this
She took my hand coolly enough and stepped down
into the passage. Then I broke upon her stormily.
“You don’t seem to understand the gravity of what
you are doing! Don’t you know that you are risking
your life in crawling through this house at midnight?
—that even to serve Arthur Pickering, a life is a pretty
big thing to throw away? Your infatuation for that
blackguard seems to carry you far, Miss Devereux.”
She swung the lantern at arm’s length back and forth
so that its rays at every forward motion struck my face
like a blow.
“It isn’t exactly pleasant in this cavern. Unless you
wish to turn me over to the lord high executioner, I will
bid you good night.”
“But the infamy of this—of coming in here to spy
upon me—to help my enemy—the man who is seeking
plunder—doesn’t seem to trouble you.”
“No, not a particle!” she replied quietly, and then,
with an impudent fling, “Oh, no!” She held up the lantern
to look at the wick. “I’m really disappointed to
find that you were a little ahead of me, Squire Glenarm.
I didn’t give you credit for so much—perseverance.
But if you have the notes—”
“The notes! He told you there were notes, did he?
The coward sent you here to find them, after his other
tools failed him?”
She laughed that low laugh of hers that was like the
bubble of a spring.
[Illustration: “I beg your pardon!” she said, and laughed.]
“Of course no one would dare deny what the great
Squire Glenarm says,” she said witheringly.
“You can’t know what your perfidy means to me,” I
said. “That night, at the Armstrongs’, I thrilled at
the sight of you. As you came down the stairway I
thought of you as my good angel, and I belonged to you,
—all my life, the better future that I wished to make
for your sake.”
“Please don’t!” And I felt that my words had
touched her; that there were regret and repentance in
her tone and in the gesture with which she turned from
She hurried down the passage swinging the lantern
at her side, and I followed, so mystified, so angered by
her composure, that I scarcely knew what I did. She
even turned, with pretty courtesy, to hold the light for
me at the crypt steps,—a service that I accepted perforce
and with joyless acquiescence in the irony of it.
I knew that I did not believe in her; her conduct as to
Pickering was utterly indefensible,—I could not forget
that; but the light of her eyes, her tranquil brow, the
sensitive lips, whose mockery stung and pleased in a
breath,—by such testimony my doubts were alternately
reinforced and disarmed. Swept by these changing
moods I followed her out into the crypt.
“You seem to know a good deal about this place, and
I suppose I can’t object to your familiarizing yourself
with your own property. And the notes—I’ll give myself
the pleasure of handing them to you to-morrow.
You can cancel them and give them to Mr. Pickering,—
a pretty pledge between you!”
I thrust my hands into my pockets to give an impression
of ease I did not feel.
“Yes,” she remarked in a practical tone, “three hundred
and twenty thousand dollars is no mean sum of
money. Mr. Pickering will undoubtedly be delighted
to have his debts canceled—”
“In exchange for a life of devotion,” I sneered. “So
you knew the sum—the exact amount of these notes.
He hasn’t served you well; he should have told you that
we found them to-day.”
“You are not nice, are you, Squire Glenarm, when you
She was like Olivia now. I felt the utter futility of
attempting to reason with a woman who could become
a child at will. She walked up the steps and out into
the church vestibule. Then before the outer door she
spoke with decision.
“We part here, if you please! And—I have not the
slightest intention of trying to explain my errand into
that passage. You have jumped to your own conclusion,
which will have to serve you. I advise you not
to think very much about it,—to the exclusion of more
important business,—Squire Glenarm!”
She lifted the lantern to turn out its light, and it
made a glory of her face, but she paused and held it
“Pardon me! You will need this to light you home.”
“But you must not cross the park alone!”
“Good night! Please be sure to close the door to the
passage when you go down. You are a dreadfully heedless
person, Squire Glenarm.”
She flung open the outer chapel-door, and ran along
the path toward St. Agatha’s. I watched her in the
starlight until a bend in the path hid her swift-moving
Down through the passage I hastened, her lantern
lighting my way. At the Door of Bewilderment I closed
the opening, setting up the line of wall as we had left
it in the afternoon, and then I went back to the library,
freshened the fire and brooded before it until Bates came
to relieve me at dawn.
It was nine o’clock. A thermometer on the terrace
showed the mercury clinging stubbornly to a point above
zero; but the still air was keen and stimulating, and
the sun argued for good cheer in a cloudless sky. We
had swallowed some breakfast, though I believe no one
had manifested an appetite, and we were cheering ourselves
with the idlest talk possible. Stoddard, who had
been to the chapel for his usual seven o’clock service, was
deep in the pocket Greek testament he always carried.
Bates ran in to report a summons at the outer wall,
and Larry and I went together to answer it, sending
Bates to keep watch toward the lake.
Our friend the sheriff, with a deputy, was outside
in a buggy. He stood up and talked to us over the wall.
“You gents understand that I’m only doing my duty.
It’s an unpleasant business, but the court orders me to
eject all trespassers on the premises, and I’ve got to
“The law is being used by an infamous scoundrel to
protect himself. I don’t intend to give in. We can
hold out here for three months, if necessary, and I advise
you to keep away and not be made a tool for a man
The sheriff listened respectfully, resting his arms on
top of the wall.
“You ought to understand, Mr. Glenarm, that I ain’t
the court; I’m the sheriff, and it’s not for me to pass
on these questions. I’ve got my orders and I’ve got to
enforce ’em, and I hope you will not make it necessary
for me to use violence. The judge said to me, ‘We deplore
violence in such cases.’ Those were his Honor’s
“You may give his Honor my compliments and tell
him that we are sorry not to see things his way, but
there are points involved in this business that he doesn’t
know anything about, and we, unfortunately, have no
time to lay them before him.”
The sheriff’s seeming satisfaction with his position
on the wall and his disposition to parley had begun to
arouse my suspicions, and Larry several times exclaimed
impatiently at the absurdity of discussing my
affairs with a person whom he insisted on calling a constable,
to the sheriff’s evident annoyance. The officer
now turned upon him.
“You, sir,—we’ve got our eye on you, and you’d better
come along peaceable. Laurance Donovan—the description
fits you to a ‘t’.”
“You could buy a nice farm with that reward,
couldn’t you—” began Larry, but at that moment Bates
ran toward us calling loudly.
“They’re coming across the lake, sir,” he reported,
and instantly the sheriff’s head disappeared, and as we
ran toward the house we heard his horse pounding down
the road toward St. Agatha’s.
“The law be damned. They don’t intend to come in
here by the front door as a matter of law,” said Larry.
“Pickering’s merely using the sheriff to give respectability
to his manoeuvers for those notes and the rest
It was no time for a discussion of motives. We ran
across the meadow past the water tower and through the
wood down to the boat-house. Far out on the lake we
saw half a dozen men approaching the Glenarm grounds.
They advanced steadily over the light snow that lay upon
the ice, one man slightly in advance and evidently the
“It’s Morgan!” exclaimed Bates. “And there’s Ferguson.”
Larry chuckled and slapped his thigh.
“Observe that stocky little devil just behind the leader?
He’s my friend from Scotland Yard. Lads! this
is really an international affair.”
“Bates, go back to the house and call at any sign of
attack,” I ordered. “The sheriff’s loose somewhere.”
“And Pickering is directing his forces from afar,”
“I count ten men in Morgan’s line,” said Larry, “and
the sheriff and his deputy make two more. That’s
twelve, not counting Pickering, that we know of on the
“Warn them away before they get much nearer,” suggested
Stoddard. “We don’t want to hurt people if
we can help it,”—and at this I went to the end of the
pier. Morgan and his men were now quite near, and
there was no mistaking their intentions. Most of them
carried guns, the others revolvers and long ice-hooks.
“Morgan,” I called, holding up my hands for a truce,
“we wish you no harm, but if you enter these grounds
you do so at your peril.”
“We’re all sworn deputy sheriffs,” called the caretaker
smoothly. “We’ve got the law behind us.”
“That must be why you’re coming in the back way,”
The thick-set man whom Larry had identified as the
English detective now came closer and addressed me in
a high key.
“You’re harboring a bad man, Mr. Glenarm. You’d
better give him up. The American law supports me,
and you’ll get yourself in trouble if you protect that
man. You may not understand, sir, that he’s a very
“Thanks, Davidson!” called Larry. “You’d better
keep out of this. You know I’m a bad man with the
“That you are, you blackguard!” yelled the officer,
so spitefully that we all laughed.
I drew back to the boat-house.
“They are not going to kill anybody if they can help
it,” remarked Stoddard, “any more than we are. Even
deputy sheriffs are not turned loose to do murder, and
the Wabana County Court wouldn’t, if it hadn’t been
imposed on by Pickering, lend itself to a game like
“Now we’re in for it,” yelled Larry, and the twelve
men, in close order, came running across the ice toward
“Open order, and fall back slowly toward the house,”
I commanded. And we deployed from the boat-house,
while the attacking party still clung together,—a strategic
error, as Larry assured us.
“Stay together, lads. Don’t separate; you’ll get lost
if you do,” he yelled.
Stoddard bade him keep still, and we soon had our
hands full with a preliminary skirmish. Morgan’s line
advanced warily. Davidson, the detective, seemed disgusted
at Morgan’s tactics, openly abused the caretaker,
and ran ahead of his column, revolver in hand,
bearing down upon Larry, who held our center.
The Englishman’s haste was his undoing. The light
fall of snow a few days before had gathered in the little
hollows of the wood deceptively. The detective plunged
into one of these and fell sprawling on all fours,—a
calamity that caused his comrades to pause uneasily.
Larry was upon his enemy in a flash, wrenched his pistol
away and pulled the man to his feet.
“Ah, Davidson! There’s many a slip! Move, if you
dare and I’ll plug you with your own gun.” And he
stood behind the man, using him as a shield while Morgan
and the rest of the army hung near the boat-house
“It’s the strategic intellect we’ve captured, General,”
observed Larry to me. “You see the American invaders
were depending on British brains.”
Morgan now acted on the hint we had furnished him
and sent his men out as skirmishers. The loss of the
detective had undoubtedly staggered the caretaker, and
we were slowly retreating toward the house, Larry with
one hand on the collar of his prisoner and the other
grasping the revolver with which he poked the man
frequently in the ribs. We slowly continued our retreat,
fearing a rush, which would have disposed of us