Lost Man’s Lane, by Anna Katharine Green

xxxvi

An Hour of Startling Experiences

Not till I was safely back in the Knollys grounds, not, indeed, till I had put one or two large and healthy shrubs between me and a certain pair of very prying eyes, did I bring the dove out from under my cape and examine the poor bird for any sign which might be of help to me in the search to which I was newly committed.

But I found nothing, and was obliged to resort to my old plan of reasoning to make anything out of the situation in which I thus so unexpectedly found myself. The dove had brought the ring into old Mother Jane’s hands, but whence and through whose agency? This was as much a secret as before, but the longer I contemplated it, the more I realized that it need not remain a secret long; that we had simply to watch the other doves, note where they lighted, and in whose barn-doors they were welcome, for us to draw inferences that might lead to revelations before the day was out. If Deacon Spear — But Deacon Spear’s house had been examined as well as that of every other resident in the lane. This I knew, but it had not been examined by me, and unwilling as I was to challenge the accuracy or thoroughness of a search led on by such a man as Mr. Gryce, I could not but feel that, with such a hint as I had received from the episode in the hut, it would be a great relief to my mind to submit these same premises to my own somewhat penetrating survey, no man in my judgment having the same quickness of eyesight in matters domestic as a woman trained to know every inch of a house and to measure by a hair’s-breadth every fall of drapery within it.

But how in the name of goodness was I to obtain an opportunity for this survey. Had we not one and all been bidden to confine our attention to what was going on in Mother Jane’s cottage, and would it not be treason to Lucetta to run the least risk of awakening apprehension in any possibly guilty mind at the other end of the road? Yes, but for all that I could not keep still if fate, or my own ingenuity, offered me the least chance of pursuing the clue I had wrung from our imbecile neighbor at the risk of my life. It was not in my nature to do so, any more than it was in my nature to yield up my present advantage to Mr. Gryce without making a personal effort to utilize it. I forgot that I failed in this once before in my career, or rather I recalled this failure, perhaps, and felt the great need of retrieving myself.

When, therefore, in my slow stroll towards the house I encountered William in the shrubbery, I could not forbear accosting him with a question or two.

“William,” I remarked, gently rubbing the side of my nose with an irresolute forefinger and looking at him from under my lids, “that was a scurvy trick you played Deacon Spear yesterday.”

He stood amazed, then burst into one of his loud laughs.

“You think so?” he cried. “Well, I don’t. He only got what he deserved, the hard, sanctimonious sneak!”

“Do you say that,” I inquired, with some spirit, “because you dislike the man, or because you really believe him to be worthy of hatred?”

William’s amusement at this argued little for my hopes.

We are very much interested in the Deacon,” he suggested, with a leer; which insolence I allowed to pass unnoticed, because it best suited my plan.

“You have not answered my question,” I remarked, with a forced air of anxiety.

“Oh, no,” he cried, “so I haven’t”; and he tried to look serious too. “Well, well, to be just, I have nothing really against the man but his mean ways. Still, if I were going to risk my life on a hazard as to who is the evil spirit of this lane, I should say Spear and done with it, he has such cursed small eyes.”

I don’t think his eyes are too small,” I returned loftily. Then with a sudden change of manner, I suggested anxiously: “And my opinion is shared by your sisters. They evidently think very well of him.”

“Oh!” he sneered; “girls are no judges. They don’t know a good man when they see him, and they don’t know a bad. You mustn’t go by what they say.”

I had it on the tip of my tongue to ask if he did not think Lucetta sufficiently understood herself to be trusted in what she contemplated doing that night. But this was neither in accordance with my plan, nor did it seem quite loyal to Lucetta, who, so far as I knew, had not communicated her intentions to this booby brother. I therefore changed this question into a repetition of my first remark:

“Well, I still think the trick you played Deacon Spear yesterday a poor one; and I advise you, as a gentleman, to go and ask his pardon.”

This was such a preposterous proposition, he could not hold his peace.

I ask his pardon!” he snorted. “Well, Saracen, did you ever hear the like of that! I ask Deacon Spear’s pardon for obliging him to be treated with as great attention as I had been myself.”

“If you do not,” I went on, unmoved, “I shall go and do it myself. I think that is what my friendship for you warrants. I am determined that while I am a visitor in your house no one shall be able to pick a flaw in your conduct.”

He stared (as he might well do), tried to read my face, then my intentions, and failing to do both, which was not strange, broke into noisy mirth.

“Oh, ho!” he laughed. “So that is your game, is it! Well, I never! Saracen, Miss Butterworth wants to reform me; wants to make one of her sleek city chaps out of William Knollys. She’ll have hard work of it, won’t she? But then we’re beginning to like her well enough to let her try. Miss Butterworth, I’ll go with you to Deacon Spear. I haven’t had so much chance for fun in a twelve-month.”

I had not expected such success, and was duly thankful. But I made no reference to it aloud. On the contrary, I took his complaisance as a matter of course, and, hiding all token of triumph, suggested quietly that we should make as little ado as possible over our errand, seeing that Mr. Gryce was something of a meddler and might take it into his head to interfere. Which suggestion had all the effect I anticipated, for at the double prospect of amusing himself at the Deacon’s expense, and of outwitting the man whose business it was to outwit us, he became not only willing but eager to undertake the adventure offered him. So with the understanding that I was to be ready to drive into town as soon as he could hitch up the horse, we parted on the most amicable terms, he proceeding towards the stable and I towards the house, where I hoped to learn something new about Lucetta.

But Loreen, from whom alone I could hope to glean any information, was shut in her room, and did not come out, though I called her more than once, which, if it left my curiosity unsatisfied, at least allowed me to quit the house without awakening hers.

William was waiting for me at the gate when I descended. He was in the best of humors, and helped me into the buggy he had resurrected from some corner of the old stable, with a grimace of suppressed mirth which argued well for the peace of our proposed drive. The horse’s head was turned away from the quarter we were bound for, but as we were ostensibly on our way to the village, this showed but common prudence on William’s part, and, as such, met with my entire approbation.

Mr. Gryce and his men were hard at work when we passed them. Knowing the detective so well, and rating at its full value his undoubted talent for reading the motives of those about him, I made no attempt at cajolery in the explanation I proffered of our sudden departure, but merely said, in my old, peremptory way, that I found waiting at the gate so tedious that I had accepted William’s invitation to drive into town. Which, while it astonished the old gentleman, did not really arouse his suspicions, as a more conciliatory manner and speech might have done. This disposed of, we drove rapidly away.

William’s sense of humor once aroused was not easily allayed. He seemed so pleased with his errand that he could talk of nothing else, and turned the subject over and over in his clumsy way, till I began to wonder if he had seen through the object of our proposed visit and was making me the butt of his none too brilliant wit.

But no, he was really amused at the part he was called upon to play, and, once convinced of this, I let his humor run on without check till we had re-entered Lost Man’s Lane from the other end and were in sight of the low sloping roof of Deacon Spear’s old-fashioned farmhouse.

Then I thought it time to speak.

“William,” said I, “Deacon Spear is too good a man, and, as I take it, is in possession of too great worldly advantages for you to be at enmity with him. Remember that he is a neighbor, and that you are a landed proprietor in this lane.”

“Good for you!” was the elegant reply with which this young boor honored me. “I didn’t think you had such an eye for the main chance.”

“Deacon Spear is rich, is he not?” I pursued, with an ulterior motive he was far from suspecting.

“Rich? Why, I don’t know; that depends upon what you city ladies call rich; I shouldn’t call him so, but then, as you say, I am a landed proprietor myself.”

His laugh was boisterously loud, and as we were then nearly in front of the Deacon’s house, it rang in through the open windows, causing such surprise, that more than one head bobbed up from within to see who dared to laugh like that in Lost Man’s Lane. While I noted these heads and various other small matters about the house and place, William tied up the horse and held out his hand for me to descend.

“I begin to suspect,” he whispered as he helped me out, “why you are so anxious to have me on good terms with the Deacon.” At which insinuation I attempted to smile, but only succeeded in forcing a grim twitch or two to my lips, for at that moment and before I could take one step towards the house, a couple of pigeons rose up from behind the house and flew away in a bee-line for Mother Jane’s cottage.

“Ha!” thought I; “my instinct has not failed me. Behold the link between this house and the hut in which those tokens of crime were found,” and was for the moment so overwhelmed by this confirmation of my secret suspicions, that I quite forgot to advance, and stood stupidly staring after these birds now rapidly disappearing in the distance.

William’s voice aroused me.

“Come!” he cried. “Don’t be bashful. I don’t think much of Deacon Spear myself, but if you do — Why, what’s the matter now?” he asked, with a startled look at me. I had clutched him by the arm.

“Nothing,” I protested, “only — you see that window over there? The one in the gable of the barn, I mean. I thought I saw a hand thrust out — a white hand that dropped crumbs. Have they a child on this place?”

“No,” replied William, in an odd voice and with an odd look toward the window I have mentioned. “Did you really see a hand there?”

“I most certainly did,” I answered, with an air of indifference I was far from feeling. “Some one is up in the hay-loft; perhaps it is Deacon Spear himself. If so, he will have to come down, for now that we are here, I am determined you shall do your duty.”

“Deacon Spear can’t climb that hay-loft,” was the perplexed answer I received in a hardly intelligible mutter. “I’ve been there, and I know; only a boy or a very agile young man could crawl along the beams that lead to that window. It is the one hiding-place in this part of the lane; and when I said yesterday that if I were the police and had the same search to make which they have, I knew where I would look, I meant that same little platform up behind the hay, whose only outlook is yonder window. But I forgot that you have no suspicions of our good Deacon; that you are here on quite a different errand than to search for Silly Rufus. So come along and ——”

But I resisted his impelling hand. He was so much in earnest and so evidently under the excitement of what appeared to him a great discovery, that he seemed quite another man. This made my own suspicions less hazardous, and also added to the situation fresh difficulties which could only be met by an appearance on my part of perfect ingenuousness.

Turning back to the buggy as if I had forgotten something, and thus accounting to any one who might be watching us, for the delay we showed in entering the house, I said to William: “You have reasons for thinking this man a villain, or you wouldn’t be so ready to suspect him. Now what if I should tell you that I agree with you, and that this is why I have dragged you here this fine morning?”

“I should say you were a deuced smart woman,” was his ready answer. “But what can you do here?”

“What have we already done?” I asked. “Discovered that they have some one in hiding in what you call an inaccessible place in the barn. But didn’t the police examine the whole place yesterday? They certainly told me they had searched the premises thoroughly.”

“Yes,” he repeated, with great disdain, “they said and they said; but they didn’t climb up to the one hiding-place in sight. That old fellow Gryce declared it wasn’t worth their while; that only birds could reach that loophole.”

“Oh,” I returned, somewhat taken aback; “you called his attention to it, then?”

To which William answered with a vigorous nod and the grumbling words:

“I don’t believe in the police. I think they’re often in league with the very rogues they ——”

But here the necessity of approaching the house became too apparent for further delay. Deacon Spear had shown himself at the front door, and the sight of his astonished face twisted into a grimace of doubtful welcome drove every other thought away than how we were to acquit ourselves in the coming interview. Seeing that William was more or less nonplussed by the situation, I caught him by the arm, and whispering, “Let us keep to our first programme,” led him up the walk with much the air of a triumphant captain bringing in a recalcitrant prisoner.

My introduction under these circumstances can be imagined by those who have followed William’s awkward ways. But the Deacon, who was probably the most surprised, if not the most disconcerted member of the group, possessed a natural fund of conceit and self-complacency that prevented any outward manifestation of his feelings, though I could not help detecting a carefully suppressed antagonism in his eye when he allowed it to fall upon William, which warned me to exercise my full arts in the manipulation of the matter before me. I accordingly spoke first and with all the prim courtesy such a man might naturally expect from an intruder of my sex and appearance.

“Deacon Spear,” said I, as soon as we were seated in his stiff old-fashioned parlor, “you are astonished to see us here, no doubt, especially after the display of animosity shown towards you yesterday by this graceless young friend of mine. But it is on account of this unfortunate occurrence that we are here. After a little reflection and a few hints, I may add, from one who has seen more of life than himself, William felt that he had cause to be ashamed of himself for his show of sport in yesterday’s proceedings, and accordingly he has come in my company to tender his apologies and entreat your forbearance. Am I not right, William?”

The fellow is a clown under all and every circumstance, and serious as our real purpose was, and dreadful as was the suspicion he professed to cherish against the suave and seemingly respectable member of the community we were addressing, he could not help laughing, as he blunderingly replied:

“That you are, Miss Butterworth! She’s always right, Deacon. I did act like a fool yesterday.” And seeming to think that, with this one sentence he had played his part out to perfection, he jumped up and strolled out of the house, almost pushing down as he did so the two daughters of the house, who had crept into the hall from the sitting-room to listen.

“Well, well!” exclaimed the Deacon, “you have done wonders, Miss Butterworth, to bring him to even so small an acknowledgment as that! He’s a vicious one, is William Knollys, and if I were not such a lover of peace and concord, he should not long be the only aggressive one. But I have no taste for strife, and so you may both regard his apology as accepted. But why do you rise, madam? Sit down, I pray, and let me do the honors. Martha! Jemima!”

But I would not allow him to summon his daughters. The man inspired me with too much dislike, if not fear; besides, I was anxious about William. What was he doing, and of what blunder might he not be guilty without my judicious guidance?

“I am obliged to you,” I returned; “but I cannot wait to meet your daughters now. Another time, Deacon. There is important business going on at the other end of the lane, and William’s presence there may be required.”

“Ah,” he observed, following me to the door, “they are digging up Mother Jane’s garden.”

I nodded, restraining myself with difficulty.

“Fool’s work!” he muttered. Then with a curious look which made me instinctively draw back, he added, “These things must inconvenience you, madam. I wish you had made your visit to the lane in happier times.”

There was a smirk on his face which made him positively repellent. I could scarcely bow my acknowledgments, his look and attitude made the interview so obnoxious. Looking about for William, I stepped down from the stoop. The Deacon followed me.

“Where is William?” I asked.

The Deacon ran his eye over the place, and suddenly frowned with ill-concealed vexation.

“The scapegrace!” he murmured. “What business has he in my barn?”

I immediately forced a smile which, in days long past (I’ve almost forgotten them now), used to do some execution.

“Oh, he’s a boy!” I exclaimed. “Do not mind his pranks, I pray. What a comfortable place you have here!”

Instantly a change passed over the Deacon, and he turned to me with an air of great interest, broken now and then by an uneasy glance behind him at the barn.

“I am glad you like the place,” he insinuated, keeping close at my side as I stepped somewhat briskly down the walk. “It is a nice place, worthy of the commendation of so competent a judge as yourself.” (It was a barren, hard-worked farm, without one attractive feature.) “I have lived on it now forty years, thirty-two of them with my beloved wife Caroline, and two —” Here he stopped and wiped a tear from the dryest eye I ever saw. “Miss Butterworth, I am a widower.”

I hastened my steps. I here duly and with the strictest regard for the truth aver, that I decidedly hastened my steps at this very unnecessary announcement. But he, with another covert glance behind him towards the barn, from which, to my surprise and increasing anxiety, William had not yet emerged, kept well up to me, and only paused when I paused at the side of the road near the buggy.

“Miss Butterworth,” he began, undeterred by the air of dignity I assumed, “I have been thinking that your visit here is a rebuke to my unneighborliness. But the business which has occupied the lane these last few days has put us all into such a state of unpleasantness that it was useless to attempt sociability.”

His voice was so smooth, his eyes so small and twinkling, that if I could have thought of anything except William’s possible discoveries in the barn, I should have taken delight in measuring my wits against his egotism.

But as it was, I said nothing, possibly because I only half heard what he was saying.

“I am no lady’s man,”— these were the next words I heard — “but then I judge you’re not anxious for flattery, but prefer the square thing uttered by a square man without delay or circumlocution. Madam, I am fifty-three, and I have been a widower two years. I am not fitted for a solitary life, and I am fitted for the companionship of an affectionate wife who will keep my hearth clean and my affections in good working order. Will you be that wife? You see my home,”— here his eye stole behind him with that uneasy look towards the barn which William’s presence in it certainly warranted — “a home which I can offer you unencumbered, if you ——”

“Desire to live in Lost Man’s Lane,” I put in, subduing both my surprise and my disgust at this preposterous proposal, in order to throw all the sarcasm of which I was capable into this single sentence.

“Oh!” he exclaimed, “you don’t like the neighborhood. Well, we could go elsewhere. I am not set against the city myself ——”

Astounded at his presumption, regarding him as a possible criminal, who was endeavoring to beguile me for purposes of his own, I could no longer repress either my indignation or the wrath with which such impromptu addresses naturally inspired me. Cutting him short with a gesture which made him open his small eyes, I exclaimed in continuation of his remark:

“Nor, as I take it, are you set against the comfortable little income somebody has told you I possessed. I see your disinterestedness, Deacon, but I should be sorry to profit by it. Why, man, I never spoke to you before in my life, and do you think ——”

“Oh!” he suavely insinuated, with a suppressed chuckle which even his increasing uneasiness as to William could not altogether repress, “I see you are not above the flattery that pleases other women. Well, madam, I know a tremendous fine woman when I see her, and from the moment I saw you riding by the other day, I made up my mind I would have you for the second Mrs. Spear, if persistence and a proper advocacy of my cause could accomplish it. Madam, I was going to visit you with this proposal to-night, but seeing you here, the temptation was too great for my discretion, and so I have addressed you on the spot. But you need not answer me at once. I don’t need to know any more about you than what I can take in with my two eyes, but if you would like a little more acquaintance with me, why I can wait a couple of weeks till we’ve rubbed the edges off our strangeness, when ——”

“When you think I will be so charmed with Deacon Spear that I will be ready to settle down with him in Lost Man’s Lane, or if that will not do, carry him off to Gramercy Park, where he will be the admiration of all New York and Brooklyn to boot. Why, man, if I was so easily satisfied as that, I would not be in a position to-day for you to honor me with this proposal. I am not easy to suit, so I advise you to turn your attention to some one much more anxious to be married than I am. But”— and here I allowed some of my real feelings to appear —“if you value your own reputation or the happiness of the lady you propose to inveigle into an union with you, do not venture too far in the matrimonial way till the mystery is dispelled which shrouds Lost Man’s Lane in horror. If you were an honest man you would ask no one to share your fortunes whilst the least doubt rests upon your reputation.”

My reputation?” He had started very visibly at these words. “Madam, be careful. I admire you, but ——”

“No offence,” said I. “For a stranger I have been, perhaps, unduly frank. I only mean that any one who lives in this lane must feel himself more or less enveloped by the shadow which rests upon it. When that is lifted, each and every one of you will feel himself a man again. From indications to be seen in the lane to-day, that time may not be far distant. Mother Jane is a likely source for the mysteries that agitate us. She knows just enough to have no proper idea of the value of a human life.”

The Deacon’s retort was instantaneous. “Madam,” said he, with a snap of his fingers, “I have not that much interest in what is going on down there. If men have been killed in this lane (which I do not believe), old Mother Jane has had no hand in it. My opinion is — and you may value it or not, just as you please — that what the people hereabout call crimes are so many coincidences, which some day or other will receive their due explanation. Every one who has disappeared in this vicinity has disappeared naturally. No one has been killed. That is my theory, and you will find it correct. On this point I have expended more than a little thought.”

I was irate. I was also dumfounded at his audacity. Did he think I was the woman to be deceived by any such balderdash as that? But I shut my lips tightly lest I should say something, and he, not finding this agreeable, being no conversationalist himself, drew himself up with a pompously expressed hope that he would see me again after his reputation was cleared, when his attention as well as my own was diverted by seeing William’s slouching figure appear in the barn door and make slowly towards us.

Instantly the Deacon forgot me in his interest in William’s approach, which was so slow as to be tantalizing to us both.

When he was within speaking distance, Deacon Spear started towards him.

“Well!” he cried; “one would think you had gone back a dozen or so years and were again robbing your neighbor’s hen-roosts. Been in the hay, eh?” he added, leaning forward and plucking a wisp or two from my companion’s clothes. “Well, what did you find there?”

In trembling fear for what the lout might answer, I put my hand on the buggy rail and struggled anxiously to my seat. William stepped forward and loosened the horse before speaking. Then with a leer he dived into his pocket, and remarking slowly, “I found this,” brought to light a small riding-whip which we both recognized as one he often carried. “I flung it up in the hay yesterday in one of my fits of laughing, so just thought I would bring it down to-day. You know it isn’t the first time I’ve climbed about those rafters, Deacon, as you have been good enough to insinuate.”

The Deacon, evidently taken aback, eyed the young fellow with a leer in which I saw something more serious than mere suspicion.

“Was that all?” he began, but evidently thought better than to finish, whilst William, with a nonchalance that surprised me, blunderingly avoided his eye, and, bounding into the buggy beside me, started up the horse and drove slowly off.

“Ta, ta, Deacon,” he called back; “if you want to see fun, come up to our end of the lane; there’s precious little here.” And thus, with a laugh, terminated an interview which, all things considered, was the most exciting as well as the most humiliating I have ever taken part in.

“William,” I began, but stopped. The two pigeons whose departure I had watched a little while before were coming back, and, as I spoke, fluttered up to the window before mentioned, where they alighted and began picking up the crumbs which I had seen scattered for them. “See!” I suddenly exclaimed, pointing them out to William. “Was I mistaken when I thought I saw a hand drop crumbs from that window?”

The answer was a very grave one for him.

“No,” said he, “for I have seen more than a hand, through the loophole I made in the hay. I saw a man’s leg stretched out as if he were lying on the floor with his head toward the window. It was but a glimpse I got, but the leg moved as I looked at it, and so I know that some one lies hid in that little nook up under the roof. Now it isn’t any one belonging to the lane, for I know where every one of us is or ought to be at this blessed moment; and it isn’t a detective, for I heard a sound like heavy sobbing as I crouched there. Then who is it? Silly Rufus, I say; and if that hay was all lifted, we would see sights that would make us ashamed of the apologies we uttered to the old sneak just now.”

“I want to get home,” said I. “Drive fast! Your sisters ought to know this.”

“The girls?” he cried. “Yes, it will be a triumph over them. They never would believe I had an atom of judgment. But we’ll show them, if William Knollys is altogether a fool.”

We were now near to Mr. Trohm’s hospitable gateway. Coming from the excitements of my late interview, it was a relief to perceive the genial owner of this beautiful place wandering among his vines and testing the condition of his fruit by a careful touch here and there. As he heard our wheels he turned, and seeing who we were, threw up his hands in ill-restrained pleasure, and came buoyantly forward. There was nothing to do but to stop, so we stopped.

“Why, William! Why, Miss Butterworth, what a pleasure!” Such was his amiable greeting. “I thought you were all busy at your end of the lane; but I see you have just come from town. Had an errand there, I suppose?”

“Yes,” William grumbled, eying the luscious pear Mr. Trohm held in his hand.

The look drew a smile from that gentleman.

“Admiring the first fruits?” he observed. “Well, it is a handsome specimen,” he admitted, handing it to me with his own peculiar grace. “I beg you will take it, Miss Butterworth. You look tired; pardon me if I mention it.” (He is the only person I know who detects any signs of suffering or fatigue on my part.)

“I am worried by the mysteries of this lane,” I ventured to remark. “I hate to see Mother Jane’s garden uprooted.”

“Ah!” he acquiesced, with much evidence of good feeling, “it is a distressing thing to witness. I wish she might have been spared. William, there are other pears on the tree this came from. Tie up the horse, I pray, and gather a dozen or so of these for your sisters. They will never be in better condition for plucking than they are to-day.”

William, whose mouth and eyes were both watering for a taste of the fine fruit thus offered, moved with alacrity to obey this invitation, while I, more startled than pleased — or, rather, as much startled as pleased — by the prospect of a momentary tête-Ã-tête with our agreeable neighbor, sat uneasily eying the luscious fruit in my hand, and wishing I was ten years younger, that the blush I felt slowly stealing up my cheek might seem more appropriate to the occasion.

But Mr. Trohm appeared not to share my wish. He was evidently so satisfied with me as I was, that he found it difficult to speak at first, and when he did — But tut! tut! you have no desire to hear any such confidences as these, I am sure. A middle-aged gentleman’s expressions of admiration for a middle-aged lady may savor of romance to her, but hardly to the rest of the world, so I will pass this conversation by, with the single admission that it ended in a question to which I felt obliged to return a reluctant No.

Mr. Trohm was just recovering from the disappointment of this, when William sauntered back with his hands and pockets full.

“Ah!” that graceless scamp chuckled, with a suspicious look at our downcast faces, “been improving the opportunity, eh?”

Mr. Trohm, who had fallen back against his old well-curb, surveyed his young neighbor for the first time with a look of anger. But it vanished almost as quickly as it appeared, and he contented himself with a low bow, in which I read real grief.

This was too much for me, and I was about to open my lips with a kind phrase or two, when a flutter took place over our heads, and the two pigeons whose flight I had watched more than once during the last hour, flew down and settled upon Mr. Trohm’s arm and shoulders.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, with a sudden shrinking that I hardly understood myself. And though I covered up the exclamation with as brisk a good-by as my inward perturbation would allow, that sight and the involuntary ejaculation I had uttered, were all I saw or heard during our hasty drive homeward.

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Last updated Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:57