The Spanish Chest
Edna A. Brown
Part 3 out of 4
hope he'll wipe his fins when he comes in. The last rainy day he
dripped all over the room. I was 'most drowned before we finished.
But it was mean and sneaky of Win to go up to the Manor this
morning. He might have known that I wanted help with my
"Perhaps I can help," offered Frances. Luncheon just over, the
unwelcome Mr. Fisher was due in twenty minutes.
"Oh, you may try," conceded Roger ungraciously. "But if Win stays
up there all night, I'll pay him out."
"Mother thinks from Miss Connie's note that they were doing
something very interesting and she really wanted him," Fran said
lazily, her face pressed against the pane. "How angry and gray the
"I've a great mind to bunk," said Roger gloomily. "It's not fair
for me to work alone all the afternoon."
"Edith and I have been at school all the morning," said the peace-
making Frances. "And Win does work when he can; he never really
"He _likes_ to study," grumbled Roger. "I don't."
"There are so many things you can do that Win can't," reminded his
"Don't preach," retorted Roger, but Fran's comment recalled to his
mind the conversation with Max in the cave. Boy-like, Roger would
not admit even to himself any repentance for his short-comings on
that occasion, but the recollection served to smooth his present
ruffled feelings. Win had worked alone with Bill Fish all that
afternoon and Roger remembered most distinctly how Mr. Max looked
when he said he was going back to Paris and waste no more time.
"Win is having fun, I'm sure," said Fran at length. "Miss Connie
promised Edith and me that we shall come up and sleep in the
haunted room some night if we like."
"What's it haunted by?" demanded Roger.
"She wouldn't tell us. Says if we know, we'll be sure to see
things. But she is going to have a bed put up for herself and come
in with us, so I'm sure it's nothing very dreadful. I'm so glad we
came to Jersey just so we could know Miss Connie."
"Some girl," admitted Roger. "But she can't hold a candle to Mr.
Max. He's a corker."
"He is nice," Frances agreed. "But show me your arithmetic. And
would you like me to sit in the room? Perhaps Mr. Fisher won't be
so fierce if I am there."
"I would not," was her brother's concise reply. "He isn't fierce
either; he's merely flappy. I tell you he _is_ a fish. He looks
exactly like one of those flatfish we catch down in Maine. Eyes
both on one side."
Nothing more unlike the tall, angular Scotch tutor could possibly
have been mentioned, but Fran suppressed a laugh as she inspected
Roger's problems in mathematics.
"Me doing arithmetic!" he groaned. "And Win having the time of his
life at the Manor!"
If not exactly experiencing such bliss, Win was thoroughly
enjoying himself. After luncheon in the charming old Manor dining-
room with a cheerful fire dispelling all gloom caused by the rain
on the windows, the three adjourned to Colonel Lisle's study,
where Win placed upon the table his discovery. The Colonel read it
with great interest.
"Well, that is a valuable document, Win," he admitted. "It is
evidently a page from a letter that Richard Lisle, fourth, wrote
to some one and never sent. I am the ninth Richard, so you see how
far back that was. Of course it refers to the Prince of Wales,
afterwards Charles II of England. It is a curious fact in the
history of the Channel Islands that Guernsey sided with the
Parliament in its dispute with the king, while Jersey remained
royalist to the core. I am under great obligations to you for
discovering this paper, for it proves beyond doubt the legend that
I have always wished to see substantiated, that Prince Charles
came to Laurel Manor."
"Don't you make out, Daddy, that they gave him other clothes and
took him to the castle?" asked his daughter.
"Without doubt. Orgueil, or possibly Castle Elizabeth. I believe
that the consensus of opinion now favors Elizabeth as having been
the prince's refuge."
"What do you make of the rest of it, sir?" asked Win, who was
still beaming with happiness over the Colonel's appreciation. "It
says in so many words that they put something in a chest and hid
it until the trouble was over."
"That much is plain," replied his host thoughtfully. The paper was
spread upon his desk and the young people sat on either side.
Win's attention was distracted for a moment by his view of the
Colonel's distinguished face, the face of an high-bred English
gentleman. With all the impetuosity of his American birth and
training, Win felt the charm of this gentleman of other race and
another generation. He admired the Colonel's complete repose, his
courteous ways and softly modulated voice. They were not in the
least effeminate and the empty sleeve and the little bronze
Victoria cross bore witness that the Colonel was a very gallant
"I think," began Constance, "that Great-great-grandfather Dick and
his 'Sonne' put the prince's clothes and perhaps some other things
in a chest and hid them. Dad, did you ever know of anything
answering to the description of 'ye Spanish chest'?"
The Colonel thoughtfully smoothed his gray mustache. "There is the
box that came from the Armada," he remarked. "But that cannot be
the one referred to, since that belonged to your mother, my dear,
and comes from her side of the house."
"Mummy was Irish," Connie explained to Win. "I'll show you that
box. It really was washed up on the coast of Ireland and has been
in her family for centuries. No, of course, it couldn't be that."
"A Spanish chest does not necessarily mean a relic of the Armada,"
went on the Colonel. "There might possibly be a box of Spanish
workmanship, but I know of none in the Manor to which that
description could be applied. That big black oak chest in the
upper hall is English. The one in my room is Flemish."
"Oh, those are both too big, anyway," declared Constance. "Even
men in a hurry wouldn't take a box as big as those to pack a suit
of clothes in. No, it was something that could be easily carried
and concealed. It takes four servants to move those great arks."
"Then, if there isn't anything in the Manor that answers the
description, don't you believe the chest and the things in it are
still hidden?" Win asked rather shyly, but with keen interest.
The Colonel smiled kindly. "Sorry to quench your enthusiasm, Win,"
he said, "but I doubt it. Prince Charles landed in Jersey in 1646
if my memory serves. Subtract that date from this year of our
Lord. I'm afraid that chest, whatever it was, has long since
emerged from its hiding-place. According to the document here, it
was concealed only till 'happier times should dawne.' Prince
Charlie came to his own again, you remember. This Richard Lisle
died somewhere where about 1675. He lived to see the Restoration,
so surely he or his son brought to light again the things that
there was no longer reason to conceal."
"But, Daddy," said Constance quickly, noticing the look of
disappointment on Win's expressive face. "People forget. Let's
think of all the possibilities. It says some place outside the
walls. And they needed a lantern."
"There is the cave, daughter, at the edge of the Manor estates,
but you know all about that. Why, I know that cave myself, I was
going to say, every grain of sand in it."
"That's true," admitted Connie. "And of course in all the
centuries, numbers of people have been there."
"Considering the brisk trade in smuggling that was done in Jersey
during the 1700's, I think the chances of finding anything in the
Manor cave are very small," agreed her father. "There is one
thing, though, we might look at."
As he spoke, he rose and produced his keys. Swinging back a
portrait on hinges, he disclosed a small safe built into the wall.
Win was silent through interest in this novel way of concealing a
strong-box, but Constance jumped up.
"What are you looking for. Daddy? Oh, the plans of the Manor."
"You see," said the Colonel to Win as he sat clown again, a
discolored roll of papers in his hand, "the original Manor house
has been added to from time to time. Let us see what it comprised
in the days when Richard Lisle read his Psalter and wrote his
letter. It is possible that something then outside the wall may
now be inside the house."
"There's a number of queer things about this old place," said
Connie, sharing Win's look of expectation. "Max and I have run a
good many of them to earth, but there may be something yet.
Certainly we never stumbled on any Spanish chest."
The two young people helped the Colonel spread the plans and
arrange paper-weights to keep them flat.
"This comprises not only the house itself but the grounds," he
began. "They run as you see to the cliffs of the bay. The cave is
"I never knew that," said Win. "Is it large?"
"Nothing like Plémont or even La Grecq," Constance replied. "Those
are the show caves of Jersey. There are many as big as ours. It's
a rather rough walk, Win, and the cave is accessible only at low
tide. I did say something about it once to Edith and Frances, but
they didn't understand, and after they were caught by the tide, I
thought it would be better for them not to know of it. You see one
can get shut in till the next low water. There's no danger because
the vault is so high that the tide doesn't fill it. In fact, Max
deliberately stopped there once."
"Was he shut in?" asked Win.
"No," said the Colonel smiling. "He was annoyed with me and took
that method of expressing his displeasure. I fancy he was a trifle
surprised that no fuss was made over his exploit. You see, I knew
he was perfectly safe. Connie, I think that path is possible for
Win some day when the weather and tide both serve. Well, this is
the extent of the original house. It includes this wing where we
are and the main portion. These shaded partitions show distinctly
where later additions have been made."
"What is this tiny dotted line across the grounds?" Win inquired.
"That? It is a footpath toward the shore and the gardener's
cottage. I should say that the present path curves more, but that
is its direction in general."
Win was puzzled by this explanation. Why should only one of the
Manor paths be marked? That it was the sole one existing at the
time the plans were drawn seemed scarcely possible.
"That 'safe place,' if it was outside the walls in those days
would probably have been somewhere underground," commented Connie,
after the map had been exhaustively discussed. "That might mean
that it is now in the cellars somewhere. Dad, have we your
permission to explore all the subterranean caverns?"
"If there are any that you haven't already investigated," said the
amused Colonel. "I didn't suppose there was a square inch of the
place that you and Max hadn't by heart."
"I thought so, too," said Constance, "but if Win's theories are
correct, there must be something we have overlooked. What do you
say about an exploration, Win?"
"Oh, I should like nothing better," said Win eagerly. "It will be
great sport to hunt for that chest. And it's so interesting to
look around a house that has been in the same family for
"There has been a Richard Lisle of Laurel Manor for over four
hundred years," said the Colonel rather sadly. "I am the last of a
"The only solution," said Constance quickly, "is for your unworthy
daughter to marry some perfectly insignificant person, who will as
a part of the marriage contract, take the name of Lisle."
"The man who marries my daughter," replied the Colonel with gentle
dignity, "will have an honorable and, I trust, an honored name of
his own to offer her."
"Else he will never get her," commented Connie with charming
impertinence. "Daddy dear, if I could find a man one half as nice
as you are, I'd marry him on the spot! Win, we'll arrange to head
an exploring expedition. It's too cold and spooky in the cellars
to do it this afternoon. We'll plan for a time when Roger and the
girls can share the sport. I wish Max was here, too. He would
simply dote on it"
"I wish he was!" sighed Win. "I was dreadfully disappointed when I
heard he had gone. I think he's about right."
A sudden very charming smile broke over Connie's face. Up to that
time, it had been rather serious. "If we don't solve the problem
before the Easter holidays," she said, "Max will be keen on
running it down. I hope he can come then. He took so long at
Christmas that I'm afraid they'll dock him at Easter, and I shall
be completely desolated if that happens."
"I think he will come," said the Colonel. "In fact he told me he
might be able to get away for an occasional week-end. With a fast
car it is not so far to Granville or even St. Malo and he need
waste no time waiting for the steamer."
Constance suddenly sat up straight. "Max mustn't neglect his
duties," she declared. "Either he has a very indulgent chief or he
Her attitude was so comically severe that Win laughed, and her
father looked up with a smile.
"I can't be responsible for what Max tells his chief," he
remarked, "but I know enough about the diplomatic service to feel
sure he is giving satisfaction."
Constance still looked stern. "It's all right, of course, if he
really earns his week-end," she conceded, "but I won't have him
shirking. In October he was so serious and quiet that I didn't
know what to think of him, but at Christmas he was the same dear
boy he used to be. Didn't you think he was just like his old
The Colonel thus appealed to, returned her smile. "There were
moments," he gravely replied, "when I doubted whether either one
of you was more than sixteen."
IN THE VAULTS
When Win finally appeared at Rose Villa, driven down in a closed
carriage, the tale he related was of sufficient interest to banish
from even Roger's mind the resentment he considered but just,
after his long afternoon with Mr. Fisher. Those hours had been
profitable, did Roger only choose to admit the fact, for the tutor
had managed to galvanize into life the dry bones of an epoch in
history. Roger would not acknowledge it even to himself, but on
that stormy day he came rather near liking Bill Fish.
"That's a most exciting discovery, Win," said Mrs. Thayne when the
tale was concluded. "But I'm afraid I agree with Colonel Lisle
that the chances of finding anything are small, though you will
have fun exploring. It is very kind of the Colonel and Miss Connie
to permit such a troop to invade the Manor."
"I think they are just as interested themselves," Win replied.
"The Colonel was immensely pleased to have that legend confirmed."
Mrs. Thayne looked at him rather wistfully, wondering how much of
the interest displayed by the Manor family was due to sympathy
with Win. No doubt they liked him, for people always did. Well,
she was glad that this unusual experience was coming his way.
"I'm crazy to see that cave!" Frances was saying. "Don't you
remember, Edith, when we first met Miss Connie on the beach, she
said something about looking for caves? I suppose she was thinking
of this one."
"I've been in it," Roger suddenly announced. "Mr. Max took me.
It's a very decent cave but there's only one place where a box
could be hidden, on a sort of ledge above the water. We climbed up
and if there had been so much as a snitch of a chest about, it
couldn't have escaped us."
"You've been _in_ the cave?" demanded Frances, pouncing upon him.
"When did Mr. Max take you? Where were the rest of us? Why didn't
you tell us?"
Roger looked uncomfortable. He had never mentioned that
expedition, not even to his mother during a very serious
conversation on the sin of truancy.
"Oh, I met him on the cliff," he said evasively. "He showed me the
cave and we went swimming. He is a corking swimmer."
"But why didn't you tell us about it?" persisted Frances.
Roger saw no way out. Being a truthful individual he blurted forth
"Because Mr. Max told me not to. He said it wasn't safe and he was
afraid you girls would go fooling around and get caught by the
tide. It isn't a fit place for girls, either!" he added largely.
"It is!" retorted the exasperated Frances. "If it wasn't, Miss
Connie wouldn't have been there."
"I'd wager that Miss Connie did everything Mr. Max did," chuckled
Win. "But the Colonel said to-day that the cave was out of the
question so far as any hidden chest was concerned,--that it
couldn't have escaped discovery all these years. I don't really
expect to find anything, Mother, but it will be great fun to look.
I've always wanted to search for hidden treasure, you know. And
Miss Connie seemed as interested as I was. She has appointed next
Wednesday afternoon to explore the vaults. We are all to come at
three and stay for tea afterwards. At first she suggested that we
have it in the cellars, said it would be nice and cobwebby and
befitting a treasure hunt, but then she remembered that Yvonne was
afraid of spiders and wouldn't fancy taking the tea things down,"
he ended with a laugh.
Win was tired that evening and went upstairs early. When Roger
clattered into the adjoining room half an hour later, his brother
"Oh, you, Roger," he said, "come in here a jiff."
With a terrific yawn, Roger appeared in the doorway. Win was in
bed, a lighted lamp on a table by his pillow.
"Could I get down to that cave?" he asked.
"You could get down," Roger remarked judicially. "It's rather
steep but there's only one bad rock. Still," he added, "if you
waited till the tide was even lower, yon could walk round that.
When we came back from our swim, that bit of cliff was out of
water. It would be some tug crawling up, but you could take it
"I'd give a good deal to get down there," said Win thoughtfully.
"How was it inside? Much climbing? Any place where a box could be
tucked out of sight?"
Roger proceeded to describe the interior of the cave, arousing
Win's interest still more.
"I don't suppose there's hide nor hair of that chest around," he
admitted, "but all the same, I want to take a look. The tide is
full every morning now and it will be the end of the week before
we can get down. As soon as we can, I wish you'd do the pilot
"Oh, I'll show you," assented Roger, again yawning prodigiously.
"I don't take any special stock in this hidden chest, but the cave
is fine and I'll like to take a whack at the Manor cellars. Are
you going to burn that lamp all night?"
"I am going to read for a while," said his brother, taking a book
from under his pillows. "Shut the door into your room if it annoys
"It doesn't," answered Roger. "I can see to undress by it better
than with my candle. Ridiculous to have only candles in bedrooms!
Mother would give me Hail Columbia if I read in bed the way you
Win suppressed a sigh. "Mother knows I read only when I can't
sleep," he said shortly. "You may not believe it, but I'd much
Wednesday afternoon found an expectant quartette walking up the
Manor road, slowly because Win paused occasionally to regain
breath, but there were so many lovely things to look at that no
delay seemed irksome. To begin with were fascinating cottages with
neat little box-edged gardens and straw-thatched roofs; curious
evergreen trees with stiff jointed branches known locally as
monkey-puzzles; there were pretty children, some of whom waved
hands of recognition; there were skylarks singing in the blue
above, their happy notes falling like musical rain; there were big
black and white magpies and black choughs, rooks and corbies, now
known to the young people by their English names. And always there
were glimpses of the ever-changing, changeless sea.
Roger, who had gradually forged ahead, remained leaning over a low
cottage wall until the others came up. In the yard sat a woman
milking one of the pretty, soft-eyed Jersey cows, but what held
Roger's fascinated attention was her milk-pail.
Instead of the ordinary tin receptacle familiar to Roger during
country summers, she had an enormous copper can with a fat round
body, rather small top and handle at one side like a bloated milk-
jug. Over the top was tied loosely a piece of coarse cloth and on
this rested a clean sea shell. Streams of milk directed into the
shell slowly overflowed its edges to strain through the cloth and
subside gently into the can.
"That's something of a milk pail," observed Roger approvingly.
"It's just like the hot-water jugs Annette brings in the morning,"
said Frances, "only ten times bigger. Wouldn't it be lovely for
goldenrod and asters? I'm going to ask Mother to buy one."
"Pretty sight you'll be walking up the dock at Boston with that on
your arm," jeered Roger. "It will never go in any trunk and you'll
have to carry it everywhere you go. You needn't ask me to lug it,
"It can be crated and sent that way," said Frances calmly.
"Those hot-water jugs make me tired," Roger went on as they
continued their walk. "I'm sick to death of having a quart of
lukewarm water in a watering-pot dumped at my door every morning.
Think of the hot water we have at home, gallons and gallons of it,
steaming, day or night!"
Edith looked politely incredulous. "How can that be?" she asked.
"Do you keep coals on the kitchen fire all night?"
"Coals!" snorted Roger. "All we have to do is to turn a faucet and
that lights a heater and the water runs hot as long as you leave
it turned on. No quart pots for us!"
"But surely," said Edith, "only very wealthy people can have
luxuries like that."
"We're not made of money but we have it," retorted Roger. "Even
workmen have hot-water heaters in their houses."
From Edith's face it was plain that she frankly didn't believe him
and Win tried to make matters better.
"You see, Edith," he explained, "it is much more difficult in the
United States to get satisfactory servants and so we have all
sorts of clever mechanical devices that make it easier to manage
with fewer maids."
Edith's brow cleared. "Oh, I see," she said. "I thought there must
be some reason. Of course, if we needed them, we would have such
arrangements in England."
"England," declared Roger bluntly, "in ways of living is about two
hundred years behind the United States!"
"Roger!" exclaimed the shocked Frances.
"Cut it out!" ordered Win.
"It's true, anyway," retorted the annoyed Roger, "and there's
another thing. We licked England for keeps in the Revolutionary
"Only because you were English yourselves!" flashed Edith before
Roger's scandalized family could remind him of his forgotten
This retort disconcerted Roger and delighted Win.
"You've hit the nail on the head, Edith," he declared approvingly.
"England could never have been beaten except by her own sons. And
England's navy has always ruled the seas."
"How about Dewey wiping out the Spanish fleet at Manila?" demanded
Roger still huffily,
"That reminds me," said Win coolly. "I believe it was an English
admiral who backed Dewey up at Manila when the Germans tried to
butt in. After that battle somebody wrote a poem about it and
wrote the truth, too. This is what he said:
"'Ye may trade by land, ye may fight by land,
Ye may hold the land in fee;
But go not down to the sea in ships
To battle with the free;
For England and America
Will keep and hold the sea!'"
As Win concluded, Edith's high color lessened and Roger looked
less pugnacious. Presently, each stole a sly glance at the other,
both were caught in the act and simultaneously laughed. So the
party reached the Manor without disruption by the way.
Constance, with a soft green sweater over her frock, came to meet
"All ready for the fray? Leave your hats in the hall. You will
need your woollies for we are going where sunlight never comes.
There's good store of candles and two lanterns. Anything else
"A hammer perhaps," suggested Win. "We may want to sound walls."
"A hammer there shall be," and Constance rang the bell to order
it. "Dad says he will come down if we make any startling
discovery, but being an elderly person, he's a bit shy of damp."
Provided with lights and the hammer, the gay party started, filing
through a kitchen so fascinating with its red-bricked floor and
shining copper cooking utensils that Fran found it hard to pass.
Several maids and a jolly cook smiled on them as they vanished
down the cellar stairs.
"I suppose you want to see the oldest part of the Manor vaults,"
Connie said to Win as she led the way with a candle in a brass
reflector. "We shall come back through here."
To Edith and Frances it seemed that they traversed numberless dark
rooms, dry but chilly, some stored with vegetables and barrels,
while others were empty or showed dusky apparitions of old lumber.
Constance stopped at last.
"We are under the library now, Win. This is the original cellar
and you can see how much rougher the workmanship is than in the
Walls were rough and floor uneven, indeed, a part of it was
composed of an outlying ledge of the Jersey granite. Obedient to
suggestion, Roger and the girls began to inspect the walls for
traces of some former exit; Roger by himself, the girls, rather
fearfully, together. Win stood looking at the ledge in the floor.
"That settles there being any hiding-place underneath," he
"Yes," said Connie, "but the paper said 'beyond the walls,' you
know. So wouldn't it more likely be in one of the cellars not
built at that time?"
"Well, probably," assented Win. "But I was looking at the way this
rock runs." He produced a pocket-compass. "It's much thicker at
this end and the direction is approximately north and south. What
is to the east, Miss Connie?"
"Nothing at all. That wall is still the outer one."
"And the wall farthest from the water?" asked Win quickly.
"Then it is the western wall I want," said Win, turning toward it.
Somewhat mystified, Connie watched him make a minute examination,
tapping with the hammer on its entire length.
"I suspect that it's frightfully thick," she said as he stopped,
"What is on the other side?" he inquired. "Is this whole partition
now included in the house?"
Constance led the way to the opposite side of the wall. There lay
a large apartment, dimly lighted, but of better workmanship and
finish. Win went immediately to the eastern side of this cellar
and bestowed upon the partition stones the same minute inspection.
"This wall must really be several feet through," he observed to
the watching Constance.
"Probably. But I don't see, Win, what you are trying to get at."
"I hardly know myself, Miss Connie. It's just an idea I had. This
would have been the wall nearest the cave. You see I'm not used to
having a cave as a sort of household annex, so I can't help
thinking it may figure yet in this business."
Connie shook her head. "Perhaps it did once," she said. "Only that
cave is more or less common property; many people know of it. We
can be sure of one thing; that nothing will be found in it now.
How about this floor?"
Win left the wall to inspect by aid of his lantern the huge,
roughly-squared blocks forming the cellar floor. Damp, dark and
numerous they showed under the light.
"It's possible that any one might conceal some cavity," said
Connie. "But that one would surely differ in some way from the
others. Let us spread out and inspect them. Anybody who finds a
flag in any way peculiar, speak."
Constance herself began to peer at the stone flooring, not at all
because she expected to find anything in the least unusual, but
because she did not want disappointment to fall upon Win too
quickly. If he really searched thoroughly, he would be better
satisfied to acknowledge the quest as useless.
Among the many scenes those centuries-old walls had looked upon,
it is a question whether they had witnessed so gay a sight as the
five young people, wandering slowly up and down the uneven floor,
looking for some stone raised higher or sunken lower than the
others, more carefully fitted; perhaps, though this could scarcely
be hoped, provided with an iron ring for a handle.
Nothing happened. No two of the many flags were alike, yet none
seemed of sufficient distinction to mark it as worth further
investigation. All looked as though they had never been moved.
The other and more recent cellars received scanty attention. Of
lesser age, they were also cleaner, drier and better lighted.
"Our adventure seems fruitless" sighed Connie as they stood at
last among bins and bottles near the kitchen stairs. "Why, where
Both Frances and Roger started back, ashamed to have forgotten him
if only for a moment. Suppose poor Win had had one of his attacks
alone back there in that shadow-filled vault!
Win was found in the original cellar of the old Manor, not pacing
the floor or tapping the stones, but meditatively staring at one
of its walls, not the one he had devoted so much attention to, but
the northern boundary.
"What luck?" asked Connie as they came in, relieved at sight of
"None," said Win, turning to her with curiously bright eyes. "But,
Miss Connie, do you think your father would show me those plans
"Why, of course he will. Has some idea struck you?"
"I don't quite know," said Win. "But I should like to see the
plans and perhaps some other day, you'll let me come down here
again for a few moments."
THE HAUNTED ROOM
"There is a letter for you, Miss Edith," said Nurse as the girls
came in from school, the next Saturday. "It is for Miss Frances,
"For us both?" exclaimed Frances. "Where from?"
"Pierre brought it from the Manor," replied Nurse.
"I can't get over there being no telephones in the houses here,"
remarked Frances, snatching off her hat. "Imagine having to send a
man with a note instead of just taking down a receiver and
talking. Not to have telephones is so very English."
"The English don't hold much with new inventions, Miss," Nurse
agreed. "What was good enough for those before us does us very
"I know it!" sighed Fran, "but think of the _convenience_ of a
Edith was holding a dainty square note bearing the inscription:
"Miss Edith Pearce,
À la main de Pierre."
"From Miss Connie, of course," said Edith delightedly. Each took a
corner of the enclosed card and with several little squeals of
amused pleasure, Frances read it aloud.
"Miss Lisle presents her compliments to Miss Pearce and Miss
Thayne and requests them to grant her the favor of attending
a meeting of the Society for the Suppression of Ghosts to be
held in the haunted room of Laurel Manor this evening at ten.
Beds provided at 9:45 (Ghost _not_ guaranteed to appear).
Very best nighties because of looking pretty for spooks.
Breakfast any old hour."
Screaming with delight, Edith ran to find Estelle, Frances for her
"But I don't know that I want you to sleep in a room that has the
reputation of being haunted, Edith," protested Estelle. "Will Mrs.
Thayne permit Frances to go?"
"Oh, Sister, there's some joke about it," pleaded Edith. "There
must be, because Miss Connie always laughs whenever the ghost is
mentioned. And would her father let her sleep in that room if it
was anything to frighten people? Oh, Star, it will be such fun!"
Up-stairs, Frances was besieging her amused mother. Two minutes
later, the girls met in the hall, dancing with glee, for each
might go were the other permitted.
"Dinner at the Manor, too!" sighed Frances. "What bliss!"
Neither Estelle nor Mrs. Thayne had much peace from then until it
was time to start. Finally the hour arrived and the family
assembled in the hall to see them off, Win interested and Roger
openly envious. "I'd like a chance at that ghost just once," he
vowed. "I'd settle him."
"Perhaps later, Miss Connie will invite you boys," said Edith.
"Why, here's Pierre. Oh, he's come for our bags."
To have a servant sent for their light luggage again struck
Frances as most charmingly English, and two very happy girls waved
farewell to Rose Villa as they turned out of the terrace.
In the great hall of the Manor, Constance greeted them,
ceremoniously enough, but with mysterious smiles and twinkles. In
person she conducted them to a pretty guest-room near her own
"We won't invade the ghost's domain until time for bed," she
announced gayly. "You'll find a bath adjoining and would you like
Paget to do your hair or fasten your dinner frocks?"
"We will help each other," said Edith, as full of twinkles as
"Then I will dress and come for you in about half an hour."
"Isn't Miss Connie the dearest thing!" said Edith enthusiastically
as the door closed. "I never saw anybody just like her before."
"Mother thinks her charming," replied Frances, brushing her curly
hair. "Edith, do you suppose we shall ever know the truth about
that story of the Italian prince?"
"It doesn't seem as though it were true," observed Edith. "Or at
least, as though she cared very much if she had to break her
engagement, for she is always so gay and happy."
The face that was looking just then from the mirror in Connie's
room did not precisely correspond to these adjectives, but the
young mistress of the Manor was the daughter of a brave soldier
and the descendant of a long line of gallant gentlemen. Those slow
weeks since Christmas that Constance crowded with gayety were
bringing gradual healing. The heart under the fluffy frock she
slipped on to-night was not so heavy as the one under the white
gown worn that day when she stood by Win in the Manor library and
watched the boat for St. Malo leave the harbor.
Frances and Edith were ready when she came for them, also prettily
dressed in white.
"Nice little English flappers," Constance remarked approvingly.
"Why, what is the matter with Frances?"
"I don't know what a flapper is," confessed Frances, sure however,
that it could be nothing very dreadful.
Constance laughed and patted the brown cheek. "Merely a jolly
little English school girl with her hair down her back. Yours is
tidily braided but Edith looks the typical flapper."
She took a hand of each and three abreast they went down to the
hall where Colonel Lisle was standing in a soldierly attitude
before the fire. He greeted them with charming courtesy, offered
Fran his arm and conducted her to the dining-room.
Both girls were supremely happy, Edith quietly so, Frances fairly
radiating enjoyment in the stately room with its fine old
portraits and windows open to admit the sweet odors of myrtle and
"Don't think the Island winters are all as mild as this," the
Colonel was saying as Yvonne removed the soup plates. "I have seen
both snow and hail in Jersey and sometimes we have extremely cold
weather. But you were asking, Frances, why French is the official
language here. The Channel Islands came to the English crown with
William the Conqueror, and have always remained one of the crown
properties. So while the islanders are English they have French
blood in their veins and each island has retained its peculiar
historic customs, the official use of French being one. When
Normandy was regained by France, the islands remained with England
and though Jersey was frequently attacked and sometimes invaded by
the French they never held more than a portion of it temporarily.
Indeed, so much was a Norman or French invasion feared, that the
islanders inserted in the Litany an additional petition: 'From the
fury of the Normans, good Lord, deliver us!'"
"We have seen the tablet in the Royal Square, marking the spot
where Major Pierson fell in the battle of Jersey," said Edith, who
shared Win's liking for history.
"Ah, in 1781. That was the last French invasion. Speaking of the
Royal Square," the Colonel went on, "there is a curious custom
connected with the Royal Court there, that might interest you. Any
person with a grievance relating to property has a right to come
into a session of the court and call aloud upon Rollo the Dane.
The Cohue Royale,--the Court,--_must_ listen and _must_ heed. That
is a very ancient relic of Norman rule in the Island. Oh, no, it
is seldom resorted to. One does not lightly call Prince Rollo to
one's aid. That is the final appeal when all other justice fails."
Yvonne, who was waiting upon the table, reappeared from a brief
absence with a beaming face.
"It is Monsieur Max who arrives," she said confidentially to
"Max!" exclaimed Connie. "Why, how nice! Sha'n't he come directly,
Dad? Tell him not to dress, Yvonne."
"By all means, tell him to come as he is," said the Colonel, his
face lighting with pleasure at this news.
"Pardon, m'sieur," said Yvonne. "Monsieur Max already hastens to
his room and says the dinner shall not delay, that he shall be
"Max can be fast," said Constance smiling. "Well, we will dawdle
over our fish. I never thought of his coming," she went on,
watching Yvonne as she deftly laid another place beside Frances.
"This must be one of the week-ends he promised. I wonder why he
didn't warn us?"
"I suppose there was no time to do so," said the Colonel. "Max
knows he is welcome at any hour."
Max was "queeck." The fish was only just finished when he came
quietly into the room, dressed for dinner and looking not in the
least as though he had recently stepped from a steamer. Edith and
Frances watched eagerly. If they were still in deep ignorance
concerning Miss Connie's Italian prince, this was surely their
chance to discover how matters stood between their adored little
lady and Mr. Max.
Disappointment awaited them, for nothing could have been more
commonplace than the greeting exchanged. Even the fancy of
fourteen years could not construe Constance's "Hello, old boy!"
and Max's nonchalantly offered hand into the slightest foundation
for a romance. So far as outward appearances went Max was much
more affectionate towards the Colonel, who did not disguise his
marked pleasure at seeing him.
With gay words for both girls, the newcomer slid into his seat.
"I'm as hungry as a hunter, Connie," he announced. "Soup, Yvonne?
Anything and everything that's going. Oh, it was rather a rough
crossing, but it merely gave me an appetite. Where are the boys?
Couldn't they come to this exclusive dinner? Or am I butting in
"You are," replied Constance mischievously, "but for Dad's sake,
we will forgive you. The boys are not here for the simple reason
that they were not invited. Having fortified ourselves with strong
meat, the girls and I are going to brave the Manor ghost to-
Darkness had fallen and with it a sense of the eerie over Fran.
She was distinctly relieved to hear Max laugh at this announcement.
"Do you really want to see the ghost?" he asked, turning to her.
"Crazy to," was Fran's prompt reply. "I wouldn't dare stay alone
in that room, but with Miss Connie and Edith, I sha'n't be afraid.
Indeed, I want dreadfully to see the ghost."
"You know yourself, Max, that it doesn't materialize every time it
is invoked," began Constance.
"I know it," said Max. "I only wanted to ascertain how keen the
spook-hunters are. I slept in that room once for two weeks when
the house was full and became much attached to his ghost-ship."
"So I told the girls," replied Constance with equal gravity.
Edith and Frances were looking at each other in puzzled
bewilderment but Max suddenly changed the subject. His eye had
fallen upon Grayfur, the big cat that had purred himself into the
room in the shelter of Yvonne's skirts.
"Hello, old chap!" he said, snapping his fingers. "Do you like
"No," confessed Frances. "I love dogs. Edith is the one who likes
pussies. She is always bringing stray kittens home."
For some reason this statement seemed to amuse Max. To the
surprise of the girls, he and Constance exchanged a smile.
Ten o'clock struck before Edith and Frances found themselves,
after a happy evening, again in the pretty guest-room.
"Miss Connie, I am afraid you weren't ready to come up," said
thoughtful Edith. "Didn't you want to stop longer with your father
and Mr. Max?"
"Max doesn't leave until Tuesday morning," Constance replied. "Dad
will love to have him all to himself for a good talk and smoke,
and if Max has anything especial to say to me, there will be
plenty of opportunities. I'm quite glad to come up."
When she came for them, the girls were ready and the little
procession started, three kimonoed figures each bearing a lighted
candle along the echoing halls to the haunted room above the
library. Electricity had not trailed its illuminating coils above
the first floor of the house so the big apartment looked spooky
and shadowy enough, the candles placed on the mantel, quite lost
in immense distances. Three white cots stood side by side in its
"First, we will fasten the door securely," said Constance, suiting
the action to the word. "Then we will take this electric torch and
look about a bit."
Careful inspection showed the room undoubtedly tenantless, the
handsome old-fashioned furniture offering no hiding-place for any
intruder. Like the library below, its walls were of paneled oak,
with three large portraits set into the wood-work. One, a Lisle of
Queen Elizabeth's time, looked down benignly, attired in doublet
"Miss Connie, how shall we know what to look for or expect?" asked
Frances when the three were settled in their beds, lights out and
the room illuminated only by the moon.
"It wouldn't be wise to tell you," said Constance mysteriously.
"All I'll say is that it is nothing at all disturbing or
frightful. The few people who have seen or heard anything never
knew at the time that it was a ghost."
"But you will tell us in the morning?" asked Edith.
"Yes," replied their hostess. "I will tell you then, whether you
see anything or not, and very likely you will not. But if you want
to have the creeps and would truly enjoy them, I'll tell you
something that really happened to me once in Italy."
"Oh, do, do!" begged both girls in unison. "That would be simply
perfect," added Edith, sitting up in bed, her fair hair floating
about her shoulders and turning her more than ever into the
likeness of an angel.
"Some years ago, when I was about your age," began Constance
slowly, "Dad and Mother and I were traveling in southern Italy,
and Max was with us. He was with us a great deal, you know. We
stopped one night at an old hotel that had once been a monastery,
though it was different from the usual monasteries because it was
a place where sick monks came to be cured and to rest.
"The location was wonderful, on a cliff overlooking the sea and
though the place had been altered for the purposes of a hotel, it
was still a good bit churchly. The partitions between the cells
had been knocked out and additions built, but the hotel dining-
room was the old refectory with stone walls and floor, and the
wonderful garden was much as the monks left it. Such roses you
never saw and such climbing vines and flowering trees. Oh, there's
no place like Italy!"
Constance stopped. The moonlight falling across her bed touched
her face into almost unearthly beauty.
"We had connecting rooms that night," she went on. "Dad and Mother
took the corner one with two beds. Next was a tiny room where I
was to sleep and Max's was beyond mine. All were originally cells
opening on a terrace, covered with roses and passion-flowers and
looking down to the sea, which was shining with little silver
"We'd had an especially happy day and I was so keyed up with
enjoyment that I couldn't go to sleep right away, but lay looking
out at the flowers and the waves. Mother went through to see that
Max was all right and then came back to kiss me. She closed the
door into his room, but left open the one from mine into hers.
"I remember hearing Mother and Dad laugh a little about something
and I suppose I went to sleep, because I woke very suddenly with a
start, all awake in a minute."
Connie paused, this being the proper moment for a thrill. "What do
you think I saw?" she asked impressively.
"Oh, I can't imagine!" gasped Frances, shivering in delighted
anticipation. "Do go on!"
"Have you chills down your spine!" laughed Constance. "In the
moonlight right beside my bed, I saw a monk, dressed in white, the
usual robe of the Dominicans. He had a wise, kind face, with a
pleasant expression, and as I looked at him, he took my wrist very
gently, and put his finger on my pulse."
"Oh-h!" said Edith, pulling the covers about her more tightly.
"Oh, Miss Connie, what did you do?"
"That frightened me," said Connie. "Up to that time, I noticed
only his pleasant, gentle look, but it seemed as though a bit of
ice touched me and I gave a scream that brought Mother and Dad up
standing. Of course, when they came hurrying in, nobody was
visible. I made a big fuss, presumably because I wanted to be
petted and coddled.
"I told them about the monk and Dad at once thought that Max had
been playing a joke on me. He stepped into Max's room, intending
to be severe, but Max was sound asleep and besides, the door into
his room squeaked so that he couldn't possibly have opened it
without waking us all.
"Then they said I had the nightmare. Perhaps I did," said
Constance with a smile, "but I can see yet the kindly face of that
old monk. I didn't want to stay in my room, so Dad told me to go
in with Mother and he'd take my bed. We all settled ourselves
"I was asleep or nearly so, feeling so comfy and safe in my bed
close to Mother's when suddenly she sat up straight and said
'Richard!' in such an odd, startled tone. I woke and heard poor
Dad piling out of bed again to come into our room. Mother sat
there looking very troubled and holding one wrist in the other
hand. She didn't say anything more,--neither of them did,--but I
knew perfectly well that the old monk had been feeling her pulse."
"And what happened in the morning?" demanded Frances breathlessly.
"Nothing at all," said Constance cheerfully. "In the morning
everything was beautiful and lovely as in no other country but
Italy. Mother and I merely agreed that we had an odd dream. We did
not stay a second night, for we were on our way back to Rome."
"Did you ever hear anything more about the monk?" asked Edith.
"Years after," said Connie dreamily, "we met some Americans in
Switzerland who told us of a similar experience in this hotel.
Later, I learned that Dad found out at the time that the place was
reputed to be haunted by an old monk physician who turns up at
intervals and feels people's pulses, and is often seen pottering
about the garden in broad daylight. Monks are such a common sight
in Italy that the hotel guests stop and converse with him,
thinking him a gardener and never suspecting that he is a ghost."
"But the Manor ghost isn't like that?" asked Edith, who wanted
"Not a bit," said Constance. "As for that, there was nothing so
very frightful or repellent about the monk. Don't you think we
should go to sleep now and give his spookship his innings?"
The girls agreed and silence fell over the big room with its three
white beds. Outside the open casements a vine waved within Fran's
line of vision, tapping gently against a window pane.
Presently a slight sound caught Fran's wakeful ear, as of steps on
a somewhat unfamiliar stair where it was necessary to grope one's
way. Touching Edith's shoulder, she sat up in bed. They had
entered the haunted room by a door now locked, opening on a big
stone staircase; these steps seemed upon muffled wood.
Next moment there came a sudden convulsive sneeze that sounded in
her very ear. Frances gasped but Constance sat up laughing.
"No fair!" she exclaimed.
For a second there was absolute silence, then somebody laughed,
extremely close at hand, though yet behind a partition. The laugh
was followed by the soft sound of retreating footsteps.
"What happened, Miss Connie?" begged Edith.
"No ghost," said their hostess merrily. "I had forgotten. That was
clever of Max."
Silence again followed for a period, succeeded by the sound of
music in the garden below the windows, soft and very sweet.
"Oh, is _that_ the ghost?" demanded Frances in great excitement.
"Your mother will bless me for letting you stop awake all night,"
said Constance. She sat up, wrapped a white robe about her and
stuck her feet into slippers. Upon the music came the sudden
unearthly miaow of a cat.
The noise sounded directly in the room and all three girls jumped.
Constance laughed again.
"I might have known Max did not come into that passage for
nothing," she sighed. "Where's that electric torch?"
Having turned on the flash-light, Connie approached the large oil
painting set into one side of the gloomy room, its base about a
foot above the floor. She touched a knob on its frame and the
portrait became a door opening outward and revealing a narrow,
dusty winding stair descending to the floor below. On its top step
sat the big cat, just opening its mouth for another howl.
"Come in, Grayfur," said Constance. "Max brought you, didn't he?
If he hadn't sneezed and given himself away, he'd have opened the
door a crack and let you in."
"Is it a secret stair?" asked Frances, her eyes big with
excitement. "Where does it go? Wouldn't Roger be crazy over it?"
"We will let him go up it," answered Connie, swinging the portrait
into place again. "The passage comes out below in the library. Max
thought he would provide one ghost anyway."
Putting the cat into the hall, she locked the door again and then
stuck her pretty head from the window.
"Max," she said severely, addressing the unseen musician, "you are
spoiling your fiddle and breaking your promise. You said you
wouldn't be silly. Go to bed now like a good boy."
The fiddle responded with two ear-splitting squawks.
"Stop it!" commanded Constance. "There goes a string and it serves
you quite right. You'll have the bobbies coming to investigate if
you don't leave off."
The unappreciated serenader appeared squelched by this threat, for
complete silence followed.
"Nothing more is at all likely to happen tonight," said Constance,
coming back to bed. "And I hope Max will go properly to his room.
Now go to sleep, girlies, and in the morning, I'll tell you how
the Manor ghost disports itself."
THE MANOR GHOST
In spite of a firm intention to remain awake, Frances soon fell
into quiet slumber and knew nothing more until the next morning.
February dawns in England are dark, but when she finally opened
her eyes, the room was faintly lighted by the coming sun and her
watch told her that it was after eight.
Edith still seemed asleep, but from the bed at the left, Connie
smiled back at her. For some reason known only to herself, their
gay little hostess had decreed that Frances should take the centre
"Awake?" she whispered. "How's Edith? Is she still off?"
As though she heard her name, Edith stirred, turned over and
finally rose on one elbow.
"Did you sleep well?" asked Constance. "We needn't get up unless
you like. When we are ready, Yvonne is to bring us breakfast in my
sitting-room. We'll wash and put on boudoir caps and eat _en
At this delightful programme both girls became wide awake in an
"And you will tell us about the ghost?" asked Frances.
"I will," replied Constance, sitting up and gathering her pretty
kimono about her, a lovely white Japanese crepe embroidered in
gold with fire-eating dragons of appalling size. One stretched
across the front as she fastened the folds. The girls also rose
and put on their dressing-gowns. Unlocking the door, Constance
looked into the hall.
"I'll just see that the coast is clear before the procession
forms," she remarked. "Daddy's rooms are down-stairs but Max's is
on our way. I'm quite sure though that he and Dad are already out,
for Dad likes to attend early service and Max has probably gone
with him like a dutiful young man."
As the three started, Edith turned to glance searchingly around.
"What are you looking for?" asked Frances.
"For the pussy," replied Edith, hurrying to overtake them. "I
thought there was one in the room."
"Miss Connie put it out," said Frances, laughing. "Wake up,
As Edith spoke, Constance stopped to look at her rather oddly,
then went on quickly.
"When you are ready, come to my sitting-room," she said on
reaching their door. "It is at the end of this hall."
When the girls appeared ten minutes later, Constance was yet
invisible. In the sitting-room a table stood before a couch piled
with pillows, and two cushioned chairs opened luxurious arms.
"Isn't this the dearest room," said Frances appreciatively as she
settled herself. "I suppose this is Miss Connie's own especial
place where no one comes without an invitation."
In some respects the room was very unlike the sanctum of the
average girl. While not lacking in the daintiness bestowed by
fresh flowers, gay chintz and white draperies, it contained a
number of objects not often seen in a boudoir. On a teakwood stand
in one corner, against the background of a valuable Oriental rug
in shimmering greens and blues, sat a curious Indian idol.
Constance's desk might once have been used by some Italian
princess in the days of Dante, and above it hung a beautiful
silver lamp that could well cause envy in the breast of Aladdin.
Pictures and ornaments alike spoke of wanderings in distant lands
and from their unusual individuality indicated a wide range of
interest in their possessor.
The door into the adjoining bedroom opened and Constance came out
attired in a lounging-robe that made both girls gasp with
"Oh, Miss Connie," Frances exclaimed, "what a beautiful kimono.
And what color is it?"
"Guess," said Constance merrily. "For a long time I didn't know
myself what to call it."
"It isn't blue nor gray," said Edith admiringly.
"Nor green nor violet," added Frances reflectively, "and yet it is
all of them. I've seen something like it but I can't think what."
"I suppose only an Oriental artist could conceive such a
combination," said Constance, ringing the bell for Yvonne and then
curling into a little heap on the couch. "Dad brought it to me
from Paris and I keep it for very special occasions. I couldn't
make out what color it was but I loved it the minute I opened the
box and I knew you girls would. I've thought very seriously of
having it made into an evening coat, for it is too lovely to be
used only in my room. But about its color. One day this Christmas
vacation I was feeling a bit poorly, so I had tea up here and let
Dad and Max come. I slipped on this robe to receive them in state
and the minute Max saw it, he told me what it was like. The thing
is in plain sight."
The girls glanced about the room. Edith's eyes lingered for a
second on a brass bowl full of blue hyacinths, but passed on.
"I have it!" exclaimed Frances, noticing a slight inclination of
Connie's fair head toward the open casement. "It's the color of
"Right!" said Constance. "The moment Max said so, I knew it. He
did it very prettily, too, with some remark about the 'lady from
the sea.' The silk really does change and shade as the water under
storm and sun."
There came a tap and Yvonne, bearing a most tempting tray, entered
with a smiling "_Bon jour, mes demoiselles._" Fruit, a fat little
chocolate pot sending forth a delicious odor, and flanked by
delicate china and shining silver, whipped cream, marshmallows,
French rolls, sweet unsalted butter and raspberry jam, made the
girls feel hungry at the mere sight. Dainty green and white
snowdrops, tucked here and there by Yvonne's artistic fingers
added the final touch.
"I think this is the greatest fun," said Frances. "Do you always
have your breakfast this way?"
"Bless you, no," replied Constance. "This is an occasional Sunday
morning indulgence. Every other day of the week, I am up, dressed
and in my right mind to breakfast with my Dad. He'd think the
world was coming down about his ears if his Connie wasn't there to
pour his coffee. I warned him that we were going to have a debauch
this morning and he won't care anyway, because he has Max. What
did you mean, Edith, about a cat? Did you dream of Grayfur?"
"Why, no, it wasn't Grayfur," said Edith, dropping a marshmallow
into her chocolate and watching it dissolve. "I thought Mr. Max
succeeded in carrying out his joke. He must have come back much
later and put another pussy in from behind the portrait. I woke
some time in the night, oh, hours after, because the moonlight was
'way across the room, and sitting in it, washing its face, was the
prettiest little half-grown kitten. It was a perfect beauty, white
with a plumy tail. I spoke to it very softly so as not to wake
either of you, and it looked at me and purred but would not come.
I watched it chase its tail for a little and then it jumped in a
big chair and curled itself up to sleep. I suppose it must have
gone out when the door was opened this morning. May we see it
again, Miss Connie? It was much prettier than Grayfur. But do tell
us now about the ghost. We are in such a hurry to hear."
"You know practically all there is to know," said Constance
Both girls stared at her. "What do you mean!" asked Edith. "Is it
a joke? Isn't there any ghost?"
"You know better than I do," replied Constance, tasting her
chocolate critically. "Did you have sugar, Frances? Why, you've
seen the ghost, Edith, which is more than I can say."
Edith's face was a picture of surprise. "_Seen_ it!" she repeated.
"Why, I saw nothing at all."
"I told you, didn't I, that the people who saw the ghost never
knew it at the time? This is the legend. About a century ago, the
Richard Lisle, then owner of the Manor, married a very charming
young wife. He was madly in love with her and was inclined to be
rather jealous. The story runs that he couldn't bear to have her
lavish affection on anything but him, was jealous of her dog and
her horse and even of her flower-garden. Winifred Lisle had a
very pretty white Persian kitten--"
Constance stopped, for Edith's spoon fell with a clatter. "You
don't mean that darling purry little pussy was the _ghost!"_ she
"Listen to the story," Constance went on smiling. "Dick Lisle
objected to even this wee kit since it took some of his Winifred's
time and attention and he gave orders that it was never to be
admitted to the room where they spent the evening, presumably the
library. The kitten disappeared and Winifred mourned for it.
Months later, its little corpse was found on the secret stairs
behind the portrait."
"Then Mr. Max didn't put a cat into the room?" asked Frances
"I think not, unless he took the trouble to bring a white kitten
with him from Paris. Max is quite capable of doing it for a joke,
but he could not know, you see, that we were planning to sleep in
that room last night. And there is no white kitten about the
"Isn't that the oddest story!" said Edith in deep interest. "Why,
Miss Connie, I'm as sure as I am of anything that I saw that pussy
playing in the moonlight. It was the sweetest little thing and I
did wish it would come and cuddle by me in bed. Is it really a
ghost? How do you account for it?"
"I don't account for it," said Constance. "You can consider it a
pretty dream if you wish. I never saw it and I have a fancy that
it is because I am not fond of cats. When Frances said she did not
like them, I knew that she would not see the little ghost kit
either, and so I wanted you to take the bed nearest the
"That's the most interesting thing that ever happened to me," said
Edith. "I'm so glad I saw it."
"Whether it is imagination or dream, I rather like to think of the
kitten ghost playing so gayly with its tail on moonlight nights,"
said Connie. "No, only three or four people have seen it. The room
is not often used, and like Edith, they supposed it a kitten that
had somehow got in. Well, is the Manor ghost satisfactory?"
"I think it's the dearest thing I ever heard of," said Edith
happily. "But do you suppose that Winifred's husband shut it in
"We'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Cats are always poking
about in odd places. The door in the library may have been open a
crack and the kit gone in to investigate. Once I accidentally shut
a kitten into a drawer in the linen closet. Luckily Paget happened
to open it within an hour and she was surprised enough to find a
pussy there. Now for the rest of the morning. I heard Frances say
that she wanted to hear a church service in French just to see
whether she could follow. If you like, I'll get Max to take us
into town and we will find a French church to attend."
"That would be lovely," declared Fran enthusiastically. "I really
believe I could understand quite a little now."
"Thank you, Miss Connie," said Edith. "I'm afraid I ought to go
home. Fran can stay just as well as not, but Sister depends upon
me to go to church with her. I always do, you know."
Edith colored and looked uncomfortable, feeling that perhaps she
was being ungracious.
"You're a good little sister," said Constance quickly. "And you
would not care so much as Frances because you have always spoken
French. I imagine Dad will go to St. Aubin's and he'll take you
home. I'll make Max go with us."
Max was perfectly willing to play escort, but looked dubious when
Constance declared her intention of stopping at a tiny French
church just inside the town of St. Helier's. "Have you ever been
here?" he demanded.
"No," admitted Constance. "Of course we might go to the Convent of
St. André. I forgot, though, they wouldn't let you in. Frances
only wants to hear a sermon in French and this will answer very
Max still looked disapproving. "You won't like it," he said. "It's
a queer, non-conformist sect of some kind. There's a place the
other side of town where they have the Church of England service
in French. Let's go there."
"Why not stop here?" persisted Constance. "More exciting when one
doesn't know what's coming next."
"One may get more than one bargains for," commented Max. "Connie,
I have a premonition that we'll land in some mess."
Connie made a delightful little face. "Come in," she said to
Frances. "I was under the impression that we invited Max to escort
When Frances returned home from church, she was distressed to find
Win in bed.
"He overdid yesterday," said Mrs. Thayne in reply to her anxious
questioning. "I can't discover exactly what happened, but he and
Roger were out together and Win walked too far. That's all he will
admit. No, he isn't as badly off as sometimes, and says he only
needs a rest. Come up in his room, Fran, to tell your adventures."
To Fran's eyes Win looked decidedly ill when she saw him lying
against his pillows, but he evaded all inquiries and demanded to
know about the Manor ghost.
"That wasn't the end of our experiences," Frances went on
laughing, when the events of the night had been thoroughly
discussed. "We had a funny time in that little church. Mr. Max
didn't want to go there in the beginning, but Miss Connie
insisted. Inside, it didn't look much like a church for it was a
great bare room, with not many people present. The usher made us
sit rather far front, so we had a good view of the minister, who
was a little man with black hair that stood straight up, and his
manner was very excited.
"The service seemed unusual for different people kept getting up
and talking. I couldn't understand much and Mr. Max looked annoyed
and Miss Connie amused. Finally a boy about my age began to speak.
He wore the oddest vest and trousers of rose-pink sateen plaided
with purple. We could see distinctly because the minister made him
come out in front and face the people. Well, the clothes he had on
were enough to make any one smile, but when he finished speaking,
the minister bounced out of the pulpit and kissed him on both
cheeks! He did, honest!" Fran insisted in answer to Roger's
whistle of incredulity.
"I don't know what would have happened next, for the service was
really very strange, but when the minister kissed that boy, Mr.
Max gave a little grunt and took up his hat. I was sitting between
them, and he leaned forward and said in such a disgusted tone, 'My
word, Connie, _will_ you come?'
"I think Miss Connie was trying not to laugh but I guess she'd had
enough herself for she rose and we went out very quietly so as not
to disturb anybody.
"When we reached the street," Frances went on, "Mr. Max was so
funny. He didn't say a word, only stalked along looking quite
cross. Miss Connie sat down on a wall and laughed till she cried.
Then she told Mr. Max to smile and show his dimple. But he
wouldn't. I don't see how he could help it when she was so pretty
and sweet. Well, after she laughed some more, she begged him
please to look affectionate.
"At that he couldn't help smiling, and then he asked Miss Connie
if she was ever going to stop getting herself and him into
scrapes. She called him 'old boy' and said she was sorry,--she
wasn't really," Fran interpolated with a wise nod,--"and promised
to stick to the Church of England service ever after. Mr. Max
inquired how much I understood and when I told him only a little,
he said it was lucky. That was certainly a very peculiar church,"
Frances ended reflectively. "I'm quite sure that Mr. Max wanted to
come out long before we did, and that Miss Connie persisted in
staying just to tease him."
Win was smiling over his sister's story, but though he evinced
interest both in the Manor ghost and in the amusing experience
Connie had furnished with her little French church, the point that
most impressed him was Max's presence at the Manor.
"I wish I could see him," he observed. "I want so much to ask a
question or two. Did Miss Connie tell him about the paper I found
and how we explored the vaults and sounded the walls?"
"She did," assented Frances. "We talked about it after dinner. Mr.
Max was as interested as could be and said he was going down
himself to take a look."
"Mother," said Win suddenly. "I really need to see him. Don't you
believe he'd come in for a minute if he knew I was used up so I
couldn't get to the Manor?"
"Indeed, I do," assented Mrs. Thayne. "Write a note, dear. Roger
shall take it for you."
Roger, who for some reason haunted his brother's room in a subdued
mood not at all common to his usual attitude toward life, was very
willing to act as messenger. Toward night, Max appeared at Rose
THE DOTTED LINE
"Sorry you are laid by, old man," Max said cheerfully as he was
shown into Win's room. "Better luck soon."
"It's good of you to come," replied Win, grasping the hand so
cordially offered and relieved to see that the pleasant young face
bore no expression of the sympathetic pity Win so often read in
"Well, my being here is as much of a surprise to me as to any
one," said Max, sitting down by the bed. "On Friday I expected to
spend my Sunday in Paris. But it chanced that I successfully
engineered a rather ticklish job for the Embassy, and the Chief
was pleased. As a figurative pat upon the head he gave me the
week-end off. You should have seen the way my car went to
Granville! Jean drove till we were clear of Paris and then I took
the wheel and things began to hum. From the tail of my eye I could
see Jean devoutly crossing himself whenever we hit the earth, but
we made the boat and didn't so much as run down a hen. I did
wonder that we weren't held up anywhere for exceeding the speed
limit, but the mystery was explained when we reached the Granville
Max stopped with a mischievous laugh. "The Embassy has several
official machines," he explained, "and of course they are so
marked they are easily recognizable. I always use my own car, and
am authorized to sport the Embassy insignia when on official
business. I forgot to remove it before starting and that was why
not a single gendarme did more than salute as we tore past. Good
joke, so long as it ended well, but if we'd come a cropper on the
way, there'd have been rather a row and Max would have stood for
an official wigging, to say the least. Lucky for us that nothing
went wrong. What's done you up, old fellow?"
Win looked at him wistfully. "Just exploring the Manor cave," he
said with a sigh. "I did so want to see it, and I made Roger take
me. I managed to get down all right, but it took over an hour to
climb the cliff. The kid is wild because he thinks he's half-
"Oh, say, that's a shame," said Max. "I wish I'd known that you
wanted to go. Pierre and I could have rigged a rope somehow and
helped you get back."
Win's face just then was pitiful. Max's eyes grew very gentle but
he did not utter one word of sympathy. "I've been led a lively
pace since I reached the Manor," he went on. "Between Connie's
ghost hunt and the extraordinary church she chose to attend this
morning and your discovery in the library, my existence hasn't
lacked variety. Gay Paris is quiet beside this! But there's
nothing in the world I'm so keen on as hidden treasure. I'm pretty
sure I have a special talent for hunting it down. To be sure the
only time I ever tried, I made a giddy ass of myself and got into
a jolly mess, but I wonder will I succeed with this. Connie thinks
you've the tail of an idea. Can't you put me on?"
"That was what I wanted to see you for," replied Win, his self-
possession quite restored. "Please open the lower drawer of that
desk. Right on top is a roll of tracing paper."
"Why, this is a copy of the Manor plans," said Max, as he spread
out the thin sheet.
"Yes," said Win. "Colonel Lisle let me trace them. Tell me, does
anything about them strike you as odd?"
Max considered the plan carefully. "I can't say it does," he
admitted after a minute survey. "Give me a lead."
"That dotted line," said Win, pointing to it with Max's pencil,
"according to Colonel Lisle, marks the path down to the cottages
on the shore, only the path curves more now than it did when the
plan was first made. Don't you think it strange that it was the
_only_ path put on the plans? Even the state driveway isn't
"That, I suppose, wasn't made then."
"But surely," persisted Win, "there was some driveway to the main
road. Why should this especial path be marked? It couldn't have
been the most important, even at that time."
"That does seem true," replied Max thoughtfully.
[Illustration: WIN'S PLAN OF THE MANOR CELLARS.]
"Now look at the point where the dotted line comes to the house,"
Win went on, tracing its course as he spoke. "This is the very
oldest vault of all, under the library, you know. On the plan, its
northern wall is continued flush by the northern side of the
addition made later, and this dotted line runs parallel to it,
but--it runs _inside_ the foundations."
"So it does," Max agreed. "But isn't that due to clumsy drawing?
There's an axiom, you know, about it being impossible for two
bodies to occupy the same space. Two lines couldn't occupy the
same location on a plan."
"Yes," said Win, "but if this is a _path_, what is it doing
_inside_ the house?"
There followed a second of silence and then Max gave a low
whistle. "I'm on," he announced. "Clever reasoning, Win."
"There's another thing, too," said Win, lying flushed and pleased
against his pillows. "I spent a lot of time on that dividing
partition wall. I'm sure there is no space in it unless it is so
thick that even a hollow place wouldn't sound any different. But
after I looked again at the plans, I saw that what I should have
put my time on wasn't that wall at all, but the northern one,
indicated here as parallel to the dotted line. Mr. Max, I'm quite
certain that the old original cellar extends farther to the north
than this newer part. I mean that the north wall of the new cellar
isn't on a line with the old one, not in reality, though here it
is intended to look so."
"You mean," said Max, bringing intelligent brows to bear on this
explanation, "that this was an underground passage rather than a
surface path and that its northern side is the one flush with the
"That's exactly it," said Win. "I think there is a passage running
along outside that northern wall down to the cave and the beach.
There seems a space on the plan that isn't accounted for in any
other way, and that explains why this dotted line runs inside the
"But, old chap," said Max kindly, "I know that cave from top to
bottom. Truly there is no exit. I've spent hours in exploring the
"But when I was on the ledge at the back, there was a draught of
fresh warm air from somewhere," Win pleaded. "And Roger said he
noticed it when you took him there. Behind the ledge is a big pile
of stones and rubble. Couldn't that air get in somehow?"
"It must, since you felt it," agreed Max sensibly. "If I can
possibly manage it, I'll make an investigation. But I am booked to
sail on Tuesday morning. It may have to stand over until the
Easter holidays. I will take a squint at the cellar though this
very evening. Did you sound that north wall?"
"No, I didn't," Win admitted. "I spent all my time on the west
one. Not until I studied the plans again, did it fully dawn on me
that perhaps that line was a passage instead of a path. If that is
true, it is the other wall that will bear investigation."
Max still surveyed the plans, his fine young face intent on this
problem. He glanced up to meet a very wistful look from Win.
"On the whole, let's wait until Easter," he suggested. "Then
you'll be feeling more fit and can come down in the vaults with
"I wish you'd inspect that wall," Win replied. "If you find it
does sound hollow, will Colonel Lisle let us punch a hole?"
"Sure," said Max encouragingly. "I know jolly well he will. Uncle
Dick will be game for any investigation. Only he'll have to be
convinced that I'm not pulling his leg. If that north wall
resounds like a tomb, I'll tow Uncle down to hark for himself.
Why, man, we're getting on swimmingly! That was a mighty clever
idea of yours about the dotted line. Connie'll be keen on it too,
and anyway she owes me one after getting me into such a beastly
mess as she did to-day. I didn't even use unkind language about it
either. If the sea is decent tomorrow, I'll trot her down to the
cave to see where your fresh air comes from."
"Perhaps it can be felt only when the wind is from a certain
direction," observed Win.
"That's more than likely. Yesterday it was south, wasn't it? Very
probably it takes a south wind to strike in there. I'm afraid we
can't hope for that to-morrow because there seems a storm brewing,
on purpose probably to give me a rough trip on Tuesday."
"Weren't you glad of the chance to come?" asked Win.
"I was," said Max expressively, "not only because I always like to
get back to the Manor, but because I was pleased with myself to
think I'd scored with this especial bit of work, a job of
smoothing down an elderly ass who was inclined to be a trifle
footy. You see when I decided to go in for the diplomatic service,
Dad told me that he would use his influence only to get me an
appointment, a try-out. After that it was up to me; if I received
promotion it would be because I earned it, not because I was his
son. He makes me an allowance because one really couldn't manage
on the salary of an attaché, but so far as my profession goes, I
stand absolutely on my own merits. So Max is feeling proud of
himself just now!" he added whimsically. "So's my Dad, if my
telegram reached him."
"He must be proud of you," said Win rather soberly. "I so much
hope that Roger will condescend to go to Annapolis. You see I
can't, and Dad would like one of us in the navy."
"Roger will wake up to a sense of his privileges some day," said
Max. "Do you know, Win, some of the finest work in the world has
been done by the fellows who were handicapped. Prescott, for
instance, writing all his histories, blind in one eye and
sometimes half crazed by pain; Milton, too, dictating to his
daughters, and Scott, producing so much when he was old and
burdened with grief and trouble. And Stevenson, who was ill half
"But they were geniuses," said Win.
"They were also too courageous in spirit to yield to
circumstances. To come down to more ordinary people, I think Uncle
Dick is mighty fine. He is crippled, useless for the work he
expected to grow old in; he saw his only son die for England. You
have seen enough of him to know what he is and what he means not
only to Laurel Manor but to the Island. I respect and admire him
tremendously and I shall owe much of whatever success I score, to
him as well as to Dad. There are careers open to you, Win. You are
clever and have a fine mind. Roger defers to your opinion. Through
your influence, he may accomplish far more than he might alone."
"I don't amount to very much with Roger. Still, I did make him
square things with Fisher that day he played truant and went off
with you," admitted Win with the ghost of a smile. "Mother only
lectured him for bunking, but I persuaded him to apologize and to
put in the next Wednesday doing the work he skipped."
"Good for you!" said Max cordially. His gray eyes were very kind
and friendly as he rose to leave.
"I hope you'll feel more fit to-morrow," he said, shaking hands.
"If I possibly can, I'll run in and make a report; if not, I'll
drop a line when I get home to the lurid lights of Paris."
"Shall you drive back with the Embassy insignia on your car?"
inquired Win smiling. He looked much brighter and happier than
before his visitor came.
Max laughed. "I fancy not," he said as he gathered hat, gloves and
riding-crop. "I'm rather anxious to be on my good behavior. No,
I'll let Jean drive which will be prudently slow, and I'll
meditate about your hidden chest and the dotted path and other
things back at the Manor."
"I believe Mr. Hamilton did you more good than the doctor,"
declared Mrs. Thayne, entering Win's room after his caller had
mounted Saracen and ridden away. "You look fifty per cent
"He's a crackerjack," said Win briefly. "He's promised to do some
investigating on his own account and I feel sure that he can
induce Colonel Lisle to let us try an experiment if it is needed.
But, Mother, there's something I've been meaning to tell you all
day, not about the Spanish chest or anything to do with it. You
know we spoke once of how Miss Estelle reminded us of some one at
home. This morning instead of sending a servant with my breakfast,
she brought it herself, and when she was arranging things, I
remembered whom it is she looks like. It is your friend, Mrs.
"Win, you're right," said Mrs. Thayne suddenly. "Estelle _is_ like
Carrie Aldrich, and not in looks alone, but in manner. Now how can
that possibly be? Of course it is only a chance resemblance but it
must exist since you notice it, too. I wonder whether Fran ever
carried out her intention of asking Edith whether they had any
relatives in the United States. She spoke of doing so."
"What good would that do, if Mrs. Aldrich is the person Estelle
resembles?" asked Win. "Haven't you known her all her life?"
"I met her at school," replied his mother, "when we both were
young girls and then knew her intimately. Of later years, we have
seen less of each other, though we have always kept up the
friendship. There seems no possible connection between Carrie
Aldrich and Estelle and the likeness must be only in our minds.
They say, you know, that every person in the world has a double
"I'd like mighty well to be Mr. Max's double if I could only
choose," muttered Win to himself.
ROGER THE MAROONED
No word came from the Manor the next day, only a big bunch of
fragrant lilies for Win and some jelly of which Paget alone knew
the secret recipe. Early Tuesday morning Max's prophesied storm
arrived in earnest and the young people at Rose Villa saw the
Granville boat leave her pier amid sheets of driving rain. Her
decks looked dreary and deserted, for all the passengers were
"I suppose Mr. Max is on board for he was obliged to go," observed
Frances, as the steamer disappeared in low-hanging banks of fog
drifting continually nearer shore.
"Yes," agreed Win, who was dressed and about, though still looking
ill. "There will be some word when he gets back to Paris. It
stormed so yesterday that he probably couldn't go into the cave as
"Life seems very tame after all the interesting things that
happened last week," sighed Frances, gathering her French grammar
and other school books. "Rain or no rain, there will be school,
and English rain seems somehow _wetter_ than American. You'd
better eat that jelly, Win. According to Nurse, it is the elixir
of life and warranted to cure every ill known to man."
Win smiled as he watched his sister and Edith down the steps, and
waved a listless hand as they turned inquiring faces under bobbing
umbrellas at the end of the terrace. He looked enviously after
Roger, a tall slim clothespin in black rubber coat and boots,
sou'wester pulled firmly over his head, tramping sturdily toward
the beach, evidently on some definite errand. Win would have liked
mightily to be swinging along with him through the storm, but the
fun of facing a tempest was not for Win.
For a few moments he stood idly by the window, wondering whether
Connie knew what Max had possibly discovered in his inspection of
cave and vaults. Then he turned with a sigh, reminding himself
that with the weather what it was, and in this land of few
telephones, there was no chance of hearing anything from the
Gradually the stormy morning passed, somewhat dully for Win, who
still felt unfit to study or even to occupy himself with a book,
and lay upon the couch while his mother read aloud.
Frances returned from school, ravenously hungry and quite rosy
with the rain that had beaten in her face.
"Mother, I am nearly starved!" she announced.
"Why, it is time for luncheon," said Mrs. Thayne, awakening to a
realization of that fact. "But where is Roger? He can't have taken
the whole morning just to deliver that message for Estelle."
"He could easily, Mother," said Win. "Why, if I had a chance to
get out in this storm, I feel sure it would take me forever to do
the simplest errand. He'll come home when he's hungry."
The gong for luncheon sounded and the three sat down to Annette's
delicious scallops, daintily creamed in their own big shells, her
French bread and perfect chocolate. Still Roger did not come.
Nurse took the plates, and brought dessert; fruit, clotted cream
with plum jam, and a special glass of egg-nog for Win.
"Shall we put Mr. Roger's lunch to the fire?" she asked of Mrs.
"I don't see why he doesn't come. He can't have gone to the Manor
and if he had, they would have sent word if he were staying. No,
you needn't keep it warm, Nurse. Unless he has some very good
excuse when he comes, he may lunch upon bread and milk. It's
really very naughty of him to go off like this when he had lessons
"It's queer where he can be," observed Fran. "He started on his
errand just after Edith and I came out and saw Annette buying
scallops of the fish-woman. He's crazy about them you know, and he
asked particularly if they were for luncheon, and told her to be
sure to get plenty."
"Oh, I don't suppose anything has happened," said Mrs. Thayne
quietly, for she did not wish Win to worry.
When Roger was still missing half an hour later, Mrs. Thayne
"Whatever can have happened?" said Estelle helplessly. "I can't
think. Did he have any money?"
"Why, perhaps a few pence, not much anyway," replied Mrs. Thayne.
"You think he went into St. Helier's and had to walk back? That's
possible. Fran, it's not storming so hard now. Put on your rain-
coat and run out to the end of the terrace. Perhaps with the
field-glasses you can make out whether he is coming down the beach
or is anywhere in sight."
Frances returned with the report that there was practically no
beach, owing to the high tide, and no foot-farers on the narrow
strip that was visible in the fog.
Neither Estelle nor Mrs. Thayne knew what was best to do. Estelle
suggested the police and then the rector, but neither seemed to
Mrs. Thayne likely to offer a solution.
"We will wait a while," she said with an anxious glance at the
clock just striking two. "Don't do or say anything to let Win
think I am worried, Fran. Let me take your coat. I'll go down to
the beach myself. I really think that Roger should be punished for
causing us such anxiety."
Had his mother only known, Roger was already enduring considerable
self-inflicted penance for getting into a predicament which made
it impossible for him to return.
Delivering Estelle's message at a cottage by the shore had taken
but a few moments and with most of the morning before him, Roger
set out along the beach, glorying in the force of wind and rain.
True, there were lessons to be prepared for Bill Fish, who would
come cheerfully swimming in at the appointed hour, but there was
surely time for a stroll toward Noirmont Point.
The tide was far out and wet hard sand stretched in every
direction, very pleasing to stamp over, and retaining little trace
of any footprint. Only gray gulls and drifting fog banks
distinguished the immediate surroundings.
As Roger tramped on, he noticed that the fog grew steadily thicker
and that his path included occasional seaweed-covered rocks, but
not until a black mass loomed up before him, did he realize that
he had left the true beach and was walking straight out to sea.
The bulk he had encountered was not the martello tower on Noirmont
Point but the old castle of St. Aubin's, at high tide an island in
No thought of any danger in his position struck Roger. He had
always intended to investigate that island but somehow had never
yet done so. Here it lay before him.
Climbing the rocks upon which the castle stands, he made a careful
survey of its outside and finally gained access to the interior,
much disappointed to find nothing at all remarkable, though St.
Aubin's castle is not wholly a ruin and was once rented and
occupied for a season by an eccentric Englishman.
Nothing was now visible save swirling fog and for the first time,
Roger realized what that fog meant. He hastily made his way to the
little beach, where the tide, still out, would permit him to cross
to the mainland. To start in the right direction was simple
enough, for he very well knew which side of the castle faced the
shore, but he had taken scarcely twenty steps down the sand when
he saw that he had no certainty of keeping his bearings once the
island was left behind.
Roger was only twelve, but he was possessed of common-sense and
self-reliance. Though the youngest of the family he had been so
thoroughly impressed with the necessity of considering "safety
first" in regard to Win, that in an emergency of any kind he was
usually level-headed. He stopped where he was, searching his
pockets for the compass Captain Thayne had given to each of his
Roger's pockets yielded a strange and varied assortment of
objects, presumably of value, but no compass. He looked
irresolutely behind where the castle was just visible as a darker
spot in the fog. Nothing at all could be distinguished ahead.
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