“Did you see anything?” demanded the marshal.
“What did old Mrs. Rank look like when she was alive?” asked Bonner with a beautifully mysterious air. No one answered; but there was a sudden shifting of feet backward, while an expression of alarmed inquiry came into every face. “Don’t back into that open well,” warned the amused young man in the doorway. Anderson Crow looked sharply behind, and flushed indignantly when he saw that the well was at least fifty feet away. “I saw something down there that looked like a woman’s toe,” went on Bonner very soberly.
“Good Lord! What did I tell you?” cried the marshal, turning to his friends. To the best of their ability they could not remember that Anderson had told them anything, but with one accord the whole party nodded approval.
“I fancy it was the ghost of a toe, however, for when I tried to pick it up it wriggled away, and I think it chuckled. It disappear—what’s the matter? Where are you going?”
It is only necessary to state that the marshal and his posse retreated in good order to a distant spot where it was not quite so dark, there to await the approach of Wicker Bonner, who leisurely but laughingly inspected the exterior of the house and the grounds adjoining. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, except as to dilapidation, he rejoined the party with palpable displeasure in his face.
“Well, I think I’ll go back to the ice,” he said; “that place is as quiet as the grave. You are a fine lot of jokers, and I’ll admit that the laugh is on me.”
But Bonner was mystified, uncertain. He had searched the house thoroughly from top to bottom, and he had seen nothing unusual, but these men and boys were so positive that he could not believe the eyes of all had been deceived.
“This interests me,” he said at last. “I’ll tell you what we’ll do, Mr. Crow. You and I will come down here to-night, rig up a tent of some sort and divide watch until morning. If there is anything to be seen we’ll find out what it is. I’ll get a couple of straw mattresses from our boathouse and—”