The Devil's Paw eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 187 pages of information about The Devil's Paw.

Furley relit his pipe, thrust a flask into his pocket, and picked up a thick stick from a corner of the room.

“Can’t tell,” he replied laconically.  “There’s an idea, of course, that communications are carried on with the enemy from somewhere down this coast.  Sorry to leave you, old fellow,” he added.  “Don’t sit up.  I never fasten the door here.  Remember to look after your fire upstairs, and the whisky is on the sideboard here.”

“I shall be all right, thanks,” Julian assured his host.  “No use my offering to come with you, I suppose?”

“Not allowed,” was the brief response.

“Thank heavens!” Julian exclaimed piously, as a storm of rain blew in through the half-open door.  “Good night and good luck, old chap!”

Furley’s reply was drowned in the roar of wind.  Julian secured the door, underneath which a little stream of rain was creeping in.  Then he returned to the sitting room, threw a log upon the fire, and drew one of the ancient easy-chairs close up to the blaze.

CHAPTER II

Julian, notwithstanding his deliberate intention of abandoning himself to an hour’s complete repose, became, after the first few minutes of solitude, conscious of a peculiar and increasing sense of restlessness.  With the help of a rubber-shod stick which leaned against his chair, he rose presently to his feet and moved about the room, revealing a lameness which had the appearance of permanency.  In the small, white-ceilinged apartment his height became more than ever noticeable, also the squareness of his shoulders and the lean vigour of his frame.  He handled his gun for a moment and laid it down; glanced at the card stuck in the cheap looking glass, which announced that David Grice let lodgings and conducted shooting parties; turned with a shiver from the contemplation of two atrocious oleographs, a church calendar pinned upon the wall, and a battered map of the neighbourhood, back to the table at which he had been seated.  He selected a cigarette and lit it.  Presently he began to talk to himself, a habit which had grown upon him during the latter years of a life whose secret had entailed a certain amount of solitude.

“Perhaps,” he murmured, “I am psychic.  Nevertheless, I am convinced that something is happening, something not far away.”

He stood for a while, listening intently, the cigarette burning away between his fingers.  Then, stooping a little, he passed out into the narrow passage and opened the door into the kitchen behind, from which the woman who came to minister to their wants had some time ago departed.  Everything was in order here and spotlessly neat.  He climbed the narrow staircase, looked in at Furley’s room and his own, and at the third apartment, in which had been rigged up a temporary bath.  The result was unilluminating.  He turned and descended the stairs.

“Either,” he went on, with a very slight frown, “I am not psychic, or whatever may be happening is happening out of doors.”

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The Devil's Paw from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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