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George Barr McCutcheon
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about Castle Craneycrow.

“Dickey, if you say another word that sounds like ‘kill’ I’ll murder you myself,” threatened Lord Bob.

Lady Jane began whetting a silver table knife on the edge of her plate.

That evening Dorothy did not listen to Dickey Savage’s rag-time music from an upstairs room.  She stood, with Lady Jane, beside the piano bench and fervently applauded, joined in the chorus and consoled herself with the thought that it was better to be a merry prisoner than a doleful one.  She played while Dickey and Jane danced, and she laughed at the former’s valiant efforts to teach the English girl how to “cake walk.”

Philip Quentin, with his elbows on the piano, moodily watched her hands, occasionally relaxing into a smile when the laughter became general.  Not once did he address her, and not once did she look up at him.  At last he wandered away, and when next she saw him he was sitting in a far corner of the big room, his eyes half closed, his head resting comfortably against the high back of the chair.

Lord and Lady Saxondale hovered about the friendly piano, and there was but one who looked the outcast.  Conditions had changed.  She was within a circle of pleasure, he outside.  She gloated in the fact that he had been driven into temporary exile, and that he could not find a place in the circle as long as she was there.  Occasionally one or the other of his accomplices glanced anxiously toward the quiet outsider, but no one asked him to come into the fold.  In the end, his indifference began to irritate her.  When Lady Saxondale rang for the candles near the midnight hour, she took her candlestick from the maid, with no little relief, and unceremoniously made her way toward the hall.  She nervously uttered a general good-night to the party and flushed angrily when Quentin’s voice responded with the others: 

“Good-night, Dorothy.”

XXV

DOWN AMONG THE GHOSTS

“I cannot endure it,” she cried to herself a dozen times before morning.  “I shall go mad if I have to see his face and hear his voice and feel that he is looking at me.  There must be a way to escape from this place, there must be a way.  I will risk anything to get away from him!”

At breakfast she did not see him; he had eaten earlier with Lord Bob.  The others noted the hunted look in her eye and saw that she had passed a sleepless night.  The most stupendous of Dickey’s efforts to enliven the dreary table failed, and there was utter collapse to the rosy hopes they had begun to build.  Her brain was filled by one great thought—­escape.  While they were jesting she was wondering how and where she could find the underground passages of which they had spoken and to what point they would lead.

“I’d give a round sum if I could grow a set of whiskers as readily and as liberally as Turk,” commented Dickey, sadly.  “He came out of Phil’s room this morning, and I dodged behind a door post, thinking he was a burglar.  Turk looks like a wild man from Borneo, and his whiskers are not ten days out.  He’s letting ’em grow so that he can venture outside the castle without fear of recognition.  I’d like to get outside these walls for half a day.”

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