The Queen of Sheba & My Cousin the Colonel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 226 pages of information about The Queen of Sheba & My Cousin the Colonel.

“No,” said Mrs. Wesley.  There was a tone in that monosyllable that struck me.  “But he has been here?”

“He has been here,” replied Mrs. Wesley.  “May be you noticed the bell-knob hanging out one or two inches.  Is Mr. Flagg in the habit of stretching the bell-wire of the houses he visits, when the door is not opened in a moment?  Has he escaped from somewhere?”

“Escaped from somewhere!” I echoed.  “I only asked; he behaved so strangely.”

“Good heavens, Clara! what has the man done?  I hope that nothing unpleasant has happened.  Flagg is my only surviving relative—­I may say our only surviving relative—­and I should be pained to have any misunderstanding.  I want you to like him.”

“There was a slight misunderstanding at first,” said Clara, and a smile flitted across her face, softening the features which had worn an air of unusual seriousness and preoccupation.  “But it is all right now, dear.  He has eaten everything in the house—­that bit of spring lamb I saved expressly for you!—­and has gone down town ‘on a raid,’ as he called it, in your second-best suit—­the checked tweed.  I did all I could for him.”

“My dear, something has ruffled you.  What is it?”

“Wesley,” said my wife slowly, and in a perplexed way, “I have had so few relatives that perhaps I don’t know what to do with them, or what to say to them.”

“You always say and do what is just right.”

“I began unfortunately with Mr. Flagg, then.  Mary was washing the dishes when he rang, and I went to the door.  If he is our cousin, I must say that he cut a remarkable figure on the doorstep.”

“I can imagine it, my dear, coming upon you so unexpectedly.  There were peculiarities in his costume.”

“For an instant,” Clara went on, “I took him for the ashman, though the ashman always goes to the area door, and never comes on Tuesdays; and then, before the creature had a chance to speak, I said, ’We don’t want any,’ supposing he had something to sell.  Instead of going away quietly, as I expected he would do, the man made a motion to come in, and I slammed the door on him.”

“Dear! dear!”

“What else could I do, all alone in the hall?  How was I to know that he was one of the family?”

“What happened next?”

“Well, I saw that I had shut the lapel of his coat in the door-jamb, and that the man couldn’t go away if he wanted to ever so much.  Wasn’t it dreadful?  Of course I didn’t dare to open the door, and there he was!  He began pounding on the panels and ringing the bell in a manner to curdle one’s blood.  He rang the bell at least a hundred times in succession.  I stood there with my hand on the bolt, not daring to move or breathe.  I called to Mary to put on her things, steal out the lower way, and bring the police.  Suddenly everything was still outside, and presently I saw a piece of paper slowly slipping in over the threshold, oh, so slyly!  I felt my hands and feet grow cold.  I felt that the man himself was about to follow that narrow strip of paper; that he was bound to get in that way, or through the keyhole, or somehow.  Then I recognized your handwriting.  My first thought was that you had been killed in some horrible accident”—­

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The Queen of Sheba & My Cousin the Colonel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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