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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

XVIII The Closed Door

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Mr. Grey seemed startled.

"It's darker than I thought," said he. "But call the man and if I can not see him plainly, I'll shout to the horse to stand, which you will take as a signal to bring this Wellgood nearer. But do not be surprised if I ride off before he reaches the buggy. I'll come back again and take you up farther down the road."

"All right, sir," answered Sweetwater, with a side glance at the speaker's inscrutable features. "It's a go!" And leaping to the ground he advanced to the manufactory door and knocked loudly.

No one appeared.

He tried the latch; it lifted, but the door did not open; it was fastened from within.

"Strange!" he muttered, casting a glance at the waiting horse and buggy, then at the lighted window, which was on the second floor directly over his head. "Guess I'll sing out."

Here he shouted the man's name. "Wellgood! I say, Wellgood!"

No response to this either.

"Looks bad!" he acknowledged to himself; and, taking a step back, he looked up at the window.

It was closed, but there was neither shade nor curtain to obstruct the view.

"Do you see anything?" he inquired of Mr. Grey, who sat with his eye at the small window in the buggy top.


"No movement in the room above? No shadow at the window?"


"Well, it's confounded strange!" And he went back, still calling Wellgood.

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The tied-up horse whinnied, and the waves gave a soft splash and that was all,--if I except Sweetwater's muttered oath.

Coming back, he looked again at the window, then, with a gesture toward Mr. Grey, turned the corner of the building and began to edge himself along its side in an endeavor to reach the rear and see what it offered. But he came to a sudden standstill. He found himself on the edge of the bank before he had taken twenty steps. Yet the building projected on, and he saw why it had looked so large from a certain point of the approach. Its rear was built out on piles, making its depth even greater than the united width of the three stores. At low tide this might be accessible from below, but just now the water was almost on a level with the top of the piles, making all approach impossible save by boat.

Disgusted with his failure, Sweetwater returned to the front, and, finding the situation unchanged, took a new resolve. After measuring with his eye the height of the first story, he coolly walked over to the strange horse, and, slipping his bridle, brought it back and cast it over a projection of the door; by its aid he succeeded in climbing up to the window, which was the sole eye to the interior,

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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