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The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley

The "Cromwell" Makes its Last Appearance

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There was no answer.

A beam of light gushed out from the passageway behind the shop, and picking his way over fallen litter he found Mrs. Mifflin standing dazed by the dining-room door. In the back of the house the lights were still burning.

"For heaven's sake, have you a candle?" he said.

"Where's Roger?" she cried piteously, and stumbled into the kitchen.

With a candle Aubrey found Titania sitting on the floor, very faint, but unhurt. What he had thought was blood proved to be a pool of ink from a quart bottle that had stood over Roger's desk. He picked her up like a child and carried her into the kitchen. "Stay here and don't stir," he said.

By this time a crowd was already gathering on the pavement. Someone came in with a lantern. Three policemen appeared at the door.

"For God's sake," cried Aubrey, "get a light in here so we can see what's happened. Mifflin's buried in this mess somewhere. Someone ring for an ambulance."

The whole front of the Haunted Bookshop was a wreck. In the pale glimmer of the lantern it was a disastrous sight. Helen groped her way down the shattered aisle.

"Where was he?" she cried wildly.

"Thanks to that set of Trollope," said a voice in the remains of the Fiction alcove, "I think I'm all right. Books make good shock-absorbers. Is any one hurt?"

It was Roger, half stunned, but undamaged. He crawled out from under a case of shelves that had crumpled down upon him.

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"Bring that lantern over here," said Aubrey, pointing to a dark heap lying on the floor under the broken fragments of Roger's bulletin board.

It was the chef. He was dead. And clinging to his leg was all that was left of Bock.

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The Haunted Bookshop
Christopher Morley

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