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The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley

Titania Tries Reading in Bed

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"Miss Chapman," he said, "I'm afraid you think--I don't know what you must think. But I broke in here this morning because I-- well, I don't think this is a safe place for you to be."

"So it seems. That's why I asked you to get me a taxi."

"There's something queer going on round this shop. It's not right for you to be here alone this way. I was afraid something had happened to you. Of course, I didn't know you were--were-- --"

Faint almond blossoms grew in her cheeks. "I was reading," she said. "Mr. Mifflin talks so much about reading in bed, I thought I'd try it. They wanted me to go with them to-day but I wouldn't. You see, if I'm going to be a bookseller I've got to catch up with some of this literature that's been accumulating. After they left I--I-- well, I wanted to see if this reading in bed is what it's cracked up to be."

"Where has Mifflin gone?" asked Aubrey. "What business has he got to leave you here all alone?"

"I had Bock," said Titania. "Gracious, Brooklyn on Sunday morning doesn't seem very perilous to me. If you must know, he and Mrs. Mifflin have gone over to spend the day with father. I was to have gone, too, but I wouldn't. What business is it of yours? You're as bad as Morris Finsbury in The Wrong Box. That's what I was reading when I heard the dog barking."

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Aubrey began to grow nettled. "You seem to think this was a mere impertinence on my part," he said. "Let me tell you a thing or two." And he briefly described to her the course of his experiences since leaving the shop on Friday evening, but omitting the fact that he was lodging just across the street.

"There's something mighty unpalatable going on," he said. "At first I thought Mifflin was the goat. I thought it might be some frame-up for swiping valuable books from his shop. But when I saw Weintraub come in here with his own latch-key, I got wise. He and Mifflin are in cahoots, that's what. I don't know what they're pulling off, but I don't like the looks of it. You say Mifflin has gone out to see your father? I bet that's just camouflage, to stall you. I've got a great mind to ring Mr. Chapman up and tell him he ought to get you out of here."

"I won't hear a word said against Mr. Mifflin," said Titania angrily. "He's one of my father's oldest friends. What would Mr. Mifflin say if he knew you had been breaking into his house and frightening me half to death? I'm sorry you got that knock on the head, because it seems that's your weak spot. I'm quite able to take care of myself, thank you. This isn't a movie."

"Well, how do you explain the actions of this man Weintraub?" said Aubrey. "Do you like to have a man popping in and out of the shop at all hours of the night, stealing books?"

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The Haunted Bookshop
Christopher Morley

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