The Circular Staircase (Chapter 2, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 2

Liddy's knees seemed to give away under her. Without a sound she sank
down, leaving me staring at the window in petrified amazement. Liddy
began to moan under her breath, and in my excitement I reached down and
shook her.

"Stop it," I whispered. "It's only a woman--maybe a maid of the
Armstrongs'. Get up and help me find the door." She groaned again.
"Very well," I said, "then I'll have to leave you here. I'm going."

She moved at that, and, holding to my sleeve, we felt our way, with
numerous collisions, to the billiard-room, and from there to the
drawing-room. The lights came on then, and, with the long French
windows unshuttered, I had a creepy feeling that each one sheltered a
peering face. In fact, in the light of what happened afterward, I am
pretty certain we were under surveillance during the entire ghostly
evening. We hurried over the rest of the locking-up and got upstairs
as quickly as we could. I left the lights all on, and our footsteps
echoed cavernously. Liddy had a stiff neck the next morning, from
looking back over her shoulder, and she refused to go to bed.

"Let me stay in your dressing-room, Miss Rachel," she begged. "If you
don't, I'll sit in the hall outside the door. I'm not going to be
murdered with my eyes shut."

"If you're going to be murdered," I retorted, "it won't make any
difference whether they are shut or open. But you may stay in the
dressing-room, if you will lie on the couch: when you sleep in a chair
you snore."

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