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

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Chapter 2

She was too far gone to be indignant, but after a while she came to the
door and looked in to where I was composing myself for sleep with
Drummond's Spiritual Life.

"That wasn't a woman, Miss Rachel," she said, with her shoes in her
hand. "It was a man in a long coat."

"What woman was a man?" I discouraged her without looking up, and she
went back to the couch.

It was eleven o'clock when I finally prepared for bed. In spite of my
assumption of indifference, I locked the door into the hall, and
finding the transom did not catch, I put a chair cautiously before the
door--it was not necessary to rouse Liddy--and climbing up put on the
ledge of the transom a small dressing-mirror, so that any movement of
the frame would send it crashing down. Then, secure in my precautions,
I went to bed.

I did not go to sleep at once. Liddy disturbed me just as I was
growing drowsy, by coming in and peering under the bed. She was afraid
to speak, however, because of her previous snubbing, and went back,
stopping in the doorway to sigh dismally.

Somewhere down-stairs a clock with a chime sang away the
hours--eleven-thirty, forty-five, twelve. And then the lights went out
to stay. The Casanova Electric Company shuts up shop and goes home to
bed at midnight: when one has a party, I believe it is customary to fee
the company, which will drink hot coffee and keep awake a couple of
hours longer. But the lights were gone for good that night. Liddy had
gone to sleep, as I knew she would. She was a very unreliable person:
always awake and ready to talk when she wasn't wanted and dozing off to
sleep when she was. I called her once or twice, the only result being
an explosive snore that threatened her very windpipe--then I got up and
lighted a bedroom candle.

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