The Ghost of Guir House (Chapter 3, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 3

When Ah Ben had finished his coffee, the three retired to the great
entrance hall, where the fire was burning brightly, and the hanging
lamp lending its uncertain aid to the illumination of the curious old
apartment. Ah Ben produced a couple of long-stemmed pipes, one of
which he handed to Paul, with a great leather pouch of leaf tobacco
which he showed his guest how to prepare for smoking. They seated
themselves in the pew before the fire, Dorothy nearest the hearth,
while Paul placed himself upon the lounge opposite.

A great stillness pervaded the house, and Mr. Henley could not help
wondering again if there were not other members of the establishment.
Dorothy was staring into the fire, her thoughts far away, while Ah
Ben smoked his pipe in silence. "Perhaps they have theories about
digestion," Paul reflected, while he pulled at his long Ti-ti stem,
and watched the meditative couple before him. The firelight played
upon Ah Ben's white moustache and swarthy features, and the colored
handkerchief upon his head, and set the long thin fingers all of a
tremble upon the pipe-stem, as if manipulating the stops of a flute.
It danced over Dorothy's gown in a dazzling sheen of white, and
flashed upon her jeweled hands in colored sparks of green and gold
and purple and red, and lit up her face and hair with the soft warm
tints of a Rubens. Such a picture did the twain combine to make; they
looked indeed as if they might have stepped from the canvas of some
old master and come for a brief season to taste the joys of flesh and
blood and life.

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