PublicBookshelf Book Club
Charles Willing Beale
Weekly tips on great novels to read.
The outer regions of the hall were in darkness, the ancient lamp
barely revealing the oddities of brush, chisel, and structure, that
combined to make the most remarkable living-room that Henley had ever
seen. The decaying portraits, the singular carvings and peculiar
furniture, now only revealed themselves by suggestion in the faint
illumination of the lamp and uncertain flicker of the fire.
But what were these people, Dorothy and Ah Ben, to each other? It was
out of the question that they could be husband and wife--it seemed
equally so that they could be father and daughter. Paul searched the
faces of each for traces of similiarity, but there were none. Their
manner to each other, the girl's mode of addressing the man, all
indicated the absence of kinship. Yes, Henley felt quite certain that
Ah Ben and Dorothy Guir were neither related nor connected, and that
they were never likely to become so.
From time to time the old man would arise to mend the fire, and a
quiet conversation upon indifferent topics ensued, Dorothy uttering a
few words occasionally, in a dreamy voice, with her head propped upon
a cushion in the corner. At last she failed to answer when spoken to;
evidently she had fallen asleep.
"My daughter, you need rest," said Ah Ben gently, and at the same
moment a clock upon the stairs began striking eleven.
Dorothy opened her eyes and looked around.