The Ghost of Guir House (Chapter 1, page 1 of 16)


 
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Chapter 1

When Mr. Henley reached his dingy little house in Twentieth Street, a
servant met him at the door with a letter, saying: "The postman has just left it, sir, and hopes it is right, as it has given him a lot of trouble."

Mr. Henley examined the letter with curiosity. There were several
erased addresses. The original was: "Mr. P. Henley, New York City."

Scarcely legible, in the lower left-hand corner, was: "Dead. Try Paul, No. --, W. 20th."

Being unfamiliar with the handwriting, Mr. Henley carried the letter
to his room. It was nearly dark, and he lighted the gas, exchanged
the coat he had been wearing for a gaudy smoking jacket, glancing
momentarily at the mirror, at a young and gentlemanly face with good
features; complexion rather florid; hair and moustache neither fair
nor dark, with reddish lights.

Seating himself upon a table directly under the gas, he proceeded
with the letter. Evidently the document was not intended for him, but
it proved sufficiently interesting to hold his attention.

GUIR HOUSE, 16TH SEPT., 1893.

MY DEAR MR. HENLEY: Although we have never met, I feel sure that you are the man for
whom I am looking, which conclusion has been reached after
carefully considering your letters. Why have I taken so long to
decide? Perhaps I can answer that better when we meet. Do not
forget that the name of our station is the same as that of the
house--Guir. Take the evening train from New York, and you will be
with us in old Virginia next day, not twenty-four hours. I shall
meet you at the station, where I shall go every day for a month, or
until you come. You will know me because--well, because I shall
probably be the only girl there, and because I drive a piebald
horse in a cart with red wheels--but how shall I know you? Suppose
you carry a red handkerchief in your hand as you step upon the
platform. Yes, that will do famously. I shall look for the red silk
handkerchief, while you look for the cart with gory wheels and a
calico horse. What a clever idea! But how absurd to take
precautions in such a desolate country as this. I shall know you as
the only man stopping at Guir's, and you will know me as the only
woman in sight.

 
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