The House of a Thousand Candles (Chapter 10, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 10

I read in the library until late, hearing the howl of
the wind outside with satisfaction in the warmth and
comfort of the great room. Bates brought in some sandwiches
and a bottle of ale at midnight.

"If there's nothing more, sir-"

"That is all, Bates." And he went off sedately to his
own quarters.

I was restless and in no mood for bed and mourned
the lack of variety in my grandfather's library. I moved
about from shelf to shelf, taking down one book after
another, and while thus engaged came upon a series of
large volumes extra-illustrated in water-colors of unusual
beauty. They occupied a lower shelf, and I
sprawled on the floor, like a boy with a new picture-book,
in my absorption, piling the great volumes about me.
They were on related subjects pertaining to the French
chateaux.

In the last volume I found a sheet of white note-paper
no larger than my hand, a forgotten book-mark,
I assumed, and half-crumpled it in my fingers before I
noticed the lines of a pencil sketch on one side of it. I
carried it to the table and spread it out.

It was not the bit of idle penciling it had appeared
to be at first sight. A scale had evidently been followed
and the lines drawn with a ruler. With such trifles my
grandfather had no doubt amused himself. There was
a long corridor indicated, but of this I could make nothing.
I studied it for several minutes, thinking it might
have been a tentative sketch of some part of the house.
In turning it about under the candelabrum I saw that
in several places the glaze had been rubbed from the
paper by an eraser, and this piqued my curiosity. I
brought a magnifying glass to bear upon the sketch.
The drawing had been made with a hard pencil and the
eraser had removed the lead, but a well-defined imprint
remained.

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