The House of a Thousand Candles (Chapter 6, page 1 of 7)

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Chapter 6

"The persimmons are off the place, sir. Mr. Glenarm
was very fond of the fruit."

I had never seen a persimmon before, but I was in a
mood for experiment. The frost-broken rind was certainly
forbidding, but the rich pulp brought a surprise
of joy to my palate. Bates watched me with respectful
satisfaction. His gravity was in no degree diminished
by the presence of a neat strip of flesh-colored court-plaster
over his right eye. A faint suggestion of arnica
hung in the air.

"This is a quiet life," I remarked, wishing to give
him an opportunity to explain his encounter of the

"You are quite right, sir. As your grandfather used
to say, it's a place of peace."

"When nobody shoots at you through a window," I

"Such a thing is likely to happen to any gentleman,"
he replied, "but not likely to happen more than once, if
you'll allow the philosophy."

He did not refer to his encounter with the caretaker,
and I resolved to keep my knowledge of it to myself. I
always prefer to let a rascal hang himself, and here was
a case, I reasoned, where, if Bates were disloyal to the
duties Pickering had imposed upon him, the fact of his
perfidy was bound to disclose itself eventually. Glancing
around at him when he was off guard I surprised
a look of utter dejection upon his face as he stood with
folded arms behind my chair.

He flushed and started, then put his hand to his forehead.

"I met with a slight accident this morning, sir. The
hickory's very tough, sir. A piece of wood flew up and
struck me."

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