The House of a Thousand Candles (Chapter 5, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 5

I looked out on the bright October morning with a
renewed sense of isolation. Trees crowded about my
windows, many of them still wearing their festal colors,
scarlet and brown and gold, with the bright green of
some sulking companion standing out here and there
with startling vividness. I put on an old corduroy outing
suit and heavy shoes, ready for a tramp abroad, and
went below.

The great library seemed larger than ever when I beheld
it in the morning light. I opened one of the
French windows and stepped out on a stone terrace,
where I gained a fair view of the exterior of the house,
which proved to be a modified Tudor, with battlements
and two towers. One of the latter was only half-finished,
and to it and to other parts of the house the workmen's
scaffolding still clung. Heaps of stone and piles of lumber
were scattered about in great disorder. The house
extended partly along the edge of a ravine, through
which a slender creek ran toward the lake. The terrace
became a broad balcony immediately outside the library,
and beneath it the water bubbled pleasantly around
heavy stone pillars. Two pretty rustic bridges spanned
the ravine, one near the front entrance, the other at the
rear. My grandfather had begun his house on a generous
plan, but, buried as it was among the trees, it suffered
from lack of perspective. However, on one side toward
the lake was a fair meadow, broken by a water-tower,
and just beyond the west dividing wall I saw a little
chapel; and still farther, in the same direction, the outlines
of the buildings of St. Agatha's were vaguely perceptible
in another strip of woodland.

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