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Charred Wood   By: (1870-1948)

Book cover

First Page:

CHARRED WOOD

BY

MYLES MUREDACH

" O, Designer Infinite, must Thou then Char the wood before Thou canst limn with it? "

ILLUSTRATED BY

J. CLINTON SHEPHERD

GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

Made in the United States of America

Copyright, 1917

by

The Reilly & Britten Co.

Published October 17, 1917

Reprinted December 10, 1917

Reprinted October 11, 1918.

Charred Wood

CONTENTS

I THE LADY OF THE TREE II MONSIGNORE III UNDER SUSPICION IV KILLIMAGA V WITH EMPTY HANDS VI WHO IS RUTH? VII BITTER BREAD VIII FATHER MURRAY OF SIHASSET IX THE BISHOP'S CONFESSION X AT THE MYSTERY TREE XI THIN ICE XII HIS EXCELLENCY SUGGESTS XIII THE ABDUCTION XIV THE INEXPLICABLE XV "I AM NOT THE DUCHESS!" XVI HIS EXCELLENCY IS WORRIED XVII THE OPEN DOOR XVIII SAUNDERS SCORES XIX CAPITULATION XX THE "DUCHESS" ABDICATES XXI THE BECKONING HAND XXII RUTH'S CONFESSION XXIII CHARRED WOOD

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

On Killimaga's Cliff. . . . . Frontispiece

Something white swished quickly past him and he stared, bewildered . . . She had stepped out of nowhere.

Saunders looked long and earnestly at his face. "He's the man!" he announced.

"God rest her," Father Murray said after what seemed an age to Mark; "it is not Ruth!"

[Transcriber's note: The Frontispiece and the "Something white..." illustration were missing from the book.]

Charred Wood

CHAPTER I

THE LADY OF THE TREE

The man lay in the tall grass. Behind him the wall of the Killimaga estate, from its beginning some fifty yards to his left, stretched away to his right for over a thousand feet. Along the road which ran almost parallel with the wall was the remnant of what had once been a great woods; yearly the county authorities determined to cut away its thick undergrowth and yearly left it alone. On the left the road was bare for some distance along the bluff; then, bending, it again sought the shelter of the trees and meandered along until it lost itself in the main street of Sihasset, a village large enough to support three banks and, after a fashion, eight small churches. In front, had the lounger cared to look, he would have seen the huge rocks topping the bluff against which the ocean dashed itself into angry foam. But the man didn't care to look for in the little clearing between the wall of Killimaga and the bluff road was peace too profound to be wantonly disturbed by motion. And so he lay there lazily smoking his cigar, his long length concealed by the tall grass.

Hearing a slight click behind him and to his right, the man slowly, even languidly, turned his head to peer through the grass. But his energy was unrewarded, for he saw nothing he had not seen before a long wall, its rough stones half hidden by creeping vines, at its base a rank growth of shrubs and wild hedge; behind it, in the near distance, the towers of a house that, in another land, perched amid jutting crags, would have inspired visions of far off days of romance. Even in its New England setting the great house held a rugged charm, heightened by the big trees which gave it a setting of rich green. Some of the trees had daringly advanced almost to the wall itself, while one a veritable giant had seemingly been caught while just stepping through.

With a bored sigh, as if even so slight an effort were too great, the smoker settled himself more comfortably and resumed his indolent musing. Then he heard the sound again. This time he did not trouble to look around. Something white swished quickly past him and he stared, bewildered. It was a woman, young, if her figure were to be trusted. His cigar dropped in the grass, and there he let it lie. His gaze never left her as she walked on; and he could scarcely be blamed, for he was still under thirty five and feminine early twenties has an interest to masculine full youth... Continue reading book >>




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