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A Court of Inquiry   By: (1866-1959)

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[Illustration: "'We four,' declared the Skeptic, 'constitute a private Court of Inquiry into the Condition of Our Friends'"]

A COURT OF INQUIRY

By GRACE S. RICHMOND

Author of "Red Pepper Burns," "Mrs. Red Pepper," "Second Violin," Etc.

[Illustration]

WITH FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS

114 120 East Twenty third Street New York

PUBLISHED BY ARRANGEMENT WITH DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO.

Copyright , 1909, 1916, by DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian

COPYRIGHT, 1901, BY PERRY MASON COMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1902, BY THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY PERRY MASON COMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1908, 1909, BY THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY

TO

C. R. P. AND M. B. P.

CONTENTS

PART I

PAGE

I. Althea 3 II. Camellia 16 III. Dahlia 31 IV. Rhodora 44 V. Azalea 58 VI. Hepatica 72

PART II

I. Dahlia and the Professor 87 II. Camellia and the Judge 102 III. Azalea and the Cashier 117 IV. Althea and the Promoter 131 V. Rhodora and the Preacher 146 VI. Wistaria and the Philosopher 162

PART III

I. Sixteen Miles to Boswell's 181 II. Honour and the Girl 220 III. Their Word of Honour 241 IV. "Half a League Onward" 261

PART I

A Court of Inquiry and Other Tales

I

ALTHEA

Nothing impaired but all disordered. Midsummer Night's Dream.

There are four guest rooms in my house. It is not a large house, and how there came to be so many rooms to spare for the entertaining of friends is not a story to be told here. It is only a few years since they were all full and not with guests. But they are nearly always full now. And when I assign each room it is after taking thought.

There are two men's rooms and two for women. The men's rooms have belonged to men, and therefore they suit other men, who drop into them and use their belongings, and tell me they were never more comfortable. The third room is for one after another of the girls and women who visit me. The fourth room

"Is anybody really good enough to sleep in this place?"

It was the Skeptic, looking over my shoulder. He had chanced to be passing, saw me standing in the doorway in an attitude of adoration, and glanced in over my head. He had continued to look from sheer astonishment.

"I should expect to have to take off my shoes, and put on a white cassock over my tennis flannels before I could enter here," he observed.

"You would not be allowed to enter, even in that inappropriate costume," I replied. "I keep this room only for the very nicest of my girl friends. The trouble is "

"The trouble is you're full up with our bunch, and have got to put Miss Althea here, whether she turns out to be the sort or not."

I had not expected the Skeptic to be so shrewd shrewd though he often is. Being also skeptical, his skepticism sometimes overcolours his imagination.

"Suppose she should leave her slippers kicking around over those white rugs, drop her kimono in the middle of that pond lily bed, and er attach a mound of chewing gum to the corner of the mirror," he propounded.

"I should send her home."

"No you could do better than that. Make her change rooms with the Philosopher. He wouldn't leave a speck the size of a molecule on all that whiteness."

"I don't believe he would," I agreed. As the Skeptic went laughing away downstairs I turned again into the room, in order that I might tie back the little inner muslin curtains, to let the green branches outside show between... Continue reading book >>




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