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The Ghost Girl   By: (1863-1951)

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THE GHOST GIRL

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

Sea Plunder $1.30 net The Gold Trail $1.30 net The Pearl Fishers $1.30 net The Presentation $1.30 net The New Optimism $1.00 net Poppyland $2.00 net

The Poems of Fran├žois Villon Translated by H. DE VERE STACPOOLE

Boards $3.00 net Half Morocco $7.50 net

THE GHOST GIRL

BY H. DE VERE STACPOOLE

AUTHOR OF "THE MAN WHO LOST HIMSELF," "SEA PLUNDER," "THE PEARL FISHERS," "THE GOLD TRAIL," ETC.

NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD TORONTO: S. B GUNDY MCMXVIII

Copyright, 1918 By JOHN LANE COMPANY

PRESS OF VAIL BALLOU COMPANY BINGHAMTON, N. Y. U. S. A.

THE GHOST GIRL

PART I

CHAPTER I

It was a warm, grey, moist evening, typical Irish weather, and Miss Berknowles was curled up in a window seat of the library reading a book. Kilgobbin Park lay outside with the rooks cawing in the trees, miles of park land across which the dusk was coming, blotting out all things from Arranakilty to the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

The turf fire burning on the great hearth threw out a rich steady glow that touched the black oak panelling of the room, the book backs, and the long nosed face of Sir Nicholas Berknowles "attributed to Lely" and looking down at his last descendant from a dusty canvas on the opposite wall.

The girl made a prettier picture. Red hair when it is of the right colour is lovely, and Phylice Berknowles' hair was of the right red, worn in a tail she was only fifteen so long that she could bite the end with ease and comfort when she was in a meditative mood, a habit of perdition that no schoolmistress could break her of.

She was biting her tail now as she read, up to her eyes in the marvellous story of the Gold Bug, and now, unable to read any more by the light from the window, she came to the fire, curled herself on the hearthrug and continued the adventures of the treasure seekers by the light of the burning turf.

What a pretty face it was, seen by the full warm glow of the turf, and what a perfectly shaped head! It was not the face and head of a Berknowles as you could easily have perceived had you compared it with the portraits in the picture gallery, but of a Mascarene.

Phyl's mother had been a Mascarene, a member of the old, adventurous family that settled in Virginia when Virginia was a wilderness and spread its branches through the Carolinas when the Planter was king of the South. Red hair had run among the Mascarenes, red hair and a wild spirit that brooked no contradiction and knew no fear. Phyl had inherited something of this restless and daring spirit. She had run away from the Rottingdean Academy for the Daughters of the Nobility and Gentry where she had been sent at the age of twelve; making her way back to Ireland like a homing pigeon, she had turned up one morning at breakfast time, quite unshaken by her experiences of travel and with the announcement that she did not like school.

Had her mother been alive the traveller would have been promptly returned, but Phyl's father, good, easy man, was too much taken up with agrarian disputes, hunting, and the affairs of country life to bother much about the small affair of his daughter's future and education. He accepted her rejection of his plans, wrote a letter of apology to the Rottingdean Academy, and hired a governess for her. She wore out three in eighteen months, declared herself dissatisfied with governesses and competent to finish the process of educating and polishing herself.

This she did with the aid of all the books in the library, old Dunn, the rat catcher of Arranakilty, a man profoundly versed in the habits of rodents and birds, Larry the groom, and sundry others of low estate but high intelligence in matters of sport and woodcraft.

Now it might be imagined from the foregoing that hardihood, self assertion, and other unpleasant characteristics would be indicated in the manner and personality of this lover of freedom and rebel against restraint... Continue reading book >>




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