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- The Spanish Chest - 1/39 -


[Illustration: "WHAT IS IS THIS TINY DOTTED LINE ACROSS THE GROUNDS?" WIN INQUIRED]

THE SPANISH CHEST

BY

EDNA A. BROWN

ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GOSS AND FROM PHOTOGRAPHS

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF FLORENCE AND CLARA

who shared a winter spent in the Channel Islands and have now gone on a longer journey.

This little book I wrote for thee Thy friendly eyes will never see. It was not meant for critics' reading, Nor for the world that scans unheeding. For there are lines washed in with tears, As well as nonsense, mocking fears. Alas! thine eyes will never see This little book I wrote for thee.

THE SPANISH CHEST

FOREWORD

Once upon a time a clever Japanese artist drew a sketch of a man who sat industriously painting, when, to his great amazement, all the little figures on his canvas came to life and began to walk out of the picture.

Something like that happened to this book. Books grow, you know, because somebody thinks so hard about the different characters that gradually they turn into lifelike people, who often insist on doing things that weren't expected. When this especial book began to grow, two persons who hadn't been invited, came and wanted to be in the story.

The author politely remarked that they were grown-up and couldn't expect to be in a book for young people.

They said that they were not so very grown-up, only twenty-three and a half and that they still knew how to play.

Connie said that her home was in the Island of Jersey where the story was going to be, and if she came in, she could make things much more pleasant for the other characters.

Max said that the story would go to smash without him, because he should be needed at an important moment.

So, because they looked most wistful and promised very earnestly to behave as though they were nice children, and not be silly, the author said they might have a share in the story.

Connie at once offered to lend her collie. So that is how the beach dog happens to be in the book.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. AT ROSE VILLA II. FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS III. ST. HELIER'S IV. THE BEACH DOG V. MONT ORGUEIL VI. A RACE WITH THE TIDE VII. MR. MAX VIII. RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER IX. CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY X. THE BUN WORRY XI. THE MANOR CAVE XII. WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY XIII. ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST XIV. IN THE VAULTS XV. THE HAUNTED ROOM XVI. THE MANOR GHOST XVII. THE DOTTED LINE XVIII. ROGER THE MAROONED XIX. AT CORBIERE XX. WIN WONDERS XXI. THE TWO CHAINS XXII. THE CHEST ITSELF

ILLUSTRATIONS

"What is this tiny dotted line across the grounds?" Win inquired

The Village of St. Aubin's

"For a long time people supposed they were called Martello towers from the man who built them"

Above and behind towered the ruined castle of Orgueil

"Look there is a Jersey cow among the cabbages"

"He'll come for us! He means us to climb this rock and wait"

A most interesting little Church almost on the water's edge

The old Norman gateway leading to Vinchelez Manor

They came upon the loveliest of little beaches

Plémont is the spot where the cable comes in from England

Win's plan of the Manor cellars

What was undoubtedly the Spanish Chest

THE SPANISH CHEST

CHAPTER I

AT ROSE VILLA

The silence in the little drawing-room had lasted for some moments before being broken by the man seated in the big wicker chair. His dress indicated a clergyman of the Church of England, his face betrayed lines of kindliness and forbearance, but its present expression showed a perplexity not unmixed with disapproval.

"I suppose, Miss Pearce," he said at length, "there is no use in trying further to dissuade you from your plan, and of course it may work out for the best. But--you will excuse me, my dear, for I have daughters of my own--you seem too young to undertake a lodging-house. Now a position as governess in a nice family--"

Estelle Pearce interrupted him quickly.

"There is Edith, you know. Should I try teaching, it would mean separation from her. And I _must_ keep Edith with me. We have only each other now. No, Mr. Angus, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest in us, but I am sure it is best to try my plan. You see I have the house on my hands. When we came to Jersey, Father leased it for the winter and I can't afford to forfeit thirty pounds. And there is Nurse as well as Annette. Surely Nurse lends dignity to any family. But I am older than you think," she ended with a smile and a pretty blush. "I am twenty- four, Mr. Angus."

A kindly look came into the eyes bent on her slender, black-robed figure. "You do not look it, my dear," her visitor said after a pause. "Well, with two good servants, the plan may be successful. Much depends on what class of lodgers comes your way. I am told that Americans are rather desirable inmates, that they pay well and are not exacting. If you could let your rooms to some refined American ladies, things might adjust themselves very satisfactorily. To be sure, few Americans visit the Channel Islands; they are given to wandering farther afield. But I will speak of your plans to the postmaster and one or two others. It might be advisable to put a card in the circulating library at St. Helier's. Rest assured that both Mrs. Angus and I will do all we can for your father's girls. Lionel and I were good friends at Oxford though we saw so little of each other afterwards. I did not think when he wrote me scarcely six weeks ago that it was to be Hail and Farewell.

"I must go," he added quickly, seeing that Estelle's eyes were brimming. "Where is Edith? I hoped to see her also."

"She has gone to the sands," replied Estelle. "It is dull for her, moping here, so I sent her for an errand and told her to run down and see whether the tide had turned. She begins school on Monday."

Mr. Angus took his leave, and still looking doubtful, went down the steps of Rose Villa, a quaint little house, covered with tinted plaster, as is the pretty custom of the Channel Islands, and appearing even to a masculine ignorance of details much more


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