room unti

Jc knotgrass at
Fri Aug 28 15:19:46 BST 2009

Til they had reached the lower floor and approached the fireplace. Then
they saw. It was as if Paredes's far-fetched fear had been realized.
Blackburn was not in his chair, nor was he to be found in the hall. Even
then, with the exception of Paredes, they wouldn't take the thing
seriously. Since the old man wasn't in the hall; since he couldn't have
gone upstairs, unobserved by them, he must be either in the library, the
dining room, or the rear part of the house. There was no one in the
library or the dining room; and Jenkins, who sat in the kitchen, still
shaken by the discovery at the grave, said he hadn't moved for the last
half hour, was entirely sure no one had come through from the front part
of the house. They returned to the hall and stood in a half circle about
the empty chair, where a little while ago Silas Blackburn had cowered,
mouthing snatches of his fear--"I'm not dead! I tell you I'm not dead!
They can't make me go back--" The echoes of that fear still shocked
their ears. There was a hypnotic power about the vacancy as there had
been about the emptiness in the burial ground. Paredes spoke gropingly.
"What would we find," he whispered, "if we went to the cemetery and
looked again in the coffin?" "Why should he have come back at all?"
Groom mused. Robinson opened the front door. "You know he might have
gone this way." But already the snow had obliterated the signs of their
own passage in and out. It showed no fresh marks. "Silas Blackburn has
not gone that way in the body," Doctor Groom rumbled. The storm was more
violent. It discouraged the idea of examining the graveyard again before
morning. Robinson glanced at his watch. He led Bobby and the detective
to the library. "Then try your scheme if you want," he said, "but
understand I assume no responsibility. Honestly, I doubt if it amounts
to anything. You'll shout out if you are attacked, or the moment you
suspect any real cause for fear. Rawlins will be in the corridor, and
I'll be in the library or wandering about the house--always within call.
Rawlins will guard the broken door, but be sure and lock the other one."
The two officers went upstairs with Bobb
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