Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/271

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HABITS OF OBJECTIONABLE PERSONS

and the injustice of convictions on circumstantial evidence were gone into, The Engineer recalling some of his own errors in dealing with his men in Egypt. At this Le Blanc, wandering slightly from the main topic, gave an account of a mysterious woman in white who on certain nights when the moon was bright used to descend the wide staircase of a French ch√Ęteau which he often visited, the apparition being the ghost of a beautiful countess who had been walled up somewhere below stairs by a jealous husband, and who took this mode of publishing her wrongs to the world. Le Blanc had seen her himself, first at the head of the great staircase and then as she crept slowly down the steps and disappeared through the solid wall to the left of the baronial fireplace. His hostess, who affected not to believe in such uncanny mysteries, tried to persuade him it was merely a shaft of moonlight stencilled on the white wall, but Le Blanc scouted the explanation and was ready to affirm on his word of honor that she looked at him out of her great, round, beseeching eyes, and would, he felt assured, have spoken to him had not one of the servants opened a door at the moment and so scared her away.

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