Melody Lane #1 The Ghost of Melody Lane

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Transcript of Melody Lane #1 The Ghost of Melody Lane

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    THE GHOST OF MELODY LANE

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    MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES

    The Ghost of Melody LaneThe Forbidden Trail

    The Tower Secret

    The Wild Warning

    Terror at Moaning Cliff

    The Dragon of the HillsThe Mystery of Stingymans Alley

    The Secret of the Kashmir Shawl

    The Hermit of Proud Hill

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    MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES

    THE GHOST OF

    MELODY LANE

    BY

    LILIAN GARIS

    ILLUSTRATED BY

    PELAGIE DOANE

    GROSSET & DUNLAPPUBLISHERS NEW YORK

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    Copyright, 1933 byGROSSET & DUNLAP, INC.

    The Ghost of Melody Lane

    All Rights Reserved

    Printed in the United States of America

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    CONTENTS

    CHAPTER PAGE

    I IT HAPPENED 1

    II NOW FOR SISTER CECY 13III THE TELEPHONE CALL 22

    IV THE JOB 31

    V FEARS 38

    VI ADREADFUL EXPERIENCE 49

    VII QUEER HAPPENINGS 59

    VIII THE BRIDAL ROSE 68IX WHAT COLOR BLUE 74

    X RUMORS 82XI BIG IDEA 91

    XII DOOR SLAMMER 98

    XIII OMENS 106

    XIV THALIA 115

    XV THE GHOST PARTY 123

    XVI PERIL 133

    XVII SHE SAW IT 143

    XVIII NOT STUBBY 153

    XIX AGRAND PLAN 164XX SISTER AND BROTHER 172

    XXI PACKING THE FLUTE 181

    XXII UNDER THE LINDEN 189

    XXIII THE WHITE STREAK 201

    XXIV THE GHOST OF MELODY LANE 209

    XXV STRANGE BUT TRUE 215

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    1

    THE GHOST OFMELODY LANE

    CHAPTER I

    IT HAPPENED

    There was only one way to go home, though to

    Carol it did not seem to matter which way she went.Just outside the marbleized lobby of the moving

    picture theatre she stood, looking first down Cedar

    Street, which would lead her home, and then over

    Fourth Street, which wound out of town toward the

    trolleys, busses, and a railroad station.But Carol did not sigh as she took the road to her

    little home. Instead she squared her fine shoulders

    and perked up her head until another blue-blacktangle of hair shot out from the side of her small hat.

    And yet,she was remembering, I knew it was

    coming.

    The early afternoon performance had justdislodged its few patrons, for money was scarce in

    Oakleigh, just as in other places, and few were

    reckless enough to spend any on picture matinees.

    That was why this had happened to Carol.

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    3

    improve in spite of doctoring.

    Dad will want to start right off again tomorrow

    on the everlasting looking which just wears outhearts and shoes, mused Carol as she almost

    bumped into a man barging along as if the whole

    sidewalk were his. But the dreaded look in herfathers dear, loving eyes would not be as hard to

    deal with as would Cecy. She was a trial, always.

    Younger than Carol, she had played baby; always

    shirked, except in cooking, for she liked to cook.She read just because she loved to read; had to wear

    glasses because she had not taken care of her eyes;

    had to see a doctor once in a while because she ate

    candy and shouldnt. In fact, Cecy was as unlikeCarol as a sister possibly could be. Even the mother

    who had spoiled Cecy admitted before she closed

    her eyes that long, dark evening, which brought nomorning to her: Cecy should try to be more

    practical.

    I suppose Ill find her making fudge with the last

    of the sugar,Carol was desperately telling herself

    as she hurried along. Then came a sudden revulsion.She stopped short, turned down a side street, and

    with a new look on her face murmured:I just cant stand it! Im not going to stand it!

    Im not going home with the bad newsjust yet.

    Im going to see Cousin Kitty and have a last, mad,

    grand riot of music on her wonderful pipe organ

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    4

    before I have to come down to earth again. Yes, Ill

    go see Cousin Kitty and play and play and play

    With a new objective, Carol swung along, herhead up, her eyes brighter, and with that same stray

    lock of her blue-black hair streaming in the wind she

    hurried on, managed to catch one of the infrequentbusses and sank into a seat. It was rather a long

    distance to Melody Lane, that picturesque, strange,

    tree-shaded thoroughfare where Oak Lodge added to

    its mysteriousness.Mrs. Katheryn Becket, once Kitty Adair,

    known to a large and delighted public because of her

    singing and acting, lived in a big, gloomy old

    mansion, Oak Lodge, on the other side of town. Theold house was set in a large estate, at least it had

    once been an estate, though it had now rather fallen

    into ruin and was difficult to care for.Cousin KittyCarol and many of her girl friends

    called the beautiful, elderly lady, who though no

    longer an actress, had still her passion for music.

    She had formed and trained the girls Choral Club

    and had given Carol all her organ lessons withoutcharge. At times Mrs. Becket had delightful

    entertainments at her big house, based on

    hometalent and fortified by that always alluring

    professional talent, willing to come out from the city

    to help.

    But lately something had been wrong. Since Mr.

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    5

    Beckets sudden death, about a year and a half ago,

    a change had gradually come over the fine old place

    he had bought for his wife.There had been rumors that the house was

    hauntedthat ghosts came in the wee hours and

    played mournful music on the great organ. No onequite believed these stories, but many did begin to

    feel that there was something strange about the

    house on Melody Lane.

    However, it was always a relief for Carol to go toMrs. Beckets, for the often tired girl always found

    surcease around the great organ whose deep notes

    seemed to be a voice from the sky. Carol loved Mrs.

    Becket as she loved her music, and the thought,now, that at least for a little while she could sense

    the flow of melody around her, not hampered by

    having to play something to fit trite films, made abrief break in the tension of worry.

    Oh, Carol! How nice of you to come and see

    me!greeted Mrs. Becket as she opened the door.

    II just had to cornelwas the murmured reply.

    You had to come? Is anything the matter? Oh,you mean you are hungry for music, is that it?

    Yes, part of it!

    Carol laughed a short, littlelaugh that had less of mirth in it than she could have

    wished. Do you mind if I go to the organjust for

    a little while?

    Not at allonly you cant go just yet. You

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    7

    Who is Len Bancroft? asked Carol, when she

    and Cousin Kitty had finished their mutual mirth.

    A carpenter I had to call in, was the answer.Hes a strange, queer old man. I dont like him.

    Theres an odd look in his eyes, sort of stupid,

    probably.Why did you call him in? asked Carol. Does

    he live around here? I dont remember the name.

    No, he comes from Burrtown. Jacob knew of

    him and got him for me. He seems to be a goodcarpenter, but I dont know whether or not he knows

    anything about organs, though Jacob says he does

    and Mr. Bancroft, himself, admits the charge,Mrs.

    Becket explained. I left him and Jacob in the loft,to come and answer the door, she went on. The

    carpenter has been here nearly all day and he has

    just finished. So if you want to come alongId love to, murmured Carol, her fingers

    longing to touch the shining ivory keys.

    Come along then.Mrs. Becket led the way to

    the tower room, almost a complete ell built off the

    great hall, where the massive organ had beeninstalled. In the first hall they passed Jacob Vroom,

    who was furnace man, gardener, butler, andwhatever else seemed to be called for in the way of

    help around Oak Lodge.Has the carpenter finished, Jacob? asked Mrs.

    Becket.

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    8

    Yesm, jest about. He says it aint what hed call

    a good job, but its good anfirm.

    Thats what I wanted,Mrs. Becket responded.Was that him or you trying to play, Jacob? Her

    voice was sterner now.

    You know I wouldnt, Mrs. Becket, Jacobseemed hurt. I never put a finger on the keys. But

    Len might have; couldnt say.

    I suppose so. Well, Im glad hes finished.

    A tall, lanky man, with a seamed, linednutcracker kind of face, arose from a little clutter of

    shavings and sawdust, dusting off his overalls as he

    stood up with a chisel in his hand. He had suddenly

    appeared from the rear of the great organ, like somegnome who had been engaged in putting new and

    sinister notes into a perfect melody.

    Is everything all right, Mr. Bancroft? askedMrs. Becket.

    Yesm, Ive got th rail solid now. A elephant

    could lea