Melody Lane #7 The Mystery of Stingyman's Alley
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Transcript of Melody Lane #7 The Mystery of Stingyman's Alley
THE MYSTERY OF
MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES
The Ghost of Melody Lane
The Forbidden Trail
The Tower Secret
The Wild Warning
Terror at Moaning Cliff
The Dragon of the Hills
The Mystery of Stingymans Alley The Secret of the Kashmir Shawl
The Hermit of Proud Hill
MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES
THE MYSTERY OF
GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
Copyright, 1938 by
GROSSET & DUNLAP, INC.
The Mystery of Stingymans Alley
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America
I A CHILD FORGOTTEN 1
II CARILLA 13
III TROUBLE 21
IV HUMBLE PIE 28
V TO FIGHT FOR IDEALS 36
VI CHALLENGE 44
VII CYNTHIA 52
VIII A CURIOUS RIDE 60
IX FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! 69
X ON THE POLICE WAGON 77
XI REAL EXCITEMENT 87
XII IT NEVER RAINS 96
XIII BUT IT POURS 107
XIV STEALING PENNY 117
XV DEEPER AND DEEPER 127
XVI SPOOKS AND BROOMSTICKS 136
XVII BAGGING A GHOST 145
XVIII THE GIRLS DECIDE 152
XIX TOO DANGEROUS TO BE WISE 160
XX COMPLICATIONS 169
XXI TROUBLE ON STILTS 178
XXII A MESSENGER BOYS CODE 186 XXIII IT WAS A HONEY 195
XXIV LARRY THE JUMPER 203
XXV PALS 212
XXVI STOLEN: PENNY BROWN 222
XXVII SURPRISING THEMSELVES 231
A CHILD FORGOTTEN
It would take one of the oldest policemen on the
force, or perhaps a very old resident, indeed, to give
practical directions for reaching Stingymans Alley. It was one of those curious little strips of road
that happen in otherwise well-planned cities. On two
sides were streets of normal length with
Stingymans Alley, like a scowling dwarf, squatted between them.
Noisy, puffing factories crowded in closer and
closer, over-shadowing the alley and the house
where Stingyman had once lived, making it appear as mean and queer as had been the mythical
reputation of its one time owner.
The dark factories, tanneries, iron foundries,
button-shops, breweries, and celluloid plants, gave
off their individual odors and smoke, making the air
itself different from the atmosphere uptown.
But here was the house toward which Carol
Duncan was now hurrying, the Sunshine Day
Carol wondered as she hurried along, what the
story was of the queer Stingyman, now almost forgotten, who had once lived in the house.
In her vivid imagination she pictured him an old,
bent man, refusing his neighbors any aid or
friendship, refusing even the children the use of his
smoother sidewalk for their games. How odd it was
that at the end, his gloomy home housed the
youngsters he so actively despised. How had it come
One feature of the neighborhood that puzzled the
girl was the absence of human sounds. No laughing
children, no pattering feet, no friendly calls; just
machine soundspuffs, snorts and hisses. The nursery crouched under the barrage, wincing,
perhaps, from the continuous assault on its tired old
She walked briskly, avoiding the puddles when
she could do so, and when one of the heavy factory
trucks lumbered by, spraying brown waves of
muddy water from clumping wheels, Carol would
squeeze closer to the poor houses that lined the
I guess father is right, Carol thought to herself looking down ruefully at her mud-spotted stockings.
This is the meanest month of the year. Not that it makes much difference down here; the people get a
little muddier and the babies are a little colder, but I
doubt if any of them even know when one month
ends and another begins, so why blame February? She dodged behind a row of ash cans as another
truck approached, and then continued quickly down
the street to the nursery, for she was late and the
children, she reflected, would be raising the roof. Children of various nationalities, not yet old
enough to go to the public schools; they were indeed
It was her duty to keep them busy all the long day
while their parents labored in the nearby factories.
Except for a blessed respite for lunch and a nap in
the afternoon for the smaller ones, she had complete
charge of the youngsters.
Carol sighed as she opened the battered old door
of the nursery. She had a feeling of Spring fever; or
was she just too tired of it all?
There was no room in her busy young mind for
self pity, however. She had taken this work and she
was going to keep it. Her father was not rugged, and
the thought of his having to work when his health
was so uncertain made the girl more determined
than ever to carry on her own work.
Hello, Annie, she greeted more cheerfully than she felt, as the good-natured Irish cook poked her
head out from behind the kitchen door when Carol
entered. Hows everything? Fine, Carol, sure! Annie replied with a jolly
laugh. Youve a great big group today, and two new ones. Ive been takin off their wraps and theyre all ready for you in the play room.
Thank you, Annie, Carol smiled. Boys or girls?
The new ones are girls, for which I suppose youre thankful. But weve a new baby boy up-stairs in the last empty crib, Annie smiled pleasantly. How she managed to keep so cheerful was rather a
mystery to Carol, but Annie herself said she was
used to babies, being the oldest of a family of
I tell you, Annie, Carol began through compressed lips, I feel today if that rascal, Hugo, slides just once on the tables when my back is
turned, IllIll let him have it, sure! and a little imp of mischief peeped out of her blue eyes.
Dont let him bother you, dear, Annie soothed. So few of them down here have any spirit at all maybe its good for the child.
I know. Youre right, but theres a hint of spring in the air today and Im not wholly responsible, Carol admitted.
As she opened the door to the big room, shrill
voices protested in several languages. Carol
imagined as she looked at the confused scene, that
these children probably began to complain and
quarrel as soon as they were born and never stopped,
at least they hadnt stopped yet. As she watched silently for a moment, Hugo
Boneto, a little dark-haired boy with a pair of
trousers much too small and a greyish blouse much
too big, backed far down the room and, with a
commanding hand, waved the children away from
the long, low tables. They obeyed as if they were
used to it, and waited for the performance.
Hugo ran a few steps and then took a skillful
belly-whopper on his sturdy little chest and stomach. Sliding the length of the table, he, for once,
misjudged his stop, for he went flying off at the end,
coming to a plop with a grunting thump on the floor.
Wah-wah, he wailed. Bianca pushed me down! Wah-wah!
Hugo! Carol exclaimed, clapping her hands. Get up at once! Bianca did not push you. I saw what you did and if you try it again Ill punish you severely! Now, go to your places and sit down, all of
you. Quickly the little restless, shifting group settled
into quietness. When Teacher spoke like that it was
wise to obey. Seated on little chairs to match the
tables, they turned questioning eyes toward Carol.
For all their teasing, they were genuinely fond of
pretty Teacher with the curly hair.
It was hard to believe that this was the same
Carol Duncan who, only a year or two ago, had
lived out, far out in the country in that lovely old
Melody Lane. And that she was the same girl who
had always believed her music would give her the
longed for chance to earn her living, to help her
younger sister Cecy, and, she had always hoped, to
help her father as well.
And now Im down in this dirty place struggling with poor children, the darlings, she could not help thinking. Cecy is fortunate to be away in the West with Aunt Isabel.
Even her thoughts were wordless in this quick
flash back to Aunt Isabel, who had given Carol and
her chums the chance to work out the mysterious
Terror At Moaning Cliff. No time now, however, to dream back to that exciting summer, sufficient to
know that good old Aunt Isabel, really her fathers aunt, had begged to have Cecy go to her home with
her, to the middle west, where Cecy could prepare
for college and go on to college as soon as she was
prepared. Cecy had gone with Aunt Isabel, away
from her hitherto inseparable chum Rosie, Rosiland
Wells, while Carol and her father came in to the big
But either Cecy will come to Rosie or Rosie will go to Cecy at Easter, Carol knew. Never were two chums more loyal. Like me and Thally Thally Bond. How Carol had missed her chum. But Dad had to come back to his newspaper work, and glad