Melody Lane #7 The Mystery of Stingyman's Alley

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Melody Lane Mystery series #7 of 9 by Lilian Garis.

Transcript of Melody Lane #7 The Mystery of Stingyman's Alley

  • THE MYSTERY OF

    STINGYMANS ALLEY

  • 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

    STINGYMANS ALLEY

    BY

    LILIAN GARIS

    ILLUSTRATED BY

    RUTH KING

    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

  • CONTENTS

    CHAPTER PAGE

    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

  • 1

    STINGYMANS ALLEY

    CHAPTER I

    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

  • 2

    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

    Nursery.

    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

    about?

    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

    nerves.

    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

    streets.

  • 3

    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

    a problem.

    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.

  • 4

    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

    twelve.

    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.

  • 5

    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

  • 6

    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

    city.

  • 7

    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