Melody Lane #9 The Hermit of Proud Hill

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Transcript of Melody Lane #9 The Hermit of Proud Hill

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    THE HERMIT OF

    PROUD HILL

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    MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES

    The Ghost of Melody Lane

    The Forbidden Trail

    The Tower SecretThe Wild Warning

    Terror at Moaning Cliff

    The Dragon of the Hills

    The Mystery of Stingymans AlleyThe Secret of the Kashmir Shawl

    The Hermit of Proud Hill

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    MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES

    THE HERMIT OF

    PROUD HILL

    BY

    LILIAN GARIS

    ILLUSTRATED BY

    PELAGIE DOANE

    GROSSET & DUNLAPPUBLISHERS NEW YORK

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    Copyright, 1940 byGROSSET & DUNLAP, INC.

    The Hermit of Proud Hill

    All Rights Reserved

    Printed in the United States of America

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    CONTENTS

    CHAPTER PAGE

    I MEET KAY FINDLEY 1

    II ABOYNAMES HENRI 12III WILD AND TIGERISH 21

    IV THE HERMIT 29

    V MESSAGE FROM THE SKY 38

    VI WHEN A GIRL FIGHTS 46

    VII HENRI GROS 55

    VIII LOST LITTLE JEANIE 62IX TAMING MAMIE 69

    X ABABYS WAY 77XI CAROL JOINS THE SQUAD 86

    XII ABRASS KEY 94

    XIII THEY MET HIM 103

    XIV MORGAN MANOR 114

    XV READY FOR THE FRAY 126

    XVI FIRING A MONKEY WRENCH 135

    XVII THE QUIZ 143

    XVIII GOOD LOOKING SCOUT 155

    XIX SURPRISING 165XX FIRE!FIRE!FIRE! 173

    XXI MAMIES PLIGHT 183

    XXII IT WAS JIMMYS FAULT 192

    XXIII THE BOX WAS OPENED 201

    XXIV GHOST AT A TEA PARTY 210

    XXV VIVIENE 219

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    1

    THE HERMIT OF

    PROUD HILL

    CHAPTER I

    MEET KAY FINDLEY

    Kay Findley, breathless and excited, tossed her

    library book down on her mothers busy-lookingdesk, gave her battered hat a twirl that landed it on

    the Boston rocker.

    Oh, Im so glad they came. Now we can do

    things.Who are they?asked her mother.

    Carol and Cecy Duncan. You know, Mums. The

    girls who used to live in Melody Lane. Dont you

    remember? Theyre back this summer.Should I remember? Why, Kay?

    Oh, Mums. Youre just terrible. Why do you

    have to be soso up to date and smart? If you hadlovely silver hair and delphinium blue eyes andwore dripping laces

    Mrs. Findley touched her offending chestnut hair

    and pretended to rub reprovingly her fine brown

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    2

    eyes.

    Would you really like me better, dear?

    Silly. Of course I wouldnt but it would be easierto

    Fool me?

    See! Thats how it is. You always get ahead ofme.Kay was showing, in this round about way, her

    own concern about something she was about to

    propose. But she need not have worried about her

    mothers interference. Mrs. Findley was not likethat. She trusted her daughter and tried to guide her

    prudently.

    You were saying something about the Duncan

    girls? I do remember, of course. They used to liveon the old Becker estate, and their father, Felix

    Duncan, was one of our towns best citizens.

    Thats it, Mums; and the girls are that way too.Theyre best citizens and not a bit queer, either. Justgirls like the rest of us. I met Cecy for just a few

    minutes and I could only tell her a few things.The

    last remark was intended to inspire confidence. Mrs.

    Findley tapped her fountain pen a little impatiently.She had a lot of business to attend to and even Kay

    should not interrupt her needlessly.There you are at those old bills, and youll be off

    to your other desk down in the Center as soon as you

    finish,grumbled Kay. You work hard and I just

    play around and wait for school to reopen.

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    Set. When most of those pretty places were sold of

    course the business got very slow. It takes new

    attractions to entice people away out here, youknow. Again Mrs. Findley poised her pen over a

    sheet of figures on her desk.

    But there are lots of good places still unsold,arent there? Just because they were built maybe

    twenty years ago, doesnt put them out of the

    market, said Kay. This statement, so business-like

    and wisely spoken, put Kay right where she wasaiming to gointo the real estate field.

    I see,smiled her mother. You have it all fixed

    up. The real estate business here in Melody Lane is

    as good as booming. You, Kay Findley, have thesign on Janes deserted office all dusted off and

    swinging gaily in the breeze.

    Now, Mother!And the Duncan girls? You were just going to

    say something about them, werent you?

    Yes, I was, drawled Kay. I was going to say

    that Carol Duncan is assistant director of the

    childrens camp out at Beaverbreak, and her sisterCecy, shes the one I know, we went to school

    together in the sixth grade, helps her sister with thecamp work there. Her father, hes the one you know,

    has taken the Dawson House for the summer. Its

    right at the station and he commutes to his

    newspaper office in Newkirk.

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    5

    So you girls could all work together selling the

    old places you just spoke of? Dont mind if I rush,

    dear, I just have to. Mrs. Findley was picking upher papers and slipping them into her brief case. I

    see what you mean. You would have the Duncan

    girls to help you as that camp is not too far from theCedar Set office. Is that it, dear?

    No wonder they think youre smart down at the

    brokerage office, Mums, said Kay, retrieving her

    hat from the old rocker but not bothering about thelibrary book Mrs. Findley had put over on the end

    table. You know what I think before I know

    myself. Yes, thats exactly it. Cecy and Carol have

    lots of time to ramble; their camp is right in thewoods. We all have bicycles and Im going down to

    old Spike Johnson and tell him Illtake over Janes

    leavins.Spike Johnson? His name is Thomas, isnt it?Used to be before he grew up. Now hes so tall

    they call him Spike and it suits him, too. But, I had

    better be careful if I want to do business with him.

    Perhaps I had better forget the Spike part, Kaydecided.

    But, really, Kay, why should he turn his businessover to a couple of girls? There was a hint of

    warning in Mrs. Findleys voice.

    Because I already have a prospective purchaser

    for a big place and if I can sell one place, Ill bet my

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    6

    brand new tennis racket, Spike will let me try some

    more. Dont you think thats a good business

    approach, Mums?Couldnt be better. But who and what is the

    prospect? For a big place? Do I see the catch in this

    new plan of you girls? There is a big place thatnever holds its tenants; could it be the Morgan

    Manor?

    Oh, Mums, sighed Kay, there you go again.

    As if anyone believed in haunted houses thesedays.

    Nevertheless, folks like to sleep nights, same as

    ever, even these days,laughed Mrs. Findley. But I

    dont like Tom Johnson. When your father and I hada piece of land in the Cedars when we were first

    married, he managed to get it away from us. Well,

    he certainly is not an example of the honest businessman,Mrs. Findley sighed, and Kay saw her bite herlips to restrain that memory.

    Kay turned her head away so her mother would

    not notice how this remark affected her. If her

    mother suspected why Kay was determined to getthe best of Tom Johnson in a deal she might not let

    her go into it.But Mrs. Findley, too, seemed lost in thought for

    the moment. Finally she said a little wearily: All

    right, dear. You made out well last summer. Sold a

    piano and actually got a commission

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    7

    Oh, well, Regans wanted a piano. I knew they

    did and I only told Ogdens salesman. He was a

    good sport to give me a commission. He didnt haveto, you know.

    I know,her mother agreed proudly. Well, Kay

    darling, Ive always been a business woman so Icant blame you. Not that I want to. Good bye,

    Bunnie. And watch out for spooks. They may exist.

    No one has ever been able to prove that they dont,

    you know, and those woods over by Proud Hill werealways supposed to be thick with them.

    It isnt the spooks, Mummy dear, but the

    spookers. Melody Lane girls have been after them

    for a long time, you know.Scarcely had Mrs. Findleys little car moved out

    onto the road than Kay was on her bicycle pedaling

    away in the opposite direction. First, she must seethat old fellow they called Spike Johnson. He wasknown to be an old crab with a lot of money,and

    it was also said he now owned half of Melody Lane.

    He had sold enough land for the Cedar Set

    development, and it was for that transaction theducky little office,with all the tricky rustic trellises

    and silly arbors leading like a tunnel from the oldroad to the right spot in the lovely wooded place,

    had been built. Thats where Jane Halliday took the

    orders and