A Man In A White Cap Sat In An Office By The Door.
He Seemed To Welcome Them More Warmly Than When They Had First
Presented Themselves, And The Charge For The Night Had Somewhat
Unaccountably Fallen From A Dollar To A Quarter.
They thought him
ill-looking, but paid their quarter apiece, and were shown upstairs
to the top of the house.
There, in a small room, the man in the
white cap wished them pleasant slumbers.
It was furnished with a bed, a chair, and some conveniences. The
door did not lock on the inside; and the only sign of adornment was
a couple of framed pictures, one close above the head of the bed,
and the other opposite the foot, and both curtained, as we may
sometimes see valuable water-colours, or the portraits of the dead,
or works of art more than usually skittish in the subject. It was
perhaps in the hope of finding something of this last description
that M'Naughten's comrade pulled aside the curtain of the first.
He was startlingly disappointed. There was no picture. The frame
surrounded, and the curtain was designed to hide, an oblong
aperture in the partition, through which they looked forth into the
dark corridor. A person standing without could easily take a purse
from under the pillow, or even strangle a sleeper as he lay abed.
M'Naughten and his comrade stared at each other like Vasco's
seamen, 'with a wild surmise'; and then the latter, catching up the
lamp, ran to the other frame and roughly raised the curtain.
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