Several times over the past three weeks, Glenn Turner had parked his cab and walked up the driveway through dark pines to watch the house. It amused him to call it the House of the Seven Gables. He thought the name suited the old wooden mansion high on a hill about five miles from town. Like the house in Hawthorne’s novel, it was neglected and had a cluster chimney in the center.
Glenn intended to rob it after making sure the risk was minimal. He knew that the owner, Felix Bradshaw, spent most of his time in the kitchen or library. Glenn would enter a wing that Felix had shut off after his wife left him. It was Mrs. Lorimer, the postmistress, who told him about the wing, having heard it from the town plumber. “Felix says he shut it off to save heat,” she said, “but maybe the old fool was putting Madeline behind him.”
Glenn decided to make his move on a night in mid-December, when the moon, as in Alfred Noyes’ poem, was a “ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.” He loved the purple tone of that improbable ballad. Other than drive a cab or steal, Glenn did little but read. Novels, poetry, plays, history, science—whatever piqued his interest. Reading was his excuse for an errant life, since it left him no time for a regular job. And he longed to escape, at least in his mind, from a background of rustic stupor.
While he felt estranged from his neighbors (few in the 1970s read much), he wouldn’t think of stealing from them. He usually burgled houses in southern Maryland’s larger cities—Waldorf or La Plata. Selective even there, he acted in the spirit that W. C. Fields expressed in dialogue with Poppy, his little daughter. He quoted them now as he drew on his work gloves.
We rob from the rich and give to the poor.
What poor, Papa?
We poor, my little flower.
Tonight he’d make an exception. Felix was a townsman, however remote, and no one thought him rich. But he probably wouldn’t miss the stolen objects. Glenn would rob the east wing, even with Felix at home. It felt safe and promising. A single antique could pay for a month’s groceries, fuel, and rent.
He climbed an old oak and worked his way along a branch that overhung the back porch. Hooked to his belt were tools and a flashlight, and he carried a length of cord for lowering things. His ski mask and clothing were dark, his shoes rubber soled. The cab, a black Ford sedan, bore altered plates, and he carried no weapon in case of arrest.
Moving stealthily along the roof, wary of loose slates, he sought an unlocked window. To his mild surprise, he found one that was open about three inches. He raised it with the barest sound, and a sweep of his light revealed a small bedroom. As he climbed in, he heard the hoot of a distant owl and thought of Gray’s line The moping owl does to the moon complain.
The smell of death, faint but disconcerting, struck him at once. A bird must have found its way in and been trapped. He almost dropped his flash when he saw a figure on the bed. The long black hair, rather than what was left of the face, told him it was the corpse of a woman. She was covered to the shoulders with a flowered quilt, and the skeletal hands held a crucifix. Flies and their progeny had long since dined and left.
On the verge of bolting, he made another sweep with his flashlight. The clothing in an open closet and the photographs of pop idols were those of a teenage girl. Shirley’s room, of course. It must have been hers until she left for college. The thought strummed a heartstring. Blond, blue-eyed Shirley Bradshaw had been his secret love.
But who was the dead woman? Mrs. Bradshaw, Shirley’s mother, came to mind―tall, with dark hair.
As if to scatter memories, his probing light revealed something else. In the doorway were horizontal laths with plaster protruding: a sealed entrance, probably papered over on the outside.
The thumping of his heart mounted with the implications. He wanted nothing to do with a possible homicide. He hastened to descend the tree and cross the weedy lawn to the driveway. Still shaken, he glanced back at the mansion, now a tomb silhouetted by the elusive moon. There was no way Felix Bradshaw could not know what lay within.
Bradshaw was the town’s most eccentric loner. He had worked at the National Museum in Washington, from which he had pilfered many relics, such as skulls, daggers, a shrunken head, an opium pipe. He collected guns, antique and modern. He wasn’t known to hunt, but was sometimes seen on back roads shooting a revolver at No Hunting signs. Retired since the late ’60s, he was said to live mainly on his wife’s inheritance.
Glenn had learned about the Bradshaws from Shirley on their dates in high school. She was shy and reserved, but with him often candid, disclosing a home life marred by her stepfather’s tyranny. Glenn never found the nerve to declare his affection, and they lost touch when she went away. To his knowledge, she hadn’t been home since.
He had heard, however, that she would be in town during the Christmas holiday. The lawyer Byron Bauer had called to say, “I’m going to need a ride to Annapolis on the twentieth to pick up a young lady. You may know her—Shirley Bradshaw.”
Surprised and curious, Glenn said, “Sure. We were in the same class in high school. Have you known her long?”
“Couple of years now. She works at the Annapolis courthouse.”
That afternoon, Glenn visited the lawyer at his office in the center of town. The thought of what Shirley might encounter at home prompted Glenn to confess his discovery. There was no hesitation in this, for he knew things about the lawyer far shadier than a sterile burglary. For one, he had delivered drugs from Byron’s seaplane to men in a Lincoln with diplomatic plates. He felt that the lawyer would be more comfortable knowing they both had something to hide.
At first Byron, seated at his desk, seemed curious but calm. “Did it look like a natural death or foul play?” he asked, forming a fingertip steeple.
“I couldn’t tell. Maybe Bradshaw just sealed her up to avoid a funeral.” He withheld comment on the similar treatment of corpses by Poe and Faulkner. The lawyer had no use for literature and would probably accuse him of babbling.
“You think it was her mother?” asked Byron.
“I imagine. All the worse, if Shirley intends to stay there.”
“Well, she’ll be staying with me.”
Byron went to a sideboard and filled glasses with ice and Scotch. Back in his swivel chair, he put his feet on the desk and lipped a cigar.
Staying with me rang in Glenn’s head. He compared ages: Shirley twenty-three (a year younger than he) and Byron in his thirties. Handsome, heir to a tobacco fortune, already a law partner. Glenn could understand the mutual attraction, but couldn’t see the combination. It was hard to imagine a girl less sophisticated or a man more devious.
“But—” said Byron, beginning to get it, “if she visits the old homestead . . . that could be a problem.”
“Yeah. Like her room being occupied. It’s sure to spoil her Christmas.”
Byron put his feet down and sat up. “Christ! we can’t open that can of worms. If I’m seen with her . . . The press― You know I’m trying to get Longstreet elected Governor. A scandal right now could flush both our careers down the crapper.”
“So what do we do about the dead lady?”
“Obviously nothing. Just let her be.” But on further thought, “When Shirley finds her room boarded up . . . They break down the wall—”
“I think that wing is sealed off. Her old man’ll keep her out of there. But maybe you ought to tell her.”
“Tell her! Turner, that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever said. Damn!” He lowered his head and pressed his temples in concentration. “Damn!”
Glenn had another concern. “You realize Bradshaw’s insane. How do we know he won’t harm Shirley if she finds out?”
“We have to chance it.”
Aware that Byron could be rather nasty if you didn’t agree with him, Glenn nodded and sipped his Scotch.
On the way to Annapolis, he asked Byron why he was taking a cab these fifty-odd miles. The reply only fueled his anguish. “I’d drive or fly,” said the lawyer, “but I’ll need some time with Shirley in the back seat. It might take a little romancing to persuade her to stay with me. We damn well can’t let her go home.”
They reached Annapolis around noon and found the house where Shirley roomed. Byron went in to get her, giving Glenn a moment with Schopenhauer’s The World Is Will and Idea. Unable to concentrate, he closed the book. How to spare Shirley from the ghastly secret? How to save her from Byron Bauer? The will was strong, but he came up short on ideas.
He averted his face in stowing Shirley’s suitcase and returning to the front seat. A glance confirmed that she was even prettier than he remembered. When she slipped off her coat, her figure looked fuller. She seemed more assured, more womanly in every way. And it all came rushing back, the yearning he had never managed to express, the heartache of a shy youth unable to move beyond friendship and dumb adoration.
As a cab driver, he thought he should remain anonymous, but Shirley noticed his portrait on the plaque. “Glenn, is that you?” she cried in pleasant surprise.
“It’s me, all right. Good to see you, Shirley.”
“Good to see you. Are you in touch with any of our old friends?”
They chatted while Byron did little to hide his impatience. Feeling strained, Glenn grew silent. He couldn’t ignore the lawyer’s murmured coaxing. As they picked up speed, the voice also rose. “Okay. You don’t want to kiss me, fine. But I’d like to tell you my plan for the weekend. First, we’ll have dinner with my parents. You can spend the night there, or we can share my apartment, whichever. Tomorrow morning, we’ll fly down to Newport News—”
“Byron, that all sounds very nice,” she said, “but I have to go home. Do you realize I haven’t been there in five years? We’ll have lots of time together.”
They veered to neutral topics—football, the warmer weather, Judge Longstreet’s bid for the governorship. As they neared town, Byron said, “I’ll try once more, Shirley. I want you to have dinner with us this evening. Later, if you like, I’ll take you to see your father. How about it?”
“Stepfather,” she corrected. “But I just can’t. He’s expecting me.”
“Okay, that’s settled. Glenn, drop me at the office and take Shirley home. I’d go with you, but I’m running late for an appointment.”
Glenn paused at the curb while the two arranged to meet the following day. Then Shirley said, “Glenn, do you mind if I ride in the front? I’d rather not be talking to the back of your head.” She switched seats while Byron stayed to close the doors. His response to Glenn’s friendly wave was a finger.
When Shirley and Glenn were again on the road, she said, “I didn’t think I’d ever come back here.”
“I remember you didn’t get along too well with your parents.”
“With my crazy stepfather. I’d just started my sophomore year when he wrote to say Mom had left him. I was actually glad. I should have answered his letter, but I never did.”
“And your mother—did she write?”
“Sent a telegram, that’s all. Said she was about to cross into Mexico and would write when she got settled. After a while I started to worry. Called friends and relatives to see if they’d heard from her. Nothing. I pestered the embassies till they were sick of me. But I never heard from her again.”
Glenn wondered whether Bradshaw had contrived to send that telegram, maybe through one of his Army buddies. Mrs. Lorimer remarked that he occasionally corresponded with someone in Laredo, on the Tex-Mex border. Apparently the whole story of his wife’s desertion was a lie.
Shirley continued. “When Byron suggested I spend some time here over Christmas, I got to thinking. Maybe if I visited Dad I could get a clue to my mom’s whereabouts. I’m willing to let bygones be bygones.”
“Then you didn’t intend to stay with Byron?” Glenn ventured.
“No. No, I haven’t made up my mind about him. I don’t like the way he’s trying to rush me.”
“That makes me feel a lot better.”
She didn’t respond, but he glimpsed her searching his face. Later she said, “I’ve thought of you often, Glenn. Tell me about yourself.”
There wasn’t much he could say without tarnishing his image, so he switched to old friends and old times. The problem ahead clouded his reminiscence. Tell her about the dead woman? While he felt he should, he couldn’t bring himself to divulge the horror or admit how he’d discovered it. Yet, if he left her in the dark, she’d expect to go to her room . . . Bradshaw had better have a good explanation for closing that wing.
Again he saw the corpse, the eyes closed and sunken, the bony hands clutching the crucifix. Again he smelled death. He had fled the scene, but now it forced itself upon him. The dead woman seemed to rise from the bed, float through the halls . . . He had to keep Shirley from finding her.
The sun was a crimson ball on the horizon when they arrived at the mansion. They stepped between columns supporting a second-floor balcony. Shirley pressed the button, waited, then tried the knocker. Glenn wondered how anyone could live in a house with a corpse. At length the door opened and Felix Bradshaw, grizzled and beady-eyed, gestured toward a spacious foyer.
“Come in, come in. I did not expect you so soon.”
Did not in lieu of didn’t. Maybe he thought the formality more befitting a son of the old South. Shirley had mentioned his proud origin in Memphis, his heroes in the KKK.
Bradshaw peered at him. “Is this the young man you came to visit?”
“No, Dad. This is Glenn Turner. You remember Glenn. He brought me here in his cab.”
“The last time I rode in a taxicab was the day I returned from Nuremberg.”
Where you adopted the crew cut, Glenn almost added.
Shirley drew Glenn inside as her stepfather tried to shut him out. “I need Glenn for protection,” she said, failing at lightness.
“I suppose you are referring to that night,” said Bradshaw. “Regrettable, very regrettable. Shall we go into the kitchen. That’s where I spend most of my time.”
Turning to Glenn, she said, “Would you bring in my suitcase. I’d like to put on a sweater; it’s getting chilly.”
As he returned with the suitcase, he followed their voices to a large kitchen, where he noted the outdated appliances, probably replaced in the ’50s. He pictured the house at a much earlier time, with Packards and Pierce-Arrows out front and servants preparing dinner for eight. Shirley’s mother, expecting her marriage to meld two patrician clans, had made a grave, even fatal, error.
“Why can’t I go to my room?” Shirley asked as he entered.
“Because I shut off that part of the house,” said her stepfather. “You can have the front bedroom. No one has slept there since your mother left.”
“Well, if you two will excuse me, I want to change into something more comfortable. Be back in a jiffy.”
Upstairs, in the dim hall, she deplored the plywood now closing off the east wing. She went into the front bedroom, which seemed smaller than before. The twilight cast a violet glow over the old furniture, the wallpaper, the watercolors her mother had painted. She opened the closet intending to hang up her suit. Seeing dresses her mother had worn reminded her sadly of good days eclipsed by meanness and cruelty.
Tense but weary, she lay down on the bed and slipped off her shoes. Eyes closed, she heard the drone of voices downstairs, the creak of wood as the house cooled. When she opened her eyes, it was night.
Gazing at the darkness beyond the doorway, she thought she saw motion there. A figure took form and slowly advanced. Now she distinguished long dark hair, a white gown. The face was obscure, but the hair and the tall, slender shape were unmistakable.
The figure stopped near the door. Dream? hallucination? really her mother? She groped for the switch on the bedside lamp, her eyes glued to the form. But it dissolved abruptly into swirling mist and vanished.
At first she was certain she had seen it, but assurance faded as she rose from the bed in a daze. She changed into jeans and a sweater. Bewildered, aching with a sense of loss, she returned to the kitchen.
She slipped into the breakfast nook as the men returned from the library, where Glenn had been treated to the gun display. As he sat down beside her, she said, “In Mom’s room just now . . . ,” but doubt checked her. Glenn must have sensed her distress, for he gently took her hand.
Her stepfather poured tea, then shoveled ashes from the Dutch oven. “I’ll fetch some wood and build a fire,” he said. “I do like the smell of hickory smoke when winter winds blow.”
Alone with Shirley, Glenn was free to ask, “What did he mean by ‘that night’ as we came in? What happened?”
She shuddered, collected herself. “I knocked him out with a skillet to stop him from choking Mom. I don’t know . . . I think I meant to kill him.” A moment later she said, “Let’s go to my room. I want to get some things, like a yearbook with pictures of our graduating class. Oh, Glenn, I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t trust the old coot.”
“Shirley, there’s something you should—”
“Come on, we’ll take the back stairs.”
She rose before he could protest, and he followed her, counting on barriers if Bradshaw had really sealed off the wing. They passed through a swinging door and entered a niche open to the dining room. It contained the door to a servants’ staircase, sealed with a large padlock.
“Darn!” said Shirley. “Why did he do that?”
“To save heat, I guess.”
“But why the crude lock? He’s just as crazy as ever. It was probably a big mistake to come back here.”
They heard a door slam and quickly reentered the kitchen. Seated again, they watched Bradshaw place kindling and logs on wadded newspaper. Shirley looked determined. “May I have the key to your padlock?” she said. “I want to go to my room.”
Bradshaw scraped a match on the hearth and ignited the paper at several points. Watching the flames mount, he said, “Sorry, honeychild―I lost it.”
She glanced at Glenn. Then she asked her stepfather in an even tone, “Have you ever heard from Mom?”
“Oh yes; we exchanged letters. They made it to Venezuela. As far as I know, they’re still living on a houseboat at Maracaibo.”
“They?” she said, scowling.
“It serves me right. She never would have run off with that blighter if I had treated her in the manner she deserved.”
After a long, held breath, Shirley responded, “That’s a big if. I guess she preferred her freedom.”
“Well, it’s all here if she ever wants it―her house, her inheritance . . .”
“You mean you haven’t touched the securities, the bank accounts?”
“I didn’t say that. You know I never trusted stocks or banks. I cashed out everything and bought gold coins—Krugerrands.”
The fire burned brightly and Bradshaw refilled the teacups. “Knowing you were coming,” he said, “I started a rabbit on the grill. It must be about ready. I’ll check the greenhouse to see if there’s anything left for a salad.”
The moment he was out the door, Shirley said, “Let’s find something to force that padlock.”
Glenn was in a quandary. If he didn’t do as she wished, she’d spend a perilous night here. If he told her what the walled-up doorway concealed, she’d be devastated. And he’d have to tell how he knew. Well, maybe not if they discovered the corpse together. Reluctant, dreading the outcome, he went to the cab for a crowbar.
Bradshaw was still outside when he returned. He pried off the padlock, and they faced a staircase. As they mounted, he smelled mold in the dark, narrow passage. On the second floor, he switched on a light and followed Shirley down the hall. He saw no way to stop her from noting the absence of a door to her bedroom.
“I don’t understand,” she said. “My room has vanished.”
He ran his fingers across the wall. “You can tell there was a door here,” he said. He drove the crowbar through the plaster and ripped out the laths, exposing a dark room through a cloud of dust. The smell confirmed that he had opened the tomb. He stepped over rubble and turned on a light, revealing the figure on the bed.
After a closer look, Shirley staggered back and buried her face in his shoulder. Holding her close, he gazed at the eyeless, skin-tight skull, the skeletal fingers gripping the cross. He turned Shirley toward the hall.
Suddenly Bradshaw’s voice rasped, “Hands on your heads, you two. My twelve-gauge has a hair trigger. Come out of the room.” And as they stepped forward: “I do not abide marauders, perfidious wives, or disloyal daughters. Out.”
Mad as the Mad Hatter, Glenn thought. Now that we know, he’ll kill us for sure!
Shirley stepped past her stepfather in the doorway. Then Glenn approached him with hands behind his head—and his fist around the straight end of the crowbar. As Bradshaw backed into the hall, Glenn swiftly hooked the curved end of the crowbar around the shotgun barrels and swept them aside. A deafening blast, a ragged hole in the wall, a lingering cloud of acrid smoke. Shirley screamed. Glenn seized the gun, and Bradshaw, dazed, released it without a struggle.
Some of the shot had ricocheted and peppered Shirley’s legs. Feeling her calves, she said, “I guess I’m all right. Just frightened out of my wits.” She led the men down the servants’ stairs. Glenn, admiring her self-possession, felt a surge of his old yearning.
Bradshaw paused on his way through the dining room. “You cannot turn me in,” he said. “What crime have I committed?”
“Try murder,” said Glenn, prodding him with the gun.
“You will find no marks on her body.”
“They can tell if you poisoned or smothered her.”
Catching up with Shirley, Bradshaw said, “Don’t you want to know where I hid the gold? My will leaves everything to you, honeychild, but if I clam up, you will get naught but this house.”
“Shut up, you―you monster,” said Shirley. “We’ll let the law take its course.”
At the cab, Glenn handed her the gun and said, “You ride in the back and point it at his head.”
She took the gun gingerly, and Bradshaw started to back away. “I don’t think you would shoot your old dad,” he said. “Your mother died a natural death, but I could not bear the thought of cremation or the grave. Would you kill me for that?”
Shirley handed the gun back to Glenn, apparently willing to have him use it if she couldn’t. But Bradshaw broke for the trees, and Glenn hesitated. What would she think if he actually shot at her stepfather? Frustrated, he threw the gun aside.
On the way back to town, he said, “We have to tell the police.”
“Oh Glenn, not now,” she groaned. “I couldn’t go through any more tonight. Let’s wait till tomorrow.”
They agreed to spend the night in Glenn’s apartment, Shirley in the bedroom and him on the couch. Too charged with the day’s events to sleep, they talked. Glenn tried to explain his compulsive reading, Shirley her slow adjustment to the greater world. Throughout, he endured all the symptoms of love listed in Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy—desire, fixation, distraction, and so on—yet he remained aloof lest she suspect him of bringing her here with low intent.
As one o’clock neared, however, she said, “Glenn, let’s pretend we’ve been on a date and it’s time for our goodnight kiss.” That sublime event marked a turning point in his life.
The next morning, they went to the police station to report the death. The desk sergeant, black, huge, immutable, looked up at Shirley. She drew a deep breath and said, “There’s a woman—my mother, I believe—lying dead at my house. She’s been dead a long time.”
Pen poised, the sergeant asked, “And you are—?”
“Shirley Bradshaw. The house is out Route—”
“I know the place.” And to Glenn, an old acquaintance, “Are you a witness?”
“Yes. But there’s more to it. Her stepfather threatened us with a shotgun. He’s still there.”
“Yeah—Felix Bradshaw. I knew those guns would get him into trouble. I’ll talk to Captain Rogers.” He rose with an effort and went into an office. Presently the captain followed him out saying, “Sounds like a coroner’s case, but we’ll have to deal with Bradshaw first. If he fires on us, my men have their orders.”
“He’s mentally ill,” said Shirley defensively. And to Glenn, “We’d better go along. I might be able to get him to surrender if he resists.”
They followed three police cars in Glenn’s cab. At the Bradshaw property, they walked up the driveway behind armed, alert officers. Those ahead halted at sight of the mansion. Then the two saw what the police had just seen.
Felix Bradshaw had hanged himself from the balcony. Slowly twisting, he displayed a proper hangman’s knot, his head canted. As if to confirm Shirley’s insanity plea, he wore a cartridge belt and a large revolver.
Shirley turned her face away, and Glenn drew her from the scene. In the cab now blocked by an ambulance, she stared straight ahead, overwhelmed by two terrible blows just hours apart. He held her hand, wishing he could erase her grisly images.
At length a policeman tapped on the window and passed him a sheet of notepaper. “It was pinned to his shirt,” he said. “I’ll have to ask you to give it back. We’ll need it for evidence.”
Written in a clear backhand, the note was addressed, “Dear Daughter.” Glenn read it aloud:
Your Dad in the spirit of measure for measure
Bequeaths you this house and its hidden treasure.
Hence, you will reign here forever and ever
Or until you find it, which could be never.
Far from the road, plant me in a corner,
And if it suits you, put her in another.
My one further wish does not concern thee.
I beseech whatever gods there may be
To suffer old bones to R.I.P.
Shirley gazed at Glenn, stunned. Finally she whispered, “Loony to the end.”
The coroner later mentioned broken cartilage in her mother’s throat. Glenn felt an ounce of relief. At least she wouldn’t have to ponder the cause of death or whether Bradshaw had deserved his fate. The coroner also enabled Shirley to honor her stepfather’s request, and the bodies were duly buried in far corners of the estate.
Winter melted into spring. Meanwhile, treasure seekers, having heard of the note, descended with shovels, divining rods, even a backhoe. The sheriff posted signs and drove off a few diggers, but they soon returned. Shirley had a chain-link fence installed and adopted a German shepherd to patrol it. True to Bradshaw’s prediction, she “reigned” over the property as its legal resident. But she could only be there on weekends, and it fell to Glenn, as caretaker, to move in with the dog.
He resolved to go straight, thinking Shirley deserved better than a second-story man, however professional. He had little time now for reading, having taken to treasure hunting himself, both for the gold and for Shirley’s freedom to sell the property.
He explored files, drawers, books; dusty attic and basement crannies; paneling that might disclose a hiding place. He bought a metal detector and searched the grounds. But no gold or clues came to light. Was the treasure a myth just to torment Shirley or to keep her from leaving?
Then, one evening in April, he was walking in the woods behind the mansion, his detector at work and the dog, Bo, at his side. Vapor rose from melting snow and sodden leaves. He stepped around a fallen tree and saw Bradshaw’s tombstone, already embraced by a vine. Poison ivy? he mused.
Abruptly the dog halted, growling, and Glenn spied a man among the trees ahead. He was annoyed, baffled. The gate had been locked all day. And why hadn’t Bo harkened earlier?
The intruder paused, looked down for a moment, and moved on. Glenn started to call out, but decided to follow him, fixing on an orange hunter’s cap and plaid jacket. But the man was out of sight when they reached the small clearing where he had stood. Bo began to dig, and Glenn swept the spot with his detector. It registered no metal. But the ground felt spongy, and Bo’s vigorous clawing soon revealed old, rotten boards.
The two hastily stepped back. Tapping with the detector, Glenn watched a board break and fall. He heard it land far below, and terror swept him as he peered down into darkness. Did the man know of the pit? Had he led them there?
Glenn strode to the house, Bo leading, and returned with a shovel and a flashlight. Removal of dirt and the boards disclosed a hole about eight feet wide, probably an abandoned mine. He couldn’t see the bottom clearly, but discovered a rope tied to a root near the top. With this he was able to lift five saddle bags one after the other.
The dog sniffed and pawed at the moldy leather, which had probably alerted him. One of the bags, torn open, spilled gold coins.
That evening, after Shirley stopped shrieking her delight and hugging Glenn and Bo, she said, “Tell me more about the mysterious stranger.”
“I was too intent on Bo’s digging to follow the guy. I never saw him again.”
“He wore an orange hunting cap and a plaid jacket. That’s all I could make out.”
Shirley grew silent and a little pale. Slowly clasping Glenn’s hand, she murmured, “That’s what he used to wear when he went around shooting at No Hunting signs.”