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[122] in, pretty much all the windows were gone, and there was a general air of dilapidation about the place. A dwelling-house, to which it was an appendage, had been burned and not rebuilt, and the barn had been left to fight a battle with the elements and other foes in pretty much its own way.

Not that it was wholly abandoned. There was one mow that was kept pretty well supplied with grass, and there were two or three horse stalls that were in tolerable order, although but rarely used. There were a number of excellent hiding-places about the old rookery. In the basement all sorts of rubbish, including unused vehicles and machinery, had been stored away, and so wedged and packed was it that it would have taken hours to uncover man or beast seeking concealment there.

One of the curious features of the situation was that the building was in sight of none of the roads in the neighborhood, while less than a hundred feet from it was a strip of woods in which the removal of the larger trees had stimulated a sturdy and densely matted undergrowth that was penetrable only by means of paths that had been made by the cattle. It was what was called a “woods pasture.” With this cover for his movements any one could approach or leave the old barn with little danger of discovery.

Naturally enough, such a ramshackle was in ill-repute. There were tales about it in the neighborhood. Some children had gone there to play on one occasion, and had been badly frightened by a big — as big as a half-bushel, they asserted-black face that was seen to be watching them. They fled


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