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IT was Christmas Eve. I remember it just as if it was yesterday. The Colonel had been pretending not to notice it, but when Drinkwater Torm knocked over both the great candlesticks, and in his attempt to pick them up lurched over himself and fell sprawling on the floor, he yelled at him. Torm pulled himself together, and began an explanation, in which the point was that he had not "teched a drap in Gord knows how long," but the Colonel cut him short.
"Get out of the room, you drunken vagabond!" he roared.
The old Gray plantation, “Red Rock,” lay at the highest part of the rich rolling country, before it rose too abruptly in the wooded foothills of the blue mountains away to the westward. As everybody in the coun-try knew, who knew anything, it took its name from the great red stain, as big as a blanket, which appeared on the huge bowlder in the grove, beside the family grave-yard, at the far end of the Red Rock gardens. And as was equally well known, or equally well believed, which amounted almost to the same thing, that stain was the blood of the Indian chief who had slain the wife of the first Jacquelin Gray who came to this part of the world: the Jacquelin who had built the first house at Red Rock, around the fireplace of which the present mansion was erected, and whose portrait, with its piercing eyes and fierce look, hung in a black frame over the mantel, and used to come down as a warning when any peril impended above the house.More info →