Chapter 16 A New Clue
that's just what we need

Nancy has become more worried about her father and less concerned about the "mystery". She's almost positive that Gombet has a hand in the strange happenings, "It's up to me to quench his little game!"
She then decides to confront Gombet and asks the sisters where he lives.
"Why don't you know?" Rosemary asked. "He lives in that old stone house directly back of us."
Nancy is surprised. "I wish I had known that before."
"We would have mentioned it, but we thought you knew."
man, are these old biddies worthless or what?

Then they go on to tell Nancy the history of the two old houses. The houses were built by 2 brothers and when the Civil War broke out, William (one of da brathahs) supported the Union while the other brother supported the Confederacy.
and note how they fail to give a name to the Confederate supporter. how petty.

Nathan, of course, lives in the house that was built by the dirty rebel.
Then out of nowhere, "Nathan has always been queer," Floretta mumbled.
it had no context whatsoever. i mean, gay? can we not give this guy a break?

The sisters tell Nance that Gombet has a colored woman that works as a servant and that she "looks as though she were an ogre." And oh yeah, Nathan collects tons of birds.
GET IT?! He collects BIRDS!

The canary clue slaps Nancy in the face and she GETS it, but not surprisingly, the sisters remain clueless.

Now Nancy wants to check out Gombet's house but is afraid he'll suspect that something is up if she just goes over there. So she's gonna stake out his place and wait for him to leave. She doesn't tell the sisters her plans and she "retires early" so she can slip out to Gombet's house.

END CHAPTER 16

Chapter 17 Under Cover of Darkness

The sisters finally go to bed and it's really dark and Nancy slips out the kitchen window. She's got a flashlight and her revolver. But doesn't use the torch as she doesn't want anyone to see her sneaking around. It's dark and raining. And it's dark. Darkness anyone?
Nancy walks, in the dark, to Gombet's house and notices how dark and sinister it looks.
Have you noticed how everything associated with Gombet is dark, sinister and ugly? He's ugly. His clothes are ugly. They had mentioned that his car was old and ugly. He's got a FSLCW working for him and of course, his house is ugly.

"She could not help but feel that the dark, uninviting aspect of the structure provided an abode singularly in keeping with the sinister character of its master."
ok! we get the point. HE's the BADGUY. sheesh. how dark and sinister can a gay, jewish bird collector be?

Nathan then comes out of the house and walks into the dark forest toward the Turnbull's house. He's on his way to kidnap Nancy.
Meanwhile, Nancy is hiding behind a tree in Gombet's yard (trespassing). She then checks out Gombet's house and sees the FSLCW washing dishes. "I never saw a more surly-looking creature. She looks positively viscious!"

Nancy now wants to get inside Gombet's house and look around.
WHAT?! Why is that a good idea?

So she sneaks in by way of cellar window (breaking and entering).
Why does a cellar have a window?
The window slams behind her and makes a loud noise. The FSLCW goes to investigate the sound. Nancy hides very quickly in a storeroom.

END CHAPTER 17

Chapter 18 Inside the Other House

The FSLCW enters the cellar and we're blessed with a small monologue, "I suah thought I heard somethin'! An' it was right down in this heah basement, too!" nice.

The FSLCW doesn't see Nancy, but we all wish she had as then Nancy would have been arrested. And the monologue continues, "I done reckons my old ears is playing me false," the FSLCW mumbles. "I hears noises dat sounds like dey was in de basement and dey was only in my haid." again, nice.

The FSLCW leaves the basement and then goes and does some laundry giving Nancy the perfect chance to explore the house. Nancy finds the stairs which lead to the second floor. i'm going to assume that this is not the mythical hidden staricase.

She's on the second floor and too bad she doesn't know that her father is behind door number one. She opts for door number two.
Door number two is a room full of stuffed birds adn oh yeah, real birds too. canaries.
Now Nance KNOWS that Gombet is the baddie. If only she could prove it!

She notices too late that there is a large parrot in a huge cage. "Go 'way!" it screams. "Go 'way! Polly wants a cracker!"
"You little shit!" Nancy yelled. "I oughta throttle your punk ass!" i wish.
Nancy turns to run out of the room but hears the FSLCW's heavy footsteps on the stairs. She's trapped!
"I could choke that parrot!" Nancy told herself almost fiercely. "Now I am in a mess."
oh sure blame the parrot. it's never your fault IS IT Nancy? it's the parrot's fault that you're about to be caught trespassing, breaking and entering, AND possession of a deadly weapon, isn't it?

END CH. 18

Chapter 19 A Chance Discovery

The FSLCW is on her way, the parrot is screaming and Nancy is frantically looking for a place to hide. She's never been in a more dangerous situation before. "She did not doubt that the old colored woman was as unscrupulous as her master, and what she would do if she found a stranger prowling in the house, Nancy dreaded to consider."
MASTER?! What year did slavery end?

But wait! There's a closet! She runs and hides in the closet right as the FSLCW comes in, and the parrot continues to scream. And once again we are blessed with a monologue, "How comes you so excited to-night, talkbird?" the woman demanded crossly. "You carries on like a fool with all yo' squawkin' and speechifyin'." She then puts a canvas over the parrot's cage to shut it up and then she leaves the room.

While Nancy is hiding in the closet, her back is smashing up against a knob of some sort.

Nancy leaves the closet and goes to the door to check out the other rooms upstairs and buggery bollix, the FSLCW has locked the door!
you go girl!

Nancy immediately starts checking the room for a secret passage, and of course, doesn't find one. Then the remember the weird knob that was in the closet. She goes and checks it out.
She twists the knob. There's a clicking sound!
She presses the knob really hard.

All of a sudden the closet wall drops and Nancy loses her balance and careens head first down a steep flight of stone steps.
"A low cry of pain escaped her, and then she lay still."
wow. death by secret passage?

END CH. 19

Chapter 20 The Underground Passage

so the stone steps, was that the hidden staircase?

After a few minutes she comes to and realizes she's in an underground chamber and in complete darkness. Poor Nance has a bump over her left eye.
"Lucky I wasn't killed," she murmured.
yeah. lucky. i guess.

She feels around for her revolver and flashlight in the scary, damp chamber. Of course she finds them both.
If it had been me that had plunged head first down a hard, unforgiving staircase with a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other, i doubt i'd have to search real hard for the "missing" items. i would have ended up shooting myself on the way down and probably would have only to reach a couple of inches to pluck the now impaled flashlight from my chest.
What a way to go, eh?

And of course, her flashlight still works. So she follows a tunnel. A very long tunnel. She sees a rat. The tunnel forks off.
Nancy forks off to the right.
That's right, fork off, Nancy!

"I hope I don't get lost," she worried. "That would be the crowning misfortune."
oh, that would be the crowning misfortune.

She finds a knob and a wall opens up and she's at an old wooden staircase.
ok wait, is THIS the hidden staircase?

There is a metal ring at the top of the wooden staircase and just as she reaches out to grab the ring her flashlight goes out!
Huzzah! Now THAT's the crowning misfortune!

END CH. 20

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