"Are you afraid of her?" if so "You should up sticks and go." "It's as simple as you want it to be. Did my uncle say where he was going?"
"I don't want to do that. Is she quite strict then, Mrs. Harbledown?"
"I didn't see him," "I am sorry. If he comes back I'll tell him you were here."
"You should go. You'll get me into trouble."
"You could say that."
"Good evening, Sir," "I am Eva Harbledown, the landlady. Was it a room you wanted for tonight, or maybe two?"
"Just the one room, just the one night."
"I ... I ... just wanted to ..." "I mean, would you like me to look after it for you? I could put it somewhere safe, under lock and key downstairs. It looks valuable."
"No value can be placed on this ... box" "I warn you, lad - you try to touch it again, it'll be the worse for you."
"No!" "Don't touch it!"
Ralph watched at the window as Myrtle walked away up the icy street. She looked back once, saw Ralph and gave a wave and a smile. He couldn't remember the last time someone had smiled at him and meant it. He spent the day mulling over the options, jumping every time Mrs. Harbledown or Fingers appeared.
"So, Ralph, what's in the box?"
"You ain't lying to me, are you? It's something important, I know. You can tell from the wayhe held it."
"He wouldn't even let me touch it."
It was early evening and Ralph was on the stairs, still lost in thought, when he heard the street door open and someone come in. There was a man standing in the hall. -The man silenced her by holding out a small purse of coins. Ralph take Mr. Doran up to the attic room while Mr. Doran climbed the stairs difficulty, audibly puffing and knees cracking.
Ralph could see that it really was quite special. It had to be worth a good amount. A plan began to form in his head, and dark thoughts whispered (I could steal the box, sell it, and then run away.)
"DON'T OPEN THE BOX!" A.P. Doran
For the rest of the evening, Ralph could think of nothing but the gleaming box. He was consumed by the thought of owning it. It was no longer just a box- now it was the key to his freedom! But Mrs. Harbledown to know something and she kept an even sharper eye on him than usual. As for Mr. Doran, no one had seen him all evening.
"I am telling you, he wouln't let me near it," "It doesn't look anything special to me."
"Don't cheek me, Ralph Bennett," "Or you'll be sorry."
Ralph raced up to the attic, Mr. Doran was in bed with his arms out over the covers. The mysterious object of Ralph's obsession was gleaming on the bedside table. What treasures it must contain! Something glinted around Mr. Doran's exposed neck. 'It's for the box, It has to be." he sliced the string and grabbed the key, the box.
Back in his own room, elated by his daring, Ralph ran his fingers over the glossy surface. As he pushed aside the brass disc that covered the keyhole he saw that there was an inscription on it. It was too late. Startled by the commotion, Ralph flinched. The key turned, almost by itself, and the box flew up into the air and landed across the room on the floor, the lid wide open.
Who turns this key, in one breath Will meet himself, and oft his death