Segment 10: Historical Record (2015)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
performed by Dick Move, Iris Explosion, Seedy Edie, Johnny Caligula, Viktor Devonne, and Noctua, with Jack Barrow
engineered and recorded by Dick Move

patreon

transcription:

viktor sketches 3 color
Lionel Gilman sketch by Fishy Business

NARRATOR: On November 30th, 1901 at the Gilman Hotel, the man who would reinvent the affordable luxury hotel model succumbed to age and illness, dying in his own room.

LESLIE DAVENPORT, investigative reporterLionel Gilman was a visionary.  He saw a way to both make money and invite the working class.

NARRATOR: Spending his final years dedicated to one building would eventually lead to rumors about unethical behavior, deceit, and even murder.

FELIX SCOTT, contributing reporter: There is no record of these people leaving the country unharmed.

DAVID HANDLER, author: He knew what he wanted, and he had the influence and money to get it.

NARRATOR: Over the years, his name is now synonymous with accidents, death, and destruction—but also hope.

CHARLY VILLAQUEZ, magazine editor: He was a great man.  the people he worked with, maybe not so much.

LAURA GRIFFITH-KELLY, Gilman Legacy Foundation president: Some documents from the foundation have been deemed eyes-only for the board members.

NARRATOR: Tonight, we discuss the marvel and the mayhem of the Gilman.

HESPERWOLF, spiritualist: I know for a fact that it is haunted.

SCOTT: If he wasn’t the devil yet, he became one that day.

NARRATOR: This is Historical Record: Secrets and Skeletons.

Dr. Calvin Bernard Gilman, age 26, fell in love with his nurse aide Virginia, age 17, at regional hospital in 1818.  They were married and Virginia gave birth to a son that was noted as being more than 2 months premature (pause) however this is due to modified birth records. In fact, Lionel was conceived before their hasty marriage and was born almost exactly on his perceived due date.  Dr. Gilman kept this information secret for more than 50 years.  When Lionel was 19, after losing a sister to sudden death as an infant, the Gilman family brought to Tobias Gilman into the world in 1838.

DAVENPORT: Lionel Gilman’s family life is mostly shrouded in secrecy as while it is well known that he kept a diary, scant passages have been released by his estate.

NARRATOR: Lionel Gilman was well educated in New England, and began his fascination with building construction and masonry in his 20s.

HANDLER: Lionel spent most of his early years making deals that would advance his name and cache, and he had to get the influence and money to get it.  While his family was not known to be rich, somehow he manages to start buying real estate.

SCOTT: Where is this money coming from?  What deal with the devil did he sign, because he certainly didn’t sign any partnership papers.

NARRATOR: Lionel Gilman spent most of life a solitary businessman.   In addition to never marrying, or raising an heir to his industry, he insisted on being the only figurehead.

HANDLER: He didn’t want to be an employee.  He spent about 4 years working under people, to the point of presumed exhaustion until he was able to start his own business.        

NARRATOR: Gilman’s company specialized in concrete and other building materials.  He stays in distant contact with his family, even after his mother becomes ill.  Danielle Gilman would succumb to complications of influenza at the age of 40.  Dr. Gilman would marry the daughter of a family friend, housekeeper Dorothy Meyer, age 25.  They would have a son, Dewey, in 1845.

DAVENPORT: Lionel’s decision to leave the company he started with was viewed as an unnatural risk for his age.  He’s 23, single, and has more or less removed himself from his family now that his father has remarried.

NARRATOR: Dr. Gilman would live for several more decades until a stroke in 1860 rendered him bedridden, and finally died in 1864 after an unspecified infection.  He was 74.  During his later years, however, he would see his eldest son make capable decision after capable decision, and providing for them all.

HANDLER: Lionel Gilman was famously generous to his family.  He would send money to them, make sure they had all they needed.  But he would do all of this at a distance; he rarely visited, he didn’t write these long letters that we can look at to see what kind of man he was, or how he felt about his stepmother or younger brothers.  It wasn’t until the 1850s where he even really seemed to establish a relationship with his brother Tobias—and that of course was all business.

NARRATOR: Beginning as a project manager, Tobias Calvin Gilman was soon given the job of head of accountants of Lionel’s second company, due to his inclination for mathematics.  The brothers would soon live together in a joint mansion, which was conceived as two buildings, joined together with a central common area.

DAVENPORT: Lionel was known for his privacy, but also it can be assumed that as a potentially lonely man, he needed someone nearby that he could rely on.  And since he wasn’t making a whole lot of friends, he had his brother.

NARRATOR: Lionel began to make enemies, as he was known for swooping in on the business deals of other companies, making a counter-offer, and landing the account.  Soon after however, additional fees and costs would rise during the construction and those companies would end up paying far more than they would have if they had stayed with their earlier company.

HANDLER: he was able to do this five or six times and no one would see it coming.  Eventually other companies would come to him, saying hey you stole our client, and he would say well i’ll give you a cut if you do the work for me.  He would hustle them out of the lion’s share of the proceeds but they wouldn’t have a choice.  If he wanted to, he would flat out buy the customer records of his competitors or for some reason the C.E.O. or main project manager of that company would quit… so he would have an easy in.

NARRATOR: Lionel created a rolodex of companies that would supply him with materials at reduced rates, for unknown reasons.

VILLAQUEZ: He knew something.  There’s no other explanation.  He had something on them.  Lionel Gilman was known as a great man.  The people he worked with, maybe not so much.

HANDLER: All of that was industry talk.  Lionel Gilman did not have a bad reputation in the world.  He was making hospitals and schools, and working with foundations with progressive social issues.  He was, essentially, a robin hood for the industry.  He was taking away these bad practices these other companies were doing, these would-be robber barons and he was actually providing something good in the world.

NARRATOR: Not everyone sees it that way.  

SCOTT: Lionel Gilman stole from the wealthy to feed himself.  While along the way, he managed to dupe an entire generation into thinking he was a Vanderbilt or an Andrew Carnegie, but instead he should be known as a thief who muscled in on smaller businesses to be the only game in town.

NARRATOR: Gilman would buy entire blocks of land, and inherit the small business contracts from multiple small businesses along the way.  One such location was the spot of the original hotel, known as the Haus Schonheit, known as the pretty hotel to locals, which lasted 2 years before Gilman took it over, first as their landlord.  

Conroy Schonheit married Adele Beauchamp in April of 1884 in Frankfurt, Germany.  Mr. Schonheit’s family were innkeepers of a small business in Holland until their death, and Conroy’s move to Frankfurt.  Mr. Schoneheit, born in Holland but of German descent, moved to Frankfurt for his studies and became an educated man of law and decided to move to the united states to build a hotel.  He had already been back and forth to the u.s. As liaison between law offices to make this a reality.

Adele Beauchamp, daughter of a widower tailor in Montfermeil, France met Conroy in Isernhagen, Germany where they quickly married.  Details of their courtship are not known, but Adele moved to the united states with Conroy where she supplemented their income as a seamstress as Conroy worked at a law firm.   Coincidentally, the law firm that Conroy worked at, Harrtmann and squire were used by Lionel Gilman in multiple business acquisitions in the 1870s and 1880s.

Haus Schonheit was the dream project of immigrants Conroy Schonheit and his wife Adele Beauchamp Schonheit.  Original plans for the hotel, registered with the town by Conroy Schonheit in 1890, indicate the hotel was initially three floors, however later reports state the original hotel was only 2 floors, not including the basement.  It is not clear why this error was reported multiple times after the building stood at seven floors; it was potentially because the third floor was heavily gutted and that the original structure of the third floor was all but unrecognizable.

On the first floor, the office and concierge desk were straight ahead from the entrance.  Only four additional, rather small, rooms were on the first floor.  They were typically given to single party guests, although there are rumors they were also provided to the women who worked the street and their clients for short-term use.  A dining room with a capacity of 42 people, two water closets, a modest parlor-type lobby setup, and 2 marked storage closets summed up the rest of the floor. 

On the second floor, there were four additional smaller rooms, and three additional larger rooms, or suites. A laundry chute led to the basement.  Each room was fit with a bathtub, sink, and toilet, cordoned off from the bedroom. 

Despite contrary reports, the third floor would have had a similar arrangement as the second floor, with seven rooms, each of them expected to be comfortable size.  This would have brought the number of rooms to 17.

The hotel was originally set up with gas lamps, and indoor plumbing was installed upon construction.  The hotel was open for business by spring of 1895, with Adele handling primary maid services until they hired friend Angela Porthos, and expanded to a larger staff by summer.  Hotel rooms were between $1.50 and $3 a night.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: In 1899, the Schonheits were approached by masonry magnate Lionel Gilman to renovate and reconstruct the hotel.  Mr. Gilman had stayed there multiple times in 1888, despite the fairly modest setting of the hotel.  Mr. Gilman owned property on much of the surrounding area of the hotel.

NARRATOR: Stories diverge at this point.  Some argue Mr. Gilman did not offer the schonheits to buy the hotel so much as demand it.  Town records show Lionel Gilman was the landlord to the building; however those records are in dispute for their legitimacy as they may have postdated.  Further dispute is brought to this as there is no lease that has been discovered that he may have had with the Schonheits.

Mr. Gilman filed a certificate of delinquency, purported to be on may 9, 1901, and filed by the county treasurer; prior to the publication of summons in proceedings to subject the land taxed to the payment thereof.  The certificate was returned to the clerk’s office by the treasurer on june 10, 1901, when it was erroneously marked and entered as filed as of that date, the court after judgment of foreclosure was authorized by a nunc pro tunc order to correct the entry of the date of filing such certificate, so as to show that it was in fact filed on the earlier date as against subsequent purchasers from the defendants in the foreclosure proceedings.

DAVENPORT: The property as thereby foreclosed upon by Mr. Gilman, who rebranded the hotel immediately, fired nearly all of the staff, and authorized it to be remodeled and built upon, increasing its floors to ten floors total, and to have all but one section, of the third floor completely removed and redone.

NARRATOR: Conroy and Adele Schonheit returned to Germany, however it is not clear what happened to their daughter, Denise, who would have been between the ages of 14 and 16 at the time of their leaving the united states.  Critics of Mr. Gilman’s legacy are skeptical of the legality of the Schonheit’s departure, stating it as deportation or false extradition. Further speculation is left on the then-whereabouts of Denise Schonheit and her connection to Lionel Gilman, which range from lascivious to criminal and even potentially deadly.

viktor sketches 4 color
Artists Rendering of Denise Schonheit, based on lithograph found on the premises — by Fishy Business

SCOTT: There is of these people leaving the country unharmed.  This is a man who just decided to get rid of people because he wanted their building for some reason.  He didn’t have to provide any amenities to them.  He didn’t have to buy them out.  He just needed them to go away.

NARRATOR: Other theories wager that Denise, a young woman at the time of Lionel’s acquisition, may have chosen to stay behind either with or without her parents permission, as she was born an united states citizen.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: I understand it’s not  a very exciting or interesting notion that an immigrant family sold their business to a u.s. Businessman and then went home, but frankly, not all stories are that interesting.  Now, there is a lot that is interesting beyond that–

SCOTT: There’s no good explanation.  You can say whatever you want for what he did as a humanitarian or a businessman but you cannot tell me that he got that hotel legally or ethically.  If he wasn’t the   yet, he became one that day.

NARRATOR: Biographer David Handler suggests instead that Lionel Gilman paid the proprietors of Haus Schonheit and enabled their return to Germany, but this is an assumption made based on letters from Lionel Gilman’s caretaker Mildred “Millie” Jackson to Lionel Gilman’s brother Tobias C. Gilman in 1902.  It is also considered that since Mr. Schonheit was a man who studied in law that he would have avoided any error in business.

VILLAQUEZ: To automatically suggest that Lionel Gilman would start making unlawful decisions after a career of the utmost respect for due process, is ludicrous and unfounded.  It is a narrative pushed by individuals who want to demonize a man who saw an opportunity to provide a stable business to a community. 

NARRATOR: Lionel Gilman did not see the renovation project to completion, dying on November 29, 1901.  By then, it was decided the hotel would be limited to seven floors, and the whereabouts of the Schonheit family was relegated to rumor.

In the 2000s, an internet campaign known as “where is Denise” was begun by the #gilmantruth organization, to further shed light on one of the presumed victims of Lionel Gilman’s final years.

HANDLER: Oh, it got wild.  They said he married her, they said he locked her up, she got walled up in one of the rooms, he kept her as a slave.  It was disgusting.  There’s no reason to think any of that if you are a person of proper mental capacity.

NARRATOR: At the rumor’s zenith, a small community theatre production purported that Denise Schonheit was a ghost haunting the rooms of the hotel, surveying the infidelities, secret meetings, and rock and roll parties that would follow in the decades.  Despite the involvement of the Gilman legacy foundation to halt such innuendo as spurious or even damaging to their business, Denise has become an unofficial mascot of the hotel, and ghost tours and docuseries on her and other people who passed in the hotel, persist.

HANDLER: The reason it persists is because it’s lurid.  It’s the first possible terrible thing to happen at a hotel where lots of terrible things have happened.  And it involves a pretty young girl, an old rich man, and the parents being shipped away.  It’s basically got a Sondheim score happening beneath it, folks.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: The story of Lionel Gilman is that of a man who loved his country, his town, and his business.

NARRATOR: The hotel would see a parade of visitors over the years, largely due to the quintessential gothic feel of the hotel, its proximity to town and public transportation, and its longstanding affordability.

DAVENPORT: Lionel Gilman was a visionary.  He saw a way to both make money and invite the working class.  As soon as the hotel was rebranded, it was a host to everyone: men on business, women who worked the street, newlyweds, traveling salesmen, wealthy older people who loved the style of the place… until the accidents started happening, it enjoyed solid bookings.  Then when it got spooky, suddenly a whole new wave of guests come, and it becomes camp.

NARRATOR: When the hotel got spooky is up for debate.

Coming up on Historical Record: Secrets and Skeletons…

VILLAQUEZ: Serial killers.  Rock star overdoses.  Arsonists.  A republican fundraiser.  The Gilman saw it all.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: Oh, I don’t know if all that’s necessary to get into.

HANDLERIt is weird.  I’ll give you that.

Blood (1928)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
performed by Sarah Storm
engineered and recorded by Matt Storm

patreon

transcription:

gilman-logo-new-transparentBlood.

Yet again, the master had cut himself shaving.  Streaks of his blood needed to be mopped away from the counter.  Marla was careful to not use the hotel towels, as she had her own.  She didn’t need the fussy staff to ask questions they needn’t answers for.

At this rate, Marla had given up on the so-called safety razors of today.  Clearly they weren’t foolproof as her own employer managed to nearly behead himself twice a week.  She looked patronizingly at the set of razors, far from the familiarity of those long handled straight razors she recalled in her childhood household.

Twenty years his attendee, Marla had kept the nature of his condition private for the last seven.  She was the sixth person told, but thanks to swinging doors in his home in Hartford, she was the second person to know.  It had a German name; his illness coupled with his bullish attitude, he had been given fewer than ten years to live, and much of the last several were to dedicate finalizing his affairs.

This scene, not unlike some sordid alley during the Eastern Rising, was as usual as tea served at 2.

She picked up her skirts, and ducked down, peering under the countertop and basin, and found the remaining ruddy droplets.  Folding the now gruesome linen, to be washed upon their return, Marla came back to the main room, and tucked them into her accumulating laundry.

While she rummaged, she spoke to the shadow of a figure in the bed behind her,”Mister Grantson, are you interested in going out this afternoon?”

A slight wheeze followed, with a long enough pause to send for a doctor, but then a cough and a murmur, “Eloise?”

“Mister Grantson, it’s Marla Macwell,” she said, now facing him, a wearied but concerned look on her face, and an accusatory hand on her hip. “You know it’s me, don’t let’s make pretending that you’ve lost your marbles.”

“You know, Marla, I would’ve married you after Eloise died if you hadn’t been such a mule.”  Mr Grantson shifted in his bed, gently lifting what he could of his body with the strength of one shoulder.

“I know, Mr. Grantson,” Marla smiled, getting closer to fluff his pillow, “but I couldn’t have afforded the reduction in pay.”  Now next to him, she could smell a waft of antiseptic, a post-bath face routine for her employer.

“The doctor?” Mr. Grantson trailed off.

“Dr. Sparrman will be at 3,” Marla said, sitting in the chair by the bed.  “He will give your examination and let us know if you’re well enough to travel tomorrow morning.”

Mr. Grantson snorted.  He had long favored his previous doctor, but he was dismayed to have outlived yet another.  In seventy-eight years, he had seen them all go.

“Now, Mr Grantson, would you be liking your tea now?”

“Is it as weak as yesterday’s?” Mr. Grantson muttered.

Marla was undeterred.  “Mr. Grantson, you know you cannot be taking your tea with as much sugar as you once did.  You’re not a young man any more.  We have to save your caloric intake.”

“What’s worth saving?  Give me the damn tea.”

Marla sighed.  The ox was stubborn as usual, but it was superior to the weeks of delusion and fits of unrest he suffered during his last treatment.

Marla fixed the tea as Mr. Grantson desired, and served it to his hand, steadying it by holding his wrist, and tucking a tray beneath it.  She set the kettle aside, prepared for a second cup should he desire it, or if she had the opportunity to nip some while he rested.

“There was the noise again,” Mr. Grantson said between sickly sips.

“The noise,” muttered Marla, “Sir, it’s a busy street, we’re going to have noise.  You want the racket of chickens like at home?”

“Not chickens… banging.  Banging on the wall.”

“That was me, ” smiled Marla, “I was trying to make sure you didn’t have too good a night sleep so you’d nap early this evening.”

Mr. Grantson stared ahead.  Marla checked her tone, as it was a familiar one but was concerned it was too sarcastic for the circumstances.  She and Mr. Grantson had enjoyed several years of playful back and forth in their conversation; indeed, something of a teasing daughter of only eight or nine to her youthful, funny father.

“Mr. Grantson, perhaps we should tell the doctor what you’ve been hearing?  Perhaps your body giving yourself a knocking and you’re mistaking it for out of doors.”

“I’m not giving myself a knocking,” Mr. Grantson said more loudly than he had been in days.  “There’s something here.  There’s always something here.”

“I have told the staff and they assure us there aren’t rats.”

“Every hotel has rats,” Mr. Grantson sighed.  “But that’s not what I’m hearing.  You’d hear it too if you ever stopped talking long enough.”

Marla steadied her tongue and the room was momentarily silent.  She reached for the cloth around Mr. Grantson’s neck.  He shuddered, but relented.

“I’m sorry, Marla.” He said quietly.

“Oh, Mr. Grantson, you haven’t said the worst I could take in these twenty years.”  Marla studied the bloodstains on the cloth.  It seemed to be taking longer to stop every time.  She went to tuck the fabric into her laundry items.

“The noise has been going for the full week we’ve been here.” Mr. Grantson, not to be ignored, continued.  “I hear it at night.  I hear the quiet of the out doors when you leave the window open, and I hear the bustle of morning when the staff turns down the rooms.  I hear the guests leave their rooms for dinner.  And I know what I hear at night is different.  I hear a banging in this hotel, the ghosts of who’ve gone, saying it’s time for me.”

“Oh, Mr. Grantson,” Marla sighed.

“Doctor Sparrman… he says I’m dying.”  Mr. Grantson said directly.

“Doctor Whalen was your last physician, Mr. Grantson.  You haven’t met Doctor Sparrman yet, and he hasn’t told you any such thing.”  Marla began folding his handkerchiefs, as she had always done for her parents when she was little.

“He says I’m dying,” Mr. Grantson continued, “and he’ll say it today.  Dr. Whalen knew me better than to leave me off with some thumper who won’t tell me what I need to know.”

Marla, for once in a long while, attempted to keep her mouth shut.  Her willpower lasted nearly whole seconds.

“Mr. Grantson, the doctor will tell you what he will tell you and we will prepare for it as always.”  She allowed herself a softer tone than even was necessary.

“Is Stephen coming?” Mr. Grantson coughed.

“Your son is at the house, Mr. Grantson.  He is meeting us there when you’re well enough to return.”

Marla closed her eyes, begging her god for no follow-up questions.  Stephen had long not been her favorite of Mr. Grantson’s sons.  His piggish behavior had increased once his father’s illness was made public.  She half expected to see him with a measuring tape in each room, determining what the ad would say upon the estate sale date of Mr. Grantson’s death.

“Damn,” muttered Mr. Grantson, and Marla peered over her shoulder to see he had spilled the rest of his tea cup over his chest.  Immediately registering the steps to improve the situation, Marla had a new shirt in her hand to redress him.  She assured him there were no burns, and that the tea was in fact quite cold after all.

His energy had all but given out upon her cleanup; then he settled his head against the pillow and headboard, and nodded in a quiet succumbence of rest.

As the clock ticks grew further and further away in sound, Mr. Grantson was asleep, as Marla stood there, bringing the soiled shirt to the basin.

The room was quiet as she stood there, barring that of the cool water pouring from the faucet.  As it approached a warmer touch, Marla ran her weathered fingers under the tap.  She had seen her own father go, years earlier, and was doing all she could to not allow the memories to subject her to foregone conclusions of her employer.

The steam rose from the basin, and Marla dunked the shirt under.  Her eyes trailed away, awash with concern and predisposed loss for Thomas James Grantson.  As she looked on, a spot came in focus.  The resulting splatter of Mr. Grantson’s emboldened attempts to shave himself in the morning, continued to carry into the afternoon, it seemed.

Leaving the shirt immersed in the water, Marla stared down at the spot.  The color suggested it was older but it looked otherwise fresh.  The spot, marring the otherwise lovely daffodil-colored tiles, just to the left of the dish of bar soap dimmed in the light.  Marla shook her head, somewhat dizzy, and looked again.  Seeing nothing but the subtle wash of yellow color on the wall, she stepped back uneasily, confused.  She glanced at the sink and let out a yelp.  Her master’s white collared shirt was now drenched in a deep, thick scarlet bath.   She puffed and stumbled back towards the wall of the bathroom, nearly falling into the tub, causing her view to catch the floor to steady herself.

She looked back at the sink.  The shirt bobbed slightly in the clear water.  She gasped but did not want to wake her employer up, so she stifled her sound with her fingers, nearly biting into them with fear.  A drubbing  against the wall shook her into place, as she stood, far enough from the sound to ensure she had not been the one to make it.

The yellow wall tile shone in the light of the room, gently reflecting just the closest of objects.  Marla studied the tile, seeing how each was separated by a thin strip of hardened white goo.  She let her gaze follow several pieces until she stopped dead.

Marla slowly moved closer to the splotch of crimson that marred the otherwise cheerful hue.  This mark was larger, unmistakable, and slowly, purposefully dripped in thin lines to the floor.

“No…”  Marla held her head.  She rushed her palm to the mark, praying it would vanish upon contact, but instead leaving an ugly smear.  She gagged at the sight.

Her eyes filling with wells of tears, she sank her hand into the still water of the basin, the water immediately a deepening, wretched pink.  With her other hand, she turned the faucet, cupping handfuls of water and bringing them to her face.

Convinced she was suddenly going mad, she squeezed her eyes tight and commanded her senses to return.  When she opened them, a wash of blood across the basin, counter, and floor pushed her deeper into a state of shock and fear.  Her shoes, as she pulled them backwards, left a sickening residue on the floor.  Her head pounded, and she slammed her fists on the sink, cracking it.  The faucet continued to pour clean water on to the fresh stains of blood, and trickled through the crack and onto the floor.  She let out a hearty bellow, her mind flooding with as many terrible visions as she could scarcely breathe during.

Crashing her fists against the walls, she screamed as each blow left a splattered bloodstain not her own.  “Stop it!  Stop it!” she howled, “I’ll never get it clean.  I’ll never… ” she slumped on the floor, feeling the ooze beneath her knees and thighs.  “I’ll never…”

She continued to dwindle; her body further slinking into the horrific slush, never ending and smelling of wounded, severed flesh, and revolting rusted metal.  Her strength at a near end, she pounded against the sticky floor, banging and sobbing.

“Marla?” a cough came from the other room.

For entire minutes, it felt like all the air went out, the silence of a ear gone numb, the sting of nonvolume, a near hum of agony.  She opened her eyes again.

Blood.

Yet again, the master had cut himself shaving.  Streaks of his blood needed to be mopped away from the counter.  Emma was careful to not use the hotel towels, as she had her own.  She didn’t need the fussy staff to ask questions they needn’t answers for.

The scene, not unlike some sordid alley in Herzegovina she heard of growing up, was as usual as tea served at 2.

Emma returned to the main room, and tucked them into her accumulating laundry.

While she rummaged, she spoke to the shadow of a figure in the bed behind her,”Mister Grantson, will you be going out this afternoon?”

They sat in the dim light; “Marla?”

“Mister Grantson,” she said firmly but warmly, “It’s Emma Kovacs.  You know it’s me, don’t let’s make pretending that you’ve lost your marbles.”