her legs and half her body had disappeared beneath the
whirling, sucking bog and her pointed head was held up in
the air as she struggled and yelped all the while. I tried two
or three times to stride across to her but each time I had to
pull free abruptly for fear of going under myself. I wished
that I had got a stick to throw across to her, as some sort of
grappling hook with which to grab hold of her collar. I felt
a second of pure despair, alone in the middle of the wide
marsh, under the fast-moving, stormy sky, with only For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница water
all around me and that dreadful house the only solid thing
for miles around.
But aware that, if I gave into panic, I should most
certainly be lost, I thought furiously and then, very
cautiously, lay down full length on the marsh mud, keeping
my lower body pressed as hard as I could onto a small
island of solid ground and, reaching and stretching my
trunk and my arms forward, inch by inch, gasping for
breath until, just as the last of her body sank, I lunged out
and grabbed the dog about the neck and hauled and strained
and tugged with all the force I could, a strength For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница I would
never have dreamed I could have summoned up, born of
terror and desperation; and after an agonizing time, when
we both fought for our lives against the treacherous quicksand
that tried to pull us both down into itself and I felt my
grip on the slippery wet fur and wet flesh of the dog almost
give, at last I knew that I would hold and win. I strained as
hard as ever I could to drag my body backwards onto firmer
ground. As I did so, the dog's body suddenly gave and the
tug of war was over as I fell back, holding her tight For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница, the
two of us soaked with water and mud, my chest burning
and my lungs almost bursting, my arms feeling as if they
had been dragged from their sockets, as indeed they almost
We rested, panting, exhausted, and I wondered if I
would ever be able to get up, I felt suddenly so faint and
weak and lost in the middle of the marsh. The poor dog
was making choking noises now and rubbing her head
against me over and over, no doubt both terrified and also
in great pain, for I had nearly asphyxiated her as I had
clutched so hard around her neck. But she was alive For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница and so
was I and, gradually, a little warmth from each of our
bodies and the pause revived us and, cradling Spider like a
child in my arms, I began to stumble back across the
marshes towards the house. As I did so and within a few
yards of it, I glanced up. At one of the upper windows, the
only window with bars across it, the window of the nursery,
I caught a glimpse of someone standing. A woman. That
woman. She was looking directly towards me.
Spider was whimpering in my arms and making
occasional little retching coughs. We were both trembling
violently. How I reached the For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница grass in front of the house I
shall never know but, as I did so, I heard a sound. It was
coming from the far end of the causeway path which was
just beginning to be visible as the tide began to recede. It was the sound of a pony trap.
A Packet of Letters.
There was a bright light and I was staring into it -or, rather, I felt that it was boring into me, boring through my
eyes right into my brain and I struggled to turn my head
away and my head seemed to be very light, scarcely set on
my For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница shoulders at all, but spinning, floating like blown
Then abruptly the light was removed and when I opened
my eyes the normal world and ordinary things in it came
into focus again. I found myself lying, propped up on the
couch in the morning room, with the large, red, concerned
face of Mr Samuel Daily looming over me. In his hand he
held a pocket torch, with which, I realized, he must have
been peering into my eyes, in a crude attempt to arouse me.
I sat up, but at once the walls began to shift and buckle
forward and I was obliged to lie For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница back again weakly. And
then, in a rush, everything came back to me with great
force, the chase after the dog across the wet marshes and
the struggle to free her, the sight of the woman in black at
the nursery window and then those sounds which had
caused my fears to mount to such a height that I had lost
control of myself and my senses and fallen unconscious.
'But the trap -the pony and trap . . .'
'At the front door.'
'Oh, I still like to make use of it now and again. It's a
pleasant way to travel when there's nothing to For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница hurry over
and it's a sight safer than a motor car across that causeway,'
'Ah.' I felt a surge of relief as I realized the plain facts of the matter, that the noise I had heard had been that of a
real pony and cart.
'What did you think?' He was looking at me keenly.
'A pony and cart '
I'd -heard others. Another.'
'Keckwick, perhaps,' he said evenly.
'No, no'. I sat up, more cautiously and the room stayed
'You take care now.'
'I'm better -I'm all right. It was . . .' I wiped my brow For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница.
'I should like a drink.'
'At your elbow.'
I turned and saw a jug of water and a glass and I drank
thirstily, beginning to feel more and more refreshed and
my nerves to be steadier as I did so.
Realizing it, Mr Daily moved away from my side to a
chair opposite and sat himself down.
'I had you on my mind,' he said at last. 'I wasn't happy.
It began to unsettle me.'
'Isn't it quite early in the morning -I've become confused. . .'
'Early enough. I kept waking. As I said, I had you onmy
'Was it? Not For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница as it seems to me. Not strange at all.'
'A good job I came when I did.'
'Yes, indeed, I'm very grateful. You must have - what? Carried me in here, I remember nothing about it.'
'I've dragged heavier than you with one arm around my
not much flesh on your bones.'
'I'm extremely glad to see you, Mr Daily.'
'You've good reason.'
'People have drowned on that marsh before now.'
'Yes. Yes, I know that now. I felt that I was being pulled
under and the dog with me.' I For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница started up. 'Spider . . .'
She's here. She'll do.'
I looked to where he nodded, to the dog down on the rug
between us. At the sound of her name, she bumped her
tail, but otherwise she lay, the mud drying on her coat in
clots and streaks, and pasted thickly to her leg, looking as
limp and exhausted as I myself felt.
'Now, when you've come to a bit more, you'd better get
whatever you need and we'll be off.'
'Aye. I came to see how you were faring in this godforsaken
place. I have seen. You had better come back
home For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница with me and recover yourself.'
I did not answer for a few moments but lay back and
went over in my mind the sequence of events of the previous
night and of this morning -and,
indeed, further back than
that, from my first visit here. I knew that there had been
hauntings by the woman in black and perhaps by some
other occupant of this house. I knew that the sounds I had
heard out on the marsh were ghostly sounds. But although
these had been terrifying, and inexplicable, I thought that if I had to I could go over them again, if only because For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница I had
been growing more and more determined to find out what
restless soul it was who wanted to cause these disturbances
and why, why. If I could uncover the truth, perhaps I
might in some way put an end to it all forever.
But what I couldn't endure more was the atmosphere
surrounding the events: the sense of oppressive hatred and
malevolence, of someone's evil and also of terrible grief and
distress. These, which seemed to invade my own soul and
take charge of me, these were what I could no longer bear.
I told Mr Daily that I would be glad and For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница grateful to go back
with him and to rest at his house if only for a short while.
But I was worried, not wanting to leave the mystery
unexplained and knowing, too, that at the same time
someone would have to finish, at some point, the necessary
work of sorting out and packing up Mrs Drablow's papers.
This I mentioned now.
'And what have you found here, Mr Kipps? A map to
'No. A great quantity of rubbish, old waste paper, and
precious little of interest, let alone of value. FranklyI
doubt whether there will be anything. But the job will have
to be done at some For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница time or other. We are obliged to do it.'
I got up and began to walk about the room, trying my
limbs and finding them more or less steady.
'For now, I don't mind confessing that I shall be pretty
glad to let up and leave the lot of it behind. There were just
one or two papers I should like to go over again for my own
curiosity. There is a packet of old letters with a few
documents attached. I was reading them late last night. I
shall bring those with me.'
Then, while Mr Daily began to go round the downstairs
rooms For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница, drawing the blinds, checking that all the fires were
extinguished, I went first to the room in which I had been
working to gather together the bundle of letters and then
upstairs for my few belongings. I was no longer at afraid
because I was leaving Eel Marsh House at least for the time
being and because of the large and reassuring presence of
Mr Samuel Daily. Whether I would ever return here I did
not know but certainly if I did so it would not be alone. I
felt altogether calm, therefore, as I reached the top of the
staircase and turned towards the small bedroom For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница I had been
using, the events of the previous night seeming far in the
past and with no more power to harm me than a particularly
I packed up my bag quickly, closed the window and drew
down the blind. On the floor lay the remnants of the
shattered torch and I swept them together into a corner
with the edge of my foot. All was quiet now, the wind had
been dropping since dawn, though, if I closed my eyes, I
could hear again its moaning and crying and all the banging
and rattling it had given rise to in the old house. But,
although For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница that had contributed to my nervousness, I could
perfectly well sort out those incidental events -the
the bumps and creaks, the darkness, from the ghostly
happenings and the atmosphere surrounding them. The
weather might change, the wind drop, the sun shine, Eel
Marsh House might stand quiet and still. It would be no
less dreadful. Whoever haunted it and whatever terrible
emotions still possessed them would continue to disturb
and distress anyone who came near here, that I knew.
I finished picking up my belongings and left the room.
As I reached the landing I could not prevent myself from
glancing quickly and half-fearfully For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница along the passage that
led to the nursery.
The door was ajar. I stood, feeling the anxiety that lay
only just below the surface begin to rise up within me,
making my heart beat fast. Below, I heard Mr Daily's
footsteps and the pitter-patter of the dog as it followed him
about. And, reassured by their presence, I summoned up
my courage and made my way cautiously towards that half-open
door. When I reached it I hesitated. She had been
there. I had seen her. Whoever she was, this was the focus
of her search or her attention or her grief - I could not For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница tell
which. This was the very heart of the haunting.
There was no sound now. The rocking chair was still.
Very slowly I pushed open the door wider and wider, inch
by inch, and took a few steps forward until I could see all
the way into the room.
It was in a state of disarray as might have been caused by
a gang of robbers, bent on mad, senseless destruction.
Whereas the bed had been made up neatly, now the clothes
were pulled off anyhow and bundled up or trailing onto the
floor. The wardrobe door and the drawers of the small chest were pulled open For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница and all the clothes they contained half
dragged out, and left hanging like entrails from a wounded
body. The lead soldiers had been knocked down like a set
of ninepins and the wooden animals from the ark strewn
about the shelf, books lay open, their jackets torn, puzzles
and games were all jumbled up in a heap together in the
centre of the floor. Soft toys were split and unclothed, the
tin Sambo was smashed as by a hammer blow. Thebedside
table and the small cupboard were overturned. And the
rocking chair had been pushed into the centre, to preside,
tall-backed and erect, like a great brooding For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница bird, over the
I crossed the room to the window, for perhaps thevandals
had gained an entry here. It was tight-bolted and rusted
over and the wooden bars were fast and firm. No one had
As I climbed unsteadily up into Mr Daily's pony trap which
waited in the drive, I stumbled and he was obliged to grip
my arm and support me until I could regain my strength
and I saw that he peered intensely into my face and
recognized by its pallor that I had suffered a new shock.
But he said nothing about it, only wrapped a heavy For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница rug
about my legs, set Spider on my knees for the greater
warmth and comfort of us both and then clicked at the
pony to turn about.
We left the gravel and went across the rough grass,
reached the Nine Lives Causeway and began to traverse it.
The tide was dropping back steadily, the sky was a uniform,
pearly grey, the air moist and cold but still, after the storm.
The marshes lay dull, misty and drear all about us, and,
ahead, the flat countryside was dripping and gloomy,
without colour, without leaf, without undulation. The pony
went steadily and quietly and For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница Mr Daily hummed in a low,
tuneless sort of way. I sat as one in a trance, numb, unaware
of very much except the movement of the pony trap and
the dankness of the air.
But, as we reached the lanes and left the marsh and the
estuary behind, I did glance back once over my shoulder.
Eel Marsh House stood iron-grey and grim, looming up
like a crag, its windows blank and shuttered. There was no
sign of any shape or shadow, no living or dead soul. I
thought that no one watched us go. Then, the pony's
hooves began to clip-clop For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница briskly on the tarmac of the
narrow lane between the ditches and straggling blackthorn
hedges. I turned my eyes away from that dreadful place for
what I fervently prayed was the last time.
From the moment I had climbed into the pony trap, Mr
Samuel Daily had treated me as gently and with as much
care and concern as an invalid and his efforts to make me
feel rested and at ease were redoubled upon arrival at his
house. A room had been prepared, a large quiet room with
a small balcony overlooking the garden and the open fields
beyond. A servant was dispatched at once to the For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница Gifford
Arms for the rest of my belongings and, after being given a
light breakfast, I was left alone to sleep through the
morning. Spider was bathed and groomed and then brought
to me, 'since you've' got used to her'. And she lay contentedly beside my chair, apparently none the worse for her
unpleasant experience early that morning.
I rested but I could not sleep, my brain was still in a
confusion and a fever, my nerves all on edge. I was deeply
grateful for the peace and tranquillity, but above all for the
knowledge that, although I was quite alone and undisturbed
here, nevertheless in the house below For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница and the outbuildings
beyond there were people, plenty of people, going about
their everyday affairs, the reassurance I so badly needed
that the normal world still moved through its appointed
I tried very hard not to let my mind dwell upon what had
happened to me. But I wrote a somewhat guarded letter to
Mr Bentley and a fuller one to Stella -though neither of
them did I tell everything nor confess the extent of my
After this, I went outside and took a few turns of the
large lawn but the air was cold and raw and I soon returned to my room. There was no For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница sign of Samuel Daily. For an
hour or so before noon I dozed fitfully in my chair and,
strangely enough, though my body jerked upright once or
twice in sudden alarm, after a short time I was able to relax,
and so refresh myself more than I would have expected.
At one o'clock there was a knock upon my door and a
maid inquired as to whether I would like my luncheon to
be served here or if I felt like going down to the dining
'Tell Mrs Daily I will join them directly, thank you.'
I washed and tidied myself For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница, called to the dog and walked
The Dailys were attentiveness and kindness itself and
insistent that I remain with them a day or two longer,
before I returned to London. For I had fully decided to go
back: nothing on earth would have induced me to pass
another hour in Eel Marsh House; I had been as bold and
determined as a man could be but I had been defeated and
I was not afraid to admit as much, nor did I feel any sense
of shame. A man may be accused of cowardice for fleeing
away from all manner of physical dangers but when things
supernatural, insubstantial For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница and inexplicable threaten not
only his safety and well-being but his sanity, his innermost
soul, then retreat is not a sign of weakness but the most
But I was angry nonetheless, not with myself but with
whatever haunted Eel Marsh House, angry at the wild and
pointless behaviour of that disturbed creature and angry
that it had prevented me, as it would no doubt prevent any
other human being, from doing my job. Perhaps I was also
angry with those people -Mr
Jerome, Keckwick, the
landlord, Samuel Daily -who
had been proven right about
the place. I was young and arrogant enough to feel dashed.
I had For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница learned a hard lesson.
That afternoon, left to my own devices again after an
excellent luncheon -Mr
Daily was soon gone to visit one of
his outlying farms - I took out the packet of Mrs Drablow's
papers which I had brought with me, for I was still curious
about the story I had begun to piece together from my
initial reading of the letters and I thought I would divert
myself further by trying to complete it. The difficulty was,
of course, that I did not know who the young woman -J for Jennet, who had written the letters -was,
might have For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница been a relative of Mrs Drablow, or her husband,
or merely a friend. But it seemed most likely that only a
blood relation would have given or, rather, been forced to
give her illegitimate child for adoption to another woman,
in the way the letters and legal documents revealed.
I felt sorry for J, as I read her short, emotional letters
over again. Her passionate love for her child and her
isolation with it, her anger and the way she at first fought
bitterly against and, finally, gave despairingly in to the
course proposed to her, filled me with sadness and sympathy. A girl from the servant For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница class, living in a closely
bound community, might perhaps have fared better, sixty
or so years before, than this daughter of genteel parentage,
who had been so coldly rejected and whose feelings were so
totally left out of the count. Yet servant girls in Victorian
England had, I knew, often been driven to murder or
abandon their misconceived children. At least Jennet had
known that her son was alive and had been given a good
And then I opened the other documents that were bound
together with the letters. They were three death certificates.
The first was of the boy, Nathaniel Drablow, at the For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница age of
six years. The cause of death was given as drowning. After
that, and bearing exactly the same date, was a similar
certificate, stating that Rose Judd had also died by
I felt a terrible, cold, sickening sensation that began in
the pit of my stomach and seemed to rise up throughmy
chest into my throat, so that I was sure I would either vomit
or choke. But I did not, I only got up and paced in agitation
and distress about the room, clutching the two sheets of
creased paper in my hand.
After a while, I forced myself to look at the last document
also. That too For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница was a death certificate, but dated some twelve
years after the other two.
It was for Jennet Eliza Humfrye, spinster, aged thirty-six
years. The cause of death was given simply as 'heart failure'.
I sat down heavily in my chair. But I was too agitated to
remain there for long and in the end I called to Spider and
went out again into the November afternoon that was
already closing in to an early twilight, and began to walk,
away from Mr Daily's house and garden, past the barns and
stables and sheds and off across some stubble. I felt better
for the For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница exercise. Around me there was only the countryside,
ploughed brown in ridges, with low hedges and, here and
there, two or three elm trees, their bare branches full of
rooks' nests, from which those ugly black birds flew up in
a raucous, flapping flock, every now and then, to reel about,
cawing, in the leaden sky. There was a chill wind blowing
over the fields driving a spatter of hard rain before it.
Spider seemed pleased to be out.
As I walked, my thoughts were all concentrated upon the
papers I had just read and the story they had told and
which was now becoming clear and For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница complete. I had found
out, more or less by chance, the solution -or
much of it to
the identity of the woman in black, as well as the answer
to many other questions. But, although I now knew more,
I was not satisfied by the discovery, only upset and alarmed
-and afraid too. I knew -and yet I did not know, I was
bewildered and nothing had truly been explained. For how
can such things be? I have already stated that I had no more
believed in ghosts than does any healthy young man of
sound education, reasonable intelligence and matter-of-fact
inclinations. But ghosts I For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница had seen. An event, and that a
dreadful, tragic one, of many years ago, which had taken
place and been done with, was somehow taking place over
and over again, repeating itself in some dimension other
than the normal, present one. A pony trap, carrying a boy
of six called Nathaniel, the adopted son of Mr and Mrs
Drablow, and also his nursemaid, had somehow taken a
wrong path in the sea mist and veered off the safety of the
causeway and onto the marshes, where it had been sucked
into the quicksands and swallowed up by the mud and
rising waters of the estuary. The child and the nursemaid
had been For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница drowned and so presumably had the pony and
whoever had been driving the trap. And now, out on those
same marshes, the whole episode, or a ghost, a shadow, a
memory of it, somehow happened again and again - how often
I did not know. But nothing could be seen now, only
The only other things I knew were that the boy's mother,
Jennet Humfrye had died of a wasting disease twelve years
after her son, that they were both buried in the now disused
and tumbledown graveyard beyond Eel Marsh House; that
the child's nursery had been preserved in that house For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница as he
had left it, with his bed, his clothes, his toys, all undisturbed, and that his mother haunted the place, Moreover,
that the intensity of her grief and distress together with her
pent-up hatred and desire for revenge permeated theair all
And it was that which so troubled me, the force of those
emotions, for those were what I believed had power to
harm. But to harm who? Was not everyone connectedwith
that sad story now dead? For presumably Mrs Drablow had
been the very last of them.
Eventually I began to be tired and turned back but
although I could not find any solution to For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница the business - or
perhaps because it was all so inexplicable - I could not put
it from my mind, I worried at it all the way home and
brooded upon it as I sat in my quiet room, looking out into
the evening darkness.
By the time the gong was sounded for dinner I had
worked myself up into such a fever of agitation that I
determined to pour the whole story out to Mr Samuel Daily
and to demand to hear anything whatever that he knew or
had ever heard about the business.
The scene was as before, the study of Mr Daily's house
after dinner, with the For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница two of us in the comfortable wing
chairs, the decanter and glasses between us on the small
table. I was feeling considerably better after another good
I had just come to the end of my story. Mr Daily had sat,
listening without interruption, his face turned away from
me, as I had relived, though with surprising calm, all the
events of my short stay at Eel Marsh House, leading up to
the time when he had found me in a faint outside early that
morning. And I had also told him of my conclusions, drawn
from my perusal of the packet of letters For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница and the death
He did not speak for some minutes. The clock ticked.
The fire burned evenly and sweetly in the grate. The dog
Spider lay in front of it on the hearth-rug. Telling the story
had been like a purgation and now my head felt curiously
light, my body in that limp state such as follows upon a
fever or a fright. But I reflected that I could, from this
moment on, only get better, because I could only move step
by steady step away from those awful happenings, as surely
as time went on.
'Well,' he said at last. 'You have come a long way For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница since
the night I met you on the late train.'
'It feels like a hundred years ago. I feel like another
'You've gone through some rough seas.'
'Well, I'm in the calm after the storm now and there's an
end of it.'
I saw that his face was troubled.
'Come,' I said bravely, 'you don't think any more harm
can come of it surely? I never intend to go back there.
Nothing would persuade me.'
'Then all is well.'
He did not answer, but leaned forward and poured
himself another small tot of whisky.
'Though I do For Pat and Charles Gardner 9 страница wonder what will happen to the house,,' I
said. 'I'm sure no one local is ever going to want to live
there and I can't imagine anyone who might come from
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