A HAUNTED HOUSE 3
A SOCIETY 9
MONDAY OR TUESDAY 41
AN UNWRITTEN NOVEL 45
THE STRING QUARTET 71
BLUE AND GREEN 81
KEW GARDENS 83
THE MARK ON THE WALL 99
MONDAY OR TUESDAY
A HAUNTED HOUSE
Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they
went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure--a ghostly
"Here we left it," she said. And he added, "Oh, but here too!" "It's
upstairs," she murmured. "And in the garden," he whispered. "Quietly,"
they said, "or we shall wake them."
But it wasn't that you woke us. Oh, no. "They're looking for it; they're
drawing the curtain," one might say, and so read on a page or two. "Now
they've found it," one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the
margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself,
the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons
bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from
the farm. "What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?" My
hands were empty. "Perhaps it's upstairs then?" The apples were in the
loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had
slipped into the grass.
But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see
them. The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves
were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple
only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was
opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the
ceiling--what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the
carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its
bubble of sound. "Safe, safe, safe," the pulse of the house beat softly.
"The treasure buried; the room ..." the pulse stopped short. Oh, was
that the buried treasure?
A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the
trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare,
coolly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burnt behind
the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us; coming to the
woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the
windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went
East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house, found
it dropped beneath the Downs. "Safe, safe, safe," the pulse of the house
beat gladly. "The Treasure yours."