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Title: The Shadows on the Wall
Author: Mary E Wilkins (1852-1930)
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Language: English
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Title: The Shadows on the Wall
Author: Mary E Wilkins (1852-1930)

From "Everybody's Magazine", Vol viii, (1902)

'Henry had words with Edward in the study the night before Edward died,'
said Caroline Glynn.

She was elderly, tall, and harshly thin, with a hard colourlessness of
face. She spoke not with acrimony, but with grave severity. Rebecca Ann
Glynn, younger, stouter, and rosy of face between her crinkling puffs of
grey hair, gasped, by way of assent. She sat in a wide flounce of black
silk in the corner of the sofa, and rolled terrified eves from her sister
Caroline to her sister Mrs Stephen Brigham, who had been Emma Glynn, the
one beauty of the family. She was beautiful still, with a large,
splendid, full-blown beauty; she filled a great rocking-chair with her
superb bulk of femininity, and swayed gently back and forth, her black
silks whispering and her black frills fluttering. Even the shock of death
(for her brother Edward lay dead in the house), could not disturb her
outward serenity of demeanour. She was grieved over the loss of her
brother: he had been the youngest, and she had been fond of him, but
never had Emma Brigham lost sight of her own importance amidst the waters
of tribulation. She was always awake to the consciousness of her own
stability in the midst of vicissitudes and the splendour of her permanent

But even her expression of masterly placidity changed before her sister
Caroline's announcement and her sister Rebecca Ann's gasp of terror and
distress in response.

'I think Henry might have controlled his temper, when poor Edward was so
near his end,' said she with an asperity which disturbed slightly the
roseate curves of her beautiful mouth.

'Of course he did not _know_,' murmured Rebecca Ann in a faint tone
strangely out of keeping with her appearance.

One involuntarily looked again to be sure that such a feeble pipe came
from that full-swelling chest.

'Of course he did not know it,' said Caroline quickly. She turned on her
sister with a strange sharp look of suspicion. 'How could he have known
it?' said she. Then she shrank as if from the other's possible answer.
'Of course you and I both know he could not,' saad she conclusively, but
her pale face was paler than it had been before.

Rebecca gasped again. Be married sister, Mrs Emma Brigham, was now
sitting up straight in her chair; she had ceased rocking, and was eyeing
them both intently with a sudden accentuation of family likeness in her
face. Given one common intensity of emotion and similar lines showed
forth, and the three sisters of one race were evident.

'What do you mean?' said she impartially to them both. Then she, too,
seemed to shrink before a possible answer. She even laughed an evasive
sort of laugh. 'I guess you don't mean anything,' said she, but her face
wore still the expression of shrinking horror.

'Nobody means anything,' said Caroline firmly. She rose and crossed the
room toward the door with grim decisiveness. 'Where are you going?' asked
Mrs Brigham.

I have something to see to,' replied Caroline, and the others at once
knew by her tone that she had some solemn and sad duty to perform in the
chamber of death.

'Oh,' said Mrs Brigham.

After the door had closed behind Caroline, she turned to Rebecca.

'Did Henry have many words with him?' she asked.

'They were talking very loud,' replied Rebecca evasively, yet with an
answering gleam of ready response to the other's curiosity in the quick
lift of her soft blue eyes.

Mrs Brigham looked at her. She had not resumed rocking. She still sat up
straight with a slight knitting of intensity on her fair forehead,
between the pretty rippling curves of her auburn hair.

'Did you--hear anything?' she asked in a low voice with a glance toward
the door.

'I was just across the hall in the south parlour, and that door was open
and this door ajar,' replied Rebecca with a slight flush. 'Then you must

'I couldn't help it.'


'Most of it.'

'What was it?'

'The old story.'

'I suppose Henry was mad, as he always was, because Edward was living on
here for nothing, when he had wasted all the money father left him.'

Rebecca nodded with a fearful glance at the door.

When Emma spoke again her voice was still more hushed. 'I know how he
felt,' said she. 'He had always been so prudent himself, and worked hard
at his profession, and there Edward had never done anything but spend,
and it must have looked to him as if Edward was living at his expense,
but he wasn't.'

'No, he wasn't.'

'It was the way father left the property--that all the children should
have a home here--and he left money enough to buy the food and all if we
had all come home.'


'And Edward had a right here according to the terms of father's will, and
Henry ought to have remembered it.'

'Yes, he ought.'

Did he say hard things?'

'Pretty hard from what I heard.'


'I heard him tell Edward that he had no business here at all, and he
thought he had better go away.'

'What did Edward say?'

'That he would stay here as long as he lived and afterward, too, if he
was a mind to, and he would like to see Henry get him out; and then--'


'Then he laughed.'

'What did Henry say.'

'I didn't hear him say anything, but--'

'But what?'

'I saw him when he came out of this room.'

'He looked mad?'

'You've seen him when he looked so.'

Emma nodded; the expression of horror on her face had deepened. 'Do you
remember that time he killed the cat because she had scratched him?'

'Yes. Don't!'

Then Caroline re-entered the room. She went up to the stove in which a
wood fire was burning--it was a cold, gloomy day of fall--and she warmed
her hands, which were reddened from recent washing in cold water.

Mrs Brigham looked at her and hesitated. She glanced at the door, which
was still ajar, as it did not easily shut, being still swollen with the
damp weather of the summer. She rose and pushed it together with a sharp
thud which jarred the house. Rebecca started painfully wath a half
exclamation. Caroline looked at her disapprovingly.

'It is time you controlled your nerves, Rebecca,' said she.

'I can't help it,' replied Rebecca with almost a wail. 'I am nervous.
There's enough to make me so, the Lord knows.'

'What do you mean by that?' asked Caroline with her old air of sharp
suspicion, and something between challenge and dread of its being met.

Rebecca shrank.

'Nothing,' said she.

'Then I wouldn't keep speaking in such a fashion.'

Emma, returning from the closed door, said imperiously that it ought to
be fixed, it shut so hard.

'It will shrink enough after we have had the fire a few days,' replied
Caroline. 'If anything is done to it, it will be too small; there will be
a crack at the sill.'

'I think Henry ought to be ashamed of himself for talking as he did to
Edward,' said Mrs Brigham abruptly, but in an almost inaudible voice.

'Hush!' said Caroline, with a glance of actual fear at the closed door.
'Nobody can hear with the door shut.'

'He must have heard it shut, and--'

'Well, I can say what I want to before he comes down, and I am not afraid
of him.'

'I don't know who is afraid of him! What reason is there for anybody to
be afraid of Henry?' demanded Caroline.

Mrs Brigham trembled before her sister's look. Rebecca gasped again.
'There isn't any reason, of course. Why should there be?'

'I wouldn't speak so, then. Somebody might overhear you and think
it was queer. Miranda Joy is in the south parlour sewing, you know.'

'I thought she went upstairs to stitch on the machine.'

'She did, but she has come down again.'

'Well, she can't hear.'

'I say again I think Henry ought to be ashamed of himself. I shouldn't
think he'd ever get over it, having words with poor Edward the very night
before he died. Edward was enough sight better disposition than Henry,
with all his faults. I always thought a great deal of poor Edward,

Mrs Brigham passed a large fluff of handkerchief across her eyes; Rebecca
sobbed outright.

'Rebecca,' said Caroline admonishingly, keeping her mouth stiff and
swallowing determinately.

'I never heard him speak a cross word, unless he spoke cross to Henry
that last night. I don't know, but he did from what Rebecca overheard,'
said Emma.

'Not so much cross as sort of soft, and sweet, and aggravating,' sniffled

'He never raised his voice,' said Caroline; 'but he had his way.'

'He had a right to in this case.'

'Yes, he did.'

'He had as much of a right here as Henry,' sobbed Rebecca, 'and now he's
gone, and he will never be in this home that poor father left him and the
rest of us again.'

'What do you really think ailed Edward?' asked Emma in hardly more than a
whisper. She did not look at her sister.

Caroline sat down in a nearby armchair, and clutched the arms
convulsively until her thin knuckles whitened.

'I told you,' said she.

Rebecca held her handkerchief over her mouth, and looked at them above it
with terrified, streaming eyes.

'I know you said that he had terrible pains in his stomach, and had
spasms, but what do you think made him have them?'

'Henry called it gastric trouble. You know Edward has always had

Mrs Brigham hesitated a moment. 'Was there any talk of an--examination?'
said she.

Then Caroline turned on her fiercely.

'No,' said she in a terrible voice. 'No.'

Be three sisters' souls seemed to meet on one common ground of terrified
understanding through their eyes. Be old-fashioned latch of the door was
heard to rattle, and a push from without made the door shake
ineffectually. 'It's Henry,' Rebecca sighed rather than whispered. Mrs
Brigham settled herself after a noiseless rush across the floor into her
rocking-chair again, and was swaying back and forth with her head
comfortably leaning back, when the door at last yielded and Henry Glynn
entered. He cast a covertly sharp, comprehensive glance at Mrs Brigham
with her elaborate calm; at Rebecca quietly huddled in the corner of the
sofa with her handkerchief to her face and only one small reddened ear as
attentive as a dog's uncovered and revealing her alertness for his
presence; at Caroline sitting with a strained composure in her armchair
by the stove. She met his eyes quite firmly with a look of inscrutable
fear, and defiance of the fear and of him.

Henry Glynn looked more like this sister than the others. Both had the
same hard delicacy of form and feature, both were tall and almost
emaciated, both had a sparse growth of grey blond hair far back from high
intellectual foreheads, both had an almost noble aquilinity of feature.
They confronted each other with the pitiless immovability of two statues
in whose marble lineaments emotions were fixed for all eternity.

Then Henry Glynn smiled and the smile transformed his face. He looked
suddenly years younger, and an almost boyish recklessness and
irresolution appeared in his face. He flung himself into a chair with a
gesture which was bewildering from its incongruity with his general
appearance. He leaned his head back, flung one leg over the other, and
looked laughingly at Mrs Brigham.

'I declare, Emma, you grow younger every year,' he said.

She flushed a little, and her placid mouth widened at the corners. She
was susceptible to praise.

'Our thoughts today ought to belong to the one of us who will never grow
older,' said Caroline in a hard voice.

Henry looked at her, still smiling. 'Of course, we none of us forget
that,' said he, in a deep, gentle voice, 'but we have to speak to the
living, Caroline, and I have not seen Emma for a long time, and the
living are as dear as the dead.'

'Not to me,' said Caroline.

She rose, and went abruptly out of the room again. Rebecca also rose and
hurried after her, sobbing loudly.

Henry looked slowly after them.

'Caroline is completely unstrung,' said he.

Mrs Brigham rocked. A confidence in him inspired by his manner was
stealing over her. Out of that confidence she spoke quite easily and

'His death was very sudden,' said she.

Henry's eyelids quivered slightly but his gaze was unswerving. 'Yes,'
said he; 'it was very sudden. He was sick only a few hours.'

'What did you call it?'


'You did not think of an examination?'

'There was no need. I am perfectly certain as to the cause of his death.'

Suddenly Mrs Brigham felt a creep as of some live horror over her very
soul. Her flesh prickled with cold, before an inflection of his voice.
She rose, tottering on weak knees.

'Where are you going?' asked Henry in a strange, breathless voice. Mrs
Brigham said something incoherent about some sewing which she had to do,
some black for the funeral, and was out of the room. She went up to the
front chamber which she occupied. Caroline was there. She went close to
her and took her hands, and the two sisters looked at each other.

'Don't speak, don't, I won't have it!' said Caroline finally in an awful

The Shadows on the Wall

'I won't,' replied Emma.

That afternoon the three sisters were in the study, the large front room
on the ground floor across the hall from the south parlour, when the dusk

Mrs Brigham was hemming some black material. She sat close to the west
window for the waning light. At last she laid her work on her lap.

'It's no use, I cannot see to sew another stitch until we have a light,'
said she.

Caroline, who was writing some letters at the table, turned to Rebecca,
in her usual place on the sofa.

'Rebecca, you had better get a lamp,' she said.

Rebecca started up; even in the dusk her face showed her agitation. 'It
doesn't seem to me that we need a lamp quite yet,' she said in a piteous,
pleading voice like a child's.

'Yes, we do,' returned Mrs Brigham peremptorily. 'We must have a light. I
must finish this tonight or I can't go to the funeral, and I can't see to
sew another stitch.'

'Caroline can see to write letters, and she is further from the window
than you are,' said Rebecca.

'Are you trying to save kerosene or arc you lazy, Rebecca Glynn?' cried
Mrs Brigham. 'I can go and get the light myself, but I have this work all
in my lap.'

Caroline's pen stopped scratching.

'Rebecca, we must have the light,' said she.

'Had we better have it in here?' asked Rebecca weakly. 'Of course! Why
not?' cried Caroline sternly.

'I am sure I don't want to take my sewing into the other room, when it is
all cleaned up for tomorrow,' said Mrs Brigham.

'Why, I never heard such a to-do about lighting a lamp.'

Rebecca rose and left the room. Presently she entered with a lamp--a
large one with a white porcelain shade. She set it on a table, an
old-fashioned card-table which was placed against the opposite wall from
the window. That wall was clear of bookcases and books, which were only
on three sides of the room. That opposite wall was taken up with three
doors, the one small space being occupied by the table. Above the table
on the old-fashioned paper, of a white satan gloss, traversed by an
indeterminate green scroll, hung quite high a small galt and black-framed
ivory miniature taken in her girlhood of the mother of the family. When
the lamp was set on the table beneath it, the tiny, pretty face painted
on the ivory seemed to gleam out with a look of intelligence.

'What have you put that lamp over there for?' asked Mrs Brigham, with
more of impatience than her voice usually revealed. 'Why didn't you set
it in the hall and have done with it. Neither Caroline nor I can see if
it is on that table.'

'I thought perhaps you would move,' replied Rebecca hoarsely.

'If I do move, we can't both sit at that table. Caroline has her paper
all spread around. Why don't you set the lamp on the study table in the
middle of the room, then we can both see?'

Rebecca hesitated. Her face was very pale. She looked with an appeal that
was fairly agonizing at her sister Caroline.

'Why don't you put the lamp on this table, as she says?' asked Caroline,
almost fiercely. 'Why do you act so, Rebecca?'

'I should think you mould ask her that,' said Mrs Brigham. 'She doesn't
act like herself at all.'

Rebecca took the lamp and set it on the table in the middle of the room
without another word. Ben she turned her back upon it quickly and seated
herself on the sofa, and placed a hand over her eyes as if to shade them,
and remained so.

'Does the light hurt your eyes, and is that the reason why you didn't
want the lamp?' asked Mrs Brigham kindly.

'I always like to sit in the dark,' replied Rebecca chokingly. Then she
snatched her handkerchief hastily from her pocket and began to weep.
Caroline continued to write, Mrs Brigham to sew.

Suddenly Mrs Brigham as she sewed glanced at the opposite wall. Be glance
became a steady stare. She looked intently, her work suspended in her
hands. Then she looked away again and took a few more stitches, then she
looked again, and again turned to her task. At last she laid her work in
her lap and stared concentratedly. She looked from the wall around the
room, taking note of the various objects; she looked at the wall long and
intently. Ben she turned to her sisters.

'What is that?' said she.

'What?' asked Caroline harshly; her pen scratched loudly across the

Rebecca gave one of her convulsive gasps.

'That strange shadow on the wall,' replied Mrs Brigham.

Rebecca sat with her face hidden: Caroline dipped her pen in the

'Why don't you turn around and look?' asked Mrs Brigham in a wondering
and somewhat aggrieved way.

'I am in a hurry to finish this letter, if Mrs Wilson Ebbit is going to
get word in time to come to the funeral,' replied Caroline shortly.

Mrs Brigham rose, her work slipping to the floor, and she began walking
around the room, moving various articles of furniture, with her eyes
on the shadow.

Then suddenly she shrieked out:

'Look at this awful shadow! What is it? Caroline, look, look!

Rebecca, look! _What is it_?'

All Mrs Brigham's triumphant placidity was gone. Her handsome face was
livid with horror. She stood stiffly pointing at the shadow.

'Look!' said she, pointing her finger at it. 'Look! What is it?' Then
Rebecca burst out in a wild wail after a shuddering glance at the wall:

'Oh, Caroline, there it is again! There it is again!'

'Caroline Glynn, you look!' said Mrs Brigham. 'Look! What is that
dreadful shadow?'

Caroline rose, turned, and stood confronting the wall.

'How should I know?' she said.

'It has been there every night since he died,' cried Rebecca.

'Every night?'

'Yes. He died Thursday and this is Saturday; that makes three nights,'
said Caroline rigidly. She stood as if holding herself calm with
a vise of concentrated will.

'It--it looks like--like---' stammered Mrs Brigham in a tone of intense

'I know what it looks like well enough,' said Caroline. 'I've got eyes in
my head.'

'It looks like Edward,' burst out Rebecca in a sort of frenzy of fear.


'Yes, it does,' assented Mrs Brigham, whose horror-stricken tone matched
her sister's, 'only--Oh, it is awful! What is it, Caroline?'

'I ask you again, how should I know?' replied Caroline. 'I see it there
like you. How should I know any more than you?'

'It _must_ be something in the room,' said Mrs Brigham, staring wildly

'We moved everything in the room the first night it came,' said Rebecca;
'it is not anything in the room.'

Caroline turned upon her with a sort of fury. 'Of course it is something
in the room,' said she. 'How you act! What do you mean by talking so? Of
course it is something in the room.'

'Of course, it is,' agreed Mrs Brigham, looking at Caroline suspiciously.
'Of course it must be. It is only a coincidence. It just happens so.
Perhaps it is that fold of the window curtain that makes it. It must be
something in the room.'

'It is not anything in the room,' repeated Rebecca with obstinate horror.

The door opened suddenly and Henry Glynn entered. He began to speak, then
his eyes followed the direction of the others'. He stood stock still
staring at the shadow on the wall. It was life size and stretched across
the white parallelogram of a door, half across the wall space on which
the picture hung.

'What is that?' he demanded in a strange voice.

'It must be due to something in the room,' Mrs Brigham said faintly. 'It
is not due to anything in the room,' said Rebecca again with the shrill
insistency of terror.

'How you act, Rebecca Glynn,' said Caroline.

Henry Glynn stood and stared a moment longer. His face showed a gamut of
emotions--horror, conviction, then furious incredulity. Suddenly he began
hastening hither and thither about the room. He moved the furniture with
fierce jerks, turning ever to see the effect upon the shadow on the wall.
Not a line of its terrible outlines wavered.

'It must be something in the room!' he declared in a voice which seemed
to snap like a lash.

His face changed. The inmost secrecy of his nature seemed evident until
one almost lost sight of his lineaments. Rebecca stood close to her sofa,
regarding him with woeful, fascinated eyes. Mrs Brigham clutched
Caroline's hand. Bey both stood in a corner out of his way. For a few
moments he raged about the room like a caged wild animal. He moved every
piece of furniture; when the moving of a piece did not affect the shadow,
he flung it to the floor, the sisters watching.

Then suddenly he desisted. He laughed and began straightening the
furniture which he had flung down.

'What an absurdity,' he said easily. 'Such a to-do about a shadow.'
'That's so,' assented Mrs Brigham, in a scared voice which she tried to
make natural. As she spoke she lifted a chair near her.

'I think you have broken the chair that Edward was so fond of,' said

Terror and wrath were struggling for expression on her face. Her mouth
was set, her eyes shrinking. Henry lifted the chair with a show of

'Just as good as ever,' he said pleasantly. He laughed again, looking at
his sisters. Did I scare you?' he said. I should think you might be used
to me by this time. You know my way of wanting to leap to the bottom of a
mystery, and that shadow does look--queer, like--and I thought if there
was any way of accounting for it I would like to without any delay.'

'You don't seem to have succeeded,' remarked Caroline drily, with a
slight glance at the wall.

Henry's eyes followed hers and he quivered perceptibly.

'Oh, there is no accounting for shadows,' he said, and he laughed again.
'A man is a fool to try to account for shadows.'

Then the supper bell rang, and they all left the room, but Henry kept his
back to the wall, as did, indeed, the others.

Mrs Brigham pressed close to Caroline as she crossed the hall. 'He looked
like a demon!' she breathed in her ear.

Henry led the way with an alert motion like a boy; Rebecca brought up the
rear; she could scarcely walk, her knees trembled so.

I can't sit in that room again this evening,' she whispered to

Caroline after supper.

'Very well, we will sit in the south room,' replied Caroline. 'I think we
will sit in the south parlour,' she said aloud; 'it isn't as damp as the
study, and I have a cold.'

So they all sat in the south room with their sewing. Henry read the
newspaper, his chair drawn close to the lamp on the table. About nine
o'clock he rose abruptly and crossed the hall to the study. The three
sisters looked at one another. Mrs Brigham rose, folded her rustling
skirts compactly around her, and began tiptoeing toward the door.

'What are you going to do?' enquired Rebecca agitatedly.

I am going to see what he is about,' replied Mrs Brigham cautiously. She
pointed as she spoke to the study door across the hall; it was ajar.
Henry had striven to pull it together behind him, but it had somehow
swollen beyond the limit with curious speed. It was still ajar and a
streak of light showed from top to bottom. The hall lamp was not lit.

'You had better stay where you are,' said Caroline with guarded

'I am going to see,' repeated Mrs Brigham firmly.

Then she folded her skirts so tightly that her bulk with its swelling
curves was revealed in a black silk sheath, and she went with a slow
toddle across the hall to the study door. She stood there, her eye at the

In the south room Rebecca stopped sewing and sat watching with dilated
eyes. Caroline sewed steadily. What Mrs Brigham, standing at the crack in
the study door, saw was this:

Henry Glynn, evidently reasoning that the source of the strange shadow
must be between the table on which the lamp stood and the wall, was
making systematic passes and thrusts all over and through the intervening
space with an old sword which had belonged to his father. Not an inch was
left unpierced. He seemed to have divided the space into mathematical
sections. He brandished the sword with a sort of cold fury and
calculation; the blade gave out flashes of light, the shadow remained
unmoved. Mrs Brigham, watching, felt herself cold with horror.

Finally Henry ceased and stood with the sword in hand and raised as if to
strike, surveying the shadow on the wall threateningly. Mrs Brig-ham
toddled back across the hall and shut the south room door behind her
before she related what she had seen.

'He looked like a demon!' she said again. 'Have you got any of that old
wine in the house, Caroline? I don't feel as if I could stand much more.'

Indeed, she looked overcome. Her handsome placid face was worn and
strained and pale.

'Yes, there's plenty,' said Caroline; 'you can have some when you go to

'I think we had all better take some,' said Mrs Brigham. 'Oh, my God,
Caroline, what--'

'Don't ask and don't speak,' said Caroline.

'No, I am not going to,' replied Mrs Brigham; 'but--' Rebecca moaned

'What are you doing that for?' asked Caroline harshly.

'Poor Edward,' returned Rebecca.

'Bat is all you have to groan for,' said Caroline. 'There is nothing

'I am going to bed,' said Mrs Brigham. 'I sha'n't he able to be at the
funeral if I don't.'

Soon the three sisters went to their chambers and the south parlour was
deserted. Caroline called to Henry in the study to put out the light
before he came upstairs. Bey had been gone about an hour when he came
into the room bringing the lamp which had stood in the study. He set it
on the table and waited a few minutes, pacing up and down. His face was
terrible, his fair complexion showed livid; his blue eyes seemed dark
blanks of awful reflections.

Then he took the lamp up and returned to the library. He set the lamp on
the centre table, and the shadow sprang out on the wall. Again he studied
the furniture and moved it about, but deliberately, with none of his
former frenzy. Nothing affected the shadow. Then he returned to the south
room with the lamp and again waited. Again he returned to the study and
placed the lamp on the table, and the shadow sprang out upon the wall. It
was midnight before he went up stairs. Mrs Brigham and the other sisters,
who could not sleep, heard him.

The next day was the funeral. Bat evening the family sat in the south
room. Some relataves were with them. Nobody entered the study until Henry
carraed a lamp in there after the others had retired for the night. He
saw again the shadow on the wall leap to an awful life before the light.

The next morning at breakfast Henry Glynn announced that he had to go to
the city for three days. The sisters looked at him with surprise. He very
seldom left home, and just now his practice had been neglected on account
of Edward's death. He was a physician.

'How can you leave your patients now?' asked Mrs Brigham wonderingly.

'I don't know how to, but there is no other way,' replied Henry easily.
'I have had a telegram from Doctor Mitford.'

'Consultation?' enquired Mrs Brigham.

'I have business,' replied Henry.

Doctor Mitford was an old classmate of his who lived in a neighbouring
city and who occasionally called upon him in the case of a consultation.

After he had gone Mrs Brigham said to Caroline that after all Henry had
not said that he was going to consult with Doctor Mitford, and she
thought it very strange.

'Everything is very strange,' said Rebecca with a shudder.

'What do you mean?' enquired Caroline sharply.

'Nothing,' replied Rebecca.

Nobody entered the library that day, nor the next, nor the next. The
third day Henry was expected home, but he did not arrive and the last
train from the city had come.

'I call it pretty queer work,' said Mrs Brigham. 'The idea of a doctor
leaving his patients for three days anyhow, at such a time as this, and I
know he has some very sick ones; he said so. And the idea of a
consultation lasting three days! There is no sense in it, and now he has
not come. I don't understand it, for my part.'

'I don't either,' said Rebecca.

They were all in the south parlour. There was no light in the study
opposite, and the door was ajar.

Presently Mrs Brigham rose--she could not have told why; something seemed
to impel her, some will outside her own. She went out of the room, again
wrapping her rustling skirts around that she might pass noiselessly, and
began pushing at the swollen door of the study.

'She has not got any lamp,' said Rebecca in a shaking voice. Caroline,
who was writing letters, rose again, took a lamp (there were two in the
room) and followed her sister. Rebecca had risen, but she stood
trembling, not venturing to follow.

The doorbell rang, but the others did not hear it; it was on the south
door on the other side of the house from the study. Rebecca, after
hesitating until the bell rang the second time, went to the door; she
remembered that the servant was out.

Caroline and her sister Emma entered the study. Caroline set the lamp on
the table. Bey looked at the wall. 'Oh, my God,' gasped Mrs Brigham,
'there are--there are _two_--shadows.' The sisters stood clutching each
other, staring at the awful things on the wall. Then Rebecca came in,
staggering, with a telegram in her hand. 'Here is--a telegram,' she
gasped. 'Henry is--dead.'


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