The Corby servants and the Rector's groom had already loaded the visitors' bags into the
chaise, and holding out his hand to Mr. Howard, Mr. A.... attempted one last regret, but
articulation failed him, and he turned abruptly, with a bow to Mrs. Howard, and hurried to the
carriage, where he helped his wife to mount. A moment later the chaise was hurtling down the
Mr. and Mrs. Howard, perplexed and a little hurt, returned to their guests, whom they
found discussing the strange occurrence among themselves.
As Howard sat down, one of the men asked, 'Did he say anything to you out there?'
Howard shook his head. 'Not a word,' he said. 'The Rector tried to assure us that
nothing we had done was the cause of their sudden departure. But I am not so sure.'
As he confided later to his diary, 'they departed, leaving us in consternation to conjecture
what could possibly have occasioned so sudden an alteration in their arrangements. I really felt
quite uneasy lest anything should have given them offense; and we reviewed all the occurrences
of the preceding evening in order to discover, if offence there was, whence it had arisen. But all
our pains were vain; and after talking a great deal about it for some days, other circumstances
banished the matter from our minds.'
The 'other circumstances' to which he referred was the entertainment of his guests, and
when all had finally departed he discovered that he was still exercised in his mind by the Rector's
hasty departure. For a day or two he tried to dismiss it from his thoughts, but eventually had to
confess that he would know no peace of mind until he had learned the truth. So he decided that
he must visit Greystoke and try to persuade the A....'s to be frank with him.
At Greystoke he was surprised and his bewilderment greatly increased by the warmth of
the A....s' reception.
'You will surmise why I have come,' he said, as Mrs. A.... led the way to the drawing
'Of course,' the Rector told him. 'Perhaps now we can set your mind at rest by proving
that it was no default of your kind self which caused us to leave the castle so precipitously. I am
sorry that we left as we did, but we had both been so shaken by the experience-an experience
which, I may say, both my reason and my profession ought to have rejected out of hand...'
'You saw the Radiant Boy!' he exclaimed, and was at a loss to imagine why this
explanation had not occurred to him before, except that he had not known which room the A....'s
had been allotted.
'You mean you know that the castle is haunted by what you have so exactly described as a
Radiant Boy, sir?' the Rector exclaimed.
'There is some sort of tradition at Corby that such an apparition does from time to time
manifest itself,' Howard confessed, 'but we-the family, that is-have always been somewhat
skeptical about it, as it has never appeared to any Howard, but only to guests visiting the castle.
He has not appeared for many years now, and I fear he did not cross my mind as a possible reason
for your curtailing your visit so abruptly. I am sure, too, that Mrs. Howard is equally innocent.'
'My dear sir!' the Rector expostulated. 'I do assure you that neither Mrs. A.... not I have
ever entertained the thought that you deliberately set out to frighten us.'
'Could you bear to tell me now what happened?' Howard asked.
'I am happy to say that we have long since recovered from the shock we had,' replied the
Rector. 'But I hesitate to relate what occurred because as a man of intelligence and education,
and more particularly as a priest, I fell I ought to reject the whole matter as a figment of the
'I fell much the same as you do,: Howard told him. 'On the other hand, I find it very
difficult to dismiss as chimera the serious protestations of sensible men, and I do assure you that
in the records of the Radiant Boy's manifestations, among the men and women who have
declared they have seen him, are those whose level-headedness as well as their intellectual talents
are beyond reproach or dispute. I will breath not a word of it to any living soul. My interest is
purely in relating your account to previous ones.'
The Rector, perceiving that it would be boorish of him not to comply with his visitor's
request, agreed to accept Howard's assurances.
'Very well, sir,' he said. 'On those terms I will tell you. Soon after we went to bed, we
fell asleep. It might be one or two in the morning when I awoke. I observed that the fire was
totally extinguished; but although that was the case, and we had no light, I saw a glimmer in the
middle of the room, which suddenly increased to a bright flame.
'I looked out, apprehending that something had caught fire; when to my amazement I
beheld a beautiful boy clothed in white, with bright locks resembling gold, standing by my
bedside. He remained in this position some minutes, fixing his eyes upon me with a mild and
'He then glided gently towards the side of the chimney, where it is obvious there is no
possible egress, and entirely disappeared. I found myself again in total darkness, and all remained
quiet until the usual hour of rising.
'As soon as he had disappeared, I seemed to come suddenly to my senses. The vision was
so real that at the time I could have reached out and touched him. It was the realization that it was
no dream, that I had actually seen the Boy, as you call him, when I was in a state of complete
awareness, which made my heart fail. I began to tremble and was so violent in my trembling that
my wife awoke, and inquired what was wrong with me.'
'I believed he had been struck with an ague,' Mrs. A.... interpolated. 'He was shaking
uncontrollably. When he assured me that he was not ill, I became alarmed and pressed him to
explain what had caused his trembling. For some minutes he refused.'
'But I could not keep it to myself,' the Rector went on. 'I had to tell my wife, though I
knew it would disturb her. Like me, she slept no more that night. I was in such a state that I
could not risk a second experience by staying another night in the room, but we knew that all your
other rooms must be occupied, so as soon as dawn broke I went down and dispatched one of your
servants to summon my chaise.