The pale atmosphere in the room began now to redden as if in the air of some near conflagration. The larv
grew lurid as things that live in fire. Again the room vibrated; again were heard the three measured knocks;
and again all things were swallowed up in the darkness of the dark Shadow, as if out of that darkness all had
come, into that darkness all returned.
As the gloom receded, the Shadow was wholly gone. Slowly as it had been withdrawn, the flame grew again
into the candles on the table, again into the fuel in the grate. The whole room came once more calmly,
healthfully into sight.
The two doors were still closed, the door communicating with the servant's room still locked. In the corner of
the wall into which he had so convulsively niched himself, lay the dog. I called to him--no movement; I
approached--the animal was dead; his eyes protruded; his tongue out of his mouth; the froth gathered round
his jaws. I took him in my arms; I brought him to the fire, I felt acute grief for the loss of my poor
favorite--acute self-reproach; I accused myself of his death; I imagined he had died of fright. But what was
my surprise on finding that his neck was actually broken. Had this been done in the dark?--must it not have
been by a hand human as mine?--must there not have been a human agency all the while in that room? Good
cause to suspect it. I cannot tell. I cannot do more than state the fact fairly; the reader may draw his own
Another surprising circumstance--my watch was restored to the table from which it had been so mysteriously
withdrawn; but it had stopped at the very moment it was so withdrawn; nor, despite all the skill of the
watchmaker, has it ever gone since--that is, it will go in a strange erratic way for a few hours, and then come
to a dead stop--it is worthless.
Nothing more chanced for the rest of the night. Nor, indeed, had I long to wait before the dawn broke. Nor till
it was broad daylight did I quit the haunted house. Before I did so, I revisited the little blind room in which
my servant and myself had been for a time imprisoned. I had a strong impression--for which I could not
account--that from that room had originated the mechanism of the phenomena--if I may use the term--which
had been experienced in my chamber. And though I entered it now in the clear day, with the sun peering
through the filmy window I still felt, as I stood on its floor, the creep of the horror which I had first there
experienced the night before, and which had been so aggravated by what had passed in my own chamber. I
could not, indeed, bear to stay more than half a minute within those walls. I descended the stairs, and again I
heard the footfall before me; and when I opened the street door, I thought I could distinguish a very low laugh.
I gained my own home, expecting to find my runaway servant there. But he had not presented himself; nor did
I hear more of him for three days, when I received a letter from him, dated from Liverpool to this effect:--
'HONORED SIR,--I humbly entreat your pardon, though I can scarcely hope that you will think I deserve it,
unless--which Heaven forbid--you saw what I did. I feel that it will be years before I can recover myself: and
as to being fit for service, it is out of the question. I am therefore going to my brother-in-law at Melbourne.
The ship sails to-morrow. Perhaps the long voyage may set me up. I do nothing now but start and tremble, and
fancy IT is behind me. I humbly beg you, honored sir, to order my clothes, and whatever wages are due to me,
to be sent to my mother's, at Walworth.--John knows her address.'
The letter ended with additional apologies, somewhat incoherent, and explanatory details as to effects that had
been under the writer's charge.
This flight may perhaps warrant a suspicion that the man wished to go to Australia, and had been somehow or
other fraudulently mixed up with the events of the night. I say nothing in refutation of that conjecture; rather, I
suggest it as one that would seem to many persons the most probable solution of improbable occurrences. My
belief in my own theory remained unshaken. I returned in the evening to the house, to bring away in a hack
cab the things I had left there, with my poor dog's body. In this task I was not disturbed, nor did any incident
worth note befall me, except that still, on ascending and descending the stairs, I heard the same footfall in
advance. On leaving the house, I went to Mr. J.'s. He was at home. I returned him the keys, told him that my
curiosity was sufficiently gratified, and was about to relate quickly what had passed, when he stopped me, and
said, though with much politeness, that he had no longer any interest in a mystery which none had ever