Arising early, Jon and his
three friends made their way down the road signed A7 to
There was an old coach inn,
still in operation and now catering to hikers along the trails of the
They checked in and left again to seek out the address. The cottage was tucked in a low valley that reached from the river valley into the flanks of the mountains, on a modest farm somehow combining the virtues of a livelihood, a hiding place and a hobby. It seemed that the owner, like many others, made a small career of being as English as he possibly could.
They were served tea in a
stone floored room with great old rafters and a decided draught at this time of
year. The furniture was rustic and
serviceable. Their host,
They brought greetings from
Wayson listened to their tale, hardly batting an eye at the
total weirdness of it, and asked what their plans were. Hapgood said they
were thinking about visiting
They had shepherd’s pie for
supper and then stepped into the pub to relax.
The music was tasteful
A couple of farmers had come in for a brew.
“You can hear lots of things. People say mostly what they think you want to hear. But there are those have claimed that they saw a gray lady. She just rustles about and tidies the place. No harm in her at all.”
“Well all these stories. The one I like the best is this young couple stopped at the inn many years ago. The wife was pregnant and couldn’t travel farther. See had the child but died a’bearing it. The father took the infant and went on. But she still drifts around like she thought she ought to be taking care of something. I think she’d a been a good mother; quiet like.”
“What does she look like?”
“She’s a ghost, sir, and she looks however you want her to look when you see her. I mean that’s the story.”
No one seemed to pay more
than common attention. It was as if it
had been the weather. But there must
have been some tension in the air that affected
The bed was not the same as it had been in the dream, so he dismissed the notion that he had had a vision. He slept again and awoke early. The light of the false dawn made the windows identifiable. He got up and started to stir, but the dim light revealed nothing in the inky darkness except the faint reflection from a sheet of paper lying by the door. At least the paper explained the rustling he had heard.
Ibt n.- I'n -dx rtd -O- csf ’y- br- tju rr-
tp- hrw p-d oi. -Hx -yx -yk e-k esq -pi -yk
e-N omv gpn etd -gt mow y/- Trw l-k i,- ypl
-eb sj- tp- kmx w-t bpl t-v hr- otb gof -pi
-vx nyp avv -;t w.- tju -rt r;b edv -fu vrw
o[n emv .-B -eb l;- ttd -yx -hu t-t -,u sdt
gr- tp- ypl -sv -Vt rvt sdx nmu .
He studied it until he heard
a loud banging and clattering at the back door.
Evidently the landlady had arrived to cook breakfast. The noise was part of her routine for waking
up the guests.
Two field hands and an older
couple came in for breakfast. The
The room fell silent, and
Then he fairly babbled, “I mean I didn’t see anything, really.” That was the wrong thing to say. Well they would have plenty of fun over the winter deciding what the stranger had seen.
“I never saw anything myself,” said one of the field hands helpfully.
“Not often we get guests this time of year,” said the landlady reassuringly. “Maybe that’s why.”
“I thought the ghost was
supposed to pick things like that up,” said
“Must be from
They took a back road away from the inn. It seemed to promise a quicker way to the Wayson farm. But they found themselves winding among steep slopes and descending into scenic but perilous gorges. They finally pulled into the farmyard and hit the horn. Then they piled out and rapped on the door.
There was no answer. Nobody was home. The light was completely different from what it had been the night before. It looked like a completely different yard. The barn door, which had been ajar before, was now securely locked. A couple of tools had been put away. Curtains had been drawn at the windows.
“Must be away for the day,” said Hapgood.
“Looks like it’s closed down
for the season,” said
“Looks like it closed down last season,” said
After calling and waiting a
bit they returned to their rental car.
“It makes sense,” said Hapgood. “
They pulled out of the yard
and made their way along a narrow dirt road between high stone walls. After they had been riding for some time they
crossed a water splash, where a little rivulet had been directed to run over
“I’m lost, way lost, major
big time lost, bottled in bond lost,”
“I thought Seminoles never
“This is not my stamping
Hapgood offered, “Since it isn’t
The motor was breathing fumes by the time they turned right onto a major road.
“I thought we turned left
into the inn,” said
“Did I mention I was lost?” asked
They were back on course, but the protective bubble of their security seemed to have lost its color, as a blown bubble will as it loses thickness to evaporation and starts to look soapy.
Traveling east with the
rivers they reached the A1 road and arrived at Woolsthorpe
in the afternoon. They looked up
“But the truth will win in the end,” Hapgood finished for him. “It’s part of a quotation. It was written in Latin at Roslin.”
“I don’t know Latin.”
“You were probably able to pick out a few words.”
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