The episode began late one summer afternoon in the formally paterned garden of a Kentish country house. Most of the family was away visiting a neighbor, but a daughter of the house lingered there, walking on graveled paths among the sculptured boxwood, past fragrant flower beds carefully planted to make ornamental carpets on the lawn. She walked slowly because of the heat and because her movement was restricted by the fashions of the time - lace, ribbons, ruffles and thick fallls of skirt.

She glanced at the brick fašade of the house, glowing in the late light. A movement caught her eye. In the dark square of a window she could see the pale oval of a face, indistinct at this distance, yet seeming to regard her steadily. It was, no doubt, a servant, idling about upstairs.

The young woman took another turn around the garden, but the afternoon was fast dimming into dusk, and from the river that coursed nearby, mist began to rise and curl gently across the lawns, bringing a chill with it. The woman went indoors.

The house seemed unnaturally quiet. In the hall, she paused, overcome by the sensation - not, of course, uncommon in an empty house - that she was being watched. Nothing was in the hall, however, save for ancestral portraits, the usual collection of bewigged gentlemen and white-haired ladies swathed in folds of gleaming fabric and attended by solemn children and arrays of lap dogs.


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