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I ran downstairs and looked in the sitting room. Not there! Then I looked in all the other
rooms of the house, with an ever-growing fear chilling my heart. Finally, I came to the
hall door and found it open. It was not wide open, but the catch of the lock had not
caught. The people of the house are careful to lock the door every night, so I feared that
Lucy must have gone out as she was. There was no time to think of what might happen.
A vague over-mastering fear obscured all details.
I took a big, heavy shawl and ran out. The clock was striking one as I was in the
Crescent, and there was not a soul in sight. I ran along the North Terrace, but could see
no sign of the white figure which I expected. At the edge of the West Cliff above the pier
I looked across the harbour to the East Cliff, in the hope or fear, I don't know which, of
seeing Lucy in our favorite seat.
There was a bright full moon, with heavy black, driving clouds, which threw the whole
scene into a fleeting diorama of light and shade as they sailed across. For a moment or
two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St. Mary's Church and all
around it. Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the abbey coming into view,
and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the
church and churchyard became gradually visible. Whatever my expectation was, it was
not disappointed, for there, on our favorite seat, the silver light of the moon struck a half-
reclining figure, snowy white. The coming of the cloud was too quick for me to see
much, for shadow shut down on light almost immediately, but it seemed to me as
though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent
over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell.
I did not wait to catch another glance, but flew down the steep steps to the pier and
along by the fish-market to the bridge, which was the only way to reach the East Cliff.
The town seemed as dead, for not a soul did I see. I rejoiced that it was so, for I wanted
no witness of poor Lucy's condition. The time and distance seemed endless, and my
knees trembled and my breath came laboured as I toiled up the endless steps to the
abbey. I must have gone fast, and yet it seemed to me as if my feet were weighted with
lead, and as though every joint in my body were rusty.
When I got almost to the top I could see the seat and the white figure, for I was now
close enough to distinguish it even through the spells of shadow. There was
undoubtedly something, long and black, bending over the half-reclining white figure. I
called in fright, "Lucy! Lucy!" and something raised a head, and from where I was I
could see a white face and red, gleaming eyes.
Lucy did not answer, and I ran on to the entrance of the churchyard. As I entered, the
church was between me and the seat, and for a minute or so I lost sight of her. When I
came in view again the cloud had passed, and the moonlight struck so brilliantly that I
could see Lucy half reclining with her head lying over the back of the seat. She was
quite alone, and there was not a sign of any living thing about.
When I bent over her I could see that she was still asleep. Her lips were parted, and
she was breathing, not softly as usual with her, but in long, heavy gasps, as though
striving to get her lungs full at every breath. As I came close, she put up her hand in her
sleep and pulled the collar of her nightdress close around her, as though she felt the