The House on the Borderland HTML version

6. The Swine-Things
"IT WAS EVENING, a week later. My sister sat in the garden, knitting. I was walking up
and down, reading. My gun leant up against the wall of the house; for, since the advent of
that strange thing in the gardens, I had deemed it wise to take precautions. Yet, through
the whole week, there had been nothing to alarm me, either by sight or sound; so that I
was able to look back, calmly, to the incident; though still with a sense of unmitigated
wonder and curiosity. "I was, as I have just said, walking up and down, and somewhat
engrossed in my book. Suddenly, I heard a crash, away in the direction of the Pit. With a
quick movement, I turned and saw a tremendous column of dust rising high into the
evening air.
"My sister had risen to her feet, with a sharp exclamation of surprise and fright.
"Telling her to stay where she was, I snatched up my gun, and ran towards the Pit. As I
neared it, I heard a dull, rumbling sound, that grew quickly into a roar, split with deeper
crashes, and up from the Pit drove a fresh volume of dust.
"The noise ceased, though the dust still rose, tumultuously.
"I reached the edge, and looked down; but could see nothing, save a boil of dust clouds
swirling hither and thither. The air was so full of the small particles, that they blinded and
choked me; and, finally, I had to run out from the smother, to breathe.
"Gradually, the suspended matter sank, and hung in a panoply over the mouth of the Pit.
"I could only guess at what had happened.
"That there had been a land-slip of some kind, I had little doubt; but the cause was
beyond my knowledge; and yet, even then, I had half imaginings; for, already, the
thought had come to me, of those falling rocks, and that Thing in the bottom of the Pit;
but, in the first minutes of confusion, I failed to reach the natural conclusion, to which the
catastrophe pointed.
"Slowly, the dust subsided, until, presently, I was able to approach the edge, and look
"For a while, I peered impotently, trying to see through the reek. At first, it was
impossible to make out anything. Then, as I stared, I saw something below, to my left,
that moved. I looked intently towards it, and, presently, made out another, and then
another--three dim shapes that appeared to be climbing up the side of the Pit. I could see
them only indistinctly. Even as I stared and wondered, I heard a rattle of stones,
somewhere to my right. I glanced across; but could see nothing. I leant forward, and
peered over, and down into the Pit, just beneath where I stood; and saw no further than a
hideous, white swine-face, that had risen to within a couple of yards of my feet. Below it,