The Lady of the Shroud HTML version

Book 3. The Coming Of The Lady
Rupert Sent Leger's Journal.
April 3, 1907.
I have waited till now--well into midday--before beginning to set down the details of the
strange episode of last night. I have spoken with persons whom I know to be of normal
type. I have breakfasted, as usual heartily, and have every reason to consider myself in
perfect health and sanity. So that the record following may be regarded as not only true in
substance, but exact as to details. I have investigated and reported on too many cases for
the Psychical Research Society to be ignorant of the necessity for absolute accuracy in
such matters of even the minutest detail.
Yesterday was Tuesday, the second day of April, 1907. I passed a day of interest, with its
fair amount of work of varying kinds. Aunt Janet and I lunched together, had a stroll
round the gardens after tea--especially examining the site for the new Japanese garden,
which we shall call "Janet's Garden." We went in mackintoshes, for the rainy season is in
its full, the only sign of its not being a repetition of the Deluge being that breaks in the
continuance are beginning. They are short at present but will doubtless enlarge
themselves as the season comes towards an end. We dined together at seven. After dinner
I had a cigar, and then joined Aunt Janet for an hour in her drawing-room. I left her at
half-past ten, when I went to my own room and wrote some letters. At ten minutes past
eleven I wound my watch, so I know the time accurately. Having prepared for bed, I
drew back the heavy curtain in front of my window, which opens on the marble steps into
the Italian garden. I had put out my light before drawing back the curtain, for I wanted to
have a look at the scene before turning in. Aunt Janet has always had an old-fashioned
idea of the need (or propriety, I hardly know which) of keeping windows closed and
curtains drawn. I am gradually getting her to leave my room alone in this respect, but at
present the change is in its fitful stage, and of course I must not hurry matters or be too
persistent, as it would hurt her feelings. This night was one of those under the old regime.
It was a delight to look out, for the scene was perfect of its own kind. The long spell of
rain--the ceaseless downpour which had for the time flooded everywhere--had passed,
and water in abnormal places rather trickled than ran. We were now beginning to be in
the sloppy rather than the deluged stage. There was plenty of light to see by, for the moon
had begun to show out fitfully through the masses of flying clouds. The uncertain light
made weird shadows with the shrubs and statues in the garden. The long straight walk
which leads from the marble steps is strewn with fine sand white from the quartz strand
in the nook to the south of the Castle. Tall shrubs of white holly, yew, juniper, cypress,
and variegated maple and spiraea, which stood at intervals along the walk and its
branches, appeared ghost-like in the fitful moonlight. The many vases and statues and
urns, always like phantoms in a half- light, were more than ever weird. Last night the
moonlight was unusually effective, and showed not only the gardens down to the
defending wall, but the deep gloom of the great forest-trees beyond; and beyond that,
again, to where the mountain chain began, the forest running up their silvered slopes