Page:Yorkshire Oddities, Incidents and Strange Events.djvu/344

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Yorkshire Oddities and Incidents.

higher, and I seemed to be walking through a railway cutting. I looked up, and saw the rugged outline of rock and furze on the eastern bank, and on top of a huge block stood a distorted human figure. It was that of my strange companion.

Down the slope he came with wriggle and jump; he came straight towards me, spread out his arms—in a moment they were clasped round me, and I was lifted from my feet. I was so astonished that I made no resistance at first, and it was only after he had taken a dozen steps with me, and I heard the splash of the beck falling into what must be a pot, and saw the black yawning hole open before me, and felt the man bending as though about to leap down it with me in his arms, that I tore my right arm loose, and caught at a young rowan-tree which leaned over the gulf.

At the same moment there flashed before my eyes the light of a lanthorn, the flame small and yellow, yet sufficient to illumine the face of the bearer—a young woman, the countenance wondrously beautiful, but full of woe unutterable.

The lanthorn passed across the open mouth of the pot. The moment it became visible the arms which held me were unclasped, and I saw the man sink down the abyss, with the light reflected from his upturned face. He went down it, not with a whizz as a falling stone, but slowly as a man might sink in water. Thus I was well able to observe his blanched face and wide dilated eyes fixed with horror on the lanthorn flame.

Having recovered my feet, naturally my first impulse was to run up the bank, and get as far as possible from the ugly well into which I might have been precipitated. My next was to look round for the young woman who bore the light. I could see the lanthorn at some little distance, but I could not distinguish the bearer.