Weird Tales/Volume 11/Issue 2/The Shadow on the Moor

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2784559Weird Tales (vol. 11, no. 2) — The Shadow on the MoorFebruary 1928Stuart Strauss

The Shadow on the Moor by Stuart Strauss
The Shadow on the Moor by Stuart Strauss
“Up he went, until he could plainly see the fearful carvings on the altar.”

The stillness of the room was broken only by the clicking of a typewriter, which went on uninterruptedly for some time. Finally a man arose, and, stretching himself, yawned and spoke to his companion.

“It’s too hot to work tonight, and, besides, who could write a horror story on a night like this?” The other man raised his eyes from his book.

“I suppose it should be thundering, lightening, and raining torrents, with a wind that whistles around the housetops. Come on, let’s hit the hay, Jerry.”

When he had finished his preparations for bed, Jerry Jarvais slipped out upon the balcony of the inn for a final cigaret. He stood there silent, gazing off across the moor. The night was very still, and the moon flooded everything with a soft, silvery light that brought all out in a marble whiteness—a softness that hid the grime and dirt, and gave the commonplace an air of beauty unseen by the glare of day. There was only the faintest hint of a breeze that, soft as midnight velvet, whipped his dressing-gown around his legs and made the trees bend ever so gracefully, ever so slightly, seeming to bow and quiver like dancers on a polished ballroom floor.

Jarvais was silent, rapt, alone and lost in the beauty of the night. For a long time he had heard of this section of desolate country with its memories and mementos of a lost race. No other part of England held its savage charm. Jarvais had come here seeking new material, new color, and new ideas. He had been stagnating. Before, to him, mystery had meant the East—the Orient—but here at home in the quiet of old England was more mystery—more allure than he had ever known.

Far away across the moonlit bleakness of the moor were the ruins—that mass of toppled columns and rough-hewn slabs set in crude circles. The stones glistened mistily, and threw huge, sprawling shadows beneath them like pools of blood on a silver tray.

Broken only by the whispering of the trees, the stillness gripped Jarvais; held him tense, expectant, waiting. But for what? For there was only stillness and the soft rustle of the night wind among the trees.

As Jarvais was about to toss his finished cigaret over the balcony rail and return to his room, he paused and glanced sharply across the empty lawn. He had seen something—he did not know what. There was movement, where but a moment before had been naught but moonlit emptiness. He had heard nothing, but he was conscious of another presence. He looked out again across the moor. All was as before, but here beneath the balcony was something, someone. He had caught but the fleeting glimpse of a shadow moving, where before had been but nothingness.

It was a shadow—the dim silhouette of a woman. The time was long past midnight, and the inhabitants of the inn were all asleep. What was a woman doing here, alone, on the moor at this hour? The sight of something alive, here in this deserted place, and at this hour, made him shiver. It was so out of all keeping with his thoughts and the place. Icy fingers of dread clutched his heart. Then he shrugged his shoulders and smiled. It was nothing. Some tourist out to see the moor. But what was a woman doing here alone, at this hour? None the less, here she was, moving slowly across the silvery waste toward the ruins that were so white and still in the glow of the dying moon.

Jarvais rubbed his eyes, shook his head, and looked again. The shadow was still there, but becoming fainter, and more distant. He paused, and suddenly a thought came to him. Shadows were cast by bodies; they were mere reflections of a concrete shape. Perhaps a wind-blown tree had cast it. But the shadow, which seemed a woman, was bodiless. There was only the shadow, and no figure. shadow to cast such strange reflections. To find that the shadow was actually bodiless brought back all his first terror—the sense of dread that he had first experienced. This was not earthly. It was uncanny. Impossible. Yet his eyes told him that the impossible was fact.

Through his mind raced all the tales he had heard of this lonely, lovely country, of things that should be dead, but lived; things spoken of only in whispers, and never to be mentioned. The shadow was moving toward the ruins. What was happening here beneath his window—strange, weird, terrorizing? There was but one thing to do—follow.

Silently he dropped over the rail of the low balcony, caught up with and followed behind the shadow of the woman, if woman it were.

It seemed to Jarvais that this ghostly pursuit lasted for hours. Now he would lose it and would wait. Then in a few moments he would see the dim outlines again before him, always moving toward that heap of rocks—the ruins that had held his fancy with their starkness. Now and then clouds scudded across the face of the moon, and the moor took on strange lights and patches of color.

On and on he followed, and suddenly stopped dead-still, for in the place of the one shadow there now were many, all hurrying in the same direction toward the ruins—bodiless shapes that moved noiselessly before him.

Now that they were nearing the ruins, Jarvais could make out how crude they were, how rough-hewn; yet withal they held a subtle sense of majestic power, of latent evil; a sense of darkness and decay; a sense of age and forgotten secrets. He wondered who were the people that had built them, what strange gods they had worshiped here, and how many savage cries of exultation had risen on the still, moonlit air, and echoed far across the now deserted moor.

From out of the stillness came a weird sound—then music soft and low in the distance, soft and yet with an eery strain that chilled his blood and echoed in his brain. The music increased its beat and time, and in it were savagery and cries of lust and forbidden desires. The shadows, with Jarvais close behind, were approaching the ruins, coming closer, ever closer, and the moon now setting in the west cast pale rays on the rude stones that lay sprawling in drunken rings. The music became more terrible, tore at his brain like iron fingers. Strange voices whispered of uncanny, revolting mysteries; obscene shapes floated before his eyes. Ever, ever the music hammered at his brain. He stumbled and nearly fell. The gibbering in his ears increased, became more awful, more degrading, more passionately revolting. The music throbbed through all his senses. Frenzy swayed him, and swept away his last touch of wisdom. He was a primate—one of the first men—uncivilized, terror-stricken—back in the dawn of time—back with black terror and the rolling drums.

He gave way to the madness of the music, cast aside his garments and ran as naked as the first man after the shadows that were converging in a dark mass toward the narrow entryway between two huge, rough-hewn pillars. With a cry of exultation, Jarvais sprang after them, and then it seemed to him that the whole world was shaken by a thunderclap; a heavyweight struck across his shoulder; he moved forward, stumbled, and fell. As through a mist he saw flickering lights and heard hoots and bellows, and in his brain echoed screeches and cat-calls. The music roared into a terrifying crescendo, then blackness and oblivion came upon him.

He awoke to painful consciousness, in the gray of an early dawn, shivering and cold, surprized to find himself here alone, naked upon the gray and barren moor. How had he gotten here? Then memory came back to him. He recalled how he had run screaming, naked in the moonlight; remembered the shadow, and the horror at the ruins. He looked up and saw he was lying not more than five feet from the entrance.

Seen in the light of dawn, the piles were still sinister, but not horrible—a mass of gray, tumble-down rocks and crude broken columns—sinister, but surely no terror could lurk within them. Soon Jarvais located his castoff clothing, and wearily started to return to the inn, which he could see in the distance, but surely not the distance he had come on the preceding night. Shakily he laughed, for he must have been running around in circles. He decided he would tell no one of his nocturnal adventures.

Unobserved he gained his room, and after bathing and dressing he joined his friend for breakfast. Nothing was said concerning his experiences, and in the afternoon they returned to London.

Once more at home, Jarvais plunged into work with a new vigor, striving in it to erase from his mind the events of that night upon the moor—the night with all its unexplained, mysterious happenings and horrors, over which brooded those aged, ageless ruins. Slowly, as time passed, the thing began to slip from his memory, to be recalled only on moonlit nights, when he had stayed too long over his books.

As he was reading the paper one morning, he ran across an item that at once attracted his attention, and caused him to remember too vividly things he wished to forget, things that had tugged at his mind despite his desire to let them slip into the place of unwanted memories. The item was dated at the little village where he had spent that never-to-be-forgotten time:

Dead Man Found on Moor

Early this morning the body of Charles Gilbert, living at the Blue Boar Tavern, was found on the moor near the ruined temple, naked, and his head crushed by a mammoth rock, apparently fallen from the ruins. How such a huge slab had been dislodged is one of the mysteries that surround this case. Near the body were found the nightclothes of the dead man. No motive for the crime was apparent. The mere fact of the body’s being there has only deepened the mystery. Gilbert was a famous student of pre-druidistic culture and remains.

To Jarvais came an overwhelming desire to revisit the moor, to see again its sinister ruins and the bodiless shadows. He wished to solve, if possible, the enigma hidden behind those rings of crouching stones. Here was something deadly, something dangerous that had taken human life and would beyond all doubt be unappeased until more had fallen under its malevolent spell.

Quickly he packed, as if fearing he might change his mind, and returned to the little inn that nestled on the border of the somber moor, where such strange events had taken place.

He found the place almost deserted. The mysterious death of Gilbert had frightened away the casual tourists. The innkeeper was pathetically glad to see Jarvais. He bustled up, and after having arranged with him about his room, he asked, “And what are you doing here, Mr. Jarvais?”

“I came up for a rest and a little quiet, Johnson.”

“Well, you’ll get it here, sir. No one comes here any more after Mr. Gilbert’s death, sir. It’s the moor. She frightens them. She’s bad—is the moor. No one knows her secrets, and if they do learn—well, they don’t come back, sir.”

Jarvais looked at him for a moment, and then broke the silence that followed the innkeeper’s last remark. “What do you know about those ruins?”

“Well, Mr. Jarvais, not much, sir. But I know this: I wouldn’t go there for a million pounds, I wouldn’t. There’s things there, sir, that a man better not talk about. There’s death there and worse.”

“Pshaw! Don’t be an ass, Johnson,” said Jarvais crossly, and climbed the stairs to his room.

After his dinner, Jarvais strolled toward the village, which lay at no great distance from the inn. Lights glimmered yellowly through shuttered windows. At every house the door was strongly barred. As the dusk deepened into darkness the few people who were upon the streets disappeared, and except for the glow of a few poor street-lamps, the village was dead and deserted.

Jarvais returned to his lodging, ready to take up his nocturnal vigil. He sat in the unlighted room, trying to pierce the mystery that lay out there on the silent moor. Downstairs the inn clock struck 2, the fire that had played so merrily upon his hearth was sending out its last dying rays, and the lights flickering over Hie walls made ghostlike figures that danced and rolled like souls in torture. Jarvais arose with a sigh, and opening his casement windows he stepped out upon the balcony.

The air was cold, with a touch of winter in its fingertips, but the moor was bright—brighter even than on that other night six months before. Shivering slightly, he stood waiting, with his eyes intent upon the patch of lawn where first he had seen the shadow which had no body.

Very slowly time passed. Twice he had heard the clock below stairs strike the hour. Finally Jarvais felt certain that nothing would occur this night, went to bed, and at once fell asleep.

Dream after dream pursued each other through his brain, each more horrible than the last. Queer bloated things danced with witches, and a monstrous hairy being without eyes performed strange rites. The eery music of the moor echoed in his brain, and in all these dreams the ruins had their grim and terrifying part, silently, broodingly overlooking the obscenity within the circle of crumbling rocks. He awoke in a cold sweat of terror, and lay for some time almost fearing to return to sleep, but finally he dropped off into untroubled rest.

After a meager breakfast he mapped out his procedure for the day. He had a letter to write, and then the rest of the day to inspect the ruins. So after posting a letter to a firm in London he shouldered his knapsack of lunch and went to spend the day upon the moor.

When he reached the ruins he stood and inspected them carefully. On that sunshiny morning the gray pile of rock looked very peaceful; vines and mosses grew here and there over them; on some of the stones were crude, carven figures, and designs half obliterated by storm and decay. As he was walking around the circle of broken rocks he soon saw the gateway through which he had plunged on that never-to-be-forgotten night. He entered and found himself in a hollowed circle which was several inches below the level of the moor. Nothing was visible except hard-packed earth. Carefully he searched for footprints, but found none. Then from the inside he examined diligently each post and stone for some sign of recent use, but again he drew a blank.

Giving up his quest for the time, he ate his lunch and then continued the search as fruitlessly as before. As far as appearances showed, there had been no one here for ages. But here a thought struck him. Before the death of Gilbert the ruins had been frequently visited by tourists, and yet there was no sign of them. Certainly this was queer. It was a puzzle he could not solve.

Tiring of his useless search, he left the ruins and started for the village and the inn. As he reached the entrance of the ruins, and stooped over to pick up his knapsack, he noticed, hidden in a crevice between the stones, a fragment of paper. He picked it up and looked at it closely. It was dirty, torn and weather-beaten, a leaf evidently tom from a notebook, for the paper was small and could very easily have fitted into the pocket. It had been carelessly torn, for only a part of a sentence was visible. The handwriting was neat and painstaking. This scrap of writing had neither beginning nor end:

. . . discovered secret today; will return for further investigation tonight; the altar is——”

Then came the tear running clear across the page. In the still remaining upper corner were the initials C. G.

Evidently the dead man on the moor had found something that had eluded Jarvais. The mention of the altar puzzled him. Surely the matter was becoming more involved—more mystifying. Jarvais was as much lost in darkness as he had been before. The thing had a deeper look. He could see no beginning and no end. Placing the scrap of paper in his wallet, and turning the jumble of thoughts over in his mind, he returned to his lodgings.

As he opened the door, Jarvais was impressed by the bright hospitality of the place. The inn’s room was cheerily alight, a huge fire blazed and flickered on the hearth, and around it, seated in a semicircle, were some of the village worthies. The smoke of their pipes wreathed about their heads.

“It is,” said Jarvais to himself, “like a page straight out of Dickens.”

The opening of the door caused them to turn and stare at him, and in the memorable manner of all villagers, they spoke to him courteously. Little Johnson, the innkeeper, bustled up and made a place for him around the circle, and when Jarvais had been made comfortable with a cigar and a glass of steaming toddy, the innkeeper introduced him.

“This is Mr. Jarvais, the writing gentleman who wants to know somew’at o’ the moor. Mr. Jarvais, these are the mayor and the selectmen of the village.”

There was a silence for some time as though all were plunged deeply into thought. Finally an old graybeard, the mayor, shook his head and spoke.

“There ain’t none of us here that knows much about her, sir, nothing at all. Except George here, and George he can’t speak, poor fellow, ’cause he’s dumb.”

Jarvais followed the pointing finger and saw, huddled in a comer, as close to the fire as possible, a wisp of a man, so emaciated and dried up that he looked like a mummy. Countless centuries seemed to have passed over his head; how old he was Jarvais could not judge. The countenance was terrifying—not a face at all, but a ghastly caricature of a human face. Always, Jarvais thought, it would haunt his dreams. Dreadful, worse than bestial, it leered at him from across the room. The mouth, a flabby gash, from whieh saliva trickled down the chin, moved constantly, emitting little clucking noises. The eyes fascinated Jarvais like the eyes of a snake; they were round, full, nearly opaque, of a dull gray glassiness shot with fine red lines.

“Why, he is blind, as well as dumb!” exclaimed Jarvais.

“That he is, sir. He walked too late on the moor one moonlight night and saw the shadows.”

The last word scattered all of Jarvais’ fast-disappearing equanimity. So the shadows were common gossip.

"The shadows!” he exclaimed.

“Yes, sir. They haunt the moor near the ruins and mean death or worse to such as see them.”

“But, George isn’t dead!”

“No, sir. He ran away before he heard the music, and don’t you think he would be better dead? There be strange things on the moor, cries and shouts and lights where there ain’t nothin’, nor nobody. I tell you, sir, we stay clear o’ the moor on the moonlight nights, sir, in the summer and late fall. Rest o’ the time nothin’ happens. It’s best not to go out o’ doors on them nights. Them ruins is terrible, they be haunted places and it be wise not to go anywhere close to them, sir. I warned Mr. Gilbert, him that was killed, you know, but he wouldn’t pay no attention to me and they got him.”

“Who are they?” asked Jarvais, sensing that he was getting to the crux of the matter at last.

“They be shadows, sir; shadows that ain’t got no bodies, so I hear. I ain’t seen them yet, praise God.”

Shortly after this, Jarvais, tiring of the now commonplace conversation, excused himself, and leaving the circle around the fire, went to his room. Switching on the light he noticed a package lying on his table; it was the book he had ordered from London, entitled Pre-Druidistic Ruins in England. Seating himself in a chair beside the shaded reading-light, he was soon deeply engrossed in his purchase. As he read on and on, he stopped with a jerk, and then re-read more carefully the following two paragraphs:

“Perhaps the most interesting of these ancient ruins are those at Humbledon, which are the earliest known, as far as we have been able to trace. How far back beyond the druids and their religion these ruins of another race and age go, we can only estimate. It is, in fact, almost impossible to tell. There is another factor that makes the piles at Humbledon of exceeding interest to students. While it is, as we have stated before, the oldest of the ruins, it is, strangely, the best preserved, and so far as investigation can go, there is no sound reason for this being the case. The carving in most cases is remarkably clear, and the dancing-ring almost in its original state.

“Here, however, we encounter the most peculiar factor in these remains. While the dancing-ring is very wonderfully preserved, the moon altar, which is the distinguishing feature of most pre-druidistic piles, is missing. The moon altar in all similar ruins discovered is a huge stone carved in the shape of a new moon. From all evidence we can gather, the victim, or the sacrifice, to term it more fitly, was tied between the horns of these altars, and then sacrificed by the sacred knife that is shown in many carvings. It seemingly carried a huge, crescent-shaped blade and must, from the pictures, have had an edge like a razor. In most cases the altar is found in the exact center of the dancing-ring. There has been intensive search made for the one at Humbledon, but so far without satisfaction. The absence of the altar in this, the best preserved of all pre-druidistic remains, makes one of the most fascinating studies for the student of these things.”

As he finished reading, Jarvais remembered the slip of paper he had found on the moor early that morning —that tom scrap that ended so suddenly: “the altar is-.” What could the rest of the sentence be? What was lost by his not having the remaining fragment? Undoubtedly Gilbert had found the answer to the puzzle and the answer to the great secret of the moor—the secret that had eluded all the other students and archeologists. Why, here in the best preserved of all these ruins, was there no moon altar? Even in the most ravaged of the others, the altar was conspicuous, but here none could be found.

At last Jarvais arose and stretched himself. He was cramped and tired. He looked at his watch. It was after 2. He had sat engrossed in his reading longer than he had realized.

Pulling on a sweater, Jarvais opened his casements and stepped upon the balcony. Again it was moonlight, for this was the season of the moon, when bright nights were common and the people of the village kept behind barred doors. The moor was white, cold, and apparently tenantless. The night was very still. Not even the breath of a breeze stirred the trees, and the shadows of the buildings and the shrubbery were solid black patches of darkness on the silver lawn. Over the moor, far in the distance, were the ruins, clear-cut and white beneath the moon. But there was always about them, Jarvais thought, a majestic power holding threats, and a menace of dark deeds still unfulfilled.

He stood looking intently at the patch of lawn where first he had seen the shadow. He waited for what seemed to him hours; then, as his glance wandered and came back, he saw it! The shadow!

Again it was a woman who moved apparently stealthily across the lawn, but over the moor, ever toward the ruins. Stealthily Jarvais followed after her. Emulating Ulysses, he had stuffed his ears with cotton, because he had no desire to hear the throb of the music that turned his blood to flame. On and on he followed the ghostly chase. As before, he pursued the shadow, now losing it in some patch of darkness, now seeing it once more as it crossed an open place—on and on, keeping well behind the bodiless woman. Though he could not hear, he could sense that now the music was swelling out over the moor. Because of the cotton in his ears, he remained unmoved. The pace of the shadow quickened and he hastened after it.

They were now at the gateway. For some time Jarvais had been noticing the growing number of shadowy forms. The space before the entrance to the dancing-floor was crowded with wriggling, hurrying black shapes. The strangeness of being able to see all this that no other living person, except dumb George, had ever seen, thrilled Jarvais deeply. But then suddenly a thought came to him. The sight had made that other both blind and dumb, yet he himself was not affected in the least. What was the reason for this? Its mystery allured him, but he dismissed it from his mind, and sped on after the shadows. He could tell from the way the shadows were moving that the music was now booming on the air, full of hate and lust and darkness. The very thought made him think of those eery fantasmagoria of the Grand Guignol.

They were now at the very threshold of the dancing-floor. Something grasped Jarvais by the shoulders and hurled him through the gateway. Then, hearing a crash behind him that penetrated even through the cotton in his ears, so close he was to it, he turned and saw a huge slab that had fallen from the top of the archway and now lay in the exact center of the entrance. It seemed to him that the huge stone had an intention—a purpose—a malevolent design. Its fall seemed timed to the fraction of a second. Had it not been for that impetus from unseen forces—had he been but a moment slower—he would have been crushed to pulp beneath its ponderous weight. As he now glanced at it he thought it seemed to have a personality—-a soul old and evil—longing to crush to atoms the lives of those who entered its once sacred portals. The mystery of Gilbert’s death upon the moor had now been solved: he had been but a moment too late to cross the threshold.

Jarvais swung around again and faced the hard-packed earth of the dancing-floor. Here the shadows were gathered in a ring, circling, whirling to the soundless music, now turning this way, now spinning that, in complete silence, yet in a mad frenzy of motion.

As Jarvais watched them, it seemed as though he were becoming paralyzed, and too, something was affecting his eyes—objects became blurred and hazy, yet the shadows themselves became more and more distinct. With a rush the shadows came together, and in a mass. The dance grew wilder and more abandoned.

Suddenly they stopped with shadowy arms uplifted. In the exact center of the dancing-floor, something was rising; inch by inch it seemed to struggle through the hard-packed earth. Finally, Jarvais could partly distinguish what it was—a huge stone; and by the paleness of the moon, now dimming on the horizon’s edge, he could make out its odd shape, which seemed like a monstrous half-moon lying on its back with its two sharp horns pointing skyward. Beside it was another shadow with arms uplifted: that of a man, huge and powerful. Jarvais had never seen a man of such stature. He could see the shadow’s giant torso: the swelling chest, the pillar-like legs, and the arms long and muscular with great, long-fingered, prehensile hands—all this cast in high relief against the whiteness of the altar, for altar he now knew it to be. At last the moor had given up to him her deepest secret, and he knew, too, why the search of all but Gilbert had been unsuccessful—and Gilbert had paid with his life for the secret.

The shadow-man lowered his arms and the multitude of shades threw themselves on their faces as the altar finally came to rest on the surface of the floor. To Jarvais it seemed as if thick smoke rolled before his eyes. As through a cloud he saw the shadow-man rise and turn toward him and point a commanding finger. For the first time real terror smote him, and he knew such fear as few men have ever known. He tried to turn and run, but it was as if he were turned to stone as heavy and solid as those silent gray rocks about him. Amid the gathering blackness he saw the shadows, now dimmed, spring suddenly upon him. He felt hot breaths on his cheek. Shapeless, shadowy hands tore at him; strong hands they were. Surely such strength could not belong to bodiless shadows. But he could see no one—just a rolling mass of deeper blackness in the mist before his eyes.

The shadows overbore him and carried him along. Strong arms lifted him up, and now he caught a stench as of something long dead, and of rottenness beyond human ken—yet not dead, but alive, for the dead have no strength, and here was strength abundant. High, high aloft he was lifted; up, up to the altar. The mist that had been before his eyes cleared and he could still feel unseen shadowy hands that tugged at him, pulled at his feet. Up he went, until he could plainly see the fearful carvings on the altar—too horrible even to glance at again. He felt himself wrenched and stretched out and out, and then found himself strung between the horns of the mighty altar.

The moon had almost set, and it was throwing its last dim rays across the plain. Unseen fingers tore the cotton from his ears, and at last he heard what he had dreaded to hear: that uncanny, bestial music of the ruins. It was playing, now softly, now rising in a hellish crescendo, while all about him danced the shadows, noiselessly, ceaselessly. He turned his eyes away and looked up. Towering over him was the tremendous man, or rather the shadow of some giant from the ancient past when the world must have been young and terrible. Stretching his arms toward the dying moon the man knelt. The music ceased with a throb, and the shadows prostrated themselves in a ring about the altar.

The sudden silence beat on Jarvais’ frayed nerves more horribly than the din of the music. Long it lasted, this silent prayer to the dying moon, but finally the huge shadow-man arose, reached below Jarvais, and took from its hiding-place a knife. There was nothing shadowy about the knife. It

flashed fire in the light and glistened evilly before his eyes. Fascinated, Jarvais watched the shadowy arm lift the crescent blade point-foremost toward the moon, hold it still, then lift it again, now hilt foremost, holding it quivering high in the air. Down came the mighty arm toward Jarvais' chest. He saw it begin slowly—oh so slowly—down, on down—nearer——. Then the moon set, and all was blackness and stillness on the moor.

[From a London paper]

Noted Novelist Disappears

The mysterious disappearance of Gerald Jarvais, one of England's most noted authors, has caused one of the biggest sensations of the day. Mr. Jarvais was spending a week-end at Humbledon on the moors. According to Edward Johnson, the innkeeper, Mr. Jarvais had sat in the main room of the inn until late, and then gone to his room. From there he disappeared. His bed had not been slept in, nor had he undressed for the night. Mr. Jarvais had no enemies, and the police are unable to find a clue to his whereabouts.

This is the second tragedy of the kind in the little town in as many months. The old wives of the village whisper of strange things on the moor, and say that Jarvais and Gilbert, the man found murdered last month, knew too much about the ruins on the moor. However, the police laugh at such ideas and believe that Mr. Jarvais was a victim of foul play. The Authors' League has offered a reward of a thousand pounds for information as to his whereabouts.