There was a small room above the rectory porch that I used as a study when I was home from school. What studying I was supposed to do during the holidays was done here. Here, also, I drew pictures of football players and boxers,Original footnote by Ingram: "Some of these were published by a magazine called Boxing." and made copies of drawings by Phil May and caricatures of friends and enemies. (I always got more satisfaction from doing my enemies, and had better luck with the results).

The last time I had come back from school I found that someone had pasted a picture on the wall just above my desk. It was the picture of a girl who was dressed the way my mother was dressed in a portrait that was made of her when she was fifteen. And though the girl had fair hair, she reminded me of that portrait of my mother. She was sitting before a fireplace like my great-uncle John Lambert's fireplace at Aggart Hall, and an Irish wolfhound was lying at her feet. The only light was the light that came from the fire and glowed on her face and on her golden hair. When I came back from school and saw her for the first time, I felt in a way that she was in the family, on account of the Aggart fireplace and the hound which was like the old hound that was always with my uncle John. But this hound looked as though he might have had all his teeth instead of rheumatism and ophthalmia. When I glanced up from my work I always saw the girl, and I got in the habit of pretending that she was a real person, not just a picture, and often said things to her. She looked very lonely, and being lonely myself, I often thought about her. One night I dreamed about her, but in a curious way, for though I dreamed I was with her, it was not I who was with her, but someone that I knew was myself, and at the same time I was there too, looking on. And this other, whose back was turned to me, was wearing my checkered breeches and boxcloth leggings; and the fawn-colored coat he wore was the riding coat Captain French had given me and the village tailor had cut down for me. And the girl looked up and smiled at him and he sat down on the arm of her chair and took her hand, and as he took it I could feel the pressure of her fingers. And then the wolfhound turned and laid his head on the knee of this other as if they were old friends, and I was sure I felt the weight of his head on my own knee. And always this other kept his back turned to me. And I wanted, myself, to speak to her, but I could not. And I saw her smile and stroke this other's hand, and as she did I felt that it was my own hand she was stroking. And she began to talk, and though I could hear no word, I knew what she was saying:

"You know, this is Aggart, and soon after your uncle John died, your aunt Anna died, and they buried her outside the windows next to him and the rabbit hutches. Aggart is closed up now, you see the windows are boarded up, so no one ever comes here but Brian Boru and me."

And she patted the wolfhound's head. I wanted to say that this hound could not be Brian Boru, who was old and decrepit the last time I was at Aggart. And I saw her lips move and I knew she was saying:

"This is Brian Boru when he was young."

And that night that was where the dream ended.

After that I tried every night to dream about her. But the nights I tried, I never managed to. It was only after I had given up trying that I dreamed of her again. This time I was not just an onlooker, I went myself to her by the fire and took her hand and spoke to her and she spoke to me. And I asked her about the other who was with her the first night and she said that this other was also myself, but she did not explain why there were two of us. That night we did not stay by the fire. We wandered out over the grounds of Aggart in the moonlight, and I showed her the part of the deerpark wall called Lambert's Leap that my uncle John had cleared on the runaway, and the place where the bees had swarmed under the eaves and had stung the workman. And we saw the family vault outside the windows where Uncle John and Aunt Anna were buried, and there were rabbit hutches beside them that I had never noticed before at Aggart. And then we passed the house where the miser my uncle John had told me about used to rock the cradle, and there was a light in one window, and Brian Boru began to bay, and his coat bristled, and we tried to look in through the window, but there were cobwebs on the other side of the panes and we could see nothing. But we could hear a sound like the slow tock-tock of a grandfather clock, only there was a creak to it, and occasionally the clink of something that hit the floor. And I know it was the miser rocking the cradle full of gold coins. And, as can happen in dreams, the cobwebs disappeared suddenly and we saw in, and there was the miser on his knees rocking the cradle full of gold just as my uncle John had seen him, and as he rocked it the layer of coins on the top of the cradle began to undulate and two gold hands, that looked more like the claws of bats than hands, pushed up through the gold and seized the miser by the throat. Then the girl screamed and ran back, calling to me to come away. When I came to her she caught hold of me, but I was not feeling afraid myself, only a little creepy. So I pulled Brian Boru over by his collar and told her to hold him, and stepped up to the window. But when I looked through the window into the room there was nothing at all there, just the moonlight streaming in on the floor where a couple of mice were playing.

And that night that was where the dream ended.

Then, one night, instead of before the fire, I found Brian Boru in the rath where Colonel Barnard's hand was locked up in the pyramid. I followed him and found her there too, and for the first time I was not afraid to be there. We walked around the tomb and I knocked on the door three times, and the third time the door was pushed out and Colonel Barnard stood there. Though I had never seen him I knew it was he, with his iron-grey sidewhiskers and squarecrowned derby hat and stock tie and one hand missing. He made a sign to me, so I went into the tomb with the girl and Brian Boru, and there were coffins on shelves around the walls and one of them was open. The colonel looked at us and said:

"I want to show you the hand."

He opened the little casket, and the hand was there, only instead of being a skeleton hand like John Ashton had described, it had skin on it and was the color of gold and looked more like a bat's claw than a hand. And it began to move, and when it did, the wolfhound began to growl and the girl ran out of the vault screaming and I slammed down the lid of the casket to keep the hand from getting out. And then I heard someone laughing, and, when I looked up, Colonel Barnard was no longer there and the coffin that had been open was closed. Then I turned to run after the girl, but the door of the vault was shut, and I was locked in. I began to beat on it and shout, and all the time I could hear the laughing.

And that night that was where the dream ended.

* * * *

It had been raining hard all night. In the morning I went into the room above the porch and found that the roof had been leaking and the rain had come in. There was water all over the floor and the wall opposite my desk was soaking. The wallpaper had peeled off and a heavy black deposit, like tar, from the choked-up gutters, had seeped through the cracks in the ceiling and down over the picture of the girl, so that her face was blotted out.

And after that, though I tried many times, I never dreamed of her again.