“It’s quite warm for this time of year,” said Mr Nut- tfc!. “But has that window anything to do with the tra gedy?’
“Exactly three years ago my aunt’s husband and her two young brothers walked out through that window. They went shooting and never came back. When they were cros sing the river their boat probably turned over and they were all drowned. Their bodies were never found. That was the most horrible part of the tragedy.” Here the girl stopped. There were tears in her eyes and she drew a handkerchief out of her pocket. “Three years have passed, but my poor aunt still thinks that they will come back some day, they and the little brown dog that was drowned with them, and walk in through that window just as they always did. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it’s quite dark. Poor dear aunt, she can’t understand that they’ve left for ever. She’s crowing worse day by day, so let me give you some advice. Don’t be surprised at anything she says or does: she will start telling you all over again how they went out — her husband, with his coat over his arm, and her youngest brother, singing ‘Bertie, why don’t you come?...’ as she once told me. You know, sometimes, on quiet evenings like this, 1 almost get a feeling that they will all walk in through that window, and the whole family will be gathered in here again.’’ The young girl finished her sad story. There was a long pause, and Mr Nut- tel was glad when Mrs Sappleton at last entered the room. .
“I’m sorry I’m late,” she said, “but I hope my niece has entertained you well."
“Yes, she’s been very amusing,” said Mr Nuttel.
“D’you mind the open window?” asked Mrs Sappleton. “My husband and brothers will soon be home from shooting and they always come into the house this way." And she went on speaking gaily about shooting. After what Mr Nut tel had just heard, he looked worried.
“The doctors told me,” he said, trying to change the subject, “to have a rest here and to avoid anything that would make me feel nervous.”
“Did they?” said Mrs Sappleton in a voice which showed that she was not at all interested in what Mr Nuttel was saying. She never took her eyes off the open window and suddenly cried out:
“Here they are at last! Just in time for tea. How tired they look.”