September 12, ----
The Old House, Forehaven
My dear Mr. Hale,
I believe I have now recovered enough of my courage – though perhaps somewhat less of my sanity – to continue on with the tale which I so abruptly broke off in my last letter. I was about to tell you in as unalarming a way as possible of the arrival of my cousin, Mr. E. J. Montgomery, at Stonewells, and the successively more horrible and (dare I say it?) eldritch events and phenomena which inexorably followed.
Everlasting Jubilee himself was, before these events, what one might call a practical man, and he often described himself as a realist. That was, as I say, before the events. Afterwards, he has sometimes confided to me in our numerous and chilling fireside talks sentiments to the following effect: “Remigius, I know now what's real and what isn't. And before” he thus always pronounces the word with dire significance and import “before...I didn't.” There is no need to inquire or to describe what he meant by these sinister and obviously deeply meaningful words, which I have dutifully italicised.
The account of the happening of Stonewells I now present to you comes from the lips of none other than Mr. Montgomery himself, and is thus to be taken as nothing less than the very truth of the thing.
He arrived at Stonewells last November 1st with a small group of servants and a much larger one of books. In his younger days, he had been a voracious reader, laying hold with gusto of any quality printed material he could find. Sometimes he also read mediocre works, but these were in the minority and can be safely termed an exception. Nevertheless, in the past few years, when he had been deeply embroiled in practical affairs and had turned his attention solely to business, finance, and profit, he had neglected this study of his youth, but he was now about to renew it again, and he was filled with eager anticipation.
The night before had, of course, been Hallowe'en, and you may be curious whether any strange happenings had been bruited about the surrounding countryside. The fact is that they had not; at any rate, not any more than is normal for that frightening date. The usual reports of the birth of hideously deformed offspring of various species and inhuman rituals in a nearby grove of ancient oaks were duly given and duly – and dismissively – received, but nothing extremely weird or eldritch was mentioned. So Everlasting Jubilee doubted he had anything much to worry about. He was – need I state it explicitly? – wrong.
The hour grows late, and my cryptographical work beckons. I am sorry I must leave you again at such a point in the tale, but I shall continue at my first convenient opportunity. I know you are as eager to hear the sickening tale as I am not to recount it.
R. O. Fox