Inside the empty room all was quiet. From outside was a sound of a key in the lock and the voice of Sir John speaking.
“Yes, Lady Howarth, we slept very well. Well, Mrs Jennings did at least. I spent most of the night awake to er, ensure we were unmolested. In the end it was not necessary, but I prefer to take precautions in these situations.”
There was a rattle in the lock again.
“Seems a little stiff. I must warn you Lady Howarth, before we go in, that the Thaumograph is a sensitive yet subtle device. It’s like a seismograph except the pendulum is disturbed only by supernatural activity, not geological. When we review the marks the needles make we don’t expect to see anything too dramatic. If we are lucky we may see some vague indication of activity: a slight deviation from a straight line for example.”
The door swung open and Sir John, Marie, and Lady Howarth walked in. The Thaumograph was lying on its side in the centre of the room. The black canvas that made up its body was in disarray and the mechanical body had been disassembled and laid on the floor.
“How unusual!” said Sir John. “This room was locked all night?”
“Indeed it would have been,” said Lady Howarth. “And I dislike your inference. My staff are beyond reproach. They have been in the family for decades.”
“Well on a positive note we have evidence of some supernatural activity,” said Sir John.
“I knew that already,” bellowed Lady Howarth. “I brought you here to rid me of it, not to tell me about it.”
“What is over there?” said Marie pointing west, in the direction that the apparition had indicated last night.
“That,” said Lady Howarth, “is the private family area. That area is not a cause of concern, and is consequently off limits.”
“I think maybe we should have a look in there,” said Marie.
“Are you deaf as well as French? That wing was built to be the family sanctuary from…” said Lady Howarth, waving her hand to indicate the world at large. “It will not be violated.”
“I think maybe we’d better leave it,” said Sir John, who was hearing Marie quietly count to ten in French. “We have no evidence…”
“I just ‘ave a feeling mon cher. Call it woman’s intuition,” said Marie.
Sir John turned to look at Lady Howarth and was about to speak as Marie looked down and whispered under her breath, “Parle à moi, mon petit.” There were 3 loud knocks from the western wall.
“What the devil is that?” said Lady Howarth. “What did you do?”
“I did nothing,” said Marie. There were 3 more knocks.
“What is that noise?” said Lady Howarth and left the room, calling out, “What’s going on there?”
“Now we ‘ave evidence?” said Marie.
“Indeed,” said Sir John, looking a little perturbed. “Indeed we do.”