“Henry Warren’s ghost,” answered Carl, through his chattering teeth.
“Henry—Warren’s—ghost!” said amazed Rosemary, who had never heard the story.
“Yes,” sobbed Faith hysterically. “It’s there—on the Bailey dyke—we saw it—and it started to—chase us.”
Rosemary herded the three distracted creatures to the Ingleside veranda. Gilbert and Anne were both away, having also gone to the House of Dreams, but Susan appeared in the doorway, gaunt and practical and unghostlike.
“What is all this rumpus about?” she inquired.
Again the children gasped out their awful tale, while Rosemary held them close to her and soothed them with wordless comfort.
“Likely it was an owl,” said Susan, unstirred.
An owl! The Meredith children never had any opinion of Susan’s intelligence after that!
“It was bigger than a million owls,” said Carl, sobbing—oh, how ashamed Carl was of that sobbing in after days—“and it—it GROVELLED just as Mary said—and it was crawling down over the dyke to get at us. Do owls CRAWL?”
Rosemary looked at Susan.
“They must have seen something to frighten them so,” she said.
“I will go and see,” said Susan coolly. “Now, children, calm yourselves. Whatever you have seen, it was not a ghost. As for poor Henry Warren, I feel sure he would be only too glad to rest quietly in his peaceful grave once he got there. No fear of HIM venturing back, and that you may tie to. If you can make them see reason, Miss West, I will find out the truth of the matter.”
Susan departed for Rainbow Valley, valiantly grasping a pitchfork which she found leaning against the back fence where the doctor had been working in his little hay-field. A pitchfork might not be of much use against “ha’nts,” but it was a comforting sort of weapon. There was nothing to be seen in Rainbow Valley when Susan reached it. No white visitants appeared to be lurking in the shadowy, tangled old Bailey garden. Susan marched boldly through it and beyond it, and rapped with her pitchfork on the door of the little cottage on the other side, where Mrs. Stimson lived with her two daughters.
Back at Ingleside Rosemary had succeeded in calming the children. They still sobbed a little from shock, but they were beginning to feel a lurking and salutary suspicion that they had made dreadful geese of themselves. This suspicion became a certainty when Susan finally returned.
“I have found out what your ghost was,” she said, with a grim smile, sitting down on a rocker and fanning herself. “Old Mrs. Stimson has had a pair of factory cotton sheets bleaching in the Bailey garden for a week. She spread them on the dyke under the tamarack tree because the grass was clean and short there. This evening she went out to take them in. She had her knitting in her hands so she hung the sheets over her shoulders by way of carrying them. And then she must have