“All right,” he said sturdily. “But how’ll I know when it is twelve?”
“The study windows are open and you’ll hear the clock striking. And mind you that you are not to budge out of that graveyard until the last stroke. As for you girls, you’ve got to go without jam at supper for a week.”
Faith and Una looked rather blank. They were inclined to think that even Carl’s comparatively short though sharp agony was lighter punishment than this long drawn-out ordeal. A whole week of soggy bread without the saving grace of jam! But no shirking was permitted in the club. The girls accepted their lot with such philosophy as they could summon up.
That night they all went to bed at nine, except Carl, who was already keeping vigil on the tombstone. Una slipped in to bid him good night. Her tender heart was wrung with sympathy.
“Oh, Carl, are you much scared?” she whispered.
“Not a bit,” said Carl airily.
“I won’t sleep a wink till after twelve,” said Una. “If you get lonesome just look up at our window and remember that I’m inside, awake, and thinking about you. That will be a little company, won’t it?”
“I’ll be all right. Don’t you worry about me,” said Carl.
But in spite of his dauntless words Carl was a pretty lonely boy when the lights went out in the manse. He had hoped his father would be in the study as he so often was. He would not feel alone then. But that night Mr. Meredith had been summoned to the fishing village at the harbour mouth to see a dying man. He would not likely be back until after midnight. Carl must dree his weird alone.
A Glen man went past carrying a lantern. The mysterious shadows caused by the lantern-light went hurtling madly over the graveyard like a dance of demons or witches. Then they passed and darkness fell again. One by one the lights in the Glen went out. It was a very dark night, with a cloudy sky, and a raw east wind that was cold in spite of the calendar. Far away on the horizon was the low dim lustre of the Charlottetown lights. The wind wailed and sighed in the old fir-trees. Mr. Alec Davis’ tall monument gleamed whitely through the gloom. The willow beside it tossed long, writhing arms spectrally. At times, the gyrations of its boughs made it seem as if the monument were moving, too.
Carl curled himself up on the tombstone with his legs tucked under him. It wasn’t precisely pleasant to hang them over the edge of the stone. Just suppose—just suppose—bony hands should reach up out of Mr. Pollock’s grave under it and clutch him by the ankles. That had been one of Mary Vance’s cheerful speculations one time when they had all been sitting there. It returned to haunt Carl now. He didn’t believe those things; he didn’t even really believe in Henry Warren’s ghost. As for Mr. Pollock, he had been dead sixty years, so it wasn’t likely he cared who sat on his tombstone now.