It was not, then, without a modicum of angst that I beheld the pale visage of my moribund Aunt Petunia standing in the doorway with a significant leer. It was of a forenoon, mostly, that this flaysome wretch of a relative executed her morbid hauntings of my ancestral demesne; and it was of a forenoon that I now hissed at her, “You foul Apparition and gruesome caricature of a maiden aunt! Begone, I say – begone!” and hurled an inkpot with impressive skill.
She was gone; nothing but a sickly effluvium remained to tell that she had ever stood there eyeing balefully the rightful inhabitants of these halls; nothing, that is, but a sickly effluvium and the echo of her awful parting words:
“There’s a lady here to see you, Lucius.”
– A lady? I thought, as my aunt’s malignant mutter trickled slowly through my brain. – A lady, here to see me? Why, pray to God it may be–
Pray indeed, reader! for we shall need all the heavenly intercession we can get. But who (I hear you ask), who in the world, what lady demure or otherwise could be so much desired and doted upon as to inspire such fervency in our mildmannered narrator? Can it be there is some mystery, some secret affair in his past that our Lucian (crafty fellow!) has left undivulged?
Indeed there is, reader. But to learn the secret you must await my next instalment.