The story centers around a historical murder case and haunting from 1684, and most of it is a transcription of the court case. George Martin, the local young squire, is accused of murdering the girl Ann Clark and throwing her body into a pond. Martin had made a habit of asking Ann to go out walking with him, which was kind of a strange thing for a handsome and wealthy young squire to do, because the court case describes Ann as a "natural" or an "innocent." These are the old-fashioned terms; we would say that she had a mental disability. Ann was not pretty or charming or young, but she was thrilled to go out walking with Mr. Martin and thought that he was her sweetheart.
Young Martin, however, got engaged to a girl who was the same age and rank as he. The girl seems to have objected to the way locals teased Martin about Ann, and the engagement was broken (does this make sense to you? I can't quite see it as a real reason, can you?). Soon afterwards, Ann disappeared and was later found in the pond, apparently killed with Martin's own knife. But between disappearing and being found, Ann evidently came back to haunt the town, possibly especially Mr. Martin.
But it's all kind of hard for me to figure out. Did Martin kill Ann? He certainly seems to have done so, but the whole thing is very strange. Why did he pay attention to Ann in the first place? I don't know if I missed something, or what. Tell me what you think!
I don't know if you've ever seen what King's College Chapel looks like, but it is this enormous Gothic church with a tremendous amount of painted stained glass along the walls. MRJ must have known the images very well indeed. I tried to find the figures MRJ mentions in the story--they're nearly all Old Testament characters, although four St. Lukes try to treat a poor put-upon Enoch--but there is so much stained glass and it's pretty hard to identify any of them, so I failed.
You can read the whole thing here if you like.
|King's College Chapel from the outside--note all those windows|