Publisher Description

George Foxon has been employed by Mrs. Culme as a secretary. He is travelling to join her in New Hampshire when he is stranded at a remote train station on a stormy mid-winter night. Frank Rainer, a friendly but emaciated young man offers him temporary lodgings at the house of John Lavington, his rich uncle, where Foxon is made very welcome. The house is warm and comfortable, yet Foxon detects something cold and unfriendly in its ambiance. His bedroom is full of flowers. He joins John Lavington and two business associates who are witnessing the will of Frank Rainer, who has just reached his majority of twenty-one. The group is joined briefly by a mysterious figure who casts hostile glances at Frank. The group of men goes to dinner, where Frank’s health is discussed. He has been advised to leave for a drier and warmer climate in New Mexico, and is offered a free trip and accommodation there. Foxon sees the mysterious figure in the room again, standing behind John Lavington’s chair, looking malevolently at Frank, though nobody else appears to notice. They drink a toast to Frank, but Foxon is transfixed and terrified by the mystery figure. He bolts to his room, anxious that he alone should be singled out to witness the figure. He rushes out of the house into the snow and dark, wondering if his social isolation has predisposed him to such visions. Frank Rainer catches up with him, and they start back to return to the house, but Foxon feels that he is leading Frank back to his doom. They stop at the lodge, where Frank collapses and dies. Foxon subsequently has a breakdown, then goes on a tour of Malaysia to recover. There he reads in old newspapers that John Lavington has been involved in a gigantic financial scandal, from which he has bought himself out with ten million dollars. Foxon regrets that he was given the chance to save someone, but did not act in time, and feels that he has blood on his hands.

Fiction & Literature
January 1
Public Domain
Public Domain

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