"My aunt will come down in a few minutes, Mr Nuttel," said a girl of fifteen, showing him into the sitting-room. Mr Nuttel was a young painter who had recently had a nervous breakdown. The doctors had told him that he should go away for a holiday. They warned him, however, against crowded resorts and recommended a complete rest in a quiet country-place. So here he was, in a little village, with letters of introduction from his sister to some of the people she knew.
"Some of the people there are quite nice," his sister had said to him. "I advise you to call on Mrs [´mIsIz] Sappleton as soon as you arrive. I owe the wonderful holiday I had to her."
"Do you know many of the people round here?" asked the girl when they were sitting comfortably on the sofa.
"No, I'm afraid I don't," answered Mr Nuttel. "I've never been here before. My sister stayed here four years ago, you know, and she gave me letters of introduction to some of the people here."
"Then you know nothing about my aunt, do you?" asked the girl.
"Only her name and address," said the visitor.
"Her great tragedy happened just three years ago," said the child.
"Her tragedy?" asked Mr Nuttel.
"You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon," went on the girl, pointing to a large French window.
"It's quite warm for this time of year," said Mr Nuttel. "But has that window anything to do with the tragedy?"
"Exactly three years ago my aunt's husband and her two young brothers walked out through that window. They went shooting and never came back. When they were crossing the river their boat probably turned over and they were all drowned. Their bodies were never found. That was the most horrible part of the tragedy." Here the girl stopped. There were tears in her eyes and she drew a handkerchief out of her pocket. "Three years have passed, but my poor aunt still thinks that they will come back some day, they and the little brown dog that was drowned with them, and walk in through that window just as they always did. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it's quite dark. Poor dear aunt, she can't understand that they've left for ever. She's growing worse day by day, so let me give you some advice. Don't be surprised at anything she says or does: she will start telling you all over again how they went out - her husband, with his coat over his arm, and her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie — ‘Берти’, why don't you come?...' as she once told me. You know, sometimes, on quiet evenings like this, I almost get a feeling that they will all walk in through that window, and the whole family will be gathered in here again." The young girl finished her sad story. There was a long pause, and Mr Nuttel was glad then Mrs Sappleton at last entered the room.