It is close to midnight. The ball is a success. Rooms are overcrowded with guests, dressed in expensive and interesting costumes.
Everything is drowning in a sea of lace, ribbons and diamonds.
In one corner of the room, a proud Venetian dogeress in a woven pearl cap has arrived with a blue costumed page in tow, whose sole task is to carry her enormous train.
She is competing with a Spanish noblewoman, whose black lace is offset by a huge blood-red fan.
Nearby tiny, delicate Japanese lady in kimono embroidered with birds and flowers is talking to the Turkish odalisque in diaphanous trousers and transparent veil.
There is no counting of “Duchesses”, “Countesses” or folk dresses of Poland, Romania and even China!
It seems as if every nation under the sun has sent its most beautiful representative to this feast.
Most of the men had opted to wear a domino.
The band is playing and dances follow one another without a pause.
Harry, though masked, is instantly recognised by his expensive Rajah costume. He is friendly and attentive to everyone.
Little buffet pagodas, stocked with fruit, wine and champagne could hardly keep up with thirsty guests.
Little cosy spots, with welcome privacy provided by shady leaves of tropical plants and lit only with a tiny glow of a pink or a pale blue light, hide happy couples.
James, Wright and even Doctor Weiss are flirting shamelessly. Each has managed to find a lady to his taste.
A little after midnight the host enters the main room, holding the hand of an unknown lady.
The crowd murmurs its approval. There is hardly a better-looking couple here.
But who is she?
Nobody has seen her before, and once seen, she is impossible to forget.
She is stunning. Tall and slim with finely shaped head, crowned with thick dark curls held high by a large jewelled comb. The ends of fine Venetian lace are tucked under it, covering the lower half of her face instead of a mask.
Her eyes, black and passionate, survey the room. Underneath the lace, one could make out her even features and sensual, red mouth with perfect white teeth.
She is dressed in a pale blue silk dress. The fabric looks antique and the cut is Medieval. Her neck is adorned with a string of pale pink corals. At her waist, she wears a corsage of red roses. Her fingers sparkle with expensive rings.
She walks across the room with the confidence of the owner of the entire castle, barely acknowledging bows and greetings. There is something powerful and commanding in her eyes.
Harry is completely smitten by his lady. He walks with her through all the dancing rooms and stops next to the main buffet. She declines his every polite offer with slight movement of her head.
Harry, begging her to take a sip of champagne takes her hand.
“My God, you have such cold hands! Are you cold?” he says and hastily orders to light the fireplace in his private study. Harry’s study, bedroom and bathroom are the only rooms closed to the public on this floor.
The music changes to a lively waltz.
Harry dances with his lady. She glides across the floor with effortless perfection, surrendering to his embrace.
“Enough” she whispers finally and Harry immediately stops.
Across the room, James is flirting shamelessly with a small girl dressed in a yellow-skirted Spanish costume. He looks up for a moment, meeting the eyes of the woman in the blue dress.
He makes a surprised sound and the fan that he playfully took from his lady, falls noisily at her feet. Not bothering to pick it up, James barely mumbles an apology and rushes across the ballroom, loosing the sight of Harry and his lady amid the dancing couples.
He is almost running, when Wright’s hand stops him:
“Jamie, what’s the matter with you, you look pale as a ghost?”
James pulls himself free:
“It’s her. I’ve recognised her...let go of me”
“Not until you tell me what’s the matter. Who are you talking about?” orders Wright.
“The girl in the blue dress, the one we saw at the Hunting Lodge”
It is Wright’s turn to pale:
“Where is she?”
James could barely stand still:
“With Harry. We must warn him. I feel it in my bones that something bad is about to happen”.
“You are right. We must find them, but where could they have gone?”
Wright and James inspect the ballrooms, bumping the dancers; they rudely interrupt lovers hiding in the garden pavilions. They are almost ready to go outside when Wright has a presence of mind to ask Harry’s personal butler if he knows where the master is:
“Mr Cardie ordered for a fireplace to be light in his cabinet. I expect him to be there, gentlemen,” answers Sabo
In the meantime, Harry finished waltz and, taking his lady’s hand guided her towards his private rooms:
“I will warm you up” he whispers in her ear “I’ve got the fireplace going and no one will disturb us there”.
He is hoping to be left alone with his lady, and get her to remove her lace mask.
A footman moved silently, opening the doors before them.
“I am about to see her next to me” though Harry “The mirror is right opposite the door”
He looks up, astonished. Tall mirror reflects only his figure. There is no one next to him and yet, he could clearly see the footman closing the door in the background.
Before Harry could regain his senses, his companion pulls him onto a low couch. She rests her elbow on a small pillow as if she had been in this room many times, and with a single graceful movement, pulls out carnelian pin and throws back the lace from her face.
She is even more beautiful than Harry expected.
He forgets about everything, sliding off to the floor, laying his head on the armrest of the couch. The lady bends over him and Harry smells overwhelming scent of lavender, his thoughts become hazy and he feels himself slipping into a sweet tired stupor. His eyes close involuntarily.
He could still sense, as if in a dream, cold hard sharp nailed fingers struggling with the collar of his costume...
Suddenly the door opens with a crash and Wright and James appear in the room, shoving the protesting footman aside.
The woman lifts up her head and looks up at them with such pure hatred that they stop in their tracks.
She gets up and Harry slumps, unconscious to the floor.
Wright rushes at her but it is too late. In an instant, she is gone behind the window drape.
Without calling for help, friends turn on the lights and search Harry’s bedroom and bathroom. Both rooms are empty.
All the doors and windows are locked and no one could have escaped.
Wright and James lift unconscious Harry back onto the couch and after a while, he comes around. His first question is about the woman. Wright tries to convince him that he made a mistake and that he stale air in the ballroom must have made him ill.
“Enough. I remember her clearly. Here is a pillow on which she rested her elbow; you see the mark is still there....” Harry stops, bends down suddenly and picks something up from the floor. It is a small golden pin, tipped with carnelian. Harry holds it up triumphantly:
“And this? Are you still denying her existence? And what’s your purpose?” he says, his eyes suddenly flaring up with jealousy.
“Damn it, Harry, anything but this!” exclaims Wright.
“One thing is puzzling me” continued Harry, a little calmer “when we came into the room, I couldn’t see her in the mirror, though she was right next to me”
James gave Wright a worried look.
“We will have a time to think it all through, but right now it is impolite to leave our guest alone, don’t you think?” remarks Wright sensibly.
Harry obediently gets up and all three leave the study.
James takes Wright’s elbow and guides him out of the room, whispering:
“I don’t like this...there is something strange going on here...all I know is that I’ve seen her somewhere before, some place other than the Hunting Lodge, but where?”
“And have you noticed something...” continues James after thinking for a moment, “Both ends of Harry’s bed are decorated with the sign of the pentagram. Have you seen it?”
“Pentagram? Are you talking about that Cabbalistic symbol of a five pointed star, the one that was used in the Middle Ages to keep the evil spirits at bay?”
“The same one” confirms James “I couldn’t believe that Harry could have ordered for them to be made. I examined the headboard closely and they are definitely not a part of original design, but added later”
Wright calmly shrugs his shoulders:
“There is nothing strange about it, for some reason the pentagram was a favourite with the previous owner of the place. I’ve seen it on many things that Harry inherited. For example, there is a thin gold chain with a diamond-studded pentagram. Magnificent craftsmanship. Harry liked it so much that he told me he was going to wear it himself.”
“Captain, I need to speak with you as soon as the ball is over”,
“All right, as soon as we have seen our guests off. Speaking of which, here is your Spanish girl”
“Oh, to hell with her, I’ve got other things on my mind,” grumbles James.
The celebration reigns uninterrupted in crowded rooms. Guests carry on drinking, dancing and exchanging pleasantries. Only the host seems to have grown colder. He drifts from room to room ignoring the smiles and passionate glances generously given to him by the beautiful and not so beautiful women.
Mysterious lady in the blue dress vanished as suddenly as she appeared, taking with her the host’s happy mood.
James also seems to have lost his desire to flirt.
Though he is still walking arm in arm with his lady, and paying compliments, it is clear that his thoughts are elsewhere and something is troubling him.
The “Spanish Lady” is at her wits’ end trying to recapture James’ attention, and suggests a walk outside.
They descend into beautifully light garden. The night is crisp and there are few people there.
James and his lady come to the edge of the precipice. The valley bellow is bathed in moonlight and the lake shimmers with a metallic hue.
“This is so strange” whispers ‘Spanish Lady’ “the night is clear but the mist is rising up the rock”
She is right, halfway up the mountain a thick pillar of strange shimmering mist is climbing up higher and higher vanishing in the tall shrubs nearby.
“If I wasn’t here with you,” rasps ‘Spanish Lady’ pressing her entire body against James “I would have been afraid of this mist. I feel as if something is hiding in it”
As if to confirm her words, a tall woman in white summer dress emerges from the shrubs and walks lightly in the direction of the castle.
James, trailed by his reluctant lady, follows her.
“I am sure I haven’t seen her before” he thinks “and she is lovely, as lovely as that other one”
Once inside the white figure is surrounded by a swarm of eager suitors who draw her in to the dances. Her light summer’s dress is flying across the dance floor, her long loose golden hair is barely held by the wreath of white water lilies. Light gauzy fabric covers her face and only her eyes, large and blue look out across the room with a welcoming gaze.
She is proves to be one of the most successful masques of the night.
Cornet Visē a young man in Slovak costume, is especially insistent and the lady seems to like him as well. Little by little, the other suitors drift away and Visē and the lady in white are left alone.
The ball is over.
Harry is standing on top of the staircase, bowing and thanking his guests. He is no longer wearing a mask.
As the rooms empty, the lights dim.
A young man in the page costume is walking fast among the deserted rooms, stopping the servants and questioning them whether they had seen his friend, Cornet Visē, in Slovak costume, ‘a white open-necked shirt with broad sleeves’.
Some say they haven’t seen him, while others remember him dancing with a woman in white dress and flowers in her hair, but where he is now no one can tell.
The Page searches the rooms once more and then heads for the direction of the winter garden ‘Maybe he is getting all amorous under the bushes’ he thinks.
The garden is dark, with only the moonlight seeping in through the gigantic glass windows.
In the shifting light and shadow, plants take on new and sinister shapes.
Broad leaves of the palm tree remind him of an intricate pattern, dark outline of a tall cactus looks like a crouching monster; philodendron stretches out its leaves like eager hands, and in the corner, beneath a tall tropical tree, lies something white and shapeless, like a discarded dress.
Silvery strip of light stretches across the sand from the window.
“Visē? Are you here?” calls the Page
“Damn it, this place is as damp as the tomb,” he thinks and notices a tall pillar of mist rising from the ground. The mist shimmers and twists, taking on otherworldly shapes as it moves slowly towards the furthest window.
“Visē!” he calls once more.
A barely audible moan answers him from underneath a tropical tree. The shapeless white mass that the Page took for a lady’s dress turned out to be the white Slovak costume.
Visē is semiconscious and is moaning softly.
“What’s the matter with you?” asks the Page and not hearing the answer rushes out to get help.
He returns with Doctor Weiss, Capitan Wright and several servants.
Someone brings a lamp.
Visē is lifted and helped onto the garden bench. He is pale and weak.
At first, he couldn’t answer his friend’s persistent questions, then he came up with what everyone took to be a drunken tale:
He danced a lot, drank even more, then he felt tired and left for the winter garden with a lady in a white dress. They sat on the bench and she agreed to a kiss.
The gauzy fabric came off and he leaned closer to her face, but when he did, she gave him such an odd look, that he found himself unable to move.
The lady grabbed his head, pushed it backwards and sank her teeth into his neck.
“But it didn’t hurt. On the contrary it was a sweetest kind of pleasure I have ever known!” he finished.
With his friend’s help, Visē got up and bid his hosts farewell, leaving for the city.
“The boy got himself smashed nicely,” laughed Doctor.
The last carriage left when the first rays of the morning sun were already visible in the east.
Everyone was so tired that within an hour the entire castle was fast asleep.
James, who was so insistent on speaking to Wright, was snoring as soundly as Captain himself.
In the evening, the guests had gathered in the dinning room once again.
Harry was in a bad mood despite a pile of letters and cards thanking him for last night’s party.
Several closer acquaintances came to thank him in person, among them a young pharmacist who almost burst into the room:
“Did you hear the news?” he asked instead of a greeting –“Cornet Visē was found dead. I just came from his rooms.”
Everybody was speaking at once:
“What? How? What happened?” was heard from all sides.
Delighted to be the centre of attention the pharmacist sat down and began:
“Yesterday, at the ball, Visē fainted...
“Fainted? I didn’t know” interrupted Harry.
“Yes, his friend Cornet Davison found him unconscious in the winter garden. Visē was drunk and kept talking a whole boatload of nonsense. Soon he sobered up enough to make it back and went straight to the officer’s mess where he and Davison had a large breakfast. Visē was fine, if a little pale. He had plans to go to the city in the afternoon, but suddenly at midday, Visē announced that he was feeling dead tired and could barely stand. He wasn’t exaggerating; he was so weak that it was only with Davison’s help that he managed to make it to his tent where fell onto the bed.
God willed it, that he never rose from it again.
At sunset, the batsman found his body. His face was peaceful, even smiling and he held a wilted flower in his fist. One of those that grow around the lake. Must be a memento from last night,” orated enthusiastic pharmacist.
Everybody felt sorry for the young man and several of the guests including Harry, enquired about the funeral arrangements, promising to attend.
Only Wright and James reminded gloomily silent.
Lighting up cigars they excused themselves and went into the garden, close to the precipice.
James was the first to speak:
“So, what do you think?”
Wright didn’t reply.
“Was I right when I said that something strange is definitely going on? I don’t think that I am exaggerating if I say that yesterday Harry came very close to sharing Visē’s fate?”
Wright remained silent.
“Why are you sitting here like a damned stone idol?” snapped James.
“And what the hell do you want me to do? Do you think that I can make a head or tail of this?” snarled Wright.
“I am sorry. Don’t get mad. Rather let’s think what we can do,” asked James.
“If you were talking about the Thugees, I’d help you, but this...I don’t understand,” replied Wright, frowning.
James wasn’t giving up:
“All I know is that I saw her somewhere before. If I could only remember where or how...”
“You say ‘her’ but who is she? A woman in the blue dress. And what do we know about her? The ghost in the Hunting Lodge, and a masque last night. Maybe it was all coincidence. And maybe we could speculate that we saw her ghost before we saw her ‘true self’. You know the saying “There are many things on Earth and heaven, Horatio that are not known in your philosophy”, said Wright as if thinking aloud- “But where is the danger?”
“Where is the danger? That’s the question. I just know it is there. I feel it in my bones”, said James hotly.
Wright laughed and looked up at him:
“Well it is your job to anticipate danger and look for a hidden crime, Sherlock Holmes.”
James was in no mood for jokes:
“Let’s see who will get the last laugh,” he grumbled and, turning sharply, went back towards the house.
Captain Wright sat for a long time at the edge of the precipice, lighting up one cigar after another, his eyes mechanically following the rings of smoke, his heart heavy with foreboding.
A week had passed since the night of the masked ball, but the mood in the castle was far from celebratory.
Harry was out from dawn till dusk, making his promised visits, which left him tired and irritable.
Wright retreated into gloomy silence, and James, always lively and cheerful James, transformed into a recluse. He spent entire days locked in his bedroom, surrounded by books and dictionaries, refusing to let anybody near. Only Karl Ivanovich was allowed to see what he was doing.
Lately James become very close to the old man and helped him with his work in the library and the church archive.
Thus, Smith and Doctor Weiss were the only ones left to tend to the guests.
They went to great pains to keep them entertained, organising rabbit and wild goat hunts; travelling far to shoot wild birds and chase foxes.
As in the old days, every hunt ended with a lavish meal and overflowing wine, and yet it wasn’t the same.
Strange tension and absent-mindedness of the host affected everyone’s mood.
Doctor Weiss was often heard grumbling to himself:
“What’s the matter with Harry, he is acting lovesick...and who could he have fallen for? I’ve heard that he met some great beauty in a blue dress. Could it be her?” asked the fat man.
He had a patient, young field labourer, who didn’t give Doctor much trouble; -he wasn’t feeling well in the evening and was dead by the sunset the following day.
When Harry asked him about the cause of death, Doctor shook his head:
“I’d be damned if I know. It was as if someone blew a candle out”.
In the village, two more people also died suddenly. But because both victims lived in extreme poverty, no one gave them a second thought.
In both cases, James and Karl Ivanovich volunteered to personally deliver Harry’s condolences and financial help to the bereaved families.
Finally, Harry’s depressed mood spread, and the guests begun to excuse themselves from hunts and amusements.
Doctor Weiss was at his wits end trying to entertain the company with card games, rides in the country, a brand new billiard table. He kept an eagle eye for a slightest indication of boredom or unhappiness.
“What’s the matter?” he addressed young Georges, “something is bothering you. Don’t be shy, tell me”
“I would like another bedroom”, replied Georges timidly.
“Why?” asked Doctor, curious.
“You see my is...it’s very cold” replied Georges, blushing.
“Cold in the middle of summer?” exclaimed Doctor, surprised, but seeing George’s face grow even redder, quickly added: “All right”.
In the evening, he called Georges into his room and started skilfully questioning him:
“Don’t be shy my boy. I am a doctor, and a doctor is as good as the priest, you can tell me anything”
“Thank you, Doc, I am truly grateful...but I do feel awkward,” mumbled the boy.
“Be brave, be brave. I am smoking and not even looking at you,” joked Doctor.
“The first time that she came to me was in the village inn...” began Georges.
“Beautiful woman with black hair and a tall comb”
“Go on” encourages Doctor.
“She came to me again in the Hunting Lodge and left this behind,” said Georges pulling a broad blue silk ribbon out of his pocket.
Doctor took it and after looking at it for a moment, laughed:
“Georges, my dear boy, it is the same ribbon that our prankster Jamie gave to you on the day we first visited the castle. Don’t you remember?”
“Yes, but I threw it back on the floor”, mumbled the boy.
“No matter, one of the servants must have seen Jamie’s joke and returned the ribbon to your room. The servants are very strict about keeping an eye on the guest’s belongings. They all know that Harry is very stern when it comes to this”
“I don’t know...maybe you are right...maybe you are right, Doctor, but..., Georges fell silent.
“Did you see her again?”
“Yes, I did”
Doctor hurried him along:
“How, where and when?”
Georges’ embarrassment was complete:
“Yesterday, in my bedroom. She looks even more beautiful. She told me that she loves me and will make me happy”
Doctor was silent.
“She put her arms around me and was about to kiss me when she changed her mind and asked me why I wear these” said Georges, pulling out small black rosary with tiny silver cross, “It was a gift from my Grandmother, her blessing. She brought them from Rome”
“What happened next?”, asked Doctor, fascinated.
“Next...I fell asleep” said Georges, shyly, “we played tennis the whole day and I was very tired,” he added.
“You know what, Georges, why don’t you sleep tonight on the couch in my study, the very same one on which you are sitting right now. My bedroom is in the next room and there is no door, only a drape, so we both could sleep without disturbing each other’s privacy. And at the same time I will be close, should something happen”.
Georges happily agreed, and Doctor Weiss prepared the couch.
Afterwards he locked the bedroom and took the key with him, leaving it on his desk.
Thanks to the nomadic life of a hunter, he was used to sleeping lightly and in the middle of the night, he awoke to the sound of footsteps across the room and the turning of the door handle.
Doctor got up quickly and quietly parted the drape.
Georges was standing at the door, trying to open it. His eyes were closed.
“I see, dear boy, you are a sleepwalker” whispered Doctor- “Fascinating”.
Georges in the meantime returned to the couch and lay down.
Doctor Weiss walked over to the window and opened the drapes, leaving one-half of the window wide open. Moonlight flooded the room.
“Let’s see” he decided and moved his chair to an angle where he could see clearly both the couch and the widow in the next room.
Georges was sleeping peacefully.
Without realising it, Doctor Weiss was soon asleep himself.
Dawn found him in his chair. Doctor Weiss rubbed his eyes and remembering last night’s adventures walked over to the couch.
Georges was sleeping soundlessly and peacefully. Doctor noticed a freshly picked rose lying on his chest.
Puzzled he picked it up and after looking at it put it in a small vase on his writing desk.
“Damn it, it’s a pity I fell asleep. He must have climbed down into the garden last night. Well, at least I know what his problem is now. The boy is a sleepwalker,” he mumbled to himself.
He dressed quickly and walked over to Georges’ couch, waking him.
“Oh, it’s you Doctor.” He said and after looking around, asked, “Where’s the rose?”
“What rose?” asked Doctor feigning ignorance.
“The one the girl gave me. It was the same as the one on your desk. And she told me to take these off” he said pointing to his rosary.
“Enough, Georges. There was no girl and no flower either. And tonight I will give you some sleeping drops”
“Well, it’s better than telling him he is a sleepwalker” though Doctor.
“Come on get going. They are waiting for us for coffee” he hurried the boy.
The day went on peacefully.
In the evening Doctor convinced Georges to take sleeping drops, and decided to keep a watch on the boy.
“Interesting case,” he thought.
Georges fell asleep quickly. Doctor got up, opened the curtains, and took up his position in the chair. To keep himself from falling asleep he light up a cigar. Drowsiness was overcoming him, and soon Doctor Weiss was surrounded by clouds of cigar smoke.
Through his tiredness and the blue haze, he thinks that he is seeing a figure of a dark- haired woman in the next room. He cannot see her clearly; clouds of smoke move and twist, obscuring her. A moment, and she is bending over Georges’ couch, she kneels beside it and embraces him, kissing his neck.
Doctor Weiss felt pleasant tiredness overcome him...
When he came around the room was dark. The moon had set long time ago.
“What the devil? Did I smoke myself into unconsciousness? Damn fool!” he grumbles.
He hears a soft moan coming from the next room.
“And I made the poor boy sick too!” he thinks and, after finding the matches, lights a candle.
Georges is lying on the couch moaning softly.
Doctor Weiss bends over him and sees a few drops of blood on the boys white shirt. His arm is lying across the chest clenching convulsively the stem of a crimson rose.
Doctor stand dumbfounded, “The boy must have climbed out again, so this means I was passed out for some time!” he is thinking “and the blood? Where did it come from? Well as they say every rose has a thorn,” he decides.
Confiscating the flower, Doctor closed the window and reeled off to bed.
In the morning Georges was the first to get up.
He was pale and weak and strangely absent minded. He answered Doctor’s questions reluctantly and swore that he is fine.
At coffee, the news arrived from the village. Another of the workers employed by the castle was found dead.
James and Karl Ivanovich got up immediately and offered to take the money to the dead man’s family, asking Smith to give them the amount that Harry usually allocates such cases.
Georges asked if he could come along. Reluctantly James agreed.
On the way to the village none of the men spoke, each occupied with his private thoughts.
Once in the village someone pointed them to the home of the dead man. The house, a mere hut was leaning to one side, threatening to topple over at any minute. Inside, the raw hopeless poverty was looking out of every corner. The dead man was stretched out on a bench.
His sister greeted them.
“What was the cause of death?” asked James handing her the money.
“I don’t know, Sir. He was fine when he went to bed. He never got up. It was God’s will,” replied the dead man’s sister in between sobs.
“You must have a well around here...Would you be kind enough to give me a drink of water?” asked Karl Ivanovich.
The woman left.
In a flash, James and Karl Ivanovich rushed to the dead man and lifted his head.
Neither of them said a word until Georges, whose presence they have completely forgotten, remarked:
“He has the same sores on his neck as I”
“Sores? You have sores? Show me!” ordered James.
Taken aback by his forcefulness, Georges obediently lifted his chin. The wounds were small with pallid white edges.
James and Karl Ivanovich turned as pale as the dead man lying on the bench. Neither said a word.
The silence was broken by the woman returning with a jug of water.
Without touching it, James and Karl Ivanovich hurried outside. On the way home, they deftly asked Georges about his dreams and whether he is sleeping well in Doctor’s room.
He told them that he discovered the sores this morning, and that they don’t hurt at all, but he has no idea what caused them.
Once he was back at the castle, James wanted to see Doctor Weiss, and was told that he left for a fishing expedition with the remaining guests.
“He has gone far, Sir and is not expected to return until the evening,” answered a servant.
Karl Ivanovich and James didn’t lock themselves in the library for the whole day as usual, but spend it with Georges, hardly leaving him alone for a moment.
In the evening, to everyone’s surprise, Harry joined the guests. His presence livened the meal and the company chatted among themselves as in old times.
“So, Karl, Ivanovich, when can you spoil us again with a continuation of you vampire fairy-tale?” enquired Harry
The librarian was silent.
“Don’t tell me that there is no answer to this mystery?” he asked.
“Come on Harry, what’s the point in dragging out all that nonsense?” interrupted James “Why don’t you host another party before the summer is over. What about a Venetian ball on the lake or a small village celebration?”
Harry pulled a face:
“And then I will have to make all those return visits. No thank you”
“Who is saying that you must invite the aristocrats?” added Wright “Why don’t you gather all the village girls here. Now that would be far more interesting”.
The younger guests were taken with the idea, and in an instant assailed Harry with their suggestions and plans.
James, pleased that he managed to take the attention off the talk about the vampires didn’t take a part in the discussion.
Harry decided not to delay with the celebration but make use of the last few remaining bright nights.
Once the guests were leaving for their bedrooms, James stopped Doctor Weiss and asked if he could come over to him for a cigar:
“I got new ones this morning, and would like to hear your opinion”, he said.
“You’re very welcome, but forgive me if cannot take up your offer of a cigar. Yesterday I’ve smoked so much I passed out”
“Passed out?” asked James surprised.
“Worse. I was seeing things as well”, replied Doctor “Go, put your robe on and come in. I have quite a tale to tell you”
“All right, just a moment”