When She got the first letter She couldn’t even imagine what all of this would lead to. But She was sure- that first day would remain in her memory for ever. The writingwasn’t very legible and She could just take it off and forget but she didn’t: the atmosphere around was a sign, a sign of something that could change her life. Everything was a trifle different,nothing special, but nevertheless, even the drone of insects outside attracted attention. She wasn’t overmuch addicted to mysteries, in her vicinity they were a common thing, albeit a stolen cow was alreadya secret there. But this letter from a host of a hunted house on the hill, the deceased already, attested that She was in the heart of something really strange.
At once She remembered theportrait of this Mr.X (the parents used to scare their children showing the portrait). Apparently, for Her it was a terrible experience too, because even now the picture startled her, she felt the peril,menace and calamity that seemed imminent.
Mr.X was a former coroner who retired and bought the castle. People said he was cruel and greedy and that many people had suffered from him. It was byvirtue of his office that he knew everything about people in the vicinity and it scared. People also said he was punished for his evil and died in an inexplicable way: he just disappeared like smokeafter discharge. The jurors who got the summons had different versions of the case: under oath 7 people said absolutely different things as if someone wanted them to see and then to relate what hadnever happened in the reality. The coroner who investigated the case thought it was a jest of crazy farmers and even the foreman didn’t manage to persuade him.
Those numerous things that werefound among the dead man’s effects cut no figure in the mystery: the late was a rich man and his attire attested it; everything seemed to be articles of mere personal adornment. His portrait, also found...