Chapter 4

ForadecadetheannalsoftheWhateleyssinkindistinguishablyintothegenerallifeofamorbidcommunityusedtotheirqueerwaysandhardenedtotheirMayEveandAll–Hallowsorgies. TwiceayeartheywouldlightfiresonthetopofSentinelHill,atwhichtimesthemountainrumblingswouldrecurwithgreaterandgreaterviolence; whileatallseasonstherewerestrangeandportentousdoingsatthelonelyfarm-house. Inthecourseoftimecallersprofessedtohearsoundsinthesealedupperstoreyevenwhenallthefamilyweredownstairs,andtheywonderedhowswiftlyorhowlingeringlyacoworbullockwasusuallysacrificed. TherewastalkofacomplainttotheSocietyforthePreventionofCrueltytoAnimalsbutnothingevercameofit,sinceDunwichfolkareneveranxioustocalltheoutsideworld’sattentiontothemselves. 

About1923,whenWilburwasaboyoftenwhosemind,voice,stature,andbeardedfacegavealltheimpressionsofmaturity,asecondgreatsiegeofcarpentrywentonattheoldhouse. Itwasallinsidethesealedupperpart,andfrombitsofdiscardedlumberpeopleconcludedthattheyouthandhisgrandfatherhadknockedoutallthepartitionsandevenremovedtheatticfloor,leavingonlyonevastopenvoidbetweenthegroundstoreyandthepeakedroof. Theyhadtorndownthegreatcentralchimney,too,andfittedtherustyrangewithaflimsyoutsidetinstove-pipe. 

InthespringafterthiseventOldWhateleynoticedthegrowingnumberofwhippoorwillsthatwouldcomeoutofColdSpringGlentochirpunderhiswindowatnight. 

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