As the swirling smoke of the engine cleared, the little group was etched forever in Fanny's brain--the outlandish figure of the Chinese woman in her black trousers and high-collared smock, and the two children in their quaintly old-fashioned clothes, the girl with black hair, stick legs emerging from her pantaloons, and tense eyes staring unwinkingly, the boy smaller, unexpectedly fair, his eyes dreamy and lost.
The sound had been remarkably like Ching Mei's high delightful tinkle of laughter.
It was twilight that half light when frightening things happened when nothing was quite real Fanny was tense and vaguely apprehensive she was quite sure she would discover the thing that had frightened Nolly. She began to pick her way down the vague track which Nolly and Marcus had followed.
The strange thing was that as she stopped there was the faintest crackling of Bracken which ceased almost at once as if someone else had stopped too.
She must have imagined it. She stood very still listening. There was no sound but the shiver of the beeches the half light gave very little perspective. Surely nothing moved behind that broad tree trunk. She gave herself a little shake telling herself that if she were going to be afraid she should have sent someone else. A twig snapped behind her. Who was following her? Who was there? she called softly. Was that someone breathing, were just the whisper of the beech leaves it was getting so dark she couldn’t see. the tree trunks were men. she had to go back but somebody something barred her way
Fanny knew then that Adam felt as she did about the strange events at Darkwater even before the sudden death of the old Chinese amah. She had sensed a chill of menace in the atmosphere now there was real peril in the mists and fogs that beshrouded the ancient English estate there was danger especially for Fanny ravishing lovely young Fanny who was too curious and headstrong for her own good
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This classic Gothic romance, hailed by the Boston Globe as a gem of its species, tells the spine-tingling story of a young woman caught up in an English manors shadowed, violent past--and confronted by the very real dangers that lie within Fanny Davenport has lived at Darkwater ever since she was brought there as a young orphan. She both loves and detests the forbidding English estate on the moors, haunted by the death of its long-ago mistress. When the scream of a bird caught in the chimney pierces the gloom one night, she knows it to be a harbinger of violent things to come. It all begins when Fanny boards a ship to pick up two Chinese children who have been entrusted to her uncles care. But Adam Marsh, the handsome stranger who hands over the sister and brother, may be an imposter. Then the childrens elderly amah disappears. The reappearance of Adam Marsh only raises more questions. Can Fanny trust him? Is he her only ally against a cunning killer waiting to claim one more life?… (more)