A rather ghostly extract from "Two Soldiers"...
A ghostly extract from “Two Soldiers”, part of Clare’s unfinished novel “Memoirs of Uncle Barnaby”, which I have now been working on for some while. I hope to publish sometime in the Spring of 2017.
He heard a sharp rap at the front door & he instantley seized his musket & went to open it but nothing was to be seen he had faced armys & felt little fear but he was rather startled at shadows yet he went into his chair as a garrison & kept his musket ready cocked in his hand giving any leave to enter that pleased for he well knew he could trust his musket but all was still & in turning to see if his candle wanted trimming which stood by the side of a large picture that reached to the very floor of the room to his astonishment he thought he saw it start from the wall & come a considerable step on the floor
he wiped his eyes & would not believe them but it moved back to the wall & of that he was certain & he went up to the wall to examine it where all was as fast as the foundation of the house & he laughd to himself as he trimmed the candle which stood on a little table close by it to throw a better light on the point of attack the door & at the same time to observe that of the chair in the [dark]
He had seen pictures in Holland of all sizes & in the Louver of all sorts but he never saw any one of such consummate exellence as to move from the walls on which they were hung unless by human assistance so being well up to the service of attack & defence he tryed a ruse de guere or false [front] to mislead the invisible enemy if such it were tho the soldier thought t[o] be sure that it was some curious piece of mech[anical device] at all events he knew when to make alarms & when [to] be silent
'I will go to sleep said he for the girls a[re] only frightened at shadows' & like a skilful general he masked his batterys under the impression of a morning sleep tho at the same time he had his eyes wide open looking over the chair at the picture which to his surprise moved from the wall a second time & a human hand nothing else appeared as if thrust thro the solid wall where the candle was in its reach & the room was suddenly in darkness
the soldier shifted his quarters from the chair in an instant & kept a strict eye on the door as the point of attack & a tall figure as it open[ed] showed it self to his sight when a shrill whistle faint[ly] whispered was heard he pointed his [musket] when [he heard] a groan & a noise as if somthing had fallen from the back of a porter