Act II

We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight.H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond"

William Thatcher, Samuel Tyler and Dr Imogen Wentworth are walking out along the scar to find the location of the wreck. From the tales, it was about ... here. Dr Wentworth uses a telescope to look back at the cliffs to find anything that looks like the gallery Reggie described. She finds three candidates and spots a man on top of the cliff with a telescope watching her. He's dressed in a greenish leather cloak and when he turns to go she's sure she sees a tail dragging behind him ... no ... it must have been his cloak flapping in the wind. By the time they're finished marking the gallery candidates, the villagers are filing along the path to church.

The church service is pleasant but nothing special or out of the ordinary. There's a whisper propagating through the crowd. Samuel picks up on it - Mr Eccles is not there. This distain for the religion of their forefathers is just the sort of thing the villagers expect from educated persons. They also comment on the fact that only two of the four outsiders attend church.

[The Scar and Cliffs]Meanwhile William climbs the cliffs towards the first candidate for Reggie's gallery. The crumbling sea cliff are not difficult to climb but the rock crumbles beneath his fingers occasionally. He makes it to the gallery candidate and finds nothing and so climbs further. He slips and falls, crashing 10' back onto the ledge below. It hurts a lot.

After the service, all the parishioners gather on the church steps to chat and thank Father Ogilvie for his sermon, etc. Dr Wentworth publically thanks Mick for his help in setting up the meeting with Reggie and thanks Father Oglivie for the nice chat they had. She organises the Father to come to Miss Plummer's bedside and to stay for tea. The local matrons, who consider the priest their own, are scandalised - not least by the eagerness with which he accepts Miss Wentworth's invitation and the reluctance with which he stops shaking her hand.

While this is going on outside, Samuel slips into the vestry and pokes about. He finds the robing closet - nothing. In the study is the priest's briefcase, a bookshelf with suitably edifying reading material and, lying on the desk, is the priest's appointment book. There are many dates and names of people politely entered - Miss Smythe, Mr and Mrs Williamson, etc. There are also recurring entries simply labelled 'Eccles.' There's an obvious lack of respect shown here.

Samuel slips out again and before the altar he has an epiphany - the church is symmetrical so there must be a space similar to the vestry on the other side of the altar. Where the door should be stands the tabernacle on a waist-high solid marble plinth. Moving it requires at least two people. He leaves the church and joins Dr Wentworth, who pulls herself away from Father Oglivie and together they go in search of William.

William is lying in a hollow in a field feeling no pain. The laudanum is becoming a curse. The drug numbs the pain but opens his mind to the staring alien eyes watching his every movement. The more laudanum he takes, the worse it becomes. Dr Wentworth and Samuel gather him up and stumble back to The Smugglers Retreat, where he sleeps off the afternoon.

[The Hidden Staircase]As darkness falls, William and Samuel gather William's grave robbing tools and make their way to the church as Dr Wentworth welcomes Father Ogilvie and escorts him to Miss Plummer's sickbed. Inside the church, they light a hooded lantern and together move the plinth on which sits the tabernacle. Knocking on the plaster, they discover the boundaries of a hollow sounding area beyond the plaster. William uses his crowbar to smash through the plaster and the boards behind to make a hole large enough to crawl through but small enough that the plinth will cover it when replaced. They see a short passageway which ends at a descending staircase. They exchange glances full of signification and squeeze through the hole and onto the stairs.

In the warmth of the tavern, before a roaring fire, Dr Wentworth sits with Father Ogilvie and over tea and sandwiches, they discuss their common interests. Father Oglivie spent several weeks rambling over Dover Castle, very near the village where Dr Wentworth grew up. The conversation takes a turns to the current politics and religious debate on the growing split between science and religion. Observation of minutiae, says Father Ogilvie, should bring the observer closer to God. Many times, scientists are too caught up in the own speciality to see the wider picture and appreciate the Creator who made their observations possible. For example, he declaims, the current interest in ordering the new class of animals known as dinosauria ignores the unassailable fact that these are the animals which perished in Noah's Flood. No other explanation is compatible with what we know to be true.

The passageway is narrow and cramped. The stairs reach a landing and turn to the right before continuing. They reach another landing and turn right again and descend further into the cliff-face. They make a final turn to thr right and after a couple of steps end at rubble filling and blocking the passageway. The blockage is intentional and not the result of a cave-in. They take turns digging a crawlspace through the rubble. Digging in such confined condition is hot and sewaty work. Once they are several feet into the blockage, two things happen. William realises that from the chisel marks the passageway was cut upwards from below. At this instant, the oil in the hooded lantern runs dry and the light goes out leaving them is the eternal darkness of the pit. A hastily lit match barely illuminates their tension expressions. Shadows dance on the walls of the passageway.

Father Ogilvie pauses outside the tavern to adjust his coat and is bathed in the warm glow of the fire spilling through the windows. The enjoyable evening and the awkwardness of their goodbyes have left him with only the most pleasant of thoughts about Miss Wentworth. He sighs recognising that he's as giddy as a schoolboy. With a spring in his step and a smile on his face he makes his way back tot he rectory.

Dr Wentworth makes a few notes of significant information gained during the evening. Professor Paley's wife Elizabeth had her accident here on the moors. That could be significant. She too sighs looking back over the evening. "It's happening again," she thinks. "I'm growing quiet fond of him so I know he's going to die."