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I travelled west to the uplands of Cumbria, and though the country here is more bleak, the snowdrifts deeper, the byways more narrow and the villages poor, still there was no abatement in the deadly work of the pestilence.

p8For amidst a snowstorm I came across a broken waysign and a settle- ment that was now little more than a ghostly outline upon the ground, and grave mounds, and the charred rib of a sunken vessel protruding from the lake alongside. Here Flynn’s low growl warned of the approach of a stranger up the same road of our travel, and my hair stood on end lest it was grim death itself that stalked me, for the man’s face was hooded and in shadow.

Yet he paid no heed and whistled a signal across the water.