It is with utmost urgency that I write to you regarding a matter most strange and unsettling. I have found myself victim of rather an unnatural ailment and I believe you may be interested in my particular case.
You see Doctor, I am here alone for the most part; in this old country house on the Yorkshire moors, with a housekeeper who comes just once a week. I thought the solitude would be a welcome change from life in the city. The house itself is far too large for a single occupant and so I reserve myself mostly to simply a few select rooms.
It was only the other night that I found myself walking in the garden at dusk. I had been taking my usual evening stroll after supper when it seemed to fall dark far more suddenly than I had expected. I did not think much of this, other than that I had perhaps lost myself in thought and not kept the time. As I was walking back to the house I was struck with the sensation that I was being watched. As a sensible gentleman, I do not take heed by stories of ghosts or the supernatural, and decided I must be rather exhausted and thus had begun to lose sensibility. It was then that I heard a branch crack loudly behind me, startling me. I looked around but saw no one.
I returned to the house safely and with no further disturbance, however, before I retired to the bedchamber I glanced out of a window, which overlooked the garden, and could swear for a moment I could see a young woman picking apples from the tree in the courtyard. When I blinked, she was gone. I went to bed that night most puzzled by the experience, if only because the tree in the courtyard, Doctor, is not an apple tree.
The following day I had written off the previous night’s encounters as merely dreaming, and did not think to dwell on the occurrence. Yet that night I neglected to take my walk, perhaps for fear of what may exist out in the darkness.
After nights of this unfounded superstition, I decided to sit by the window in the kitchen, with only a single candle beside me, after supper and watch for the woman picking apples. I was curious to learn if the prior events had truly taken place. I sat there for many hours watching autumn leaves drift to the ground, listening to the wind creaking through the house. I fear I sat there so long I fell into a slumber, for how long I know not. I only know that I awoke to the ghastly face of a scorned young woman staring deep into my eyes, her lifeless breath pressed against my window, her face skeletal before me.
I implore you Doctor to rid me of this ailment which haunts me. I am writing to you in strict confidence with the hope that you will respond with vigorous urgency.