“Secret Cave, or John Lees Adventure, The“

   Juvenile story (525 words); written c. 1898–99. First published in SR;corrected text in Juvenilia: 1897–1905(1985) and MW
   Mrs. Lee instructs her ten-year-old son John and two-year-old daughter Alice to be “good children” while both parents are “going off for the day”; but immediately upon their departure John and Alice go down to the cellar and begin “to rummage among the rubbish.” When Alice leans against a wall and it suddenly gives way behind her, a passage is discovered. John and Alice enter the passage, coming successively upon a large empty box; a small, very heavy box that is not opened; and a boat with oars. The passage comes to an abrupt end; John pulls away “the obstacle” and finds a torrent of water rushing in. John is a good swimmer, but little Alice is not, and she drowns. John manages to struggle into the boat, clinging to the body of his sister and the small box. Suddenly he realizes that “he could shut off the water”; he does so, although how he does it—and why he did not think of it earlier—is never explained. Finally he reaches the cellar. Later it is discovered that the box contains a solid gold chunk worth $10,000—“enough to pay for any thing but the death of his sister.”

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

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