Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Late one September evening, Arthur Lawford, who is recovering from an attack of influenza, is walking in an ancient churchyard. There he finds the grave of a man named Nicholas Sabathier, who killed himself in 1739. Suddenly tired, Lawford stops to rest and falls asleep. When he awakes, he feels very strange and quite recovered from his illness. He feels so well that he practically runs home.
Going to his room to dress for dinner, Lawford lights a candle and prepares to shave. He stops in horror when he sees in the mirror that his whole physical being has changed; he is now lean faced and dark, an entirely different person. The only thing that could have happened, he thinks, is that his nap in the churchyard changed him into someone else, perhaps the occupant of the grave, Sabathier. Still thankful that he retains his own mind, Lawford tries to think what to do. As he stands undecided, his wife comes to call him to dinner. When she enters the room, she is horrified. She refuses at first to believe that the person she sees is her husband, but in the end she is convinced.
The Lawfords call in the rector, the Reverend Bethany, who is also horrified. He is willing to believe, however, that something has happened to Lawford, and that the person he sees is not an impostor. The three decide to wait until a week has passed before doing anything drastic. Sheila Lawford refuses to stay with her husband at night; he seems too much a stranger to her in...
(The entire section is 1225 words.)
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