Although at first sight Arthur likes the look of Crythin Gifford, he soon finds that the people there, although polite and hospitable, are not very forthcoming and tend to keep themselves to themselves. This attitude is exemplified in individual characters like Jerome, who deals with the Drablow estate and is one of the very few people to attend Mrs Drablow's funeral along with Arthur, and Keckwick, the man who conveys Arthur back and forth from Eel Marsh House in his pony and trap. Even the children at the local school appear strangely quiet and subdued. Arthur senses that the community have secrets that they are not willing to share with him, concerning Eel Marsh House, and this frustrates and also unsettles him. This helps to build up the tension ahead of his arrival at Eel Marsh House itself.