The Secret Cave
or John Lees adventure

by H. P. Lovecraft

Written 1898

"Now be good children" Said Mrs. Lee "While I am away & dont get into mischief". Mr. & Mrs. Lee were going off for the day & To leave The Two children John 10 yrs old & Alice 2 yrs old  "Yes" replied John

As Soon as The Elder Lees were away the younger Lees went down cellar & began to rummage among the rubbish  little alice leaned against the wall watching John. As John was making a boat of barrel staves the Little girl gave a piercing cry as the bricks behind her crumbled away  he rushed up to her & Lifted her out screaming loudly  as soon as her screams subsided she said "the wall went away"  John went up & saw that there was a passage  he said to the little girl "lets come & see what this is"  "Yes" she said  the entered the place  they could stand up it  the passage was farther than they could see they  John went back upstairs & went to the kitchen drawer & got 2 candles & some matches & then they went back to the cellar passage. the two once more entered  there was plastering on the walls ceiling & floor  nothing was visible but a box  this was for a seat nevertheless they examined it & found it to contain nothing  the walked on farther & pretty soon the plastering left off & they were in a cave  Little alice was frightened at first but at her brothers assurance that it was "all right" she allayed her fears. soon they came to a small box which John took up & carried within  pretty soon they came on a boat  in it were two oars  he dragged it with difficulty along with him  soon they found the passage came to an abrupt stop  he pulled the obstacle away & to his dismay water rushed in in torrents  John was an expert swimmer & long breathede  he had just taken a breath so he tried to rise but with the box & his sister he found it quite impossible then he caught sight of the boat rising  he grasped it - - - - - -

The next he knew he was on the surface clinging tightly to the body of his sister & the mysterious box  he could not imagine how the water got in but a new peril menaced them  if the water continued rising it would rise to the top  suddenly a thought presented itself. he could shut off the water  he speedily did this & lifting the now lifeless body of his sister into the boat he himself climed in & sailed down the passage  it was gruesome & uncanny absolutely dark his candle being put out by the flood & a dead body lying near  he did not gaze about him but rowed for his life  when he did look up he was floating in his own cellar  he quickly rushed up stairs with the body, to find his parents had come home  He told them the story

* * * * *

The funeral of alice occupied so much time that John quite forgot about the box—but when they did open it they found it to be a solid gold chunk worth about $10,000  enough to pay for anything but the death of his sister.


The Lovecraft Library wishes to extend its gratitude to Jim Java for transcribing this text.