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A harmless proto-naturalist, or is he in league with the devil?While Ralph and the Judge are out in the field, the second story is introduced.The Judge sends the farmhands and as many local lads as he can assemble out to search the countryside for her.Peter, bewildered and heart-broken by these two personal disasters he doesn’t understand, declares that there is Evil in the house.
The Judge and Peter’s aunt come up the stairs too and seem to think that Peter did something to his betrothed to make her scream. Mistress Banham goes in to give the hysterical girl a smack and gets her own face badly scratched (the Judge also slaps Peter, just because).
The worm on the eyeball is a particularly grotesque touch and the film makes the most of it, pulling in close to give the viewers the first in a series of disturbing but not gory images.
Ralph runs to the manor-farm, where Mistress Banham (Avice Landone) is entertaining an old friend, a highly placed magistrate (Patrick Wymark.
Another disturbing image: her hand has become a delicate claw.
Mistress Banham, meanwhile, develops a high fever from the scratches on her face. Vespers isn’t looking, the old lady disappears from her bed and from the house.