On Whit Monday, the day dedicated to “the Club festivities” in Iping, the vicarage is burgled. Mrs. Bunting wakes up in the early hours of the morning to footsteps. When she feels certain someone is there, she wakes her husband. Bunting grabs the poker and creeps down the staircase. It is about 4 am and completely dark. Bunting can hear the sound of rustling coming from his study, but he cannot see the robber. He enters the study and finds the drawer open and a candle lit on his desk, but no sign of anyone. He then hears the sound of metal clinking, and realizes that the robber has found the house’s stash of money.
This passage is filled with more gothic imagery, from the shadowy darkness of the night to the faint, creepy sounds. If this were a gothic story, one could imagine that Rev. and Mrs. Bunting would be about to discover that their house is haunted by a ghost. However, at this point the genre of the book remains somewhat ambiguous—is it a fantastical story of the supernatural, or something more “real”?
Bunting runs into the room where the money is kept, shouting “Surrender!”, but finds no one there. He and Mrs. Bunting are then startled to hear a sneeze on the landing, and run after the sound. They see the back door open and close with a slam. They secure the back door again and search the house, but find it completely empty. By the time the sun rises, Bunting and his wife are still discussing the astonishing events of the night.
Dr. Cuss mentioned that Griffin was sneezing, and thus the fact that Bunting hears a sneeze strongly indicates that it is Griffin who has broken into the house. The sneeze is a sinister and eerie indicator of Griffin’s presence, but also a sign of his vulnerability, reminding us of his mortality through his apparent illness.