Everything happened at St. James College. Two men were sitting at dinner and talking. One of them was Professor Parkins. He was a young man who took everything he did very seriously. He told his companion that he was going to leave college the next day. The man was going to play golf on the coast for about two weeks. During this time, he hoped to learn how to play better. After all, any business should be approached as seriously as possible. And golf is really a serious thing. Another man told about the old church of the Knights Templar in a small town nearby. He wanted to know whether it was worth visiting it. He also said that golf was a boring game of no interest for him at all. The professor said visiting a church could be quite an interesting activity.
Everything happened in the city of Suffolk. The road went from the coast and climbed into the hills. A high mansion stood not far from the hill. It was built at the end of the eighteenth century. Behind the house there were other buildings and green gardens and in front of it there was a field of heather. Everybody could see the sea from it. Previously, this building was a popular hotel. And today it still accepts guests. Mr. Thomson came to this hotel. He was looking for a calm and pleasant environment to do his work. The man was the only guest, and the owner of the hotel and his wife kept the house clean. He was going to stay in the city for about a month: in the morning he would study, and in the evenings he would walk and communicate with the locals. During one of these walks, he saw something unusual.
The storyline of the book takes place in the early twentieth century. The plot begins with a correspondence between two people. These are Mr. Karswell and Secretary Gayton. Mr. Karswell sends an article to the club. Mr. Karswell considers himself an alchemist. He is very rich — that's all people know about him. Most believe that this person either tells a lie, or believes in something that does not exist. And now Mr. Karswell wants to meet with the club secretary and discuss all questions personally. One day, the secretary dines with his wife and friends. One of the friends says that he had recently seen Mr. Karswell. He lives in the province and communicates very little with his neighbors. People think he is a strange man. No one knows what this man does in his free time.
Mr. Williams worked in the museum, which was located at the Oxford University. The man expanded the collection of monuments of the English culture of this institution: notes, drawings of churches and country houses. Mr. Williams thought that his work would be the most serene in his life, but even here he found unpleasant surprises. He found many good exhibits for the museum and sent the list to regular customers several times a year — in case some of them wanted to buy something. In response, he received letters with the numbers of photos. On that day, he received another message in which it was reported that he should carefully study one of the pictures. The author of the picture was unknown. It was an image of a country house with a rather high price.
Mr. Hall was a priest from a small village. One day he was working in the office when his servant entered. The woman was alarmed. She said that the squire died. Mr. Hall was surprised, because he had seen this man the day before. But soon the church bell rang, notifying the village of someone's death. It was true. People said that the squire suddenly got some terrible unusual disease. He passed away very quickly and they decided to bury him as soon as possible. The priest took his clothes and left the office to learn all the details. As it turned out, the squire said he did not want to be buried in the family crypt. He wished to be buried in an ordinary grave in a cemetery. The priest thought that the man was too ill to realize what he was talking about. But the last desire must be fulfilled.