Anyone reading these stories in canonical order should by now have a good idea of how they tend to play out. An aged antiquary finds or hears of the existence of a peculiar ancient artefact and in the course of further investigation, prompted either by avarice or simple scholarly curiousity, unwittingly awakens some eldritch horror who torments him, often to the death, either as punishment for his greed or out of mere supernatural malice.
On first approach The Tractate Middoth seems like it’s going to follow this pattern nicely. The title obviously refers to the artefact which will cause all the trouble, and it’s nicely esoteric and sinister sounding. And on the very first line our antiquary is introduced, a Mr John Eldred, elderly and male of course and sporting a fine set of piccadilly weepers (a wonderful term whose meaning is surely apparent even if you’ve never come across it before) and indeed seeking after the titular Tractate. But he is unable to procure it for someone else has got there first, someone perhaps of sinister aspect. Has Mr Eldred already unwittingly set malevolent forces in motion? Is there a ghoul in waiting for him?