is soon to take an exam, and wants to study for it somewhere free from distraction. So he travels to Benchurch, stays a night in the inn, and the next day finds the perfect place, an abandoned house. He asked the agent about renting a part of it; he said that it being inhabited for a while should quell some of the rumors going around about the place.
He asked the landlady Mrs. Wintham about it, and she is startled to hear about his staying in "the Judge's house." She has heard that there was something about that house since a strict judge lived there generations ago.
After inspecting the house, Malcolm decided he would take up residence in the great dining room.
Malcolm settles in to study, and after a while realizes the noises the rats are making. He gets up and inspects the room; his eyes meet with those of one rat who squeaks and scampers away. He studies for a couple more hours, having gotten accustomed to the sound.
Soon he realizes that the noise has stopped. He looks around, and sees an enormous rat, baring its teeth in apparent hatred. He tries to shoo it with a poker, and the rat scurries up the bell rope, then the noise immediately begins again.