Sei sulla pagina 1di 231

T u r n t o t he e n d o f t his

v o lu m e fo r a c o m p le t e

list of t it le s in
M o de rn Lib r a ry .
THE 1313 51 HOS STORIES
"

G T
I N T RO DU CTI O N BY AR THU R B . R E E VE

BO N I AN D L I V E R I G H T , IN C .
CO NT ENT S

Pm

N TROD UCTION THE F A SCINATION OF THE G H O ST


STORY Arthur B Reeve
.

FHE APP ARITI ON MR S VEAL


OF . Dan iel De F oe

! A NON ALB E RIC S SCRAP B OOK



- Monta gue Rhodes J am

3 1

FE E SILE NT W OMAN Le opold Kompert 60

3 AN SHEES

FHE MAN W HO W E NT T oo F AR E F Benson

!HE W OMAN S G HO ST STORY Algernon Bloc/m ood


FHE PHAN TO ER I CKSHAW Rudyard Kipling

FHE R IVAL G HO STS Brand er Ma tthews


l HE D AMN ED THI NG Ambrose B ierce

l HE INTE RVAL

DE Y AI N T N O G HO STS

Ellis P arker Butler 1 77
SO ME R EA L AMERI CAN G HO STS 1 88
I N T R O D U C TI O N
0

T HE F A S C I N ATI O N O F T HE G HO S T
S TO R Y
ART HUR B . REEVE

HAT is the fas cina tion w e feel for the myst ery of
t he ghos t sto ry ?
Is i t o f t he same na ture as the fasci na ti o n whi ch we
fe el for the mystery o f the detec tive story ?
Of the la tter fas ci na tio n, the l a te Pau l Armstro ng use d
t o say th a t i t was beca use we are all as fu ll o f c rime as

S ing Sing o nl y we do n t da re ’
.

Thus, may I ask , are we no t fascin a ted by t he ghost


s t o ry beca u se ,
n o m a tt er wha t m ay be the scien t ific o r
s keptical ben t o f our m i nd s, in our inmo st so ul s secr et ly ,

er h p we full f upe r ti t i as a n o be a man


p s
h
a , are as o s s o n
o nly we do n t le t i t l o ose ?

W ho sha ll say tha t he is a ble t o fl ing Off l igh tl y the


i nheri ta nce of cou ntless ages o f superstiti on ? Is there no t
a streak o f su pers titi o n in u s all ? We l a u gh a t the v oo do o
w o rshi per — then create o ur own hood ooes, our pe t Ob se s
S 1 ons.

I t has bee n sai d t ha t man is incurably religio u s tha t ,

i f all reli gi o ns were blo tted o ut man wo uld crea te a new


,

religi o n .

Man is i ncu rably fascina ted b y the mysteri o us If all the .

g h o s t st o ries o f t he a ge s were bl o t t ed o ut , m a n w o uld i n

ven t new o nes .

F o r do we no t all stand in awe o f tha t which we can


,

n ot expl a in , O i th a t wh ich ,
if i t be no t in our o wn ex
p e rie n c e is,
cer t a inly re co rded in the expe rience o f o the rs ,

of th a t o f whi ch we know and ca n kno w n o thi ng ?


vii i INTRO D UCTI ON

Skeptical th ough one m ay be o f the occult he must n eed s ,

be in terested i n thi ngs tha t o thers bel ieve to be o bjec ti ve


tha t certainly a re subjectively very real to the m .

The ghos t sto ry is no t bo rn o f science , nor even o f


su per sc i en c e wh a teve r th a t m ay b e
-
,
I t is no t o f science .

a t all It is o f ano ther sphere despite all tha t the psychic


.
,

rese archers h ave tried t o demo nstra te .

There a re in life t wo so rts O f people who fo r wa n t o f ,

a b etter cl ass ifica ti o n I may c all t he p syc hic and the n o n


,

psychic If I ask the psychi c to cl o se his eyes and I sa y


.


t o him , Ho rse he immedi a tely visu alizes a ho rse The
,
.

o ther no n psychic , d o es no t
,
-
I ra ther inc line t o bel ieve
.

tha t it is the fo rmer cl ass wh o se e gho sts o r ra ther so m e



,

o f them The l a tter d o no t though they sh a re i nteres t


.

in them .

The artists a re o f th e v isu alizing cl ass and in our mo re ,

m odern times it is the psychi c w ho think in mo tio n p ic


,

tures o r a t lea st in a su ccessio n o f still pi c tures


, .

However we expl ain the gh o stly an d su pern a tu ral w he the r ,

w e give it Objec tive o r merely su bjec tive rea lity nei ther ,

explan ati o n prevents the no n psychi c fro m b eing intensel y


-

interested in the vi sio n s o f the psychi c .

Thus I am co nvinced tha t if we were all qu ite ho nes t


with o u rselves whether we b elieve in o r do no t b eliev e
,

in gh osts a t leas t we are all deeply i nterested in them


,
.

e re is in thi s interest so me t hi ng th a t m akes all t he w o rl d


zkh1n .

W ho d oe s feel a suppressed star t a t the creak ing O f


no t
fu rnitu re in the da rk o f night ? W h o h as no t felt a shiver
o f goo se fles h co ntro lled o nly by a n effo rt o f will ?

,
W ho ,

in the da rk has no t had the feeling o f so me t hing behin d


,

him an d , in spite O f h is co n sci o us reaso ning turned t o ,

l oo k ?
If there b e a ny who h as no t i t may b e th a t t o h i m ,

gh ost sto ries h ave no fascin a tio n Let h im a t l east h ow .


,

eve r b e h o n est
, .

T o every h u ma n b eing mystery a ppeal s b e it tha t O f ,

the crime c ases o n whi ch a l a rge pa rt O f yell ow j ou rn ali sm


is fo unded o r b e it in the ca ses o f D upin o f Le Co qo f
, , ,

Sherl ock Hol m es , o f Arsene Lupin o f Cra ig Kennedy o r , ,


I NTROD UCTI ON ix

a host th ers o f our ficti o n myste ry characte rs The


of o .

appea l is in the myste ry .

The detec tive s ca se is so lved a t the end h owever But



, .

even a t the end o f a ghost sto ry t he u nderlying mystery ,

rema ins In the gho st sto ry we have the very qu intessence


.
,

O f m yste ry .

Auth o rs, p ub li sh ers, edito rs dramatists wri ters o f mo , ,

ti o n pictu res tell us tha t never befo re has there b een


su ch an inten se a n d wide intere s t in mystery s to rie s as
there is to d ay Tha t in itself expl ains the interest in
-
.

the su per mystery sto ry o f the gh o s t and gh ostly do ings


-
.

An o ther elemen t o f mystery lies in such sto ries Dee per



.

and fu rt he r b a ck , is the supreme myste ry o f life a fter



dea th what ?
“ ”
Impo ssible sco rns the non psych ic as he l i stens to
,
-

so m e gh o s t sto ry .

T o which dogged ly repl i es t he mi nd o f the opposite type


, ,

N o t so I believe be cause it is i mpossibl e

. .

The unca nny the unheal thy as in the mas ter of such

,

w ri t ing Po e
,
fas cinates Whether we will or no the imp
.
,

o f the pe rve rse l ures us o n .

Tha t is why w e read wi th en thralled interest these


e xcursio n s i nto th e eerie unkn o wn perhaps reading o n til l ,

the mystic hour of midnigh t increases th e cree py pleas

One might wri te a v olume o f analysis and apprec iatio n o f


thi s aptly balanced an tho l ogy o f ghost sto ries assembled
here a fter yea rs o f rea ding and s tudy by Mr J L French . . . .

Fo remo s t am ong the impressi o n s t hat a casu al rea der


will derive is the interesting fact , j u st as in detec tive mys
t e ry sto ries so in gh o st st o ries styles cha nge
,
Each age ,
.
,

each period h as the gho st sto ry pecul ia r t o itsel f Tod ay .


,

there is a new style o f ghost sto ry grad ually evolving .


Once sto ries were o f fa iries fays troll s the little p eo , , ,

pl e o f p olt e rgie st and l oup ga ro u Th ro ugh vari ou s a ges
, .

we h ave pro gres sed to the ghos t sto ry o f the eigh teenth a nd
nine te enth centuries until to day i n the twentieth we are -
, ,

se e ing a mo de rn s tyl e, which the ne w science is m o dify in g


ma teri ally .

High among the stories i n this v ol ume , o ne must reco g


1: INT ROD UCT I ON
n ize the m asterful art of Algerno n B lackwood s Th e ’


Wom an s Ghos t S to ry

.


I w as interested in psychi c things says the wo ma n a s ,

sh e starts t o tell her sto ry simply with a sweep t o wa rd ,

the climax tha t has the ring o f the t ru th o f fi ct ion Here .

perhaps we have the mo dern style o f ghost sto ry a t its


best .

Times chan ge as well as styles The Ma n W ho Went .


T OO F ar is o f inten se intere st a s a n a ttempt t o brin g
into o ur o wn times an interpreta ti o n o f t he symb o l i sm
underlying Greek myth ol ogy a pplied t o Engla nd of som e ,

ye ars ago .

T o se e Pan mea n t dea th Hence in thi s sto ry there is a


.

— “ -

phil o sophy o f Pan thei sm no me no yo u n o it “ ” “ ”
It , ,
.

is a mysti ca l sto ry with a s to rm scene in whi ch is pain t e d


,

a pict u re th a t remind s o ne stro ngly o f The Fall o f t h e
”— “
Ho use o f Ush u r w ith the fra nkly added wo rd s
,
On ,

him were ma rks o f hoo fs o f a mo n strou s goa t tha t ha d


leaped o n hi m — u nco mpro mi sing mysti c i sm
, .

Happy is the Kipling selecti o n The Phantom Ri c k ’


,

Sh aw if only fo r tha t o bi ter di c tu m of gho st prese n ce -


,

as Kipling expl ai n s b
a o u t the rift in the bra in : a nd
a little bit o f the D a rk Wo rld c ame thro ugh and press ed
him t o dea th !
Then there are the racial styles i n ghost sto ries Th e .


vo lume takes us fro m the B anshees and O ther D ea th

Wa rnings o f Irel and to a st range exa mple o f Jew ish

mysti c i sm i n The Silen t Woman Mr French has been . .

very wide in h is cho ice giving us th ese as well as m a ny ,

examples fro m the litera tu re o f Engl and and France Fin al .

ly he has co mpiled fro m the newspapers as typ ical ly


, ,

America n m an y ghos t sto ries o f N ew York and o ther pa rts


,

o f the co untry .

Stra nge tha t o ne sho uld find humo r i n a subjec t so


weird Yet we find i t Take fo r i nstance De Fo e s O ld
. .
, ,

n a rrative , The Appa riti o n o f Mrs Veal


“ ”
It is a ho a x . .
,

no thing mo re Of o ur o wn times is Elli s Parker B utler s


.

“ ”
Dey Ain t N o Gho sts showing an example o f the m od

,

e rn Nogro s ra ci al herita ge

.

In our lite ra tu re a nd o n the stage the very i dea o f a ,


I NTROD UCTI ON xi
D arky graveya rd is mirth pro voki ng Mr B u tler
a nd a -
. .


ex tra c ts so me pithy phil o so phy fro m h is D arky bo y : I
a in t skeered o b gh o st s wh u t a m c a se dey a in t n o gho sts
’ ’ ’
, ,

but I j e s feel kinder o neasy bo u t de gho sts wh u t a in t !
’ ’ ’

“ ”
Hum o r is su cceeded by pa th os In The Interval we

.

find a symp a theti c twi st t o the ghost sto ry an actual de


s ire t o meet the dea d .

I t is no t however t o b e co mpa red fo r i n terest t o the


, ,

s to ry o f sheer te rro r as i n B ulwer Ly t to n s The H aunted -

,

a n d the Haun te rs wi th the flight o f the servan t in terro r
, ,

the co wering o f the dog against the wall the dea th o f the ,

d o g it s nec k a c t u ally bro ken by the terro r and a ll tha t go


, ,

t o make a n experience in a ha u n te d h o use wha t it sho ul d


be .

Thus a t last we com e t o two o f the sto ri es that a ttemp t


, ,

t o give a sc ientifi c expl an a tio n a no ther phase o f the mo d ,


~

e rn style o f gho st sto ry .

One o f these perhap s h ardly modern as far as mere years


,

a re co ncerne d is th i s sa me sto ry o f B ulwer
,
The H aun ted ,

a n d t he Ha un ters Besides being a ra ttli ng go o d Old
.

fas hi oned tale o f ho rro r, i t a t tempts a new fashi o ned sc ien


-

t ific exp l an at i o n It is eno ugh to rea d and re read i t


.
-
.

I t is ho weve r the l amen ted Ambrose B ierc e who h as


, ,

go ne furthest in the science and the ph ilosophy o f the


m a tter a nd in a very sho rt sto ry t oo , splendidly titl ed
, ,

The D a mned Thing .

“ ”
Incredible ! excl ai ms the co rone r at the i nquest .


Tha t is n o thing t o yo u sir replies the newspape r m an , ,

w h o rela tes the expe rien c e and i n these w o rd s expresses ,



the tru e feeling ab o ut gho stly ficti o n tha t is no thing to ,

y o u if,
I a l so swe a r th a t it is t ru e !
B u t furthest o f all i n h is sci enti fic expl ana ti o n no t —
sc ien tifica lly expl a ining a way b ut i n expl ai ning the w ay ,

g o es Bier c e as he o u tl i ne s a t he o ry Fro m the di a ry o f .

the murdered m an he pi cks out the fo ll owi ng which we


m ay t rea sure as a gem

I am n ot m ad There are co l o rs tha t we ca nno t see
— —
. .

And G od help me l the D amned Thing is o f such a


c o lo r !

Thi s fa sc in at io n o f the gh o st sto ry h ave I m ade i t clear ?
I NTROD UCTI ON

As I writ e, nearing m i dni gh t the b ookca se b eh i n d me


,

c racks I sta r t and tu rn No thing There is a cr e a k of


. . .

a b oa rd in the h a llway .


I kn o w i t is the cool nigh t wi nd the un even co n trae
tio n o f m a teri als expanded in the hea t o f the day

.

Ye t do I go in to the darkness o uts ide o the rwi se than


a lert ?
It is thi evo lu tion o f o u sense o f gho st terror a ges
s r —
o f it — tha t fasc ina tes us .

Can we with a fe w generati o ns o f m o derni sm b ehind


,

us, thr ow it o ff w ith a ll o ur science ? And i f we did , sh o uld ,

we n o t then succ ee d o nly in abo lishing the o ld fas hi o ned -

g h os t s t o ry a n d cre a ting a n e w scientific gh o s t s t o ry ?



,

Scientifi c ? Ye s B ut mo re so me thing tha t h as existed


.
,

si nce the beginnings o f intelligence in the h um an race .

Perh aps, yo u c ritic yo u say tha t the true gh ost s tory


,

o rigin a ted i n the a g e o f sh ad o wy ca ndle li ght a n d pine knot


with the i r gro tesqueries on the wa ll s and in the unp e ne
t ra t ed d ark ness tha t the elec tric b ulb a nd the radi a tor
,

ha ve di spelled tha t very thing o n whi ch fo r ages the gh ost , ,

s to ry h a s been b u il t .

What ? No ghost sto ri es ? Wo uld y o u ta ke away o ur


supern a tura l fi c ti o n by yo u r p al try sc ientifi c exp l a n a ti o n ?
S till will we ga ther abo u t the sto ry teller then lie —
a wa ke 0 nights seeing mo c kin g fi g

,
ures arms akimb o , d e fy
,

ingall yo u r science t o c rush th e ghost sto ry .


BEST G HO ST STO R IES
T HE AP P AR I TI O N O F MR S VEAL

BY D AN IE L D E F OE

THE PREF ACE

HIS rela ti on is m a tter o f fac t and a ttended with such ,

ci rcums ta n ces as may ind u ce any reaso nable man to


,

b elieve i t I t was sent by a gentleman a justi ce o f peace


.
, ,

a t M a i dsto ne in Ken t and a very i n tell igen t perso n


, ,
to ,

his fri end in Lo ndo n as it is here wo rded ; which d iscourse


,
is a ttest ed by a very so ber an d understa nding gentlewo m an ,

a kinswo man o f t he sa id gentlem an s who lives i n C ant er



,

b ury withi n a fe w d oo rs o f the hou se in whi ch t he wi thin


,

n amed Mrs Bar g rav e li ves ; who b el i eves his ki n swo m an


.

t o b e o f so di scern ing a spirit as no t t o b e pu t upo n by any


,
fal la cy ; an d who po sitively assured him tha t the wh ol e
m a t t er as it is rela ted a nd l ai d down is rea lly true ; and
, ,

wha t she herself had i n the same wo rds as nea r as may be , ,

fro m Mrs Ba rgrav e s own mo u th who she knows had no


.

, , ,
reaso n t o i nv en t and publ ish such a sto ry o r any design ,

t o fo rge and tel l a lie being a wo ma n o f much h o nesty a nd


,

virtue and her whole life a co urse as it were o f piety


, , ,
.

The use which we ough t to make o f it is t o co nside r tha t , ,

there is a life to co me a fter this and a j ust G od who will , ,

re t ri b u t e t o every o ne acco rding t o the deeds do ne i n the


b o dy ; an d therefo re t o reflect upo n o ur p ast co urse o f l ife
w e ha ve led in the w o rld ; th a t o ur time is sho rt and un
c ert ai n ; a nd tha t if w e wo uld esca pe the p u ni shment o f the
u ng o dly and re c eive the rewa rd o f the righte o us whi c h is
, ,

the laying ho ld o f etern al l ife we o ugh t fo r the tim e t o , ,

co me t o retu rn t o G o d by a spe edy repe n tance ceasing t o


, ,

do evil and lea rn in g t o do we ll : t o see k a fter G od ea rly


, ,

if h a ppily He m ay be fo und o f us an d lead such l ives fo r ,

t he fu tu re, as m ay b e well pleasing i n His sight .

3
4 BEST G HO ST ST ORIES

A RELATION O F T HE AP P AR ITIO N OF MR S . VEAL

This th ing is rare i n all it s circ um stances and o n


so ,

so go o d a utho rity tha t my rea ding a nd co nve rsa ti o n h as


,

n o t given me a nything like it : it is fit t o gra tify the m o st


ingeni ou s an d seri o us inqu irer Mrs Ba rgrav e is the p e r . .

so n t o who m Mrs Vea l appea red a ft e r her dea th ; sh e is


.

my intima te friend , a nd I can avo uch fo r her reputa ti o n ,

fo r thes e l as t fifteen o r sixt een yea rs o n my o wn kn owl ,

e dge ; an d I can co nfirm the goo d ch a ra c ter she h ad f ro m


her youth t o the time o f my acquainta nce Tho ugh since
,
.
,

thi s rel a t i o n She is calumni a ted by so me peo ple tha t are


, ,

friend s t o the bro ther O f thi s Mrs Veal wh o appea re d ; .


,

wh o think the rel a ti o n o f thi s appea rance t o be a re flec


t i o n and endeavor wha t the y can t o bl ast Mrs Ba rgrav e s
,
.

r epu ta ti o n a nd t o l aug
,
h the sto ry ou t o f co untena nc e B ut .

by the circums tances the reo f a nd the cheerful di spo sit i on ,

o f Mrs Barg . ra v e , no twi thst anding the ill u sa ge o f a ve ry -

wicked h u sb and , there is no t yet the leas t S ign o f dej ec


t io n i n her face ; nor d id I ever hea r he r l et fall a despo nd
ing or mu rm uring expressi o n ; nay no t when actually und e r ,

her husb and s b a rb a rity ; whi ch I ha ve b een witness to and



,

se vera l o the r perso n s o f und o ub ted rep u ta ti o n .

N ow yo u mu st kn ow, Mrs Vea l w as a m aiden gen tl e .

woma n o f ab o ut thirty yea rs o f age and fo r some yea rs ,

l ast p ast h ad b een t ro ubled wi th fit s ; which were perceived


coming o n her, b y he r go ing o ff fro m her di sco u rse ve ry
a b ruptly t o som e i mpertinence She w as m a intai ned b y .

an o nly b ro the r and kep t h is h o u se in D o ver


,
She w as a .

very pi ou s wo man and her bro ther a very sober m an t o


,

a ll appe a ran c e ; but n ow he d o es all he ca n t o n ull o r qu a sh


the sto ry Mrs Veal w as i ntima tely a cqu ainted with Mrs
. . .

Ha rgrave from her childhoo d Mrs Veal s circumstan c es . .


were then mean ; her father did no t take ca re o f h is ch il


dren as he o ught so th a t they were exposed t o ha rd ship s ;
,

a nd Mrs Ba rg .rav e i n th o se d a ys h ad as unkind a fa ther


, , ,

th ough sh e wan ted neither for foo d n o r clo th ing whil st ,

Mrs Veal wanted fo r b o th ; inso much tha t she would Oft en


.

say ,
Mrs Bargrav e yo u are not o nly the best but t h e
.
, ,

o nly friend I h ave in the wo rld and n o c ircum st ances O f ,


6 B EST GHOST STO RI ES
first and Mrs Veal sat her do wn i n an
,
. in —
elbo w ch a i r ,

which Mrs Ba rgrav e w as sitting when sh e heard Mrs Veal


. .

k nock Then says Mrs Veal M y dea r friend I am co me


. .
, ,

t o renew o ur o ld friend sh ip again an d beg yo u r pa rd on ,

fo r my breach o f it ; and if yo u ca n fo rgive me yo u are ,

the best o f wo men 0 sa ys Mrs Bargrav e do no t me ntion .


,
.
,

s u ch a thing ; I ha ve no t h ad a n unea sy th o ugh t a b ou t it ;


I c an ea sily fo rgive it Wha t did yo u think o f me ? said .

M rs Veal Says Mrs Bargrav e I tho ught you were like


. . .
,

the rest o f the wo rld and tha t pro spe rity had mad e you ,

fo rget yo urse lf and me Then Mrs Veal reminded Mrs . . .

B a rg r av e O f the m a ny friendly Offic es sh e did her in f o rmer

da ys and much Of the co nversa ti o n they had wi th each


,

o ther in the times o f their a dversity ; wha t bo o ks they read ,

and wha t co mfo rt in pa rtic ul a r th e y re ceived fro m D r elin


, ,

co urt s Bo o k o f Dea th which was the bes t sh e sa i d on



, , ,

tha t subjec t ever written She a l so menti o ned Dr S her . .


!

l ock the t wo Dutc h bo o ks which were t ran sl a ted w ritten


, ,

upo n dea th and several o the rs Bu t D re linco urt sh e said


, .
, ,

had the cle a res t no ti o n s o f dea th a nd Of the fu ture st a te of , ,

a ny w h o h a d handled th a t subjec t Then sh e asked Mrs . .

Ba rg rav e whether she had D relincourt She sa id Yes


, .
,
.

S ays Mrs Veal , Fetch i t And so Mrs Bargrav e goe s up


. . .

sta irs and brings it d o wn S ays Mrs Veal Dea r Mrs . .


,
.

Ba rg rav e if the eyes o f our fai th were as o pen as th e e yes


,

o f o ur b od y, we sho ul d see numbers o f a ngel s a bo u t u s for


o ur gua rd The no tio ns we have o f heaven now a re n o thing
.
,

like wha t it is as D relincourt says ; therefo re be co mfo rted


,

under yo ur afflicti on s and believe th a t the Almigh ty h as a ,

particul ar rega rd to you ; and tha t your afflictio ns ar e ma rks


o f Go d s fa vo r ; an d when they h a ve d o ne the b usin ess they

are sent fo r they sh all b e rem oved fro m you And be


, .

lieve me my dea r friend believe wha t I say t o yo u one


, , ,
,

minu t e o f f u ture happiness wi ll infinitely reward you fo r all


you r sufferings F o r I ca n never believe ( an d cl aps her
.
,

ha nd upo n her knee w ith grea t earnestness which in d eed ,

ra n thro ugh m os t o f her di sco urse ) th a t ever G o d will ,

su ffer y ou t o spend all yo u r d a ys in thi s afflicted s t a te ;


b u t be assured tha t yo u r affli c ti o ns shall leave yo u or
, ,

y o u them in a sho rt,


time S h e s p a ke i n th a t p a thetical .
T HE APPARITION OF MR S VEAL .
7

an d h ea venly manner , tha t Mrs Bargrav e wep t several .

t ime s , she w as so dee ply affec ted with it .

T h en Mrs Veal men t i o ned Dr Ken rick s Asc e t ick , a t


.

.

the end of which he gives an acco un t o f the lives o f the


primi tive Ch ri sti ans Their pat tern she reco mmended t o
.

o u r imi ta t i o n , and said , their co nversa ti o n w a s n o t like thi s


o f o ur a g e . F o r no w , sa ys she , there 1 s n o thing bu t fro thy ,
v a in di sco u rse , which is far differen t from theirs Theirs .

w as t o ed ifica t io n , a nd t o build one a no t her up in fa ith ;


so tha t they were no t as we are nor a re we as they were : ,

bu t , says sh e we o ught to do as they di d There was an


,
.

h e a rty friendship a mo ng them ; bu t where is i t now t o be


fo un d ? Says Mrs Bargrave It is hard indeed t o find a
.
,

t r ue f riend in these d ays S ays Mrs Veal M r No rri s . .


,
.

h a s a fin e copy o f verses cal led Friend sh ip in Perfec tio n


w hich I w onde rqy a dmire
, ,

Have you see n the b oo k ? .

say s Mrs Vea l


. N o says Mrs Ba rg
. rav e but I h ave t h e
,
.
,

verses o f my own w ri ting out Have yo u ? says Mrs Veal , . .

t hen fetch them Whi ch she did fro m a bo ve sta irs and
.
,

o ffere d them t o Mrs Vea l to read who refu se d a nd wa ived


.
, ,

t he thin g saying ho lding do wn he r head wo uld m ake it


, ,

a che ; an d then desired Mrs Barg rav e t o read them t o her .


,

which She did As they were adm iring friend ship Mrs ;
.
,

Veal said Dear Mrs Bargrav e I sh all lo ve you for ever


,
.
,
.

In these verses there is tw ice use d the wo rd Elysi an Ah ! .

sa ys Mrs Vea l , these po ets ha ve such na mes fo r heaven


. .

She wo uld o ften draw her hands acro ss her o wn eyes and ,

sa y Mrs Ba rg
,
. rav e , do no t y ou think I am mightily im
pai red by my fits ? N O says Mrs Ba rgrav e I think you ,
.
,

l o ok as well as ever I knew you After all thi s di sco u rse .


,

which the appa riti o n pu t in much finer wo rd s tha n Mrs .

Ba rg r av e sa id sh e co uld pretend t o an d a s mu c h m o re ,

than she can remember ( for it ca nno t be tho ught tha t a n


, ,

h our and three q ua rters c o nversa ti o n co uld all be retained



,

tho ugh the m ain o f it she thinks she does ) she sa id to Mrs ,
.

Barg ra v e she wo uld h a ve her w rite a letter t o her bro ther


, ,

a nd te ll him she wo uld h a ve h im g


,
ive rin gs to such and
su ch ; a nd th a t there w a s a pu rse O f go ld in her ca binet ,

and th a t sh e wo uld ha ve t w o b ro a d pieces given t o her


cousin Wa tso n .
8 BEST GHOST ST O RIES
T alki ng a t this rate Mrs Bargrav e th o ugh t th a t a fit ,
.

w as co ming up o n her and so pl a c ed herself in a cha ir j us t ,

befo re her kn ees to keep her fro m falling t o the gro und if , ,

her fits should o c casi o n it : fo r the elb ow ch air sh e though t -


, ,

would keep her fro m falling o n ei ther side And t o dive rt .

Mrs Vea l as she tho ught too k hold o f her gown slee ve
.
, ,
-

severa l t ime s a nd co mmended it Mrs Veal to ld her it


,
. .
,

w as a sc ow e red silk an d newly m ade up Bu t fo r all th is , .


,

Mrs Veal persi sted in her request and to ld Mrs Ba rgra v e


.
,
.
,

sh e mu st no t deny her : an d sh e wo uld h a ve her tell her


b ro the r all their co nversa t io n when she had oppo rtuni ty ,
.

Dea r Mrs Veal says Mrs Bargrav e this se ems so imp e rti
.
,
.
,

nent th a t I ca nn o t tell h ow t o co mply w i th it ; and wha t a


,

m ortifying sto ry will our co nversa ti on be t o a yo ung ge n


t le man ? Why says Mrs B arg rav e it is much better m e
, .
, ,

thi nks t o do i t yo u rself N o says Mrs Veal tho ugh it


, .
,
.
,

seem s impertinent t o yo u no w yo u will see m o re reaso n fo r ,

i t herea fter Mrs Bargrav e then t o sa ti sfy her impo r


. .
,

t unity w as go ing t o fetch a pen and ink ; bu t Mrs Vea l


, .

sa id Le t it al o ne now b ut d o i t when I a m go ne ; b ut yo u
, ,

must be sure to do it : whi ch was one of the l ast things sh e


'

enj o ined her a t parting ; and so she pro mised he r .

Then Mrs Veal asked fo r Mrs Ba rgrav e s daugh te r ;


. . .

sh e sa id Sh e w as no t a t h om e :
,
B ut if yo u ha ve a mind t o
se e her says Mrs Ba rg I ll send fo r he r D o says ’
,
rav e .
,
.
,

Mrs Veal On which she left her and went to a neighb o r s


. .
,

t o seek fo r her ; a nd by the time Mrs Barg rav e w as ret urn .

ing Mrs Veal w as go t wi tho u t th e d o o r in the stree t in


,
.
,

the fa ce o f the beast m arket on a S a turd ay which is ma r -


, ,

ket day and stoo d rea dy t o part as soo n as Mrs Ba r


-
, , .

grave came t o her She asked her why sh e w as in su c h .


,

haste She sa id She mu st be going though perh aps sh e


.
,

might not go her j o urney till M o nday ; and told Mrs Ba r .

gra ve sh e hoped she should se e her aga in at her co u sin


,

Wa tso n s before she went whither sh e w as go ing Th e n



,
.

sh e sa id sh e wo uld t ake her le ave o f her a nd walked fro m


, ,

Mrs Ba rgrav e in her view till a t u rning in terrupted the


.
,

sigh t O f her which wa s t hr ee qu a rters a fter o n e in the a fter


,

n oo n .

Mrs Veal died the 7 th Of September a t twelve o cloc k


.
,

THE APPA RITI ON OF MRS VEAL .
9

at n oo n o f her fits and had no t a bo ve fo ur hours senses , “


befo re her dea th in whi ch time she received the sacrament


,
.

The next day a fter Mrs Vea l s a ppe a ring being S unday .

, ,

Mrs Bargrav e wa s mightily indispose d with a co ld and


.
,

a so re throa t th a t sh e co uld no t g o o ut th a t d a y ; b u t on
,

M onda y mo rning she sent a pe rso n t o Captain Wa tso n s ,

t o kno w if Mrs Veal w as there Th ey wo ndered a t Mrs


. . .

Ba rg ra v e s inquiry ; a nd sent her wo rd , th a t sh e w a s n o t


there no r wa s expec ted At this a nswer Mrs Bargrav e


, . .

to ld th e maid she had certa inly mi stoo k the name o r made ,

so me blunder And tho ugh she w as ill she p ut on her


.
,

hood and wen t herself t o Ca pta in Wa tson s though she


,

knew no ne o f the fa mily t o se e if Mrs Veal w as there o r ,


.

n ot They sai d they wo ndered at her asking for tha t she


.
, ,

h ad no t been in to wn ; they were sure if Sh e h ad , she wo uld ,

ha ve been there Sa ys Mrs Bargrav e I a m sure sh e was


. .
,

w i th me o n S aturda y almos t t w o h ou rs They said i t w as .


,

impossible ; fo r they mu st ha ve seen he r if she h ad In .

co mes Capta in Wa tso n while they we re i n di spu te , and said , ,

t h a t Mrs Vea l w as ce rtai nly dead and he r escutcheons


.
,

were making Thi s strangely surprised Mrs Bargra v e ,


. .

when sh e sen t t o t he perso n immedi a tely who had the care


o f them and fo und it t rue
,
Then she re l a te d the whol e .

s to ry to Capta in Wa tso n s fa mily and wha t go wn sh e h ad



,

o n and h ow st riped ; and th a t Mrs Veal t o ld her it w a s


,
.
,

sco w e red Then Mrs Wa tso n cried out Yo u ha ve seen


. .
,

her indeed for no ne kn ew but Mrs Veal and myself tha t


, ,
.
,

the gown was scow e re d And Mrs Wa tso n owned tha t she . .
,

described the go wn exa c tly : F o r sa id she I helped her to , ,

m ake i t up Thi s Mrs Wa tso n bl azed all abo u t the to wn


. .
,

a n d a vo u c hed the demo n stra ti o n o f the t ru th O f Mrs Ba r .

gra ve s seeing Mrs Veal s appa ritio n And Ca ptain W a t



.

.

so n car ried t w o gentlemen immedi a tely t o Mrs Ba rg



rav e s .

ho use t o hea r the rel a ti o n O f her o wn m o u th And when


,
.

it spread so fast tha t gentlemen an d person s Of q u ality , ,

t he j u di c io u s and Skeptica l p a rt o f the wo rld fl o cked in ,

upo n her it a t l ast bec ame such a ta sk tha t she w as fo rc ed


, ,

to g o o ut o f the w ay F or they were in general extremely .


, ,

sa ti sfied o f the t ru th O f the thin g and pl a inly saw th a t ,

Mrs Bargra v e w as no hyp och ond raic ; fo r she always ap


.
1 0 BEST GHOST STO RI ES
pears with such a cheerful air and plea sing mien that sh e , ,

has ga ined the f avo r an d es teem O f a ll the gen t ry ; and i t is


t h o ught a grea t fa vo r if they ca n but ge t the rela tio n fro m
,

her o w n m o uth I sho uld h ave told yo u befo re tha t M rs


.
,
.

Vea l to ld Mrs Bargrav e tha t her sister and bro ther in la w


.
,
- -

were j u s t co me d own fro m Lo ndo n t o se e her S ays Mrs . .

Ba rg ra v e Ho w came you t o o rder m a tters so strangely ?


,

It co uld no t be helped says Mrs Veal And her b ro th er ,


. .

a nd s i ster did co me t o see h e r a nd entered the t o wn o f ,

D o ver ju st a s Mrs Vea l w as expiring Mrs Bargra v e ,


. . .

a sked her whe th er sh e w o uld drink so me t ea


,
S ays M rs . .

Vea l I do no t ca re if I do ; but I ll wa rrant you thi s m ad


,

,

fello w ( meaning Mrs Bargrav e s h usb a nd ) ha s bro ke .


all yo ur trinket s But says Mrs Bargrav e I ll get so m e


.
, .
,

thing to drink in for all tha t ; b ut Mrs Veal waived i t, a nd .

sa id It is no ma tter, le t it a l o ne ; and so it p a ssed


, .

All the time I sa t wi th Mrs Bargrav e which was so m e . .

hours She reco llected fresh sayings o f Mrs Veal And o n e


, . .

m ateri al thing mo re she to ld Mrs Bargrav e th at old M r .


,
.

Breto n a llow e e s Vea l ten po und s a yea r ; whi c h w a s a


.

secr e t an d u nkno wn t o Mrs Barg


,
rav e , t ill Mrs Vea l to ld . .

i t her .

Mrs Bargrav e never varies i n her story ; which puz z l es


.

those who do ubt o f the t ruth o r ar e unwilling to believe it ,


.

A servan t in th e neighbo r s ya rd adj o ining t o Mrs Ba r



, .

grave s hou se heard her talking to so meb ody a n h ou r o f



,

the time Mrs Veal w as wi th her Mrs Ba rgrav e wen t o ut


. . .

t o her nex t neighb o r s the very m o men t sh e pa rt ed w ith


Mrs Veal a nd to ld her what ravi shing conversa tio n sh e


.
,

had with a n Old friend and to ld the whole o f i t ,


Drelin .

co u rt s B o o k o f Dea th is since thi s happe ned b ough t up



, ,

stra ngely And it is t o b e Ob served tha t no twi thstanding


.
,

a ll the trou b le and fa tigue Mrs Ba rg rav e ha s undergo ne .

upo n thi s acco unt she never took the val u e o f a fa rthi ng,
,

n o r snfl e red her d a ugh t er t o t ake a nything o f a nybo dy ,

an d therefo re ca n h a ve n o interes t in telli ng the sto ry .

But M r Veal do es wha t he can to stifle the m at ter


.
,

and sa id he wo uld see Mrs Ba rg


,
rav e ; b u t yet it is cer .

ta in mat ter o f fact tha t he has been at Cap ta i n Wa tso n s ’

since the dea th o f his sister , and yet n ev er wen t nea r Mrs .
T HE APPA RITI ON O F MR S VEAL . 1 :
r
B a rg rav e ; and so me o f h is friend s rep o rt her t o b e a l i ar ,

a n d th a t sh e knew o f M r Breto n s ten p o und s a yea r But



. .

th e pe rso n w h o pretend s t o sa y so , h as the rep u t a tio n o f a


n o t o ri o u s li a r , am o ng perso n s wh o m I kn o w t o be O f u n
d o ubted credi t No w M r Veal is mo re o f a gentlema n th an
. .

t o sa y sh e lies ; but says, a b ad hu sb a nd h a s c ra zed he r .

B u t she n ee ds o nly prese nt herself , and it will effe c tua lly


co nfute th a t preten se M r Vea l says, he a sked h is si ster
. .

o n her dea th bed , whe ther sh e h a d a mind t o di spo se o f


-

a nything ? And Sh e sa id , N0 . Now , the things whic h Mrs .

Veal s appa rit io n wo uld have disposed o f , were so trifling ,


a n d n o th ing o f j ust ice a imed a t in their di spo sal , th a t t he


desi gn o f it appea rs to me t o be o nly in o rder t o m ake Mrs .

B a rg ra v e so t o demo n stra te the truth o f her appe a ra nce ,

a s t o s ti sfy the wo rld o f t h e rea lity thereo f , a s t o wh a t she


a
h a d see n an d hea rd ; and t o secure her reputa tio n a m o ng th e
reas o n able and understanding pa rt o f mankind And then .

a ga in , Mr Vea l o wn s, th a t there w as a pu rs e o f go ld ; bu t
.

it w as no t fo und in her cabi net , b ut in a co mb bo x This - .

l o o ks impro bable ; fo r tha t Mrs Wa tso n owned , th a t Mrs


-
. .

Vea l was so very careful o f the key o f the cab i net , tha t she
w o ul d trust nob ody wi th it . And if SO , no do ubt She
w o uld no t trust her go ld o ut o f i t . And Mrs Veal s o ften
.

dra wing her hand o ver her eyes, and as king Mrs Bar .

g r a ve whe the r her fi t s h a d n o t imp a ired her ,


l oo ks t o m e
a s if she did it o n purpo se t o remind Mrs Ba rg . rav e o f her

fit s , t o prep a re her no t t o think i t stra nge th a t Sh e sho uld


p u t her up o n wr iti ng t o her br o the r t o di sp o s e o f rings
a n d gold , which l o o k e d so m uch like a dying perso n s re

qu est ; and i t took acco rdingly with Mrs Bargrav e , as the .

eff ec ts o f her fits co ming up o n her ; and w as o ne o f the


ma ny insta nces o f her wo nderful l o ve t o her , and ca re o f
he r , tha t sh e shoul d not be affrighted ; which ind e ed ap
pears in her whole management , part icul a rly in her co m
in gt o her in the day ti me , waiving the salu ta tio n , a nd when
-

sh e w as al o ne ; and then the m a nne r o f her p arting , t o


p r eve n t eco nd attemp t to sa lute her
a s .

Now why Mr Veal should think thi s rel at i o n a re fle c


,
.

t i o n as i t is pl a in he do es by h is endeavo ring t o stifle it


, , ,

I ca nno t ima gine ; beca u se the generality believe her t o b e


1 2 B EST GHOST STO RIES
a good spiri t her di sco urse w a s so hea venly He r t wo
, .

grea t erra nd s were t o co mfo rt Mrs Bargrav e in he r ai .

flic t ion and t o ask her fo rgiveness fo r the breach O f fr iend


,

ship a nd with a pi o us di sc o urse t o en co u rage her


, So .

th a t after all to suppo se tha t Mrs Ba rgrav e c o uld h a tch


, , .

su ch a n inv enti o n as thi s fro m F rid a y n oo n till Sa turd ay


no o n su pposing tha t Sh e knew o f Mrs Vea l s dea th t he
, \
.

very first m o men t witho u t jumbling circu mst ances and , ,

witho ut a ny interest too ; she must be m o re wi tty fo rtuna te , ,

an d wi cked t oo tha n any indifferen t perso n I da re say


, , ,

will all o w I as ked Mrs Ba rgrav e several times i f she


. .
,

w as su re sh e felt the go wn ? Sh e a n swere d m o des t ly If ,

my senses be t o be relied o n I am sure Of it I asked her , .


,

if She hea rd a so und when sh e cla pped her hand upo n her
knee ? She sa id she did n o t rememb er sh e did ; bu t sa id
,

sh e a pp ea red t o be as much a sub sta nce as I did w h o t a lked ,

with her And I may said sh e be as soo n persuaded t hat


.
, , ,

yo ur appa riti o n is ta lking to me no w a s tha t I did no t re a lly ,

s ee her : fo r I w a s under no m a nner o f fear a nd received her ,

a s a friend a nd p a rted with her a s su ch


,
I wo uld no t s ays .
,

sh e give o n e fa rthing t o m ake any o ne believe it : I h ave


,

no in terest in i t ; n o thing bu t t ro uble is enta iled upo n m e fo r


a lo ng t ime fo r aught I kn o w ; a nd had it no t c o me t o l igh t
,

b y a ccident it wo uld never have been m ade public Bu t


,
.

no w sh e says sh e will m a ke her o wn priva te use o f i t a n d


, , ,

keep herself o ut O f the w ay as much as she can ; and so sh e


h as d o ne sin c e She says Sh e h ad a gentleman w ho ca m e
.
,

thi rty miles to her to hea r the rela t io n ; and tha t she had
t o ld i t t o a ro om fu ll o f peo ple a t a time Severa l p a rt icu .

lar gentlemen h ave had the sto ry fro m Mrs B arg



rav e s o wn .

m outh .

This thing has very much affected me a nd I am a s well ,

sa ti sfied a s I a m o f the best gro unded m a t t er o f fac t


,
And -
.

why we should di spute m at ter o f fact beca use we ca n n ot ,

so lve thin g s O f which we c a n ha ve n o c ert a in o r dem o n s tra


tive no tio n s se ems strange t o me Mrs Ba rgrav e s a utho r
,
. .

ity a nd sin c erity alone would have been undo ubted in any ,

o ther case .
B EST G HOST STO RIES
a tt est ing fo r the di scern ing spiri t O f t he sob er an d u n der
s tan ding gentlewo ma n h is kin swo m a n and h is kin sw o man ,

beco ming ba il fo r the vera city O f Mrs Ba rgrav e An d here . .


,

gentle reader admire th e simplicity O f tho se d ays Had


,
.

Mrs Veal s vi si t t o her friend ha ppened in o ur time t h e


.

,

c o nducto rs o f the d aily press wo uld have given the wo rd a nd ,

seven gentlemen u nt o the sa id press bel o ngi ng would w ith , ,

a n o bedient sta rt h a ve m a de Off fo r Kingsto n fo r Ca n ter



,

,

b ury fo r D o ve r fo r Kamch a tka if necessa ry t o p ose


, , ,

the Justi c e cro ss examine Mrs Bargrav e co nfro nt the so be r


,
-
.
,

a nd unders ta nd ing kinswo man an d dig Mrs V eal up f rom ,


.

her gra ve ra the r than no t get to t he bo ttom o f t he sto ry


,
.

B ut in ou r time we do ub t and scru tiniz e ; our ances to rs w o n


d ered and believed .

B efo re the sto ry is co m menced t he unders tan d in g gen tl e ,

woman ( no t t he Justice O f Pea ce ) wh o is the repo r ter ,

t a kes so me p ain s t o repel the o bjecti o n s m ade agains t t he


s to ry by so me o f the friend s o f Mrs Veal s b rdthe r, w ho

.

co n si der the m a rv el as a n aspersi on on thei r family a nd ,

do wha t they can t o l a ugh i t o ut O f co unten ance In d ee d .



,

it is all owed with a dmirable i mpa rti a lity tha t M r Vea l is


, ,
.

t oo much o f a gentlema n t o suppo se Mrs Ba rg ra v e inve n ted .


t he sto ry sca nd a l itself co uld sc a rce ha ve supposed t ha t
alth ou gh o ne n o to ri o u s li a r wh o is ch as ti sed t o wards the
-
,

co nclu sio n o f the sto ry, ventu res t o thro w out such an i n sin
na ti o n : N o reaso n a bl e o r respec ta ble pe rso n h owever co ul d , ,

be found t o countena nce the suspicio n and Mr Veal h im , .

s elf o pined th a t Mrs B a rg rav e h ad been dri ven cra zy by


.

a cruel h u sb a nd and drea med the wh o le s to ry o f t he a ppa


,

rit io n No w all thi s is sufficien tly art ful T o have vo uc hed


. .

the fa ct a s un iversally kno wn an d b elieved by every o ne , ,

n e m c on
. wo uld no t ha ve been h alf so sa tisfa cto ry t o a
.
,

skeptic a s t o all o w fa irly tha t t he na rra tive h a d b een im

p g
u n e d a n d hin t a
,
t the c h a ra cte r o f o n e O f th o s e skep t ics ,

a nd the m o tives o f an o ther a s sufficien t t o a cco un t fo r t heir


,

wa nt O f belief Now t o the fac t itself . .

Mrs Bargrav e and Mrs Veal had been friends i n yo u th


. .
,

a nd h a d pro tested t hei r a tt ach men t sho u ld l a st a s l o ng as


they lived ; bu t when Mrs Veal s bro ther o bta ined an .

O ffice in the customs at D o ve r, some cessa tio n O f their inti


THE APPA RITI ON OF MRS VEAL . 1 5

m acy ensued , though witho u t an y po sitive qu arrel Mrs .



.

Ba rgra v e ha d rem o ved t o Can terbury , and w a s res iding i n


a ho u se o f her ow n , when sh e w as suddenly inte rrupted by a
vi sit fro m Mrs Veal , as she wa s sit ting in d eep co ntempla
.

t i o n o f c e rta in di stresses o f her o w n The vi sito r w as in a rid


.

ing ha b it , a nd a nno un ced he rself as prepa red fo r a distan t


-

jo urney ( which seems to in tima te tha t spiri ts h ave a c onsid


r ble distance t o go befo re they a rrive a t thei r appo inted
c a
s ta tio n and th a t the fem ales a t le as t pu t o n a ha bit fo r t h e
,

o ccasi o n ) The spi ri t, fo r su ch w as the seeming Mrs Veal


. .
,

c o ntinued t o wa ive the cerem o ny o f salu ta ti o n b o th in go ing ,

an d coming which wil l remind the reade r O f a gho stly lov


,

e r s reply t o his m istress in the fine Old S co tti sh b allad


W hy sh o uld I co me w it hin t hy b o w er ?
I a m n o e a r t h ly m a n ;
And S h o u ld I kiss t hy r o sy lip s,
Thy day s w o u ld n o t b e la ng .

They then bega n t o ta lk in the ho mel y styl e of mi ddl e ged -


a
l a d ies and Mrs Vea l proses concerning the co nversa tio ns
, .

they had fo rmerly held , and th e books they h ad read t o


gether He r very recen t experien ce pro bably led Mrs Veal
. , .

t o ta lk o f dea th , an d the b oo ks w ri tten o n the subject , and


sh e pro n oun c ed e x ca t he drd as a dea d pe rso n was b est
,

enti tled t o d o tha t D relinco urt s b oo k o n Dea th w as th e
,


be st b oo k on th e subject eve r written She al so m entio ned .

D r Sherl o ck, t w o Dutch boo ks wh ich h ad b e en t ran sla ted ,


.

a n d several o the rs ; b u t D re linc ourt , S h e sa id h a d t he clea r ,

es t n o t i o n s o f dea th and the fut u re s ta te o f a ny who h ad


h an dled th a t subject She then asked fo r t he wo rk ! we m ar
.

vel the editi on and i mpress h ad not been menti oned ] a nd


l ectured o n it wi th grea t elo quence and affecti on Dr . .

K enrick s Asce tick was al so mentio ned with a pproba tio n by


thi s critica l specte r ! the D octo r s wo rk w as no d oub t a ten


a n t o f t he shelf in so me fa vo rite p ub li sher s sho p ] ; and


M r N o rris s P o e m o n F rie ndship, a wo rk which I do ubt


.

, ,

th ough h ono red with a ghost s approb a ti o n , we m ay now


seek fo r a s va inly as C o rrelli t o rmented h is mem o ry t o t e


co ver the so na ta w h ich the de vil pl ayed t o him in a drea m .

Presently a fter, fro m fo rmer h abits we m ay suppo se the ,


1 6 B EST G HOST STO RIES

g ue s t desi res a cup o f t ea ; b ut be thi nki ng he rself O f h er ,

new cha ra cter esca pes fro m her own propo sal by reco l
,

le c t ing tha t Mr Ba rg rav e w a s in the ha bit o f b reakin g h is


.


wife s chi na It wo u ld have been indeed stra ngely ou t o f
.

cha ra cter if the spi ri t ha d l unched o r b reakfasted upo n ,

t e a a n d to as t S uch a co nsumma ti o n would have so unded


.

as ridic u l o us as if the sta tue o f the co mm a nder in D on J u a n


h a d no t o nly acc epted o f the invita ti o n o f the libertine t o
supp e r bu t had a lso co mmi tted a beefste ak t o his flin t y
,

j aws and sto m ach O f adama nt A little mo re co nversa ti o n .

ensued o f a less serio us na tu re and tending to Sho w t h a t ,

even the passa ge fro m life t o dea th leaves the female a nxiety
a b o u t perso n a nd dress so mewha t a live The ghost a sked .

Mrs Ba rgrav e whether sh e did n o t think her very m uch


.

a ltered and Mrs Ba rg


,
rav e o f c o urse c o mplimented her o n
.

her goo d l o oks Mrs Bargrav e al so admired the go w n whi c h


. .

Mrs Veal wo re and as a mark O f her pe rfectly resto red c o n


.
,

fide nce the spirit led her into the impo rta nt secret th a t it
, ,

w a s a sc our e d silk a nd l a tely m ade up ,


She info rmed h e r .

al so o f an o the r sec re t n a mely th a t on e M r ,


Bre to n h ad , .

a ll o wed her ten p o u nd s a ye a r ; a nd l a stly she req u ested , ,

tha t Mrs Ba rgrav e would write t o her brother and tell h im


.
,

h ow t o di strib u te her mo urning rings an d ment io ned th ere ,

w a s a purse o f gold in her ca bine t She expressed so me .

wish t o se e Mrs Ba rgrav e s d aughter ; but when tha t goo d


.

l ady wen t t o the nex t d oo r t o seek her sh e fo und o n her ,

retu rn the gues t leaving t he ho u se She h ad go t with o u t th e .

d oo r i n the street in the fa c e o f the beas t ma rket o n a


, , ,

S a tu rd ay, which is m arket d ay a nd stoo d rea dy t o pa rt ,


.

Sh e sa id sh e m u s t be go ing a s sh e h ad t o ca ll u po n her ,

co usin Wa tso n ( thi s a ppea rs t o be a gra t is d ict u m o n the


pa rt o f the ghos t ) a nd ma inta ining the cha ra cter O f mo rta l
,

ity t o the l ast, she qu ietly tu rned th e co rner, and walke d


o ut o f sigh t .

Then ca m e t he news o f Mrs Veal s ha ving di ed the d a y .


b efo re a t noo n S ays Mrs Bargrav e I a m su re sh e w a s


. .
,

wi th me on Sa tu rday al mo st t w o ho u rs And in co m es .

Captain Wa tso n and says Mrs Veal w a s certa inly dea d


,
. .

And then co me a ll t h e pi e ces o f eviden c e and esp eci ally the ,

s triped silk gown Then Mrs Wa tso n cried o ut Yo u ha ve


.

.
,
THE APPA RITI ON OF MRS V EAL . 1 7

s een her indeed fo r n one kn ew but Mrs Veal a nd I th at


, .


th at go wn w as scoured ; and she cried th a t the go w n w as

d esc ribed exa ctly fo r sa id sh e , ,
I helped her t o m ake it ,

up . And next we ha ve th e silly a ttempts ma de t o di scredit
the histo ry Even Mr Vea l her bro ther w as o bliged t o
. .
, ,

a ll o w th a t the go ld w as fo u nd b u t wi th a differen c e an d , ,

p retende d it w as n o t f o u nd in a ca binet b u t el sewher e ; a nd , ,

in sho rt we ha ve a ll the go ssip o f says I and t hin k s I and


,

sa y s she a n d t hin k s she


, which dispu ted ma tters usually
,

excite in a co un t ry town .

When we ha ve thus turned the ta le the seam without , ,

i t m ay be tho ugh t t oo ridiculo u s t o have a ttra cted n o ti ce .

B u t who ever will rea d it a s told by De F oe himself will ,

a gree th at coul d the thing ha ve happened in real ity , so


,

i t wo uld have been to ld The so bering the wh o le supe r .

n a tu ral visi t in to the l angua ge o f the middle o r lo w life ,

g ive s it a n a ir o f pr o b a bili t y eve n in it s a b s urd it y Th e .

g h o s t o f an e x c is em a n s h o u sekeepe

r a n d a s e a m s tr es s,
we re ,

n o t t o co nve rse l ike Bru tu s w ith his Evil Gen i us And the .

c ir cu m stances o f sc o ured silks broken t e a c hin a and such ,


-
,

l ike while they ar e the n a t ural to pics o f su ch pe rso n s c o n


,

v ersa ti o n wo ul d one migh t ha ve th o ught he the l as t whi ch


, , ,

a n i nven to r wo u ld h a ve in t ro d uced into a pretended n a rra


t ive betwix t the dea d a nd living In sho rt the whole is so .
,

distinctly circums tantial tha t were it no t fo r the imp ossi


, ,

b ilit y, o r extreme impro b ability a t lea st o f such an oc cu r ,

ren ce the evidence co u ld not b u t suppo r t the sto ry


, .

T he effec t w as most wo nderful D r elin c ourt upon D ea t h .


,

a tt es ted by on e w h o co uld spe a k fro m expe rien c e t oo k an ,

un equaled run The copies h ad hung o n the b oo kseller s


.

h an ds as heavy as a pile o f lead bullets They no w t ra .

versed the town i n every directi o n like the sa me b alls d is ,

ch arged fro m a field piece In sho rt the objec t o f Mrs


-
.
, .

Veal s a ppa ri ti on w as perfec tl y a tta ined See The Misce l



.

lan eo u s Prose Wo rks of Si r Wal ter Scott, B art , v ol iv p . . .

3 05 , e d .
CAN O N AL B E R I C S S CRAP B OO K

-

BY MON TAG UE R HODES JAM E S

T BERTRAND DE COMMIN G E S is a d ec ayed t o wn


.

o n the spurs o f the Pyrenees not ve ry fa r fro m T o u


,

l o use and stil l nea rer to B agneres de Lucho n It w as the


,
- -
.

site o f a bi sh op ri c until the R evo l uti o n a nd h as a ca th edral


,
wh ich is visited by a certa in nu mb er o f tourists In the .


s p ring o f 1 88 3 an Engli shma n a rrived at thi s Old wo rld -

pl ace I ca n hardly dignify it with the name o f ci ty for ,

there a re not a th ou sand inhabitants He was a Cambridge .

m a n wh o h ad co me spe cially fro m T oul ou se t o se e S t


,
.

B ertrand s Church , and h ad left tw o fri end s who were l ess



,

keen a rchaeol o gi sts th a n him se lf, i n their h o tel a t T o u


l o use u nder pro mi se t o j o in him o n the foll owing m o rning
,
.

Hal f an hour a t the church would sa t isfy t he m a nd a ll ,

three could then pu rsue thei r jo u rney i n the directi on o f


Au ch B u t o ur Engl ishm an h ad co me ea rly on t h e d ay in
.

qu est io n , and proposed t o himself t o fill a note bo o k a n d -

t o use several d o zens o f pl a tes in the pro c ess O f desc rib i ng


a nd ph o to graphing every c o rner o f the wo nderfu l c h u rch
th a t d o min a tes the little hill O f Co mminges In o rder t o .

ca rry o ut thi s design sa ti sfa c to rily it w as necessa ry t o m o


,

no p o liz e the verger o f the c hu rch fo r th e d ay The verger .

o r sa c ri sta n ( I prefer the l a tter a ppell atio n i n acc ura te as ,

it m ay be ) w as acco rdingly sent for b y the so mew ha t


b rusqu e l ady wh o keep s the inn o f the Ch apeau R o u ge ;
and when he ca me ,
the Engli shman found him a n u n e x
p ec t e d ly i nteres t ing o bject o f s t u dy It w a s n o.t in t h e
perso na l a ppearance o f th e little dry wizened O ld m an
, ,

tha t the int erest lay fo r he w as preci sel y like do ze ns o f


,

o the r chu rch gu ardi an s in Fra n c e but in a cu ri o u s f u r t ive


-
, ,

o r ra th e r hun t ed and o p pressed a ir which he h a d


,
He w as .

perpetually hal f gla ncing behind him ; the muscles o f h is


1 8
CANON AL BE R IC S SCRAP B OOK ’
-

b a ck an d s o
h ulders se emed t o be hu n ched i n a co ntinual
n ervo us c o ntra c ti o n as if he were expecting every m o men t
,

t o fi n d him self in the clutch o f a n enemy The English .

m a n ha rdly knew whethe r t o put him d own as a m a n ha un t


e d by a fix e d delu si o n o r as o ne oppressed by a guil ty
,

co ns cience o r as an unbea rably henpecked h usb and Th e


, .

ro b a bilit ie s, when re cko ned up certa inly po inted t o the


,

as t idea ; bu t st ill , th e i mpress i on conveyed w as tha t o f


,

a m o re fo rmida ble pe rsec u to r even th an a term aga n t wi fe


. .

Ho wever, th e EnglisM a n ( le t us call him D e nn ist oun )


w as soo n t o o deep in h is no te b oo k and t o o b u sy with h is
-

ca mera t o g ive mo re t han an o ccasi o nal gl ance t o the


Sa cris ta n .Whenever he did l oo k a t h im he fo u nd h im ,

a t n o grea t di stan c e, ei the r huddling himself b a ck a gainst


th e wa ll o r cro uching in o ne o f the go rgeou s s tall s D en .

nist o un b eca me ra ther fidge ty a fter a ti me Mingled .

suspici o n s tha t he w as keeping the Old m an fro m his


d éj e u n e r tha t he w as reg
, a rded as likely t o m a ke a way
with S t B ert rand s i vo ry cro zier o r wi th the dusty s tu ffed

.
,

cro c o d ile tha t h a ngs o ver the font bega n to t o rmen t him
, .

“ ’ ” “
W on t you go ho me ? he sa id a t l as t ; I m qu ite well ’

abl e t o fini sh my n o tes a l o ne ; you ca n l o ck m e in if you


li ke I sha ll wan t a t leas t t w o ho u rs mo re here, and it
.

mu s t b e co ld for you isn t it ? ,


” ’


Goo d heaven s ! said the lit tle man, whom the sugges
tion se emed t o thro w into a sta te o f una cco un ta ble terro r,

su ch a thing cann o t be tho ught o f fo r a m o men t Leave .

mo nsi eu r al o ne i n the church ? No , no ; tw o ho u rs three ,

ho u rs al l wi ll be the sam e t o m e
,
I have bre akfa sted , I
.


a m n o t a t al l co ld , with m an y th a nks t o m o n si e ur .


Very well , my l i ttle m an , quo th D e nnistoun t o him

s el f : y o u h a v e bee n w a rned ,
an d y o u m u s t ta ke the co n

sequ e nce s .

B efo re the expira tio n o f the two h ours the s talls the , ,

en o rmo u s dil a pid a ted o rg an the ch o ir screen o f B i shop


,
-

Jo hn de M a ul eo n the remnan ts o f gla ss and t apestry a nd


, ,
t he O bjects in the t reas u re chamber -
h ad been well an d,

J uly exa mined ; the sa cri sta n still keeping a t D e nn ist o u n s


hee l s an d e ve ry n ow an d then whipping ro un d as if he h ad


,

uee n stung, when one o r o the r o f t h e st range no i ses tha t


BE ST GHOST ST O RI E S
t ro ubl e a la rge empty b u ildi ng fell on h is ear Cu riou .

no ises they were so metimes .

“ ” “
On c e D e nnistoun sa id t o me I co uld h ave sw o rn 1
, ,

hea rd a thin metallic v o i ce l a ugh ing high up in the t o wer

white t o . 1
‘ —
I d a rt ed an inqu iring gla n c e a t my sacri s ta n He wa

.

the lips I t 5 h e tha t is it is no o n e ; t h e d ooq


is l ocked w as all he sa id a nd we l ooked a t e a ch o th e r fol
,

a full m i
,

n ute .

Ano th er li ttle i nci den t pu zzl ed De nnist oun a good de al


He w as exa mi ning a l a rge d a rk pi cture th a t h a ngs b eh ind
the alta r o ne o f a se ries illust rating the mira cles o f St
,

B ert ran d The compositi o n o f the pi ctu re is w ell n igh in -

e c ip he rab le , b u t there IS a L ati n l egend bel ow, wh ich runl


.

gh us

Qua lit e r S Be rt”ra n du s libe ra v it h o m me m q


. ue m diab o lu s d i
n
v o le ba t s t r a n gula r e ( Ho w S t Be rt rand d e liv e r e d a m a n w h o m
. .

t he D e v il lo n g so ught t o s t ra ngle ) .

D enn ist o un was tu rni ng t o the sac ri sta n with a smile


and a j o cul a r rem a rk o f s o me so rt on h is lips, b u t he was
confounded t o see the Old m an o n his knees, gaz i ng a t the
picture with the eye o f a suppl ian t i n ago ny, h is ha nd:
ti gh tly clasped , an d a ra in o f tears o n h is cheeks D en .

n ist oun n a t u ra lly pretended t o h a ve no ticed n o thing ,


b ut

the ques ti on wo uld no t away from him , Why should a

d au b o f thi s kind affect any o ne so stro ngly ? He see med
t o himself t o b e ge tt ing so me so rt o f clue to the reason
o f the strange l oo k tha t h a d been pu z zl i ng him all the day:
the man m us t b e mono ma ni ac ; b u t wha t w as his mono
m a n ia ?
It w as n ea rly five O clock ; the shor t d ay w as drawing m,

an d t he ch urch b egan t o fill wi th sh ad ows , whil e the curi


o us no i se s— the mumed foo tfall s and distan t talki ng voices

t h a t h a d been perceptible all d ay seemed , no d oubt be
ca u se O f the fad i ng light a nd the co n sequ entl y qu ickened
s ense o f hea ri ng , t o b ec o me m o re frequent and i n si stent .

The sa cri st an b egan fo r the fi rs t ti me t o show Si gns of



hu rry and i mpa tience He hea ved a si gh o f rel ief when
.

camera and no te b oo k were final ly packed up and stowed


B EST GHOST ST O RI E S

Th at is we ll he sai d qu ite brightly
,
— “
tha t is very w ell .

M onsieur will t ravel in co mpany with his friends ; th e y will


be al ways near him I t is a good thing t o travel t h us in

.

company some ti mes .

The l as t wo rd a ppea red t o be added as an a fterth o ught ,

an d t o bring w i th it a rel apse i nto gl o o m for th e poo r


l i ttle man .

They were soon at the ho use which w as one ra ther larger ,

tha n its neighb o rs s to ne b uilt w ith a shield ca rved o ver


,
-
,

the doo r, t he shield o f Alberic de M a ul eo n a co ll a teral ,

descend an t D e nnist oun tell s me o f Bi sho p J ohn de Mau


, ,

l éo n Thi s Alberic was a Cano n o f Co mmin ges fro m 1 68 0


.

t o 1 7 01 The upper wind ows o f th e ma nsi on were b o a rded


.

up a nd the whole plac e bo re as d o es the rest o f Com


, ,

minges the aspe ct o f decaying age


, .

Arrived on his d oo rstep the sa cri sta n pa used a mo m ent


,
“ ” “
Perhap s he sa id , perha p s, afte r all m onsieur h as not
, ,

the ti me ?
“ —
N o t at al l lo ts o f ti me —no thing t o do till t o m or -


ro w . Le t us see wh a t it is yo u h ave go t .

The doo r w as ope ned a t t hi s po in t and a face l oo ked ,

o u t a face fa r younge r tha n the sacri stan s but b ear ing



, ,

so me thi ng o f th e sam e di s tressing loo k : o nly here i t s eemed


t o be the m a rk no t so m u ch o f fea r for perso nal sa fe ty as
,

o f a cute anxie ty o n behalf o f an o the r Pl ainly the o wner , .


,

o f the fa ce w a s the sa c ri sta n s d a ughter ; and b u t fo r the



,

expressi on I ha ve described she was a h an dso me girl eno ugh ,


.

She brigh tened up con sidera bly on see i ng her fa ther a cco m
p a n ie d by a n a ble b o died str an ge r-
A few rem a rk s p a sse d .

between father and d augh ter o f which D ennistoun o nly ,



ca ugh t thes e wo rds sa id by the sa cri stan He wa s l a ugh
, ,

ing in the church wo rds which were answered o nly by a
,

l oo k o f t erro r from the girl .

B u t in a no ther mi nu te they we re in the sitting roo m Of -

t h e ho use a sm all hi gh ch a mbe r w i th a s to ne fl o o r ful l o f


, , ,

mo ving sh ad o ws cast by a wo od fire t ha t fl ickered o n a great -

hea rth S o mething o f the cha racte r Of a n o ra to ry w as im


.

parted to i t by a ta ll c rucifix which reac hed al most t o t he ,

ceiling o n o ne side ; the figure w a s pa in ted O f the na tural


col o rs the cross was bl ack Under thi s stood a chest of
, .
CANON ALBERIC S SC RAP B OO K ’
-

so m e a ge and so lidity a nd when a l amp had been b rough t ,


,

a n d chairs se t the sacri st an went t o thi s ch es t and p ro


, ,

d u c e d therefro m with gro wing ex citemen t a nd nerv ou sness


, ,

as D e nn ist o un th o ught , a l a rge b oo k wra pped i n a white


cl o t h on which clo th a c ross w a s rudely embro idered in red
,

th r e a d Even befo re th e wrapping h ad been remo ved


.
,

D e n nist o un began t o be in terested by the size and shape o f


“ ” “
th e v o lum e T OO l arge fo r a m i ssa l
. he tho ught an d
, ,

n o t the sha pe O f an a ntiph o ner ; pe rh a ps i t m a y b e so me



t hi n g go od , a fte r a ll The nex t m o men t th e b ook w as
.

op e n , and D e nnist o un fel t tha t he ha d a t l ast li t upon


so m ethi ng bette r th an goo d B efo re him lay a l a rge foli o ,
.

b o u nd pe rha ps, l ate i n the seventeenth centu ry with the


, ,

a rm s o f C an o n Albe ri c de Ma uléo n s tampe d in go ld o n


t h e S ides There m ay have b e en a hundred a nd fifty l eaves
.

o f p aper in the b oo k, an d o n a lm os t eve ry o ne o f them w as


-
fa s tened a lea f from an ill u min a ted ma nuscrip t S uch a .

c o llec tio n D e nnist o un h ad ha rdly drea med o f in h is wi ld


e s t m o men ts Here were t en l ea ves from a copy o f Gen e
.

s rs ill us t ra ted wi th pic tu res which co u ld no t be l a te r th an


, ,

7 0 0 A D Further
. o n w a s a c o mplete se t o f pi c ture s fr o m a

p s a lte r ,
o f Engli sh ex ec u ti o n o f the very
,
fine st k i nd th a t
t h e t hirteent h centu ry co uld produce ; an d pe rh ap s be st ,

o f al l there were twen ty lea ves o f unci al wr i ting in La ti n ,


,

w h ich a s a few wo rd s seen here and there t old h im a t o n c e,


'
,

m u st belo ng t o so me very ea rly unkn ow n pa tristi c t rea t i se .


C o uld it possibly be a fra gmen t o f the copy o f Pa pi as O n
t h e Wo rd s o f Our L o r whi ch w as kno w n t o have exi sted
a s l a t e a s the t welfth century a t N imes ? In a ny c ase h is ,

m ind w as ma de up ; th a t b oo k must re tu rn t o Ca mbridge


w i th h im ev en i f he h ad t o draw the wh o le O f his b ala n c e
, ,

f ro m the ba nk an d s tay a t S t Bertrand till the mo ney came


. .

He glanced up a t the sacri sta n t o see if his fa ce yielded any


h in t tha t the boo k w as fo r sa le The sa cri sta n w as p ale, and
.

his l ip s were wo rking .


If m o n sieu r will turn o n t o t he end he sa id ,
.

So m o n sieur tu rned o n , meeting new trea sur es a t every


ri se o f a lea f ; and a t the end o f the book h e came upo n
W e n o w kn o w t ha t th e se le a v e s d id c o nt a in a c on s id e ra b le
f ra gm e n t O f t h a t w o r k, if n o t o f t h a t a c tua l c o p y O f 1 t .
B EST GHOST STO RI E S
two s heets of
paper o f m u ch m o re recent d a te th a n a ny
,

t hin g h e h ad yet seen whi ch puzzled him c o ns ider a bly ,


.

They must be co ntempo ra ry he decided with the u n p rin , ,

c ip le d C a n o n Alberi c w h o h ad d o u btless pl u ndered the


,

Ch apter libra ry o f S t Bertra nd t o fo rm thi s pri c eless sc rap


.

bo ok On the firs t O f the paper sheets w as a pl a n ca refully


.
,

dra wn and in sta ntly reco gniza ble by a pe rso n w ho knew the
ground o f the so uth a isle and Cl o i sters O f St Bertran d s
, .

.

There were curio us sign s l o okin g like pla neta ry symbol s ,

a nd a few Hebrew wo rd s in the c o rne rs ; and in the n o rt h


wes t angle o f the clo i ster w as a cross dra w n in go ld p a int .

B elo w the plan were so me lines o f writing in La tin whi ch ,

ran thus :

R e sp o n se 1 2 1 1 1 1 De c 1 69 4 Int e r r o gat u m e st : Inv e n ia m ne ?


. .

R e sp o n su m e st : In v e m e s F ra m n e d rv e s ? F re s
. Vi v a m n e 1 n .

v rd e n d u s ? V 1 v e S Mo r ra r ne m le c t o m e o ? It a
.
( An s w e r s .

O i t h e 1 2 t h O f De c e m be r 1 694 It w a s a ske d : S h a ll I fin d it
, .
?

An sw e r : T h o u sha lt S ha ll I b e c o m e r ic h ? T h o u w ilt S ha ll
. .

I liv e a n O bj ec t o f e n v y ? T h o u w ilt S ha ll I d ie in m y be d ?
.

T ho u w ilt ) .


A good spe cimen o f the tre as u re hunter s reco rd q uite -

remind s o n e o f Mr Mino r C a n o n Qua t re m a in in Old St



- .
.

Paul s w as D enn ist oun s co mment and he turned t he


’ ’ ’
, ,

l ea f
.

Wha t he then saw i mpressed him a s he h as o ften to ld me; ,

more tha n he could h ave co nc eived any drawing o r


t ure ca pa ble o f impres sing him And tho ugh the .
,

he saw is n o l o nger in exi stence there is a ph o to ,

( which I p o ssess ) which fully be ar s ou t th a t


The pictu re in questi on w as a sepi a drawin g at the
the seventeenth centu ry representing o n e wo uld say a , ,

sigh t a Biblical scene ; fo r the a rchitecture ( the p


,
represented an interi o r ) a nd the fi gu res h ad tha t
classi cal fl avo r abo u t them which the a rti sts o f t w o
dred years ago thought appropri a te t o illustra t
Bible On the right wa s a k ing on h is thro ne th
.
,


elevated on twelve steps a can o py o verhead so l
ei ther side e viden tly King So l o mo n He w as
,

.
,

fo rwar d wi th o uts tretched scepter in a tti tude ,

mand ; his face expressed ho rro r and


CANON ALBE R IC S SCRAP B OO K ’
-

in i t al so the mark o f i mperio u s co mma nd and confiden t


po wer The left h al f o f the pi c tu re w a s t he strangest h o w
.
,

ever The interest pl ainly centered there On the p ave


. .

men t befo re the throne were grou ped fo ur soldiers sur ,

ro un d n a cro u ch ing figure which must be described in a


mo ment A fifth so ldier lay dead o n the pa vement h is
.
,

neck distorted and h is eyeball s sta rting fro m his head


,
.

The fo ur su rro u nding gu a rd s were l oo king a t the Ki ng .

In their fa ces the sentiment o f h o rro r w as inten sified ; they


s eemed in fact o nly res tra ined fro m fligh t b y their impli ci t
, ,

t ru st in their mas ter All thi s terro r w as pl ainly excited by


.

the being tha t c ro uched in their midst I entirely de spai r .

O f c o nveying by an y wo rd s t h e impressi o n which this figure


m a ke s upo n a ny o ne w ho l oo ks a t i t I recollect o nce S how.

ing the pho togra ph o f the drawing to a l ecturer o n m or


p h o lo gy— a per so n o f I w as go ing t
,
o say a bn o rm a lly sa ne ,

a n d unima gina tive h a bits o f mind He abso lutely refu sed to


.

be a lo ne fo r the rest o f th a t eveni ng and he told me a fter ,

wa rd s th a t fo r m a ny n ights he had no t d a red to pu t out his


li gh t befo re go ing to sleep Ho wever, the main tra its o f
.

th e figure I can a t lea st indica te At first you saw o nl y a


.

m as s o f coarse ma tted bl ack hair ; prese ntly i t w as seen


,

tha t thi s covered a b ody of fea rful thinness almost a sk ele ,

t o n b u t wi th the mu scles sta nding o u t like wires


,
The .

h a nd s were o f a d usky p all o r co vered like the b ody wi th


, , ,

l o ng c oarse ha irs a nd hideo u sly tal oned The eyes to uched


, , .
,

in wi th a b urning yell o w had intensely bl ack p upil s and


, ,

were fixed upo n the throned kin g with a l oo k o f be ast like -

h a te Im agin e one o f the awful bird ca tching spid e rs o f


.
-

S ou th Ameri ca t ra nsl a ted into hum an fo rm a nd e nd o w ed ,

with intelligen c e j u st less th a n h um an a nd you w ill h ave ,

so me fain t co ncepti o n o f the terro r in spired by the ap p al


1.
ling e ffigy One remark is u niversally made by tho se t o
.

g

w mm I h ave shown the pi c tu re : It wa s drawn fro m the

li e.

As so o n as the firs t sh ock o f his irresi stible frigh t h ad


sub sided D enn ist oun sto le a l oo k a t h is h o st s
, The sac ris .


ta n s ha nds were pressed upo n his eyes ; h is d aughter l oo k ,

ing up a t th e cross on t he wall w as telling he r beads fever


,

l snly .
26 B EST GHOST STO RIES

A t la st the quest ion w as asked Is this b oo k fo r sale ? ,

There w as t h e sam e hesita ti o n t he sa me pl unge o f d e ,

termina tio n tha t he h a d no ticed befo re and then ca m e th e


, ,
“ ”
wel co me a nswe r, If m onsieu r pleases .


Ho w much d o yo u ask fo r it ? ”

I will take t w o h undred and fifty francs .

Thi s w as confo unding Even a co llecto r s co nsci en c e is


.

so metimes stirred and D e nn ist oun s co nscience w as t en dere r



,

tha n a c ollecto r s ’
.


My goo d ma n ! he sa i d again and agai n yo u r b oo k ,

is w o rth fa r m o re th an tw o hundred an d fifty fran cs , I


as sure yo u — far m o re ”
.

B u t the an swe r did no t v ary : I will take two hun d red



a nd fifty fr ancs no t m o re ,
.

There w as really no po ssibility o f refusing such a ch an ce .

The mo ney w as paid the receipt signed a glass o f w ine


, ,

drunk o ver the t ran sa ctio n and then the sa cri sta n s ee m ed ,

t o beco me a ne w m a n He stoo d upri ght he cea s ed to


.
,

throw tho se suspici ou s glances behind him he a ctual ly ,

l aughed o r t ried t o la ugh D e nn isto un rose t o go . .


I Shall have the h on o r o f acco mpanying mo nsieur to his

h o tel ? sa id the sa cri stan .

“ ‘

Oh no , thanks ! it isn t a hundred ya rds I kno w the ’


.


wa y perfectly a nd there is a m oo n
,
.

The offer w as presse d three o r fou r times, and r efused


as O ften .

“ —
Then m on sieu r will su mmo n me if if he find s o cca
,

si o n ; he will keep t he m iddle o f th e roa d , the sides ar e so


ro ugh .

“ ”
Certainly certa inly said D ennistoun who was i mp a
, , ,

tient t o exa mine h is prize by himself ; and he stepped out


i n to the passage with his book u nder h is a rm .

i
Here he w as met by the d aughter ; she it appea red w as , ,

a nxi o u s t o d o a little bu siness o n he r o wn a cco un t ; perh aps ,


“ ”
like Gehazi t o take so mewha t fro m the fo reigne r whom
,

her fa ther h ad spa red .


A silver crucifix and chain fo r th e neck ; monsi eur wo uld

perhaps b e goo d enough t o a ccept it ?
Well really D e nnistoun h adn t mu ch use for thes e
, ,

things Wha t did ma demo iselle wan t f o r it ?


.
CANON AL BER IC S SCRAP B OOK

-
27


No thing no thingin t he wo rl d . M onsi eu r is more t han

w elco me t o i t.

The t o ne i n whi ch this and much mo re was said w as


u nmi s ta ka bly genuine, so tha t D e nnist o un w as redu c ed
t o pr o fu se t h a nks, and submitted t o h ave the ch ain put
ro und his neck I t rea lly seemed a s i f he h ad rendered
.

th e fa the r and d a ughter so me service which they h a rdly


knew h ow to repay As he se t o ff wi th h is b ook they stood
.

a t t h e d oo r l oo king a ft er him , a nd th ey were s t i ll l oo king


when he waved them a last goo d nigh t fro m the steps o f
-

t he Ch a pe au Rouge .

D inner w as o ver and D ennistoun w as i n h is bedroo m ,


,

sh u t up a l one wi th his acquis iti o n The l andlady h ad ma n i


.

fe st e d a parti cula r in terest in him since he h ad to ld her


tha t he had pai d a visi t t o the sacristan and bo ugh t an O ld
b oo k fro m him He th o ught t o o , th a t he h ad hea rd a hur
.
,

ried di alogue b etwee n her and the said sa cri stan i n the p as
sa ge o u tside the salle d m ang e r ; som e w o rd s t o th e effec t
“ ”
th a t Pierre and Berte wo uld b e slee pingi n the ho use
h a d cl osed the co nversa ti on .

A t this ti me a growing feel ing o f di scomfo r t h ad b een



cr eeping o ver him nervo u s rea ction , perha ps after th e ,

deligh t O f his di scovery Wha tever it wa s i t resul ted i n a


.
,

co nvictio n th a t there w as so me o ne b ehind h i m , and tha t


h e w as far m o re co mfo rtable wi th his b ack t o the wall .

Al l thi s O f course weighed light in the b al ance as again st


, ,

th e o bvio u s value O f the co lle c ti o n he had a cquired And .

n o w a s I sai d he w as al o ne in h is bed roo m ta ki ng s to ck


, , ,

O f Can o n Alberic s trea su re s in wh ich every m o men t re



,

vealed some thing mo re cha rming .

“Bless Ca n o n Alberi c ! ” sa id D ennistoun wh o h ad an


,

m v e t e ra te habi t o f t alking t o him self
e
I wo nde r where .

he is now ? Dear me ! I wish tha t landl ady would lear n to


la ugh in a mo re cheering ma nner ; it m akes o ne feel as if
t he re w as some one dead i n the h ou se H alf a pi pe m o re, .

d i d you say ? I thi nk perhaps you are right I wo nder .

wha t th a t c rucifix is that the yo ung w om an i nsiste d o n


giving me ? Last ce n tu ry I suppose Yes probably It
, .
,
.

is ra ther a nui san ce o f a thi ng t o ha ve ro und one s nec k


j ust too hea vy M o st l ikely her father ha d been wearin g it


.
28 B EST G HOST STORIES
fo r years I think I migh t give it a cl ean up b efore I p u t it
.


awa y .

He h ad taken the c rucifix off and l ai d it on the ta b le , ,

when h is a ttenti o n w as ca ugh t by an o bjec t lying on th e red


cl o th jus t by his left elbo w T w o or three ideas o f w ha t .

it mi gh t b e flit t e d thro ugh h is bra in with their own in ca l


c ula b le q u i c kn ess .


A penw iper ? No no such th ing in the ho u se A ra t ?
,
.

No t oo bl a ck A l a rge spider ? I t rust t o goo dness n o t


,
.

no . Goo d G o d ! a hand like the ha nd in tha t picture !


In a no ther i nfinitesimal fl ash he had ta ken i t in Pa l e .
,

du sky skin co vering no thing but b o nes an d tendon s O f


,

appa lling strength ; co a rse b l a ck hairs l o nger tha n ev er ,

grew o n a human h and ; n a il s ri sing fro m t he ends o f the


fingers a nd cu rving Sha rply down and fo rward gray ho rny , ,

a nd wrinkled .

He flew o ut O f his ch air wi th deadl y inconceivable te rro r ,

clutching a t his heart The shape whose left ha nd rested on


.
,

the table w a s ri sing to a sta ndin g po sture behind h is seat


, ,

it s right h a nd cro oked ab ove h is sca lp Th e re was bl a ck .

and t a ttered dra pery a b o u t i t ; t he co a rse ha ir co vered it


as in the dra w ing —
The l ower ja w w as thin wha t can I
ca ll it P—S hall ow like a beast s ; teeth showed behind the
.

"

,

bl ack lips ; there w a s no no se ; t he eyes o f a fiery yell ow , ,

agains t which the p u pil s sh o wed bl a ck and inten se a nd t he ,

exulting ha te and thirst t o de stro y life which sho ne there ,


were the m ost ho rrifying fea tu re in the whole vi si o n There .

w as intelligen c e o f a kind in them — intelligence beyo nd tha t


o f a be a st bel o w tha t o f a m a n
,
.

The feelings whi ch thi s ho rro r stirred in D e nnisto un were


the intensest physi c al fea r a n d the m ost pro fo und menta l
l o athing Wh a t did he d o ? Wh a t could he do ? He has
.
4
never been qu ite c ertain wha t wo rd s he s aid bu t he knows ,

tha t he sp o ke th a t he grasped blindly a t the silver cruci


,

fix th a t he w a s co n sci o u s o f a mo vement towa rds him on


,

the p a rt o f the dem on a nd tha t he sc rea med with the vo ice


,

o f an anim al in hideo u s pa in .

Pierre and Bertrand the t wo sturdy l ittle se rving m en


,
-
,

w h o rushed in saw n o thin g b u t felt them selve s thru s t aside


, ,

by so methi n g tha t p a ssed o u t betw een th e m an d fo und ,


3 0 BEST GHOST STORIES
I have n ever quite understoo d wha t was D ennis t o un s ’

view o f the e v e nts I have na rra ted He quo ted t o me o nce


'


a tex t fro m Ec cles iasticus z S o me spi ri ts there be t h a t a re

c rea ted for vengeance an d i n their fury lay o n so re s tro ke s
,
.


On an o ther o ccasi o n he sa id : Isa i ah was a very se n s ible
m an ; d oe sn t he sa y so meth ing abo ut nigh t m o n sters livin g

in the ruins o f B abylo n ? These things are ra ther b eyo nd



us a t presen t .

Ano ther co nfidence o f his i mpressed me rather a n d I ,

symp a thized wi th it We h ad been l ast yea r t o Co m


.
, ,

minges to see Cano n Alberic s to mb It is a grea t m a rble


,

.

erecti o n wi th an effigy o f th e Ca n on in a l a rge wig a n d


so uta ne an d an el abo ra t e eul o gy o f h is lea rning bel o w
,
I .

sa w D e nn ist oun tal ki ng fo r so me time wi th the Vi ca r o f S t .


B ert rand s and as w e dro ve a wa y he sa id t o me : I ho pe

,

i t i sn t wro ng : you kno w I am a Presbyteri an but I I


’ — —
believe there wi ll b e sayingo f M ass and si ngi ng o f d irges
‘ ’

fo r Alberic de Mauléo n s rest



Then he added with a

.
,

to uc h o f the No rthe rn B ri ti sh in h is to ne, I had no n o ti o n

t hey ca me so dea r .

Th e bo ok rs i n the Wentwo rth Collecti o n a t C ambridge .

The drawi ng wa s pho tographed a n d then bu rn t by Dennis


to u n on the d ay when he lef t Co mminges o n the o c cas io n
of h is fi rst v isit .
T HE HAU N T E D AND T HE
HAU N T E R S

THE HOUSE AND THE B RAI N

BY EDW ARD B U LWER LYTTON -

FRIEND o f mine, who is a m an o f letters and a


philosopher, said t o me o ne d ay as if between jes t

,

an d c am e s t,
Fa ncy ! since we l ast met I h ave di scovered ,

a h a unted ho u se i n the mi ds t o f L o nd o n .


Real ly ha unted an d by wha t ? gh o st s ?
-

— Well , I ca n t answer t ha t questi o n : all I kn ow is thi s


six week s ag o my wi fe an d I were i n se a rch o f a fur


n ish e d a pa rtment Passn a quiet s treet we saw o n the
.
,

w ind o w o f o ne o f th e ho u ses a bill Apa rtments F u rni shed


.
,

The S i tu ati o n su ited us ; we e ntered the ho use liked the


roo m s — —
engaged th em by the week a nd l e f t them the th ird
d ay . N o power o n ea rth co u ld h ave reco nciled my wife t o

s t a y l o nger ; and I d o n t w o nder a t i t

.

“ ”
Wh a t did you se e ?

Excu se m e I ha ve n o desire to b e ridiculed as a super
s t it io us drea mer — n o r on the o ther h a nd co uld I as k y o u
, ,

t o a ccep t o n my affirm a tio n wha t yo u wo uld h o ld t o be


in credibl e with o u t the evidence o f yo u r o wn se nses Let ,

m e o nly say t hi s it w as n o t so much wha t we saw o r hea rd


,

( in which y o u mi g h t fa i rly s uppo se th a t we were the d u pe s


o f o ur own e xcited f ancy o r the vi c tims o f i mpo st u re in
,

o thers ) th a t dro ve u s a wa y a s i t w a s a n u nd e fin ab le terro r


,

w h i ch seized b o th o f us whenever we passed by the d o o r o f


a c e rtai n unfurni shed roo m , in whi c h we n ei t he r sa w n o r
h e a rd an y th ing . And the s trangest ma rvel o f a ll w as ,

t h a t fo r o nce i n my l ife I ag reed with my wi fe, silly woma n


3 1
3 2 B EST G HO S T S TORIES

th ough sh e b e and al lo wed a fter the third night t ha t it , ,

w a s imp o ssible t o sta y a fo urth in th a t h o use Acco rdi n gly .


,

o n the fo urth m o rning I summ o ned t he w o m a n w h o k e p t


the h o u se an d a ttended o n us and told her th a t the ro o ms ,

d id n o t qu ite su it us a nd we wo u ld n o t s ta y o u t our we ek
,
.

She sa id dryly, I kn o w why : yo u h a ve s tayed l o nger t han


,

a ny o ther l o dge r Few eve r stayed a sec o nd night ; n o ne


.

b efo re yo u a third B u t I ta ke it they h a ve been ve ry kind


.


t o yo u

.

They who ? I

ked , affecting to smile

as .

Why, they w ho ha unt th e h o u se wh oever they are ,


.

I d o n t mind them ; I rem ember them many yea rs ago



,

when I lived in thi s h o use, no t as a serva nt ; b u t I kno w


they will be t he dea th o f me so me d ay I d o n t c a re ’
.

I m o ld a nd mu s t die so o n an yh o w ; an d th e n I S ha ll be

,

wi th th e m a nd in thi s h o use still The wo m a n spo ke with


,

.

s o dre a ry a ca lmne ss th a t really i t w a s a s o rt o f a w e th a t


,

prevent e d my co nversing with her fu rther I pa id fo r my .

week a nd t oo h appy were my wife and I t o ge t o ff so


,

cheaply .

“ “
You e ite my cu ri os ity sa id I ; n o t hing I sh o u l d
,
'

l ike better 1 1 t o S leep in a h a un t e d h o use Pra y gi v e . .

me the a ddress o f the o ne which yo u left so igno m in i



o usly .

My fri end gave me the a ddress ; and when we parted I ,

walke d straight towa rds th e hou se thus indica ted .

I t is situ a ted o n t he No rth side o f Oxfo rd Street ( in a du ll


bu t respec table tho ro ughfa re ) I fo und the h ou se shu t u p .

no bill a t the wi nd o w a n d n o respo n se t o my kn ock


-
,
As .

I w as tu rning a way a beer b oy co llecting pewter po ts a t


,
-
,

the n e i ghb o ring a reas, said t o me, D o yo u wan t any o ne

a t th a t ho u se S ir ? ,
“ ”
Ye s I hea rd it w as t o b e let .


,

Le t l why, the w o m a n w h o k ep t it is dead has been
d e ad th e se three weeks, an d n o on e ca n be fo u nd t o s ta y
the re th o ugh Mr J
,
o ffered ever so m uc h
. He o ffered .

m o th e r w ho ch a rs f o r him £ 1 a week ju st t o o pen and shut


, ,

the wind ows a nd sh e wo uld no t ,
.

“ —
Woul d n o t l a nd why ?
'

The h o u se is h aunted : a nd the Old wom an wh o k e pt i t


THE HAUNTED AND THE HAUNT E R S 3 3

w as fou nd dea d in her bed with her eyes wide o pen They
, .


sa y t he devil s trangled her .


P oo h l you speak o f M r J Is he the owner o f .

the ho use ?
“ ”
Yes .

Where does he li ve ?
In G Stree t, No

.

Wha t is he in a ny bu siness ?

No , sir no thing pa rticu la r ; a single gentleman .

I gave the p o t b oy the gra tuity earned by h is liberal


-

info rmati o n a nd proceeded t o Mr J


,
in G Stree t
.
,

w hic h w as cl o se by the stree t th a t b oa sted the h a unted


h o u se I w as l ucky en ugh to find Mr J
. o a t h o me — ah .

e lderly man , wi th intellig en t co unt en ance and prepossessing


m a nners .

I c o mmunicated my n ame and my business fran kly I .

s a id I hea rd the h o u se w as co n sidered t o be h a unted — tha t


I ha d a stro ng des ire t o examine a ho use with so equivo ca l
a reputa ti o n — th a t I sh ould be grea tly obliged if he wo uld
a ll o w me t o hire it t h o ugh o nly f o r a ni ght
,
I w as willing .

t o p a y fo r th a t privileg e wha tever he might be inclined t o


” “
ask . Sir sa id M r J
,
wi th grea t co urtesy the ho use
.
,

is a t yo u r servi c e fo r as sh o rt o r a s l o ng a time as yo u
,

please R en t is o ut o f the qu esti on the o bliga ti o n will be
.

o n my side sh o u ld yo u be able to di sco ver the cau se o f t h e


s tra nge pheno men a which a t pre se nt deprive it o f a ll
v a lue I cann o t let it fo r I cann o t even get a serv ant to
.
,

keep i t in o rder o r a nswer the d oo r Unl u ckily the ho u se is .

ha unted if I m ay use tha t expressi on no t o nly by ni ght


, , ,

b u t by day ; t ho ugh a t ni ght the di stu rb a nce s a re o f a


mo re u npleasa nt a nd so metimes o f a m o re al a rming ch a rac
ter The p oo r o ld wom an who di e d in it th ree wee ks a go
.

w a s a pa u per wh o m I t o o k o u t o f a wo rkho u se fo r in h e r ,

c hildhoo d she h ad been kn o wn t o so me o f my fa mily a nd ,

h a d o n c e b e en in su ch good circu m sta n ces th a t sh e h a d rent


ed tha t hou se o i my u n cle Sh e wa s a wo man o f superi o r
.

ed uc a ti o n and stro ng mind a nd w as the only person I ,

c o uld ever ind uc e t o re m ain in th e ho u se Inde e d S i n ce .


,

her d e a th whi ch w as su dden a n d t h e co ro n e r s i n q


, ,
u es t ’
,

whi c h ga ve it a n o to riety in the nei ghb o rh o od I h ave so ,


34 BE ST G HO ST STORIES
de spa ired of finding any perso n to take cha rge o f the ho u se ,

muc h mo re a tenan t , tha t I would willingly le t i t rent free -

fo r a yea r t o any o ne w h o wo u ld p ay it s ra tes and t axes .


How lo ng is it sin ce the ho use acqui red this s in is ter

ch a racter ?

Tha t I can sca rcely tell you b ut very many years s in ce
,
.

The o ld wo man I spoke o f sa id it wa s ha unted when sh e


rented i t be tween t hirty and fo rty yea rs ago The fa c t .

is t ha t my life h as been spent in t he Eas t Indies and in t h e


, ,

civil se rvice o f the Co mpany I retu rned to Engl an d las t


. .

yea r o n inheriting the fo rtu ne o f an uncle amo ng wh o se


, ,

possessio ns w as the hou se in qu esti o n I fo und i t shu t .

u p and uninhabited I w as told tha t i t w as haun ted


.
,

th a t no o n e wo uld inhab i t it I smiled a t what seemed


.

to me so idle a sto ry I spen t so me money i n repa i ring


.


it a dded t o it s old fashi o ned furni tu re a few m o dern
-

a rti c l es—adverti se d it a nd o btai ned a l o dger for a y ear


,
.

He was a co lo nel retired o n ha lf p ay He ca me in w ith -


.

his fam ily a so n and a d a ughter and fo ur o r five se r


, ,

vants : t hey all left the ho use the nex t day ; an d al though ,

each o f them decl ared tha t he had seen so mething difle re n t


from th a t whic h ha d sca red t he o thers a so mething s ti ll ,

w as equa lly te rrible t o all I really could n o t in co nscience


.

s ue no r even bla me the co l o nel fo r brea ch o f ag


, ,
reement .

Then I put in the old wo m an I have spoken o f and she was ,

empo wered to le t the ho u se in apa rtments I never had .

o ne l o dger w ho stayed m o re t ha n t h ree d ays I do not tell .

y o u their s t o rie s— t o n o t w o l o dgers h a ve there bee n e x a c tl y


the sa me pheno mena repe a ted I t is b etter tha t yo u should
.

j udge for yo u rself th an enter the ho use with an imagin a tio n


,

influ en ced by previ o u s narratives ; o nly be prepa red t o see


a nd t o hea r so mething o r o th er a nd t ake wh a teve r p recau
,

tio ns you yo u rself please .


Have you never had a cu ri osi ty you rself t o pass a night

in tha t ho use ?

Yes I pa ssed n o t a nigh t b ut three ho urs in broad day
.
,

light a lo ne in t ha t ho use M y cu ri osi ty is no t sa tisfied bu t


.

it is quen ched I h ave no desire t o renew the expe riment


. .

Yo u ca nn o t compl ain you see sir th a t I am no t suffi


, , ,

c iently candid ; an d unless yo u r inte res t be exceed ingly e a e r


g
T HE HAUNTED AND T HE HAUNTERS 3 5

an d yo ur nerves un usu ally strong I ho nestly add, that I ,

a dvi se yo u n o t t o pass a n ig ht in tha t h ouse .

“ ” “
My interes t is exceedin gly keen sa id I a nd tho ugh , ,

on ly a c o war d will b oa st o f h is nerves i n situ a t i o n s wholly


un fa mili a r t o him ye t my nerves ha ve been seaso ned i n suc h
,

v a riety o f d anger t ha t I have the righ t t o rely on them


even in a haunted hou se .

Mr J . said very li t tle m o re ; he to ok t he keys o f the



h ou se out o f his b u rea u gave th em t o m e and tha nking
, ,

him co rdi ally fo r his fra nkness a nd h is urb an e co nc essio n


,

t o my wi sh I ca rried 03 my prize
,
.

Impa tien t fo r the experiment as soo n as I reached h ome , ,



I summo ned my confidenti al serva nt a yo ung man o f gay
sp i rits fe a rless temper, a nd a s free f ro m su pers titi o us pre
,

j u dices as any o ne I could thi nk o f .

sa id I y o u remembe r in,
Ge rm any h o w d is

appo inted we were a t no t finding a gho s t i n t ha t o ld ca stle ,

wh i c h w a s said to be haunted by a headless a ppa ritio n ?


Well I ha ve heard o f a h o use in L o ndo n which I h ave
, ,

rea so n t o h ope is dec idedly ha unted I mea n t o sl eep there


,
.

to n ight
-
Fro m wha t I hea r t here is no d oub t tha t so me

,
.

thing will all ow itself t o be seen o r t o be hea rd so mething ,

perh aps exc essive ho rrible D o you think if I take yo u


,
.

w i th me I m ay rely on yo ur p resence o f min d wh a teve r


, ,

m ay h appen ?

O h sir ! pra y t rust me an swered F
,
gri nning with
,

deligh t

.


Very well ; then here are the keys o f t he h ouse thi s is

the a ddress G o n ow selec t fo r me any bedro o m yo u
.

ple a se ; a nd S ince the ho u se h as no t b een inhabited fo r


— —
wee ks m ake up a go o d fire a ir the bed well se e o f c o urse
, , ,

tha t there a re candles as well as fuel T ake with yo u my .


revo lver and my d agger so m u ch fo r my weapo ns
arm yo u rse lf equ a lly well ; an d if we a re no t a m a t c h fo r
a d o zen gho st s we sh all be b u t a so rry c ou ple o f En gli sh
,

men .

I w as engaged fo r the res t o f the day o n b usiness so


u rgent th a t I h a d no t lei su re t o think m uc h o n the n o c tu rn a l
advent u re t o whi ch I ha d pli ght e d my h o n o r I dined al one .
,

a nd very l a te a n d while dinin g rea d a s is my habit


, ,
I ,
.
3 6 BEST G HO ST STORIES
s elected one o f the vol umes o f M aca ulay s Essays I th o u gh t ’
.

t o myself t ha t I would take the b o ok with me ; t here w a s s o


much o f the healthfulness in th e style, a nd practi c a l life
in the subjects t h at it wo uld serve a s a n antido te a ga inst
,

the infl uence o f superstiti o us fa ncy .

Ac co rdingly ab out h alf pas t nine I p u t the b oo k i nto m y


,
-
,

po cket, and strolled l ei surely to war ds the h aunted ho u se .


I too k with me a favo rite d og an exceedingly sha rp b o ld

,

an d vigil an t b ull te rrier a dog fo nd o f prowling a b o ut


-

stra nge gh o stly co rners and p assages a t nigh t in sear ch o f



ra ts a d og o f do gs fo r a ghost .

I t w as a summer nigh t b ut chilly, the sk y so mewha t



,

gl o o my and o vercast Still there wa s a mo o n fain t a nd


si ckly bu t still a m oo n—an d if th e cl o uds pe rmi t ted , a ft e r
.

midnigh t it wo uld be b righter .

I rea ched t he h o use , kno cked , and my se rvan t o pe ned


wi th a cheerful smile .


All right sir and very co mfo rtable
, , .


O h l sa id I ra ther di sapp o inted ;
,
have you no t see n

no r hea rd any th ing rema rka ble ?

Wel l , sir, I mus t own I h ave hea rd so me thing qu ee r .


Wha t wha t ?
-

The so u nd o f feet p a t tering behi nd me ; an d once o r



twice small n o i ses like whi spe rs cl ose a t my e ar no thing

mo re .


You are no t a t all frightened ?
I ! no t a bit o f i t sir and the m an s bo ld lo o k rea s ’


, ,

sured me o n on e po in t viz th a t ha ppen wha t might he


.
, ,

wo uld n o t desert me .

We were in th e hall t he street d oo r cl osed a nd my a t


,
-
,

tenti on w as n ow drawn t o my d o g He had a t first run in .

eagerly eno ugh b u t had snea ked b ack t o the doo r and was
, ,

scra tc hing a nd whining t o g e t ou t After pa tting him o n .

the head and enco uraging him gently the d o g seemed to


, ,

recon c ile him self t o the sit u a ti o n a n d follo wed me and ,

F thro ugh the hou se b u t ke epi n g cl o se a t my heel s


,

in stead o f hu rrying inqu i sitively in adva nce whi ch w a s h is ,

u sual a nd n o rma l h abit in a ll strange pl ac es We first v is .

it ed the subterranea n ap artments the kitchen and o the r


o ffices an d espe ci a lly the c ell a rs m whi ch l a st there we r e
, ,
3 8 B EST G HOST ST O m S

Put ba ck tha t ch air opposite me said I to F ,



it b ack to the wall .


F o beyed W as tha t yo u sir ? sai d b e t u rn ing
.
, ,

ab rup tl y
.

“ —
l l wha t ? ”

Why, so me thi ng struck me I felt it sha rp ly o n t he .

sho ulder — j ust here ”


.

“ “
N sa id I B u t we have juggl ers presen t and t ho ugh
.
,

we m ay no t di scover t heir tricks we shall ca tch t hem be fo re ,



t hey frigh ten us

.

We did no t stay long i n the d rawing roo ms in f a c t , -

they fel t so damp and so chilly tha t I w as gla d t o ge t t o


the fire upstai rs We locked the doo rs o f the drawing roo ms -

—a preca u ti on which I should obse rve we had ta ken with


.

, ,

a ll the ro o ms we h ad sea rched bel ow The bed room my se r



.

van t h ad se lected fo r me w as the be st on the floor a


l arge one with two windows fro n t ing th e stree t The fo ur
,
.

po sted bed which too k up no i nconside rable sp ace was


, ,

pp osi t e t o the fire wh i ch b urn t clea r a nd bright ; a d oo r


o ,

i n the wall t o th e left b e tween the b ed a nd the w indo w


, ,

co mmu nica ted wi t h the roo m wh ich my se rvant app ropri


a ted t o him self Th is last was a small room with a sofa

.

b ed and h ad no co mmun i ca ti on wi t h the l an ding pl ace n o


,
-

o ther doo r bu t t h a t whi ch co nduc te d to the bedroom I w as


t o o ccupy . On e ithe r side o f my fireplace was a cupbo ard ,

wi thout l ocks flu sh with the wal l and covered with the


,

sa me dull bro wn pape r


-
We exami ned these cupboa rds
.

o nly b oo k s t o su spend fem ale dresse s — no thing el se ; w e


so unded t h e wa ll s — —
evidently so lid the o u ter walls of the
b uilding Having fini shed the survey o f these apartmen ts,
.

warmed myself a few m o men ts and lighted my cigar I then , , ,

s till a cco mpanied by F went fo rth t o co mp lete my


reco nno iter In the l anding pl ace there w as ano the r doo r ;
.
-

“ ”
i t was cl osed firmly Sir sa id my serva n t in su rprise
.
, , ,

I u nlocked thi s doo r with all th e o the rs when I first
came ; it cann o t have go t l o cked fro m the in side fo r ,

Befo re he had fini shed h is sentence the d oo r which , ,

n either o f us then w as to uching o pened quietly o f i tself , .

We lo oked at ea ch o ther a sin gle instan t The same though t .

se i z ed bo th — so me h um an a gen cy might be detected here I .


T HE HAU . D AN D T HE HAUNTE R S 3 9

ru shed in fi rst my se rvant fo llo wed A small b l a nk dreary


, .


ro o m W i tho u t furn iture few empty boxes and hampers in
a co m er — a sma l l windo w — t he shu tte rs cl o sed — no t even
a fi r e pl a ce —
-
no o ther doo r tha n th a t by which we h ad e n
t e red — no carpe t o n the fl oo r a n d the fl oo r seemed ve ry ,

o ld,
uneven wo rm ea ten mended here and there as w as
,
-
, ,

s h o wn by t he whi t er p a tches o n the wood ; bu t no living


bein g and no v isible pl a ce in whi ch a l ivi ng being co uld
,

h a ve hidden As we stoo d ga zing ro und the d oo r by which


.
,

we had entered closed as quietly as it ha d befo re Opened :


we were impri soned .

F or the first time I fel t a c reep o f unde finab le h o rro r .


N o t so my se rvan t Why they do n t thi nk t o trap us sir ;
.
,

,

I co uld break the trumpe ry doo r wi th a kick o f my foo t .

“ ”
T ry firs t i f i t will o pen to your han d said I sha kin g , ,

o ff the vague a ppr ehensio n th a t h a d sei z ed me , while I

uncl ose the shutte rs and see wha t is wi th ou t

.

I unbarred the shu t ters the window looked on t he l ittle


ba ck ya rd I have befo re described ; there w as no ledge
W i th o u t — no thi ng to b reak the sheer descen t o f the wall .

N 6 m an getting o ut o f th a t windo w would h ave fo und any


foo ting till he had fallen on the sto nes be low .

F mea nwhile, wa s va inly a ttemp ting to Open the


d oo r He n ow turned ro und to me and asked my permis
.

s i o n t o use fo rce And I sho uld here sta te in justice t o


.
,

th e se rvant tha t, far fro m evincing any superstiti o u s ter


,

ro rs ,
h is nerve; compo sure an d even gaye ty a midst cir ,

cu m st a nc es so extrao rdin a ry co mpelled m y admira tio n and , ,

m a de me co ngra tulate myself o n h aving secured a co mp an


io n in every way fi tted to the o cc asi o n I willingly gave .

him th e permi ssi on he requ ired B ut though he w as a re .

m a rk ab ly stro ng man h is fo rce wa s as idle as h is milder


,

effo rts ; the doo r did no t even shake to h is st outest kick .

Breathless a nd pan t ing he desisted I t hen tried the do o r


,
.

myse l f equ ally in vain As I ceased fro m the effo rt a gain


,
.
,

tha t creep o f horro r came o ver me ; b ut thi s t ime it w as


mo re co ld and stubbo rn I felt as if so me stra nge a nd
.

1 1 g u p fro m the chinks o f th a t

a ven o m o u s
very sl owly
40 BEST GHOST STO IES
a nd quietly o pened as o f its own acco rd We preci pi ta ted .

o urselve s into the l anding pl ac e We b o th saw a l a rge p ale


-
.


light as l a rge as t he hu m a n fi gure b u t sha pel e ss and U
su b st a nti al — mo ve be fo re us an d ascend the s ta irs that H ,

fro m the l anding into the a ttics I fo llo we d the li ght a nd .


,

my serv an t fo ll owe d me It entered t o the right o f the.


,

l anding a small gar ret o f whi c h the do o r sto od o pen I


, ,
.

entered in the sam e in sta nt The ligh t t hen co ll apsed in to .

a sm a ll gl o b u le , exc eedingly brilli ant and vivid ; res t ed a


mo ment o n a bed in the co rner quivered and v anished

.
, ,

We appro a ched the bed a nd exa mined it a half tes ter -


,

such as is c o mmo nly fo u nd in a ttics devo ted t o serv an ts .

On t he drawers tha t stoo d nea r i t we perceived an o ld fa ded


s ilk kerchief with the needle s till left in a rent h alf rep a i red
,
.

The kerchief was co vered with dust ; pro b ably it h ad he


lo nged t o the o ld wo ma n w ho h ad l ast died in tha t h o u se ,

a nd t hi s migh t ha ve been her sleeping roo m I h ad sufh .

cien t curi osity t o o pen the drawers : there were a few od ds


an d end s o f fem a le dress an d t w o letters t ied ro und wi th a
,

n a rro w ribbo n o f faded yell ow I too k the liberty t o posse ss .

myse lf o f the letters We fo und n o t hing el se in t he roo m


.


wo rth no ti c ing n o r did the light reappea r ; bu t we d is
t inc tly hea rd a s we turned t o g
,
o a pa tte ring fo o tfal l o n t he ,

floo r j ust befo re us We went thro ugh the o t her a t tics
.

( in a ll f o u r ) the f oo,
t fa ll s till pre c eding u s N o thing to be .

seen — n o thing b ut the foo tfall heard I h ad the letters in .

m y h and : ju st as I w a s descending the sta i rs I di stinctl y


felt my wri st seized an d a fa in t so ft effo rt m ade t o dra w
,

the letters fro m my cl asp I o nly held them the mo re .

ti ghtly and the effo rt ceased


,
.

We re ga in e d the bedc hamber ap pro pri ated t o myself a nd ,

I th e n re marked tha t my d ogh ad no t fo ll owed u s when we


ha d left it He w a s thru sting himself close t o the fire a nd
.
,

trembling I w as impa tient t o exam ine the letters ; and


.

while I read them my se rva nt o pen ed a little b o x in which


,

he h ad d e posited the weapo n s I had o rd e red him t o bring ;


to ok the m out pl aced the m o n a table c l o se a t my bed
,

h e ad and th e n o ccupied him se l f in so o th ing the d o g whor l ,


, ,

however seemed t o heed him v e ry little


,
.
THE H AUNTED AND T HE HAUNTE R S 4 1

a c t ly thirty fiv e
years ago They were eviden tly fro m a
-
.

l o ver t o h is mi stress or a h usb and t o so me yo un g wi fe


,
.

N o t o nly the terms o f expressi o n b u t a di stinct refe ren c e t o ,

a f o rmer v o yage indi ca ted the writer t o h a ve been a sea


f a rer The spelling a nd h a ndwritin g were tho se o f a m an


.

i m perfe c tly edu ca ted b u t still the l an gu age itse l f w a s fo rc i


,

b le In t he expressio ns o f endea rment the re w as a kind o f


.

ro ugh W ild l o ve ; b u t here and there were da rk and un in t e l



ligible hints a t so me sec re t no t o f l ove so me s e c ret th a t
“ ”
se emed o f c rime We o ught t o l ov e each o the r w as one
.
,

O f the sent e n c es I remember fo r h ow every o n e el se wo u ld
,
” “
e xe c ra te us if a ll w a s kn o wn Again : D o n t le t a ny ’


.

o e be in the sa me ro o m with you a t ni ght


n y o u t a lk in

y o u r sleep ”
A n d . aga in :

Wh a t s d o ne ca n t be u nd o ne ;
’ ’

a n d I tell y o u there s n o t hin g a gai n st us unle ss the dea d



c o u ld co me t o li fe Here there w as u nderlined in a better
.

“ ”
h a n dw riting ( a fem ale s ) , They d o ! A t the end o f the

l etter l a tes t in d a te the same fem ale h a nd h ad written the se



w o rd s : L ost a t se a the 4t h o f June the sa me d ay as ,

I put d own the letters, and b ega n t o muse o ver their


c o ntent s .

Fea ring however, tha t the train o f t hought i n to whi c h I


,

fe ll might u nsteady my nerves I fully determined t o keep ,

m y mind in a fit st a te t o co pe with wha teve r o f ma rvel o us


the advancing nigh t migh t bring fo rth I ro u se d myse lf
—la id th e letters o n the table— stirred up the fire which
.


,

w as still b ri gh t a nd cheering and o pened my vo l u me o f


M a ca ul ay I rea d quietly eno ugh till ab o u t h a lf pa st el e ven
.
- .

I th en threw myself dressed upo n the bed a nd to ld my se r ,

va n t he migh t retire t o his o wn ro o m b u t mu st keep h im ,

self awake I b a de h im leave open th e d oo r betw ee n th e


.

t wo roo m s Thus alone I kept t w o ca ndles b u rning o n the


.
,

ta b le by my bed head I pl ac e d my wa tch b e side the


-
.

weapo ns a nd ca lmly resum e d my M aca ul ay Oppo site t o


, .

me the fire bu rned c lea r ; a n d o n the hea rth rug se emingly ,

asl eep , lay t h e d o g I n a b o ut twenty min u tes I felt a n ex


.

ce e d ing ly c o ld a ir pa ss by my cheek l ik e a sudden d ra ught ,


.

I fan c ied the d oo r t o my ri gh t c o mmu nic at ing with the ,


-
,

l anding pl ace m ust h ave go t op e n ; b ut n o it w as c losed .

I then t urned my glan ce t o my le ft a nd sa w the fl ame o f the ,


42 B EST G HO ST STORIES
ca ndl es vi olen tly swayed as by a wind A t the same m o .

men t the watch b eside the rev olver so ftl y slid from the t a ble
—So ftly so ftly— no visible hand—it was gone I Sp ra ng
,
.

up seizing the revo lve r with the o ne h a nd , the d a gger w ith


,

o t he r : I w as n o t will i ng tha t my weapo ns sho uld sha re the


fa te o f the watch Thus a rmed I l ooked round the fl oo r
.
,
-
n o S ign o f the wat ch Three sl o w l oud di st inc t kn o cks
.
, ,

were n ow hea rd a t t he b ed hea d ; my servant ca ll ed o u t,


-

“ ”
Is tha t yo u, sir ?

N o ; he on you r gua rd
\The dogno w roused himse lf an d sat on his haunches his
.

ears m o ving qu ickly ba ckwa rds and fo rward s He kep t .

his eyes fixed o n me with a l oo k so st ra nge tha t he c on


c entered all my a tt en ti o n o n himse lf Slowly he ro se up , .

a ll h is h air bri stl i ng, and s too d perfectly rigid , a nd with


the same wild stare I h ad n o time , h o wever, t o exa min e
.

the do g Presen tly my servan t emerged from h is roo m ;


.

and if eve r I saw h o rro r i n the h u m a n face , it w as then I .

sho uld n o t h a ve rec ognized him ha d we me t i n t h e s tree t ,


so altered w as eve ry lineam en t He passed by me qu ickly
.
,

sa ying in a whi spe r th a t seemed sca rcel y t o c o me fro m h is


“ —
l ips Run run ! it is a fter me !
,

He gained the do o r t o t h e
l a nding pulled it Ope n an d rush ed fo rth I foll o wed him
, ,
.

i n to the landing i nvo lunta rily calling him to sto p ; b u t ,


,

witho u t heeding me , he bo u nded down the stairs clinging ,

to the b aluste rs, and tak i ng severa l steps a t a ti me I hea rd,



.

where I stood , the st reet do o r Open heard it a gain cl ap


-

to. I w as l eft al o ne i n the ha unted house .

I t w as b u t fo r a m o men t tha t I rem ai ned undecided


whether o r no t t o foll o w my servan t ; pride and cu ri osity
alike fo rb ade so d ast a rdly a fli ght I t e entered my roo m ,
.
-

cl o sing t he doo r after me a nd proceeded cautio u sly into


,

the i nteri o r ch amb er I enco untere d nothing t o ju stify my


.

serv a nt s terro r I aga i n ca refully examined the walls, t o



.

se e i f there were any co nceal ed d oo r I could find no trace .

o f o ne — no t even a sea m in the dull brown pa pe r with whi ch


-

the ro om was hung How then had the T HING w ha tever it


.
, , ,

w as whi ch had so scared hi m , o bta i ned i ngress excep t


, .

thro ugh my o wn cham ber ?


I retu rned t o my roo m , sh u t and l ocked the doo r tha
T HE HAUNTED AND T HE HAUNTE R S 43

O pened upo n the in terio r o ne an d stoo d on the hearth ex


, ,

p ec t an t a n d prep a red I n
. o w perceived th a t th e d o g h a d
s lunk int o an a n gle o f th e wa ll a nd w as pre ssing him self ,

c l o se aga ins t i t as if literally st ri ving t o fo rce h is w ay int o


,

i t I a ppro ached the anima l an d spoke to it ; the po o r b ru t e


.

w as evidently beside itself with t erro r It sh owed all its .

teeth the sl aver dropping fro m it s j aws and wo uld certainly


, ,

h a ve bitten me if I h a d t o uched i t It did no t see m t o rec .

og n iz e me Wh o ever h as seen a t the Z ool ogica l Gardens 3


. .

ra bbi t fascin a ted by a serpent co we ring in a co rner m ay , ,

f o rm so me idea Of the anguish which th e dog exhibited .

Fin ding all effo rts to soo th e the animal in va in a nd fearing ,

tha t his b ite might b e a s veno mo u s in th a t sta t e as i n the


m a dness o f hydropho b i a I left him al o ne pl a ced my w ea p
, ,

o n s o n the ta ble b es ide the fire sea t ed myself and reco m , ,

m e n c ed my M a ca ul ay .

Perhaps in o rder no t t o appear seeki ng cred i t for a co ur


,

ag e o r ra th er a coo lness which the reader m ay co nceive I


, ,

exa ggera te I m ay be pardo ned if I pa use to indulge i n o ne


,

o r t w o ego ti st ica l rem arks .

As I h old presence o f mind o r what is called co urage to


, ,

b e prec i sely pro po rti o ned to fa miliarity wi th the c ircum


s ta nces th at l ea d t o i t so I sho uld say th a t I h ad b een l o ng
,

s u fficien tly fam ili a r wi th all experimen ts tha t a pperta in t o


the M a rvel o us I had witnesse d m any ve ry extraordinary
.

p hen o men a in v a ri o u s pa rts o f the w o rld— phen o men a th a t


w o uld be ei ther to ta lly disbelieved if I sta ted them o r ,

asc ri b ed t o su pe rn a t ura l agencie s N ow my theo ry is th a t


.
,

the S upern a tu ral is the Impossible and tha t wh a t is ca lled ,

supern a t u ral is o nly a so me thing in the l a ws o f n a tu re o f


whi c h we ha ve b een hi the rt o igno ran t Therefo re if a ghost .
,

ri s e b efo re me I h a ve no t the right to sa y
,
So then the , , ,
” “
s u pern a tu ral is po ssible b ut ra ther So th en the appari
, , , ,

ti o n o f a gh ost is co ntra ry t o rec eived o pini on within the


, ,

l aws o f na tu re i s no t su perna tural
,
.

No w in all tha t I h ad hitherto witnessed and indeed in


, ,

all the wo nde rs which the a m a teurs o f myste ry in o ur ag e


reco rd as fac ts a m a teri al living agency is always requ ired
,
.

On the continen t you will find st ill magicians who a ssert


th at they can ra ise spi rits Assume fo r the moment tha t
.
44 BEST GHO ST S T O R IES
they a ssert truly still the living ma teria l fo rm o f the m a gi
,

e i a n is pre sent ; a n d he is the m a teri a l a gency b y which ,

fro m so me c on stit u ti on al pe culia ritie s certa in s trange p h e ,

n o men a a re represe nted t o yo u r n a tu ral sen ses .

Acc ep t again as t ruthful the tales Of spirit M anifes ta



, , ,

ti o n in Ameri ca mu si ca l o r o ther so un ds wri tings o n

p aper pro duc ed b y n o di scernible h and a rticles O f fu rni
,

tu re m o ved witho u t appa rent h uma n a gency o r the a c tual
si g h t an d to uch O f h and s t o whi ch n o bodies seem t o b e
,

l o ng still there m u s t be fo und th e M EDIUM o r living being ,

with co n stitu ti on al pecul iarities capable o f Obta ining these


S ign s . In fine in all such m a rv el s suppo sing even tha t there
, ,

is no impos t u re there m u st b e a h um a n being like o u r selve s


,

by who m o r thro ugh who m the effec ts presented t o h u m an


, ,

b eings ar e produced It is so with the n o w famili a r phe


.

n o men a O f mesmeri sm o r ele ctro bi o l ogy ; the mind o f the -

perso n o pera ted o n is a ffected th ro ugh a m a teri al living


agen t .N o r supposing it tru e th a t a mesmerized p a tient ca n
,

respo nd to the will o r passes o f a mesmerizer a hundred


miles di sta nt is the respo n se less o c ca si oned b y a m ateri al

,

fluid ca ll it Elect ric ca ll it Odi c c all it wh a t yo u will


, ,

which has the power o f tra versing sp a ce and p assing o b sta


cles tha t the m a teri a l effect is co mm un ica ted fro m o n e t o
,

th e O ther . Hen c e all th a t I h ad hithert o witnessed o r ex ,

p e c t e d t o witne ss in thi s s tra nge h


,
o u se I believed t o be ,

o cc a si o ned th ro ugh so me agen c y o r medi u m as m o rt a l as

myself : and thi s idea necessa rily prevented the aw e with


whi ch th o se w ho rega rd as su pern a tu ral things th a t ar e ,
'

n o t within the o rdin a ry o pera ti o n s o f n a t u re migh t ha ve ,

bee impressed by the adven tu res o f that memo rable


nigln t
.

As then it w as my conjec t u re that all tha t w as presen ted


, , ,

o r wo u ld be presented t o my sen se s m u s t o ri gin a te in so m e ,

hum an being gifted by con stitu ti o n with the po wer so t o


present them and having so me mo tive so to d o I fel t a n
, ,

interes t in my theo ry whi ch in it s w ay w as ra ther phil o , ,

so phical th an su pe rstitio u s And I ca n sincerely say th a t I


.

w as in as tranquil a tempe r fo r o b serv a ti o n a s an y pra c tic a l


experimentali st co uld be in awaiting th e effect o f so me
ra re tho ugh perhaps peril o us ch emi cal co mbin atio n Of
, , .
46 B EST G HOST STO R IES .


mind I said, This is ho rro r, but it is n o t fea r ; unless I
fea r I ca nno t b e ha rmed ; my reaso n rejects thi s thing it is ,

m1 ill usi o n I do no t fea r ”
With a vi olen t eff o rt I suc
.

c ee d e d a t l a st in stretching o ut my h and towa rd s the


weapo n o n the ta ble : as I did so on the arm and sh o ul der ,

I received a strange sho ck a n d my arm fell to my s ide ,

po werless An d now , t o add t o my h o rro r the light began


.
,

s l owly t o wa ne fro m the c andle s they were no t a s i t were , , ,

e x t ingui shed b u t their fl ame se emed very gradu ally W ith


,

drawn : it w as the sa me wi th the fi re — the light w a s e x


tra c ted fro m the fu el ; in a few min u tes the roo m w as in
u tter d a rkness .

The drea d tha t ca me over me t o b e th u s in the d a rk with ,

tha t dark T hin g who se power w as so intensely felt bro ugh t


, ,

a r ea c t i o n o f nerve In fa ct terro r had reached tha t cli


.
,

m ax tha t eith er my sen ses m u st h ave deserted me o r I


, ,

m us t ha ve burst t hro ugh the spell I did bu rst t hro ugh it . .

I fou nd vo ice tho ug h the v o i c e w as a sh rie k I remember



.
,

tha t I b roke fo rth W 1t h wo rd s like these I d o n o t fea r m y ,

so ul d o es n o t fea r ; and a t the same time I fo u nd t h e
s t rength t o ri se S til l in tha t pro fo u nd gloo m I rushed t o

.

o n e o f the wind o ws —
to re a side the cu rtain flungo pen t h e
sh u tters ; my fi rst tho ught wa s — —
LIGHT And when I sa w .

the moo n high clea r, an d calm I felt a j o y th a t al mo s t


, ,

c o mpensa ted fo r the previ o us te rro r Th ere w as the m oo n .


,

there w as al so th e light fro m the gas l a mps in the deserted -

s l u mbero u s s tree t I tu rned t o l o ok b ack into the ro o m ;


.

the mo o n penetrated it s shado w very p alely an d p arti ally


b u t still there w as light The d ark Thing wha teve r it

.
,

migh t be w a s go n e e xc ep t th a t I c o u ld yet se e a dim


,

sha d ow whi ch seemed the sh a d o w o f th a t sh a de agai ns t


, ,

th e o ppo site wall .

My eye no w rested on the t ab le a nd fro m under t he ,



tab le ( which w as witho ut cl o th o r c o ver an Old m aho gan y
ro und tab le ) there ro se a h and vi sible as fa r as the wri s t ,
.

It w as a h a nd seemingly a s m uch o f flesh and bl o o d as my


, ,

own but the h a nd o f a n a ged perso n — lean wrinkled sm al l ,



, , ,

t oo a wo m an s h and

Tha t h and very so ftly c lo sed o n the
.

t wo lett ers tha t lay o n the ta ble : h and an d letters b o th v a n


'
S he d . There then c a me the sa me three lo ud measured
THE HAUNTED AND THE HAUNTE R S 47

kn o cks I heard a t the b ed head b efo re thi s extrao rdin ary


-

d ra m a h ad co mmen ced .

As those so unds sl owly ceased I felt the who le ro o m vi ,

bra te sensibly ; and a t th e far e nd there ro se as fro m the ,

floo r spa rks or gl o bu les like bubbles o f li gh t m a ny col o red -

— green yell ow fire red az u re Up an d d own t o and fro


, ,
-
.
, , , , ,

h i ther thither a s tiny Will O the Wi sps th e spa rks m o ved ,


, ,
-

- -

s lo w o r swif t , e ach a t h is o wn c aprice A chair ( as in the .

d ra wing ro o m belo w ) w as n o w a dvanced fro m th e wa ll W ith


-

o u t appa ren t a gen cy an d pl a ced a t the o ppos ite side o f the


,

t a b le S uddenly a s fo rth fro m the ch a ir there grew a shape


— a wo m an s sh ape I t w as di stinc t as a sha pe o f life
,
.


.

g h a s tly a s a sh a pe o f de a t h The fa ce w.a s t h a t o f y o ut h ,

w ith a stra nge m o um ful b ea u ty : the thro a t and sho ulders


w ere b a re the rest o f the fo rm in a loose ro be o f cl o u dy
,

W hite .I t bega n sleeking it s l o ng yello w h a ir which fell ,

o ver its sho ulders ; it s eyes were n o t t u rned to wa rd s me b ut ,

t o the d oo r ; i t seemed li s tening wa tching waitin g T he


, ,
.

s h a d o w o f the sha de in the b a ckgro u nd grew d a rker ; an d

a ga in I th o u gh t I beheld the eyes glea ming o u t f ro m the


f
s u mmi t O the sh ado w — eyes fixed u po n tha t shape .

As if fro m the do o r th o u gh i t did no t Open there grew


,

,

o ut a n o the r sha pe equally di stin ct equally ghastly a



, ,

m a n s sha pe a yo ung man s I t w as in the dress o f the


’ ’
.

l a s t centu ry o r ra ther in a likeness Of such dress ( fo r bo th


,

the male sh ape and the female th o ugh defined were evi

, ,

d n t ly u n su b stanti al impa lpa bl e sim ul ac ra ph anta sms ) ;


e —
,

a n d there w a s so mething inc o ngru o us gro te squ e yet fe arfu l , , ,

in the c o ntrast between the el a b o ra te finery the co u rtly pre ,

c isio n O f th a t Old fa shi o ned ga rb -


wi th it s ruffles a nd l ace ,

a n d b uckles a nd the co rpse like a spect a nd gh os t like still


,
- -

ne ss o f the fl itting we arer Just as the male sha pe ap .

p ro ac h e d the fem a le,


the d a rk S h a d o w st arted fr o m the w a ll ,

a ll thre e fo r a m o ment wrapped in d a rkness When the p ale .

light retu rned the tw o ph anto ms were a s in the g ra sp O f the


,

sh a do w th a t t owered b etween them ; an d there w a s a bl oo d


st a in o n the bre a st O f the fe m ale ; a nd the ph ant o m m ale
w as lea ning o n it s ph ant o m swo rd and b l o od seemed tri ck ,

l ing fas t fro m th e ruffles fro m the l ace ; a n d the da rkness Of


,

the interm edi a te Sh ad o w swall owed them up they were —


48 B EST GHOST STO R IES
go ne And again the b u bbl es o f light sho t and sail ed a nd
.
, ,

undul a ted gro wing thi cker and thicker a nd mo re wildly


,

confu sed in their mo vements .

The c l ose t do o r t o the right o f the fire pl ac e now O pened -


,

and fro m the apert ure there ca me th e fo rm o f a n a ged


wo ma n In her h and she held letters the very letters
.
— ,

o ver which I h a d seen t he H a nd close ; a nd behind her I


hea rd a fo o tstep She tu rned ro u nd as if t o li sten and then
.
,

sh e o pened th e letters an d seemed t o rea d ; a n d o ver her


sh o u lde r I sa w a livid fa ce th e fa c e as O f a m an l o ng
,

dro wn e d bl oa ted bleached seaweed ta ngled in it s dripping
, ,

ha ir ; an d a t her feet lay a fo rm as o f a co rp se and be side ,

the co rpse there cowered a child a mi serable squalid child , ,

with fa mine in it s cheeks a nd fea r in it s eyes And a s I .

l o o ked in the O ld wo man s fac e the w rinkles and lines v an



,

ishe d and it be ca me a fac e o f yo u th h a rd eyed sto ny b u t -
, ,

st ill yo u th ; an d the Sha d o w d a rted fo rth a nd d a rken e d o ver ,

th ese phanto ms as it had da rkened o ver the l ast .

No thing no w w as left but the Shad ow a n d o n th a t m y ,

eyes we re intently fixed till aga in eyes grew ou t O f the


,

Sh ado w serpent eye s And the b u bbles o f li g ht .

a ga in ro se a nd fell a nd in their di so rder irregul a r tu rh u


, , ,

lent maze mingled with the w an mo o nlig


,
ht And no w fro m .

these glo b ules themselves as fro m the shell o f an egg m o n


, ,

stro us th ings b u rs t o u t ; the a ir grew filled with them ; la r


v ae so b l o o dless a nd so hide o u s th a t I can in no w ay de

scribe them except t o remind the re ader O f the swa rming


life which the so l a r micro sco pe brings befo re his eyes in a

dro p o f wa ter things tra nspa rent su pple agile ch asing , , ,

e a ch o ther devo u ring e a ch o ther


,
— fo rm s like no ught ever
beheld by the na ked eye As the sh apes were witho u t
. .

symmet ry so th e ir m o vem e nt s were with o u t o rder


,
In .

their very va grancies there w a s no spo rt ; they ca me ro u nd


me a nd rou nd thicker a nd faster a nd swifter swa rming
, ,

o ver my he ad crawling o ver my right a rm whi ch w a s o u t


, ,

stret ched in invo l u nta ry c o mm a nd a ga in st a ll evil bein g s .

S o metimes I felt myself to u ched bu t n o t by them ; invi sible ,

ha nd s to uche d me O n c e I . cl u tc h a s o f c o ld so ft
fingers a t my thro a t I w as . c o n sci o u s th a t if
I gave w ay t o fear I sho uld pe ril ; and I co n
T HE HAUNTED AND T HE HAUNTE R S 49

my facul ties i n the S ingle focus o f res isting


c e n t ra t e d all ,

s t u bb o rn will And I tu rned my sight fro m the Sh ad o w


.

a b o ve a ll fro m tho se s trange se rpent eyes


,
eyes th a t h ad -

n o w be co me di stinctly vi sible F o r there tho ugh in n o u ght


.
,

e l s e ro u nd me I w as awa re tha t there w as a WILL a nd a


, ,

w ill o f inten se crea tive wo rking evil which migh t crush


, , ,

d o wn my o wn .

The pale a tmo sphere in the roo m b egan now t o re dden as


i f in the a ir o f so me nea r c o n flag ra tion The la rvae grew .

l u rid as t hings tha t live in fire Agai n the room vibra ted ;
.

ag a in were he a rd the three meas ured kno cks ; and a gain all
things were swa ll owed u p in the da rkness o f the dark
Sha dow as i f ou t o f that da rkness all h ad come, i nto t hat
,

d a rkness all retu rned .

As the gloo m rece ded the S hadow was wholly go ne


,
.

S l owly as i t h ad b een withdrawn the fl ame grew again i nto ,

t h e ca ndles o n the ta b le, again in t o the fuel in the gra te .

Th e wh ole roo m ca me o nce mo re ca lml y, heal thfully into


S ig ll t .

The t wo do o rs were sti ll clo sed the d r communi ca ti ng


'

,

w ith the servan t s roo m sti ll l o cked I e co rne r o f t he

.

wa ll in to which he h a d so co nv ulsively niched himself, lay


t h e dog I ca l led t o h im
.
— no m o vemen t ; I appro a ched
the a nimal w as de ad ; his eyes p ro truded ; his to ngue o ut o f
h is mo u th ; the fro th ga thered ro und h is j aws I too k him .

in my a rms ; I b rought him t o the fire I felt a cu t e grief fo r



, .

f
the l oss O my po o r favo ri te acut e self repro ach ; I accu sed -

m yself o f his de a th ; I im agined he h a d died o f fright Bu t .

wh a t w as my su rp rise o n fin ding tha t his nec k was a ctually


b ro ken Had thi s been d one in the d ark ? must it no t
.
-


h a ve been by a h a nd h u man as mine ? mu st there n o t ha ve
b een a hum a n agen cy all t he while in tha t roo m ? Go od
c a u se t o suspe ct it I canno t tell I canno t d o mo re than
. .

s t a te the fa ct fa irly ; the rea der may dra w his o wn i nfer


ence .


An other surpri sing circumstance my watch w as resto red
t o the table fro m whi ch it h ad been so mysteri o u sly wi th
d rawn ; b ut it had s to pp ed a t the very moment it w as so
wi thd rawn ; n o r, desp it e z all the skill o f the wa tchm ak er

,

h as i t ever go ne since t t is it will go in a stra nge erra tic
,
50 BES T G HO ST ST ORIES
w ay fo r a few h ou rs, and then come t o a dead stop —it is
wo rthless .

No thing mo re chan c ed fo r the res t o f the nigh t N o r , in .


c

deed h ad I lo ng to wa it b efo re the d awn b roke No r till it


, .

w as bro a d d ayligh t did I q ui t the h au nted ho use B e fo re .

I did so I revi sited the little blin d roo m in whi ch my se r


,
:

va n t and myself h a d been fo r a time impri so ned I h a d a .

stro ng impressi o n — fo r whi ch I co uld n o t a cco unt — th a t


fro m tha t ro o m ha d o rigina ted the mecha nism O f the p he
— f —
no men a i I m ay use the term whi ch h ad b een e xp e ri
e nce d in my c h amber And tho ugh I entered i t no w in th e
.

clea r d ay with the sun pe erin g th ro ugh the filmy wind o w


, ,

I still fel t as I sto od o n its fl oo r the creep o f the h o rro r


, ,

whi ch I had first there experien ced the night befo re an d ,

which h ad been so agg ra va ted by wha t ha d passe d in my


o wn cha mber I co uld no t indeed b ea r to sta y mo re t ha n
.
, ,

ha lf a minu te within tho se wall s I desc ended th e sta i rs .

and aga in I hea rd the foo tfa ll b efo re me ; a n d when I


o pened the s treet do o r I tho u ght I co u ld di stingu i sh a very
,

low l au gh I ga ined my own h ome expecting t o find m y


.
,

runaway servan t there B u t he ha d no t prese n ted him .

self ; n o r did I hea r m o re o f him fo r three da ys whe n I re ,

g
e iv ed a l e tt e r f ro m h im , d a ted fro m Liverpo ol t o thi s e f
ect :
HO N ORED S IR —I h um bly e n t r e a t y o ur p a r do n t h o ugh I c an
,

,

sc a r c e ly h o p e t ha t y o u w ill t h in k I d e se r v e it u n le ss w h ich
He a v e n f o r bid—y o u sa w w h a t I d id I f e e l t h a t it w ill b e ye a r s
,
'

b e f o r e I c a n r e c o v e r m y se l f : a n d a s t o b e in g fit f o r se r v ic e it is ,

o ut o f t he q
ue st io n t h e r e f o r e go ing t o m y b r o t h e r in la w
. I am - -

a t Me lb o u r n e Th e sh i
. i p
sa ls t o m o r r o w
-
P e r h a s t h e lo ng . p
v o ya ge m a y s e t m e u p I d o n o t h in g n o w b u t s t a r t a n d t r e m ble ,
.

a n d f a n c y I T is b e h in d m e I h u m b ly b e g y o u , h o n o r e d s ir , t o
.

o r d e r m y c lo t h e s, a n d w h a t e v e r w a ge s a r e d u e t o m e , t o b e se n t
t o m y m o th e r s, a t W a lw o r t h

J o h n k n o w s h e r a —
d
. d r e ss

.

The letter ended wi th additi o n al apol ogies , so mewh a t in


coherent an d expl a na to ry deta ils as to effec ts t ha t h ad been
,

u nder the writer s c harge



.

Thi s fligh t m ay pe rha ps wa rran t a su spi ci o n tha t the man


wished t o go t o Australia and h ad b een so meh ow o r o ther ,

fraudul ently m ix ed up w ith the events o f th e night I say .


THE HAUNTED AND THE HAUNT E R S 5 1

no th ing in refutati on o f tha t c o njec tu re ; ra ther I sug ,

gest it as o ne tha t wo uld seem t o ma ny perso ns the m ost


pro b a ble so l u ti o n o f impro b able occu rren ces M y belief .

in my ow n theo ry rema ined un shaken I retu rned in the .

e vening t o the h o u se t o b ring awa y in a h ack cab the things


,

I ha d left there with my po o r dog s bo dy In thi s task I


,

.

w as no t di st u rbed no r did a ny inc ident wo rth n o t e befall


,

m e exc ep t th a t still o n a scending and descending the st airs


, , ,

I hea rd t he sa me fo o tfall in advan ce On lea ving the ho u se .


,

I went t o M r J s He w as a t ho me I retu rned him th e


. .

. .

keys to ld him th a t my cu ri o sity w as suffic iently gra ti


,

fi e d a nd w a s a bo u t t o rel a te qu i ckly wh a t h a d p assed


, ,

whe n he sto pped me a nd sa id tho ugh with m u ch po lite , ,

n es s tha t he h ad no l o nger a ny interest in a mystery which


,

n o ne h ad ever so lved .

I determined a t least t o tell him o f the two letters I


h a d read , as well as O f the extrao rdina ry m anner in which
they h ad di sappea red an d I then inquired if he th o ugh t ,

t h ey h ad b een a ddressed t o the wo man w h o h a d died in the


h o u se and if there we re anything in her early hi sto ry whi ch
,

c o u ld po ssibly c onfirm the d ark su spi c io ns to which th e


letters gave ri se M r J . seemed st a rtled and
. a fte r , ,

m u sing a few m o ments an swered I am but little ac , ,

q u a in t e d wi t h the w o m a n s e a rlier hi s t o ry ex c ept a



s I , ,

b efo re to ld yo u tha t her fa mily were known to mine Bu t


,
.

y o u revive so me v a gu e r e mini scence s t o her prej u dice I .

will m ake i nqu iries a nd info rm yo u o f their resul t S till


,
.
,

eve n if we co uld a dmit the popu la r superstiti on th a t a per


so n w ho h a d been eit he r the perpetra t o r o r the vi c ti m O f
d a rk c rimes in life co uld revi sit as a restless spi rit the scene , ,

in whi ch tho se c rimes h ad been co mmitted I sh o uld o h ,

serve tha t the h o u se w a s infested by stra nge s ights a n d


so und s befo re the Old wo m a n died — y o u s mile — W h a t w o uld

y ou sa y ?

I wo uld say th i s tha t I am co nvin ced if we co uld get
, ,

t o the bo tto m o f the se mysteries we sh o u ld find a living ,



huma n agency .


Wh a t ! yo u believe i t is all an impo stu re ? fo r wha t

Objec t ?

N o t a n imp o s t u re in the o rdin a ry se n se o f the w o rd If .
5 2 B EST G HO ST STORIES

s uddenly I were t o sink i nto a deep sleep from whi ch you ,

c o uld no t awake me bu t in tha t sleep co uld answer qu es


,

ti o n s with an accuracy which I co uld n o t pretend t o w hen


a wake — tell yo u wha t m oney you had 1 n yo u r pock e t n ay — ,

describe your very thoughts it is no t necessarily an im
p osture a ny mo re than i t is necessa rily su pern a tu ral
,
I .

sh o u ld b e ,
un co nsc i ously t o myself under a mesmeri c in
,

flue nc e conveyed t o me fro m a di stan c e by a huma n being


,

w h o ha d a cqu ired po wer o ver me by previ o us r appo r t .


Bu t if a mesmerize r co uld so affect ano ther l iving be ing ,

ca n y o u suppose th a t a mesmerize r co uld al so affect i n a ni


m a te objects mo ve cha i rs—o pen and shut doo rs ?
.


O r i mpress our senses with th e belief in su ch effec ts w e —
never havi ng b een e n rapport with the perso n acting o n u s ?
N0 Wha t is co mmo nly called mesmeri sm coul d no t do th i s ;
.

b u t there may be a po we r akin t o mesmeri sm and su peri o r



,

t o it the po wer tha t in the old d ays was called M a gic .

Tha t su c h a power may extend t o all in a nima te o bjec t s o f


ma tter I d o no t say ; bu t if so it wo u ld n o t b e aga in st

,

n a tu re it wo uld b e only a rare power in n a ture whi c h


might be given to constitu ti o ns wi th certa in peculiar it ies ,

a n d c ultiv a ted b y pra ctice t o an extr ao r in a ry degree Th at


d — .

su ch a po wer migh t ex tend o ve r the dea d tha t is o ve r


,

certa in thoughts a nd memo ries tha t the dead may still re



ta in and c ompe l no t t ha t whi ch ought properly t o be
,

c alled the SOUL and which is far beyond hu ma n rea ch but


, ,

ra ther a phanto m Of wha t h as been mo st ea rth sta ined on -


ea rth t o m ake itsel f ap paren t t o o ur sens es is a very an
,

c ien t tho ugh o bso lete theo ry u po n which I will h az a rd


,

no o pini o n .Bu t I do no t co nce ive the po we r wo uld be


su pe rn a tural Le t me ill u stra te wha t I mean from an
.

experimen t whi ch Para cel sus descri bes as no t difficult an d ,

which the autho r o f the Curiositie s of Lit erat ure cites as


c re d ib le z — A flo wer perishes ; yo u b u rn it Whatever were
.

the elements o f t ha t flower while it lived a re go ne , di spersed ,

y ou kn o w n o t whi t he r ; yo u c a n never di sc o ver no r t e c-


o llec t
them B u t yo u can, by chemi stry o ut O f the burn t dust
.
,

o f tha t fl ower, ra i se a spe c tru m O f the flo wer ju st as it ,

seemed in l ife I t may be the same with th e human b eing


. .

The so u l has a s much esca ped you as the essence o d e


r
54 B EST G HO ST STORIES
ma n asmyself w as the remo te o rigin a to r ; and I b elieve
,

u nco n sci o u sly t o him self as t o the exa c t e ffec t s pro d u ced ,

fo r thi s rea so n : n o tw o perso n s you say h a ve ever told, ,

y o u th a t they experien c ed ex a ctly the sa me thing Well ; .

O b se rve , no t w o perso n s ever expe rience exa c tly t h e same


dream If this were an o rdin ar y impo stu re t h e m a chinery
.
, ,

wo uld be a rranged fo r resu lts tha t wo uld b u t littl e vary ;


if it were a su pe rn a tur al agency permitted by the Almighty ,

i t wo u ld surely be fo r some de finite end Th ese pheno mena .

belo ng t o neither cl ass ; my pe rsu asi o n is tha t they o rigi ,

n a te in som e b ra in no w fa r di sta n t ; tha t th a t bra in h ad no


distinc t vo liti on in anything tha t o ccu rred ; tha t wha t do es
oc cu r reflec ts bu t its devi o us mo tley ever shifting ha lfq
, ,
-
,

fo rmed tho ughts ; in sh o rt tha t it h as b een b ut the drea ms


,

o f su ch a bra in pu t into actio n and inves ted with a se mi


su b sta n c e Tha t th i s bra i n is o f immense po wer th a t it '

.
,

s t ructive, I b elieve ; so me ma teri al fo rce m ust h av

fic e d to ki ll myself had I b een as subj ugate d



,

as the d og h ad my intellec t o r my spiri t given m e no



co un te rva iling res istanc e in my will .


I t killed yo ur d og! tha t is fear ful ! indeed it is s tran ge
tha t no a nim al can be ind u ced to stay in tha t ho use ; n ot

even a ca t Ra ts an d mi c e are never fo und in it
. .


The instincts o f the b ru te crea tio n detect influen c es
deadly to thei r exi stence M an s reason h as a sens e l ess
.

su b tle becau se i t has a resi sting power m o re su pre m e


,
.


B u t eno ugh ; d o yo u co mprehend my theo ry ?

Yes tho ugh i
,

( pardo n the wo rd
o nce the n o ti o n O f gho sts and h o b go blin s we i m bibed in o u r
-

nurse ries S till t o my unfo rtu na te ho u se th e evil is t he


.
,

sa me . Wha t on ea rth can I do wit h the h o u se ?

I will tell yp u wh a t I wo u ld d o I am co nvin ced fro m .

my own intern al feelings tha t the small unfurni shed 1 001 1


}
a t right an gles t o the d oo r o f the bedro o m whi ch I o c cupied ,

fo rm s a sta rting po int o r re ceptacle fo r the infl u en ces whi ch


-

ha unt the ho u se ; an d I stro ngly a d vi se you t o h a ve t he


wa ll s o pened the flo o r rem o ved
,
— n ay the whole roo m ,
T HE HAUNT ED AN D T HE HAUNT E R S 55

p ull ed d o wn I Ob s erve
. th a t it i s d e t a c hed fro m t he b o dy o f
t h e h o u s e b u il t o ver th e sm a l b a ck ya rd a n d c o u ld b e re
,
l -
,

m o ved witho u t inju ry t o the rest o f the b uilding .


An d yo u think if I did th a t ,

Yo u wo uld cu t Off the telegraph wires Try it I am so . .

i
I

p e rs u a ded th a t I a m ri ght th a t I w ll p y
a
,
h a lf the exp e n s e

i f yo u will all o w me to direct the Opera ti o n s .


N ay I a m well able t o affo rd the co st ; fo r the rest
, ,

a ll o w me t o write t o yo u
Abou t ten days a fterwa rds I rec eived a letter fromMr
.

J t
,
elling me t h a t he h a d vi s ited th e h o u s e s ince I h a d
s e en him ; tha t he ha d fo u nd t he t w o letters I h ad described
r epl a c ed in t he dra wer fro m which I h ad taken them ; tha t

h e h ad rea d them wi th mi sgivings like my o wn ; tha t he h ad


i n s ti tu ted a ca uti o us inqu iry a bo ut the wo m an t o who m I
r ightly co njectured they ha d b ee n written It seemed tha t .

t hi rty six yea rs a g


-
o ( a yea r b efo re the d a te O f the let ters )
sh e h ad m a rried agai n s t the wi sh o f her rel a ti o n s an Ameri
, ,

c an o f very s uspi c i ous ch a racter in fa c t he w as ge ne rally , ,

b el ieved to ha ve b een a pira te She he rself w as the daughte r .

o f very respe c ta ble tra de speo ple an d h ad se rved i n the ca ,

p a c it y o f nu rsery g o verne ss b ef o re her m a rria ge She h a d a .

b ro ther a wid ower Who w as con sidered wealthy a nd who


, , ,

h ad o n e ch ild o f ab o u t six years Old A m o n th a fter the .

m a rria ge the bo dy o f thi s b ro the r was fo und i n th e Th ames


, ,

nea r Lo ndo n B ridge ; there seemed so me ma rks Of vi olence


a b o u t h is th roa t bu t they were no t d eemed su fficien t t o w a r
,

ra n t the inquest in any other verd ict th an t ha t o f fou nd

dro wned .

The American an d his wife too k cha rge o f the l ittl e


b o y the deceased b ro ther h aving by h is will l eft his s i ster
,

th e gu ard i a n O f his o nly child — and in the event o f the


c hild s dea th

the Si ster inherited The child died ab o u t
,
.

six m o nths a fte ward s r — it w as su pp osed t o h ave been neg


lec t e d a nd ill tre ated -
The neighb o rs depose d t o h ave
.

hea rd i t shriek a t night The su rgeo n wh o h ad examined .

it a fter dea th sa id tha t it w as e maci ated as if fro m wa nt


o f no uri shmen t an d the b od y wa s c o vered with livid
,

brui ses I t seemed tha t one winter night the child h ad



.

so u ght t o e sc ape — crep t out into the b ack yard tried t o -


5 6 BEST GHO ST STORIES
s a —
c le the wall fallen b ack exhau sted and b een fo u n d at ,

m orning o n the s to nes in a dying state Bu t th o ugh th e re .

w a s so me evidence o f cru elty there w as n o ne o f m u rd er ;


,

an d the a u nt a nd her h u sb a nd h a d so ught t o p a ll i a te

c r uelty by a lleging the exc eeding stubb o rn ness a nd p e r


v ers ity o f the c hild w h o w a s decl ar ed to b e h al f-wit t e d 1
,

.

Be tha t is it m ay a t the o rphan s dea th the a un t i nhe ri ted


,

her bro ther s fo rtune B efo re the first wedded yea r w as



.

o u t the American qu i tted Engl and ab ruptly an d n ever ,

returned t o it He Ob ta ined a c rui sing vessel, which w as


.

lo st in the Atl an tic tw o yea rs a fterward s The wido w w as .

left in afflu ence ; b u t reverses o f vari ou s kinds h ad b efa llen



her ; a ban k b roke an investmen t failed sh e wen t i nto—
a sma l l bu sine ss and b e ca me in so lven t — then she ente red
in to service S inking l ower and lower, fro m ho useke eper

,

down to m aid o f all wo rk never lo ng reta in i ng a pl ac e


- -
,

tho ugh no thing deci ded aga inst h er ch a racter wa s ever


a lleged . She w as co nsidered so b er h one st a n d peculi a rl y , ,

quie t in her ways ; sti l l n o thing p rospe red wi th her And .

SO she had dro pped in to the wo rkh o use fro m which Mr , .

J h a d t aken h e r,
t o be pl a ced i n ch a rge o f the ve ry
ho use whi ch she h ad ren ted as mistress in the fi rst year o f
her wedded life .

Mr J
. a dded th a t he h ad p asse d a n h o u r al o ne in
the unfurni shed roo m which I had urged him to destroy ,

a n d th a t h is impre ssi o n s o f drea d W hile there were S O great ,

tho ugh he h ad neithe r hea rd n o r seen anything th a t he was ,

eage r t o h ave the wall s b a red a nd the floo rs removed as I


had suggested He ha d engaged perso ns fo r the wo rk and 1
.
,

wo uld commence any day I wo uld n ame .

The d ay w as acco rdingly fixed I repa ired t o th e h aun ted



.

ho use he we n t in to the blind dreary roo m took up the ,

skirting an d then th e fl oo rs
,
Under the ra fters co vered
.
,

with rubbish w as found a trap doo r quite l a rge eno ugh


,
-
,

t o admi t a m an I t was cl osely n ailed d o wn with cla mps


.
,

an d ri vet s o f iro n On rem oving these we descended into i


.

a roo m bel o w the exi sten c e o f whi ch ha d never been sus


,

p ec t e d . In thi s r o o m there h a d been a wi n dow and a flue ,

but they had been bri cked over evidently fo r m any years , .

B y the h e lp o f ca ndles we ex amined this pl ace ; i t st ill t e ~


T HE HAUNTED AN D T HE HAUNT E R S 57

t a ine d so m e mo ul dering furni t ure — three cha irs, an o ak


s ettle , a table—all o f t he fashi o n o f ab o ut eighty years a g o .

Th ere w as a chest of drawe rs against the wall , in which w e


f u d , h lf ro t ted away , o d fashioned arti cles o f a m an s
o n a - l -

d ress, such as migh t ha ve b een wo rn e ighty o r a hundred


ye a rs ago b y a gen tlem a n o f so me ra nk— c o stly s teel
buckle a d b utton s, like tho se ye t wo rn in co urt dresses,
s n -

a h a nd so me co urt swo rd — ln a wai s tc oa t which h a d o nce


bee ri c h with go ld l ace, b u t whi ch w as no w bla ckened an d
n -

fo u l with d amp , we fo und five guin eas , a fe w S ilver co in s,


a n d a n ivo ry ticket , pro b ably fo r so me pl a c e o f enter ta in
m en t l o ng since p assed away B u t our ma i n d isco very w as
.

i n a kind O f iro n safe fixed t o the wall , the l o ck o f which


i t c os t us mu ch tro uble t o get picked .

I n thi s sa fe were three shelves and t w o small drawers


,
.

Ra nged on the shelves were severa l small bo ttles o f crystal ,

h ermetically sto pped They co ntained co l o rless v ola tile


.

e ssen c es o f th e na ture o f whi ch I sh a ll o nly sa y tha t they



,

were t po is n s phospho r and ammo nia entered in to so me


n o o
o f them There were al so so me ve ry cu rio us glass tub es,
.

an d a small po inted ro d o f iro n wi th a l a rge l u mp o f rock



,

crystal and a no the r o f amber also a loadsto ne o f great


,

po wer .

In one o f the drawers we fo und a min iature po rt rai t se t


in gold an d reta ining the freshness o f its col o rs most t e
,

ma rk a b ly c o n sidering the len gth o f tim e i t h ad pro ba b ly


,

b een there The po rt ra it w as that o f a m an who m igh t


.

be so mewha t a dvanced in mi ddle li fe perha p s fo rty seven


,
-

or fo rty eigh t -


.

It w as a remarkable face a most i mpressive face If .

y o u c o u ld fa ncy so me mig hty s e rpen t t r an sfo rmed i n t o a


m an prese rving in the huma n l ineaments the o ld serpen t
,

type you wo uld ha ve a better idea o f t ha t co untenance


,

th a n l ong descriptio ns ca n co nvey : the width and fl a tness


o f fro ntal — th e ta pering eleganc e o f co n to ur di sgui sing t he
s trength O f the dea dl y j aw
— the l ong large terrible eye
, , ,

gli t tering and gree n as the emerald and wi th al a certa in
ru thless cal m as if fro m the conscio u sness o f a n immense
,

power .

Mech a nica lly I tu rned ro und the m 1 n1 a ture t o examm r


5 8 BEST GHOST STO R IES
the ba ck o f i t and on the b ack w as engraved a pen t a c l e ;
,

in the middle o f the penta cle a l adder a nd the third s t e p o f ,

t h e l adder w as fo rmed by the d a te 1 7 6 5 Examinin g s till .

m o re min u tely I dete c ted a Spring ; thi s o n being pre ss e d


, , ,

o pened the b a ck o f the mini a ture as a lid Withinsid e t h e .


lid were en gra ved M a ri anna t o t hee b e fa ithfu l in life
,

a n d in de a t h t o Here fo ll ows a na me tha t I will n o t


mentio n b u t it w as no t u nfa mili a r t o me I h ad hea rd it
,
.

spo ken o f by o ld men in my childho o d as the n ame h o m e


by a d azzling cha rl a tan w ho h ad made a grea t sen sa ti o n in
Lo nd o n fo r a yea r o r so and had fled the co un try o n t h e
,

charge o f a double murder within his o wn hou se th a t o f —


his mi s tress a nd h is rival I sa id n o thing o f thi s t o M r
. .

J t o wh o m rel uc t a ntly I res igned the mini a ture .

We had fo und n o di fficulty in Opening the first draw e r


within the iro n sa fe ; we fo u nd grea t difficulty in o pening
the seco nd : it w as n o t l o cked b u t i t resi sted all efforts till
, ,

we in serted in the clinks the edge o f a chi sel W hen w e .

h ad th u s drawn i t fo rth we fo und a ve ry singul a r appa ra tus


in the nicest o rder Upo n a small thin boo k o r ra ther
.
,

tablet w a s pl a ced a saucer o f crystal : thi s sau cer w as filled


,

with a clear liquid o n tha t liquid fl o ated a kind o f co m
pass wi th a needle Shifting rapidly ro u nd ; bu t in stead o f
,

the u su a l po ints o f a co mpass were seven st ra nge charac ters ,

n o t very unlike th o se u sed b y as tro l ogers t o deno te the


pl ane ts .

A peculia r but no t strong nor di spleasing Odo r came


,

fro m thi s drawer whi ch w as lined with a woo d th at we


,

a fterwa rd s di sco vered t o be h a zel Wh a tever the cause of


.
O
t hi s o d o r it pro d uced a m a teri al effe ct o n the nerves
,
We .

all fel t it even the t w o wo rkmen w ho were in the room


,

a creeping tingling sen sa ti o n fro m the tip s o f the finge rs to


the ro o ts o f the hair Impa tient to examine the ta blet I
.
,

remo ved t he saucer As I did so the needle o f the compass


.

went ro u nd and ro und with exceeding swiftness and I ,

felt a sho ck th a t ran thro ugh my who le fra me so that I ,

dropped the saucer o n the fl oo r The liqu id w as spil t the .



sa u cer w as b roken — the c o mpass rolled t o the end of the

roo m and a t th a t insta nt the wall s shoo k t o an d fro as if ,

a gi ant h ad swayed an d ro c ked them .


T HE HAUNTED AND T HE HAUNTE R S 59

Th e t wo wo rkmen were so frigh tened th at they ran up


t h e l a dder by which we h ad descended from the tra p d oo r ; -

b u t s eeing tha t n o thing m o re ha ppened they were e asily


,

i n d u c ed t o return .

M eanwhile I h ad opened the table t : it w as bo u nd in


p l a i n red lea t he,
r w ith a S ilve r c la sp ; i t co n ta ined b ut o ne
s h e e t o f thi ck vellum , an d o n t ha t shee t were in scribed
w ithin a do u ble pen ta cle, wo rds i n old mo nki sh L a tin which ,

a r e l i terally t o be tra nsl a ted th u s : On al l th a t it can

r e a c h within these wall s sentien t o r i n anima te living o r,

d e a d as m o ves the needle so wo rk my will ! Accu rsed b e
,

t h e h o use , and restless be the dwellers therein .

W e fo und no m ore Mr J . . b u rn t the table t and its


a n a them a . He raz ed to the fo undati on s the part o f the
b u i lding co nta ini ng the secret room w ith the cham b e r o ve r
it. He h ad t hen the co u rage to inhabi t th e ho use himself
f o r a m o nth an d a quieter, b etter co ndi tio ne d h o u se coul d
,
-

n o t b e fo un d in al l Lo nd o n .Sub sequen tly he le t it to ad


v an t a g e , and his t enant h as mad e no comp laints .
T HE S I L E N T W O MAN *

BY LEOP O LD KOM P ER T

HE upro ar iou s merriment a weddin g fe as t bu rst


of -

fo rth in to the ni ght fro m a b rillia ntly li ghted ho use


“ ”
in the gasse ( n a rro w street ) It w as o ne o f tho se ni ghts
.

to u ched with the wa rmth o f spring but d a rk and full Of ,

so ft mi st . M ost fitting i t was fo r a celebra t io n O f the 1


uni o n o f t w o yearning hea rts t o sha re the sa me lo t a lot ,

th at m ay po ssibly d awn in sunny b rightness bu t a l so b e



,

co me cl o uded an d sullen for a l o ng l o ng ti me ! Bu t h ow ,

merry an d j oyo us they were o ver there tho se peo ple o f ,

the h appy Olden times ! They, like us h ad their t ro ubles ,

a nd t ri a l s an d when mi sfo rt u ne vi sited them i t ca me n o t


,

t o them with so ft cu shi o n s an d tender press u res o f the h a nd .

Ro ugh and ha rd with clinched fist it l a id ho ld upo n t hem


, ,
.

But when they gave vent t o their h appy feel ings a nd


so ugh t t o enj o y them selves they were l ike swimm e rs in c oo l
,

ing wa te rs They struck o u t into the stre am with fresh


.

ness and co urage su ffered them selves t o be ho m e al o ng by


,

the current whitherso ever it to ok its c ou rse Th is was t h e .

c ause o f su ch a j ubilee such a th o ughtlessly no i sy o utbu rs t


,

of a ll kind s o f so u l po ssessing gayety fro m this h o use O f


-

n uptial s
.
a
“ ’
And i f I h ad kn o wn the b ride s fa ther the rich Rub en
, ,

Kla t t an e r ha d j ust sa id th a t it wo u ld take t he l as t gulden
, ,

in my po cket then ou t i t wo ul d h ave com e
, .

In fac t it did appea r as if the l ast groschen had re a l ly


,

taken flight and w as fl u ttering abo u t in the fo rm o f pl a t


,

ters heaped up with gees e an d pastry ta rts S ince tw o -


.

O cl o ck

th a t is , sinc e the m a rri age ceremo ny ha d b ee n

perfo rmed out in the Open street until nearly mid night,
the wedding feas t h ad b een progressing, a nd even ye t t h e
-

sc re en , o r wa ite rs , were hu rrying fro m room t o room It .

Co p yr ight 1 890 by Ha rp e r Br o s
, , .

60
62 B EST GHOST STO RIES
h ul d have no ticed so s tra nge a thing ? A low whis per i n g
s o
a lrea dy p asse d thro u gh the c o mpa ny a s tea l th y smil e s t o l e ,

ac ross m a ny a lip A bevy o f l a dies w as see n t o en t e r t h e


.

roo m suddenly The mu sic d ashed o ff into o ne o f its l o u d


.
,

es t piece s a n d as if by en chan tment t he newly m ad e brid e


, , ,

di sappeared behind the l ad ies T he bridegroo m with h is .


,

st u pid smiling mien w a s still left st anding o n the thres h o ld


, ,
.

B ut i t w as no t l o ng befo re he t oo vani shed One co u ld .

h ardly say how it h appened But people unde rs tan d s u ch .

s killf u l m o vements by experience an d will co ntin u e t o n u ,

de rsta nd them as l o ng as there are brides and groo ms in


t he wo rld .

Thi s di sappearan ce o f the chief person ages little as it ,

seemed t o h e n o t i ced ga ve , h o wever the signa l fo r ge ne ral


, ,

lea ve ta king The dancing became dro wsy ; it stopped all


-
.

a t o nce as if b y ap po in tm ent
,
That n o i sy co nfusi on n o w
.

b egan whi ch always a ttends so merry a weding party H a lf -


.

d runken vo ices co uld be hea rd s till intermingled with a


l ast hea rty l augh o ver a j oke o f the fool from P ra gue
,

ech o ing acro ss t he ta ble Here a nd there so me o ne , n o t


.

qu ite su re o f his b al ance , was f umbling for the arm o f his


chair o r the edge o f t he table This resu lted i n his o ver .

turni ng a di sh th a t h ad b een fo rgo t t e n ~or in spilling a b e er ,

gl as s Wh il e thi s, i n turn , se t up a n e w hubb ub so m e o ne


.
,

el se, i n his eagerness t o b e ta ke himself from the scene fell ,

fla t into the very débris But al l this t um ul t w as really .

h ushed the m o ment they a ll presse d t o the doo r fo r at th at ,

very in stant shrieks, cries o f pai n were heard i ssu ing from ,

the ent ranc e b elo w In an instan t the ent ire o u tpo uring
.

crowd w ith all po ssible fo rce p ushed b ac k into the roo m,


b u t it was a lo ng time befo re the strea m w as pressed back
aga in Mea nwhile p ainful cri e s were again hea rd from
.
,

b elow so pa inful indeed tha t they resto red even t he most


, , ,

d runken t o a s ta te o f co nsci o usness .

“ “
B y the living G o d ! t hey c ried t o each o ther what is ,

the ma tter d o wn there ? Is the h o u se o n fire ?
“ ”
She is gone ! sh e is go ne ! sh rieked a wo man s voice ’

fro m the entry below .

“ ”
W h o ? w h o ? groaned the weddinggu es ts seized as it -
, ,

were wi th an i cy horro r
, .
THE SILENT WOMAN 63

Go ne ! gone ! cri ed th e wo m an fro m the entry and ,

h urrying u p the sta i rs came Selde Klat t an e r the mo ther o f ,

the b ride pa le as death her eyes dil ated with most awful
, ,

ht c o nvul sively grasping a ca ndle in her hand
,
F or .


s sake wh a t has ha ppened ? w as heard o n eve ry side

,

0f h er .

The Sigh t o f so many people abo u t her and the con ,

fusio n o f vo ices seemed to release the poo r wom a n from


,

a kind O f st up o r She gl a nced shyly abo u t her then as if


.
,

o verco me w ith a sen se o f sha me stro nge r th a n he r terro r,


an d sa d in a su ppressed t o ne :
,

No thing n o thing good peo ple In God s n am e I ask ,
, , .

,

wh a t w as there t o happe n ?
D i ssimul a tio n , however, was t oo evi den t t o su ffice t o d e
c e iv e them .

“ ”
Why then , di d you sh riek so Selde called out one
, , ,

O f the gu e st s t o her, if no thing h appened ?
“ ”
Ye s she h as go ne , Selde now m o aned in hea rt rending
,
-

“ ”
to ne s and she h a s certa inly d one herself some harm !
,

The ca u se o f this strange scene w as now fi rs t discovered .

Th e bride has di sa ppe a red fro m the wedding feas t S oon -


.

a fte r t h a t S he h ad v ani shed i n su ch a mysteri o u s w ay the ,

bri degroo m wen t be l ow to the dimly lighted roo m to find -

h e r, b ut in va in At firs t tho ugh t thi s seemed t o him to


.

be a so r t o f ba shful jest ; b u t no t finding her here a mys ,

t e rio us fo reb o ding se i zed hi m He call ed t o the mo ther o f


.

t he b ride :

W oe t o me ! Th is wo man has gone !
Presently th is party th a t h ad so adm irably controlled it
,

self w a s a ga in thro w n into c o mm o ti o n
,
There w as n o th .

” “
ing t o do w a s said o n all sides b ut t o ran sack every noo k
, ,

a n d c o rner R ema rkable insta nces o f such di sappe a ranc es


.

o f brides h ad been kno wn Evil spirits were wo nt t o l u rk


.

a b o ut s u ch night s a nd t o infli c t m a nk ind with a ll so rts o f



so rc e ries Strange as thi s expl a na ti on m ay seem there
.
,

were m any w ho believed it a t thi s very m oment and mos t , ,

o f all , Selde Kla tt a ne r herself Bu t i t w as only for a mo .

men t fo r she a t o nce ex cl a imed :


,

N o , no , my goo d peo ple, she is gone ; I know she is
go ne !
A !
64 BEST GHOST STORIES
Now fo r the first t ime many o f them , espec ial ly t h e
mo thers fel t pa rticularly uneasy, and anxio usly called t h e ir
,

d aughters to them Only a few showed co u rage and ur ge d


.
,

th a t they must search and sea rch even if they ha 0 ,

tu rn aside th e river I ser a hundred times They urgen y .

pressed o n ca lled fo r torch es an d l antern s and s ta r ted


, ,
.

fo rth The cowa rdly ran a fter the m up a nd down t h e


.

s t a irs
. Befo re an y o ne perceived it the room w as en ti r e ly
fo rsaken .

Ruben Kla t t ane r stood i n the hall entry b el ow, an d le t


the people hurry pas t h im witho u t exchanging a w o rd
wi th any B itter disappo in tmen t and fear had a lm os t
.

crazed him One o f the l ast to sta y i n the ro o m a b o ve


.

wi th Selde was stran ge t o say Le h Na rr o f P rague After


, , ,
.

a ll h a d dep a rt ed he appro a ched the mi serab le mo ther , an d ,


,

in a tone least b eco ming his general ma nner, inquired :



Tel l me, now, Mrs S el de, d id she no t wish t o hav e
.

“ ”
Wh o m ? who m ? c ri ed Sel de , with renewed al arm, when
S h e fo und herself al o ne wi th t h e fo ol .

“ ”
I mea n , sai d Leb , in a m o st sympa the tic manne r ap ,

p r o a ch n still ne ar e r t o Selde th a t m a yb e yo u h ad t o
m ake your daugh ter ma rry him .


M ake ? And h ave we then, made her ? moaned Selde,
,

s ta ring a t the fo o l with a l o o k o f unce rt a in ty .

“ ”
Then nobody need s t o search fo r he r repli ed the fool , ,

with a sympa thetic l augh at the same time retreat ing
,
It s

.


better t o leave her where she is .

Wi thout saying thanks o r goo d night he was gone -


, .

Me an while the cause o f all thi s disturba nce had a rrived


a t the end o f her fligh t .

Clo se by the syn ago gue was si tu ated the h o use o f the
rab bi It w as buil t in an angle o f a ve ry narro w street
.
,

se t in a fra mewo rk o f ta ll sha de t rees Even by daylight it


-
.

w as di sm al en o ugh At nigh t it w as almo st impossible for


.

a timid pe rso n t o appro a ch it fo r pe o ple decl a red tha t the


,

low su ppli ca ti o n s o f the dea d co uld be heard in the ding y


hou se o f G od when a t night they too k the ro lls o f the law
fro m the ark t o su mmo n their members by name .

Through th is re tired street passed , o r rather ran, at this


THE SILENT WOMAN 65

h o u r a shy fo rm. Arrivi ng at th e dwelling o f the rabb i ,


.

sh e gl an ced b ackward t o se e whether any o ne w as fo llo wi ng


h I . B u t all w as silen t and gl oo my eno ugh ab ou t her A .

light i ssued fro m o ne o f the windows o f the synagogue ;


“ ”
it ca me fro m th e etern al l a mp h an g ing in fro nt o f the
a rk o f the co ven an t B u t at thi s m omen t it seemed t o her
.

as if a supern a tural eye w as ga zing upo n h er Tho ro ughly .

afl
'

r ight e d , she seized the l ittle iro n kn o cke r o f the d o o r


a nd s tru c k it gently But the thro b o f he r b ea ting heart
.

w as even l o uder m o re vi olent than thi s b l ow After a


, ,
.

pa u se, foo tsteps were hea rd p assing sl owl y al ong the hall
w ay .

The rabbi had no t o ccup i ed thi s l o nel y hou se a l o ng t ime .

His predece sso r, al most a centena ri a n in yea rs, had b een


l a id t o rest a few mo n ths b efore The new rabbi h ad .

b ee n called fro m a distan t p a rt o f the co unt ry He was .

u n ma rri ed, an d in the p rime o f l ife N o o ne had known .

him b efo re his com ing But h is pe rso nal no b ility a nd the
.

p r o fu nd it y o f h is s c h o l a rs hi p m a de up for h is defi c iency in

y ea r s A .n a ged m o ther h a d a cc o mp an ied h im fro m t hei r


d is t an t ho me , an d sh e took th e pl ace o f wife and child .

“ ”
W ho is t here ? asked the rabb i , wh o h ad b een busy
a t h is desk e ven at th is l at e h o u r an d t hu s had n o t mi sse d
h ear ing the knocker .

“ ”
It is I , the figure withou t resp onded , al most inaud ibly .


S e ak lo uder if you w ish m e t o h ea r yo u, repl i ed t he
p ,

re b l 1 .

“ ”
I t is I Ruben Klat t aner s daugh ter, she repe at ed
,

.

Th e n ame see med t o so und st range t o the ra bbi He .

as ye t knew t oo few o f h is co ngrega ti o n t o understa nd


th a t thi s very day he perfo rm ed the m arriage ceremo ny o f
the pe rso n who h ad j u st repea ted he r name Therefo re .


he ca lled out a fter a momen t s pause , Wha t d o yo u wish so
,


l a te at night ?
“ ” “
Ope n the doo r rabbi , she an swered , pl eadingl y, o r I
,

sh al l die at o nce !
The bol t was pu sh ed b ack S o mething gleami ng rust .
,

li ng glided p as t th e rab bi in to the d usky hall The ligh t


,
.

o f the ca ndl e i n h is ha nd w as no t su fficien t t o all o w him t o


d escry it B efo re he h ad time t o address h er sh e h ad v an
.
,
66 B EST GHOST STO RIES
ished past him and had disappea red through the o pen d oo r
in to the roo m Sh aking h is head , the ra bbi again b o l ted
.

the doo r .

On ree nteri ng the ro om he sa w a wo m an s fo rm s it t ifl g


in the ch a ir which he u su all y o ccupied She ha d her b a ck .

tu rned t o him Her hea d w as bent lo w o v e r h e r bre as t


. .

He r golden wedding hood with it s Shading la ce w as p u lled


-
, ,

do w n o ver her fo rehea d C o urageo us and pi o us as t he ra bb i


.

wa s he c o u ld no t rid him self o f a feeling o f terro r


, .

“ ”
W h o are y o u ? he dem anded in a l o u d tone as i f its , ,

so u nd alo ne w o u l d b a ni sh t he presence o f thi s be ing th a t


seem e d to h it. a t thi s m o ment t o be the pro d uc ti on o f a ll
the ench antments o f evil spi ri ts .

She rai sed herself and c ried i n a voice tha t seem ed t o



,

co me fro m the ago ny o f a huma n being:



D O you no t kn o w me me who m yo u ma rried a fe w ,

gd
l ours ince under the chupp a ( m arri age cano py ) to a hus
-

an
s ?
On h ea ri ng this fa m i li ar v o i ce the rabb i sto od speech
l ess . He ga zed a t the yo ung wom an NOW indeed h e .
, ,

m u st rega rd her as o ne beref t o f reaso n rather t ha n as a ,

S pecter .

“ ”
Well i f yo u a re she b e stammered o ut a fter a pau se
, , , ,

f or it w as with difficulty th a t he fo u nd wo rd s t o an swer ,


“ ”
w hy a re you here and n o t in the pla c e whe re yo u bel o ng ?

I kn o w n o o ther pl ace to whi ch I b elo ng m o re th an

h ere w here I no w a m ! sh e a n swered severely , .

These wo rds pu zzled the ra bbi stil l m ore Is i t really .

a n in sa ne w o m a n b efo re him ? He must have tho ught so ‘

fo r he n o w addressed her in a gentle to ne o f v o i c e as we ,

d o tho se su ffering fro m thi s k ind o f si ckness in o rder no t ,

t o exc ite her a nd sa id :


,

The pl ace where you belo ng my daughter is in t he , ,

h ou se o f yo u r p a rents an d S in c e yo u h ave t o day be en


, ,
-

m a de a wife yo u r pl ace is in yo ur h u sb and s h o use ’


.
,

The yo ung woma n mu ttered so mething which fa iled t o


reach the rabbi s e ar Yet he o nly co n tinu e d to think t ha t

.

h e sa w b efo re him so me po o r unfo rtun ate who se mind was


deranged After a pause he a dded in a still gentle r tone :
.
, ,
“ ”
What is you r name then my child ? , ,
THE SILENT WOMAN 67
” “
G od , god , moaned, in the great est anguish , he
she
do es no t even yet k no w my n a me !

Ho w should I know you he co ntinued , ap ologeti cally,

,

fo r I am a stra nger in t hi s pl a ce ?
T h is te nder rema rk seemed t o have pro duced the desired
'

effec t upo n her excited mind .

“ ”
M y na me is Veile she sa id qui e tly a fter a pau se , , ,
.

The rabbi quickly perceived tha t he h ad ad op ted the


ri ght tone towards h is mysteri o u s gues t .

“ ” “
Veile he sai d , appro a ching nearer he r, wha t do yo u
,

w i sh o f me ?
“ ’

Ra bbi I ha ve a great sin resting he agly upon my


,
” “
hea rt she repl ied despo nden tl y
,
I do no t kn ow wha t .

to do .


Wh at can you ha ve do ne i nquired the rabbi , wi th ,

a t ende r l oo k , th a t cann o t b e di scussed at a ny o ther
ti me than jus t now ? Will you le t me ad vise you ,
Veile ?
“ ” “
N o , no sh e cri ed again v io lently
,
I will no t b e ad
, ,

v i sed . I se e I kn ow wha t oppresses me Ye s I can grasp


,
.
,

i t b y the h and it lies so nea r befo re me IS th at wha t yo u


,
.

call t o be a dvi sed ?”



Very well returned the rab b i see ing tha t thi s was
, ,

th e very w ay t o get t he yo ung wo m a n t o talk very well ,

I say yo u are no t imagining a nything I believe tha t you


,
.

h ave greatly sinned Ha ve yo u co me here then to co nfess


.

th i s s in ? D O yo ur p a rents o r your h u sb and k n ow an y



thing ab ou t it ?
“ ”
W h o is my husb and ? sh e i nterrup ted h i m i mpetu ,

Thoughts welled up in the rabb i s hea rt like a tumultu o u s ’

sea in which Oppo sing co nje c t u res c ross and recro ss each
o ther s c o u rse Sho uld he speak with her as wi th an o rdi

.

n a ry sinner ?
“ ”
Were yo u pe rh aps fo rced t o b e marri ed ? he i nqui red
, , ,

as quietly as p o ssible a fter a pa u se ,


.

A suppressed sob a stro n g inwa rd struggle man ifest ing


, ,

its elf in the who le trembling b ody w as t he o nly answer ,

t o thi s ques ti o n .

“ ”
Tel l me my child sai d the rabb i , e ncouragingly
, ,
.
68
“ o
BEST G HOST STORIES
In
u to nes as the ra bb i had never befo re hea rd so
s ch ,

S tra nge, so su rp assing an y hum a n sou nd s the yo u ng w o m an ,

Yes, rab b i, I will speak , even tho ugh I kn ow th a t I


Shal l never g o fro m thi s pl a ce a live , whi ch wo uld b e t h e
v ery b est thing fo r me ! No , rabbi , I w as no t fo rced t o h e
ma rri ed My parents have never o nce sa id to me y o u
.

mu st , b ut my ow n will , my o wn desire , ra the r , has al w a y s


b ee n S up re me My hu sband is the so n o f a rich m an in


.

t he commun i ty T o enter his family w as t o be m a de th e


.

first l ady in the gasse t o Sit buried in gold and silver An d


, .

g
that very thin no thing el se w as wha t infa tua ted me w ith
, ,

hi m I t w as o r tha t th a t I fo rced myself my hear t an d


.
,

will t o be ma rried t o him h ard as it w as fo r me B ut in


, , .

my innermost heart I detested him The mo re he l o ved .

me th e m o re I hated him B u t the go ld a nd silve r h ad


, .

an influence o ver me M o re and mo re they cried t o m e


.
,

You will be the first l ady in the gasse l ’


Co n tinue said the rabbi , when sh e cea sed almo s t
, ,

exhau sted by t hese wo rds .

“ ”
Wha t m o re shall I tell you rabb i ? she be gan aga in ,
.

I w as never a l i ar when a child o r o lder and yet d urin g


, , ,

my whole e ngagement i t h as seemed to me as if a b ig .

giga ntic lie h ad followed me step by step I have se en it .

o n every S ide O f me B ut t o d ay when I stoo d under the


.
-
,

chupp e rabbi and he to o k the ring fro m his finger a nd put


, ,

it on mine an d when I h ad t o d ance a t my o wn wedding


,

with him who m I now reco gni z ed now fo r the first time
, , ,

as th e lie a n d — when they led me away


,

This sincere co nfessi o n esca ping fro m the lip s o f the


yo ung woman she so bbed a lo ud and b owed her head still
,

deeper over her b reast The rabbi ga zed upo n her in .

silence N O in sane wo man ever spo ke like th a t ! Only a


.

so u l co n sci o u s o f its own sin b u t ca ptiva ted by a m ysteri ous ,

power could suffer like this !


,

I t w as no t sympathy whi ch he fel t wi th her ; it w as much


mo re a living o ver the su fferings o f the wo m a n In spite .

o f t h e co nfu sed s to ry it w as a ll clea r t o the rabbi ,


The .

cau se o f the flight fro m the father s ho u se a t thi s hour ’

“ ”
a l so required n o expl a n a ti o n I kn ow wha t yo u m ean .
,
7 0 B EST GHO ST STO R IES
w o man , who s til l cl u ng t o h is knees, it cha nced th a t h e r
h ead s truc k heavily aga in st the floo r .


Naphtali ! sh e cried o n c e again .


Silence, silence, gro aned the rabbi , p res sing both h a n d s
a ga in st h is hea d .

And still aga in Sh e cal led o ut this name, b u t no t w i t h


t ha t ago nizing c ry It so unded ra the r l ike a com m ingli n g
.

o f ex ulta ti o n a n d l amen ta t i o n .


And again he demanded Silence ! silence ! b u t thi s t im c
,

s o imperi o u sly so fo rc ibly t h a t the yo u ng wo m an l ay o n


, ,

the floo r as if co njured , n o t d a ring t o utter a single w o rd .

The rabbi pac ed almos t wildly up and d ow n t he ro o m .

There must ha ve b een a h a rd t errible struggle i n h is bre a s t ,


.

I t seemed t o the o ne l ying o n the fl oo r th a t sh e h ea rd h im


sigh fro m the dep th s O f h is so u l Then his pa c ing b eca m e .

calmer ; b ut i t did n o t l a st l o ng The fierc e confli ct a gai n .

a ssa il ed him His s tep grew hurried ; it echo ed l o u dly


.

through the awful s tillne ss o f the roo m S uddenly h e .

nea red the yo ung wo ma n w h o seemed t o lie there sca rce ly


,

breathing He stopped in fron t o f h e r Had any o n e seen


. .

t lm fa ce o f the rabbi at th i s m o men t the express i o n o n it


wo uld ha ve filled him with terro r Th ere w as a m ar velo us .

t ranqu illity o verlying it , th e t ra n qu illity o f a s trugg le fo r


li fe o r dea th .

“ ” “
Li sten t o m e n o w , Veile, h e b egan , slowly I wil l tal k .


w ith you .

“ ”
I li sten , rabbi , sh e whi spered .


B u t do yo u h ea r me well ?

Only spe a k S h e retu rned , .

B u t will yo u d o wha t I advi se yo u ? Will y o u n o t op


p o se it ? F o r I a m g o ing t o sa y s o mething th a t will t e rr ify
’,
y ou .


I will d o anyth ing tha t yo u say Only tell me she .
,

m o an ed .


Will y ou swear ?

I will S h e groaned , .


N O d o n o t swea r ye t u ntil yo u h a ve hea rd me he
, , ,

c ri ed I will no t fo rc e yo u
. .

Thi s time ca me no an swer .

“ ”
Hear me then daughte r o f Rub en Kla t tane r, he he
, ,
T HE S IL ENT WOMAN 7 1


gan , a ft er a p a t
u se
w o fo.l d s in You ha ve
upo n yo u r a
soul a nd ea ch is so grea t so crimin al t ha t i t c an o nly b e
, , ,

fo rgiven by se vere punishment First yo u permitted yo ur .

s elf t o be infa tu a t e d by the go ld a n d s ilver a nd th e n you ,

fo r c e d yo u r hea rt t o lie With the lie yo u so ught t o deceive


.

t h e m an even t ho ugh he h a d i nt r usted you with h is al l


,

w he n he m ade y o u h is wife A lie is truly a grea t sin ! .

S tre a m s o f wa ter c a nn o t dro wn them The y m ake m e n .

fa l s e a nd ha teful t o t hemselves The wo rs t that h as b een .

c o m mitted i n the w o rl d was le d i n b y a lie Tha t is the .


one S in .


I know I kno w so bbed th e young wo man
, ,
.


Now hea r me fu rther b egan the rabbi agai n wi th , ,

a w a vering v o i c e a fter a sh o r t p a use ,
Yo u ha ve c o m .

m it t e d a s till grea ter S in than the fi rs t You h ave no t .

o nly d e c eived yo ur h u sb an d b u t yo u have a l so des tro yed ,

the ha ppiness o f an o ther perso n You co uld h a ve spo ken , .

an d yo u did n o t F o r life you ha ve ro bbed h im o f h is


.

h a pp in ess his light his j o y but y ou did no t spe a k Wh at


, , ,
.

al he no w d o when he knows wh at has b een lost to


h;
,

u
“ ”
Naph tal i ! cri ed the youn g wo man ,
.

Sil e n c e ! s ilen ce ! d o n o t le t t ha t n ame pass yo u r li ps


” “
ag a in he dema nded , vi olently
,
The m o re you repe a t it .

the grea te r be co me s yo ur sin Why did you no t speak when .

y o u c o u ld h a v e s po ken ? G o d can n eve r e as ily f o rgive y o u


tha t T o be silent, to ke ep secret in o ne s breas t wh a t
.

wo uld h a ve ma de a n o ther m an h appie r tha n the mighties t


m o n a rc h ! Thereby yo u h a ve made him m o re th an un
happy He will nevermo re ha ve t he desire t o be h appy
. .


Veile G od i n h e a ve n canno t fo rgive y ou for th a t
,
.

“ ”
Silen c e ! sil e nce ! gro an e d the wretch e d wo m an .


No Veile h e co nti nu ed wi th a stro nger vo i c e, l e t m e
, , ,

talk no w Yo u are certai nl y willing t o hea r me speak ?


.

Listen t o me Yo u m ust d o severe pena nce fo r th i s sin


.
,

the two fo ld sin whi ch rests upo n yo u r hea d G od is long .

suffering a n d m e rc i fu l He will perha p s l o o k down upo n


.

your mi sery, and w ill blo t out yo ur guil t fro m the grea t
book o f t ran sgressi o ns B ut you must b eco me p eni tent . .

Hear, now, wha t it S hal l b e ”


.
7 2 B EST GHO ST STO R IES
The rabb i pa used He w as o n the po int o f sa ying t h e
.

s eve res t thing th a t h e d ever p a sse d h is lips .


Yo u were S ilent, Veile , then he cried , when y o u
sh o u ld h a ve spo ken B e silent n o w fo rever t o a ll m e n
.

a n d t o y o u rsel f Fro m the mo ment yo u leave thi s h o u se ,


.

until I gra nt i t , y o u mus t b e d u mb ; y ou d a re n o t le t a .

lo u d wo rd p ass fro m yo u r mo u th Will you undergo th is .

pen an ce ?

I w ill d o all you say m o aned the yo u ng wo man ,
.


Will yo u h ave s trengt h t o d o it ? he asked , gently .


I Shall b e as silent as dea th Sh e replied ,
.


And on e thing m o re I have t o sa y to yo u he c ont inu ed , .

Yo u a re the wife Of yo ur hu sb and Return h o me a nd b e .


a Jewish wife .

“ ”
I understand you, she so bb ed i n reply .

G o t o yo ur h o me n o w an d bring pe a ce t o yo u r p a r
,

ents an d h usban d The time will co me when yo u m ay


.

spea k when yo u r s in will be f o rg


,
ive n you Till then he ar .


wha t h as been l a id upo n you .


May I say o ne thi ng m ore ? she cried , li ft ing up her

hea d .

“ ”
Speak he said ,
.

Nap ht ali !
The rabbi co vered his eyes with one han d , with the
o ther m o ti o ned her t o b e silent But she grasp ed h is h an d .
,

drew it t o her lips Ho t tea rs fel l upo n it


. .

“ ”
G o no w he so bbed co mpletely bro ken d o wn
, , .

S h e let go the h a nd The rabbi h ad se iz ed the ca n dle,


.

but she h ad already p as sed him a nd glided thro ugh the ,

d ark hall The d oo r w as le ft o pen The rabbi l o cked i t


. .

a ga in .

Veile retu rned t o he r ho me, as she h ad escaped un ,

n o ti c ed The n arrow s treet was deserted a s deso la te as


.
,

d eath The sea rchers were t o be fo u nd everywhere e xcept


.

there w here they o ught fi rs t t o ha ve so ugh t fo r the mi ssing


one . Her m o ther Selde still sa t o n the sa me cha ir on
, ,

whi c h sh e h ad su nk d o w n a n ho u r ago T he fri ght h ad left .

her l ike o n e pa ralyzed a nd sh e w as unable t o rise Wha t


, .

a wo nderful co ntras t thi s wedding roo m wi t h t he m o ther -


,
T HE SILENT WOMAN 73

s i tti n g a l one in it presen ted t o the hilarity reigning here


,

sh o rtly befo re ! On Ve ile s entrance her mo ther did no t


cry o ut She ha d no strength to d o so She merely said :


. .

“ ”
S o y ou h a ve co me a t las t my d aughter ? as if Veile
,

h a d o nly returned fro m a walk so mewha t t oo lo ng B ut .

t h e y o u ng wo ma n did n o t an swer t o t hi s an d simila r ques


ti o ns Fina lly she signified by gesticula ti o ns tha t sh e co uld
.

n o t s pea k . F right seized the wretched m o t her a sec o nd


ti me, an d the entire ho use w as filled wi th h er lamenta tio ns .

R u ben Kla t tan e r an d Veile s h usb and having no w re


tu rn ed fro m their fruitless se arch were h o rrified o n per ,

ce iv ingt h e change whi ch Veile h ad undergo ne B eing men .


,

t hey did no t weep .Wi th sta ring eyes t hey gaz ed upo n the
s ilen t yo un g wo m an and beheld In her a n app a ri ti o n which
'

ha d b een dea lt wi th by God s visi ta tio n in a myste rio us


,

From this hou r b ega n the terrible pe nance of the yo ung

Th e impressi o n which Ve ile s wo ful co nditi on made upo n


th e people o f the g asse w a s wo nderful Tho se w ho h ad .

danced with her that evening on the wedd ing now fi rs t


re ca lled her excited sta te Her wild actio ns were no w fi rst
.

“ ”
remembered by many It must have been an evil eye
.


,

t hey co ncl u ded a jea l o u s evil eye


,
t o which her b ea u ty ,

was h a teful .This al o ne co uld h ave po ssessed her wi th a


demo n o f unrest She w as driven b y thi s evil po wer into
.

the dark night , a spo r t Of these m alicio us po tencies which


pursue men step by s tep , especi ally on such o c casio n s The .

livin g G od al o ne kn ows wha t she mus t h ave seen th a t night .

No thing goo d , el se on e would n o t b eco me dumb Old leg .

ends an d tal es were revived each mo re h o rrible than the


,

o the r
. Hundreds o f instances were given t o pro ve tha t thi s
was n o t hing new in the g a sse Despite t hi s expl an a tio n it is
.
,

rema rkable th at the peo ple did no t b elieve th a t the yo ung


woman w as d umb The mo s t tho ught tha t her power o f
.

speech h ad been pa ra lyzed by so me a wful fri gh t b u t th a t ,

wi th time it would be resto red Under this supposi tio n they


.

“ ”
called her Veile the Silen t .

There is a kind o f huma n elo qu ence mo re tellin g mo re ,

forcib l e tha n the lo ud es t word s than the cho icest dicti on


,
74 BEST G HO ST STORIES

the sil ence o f woman ! Oftti mes they ca nno t e n du re t h e


sligh t e st vexa ti o n , b u t so me grea t hea rt bre aking so r r o w , ,
-

so me p a in fro m co n st a nt renunci a ti o n se lf sa c rific e , t h e y -


,

su ffer with sea led lips as if, i n ve ry t ruth they w ere b o u n d ,

with b ars o f iron .

“ ”
It wo uld be di fficult to fully describe tha t long sil e n t
l ife Of the yo ung woma n It is almost i mpossible t o c ite .

mo re tha n o ne in cid e nt Ve ile acco mpa ni e d h e r h u sb a n d


.

t o his ho me th a t ho u se res p lenden t with th a t go ld a n d S i] ;


,

ver whi ch h ad infa t ua ted h e r She w as t o be sure , th e .


,
“ ”
first wo man in the gasse ; Sh e h ad everything in a b u n
dan c e Indeed the wo rld supp o sed tha t Sh e h ad b u t l it t l e
.
,
“ ”
c ause fo r compl aint M u st o n e h ave eve rythin g ? w as
.


so metimes qu eried in the g a sse O ne ha s o n e thing ; nu .


o th er
, a no ther . And a cco rding t o all appe aran ces, t he
,

pe ople were right Ve ile c o ntin u e d t o be th e b eau ti ful


.
,

bl o o ming wo man Her p e n anc e O f sil e n c e did n o t deprive


.

her o f a single ch a rm She w as so very h ap p y indeed th a t


.
, ,

She did n o t seem t o feel even the p a in o f h e r p u n i shment .

Veile could l augh an d re j o i ce b u t n e ver d id she fo rge t t o ,

b e silen t The seemingly h appy d ays ho w eve r w e re o nly


.
, ,

qua lified t o bring a bo u t the proper time o f trial s an d te m p


t at ion s . The beginning w a s easy e n o ug h fo r h e r the mid ,

dle a nd end were times o f re a l p a i n T he first years o f .


their wedded life were childl e ss It is well the p eo ple i n .
,

the gasse sa id th a t she h as n o childre n and G o d has
, ,

rightly orda ined it t o be so A mo th e r w ho c ann o t talk t o .


her child tha t wo uld be so mething a w ful !
,
Un e xpe ctedly
t o all sh e rej o i c e d o n e d ay in the birth o f a d a ugh ter
,
And .

when tha t affe c ti o n a te yo un g c rea ture her o w n o ffspring , ,

w as l a id up o n her brea st a n d the firs t so und s were uttered



,

by its lips tha t n ameless el oq uent u tteran c e o f an i nfant


— sh e fo rgo t herself no t ; she w as S ilent !
,

She w as Silen t al so whe n fro m d ay t o d ay tha t child


blosso med befo re her eyes into fuller be a u ty N o r h ad she .

a ny wo rd s fo r it when in effu sio n s o f t e ndern e ss it s tre tched


, ,

fo rth it s t iny a rm s when in b u rn in g fever it so ugh t for the



,

m o ther s h and

.F o r d ays y es —
we e ks together She ,

wa tched a t it s bedside S leep never vi sited her eyes But


. .

sh e ever remembered her p en ance .


THE S ILENT WOMAN 75
Years fled by In her a rms she carried an other ch il d
. .

It w as a b oy The fa t her s j oy was grea t The child ih


.

.

h e rit ed its m o t her s b ea uty L ike its sister i t grew in



.
,

hea lth and strengt h The n ob lest richest mo the r th ey


.
, ,

sai d m igh t b e pro ud o f such children !


, And Veile w as
p r o ud n o, d o ubt b u t th i s n e,
ver p a ssed he r lip s She re .

m ained S ilen t a bo ut thin g s w hich m o thers in their j oy O ften


ca nn o t find wo rds en o ugh t o express And altho ugh h e r .

fa ce many times lighted up with b ea ming smiles yet she ,


n eve r ren o unced the h ab it u al s ilence i mposed u po n he r .

The idea tha t the sl ightes t derelicti on O f her penan c e


wo ul d b e ac co mp a nied w i t h a curse up on her children m ay
h a v e impressed itself upo n he r mind M o thers will under .

s ta n d b ett er t h an o the r perso ns wh a t th i s m o the r su ffered


f ro m he r penal ty o f s ilence .

Thus a part o f those yea rs S ped away which we a re


wo n t t o call the b est She stil l flou rish ed i n he r wo nde rful
.

bea u ty Her ma iden d aughter w as b eside her l ike the b ud


.
,

beside the full bl own ro se Su i to rs were al ready present


-
.

fro m fa r an d nea r w ho passed in rev iew b efo re the b ea u


,

tiful girl The most o f them were excellen t yo u ng men,


.

a n d any mo ther migh t h a ve b een pro ud in h a ving her o wn


da u ghter sough t by s u ch Even then Veile did n o t undo
.

he r pe n ance Th ose busy times o f in tercou rse which kee p


.

mo th ers engaged in prese nting the su perio rit ies Of t hei r


d aughte rs i n th e b est ligh t were no t a ll owed her The .

ch o ice o f on e o f the most fa vo red suito rs w as m a de Never .

befo re did any co uple in the gasse equal this in b eau ty an d


gra ce A few wee ks befo re the a ppo inted ti me fo r the wed
.

din g a malign ant di sease stole o n spreading so rro w and ,

a nxiety o ver the grea ter pa rt O f the l a nd Yo ung girl s .

were pr incipa lly it s vi c tims It seemed t o pass Sc o rn fully .

o ve r the aged a n d infirm Ve ile s d a ughter w as a l so l aid



.

h o ld upon by it Befo re three days h ad p assed there w as


.

a c o rpse in the h ouse —the bride ! a

Even then Veile did n o t fo rge t her penan c e When th e y .

“ ”
bo re away the co rpse t o t h e goo d pl ace Sh e did u tt e r ,

a cry o f a ngui sh whi ch l o n g a ft e r e ch o e d in the e a rs o f t h e


people ; she did wrin g her h an d s in despa ir b u t n o o n e ,

hea rd a wo rd o f co mpl a in t H r lip s seemed du mb fo r .


e
7 6 BEST GHOST STO R IES
e ver It w as then when she w as sea ted o n the low stoo l
.
,

in the seven days O f m o u rning tha t the rabbi ca me t o h e r ,


,

t o bring t o her the u su al co n so l a tio n fo r th e dea d Bu t .

h e did n o t S pe a k with her He a ddressed wo rd s o nly t o h e r


.

hus b and Sh e herself d a red n o t loo k up


. Only w h e n .

he tu rne d t o go did she lift her eyes They in turn , .


,

m e t the eyes o f the rabbi , b ut he dep a rted W i th ou t a f a re


w ell .

After her dau ghter s death Veile w as co mpletely b ro ken


d o wn . Even tha t whi ch a t he r time o f life is still ca ll e d


b ea uty h a d fa ded a way within a few d ays Her ch e eks .

h a d bec o me h o ll o w, her h a ir gra y Vi sito rs wo ndered h o w .

sh e c o u ld e ndure su ch a S ho ck h o w b o dy an d S piri t c o u ld
,

ho ld t o ge ther They d id no t kno w th a t tha t silenc e w as a n


.

iro n fetter firml y i mpri so ning the S lu mb ering spirits Sh e .

h ad a s o n m o reo ver, to who m as t o so mething l ast an d


, ,

d ea res t her wh ole b eing s till clung


,
.

The b o y w as thirteen yea rs Old His l ea rning in th e .

Holy S c ri p tu res w a s already cel ebra ted fo r miles a ro un d .

He w as the pupil o f the rabb i who h ad trea ted h im w it h ,

a l o ve a nd tenderness bec o ming h is o w n fa th er He sa i d .

t ha t he w a s a rem a rk able c hild end owed with ra re ta l en ts , .

The b oy w a s t o b e sen t t o H u ngary t o on e o f th e m o st ,

c elebra ted tea che rs O f the t imes, i n o rde r t o la y the fo un d a


ti o n fo r h is sa cre d s tudi e s under this ins tructo r s guida nce ’

a n d w isd o m Years mi ght perhaps p a ss b efo re Sh e wo ul d


.

s e e him aga in B u t Ve ile let her b oy go fro m he r emb ra ce


. .

She did n o t say a bl e ssi ng o ver h im when he went ; o nl y


h e r lips twitched with the p a in O f S ilen c e .

L ong years expired b efo re the b oy returned from t he


s tra nge l a nd a f u ll gro w n , n oble y outh
,
-
When Veile h ad .

her son with he r again a smile pl ayed a b o u t her m o uth ,

a n d fo r a m o ment it s eem e d a s if her fo rme r bea uty h ad


e nj o ye d a se c o nd sp ring The extrao rdin ary ability o f her
.

s o n a lre ady m a de h im fa m o u s Whereso ever he went peo pl e


.

were delighted with h is b e au ty a nd a dmired the mo desty ,

o f hi s m a nn er de spite such gre a t sch ol arship


,
.

l The n ext Sabb a th the yo u ng di sc iple o f the Tal mud ,


s ca rcely twenty ye a rs o f ag e , w a s t o dem o ns tra te th e first
ma rks o f this great learning .
7 8 B EST GHOST STO RIES
“ ”
tha t the silen t wo ma n h ad fai nted She was dea d ! T h e
.

u n sea ling o f her lips w a s her l a s t m o ment.

Lo ng yea rs a fterward s the ra bbi died On h is dea t h b e d


.
-

e o ld tho se s tan ding a bo u t h im thi s wo nderful pen a n c e o f


hi
i e1 e
O

Every girl in t he gasse knew the story o f the sil e n t



w o man .
B AN S HE E S "

F I rish ghosts fairies o r bo gles , the B anshee ( so me


all , ,
“ “
times called l oca lly the Bohee ntb a o r Bank ee n
tha is the b es t kno wn t o the general pu bli c indeed cro ss .
,

Channel visito rs wo uld c las s her with pigs po ta to es and , ,

o t her f auna a nd fl o ra O f Irel and and wo u ld expect her t o,

m ak e m anifes t her presen c e t o them as being o ne o f the


s ight s o f the co unt ry She is a spirit with a lengthy pedi
.


gree ho w lengthy no m an c an say as it s ro o ts go b ack ,

into the dim mysterio u s pas t The m ost famo u s B an shee


,
.

o f a nc ient times w as th a t a tt a ched t o the kingly h o u se o f


O B rie n Aibhill w ho h aunted the rock O f Craglea ab ove

, ,

Kill al oe n ea r the o ld pal ace O f Kinco ra In AD 1 01 4


,
. .

wa s fo u gh t the b a ttle o f Cl o n tarf fro m whi ch the aged ,

king B ri an B o ru knew tha t he wo uld ne ver co me away


, ,

alive fo r the previ o u s nigh t Aib hill h ad a ppea red t o him


,

t o tell him O f his impe nding fa te The B anshee 5 meth od .


o f fo retellin g dea th in Olden times differed fro m th a t a d o p t


ed by her a t t he prese nt d ay : no w she wail s a nd wrings
her hands as a general rule but in the Old Irish ta les Sh e
, ,

is t o b e fo und washing h um a n head s and limb s o r bl oo d ,

s tained cl o thes till the w a ter is all dyed w i th h um a n bl o o d


,
— thi s would take pl a c e befo re a b a ttle SO it wo uld see m .

th a t in the co u rse o f centu ries her a ttribu tes an d charac


t e rist ics ha ve ch a nged so mewh a t .

Very di fferent descriptio ns a re given o f h e r perso nal


a ppe a ra n c e S o metimes sh e is yo u ng and bea u tiful so me
.
,

times Old a nd o f a fe arso me appea rance One writer de .


scri b e s her a s a tal l thin wo man with u n co vered head
, ,

a n d l o ng hai r th a t fl o a ted ro u nd her sh o u lders a ttired in ,

so methin g whi c h se e med eith e r a l oo se white c l o ak o r a ,



sheet thro wn h a stily a ro u nd her u ttering pierc i n g c ries
,
.

An o ther perso n a c o a chm a n saw her o ne e ve ni n g sitting


, ,

on a stile in the ya rd ; S he se e med t o h e a very sm a ll wo ma n ,

F ro m T r ue Ir ish G h o st S t o r ie s .

" A
80 B EST G HOST STORIES
with blue eyes long light ha ir a nd wearing a red cl oa k
, , ,

O ther descripti ons will be fo und in this chapter B y th e .

w ay i t d o es no t seem t o be t rue th a t t he B a nshee e x


,

e lu sively fo ll o ws fa m i lies o f Iri sh descent fo r the l as t i nci ,

dent h ad reference t o the death O f a memb e r Of a CO .

Galway family Engli sh b y name and o ri gin .

One o f the oldest and best kno wn B an shee sto ries is th a t -

rel a ted in the Me m oirs o f La dy Fan shaw * In 1 642 h e r .

hu sb and Si r Richa rd , and she chanced t o v isi t a f riend the


, ,

head Of an Irish se p t w ho resided in his ancien t b a ro n i al


,

ca stle su rrounded with a moat


,
At midnigh t sh e w as .

a wakened b y a ghastly an d supern a tu ral screa m an d l oo k ,

ing ou t O f b ed , beheld in the moo nligh t a fem ale face an d


p a r t o f t he f o rm h o vering a t the w i nd o w The di s t a n c e .

from the gro un d , as well a s the circu ms tance o f the m o a t,


e x c l u ded the po ssi bi l ity th a t wha t sh e be hel d was o f this
wo rld The face was tha t o f a young and rather ha nd
. ,

so me woman bu t pale and the h a ir , whi ch w as reddis h


, , ,

w as l oos e and di sheveled The dress which Lady Fa n


.
,

shaw s terro r did n o t preven t her re marking accura tely w as



,

t ha t o f the a ncien t I ri sh Th is appa ri tio n co n tinued t o ex


.

bib i t i tself fo r so me time and then va ni shed with tw o ,



shrieks simi la r t o th a t whi ch h ad first exci t ed L ady F an
sh aw s a tten ti o n In t he m o rning with infinite terro r s he

.
, ,

co mmunica ted t o her host wha t she had witnessed and ,

found hi m prepared no t o nly t o cred it , bu t t o ac coun t for


“ ”
the supe rstitio n A n ea r rel a tio n Of my family, sa id he,
.


expired l ast nigh t in this ca stle We d isgui sed our c er .

ta in expec ta ti o n o f the event fro m you l est i t should throw ,

a c l o u d o ve r the cheerful recepti o n which w as yo ur due .

N o w befo re such an even t ha ppen s in t hi s fa mily o r cas tle


, ,

the fem ale spec ter who m yo u have seen is always vi sible .

S he is believed t o b e the Spirit o f a wo m an o f i nferio r


rank who m one o f my an cesto rs degra ded him self by m a rry
,

ing and who m afterwa rds, t o expia te the di shono r done t o


,

h is fa mily , b e cau se d to be dro wn e d in the m oa t In .

strictness t his woman co uld h a rdly be termed a B an shee .

The mo ti ve fo r the h auntingis akin to th at i n the t ale of


!

La dy t he L a k e ,

f Can t o III ( e dit io n
S
c ott s o no te s to of
I II
B ANS HEES 81
“ ”
the S co tch D rummer O f Co rt ac hy where the spiri t o f the ,

mu rdered m an hau nts the family out o f revenge and ap ,

p ea rs bef o re a de a t h .

M r T J W e stro p p M A has furni shed the following


. . .
,
. .
,

s to ry : M y ma tern al grandmo ther heard th e fo llo wing


t ra ditio n fro m her m o ther on e o f the Mi ss Ro ss Lewin s ,
-
,

w h o witnesse d the o c currence Their father Mr H a rri so n .


,
.

R o ss-Lewi n w as away in Dublin on law b u siness a nd i n


, ,

h is absence the young peo ple wen t O ff to spend the eve


n in g with a friend w ho lived so me miles away The night .

w as fine a nd lightso me as they were re turning sa ve a t o ne ,

po int where the road ran betw een trees o r hi gh hedges


n o t f ar t o the west o f the o ld church o f Kilc hr ist The .

l a tte r like m any similar ruins was a simple Oblong build


, ,

ing, with l o ng side wall s and high gables and a t th a t time


-
,

i t and its graveyard were unenclosed and lay in th e O pen ,

field s As the pa rty passed down the l o ng d ark l an e they


.

suddenly he a rd in the d is ta nce l o ud keening an d cl apping o f


hands , as the cou ntry people were ac cu sto med to d o when
-

lamenting the dead The Ro ss Lewins hurried o n and c ame


.
-
,

in sigh t o f the church on the side wall o f whi ch a li ttle


,

gray haired Old wo m an clad in a dark clo ak was ru nning


-
, ,

t o a nd fro cha nting and wailing and t hro wing u p her a rm s


, ,
.

Th e girl s were very frightened bu t th e young men ran ,

fo rward and surro unded the ruin a nd t wo o f th em went ,

int o the church the appa riti o n v anishing fro m the wa ll as


,

they did so They searched every nook an d fo u nd no o ne


.
, ,

n o r did any one pass o u t All were no w well sca red a nd


.
,

g o t h o me as f a s t a s po ss ible O n rea c hing their h o me their


.

m o t her o pened the do o r and at o nce told them t ha t Sh e


,

w as in terro r ab o ut their fa ther f o r as sh e sa t l o o king , ,

o u t the win dow in the m oo nli ght a h uge raven with fiery ,

e yes li t o n the sill an d t a ppe d three t imes o n the gl a ss


,
.

T h ey tol d her their st o ry whi ch o nly a dded t o their a nx iety


, ,

a n d a s they st oo d talkin g t a ps ca me t o the ne a res t win ,

d o w an d they saw the bird a gain


,
A few d ays l a ter news .

re a ched them tha t Mr RO SS Lewin had died suddenly in


.
-

D u blin Thi s o ccu rred a b o u t


.

M r W e st rop p a lso writes t h at the S i ster o f a fo rmer


R o ma n Ca th o li c Bi sh o p to ld h is si ste rs tha t when she w as


82 B EST GHOST STORIES
a l i ttle girl She wen t o u t o ne evening with so me o ther c h il
dren for a walk Go ing do wn the ro ad they passed t h e
.
,

ga te o f the principal demesne nea r the to wn There w as .

a ro ck o r l a rge s to ne be side t he ro ad o n wh i ch they sa w


, , ,

so me thing Go ing nearer they perceived i t t o be a l it tl e


.
,

d ark Old wo man w ho bega n crying an d c l apping her ha nds


, , .

S o me o f them a ttempted to speak t o her but go t frigh t ,


~

ened an d all finally ran h o me as qu ickly as th ey co ul d


,
.

Nex t d ay the news ca me tha t the gentleman nea r wh ose


gate the B an shee h ad cried w as dead and it w as fo und , ,

on inquiry th a t he h ad died a t th e very h our a t wh ich th e


ch il dren h a d seen the spec t e r .

A l ady who is a rel a tio n o f o ne Of the co mpilers an d a ,

member of a CO Co rk fam ily o f English descent s ends


.
,

th e tw o fo ll o win g experiences o f a B anshee in he r f a m i l y .


My mo the r, when a yo ung girl w as sta nding loo king o u t ,

O f the wind ows in t heir ho us e a t B l a ckro ck nea r Co rk She ,


.

suddenly saw a white figure st and ing o n a b ridge which


w as easily vi si b le fro m the h o u se The figure waved her .

a rms t owa rd s the ho us e, and my m o ther he a rd the b it t e r


wailing o f the B a nshee It lasted so me seco nds a n d then
.
,

the fi gure disa ppeared Next mo rning my gra ndfa ther w as


.

wal king as u su al in to the city O f Cdrk He a ccidental ly .

fell hit h is head against the curbsto ne, an d never reco vered
,

co nsc io u sness .


In M a rch 1 900 my mothe r was ve ry il l and o ne e v e
, , ,

n in g the n u rse a nd I were with he r a rr anging her b ed We .

suddenly hea rd th e m ost ex trao rdin a ry wa iling which ,

see med t o co me in wa ves ro u nd a n d under her bed We .

n a tu ra lly l oo ked everywhere t o try and find the ca u se ,

bu t in va in T he nu rse an d I l oo ked a t o ne an o ther but


.
,

ma de no remark a s my mo ther did no t seem t o he ar it


,
.

My si ster w as do w n stairs sit t in g wi th my fa ther She h ea rd .

i t a nd tho ught so me terrible t hing had happened t o her


,

little b o y w ho w as in be d upstairs She rushed up and


,
.
,

found him slee ping qui etly My fa ther did not hear it In
. .

the ho use next do o r they hea rd it, and ran downstairs ,

thinking so mething h ad h appened t o the serv ant ; but th e


l a tter a t o nc e sa id to them D id yo u hea r th e B a nshee ?
,

Mrs P . m u st be dying .

B AN SHEES 83

A fe w yea rs ago ( i a b efo re 1 8 94 ) a c uri ous i nciden t oc


. .

c u rre d in a public sch oo l in co nnecti o n with the b elief in


the B a nshee One O f the b oys happe ning t o b ecome ill
.
, ,

w as a t on ce p lace d in a roo m by himself where he u sed t o


sit a ll d ay On one occasi o n as he was being visited by the


.
,

do c to r, he suddenly sta rt ed u p from his se a t an d affirmed ,

t h a t he heard so mebo dy c ryin g Th e d o cto r o f co urse .


, ,

w ho co uld hea r o r see no thing cam e t o the co nc lu si o n tha t ,

t he illness ha d sligh tly affec ted his brain However the .


,

b oy w ho a ppeared quite sensible st ill persisted tha t he


, ,

hea rd so m e o ne crying and furt hermo re said I t is the , ,

B anshee as I h ave h ea rd i t b efore
, The follo wing m om .

ing the h ea d m aster received a telegra m saying tha t the


-

b oy s b ro t he r had bee n acci den ta lly sho t dead


’ * .

Tha t the B an shee is no t co nfined within the geograp h i


cal l imi ts o f Irel a nd but th a t she ca n fo llo w t he fo rt un es
,

o f a fam ily ab ro a d and there fo re tell t heir de a th is clea rl y


, ,

S ho wn by t he fo ll o wi ng sto ry A party of vi sito rs were .

ga thered togethe r o n the deck of a privat e yach t on one


o f t he Ita li a n l ake s a nd during a lull in the co nve rsa t i o n
,

o ne o f t hem a C o l o nel said t o the o wner Count who s ’
, , , ,

tha t queer loo king woman you have on bo ard ? The Co un t
-

replied th a t there was nobody excep t the l adies pres ent ,


an d the stewardess b u t the spea ker pro tes ted tha t he w as
,

c orrec t and su ddenly, with a sc ream o f ho rro r he pl aced


, ,

h is h an d s befo re h is eyes an d excl aimed Oh my G od , , , ,

wha t a face ! F o r so me time he w as o verc o me with t erro r ,

an d a t length relucta ntly l o o ked up an d cried : ,



Thank Hea vens it s gone ! ,


Wh a t wa s it ? a sked the Cou nt .


No thing hu man replied the Col onel ,
n o th ing b el o ng
ingt o this wo rld I t w as a wo man o f no e ar thly type with
.
,

a queer sha ped gleami ng fa ce a m ass o f re d hai r an d eyes


-
, , ,

t ha t wo uld ha ve been beautiful b u t fo r the ir expressi on ,

wh ich w as helli sh She h ad on a green hood a fter the fash


.
,

io n O f an Iri sh peas a nt .

An Ame ri c a n l a dy pres ent suggested th a t the d e sc rip


t io n tallied with tha t o f th e B anshee u po n which the Coun t ,

* A G . . Bra dle y, N o tes on s om e Ir is h S up e rs t itio ns , p .


9 .
84 B EST GHOST STORIES
I am a n O N e i ’
ll— a t le a s t I am d escended fro m o n e .

My fa mily n ame is, as you kn ow , N e ilsini, whi ch , l i ttl e


m o re tha n a c entu ry ago , w as O N e ill My grea t grand

.
-

fa ther served in the Iri sh Brigade , and o n its di sso luti on


a t the time o f the French Rev o luti o n h a d the go o d fo rt u n e
t o e sca pe the genera l m assa c re o f O ffi c ers, an d in c o m p an y
with an O Brie n and a M aguire fled a c ross the fro ntier

a n d settled in It a ly On h is dea th h is so n , who h ad been


.

bo rn in It aly, a nd w as fa r m o re Ita li an th an Iri sh , ch a nged


his n ame to Ne ilsin i, by whi ch n a me the fa mily h as been

kno wn ever Since B u t fo r all tha t we a re Irish
. .

“ ”
The B an shee w as yo u rs, then ! ej acul a te d the Co l o nel .

Wh at exactly do es it mean ? 1
“ ” “
I t mean s, th e Co unt replied so lemnly , the dea th o f
so me ve ry nea rly asso c ia ted wi th me Pray Heaven i t
one .

is no t my wife o r d a ug

hter .

On that sco re ho wever h is a nxiety was spe edily re


, ,

mo ved for within two hours he w as seized with a vi olent a t


,
*
ta ck o f an gina pe cto ri s and died befo re m orning
,
.

Mr Ellio tt O D onne ll t o whose a rticle o n B a nshee s


.

,

we a re indebted fo r the a bo ve adds : The B anshee never
,

manifests i tself t o the perso n whose death i t is p rogn o sti


cating O ther pe ople m ay se e o r heat it b u t the fa ted o n e
.

,

never so tha t when every o ne present is aware o f i t b u t


,
1

one the fa te o f th a t o ne m ay be regarded as


,
well

cert ain .

O ccu lt R e view f o r S e p t e m be r, 1 91 3 .
B EST GHOST STO RIES
ma n , i n so far as n a ture can really infl uence thi s wo nderf ul
human genu s which has in the se centu ries lea rned to de fy
her mo st vi olent sto rm s in it s well esta bli shed ho u ses t o -
,

bridle her to rren ts and make them light its streets to t u n n e l ,

her m ounta ins and pl ow her seas the inha bita nts o f S t ,
.

Fa ith s will no t willingly ventu re into the fo rest a fter d a rk



.

F o r in spite o f the silence and l o neliness o f the h oo d e d


night it seems tha t a m an is no t su re in wha t co mpa ny h e
ma y su ddenly find h imself and th o ugh it is difficul t t o ge t ,

fro m these v ill agers any very c lea r sto ry o f o cc ul t a ppea r


ancas the feeling is widespread
,
One sto ry indeed I h a v e .

heard with so me d e finit e n e ss the tale o f a mo nstro us go a t ,

tha t h as been seen t o skip with hellish glee abou t the wo o d s


a nd sh a dy pl aces an d t hi s pe rh ap s is co nnec t ed wi t h t h e
,

sto ry which I ha ve here a tte mpte d t o piec e t o ge ther I t t oo .

is well kn o wn t o t hem ; fo r a ll remembe r the yo ung a rt ist


-

w ho died here n o t l o ng ag o a young m an o r so he s t r u ck , ,

the beho lder o f great perso n al b eau ty w ith so methi ng a bo ut


, ,

him tha t m ade men s faces t o smile and b righten when t hey

l o oked on him His gho st they will tell you walks co n


.
“ ”

st an tly b y th e st rea m an d through the woo d s whi c h h e


loved so an d in especi a l i t ha unts a certa in ho u se the l as t
, ,

o f the vill age where he lived and its garden in which he


, ,

w as do ne t o dea th F o r my pa rt I a m in clined t o t h ink


.

th at the terro r o f t he Fo res t da tes c hiefly fro m tha t d ay .

So such as the sto ry is I have se t i t fo rth in co nnec ted


, ,

fo rm It is b a sed p artly o n the accounts o f the vill a g ers


.
,

b u t mai nly o n th a t o f D arcy a friend o f mine and a friend ,

o f the m an with who m thes e even ts were chiefly co ncerned .

The day had b ee n one o f untam ish ed midsumme r sp l en


d o r an d as the sun drew nea r t o it s setting the gl o ry o f
, ,

the evening grew eve ry mo ment mo re crystall ine m o re ,

miraculou s Westwa rd fro m S t Faith s the b eechwo o d


. .

whi ch stretched fo r so me m iles toward the hea t hery upl and


beyo nd alrea dy cast it s v e il o f clea r sha d ow o ver t h e red
ro o fs o f the vill age b ut the spire o f the gra y churc h o ver
, ,

to pping all still po inted a fl aming o range finger in to the


,

sk y .The river Faw n which run s b el o w lay in shee ts o f


, ,

sk y re fl
-
ec t ed blu e a n d wo u nd it s dreamy d e vio u s co u rse
,
THE MAN W HO WENT TOO FA R
ro und the edge o f thi s woo d where a ro ugh tw o pl anked ,
-

b ri d ge crossed fro m the bo tto m o f the ga rden o f the l as t


h o u s e in the vill age and co m munica ted by mea n s o f a lit
,

t l e wi ck er ga te with the wo od it self Then o nce out o f .

t h e sha do w o f the woo d the strea m lay in fl a ming poo l s o f


t h e m o lten crimso n o f the sunset a nd l ost itself in the h az e ,

o f w o o dl an d di s ta n c es .

T hi s ho u se a t th e end o f the vill age sto o d o u ts ide the


s h a d o w and the l awn which sl o ped d o wn t o the rive r w a s
,

s till fl eck e d wi th sunlight Garden beds o f d a zzling col o r


.
-

lin e d it s gravel wa lks a nd do w n the middle o f it ran a brick


,

pe rgo l a ha lf hidden in cl usters o f ram bler ro se an d purple


,
- -

w i t h s ta rry clem a ti s At th e b o tto m end o f i t be tween t w o


.
,

o f it s pill a rs w as sl ung a h a mm ock c o n ta ining a shir t


,

s l e eved fi gure .

The h ouse itse lf lay so mewh at remo te fro m the res t o f


t h e vill age and a fo o tpa th lea ding acro ss tw o field s n ow
, ,

ta ll an d fragrant with hay w as it s o nly co mmunica tio n ,

w ith the high ro ad I t was lo w b u ilt only tw o sto r ies i n


.
-
,

h e i g ht an d l ike t he ga rden it s wall s were a m ass o f flow


, ,

e r ing ro ses A n arro w stone terrac e ran al ong the garden


.

fr o nt o ver whi ch w as stretched a n awning and on the ter


, ,

r a ce a young sil en t foo t ed m an servant w as b usied wi th


- -

t h e l a ying o f the ta ble fo r dinner He w as nea t handed and .


-

q u i c k wi th h is j o b an d ha v ing
,
fini shed it he wen t b a ck in t o

the h o use an d reappeared a gain with a l arge ro ugh ba th


,

t o wel o n his arm With this he wen t t o the hamm ock in th e


.

p erg o l a .


Nearly eigh t sir he sa id , ,
.

Has Mr D arcy come yet ? asked a vo i ce fro m the


.

ha mm o ck .


No, sir.
If I m no t ba ck wh en h e c o mes tell him tha t I m

,


ju st h aving a b athe befo re dinner .

The serva nt went b ack t o the h ou se a nd a fter a m o ,

m ent o r tw o F ra nk H alto n st rugg l e d t o a s itting po stu re ,

a n d slipped o u t o n to the g rass He w as o f mediu m h e i ght .

an d ra th er slender in build but the su pple e ase an d grace ,

o f his m o vements ga ve the impre ssi o n o f g rea t physica l


s t r eng t h : e v en h is desc ent fr o m the h a m m o c k w as n o t a n
88 B EST GHOST STORIES

a wkward perfo rm ance His fa ce and ha nds were o f v e ry


.

d ark co mplexi o n either fro m co nstan t expo su re t o wind a n d


,

sun o r as h is b l ack h a ir an d d a rk eyes tended t o s h o w


, , ,

fro m so me stra in o f so u thern bl oo d His head was sm a ll .


,

h is face o f a n exqui si t e bea u ty o f m o d e ling wh ile t h e ,

sm o o thness o f it s co nt o ur wo uld have led yo u t o believe t ha t


he w as a bea rdless lad s till in h is teens B u t so mething .
,

so me l oo k which living and e xpe rience a l o ne can give ,

seemed t o co ntra d ic t tha t a n d finding yo u rself co mpletely


,

puzzled as t o his age yo u wo uld next m o ment p ro b a b ly


,

ceas e t o think ab o u t tha t and o nly loo k a t this gl o ri o u s


,

specimen o f yo ung m a nho o d with wo ndering sa ti sfac ti o n .

He w as dressed as be ca me the seaso n and the hea t and ,

wo re o nly a shirt Op en a t the neck and a pa ir o f fl annel ,

t ro u sers His hea d co vered very thickly wi th a so me


.
,

wha t rebel lio us cro p o f sho rt curly ha ir was bare as he ,


,

stro lled a cross the l awn t o the ba th i ng pl ace th a t la y b e -

lo w The n fo r a mo ment there w as silen ce then the so und


.
,

o f spl a shed a n d d ivided w a ters a nd pre sently a fter a grea t


, ,

sh o u t o f ec sta tic j oy , as he swa m up st rea m wi th the f oa m e d


-

wat er standing in a frill ro u nd his neck Then after so me .

fiv e minu tes o f lim b stret ching struggle wi th t he fl o o d , he


-

turned o ver o n his back and with arms thro wn wide fl oa te d


, ,

do wn stre am , ripple cradled and inert His eyes were shut


- -
.
,

and b etween h alf parted lip s he tal ked gently t o h imself


-
.

” “
I am one with it , he sa id t o himself the river and I , ,

I and the rive r The coo lness and spl ash o f it is I and th e
.
,

water herb s th at wave in it a re I al so


-
And my streng th .
,

an d my limb s a re n o t mine b ut th e rive r s It is all one ’


.
,

a ll o n e dea r Fawn
,
.

A qu arter o f an h o u r l ater he appea red again at the


b o tto m o f the lawn dressed a s b efo re h is wet ha ir already
, ,

drying into its c ri sp sho rt cu rl s aga in There he paused .

a m o ment l o o ki ng b a ck a t the stre am wi th the sm i le with


,

which men l oo k o n the fa c e o f a friend then tu rned towards ,

the ho use Simul taneo usly h is se rvan t ca me to the d oor


.

leading o n t o the terrace fo ll owed by a m an wh o appea red


,

t o be so me ha lf w ay thro ugh the fo u rth decade o f his years


-
.

Frank a nd he saw each o ther across the b ushes and garden


g o BES T G HO ST STO RI E S
No , no t fo r me Dea r me , I suppose I used
. t o sm o ke
on c e Ho w . ve ry o dd ! ”

“ ”
Given it up ?
I d o n t kn ow I s uppo se I m us t have Anyho w I d o n t

. .


do it n o w I wo uld a s soo n th ink o f ea tin g mea t
. .


Ano ther victim on the smoking altar o f vegeta r i an

ism ?
“ ” “
Victim ? asked F rank D o I strike you a s s u ch ? .

He pa used o u the ma rgi n o f th e strea m and wh i stled


s o ftly Next m o ment a mo o r hen m ade it s spl a shing fli gh t
.
-

a cro ss the river and ran up the b a nk ,


Fra nk to o k it .

very gently in his h and s an d s troked it s head , as the crea


ture lay aga inst his shirt .


An d is the ho use amo ng the ree d s s ti ll secu re ? he half

croo ned t o i t “
An d is the missu s qu ite well an d a re the
.
,

n ei ghb o rs fl o u ri shing ? There, dea r, h o me with yo u, a nd
he fl u ng it into the air .


Tha t bird s very t ame sa id D arcy slightly be w ildered

, ,
.


I t is ra ther, said Fra nk, foll o wing its flight .

Du ring dinne r Frank chiefly o ccup ied himself i n b ring


in ghim self up to d a te in the mo vements an d a chi ev emen ts
- -

o f thi s o ld friend who m he h ad n o t seen fo r s ix yea rs .

Th o se six yea rs it now a ppea red h ad b een full o f i nciden t


, ,

a nd succ ess fo r D a rcy ; he h a d ma de a n ame fo r him sel f


as a p o rtra it pa inte r w hi ch b a de fai r t o o utl a s t the v o gue
o f a c o uple o f sea so n s a nd h is l ei su re t ime h a d b een b rief
,
.

Then some fo u r months previo u sly he ha d b een t hrou gh a


severe a tta ck o f typho id the resu lt o f wh ich as co n c erns ,

thi s sto ry w as th a t he h a d co me d own t o this sequester ed


p l a ce t o re c ru i t .

“ “
Ye s y o u ve go t o n said Frank at t he e nd I al ways

, , .

knew you w o uld A R A with mo re in prospec t M o ney ?


. . . . .

Yo u ro ll in it I suppo se an d O D a rcy how m u ch h appi


, , , ,

n ess h ave yo u h a d all these yea rs ? Tha t is the o nly im


peri shab le po ssessio n And ho w m uch h ave you lea rned ? .

h I d o n t mean in Art Even I coul d have d one well i n


a

.
,

at . c

D arcy l aughed .


Do ne well ? My dea r fe ll ow ,
a ll I h ave l earned in t hese
THE MAN W HO WENT TOO FA R
s ix years you knew, so t o S peak in you r cra dle Yo ur o ld ,
.


pi c tures fetc h huge pri ces D o you never p a in t now ?
.

Fra nk shoo k h is head .

“ ”
N0 I m t o o bu sy he sai d
,

, ”

D o ing wha t ? Plea se tell me That is wha t e ve ry one .


is fo r ever ask ing me .


D o ing ? I suppo se you wo ul d say I do n o thing .

D ar cy gl anced up a t the brilli a n t yo ung face o pposite


him .

“ ”
I t seems t o su i t yo u , tha t w ay o f b eing busy he sa id ,
.

N o w , it s yo u r turn D o you rea d ? D o you s tudy ? I



.

rememb e r you saying th a t it wo uld d o us all all u s a rtists,



I mea n a gre a t deal o f goo d if we wo ul d s tudy a ny o ne
hu m an face carefully fo r a yea r, wi tho u t recording a line .


H a ve yo u b een do ing tha t ?
Fra nk sho ok his he ad again .

“ “
I mean exa c tly wha t I say , he sai d , I ha ve b een d oing
n o t hing An d I h ave never been so o c cup ied Loo k a t me ;
. .


h a ve I n o t d o ne so mething to myself t o begin w ith ?
“ ” “
You a re t w o yea rs yo u nger than I , said D arcy, a t
lea st yo u used t o b e You therefo re a re thirty fiv e But
.
-
.

h a d I neve r seen yo u be fo re I sho uld say y o u were j us t


twenty But w as it wo rth while t o spend six ye a rs o f

.

g re a tly o ccupied l ife in o rde r t o l o o k tw ent y ? Seem s ra th e r



like a wo man o f fashi on .

Fra nk l aughed bo i stero usly .


First time I ve ever been co mpared t o tha t pa rticul a r

” “
b ird o f prey he said N o , t ha t h a s n o t b een my o ccu pa

.
,

tio n in fac t I am o nly very ra rely co nsci o us tha t o ne effec t


o f my o c cup a ti o n h a s b een th a t O f co u rse it m us t ha ve
.
,

been if o ne co me s t o think o f it It is no t very i mpo rta nt . .

Quite true my bo dy h as become yo u ng But tha t is ve ry .


little ; I h ave become yo ung .

D a rcy p ushed b ack his cha i r and sa t sideways t o t he


ta b l e lo oking at the o ther .


Has tha t been yo ur o ccupa tio n then ? he asked ”
.

Ye s, tha t a nyho w is o n e a spe c t o f it Thi nk what .

o u t h me an s ! I t is t he ca p a city fo r gro w th , mi nd , bo dy,


y
spiri t , all gro w, a l get s tro n ger all h ave a f u ller , firmer
l

life ev ery d ay Tha t is so me thing co n sidering tha t eve ry


.
,
B EST G HOST STO R IES
d ay tha t passes a fte r the o rdina ry m an reaches th e full
b lown fl o wer o f his s trength w eaken s h is ho ld o n life A ,
.

m a n rea che s h is prime an d rem a in s we say in his prime , , , ,

fo r ten yea rs o r perh aps tw enty ,


B u t a fter his p rim est .

prime is re a ched he Sl owly inse n sibly weaken s These


, ,
.

a re the si gn s o f a g e in yo u in yo u r b o dy in yo u r a rt prob , ,

a bly in yo u r m ind You a re less e le c tric tha n you were


— —
. .
,

B ut I whe n I rea ch my prime I am nea ring it ah , you


,

sha ll see .

The stars h ad b e gun t o appea r in the bl u e velve t o f the


sk y a n d t o th e e as t the h o riz o n seen a b o ve the b l a ck sil
,

h o ue tt e o f the vill age w as gro wing d o ve col o red with th e


-

appro a ch o f m o o n ri se White mo th s ho vered dimly o ver


-
.

t h e ga rden b e d s and the foo tstep s o f nigh t tip t oed t hro u gh


-
,
-

th e b u shes S uddenly Frank ro se


. .

“ ”
Ah it is the supreme mo men t he said so ftly
,
N ow , .

m o re than a t any o ther t ime the cu rrent o f life the etern a l ,

i mperishab le cu rrent ru ns so cl o se t o m e tha t I a m alm os t



envelo ped i n i t Be sil e nt a minu te . .

He advanced t o the edge o f the terrace an d l ooked o u t


s ta nding s tretched with a rm s o u tsprea d D a rcy heard h im .

d raw a l o ng brea th i nt o h is l u ngs and a f ter m any seco nd s ,

expel i t aga in Six o r eigh t t ime s he did th is then tu rned


.
,

b ack into the l a mplight .

“ ” “
It w ill so u nd t o yo u q u ite mad I expe ct he said b u t , , ,

if you wa nt t o hea r the so beres t tru th I have ever spo ken


and sh al l ever spe ak I wil l t ell y o u a b o ut myself ,
But .

co me i nto the ga rden if it is n o t t o o d amp fo r you I .

ha ve never told an y o n e yet bu t I shall l ike t o tell y ou ,


.

It is l o ng in fact, since I have even tried t o cl assify w ha t I


,

h ave lea rned .

They wandered i nto the fragra n t d imness o f the pergo l a ,

a nd sa t d o wn Then Frank b egan :


.

“ ” “
Ye a rs ago do yo u rememb e r he said we used o ften
, , ,

t o talk ab o ut the de ca y o f j o y in the wo rld M any im .

p u l ses ,
w e settl e d h a d c o ntrib u ted ,
t o t hi s dec ay so me o f ,

which we re goo d in th e mselves o thers tha t were quite co m ,

l t l b d Am ng the g d thing I p u t wh t we m i
p e e y a o . o o s a ay ,

cal l certai n Christian virtues renu n c i a ti o n resign ati o n sym , , ,

pa thy with suffering an d the d e sire t o relieve sufie re rs , .


94 BE ST G HO ST STO RIE S
this New Fo re st sat down fair an d square and lo o ked
, ,
.

Tha t w as my first difficulty, t o sit h e re quiet with o u t being


bo red , t o wa it with o u t being i mpa tient to be receptive and ,

very al e rt tho ugh fo r a l ong time n o thing par ti cul a r hap


,

pened The change i n fa c t w as sl ow in th o se ea rly stages
. .

“ ”
No thing happe ned ? asked D a rcy ra the r i mpa tiently ,

with the sturdy revo lt a gainst any n e w idea which t o the



En glish mind is syno nymo u s wi th no nsense Why, wha t .


in the wo rld sh ould happen ?
No w Fran k as he h ad kn own him was the m o st genero us
b ut most qui ck tempered o f mo rta l men ; in o ther wo rds his
-

anger wo uld fl a re t o a prodigi ou s beaco n under ai ,

m ost no pro voca ti on , o nly t o b e qu enched again under a


gust o f n o less imp ul sive kindliness Th us the m o men t .

D arcy h ad spoken an ap ol o gy fo r h is has ty qu esti o n w as


,

half w ay up h is tongu e Bu t th e re w as n o nee d fo r it t o


-
.

h ave trave led eve n so fa r for Frank l a ughed a gai n wi t h ,

kindly, ge n u ine mirth .


Oh h o w I Sh o uld h ave resented tha t a fe w years ago
, ,

he sa id Thank goo dness tha t resentment is o ne o f the
.

things I have go t rid o f I certainly wish th a t yo u sh o ul d


— —
.

believe my s to y in fact you a re go ing o b u t th a t yo u


r t ,

a t thi s m o men t Sh o uld imply th a t yo u d o n o t d oes n o t ,



co n c ern me .


Ah yo ur soli ta ry soj o u rnings have m ade you inh u
,

m an sa id D a rcy st ill ve ry Engli sh
, ,
.

“ ” “
No h u m a n
,
sa id Fra nk ,
Rather mo re hu m an , a t .


lea st ra ther l e ss o f an ap e .

“ ”
Well t ha t w as my first quest he contin u ed after a
, , ,
.


m omen t the delibera te a nd u nswe rving p ursuit o f j o y
, ,

an d my meth o d the e ager co ntempl a ti o n o f N a t u re


,
As far .

a s m o tive we nt I d a res ay it w a s pu rely selfi sh b u t a s fa r


, ,

a s e ffect go e s it seem s t o me ab o u t the b est thing o ne can


,

d o fo r o ne s fell o w c re a t u re s fo r h appiness is m o re in fe c

-
,

ti ou s th a n smal l p ox So a s I said I sa t d own a nd wa ited ;


-
.
, ,

I l o oked a t happy things zea l o usly a vo ided the sigh t o f ,

an ything unha ppy a n d by deg ree s a l it tle tri ckle o f th e


,

happiness o f thi s bli ssful wo rld began t o filter in to m e .

The tr ickle grew m ore ab und ant a nd now my dea r fe l , ,

low if I co u ld fo r a m o ment divert from me into yo u o n e


,
THE MAN W HO W ENT T oo F AR 95

hal f of to rren t o f j oy tha t po u rs through me day a nd


the

night you would th row t he wo rld a rt eve rything as ide


, , , ,

and j u s t live exi st When a m an s b ody dies it passes in to ’


.
, ,

trees a n d flowers Well t ha t is wh a t I ha ve b een t rying t o


.
,

do wi t h m y so ul be fo re d e a
The servant h ad bro ugh t in to t he pergola a tab le with
s yph o n s a n d spirits and h a d se t a l a mp up o n it
,
As Frank .

s po ke he leaned fo rwa rd t owa rd s th e o the r a nd D a rcy fo r ,

a ll h is m a t ter o i fac t co mm o n sen se co uld h a ve swo rn tha t


- - -

his com p an ion s face sho ne w a s lu m ino u s i n i tself


.

His ,
.

da rk b rown eyes glow ed from w i thin the unconsc i ou s sm ile ,

o f a child irra di a ted a n d t rans fo rmed his fa ce D arcy felt .

su ddenly excited exhil a ra t ed , .

“ ” “
G o on he sa id
,
G o on I can feel you are so me
. .

h ow telling me so be r truth I daresay you a re mad ; but .


I d o n t see tha t m a tters

5 .

Fra nk laughed again .


Mad ? he said
” “
Yes ce rtai nl y if you wish
. B ut
, , .

I prefer t o call i t sane However n o thing m a tters l ess t han


.
,

w h a t an yb ody ch o oses t o c al l t hings G od never lab el s h is .

g ;if ts He j u s t p ut s t hem i n t o o u r ha nd s ; j ust as he pu t


a nim a l s in th e garden o f Ed e n fo r Ad am t o n ame i f h e ,

felt di spo sed .


S o by the con ti nu al ob servance a nd s tudy o f th ings that
” “
were happy con ti nued he I go t h appiness I go t j oy
, , , .

B ut see king i t as I did fro m Na t u re I go t m u ch m o re


, , ,

whi c h I did no t seek b ut stu mbled up on o riginally by ac


,

cid e n t I t is difficul t t o expl a in bu t I wi ll t ry


.
, .


Abo ut three yea rs ago I w as sitting o ne m o rn ing in a
pl a ce I will Sho w yo u t o mo rro w I t is d own by the river -
.

b rink, very green , d appled with sha de and sun and the ,

river passes there thro ugh so me little clumps o f reed s .

Well as I sa t there d o in g n o thing bu t j ust l oo king a nd


, , ,

l i stening I hea rd the so u nd quite di stin ctly o f some flut e


,

l ike in st rument playi ng a strange u nendin g melody I .

t h o ugh t a t fi rst it w as so me m u si c a l yokel o n the highw ay


and did no t p ay much a tte nti o n B u t b efo re l ong the .

st rangeness an d inde sc rib ab le be au ty o f the tune struck


me I t never repea ted itself bu t it never came t o an end
.
, ,

p hrase a fter phrase ra n it s swee t c o u rse it wo rked grad ua lly ,


9 6 BEST G HO ST STO RIES
a nd inev itably up having attai ned i t , it
to a cl imax, and
went o n ; ano ther climax w as reached and ano ther an d
a n o th er Then with a sudden gasp o f wo nder I l o ca li z ed
.

w here i t came fro m It ca me fro m the reed s and fro m


.

the sk y a nd fro m th e t ree s It w as eve rywhere , it w as


.

the so un d o f l ife It w as , my d ear D a rcy, as the G ree ks


.

wo u ld h a ve said , it w as Pan pl aying o n his pipe s, t h e


v o ice o f Na ture I t was the l ife mel o dy, the wo rl d
.
-

m el o dy .

D arcy was far t oo in terested to in terrupt , t hough t he re


w as a q uestio n h e wou ld h ave liked t o a sk , a nd Fran k
went o n :

Well , for the mo men t I w as t erri fied , t erri fied w ith
the i mpo ten t ho rror o f nightma re and I stopped my e ars ,

a n d j u s t ran fro m t he pl a ce an d g o t b a ck t o the h o u se


pan ting trembling, li terally in a panic Unkno w ingly for
, .
,

a t th a t t ime I o nl y pursued j oy I h ad b egun since I dre w , ,

my j oy fro m Na ture t o get im t ouch wi th Na tu re Na ture,


, .

fo rc e G o d , ca ll i t W ha t yo u w ill had drawn acro ss my fa ce


, ,

a little go ssame r web o f essenti al life I saw th a t when I .

emerged fro m my terro r, a nd I wen t very humbly b ack


t o where I ha d hea rd th e P an pipes B u t it was nearly six
-
.

m on ths b efo re I he ard them a gain .

“ ”
Why w a s th a t ? asked D a rcy .

S u rely beca u se I h ad revo lted , reb ell ed , an d wo rst o f


all been frighten ed F o r I b elieve tha t ju st as t here is
.

n o thing in the W o rld w hich so inj u res o ne s body as fear ’


,

so th e re is no thing th a t so m u ch sh u ts u p the s o ul I .

w a s a fra id you se e o f th e o ne thi ng in the wo rld which


, ,

h a s rea l exis tence N o wo nder it s m an ifesta ti o n was wi th


.


drawn .


And a fter s ix mon ths ?
Afte r six m o nths one blesse d mo rni ng I heard the pip
ing again I wasn t a fra id th a t t ime An d since then i t
.

.

h as grown l o uder it has b eco me m o re con stan t I now


, .

hear i t o ften and I can put myse lf into such a n a ttitude


,

t o wa rds Na t u re tha t the pipes will almo st certa inly sound .

And neve r yet h ave they played the sam e tune i t is al ,

w ays some thing ne w so mething fuller , ri cher , m ore com


,

p le t e than befo re .
98 B EST GHOST STORIES
Frank smiled at him .


Qu ite true ; you a re quick t o have see n that B ut .


when i t c o mes I h ope I S ha ll n o t be afraid .

F o r so me little t ime there w a s silen ce ; then D a rcy ro se .

“ ”
You ha ve be witched me yo u extrao rdina ry b oy ,
he ,

sa id. You ha ve been telling me a fa iry sto ry and I fin d -
,

myse lf saying, Pro m ise me it is t rue



.

“ ”
I pro mi se yo u th at sa id the o ther
, .

And I kno w I shan t sleep added D arcy



, .

Fra nk l o oked a t him wi th a so rt o f mild wonder as if he


sc a rc ely u nders to o d .

“ ”
Well wh a t d oes th at ma tte r ? he said
, .

I assu re yo u it does I a m wretched unless I sleep


. .


Of co u rse I can m ak e you sleep if I wan t , said Fra nk
i n a rather bo red vo ice .

“ ”
Well do,
.

Y ery goo d : go t o b ed I ll come upstairs in ten min ’


.

u t es
.

Fran k busied himself fo r a little a fter the o ther had


go ne mov i ng the ta ble b a ck under the awn ing o f the veran
,

d a an d qu en ching the l a mp Then he went wi th his q u ick


.

sil en t t read upsta i rs an d in to D a rcy s ro o m The l a tte r ’


.

was a lre ady i n bed bu t ve ry wide eyed and wa keful and


,
-
,

Frank with an am used smile o f ind ulgence as for a fre tful ,

child sa t d o wn o n the ed ge o f the b ed


,
.

“ ”
Look at me he said a nd D a rcy l ooked
, ,
.


The birds are sleeping in the brake sa id Frank so f tly , ,

and the wi nd s a re a sleep The sea sleeps and th e tides


.
,

a re bu t th e hea ving o f it s b reast The sta rs swing slow .


,

rocked in the grea t cradle o f the Hea ven s and ,

He sto pped suddenl y, gently blew o ut D a rcy s candl e ’


,

a nd left him sleeping .

M o rning bro ugh t t o D arcy a fl oo d o f ha rd commonsense ,

as clea r a nd cri sp as the sunshine th a t fi ll ed his roo m .

Slowly as he woke he gathered toge ther the broken thread s


o f th e memo ri es o f the e ve ning whi c h h ad ended so he ,

t old himsel f, in a trick of co mmo n hypno tism That ac .

co un t ed fo r i t all ; t he whole stra nge ta lk he h ad had was


under a spell o f suggesti o n fro m the extrao rdin a ry v ivid
b oy who had once b een a man ; all his own excite ment his ,
T HE MAN W HO WENT T oo F AR 99

a ccept ance o f the in credible h ad been merely the effec t o f


a s tro nger mo re po tent will imposed o n his o wn How
,
.

stro n g th a t will w a s b e gu essed fro m h is o w n i n st a nt a ne


,

o us o bedience t o Fra nk s su ge sti o n o f sleep And a rme d


g .

with imp e netrable co mmo nsen se he ca me d own t o bre akfast .

Frank had a lrea dy begun a nd w a s co n suming a l a rge pl ate,

ful o f po rridge and milk with the mo st prosaic a nd healthy


a ppetite .


Slep t we ll ? he asked .

Ye s o f co urse Where did yo u learn hypno ti sm ?


,
.


By the side o f the river .


Yo u talked an a maz ing q uan tity o f no nse nse l a st night ,
r em a rked D a rcy in a v o ice prickl y w i th re a so n
,
.


Ra ther I felt qu ite giddy Lo ok I remembe red t o
. .
,

O rde r a drea dful d a ily p aper fo r yo u Yo u can read ab ou t .


m o ney m arkets or po litics o r cri cke t ma tches

D arcy loo ked at hi m cl osely I n the mo rning li ght .

F ra nk loo ked even freshe r younger mo re vi ta l tha n he had , ,

do ne the nigh t befo re , a nd the sight o f him so meh ow dinted


D a rcy s a rmo r o f co mm o n sen se

.

“ ”
Yo u a re the mo st extra o rdina ry fell ow I ever saw , he
“ ”
said I want to a sk you so me mo re questions
. .


Ask away, sa id Frank .

F the nex t d ay o r t w o D a rcy plied h is friend wi th


'

or
m a ny qu esti o n s o bjecti o n s a nd criti ci sm s o n the theo ry o f
,

l ife and grad u ally go t o ut o f him a cohere nt an d co mplete


a c c o u nt o f his experience In b rief then Frank believed tha t
.
,
“ ”
by lying n ak ed as he p u t it t o the fo rce whi c h control s
, ,

t h e p a ssa ge o f the sta rs the break ing o f a wa ve the b ud


, ,

ding o f a tree the l ove o f a yo uth a nd maiden he h ad


, ,

succeeded in a w ay hitherto u ndrea med o f in po ssessing


h i m self o f the essenti a l princ iple o f l ife D ay by d ay so .
,

he tho ught he w as getting nea re r t o a nd in cl o ser unio n


, ,

with the grea t po wer itself whi ch ca u sed all life t o b e the ,

S piri t o f n a t u re o f fo rce o r the spirit o f G o d


,
F o r him
, .

s elf he co n fe ssed t o wha t o thers wo u ld ca l l pagani sm ; it


,

w as sufficient fo r him th a t the re exi sted a principle o f life .

He did no t wo rship it he did no t pray t o it he did n o t , ,

prai se it So me o f it exi sted in all h uma n beings j u st as it


.
,
1 00 B EST GHO ST STO R IES
ex i sted i n trees and ani mal s ; t o re alize and m ak e liv ing t o
h mself the fac t tha t i t w as a ll on e w a s his sole a im an d
i
o ject .
,

Here perhaps D arcy wo ul d p u t i n a wo rd o f warnin g .

“ “
Take ca re, he sa id T o se e Pa n mean t dea th did i t
.
,

no t ?

Frank s eyebrows would rise a t this



.

“ ” “
Wh a t d o es th a t ma tter ? he sa id True the Greeks .
,

were alwa ys right a nd they sa id so b u t there is an o ther


, ,

possibility F o r the nea rer I ge t t o it the mo re living the


.
, ,

mo re vital and you ng I b eco me .


Wha t then do you expec t the fin al revel a ti o n will d o

fo r you ?
“ “
I have told you sai d he It w ill make me i mmo rtal
,
. .

B ut it w as no t so much fro m spee ch a nd a rgument th a t


D arcy grew t o grasp h is friend s concepti o n as fro m the ’
,

o rdin a ry c o nd u c t o f h is life They were passing fo r in .


,

s ta nce o ne m o rning d o wn th e vil lage street when a n o ld


, ,

wo man very bent an d decrepit, but wi th an extrao rd in a ry


,

ch eerfulness o f face hobbled out fro m her co t tage Fra nk


,
.

instan tly sto pped when he saw her .


You old d a rling ! How goes it all ? he sa id

.

But sh e did no t answer her dim o ld eye s were rivet ed o n


,

his face ; sh e seemed t o drink i n like a thirsty crea t u re t h e


beau tiful radian c e which sho ne there Suddenly she put her .

t w o wi thered old h a nd s o n h is Sh o ulde rs .

“ ”
Yo u re j ust the sun shi ne itself, sh e sa id , and he k isse d

her and passed o n .

But sca rc ely a h undred yard s fu rthe r a st range co nt rad ic


ti o n o f suc h tenderness o ccu rred A child running al o ng the .

pa th towa rd s the m fell o n its face a nd se t up a dismal c ry ,

o f frigh t a n d pain A l oo k o f ho rro r came into Fra nk s ’


.

eyes and pu tting his fingers in h is ears he fled a t full


, , ,

speed d own the stre et a nd did no t pa u se till he w as o u t o f


,

hearing D arcy h avin g ascertained tha t the child w as no t


.
,

real ly h u rt fo ll owed him in bewilderment


,
.


Are yo u witho u t pity then ? he asked

.

Frank Sh o ok his head impa tiently .

“ “
Ca n t you se e ? he asked

Can t you u nde rstand tha t .

tha t so r t o f thing pa in , an ger, anything unl ovely thro ws me


,
B EST G HOST STORM

and aler t and h e : hal f raise d his
head whi speri ng, The
'

v
,

P an p 1pe s the Pa m pip e s


~

,
Cl o se o h so cl ose
-
.
, ,
.

Very sl owly, as i f a sudden m ovement mi ght interrup t


the mel o dy he ra ised himself and l e aned o n the elbo w o f
,

h is bent a rm His e yes o pe ned wider the l o we r lid s droo ped


.
,

as if he fo cu sed h is eye s on so m e thing ve ry fa r awa y a n d ,

the smile o n h is face broa dened and qu ivered like sunligh t


o n still w a ter till the exu l ta n c e o f its ha ppiness w as sc a r c ely
,

h uma n So he remai ned mo tio nless and rap t for so me


.

min u tes then the loo k o f listening died fro m h is frace , a n d


,

he bo wed h is head sa ti sfied .

“ ”
Ah tha t w a s go o d he said
,

How is it possible yo u
,
.

d id n o t hear ? O h , yo u po o r fell o w ! Did you rea ll y hear



n o thing ?
A w eek o f thi s o u td oo r and stim ul a ting life did wonde rs
in resto ring t o D a rcy the vigo r a nd health which his weeks
o f fever had filch ed fro m him a n d as h is n o rma l a c ti v ity a n d ,

higher pressu re o f vitality retu rned he seemed t o himself ,

t o fa ll even m o re under the spell which the mira cle o f


Fra nk s yo u th cast o ver him Twen ty times a d ay he fo und

.

himself saying to himself suddenly a t the end of so me ten


minu t e s silent resi sta nce t o the absu rdity o f Frank s idea
’ ’

“ ”
B u t it i sn t possible ; it can t be po ssible and fro m th e
’ ’
,

fact o f h is h aving t o as sure himself so frequently o f this he ,

knew tha t he w as struggling and a rgui ng wi th a co n cl usi on


whi ch a lre ady ha d taken roo t in h is mind F o r in a ny .

case a vi sible living miracle co nfro nted him since it w a s ,

equ a lly impo ssible tha t thi s yo uth thi s b oy , trembling ,

o n the verge o f m a nho od w as thirty fiv e Ye t such w as t h e


,
-
.

fact .

J uly w as ushere d in b y a co uple o f d ays o f bl u stering


a n d fretful ra in a n d D a rcy , u nwilling t o ri sk a chill kept
, ,

t o the h o use Bu t to Frank thi s weeping chan ge o f wea ther


.

seemed t o h ave n o bea ring o n the beha vi o r o f m a n , a n d he


spent h is d ays exactly as he did under the suns o f June ,

lying i n his h ammo ck stretched o n the dripping grass o r


, ,

m a king h u ge rambling ex cu rsi o ns into the fo rest the birds ,

hopping fro m tree t o tree a fte r him t o retu rn in th e eve ,

nin g dre nched a nd so aked b ut with t he same unquenchabl e


, ,

fl ame o f j oy b urning within him .


T HE MAN W HO WENT T OO F AR 1 03

” “
Catch cold ? he would ask I ve fo rgo tten how to do it ,

,

I think I suppose it makes o ne s bo dy mo re se n sible al ways


.

t o sleep out o f d oo rs
- -
People who live indoo rs always re
.

m ind me o f so me thing pe e l ed an d skinless .


D o yo u mea n t o say yo u slep t o ut o i do o rs l ast night in - -

” “ ”
t h a t del uge ? a sked D a rcy And where may I a sk ?
.
,

Frank tho ught a mo ment .

“ ” “
I slep t in the hammo ck till nearly dawn he said F o r ,
.

I remember the ligh t blinked in the east when I awoke .

— —
Th e n I went where did I go O h yes to the meado w , ,

W here the Pan pipes so unded so cl o se a week ag


-
o Yo u .

were with me, d o you remember ? B u t I always have a rug



i f i t is wet.

And he wen t whi stli ng u psta irs .

S o mehow t ha t l i ttle to uch h is ob vio us effort to recall


,

where he had slep t bro ught s trangely ho me to D a rcy the


,

wonderful ro ma nce o f which he was the still hal f inc red u -

l o u s beholder Sleep till cl ose on dawn in a hammock



.
,

t hen the t ra mp o r pro b ably scammr — undernea th t he


windy and weeping heavens to the remo te an d lo nely meado w
b y the weir ! The pictu re o f o ther su ch nights ro se befo re
him ; Frank sleeping perhaps by the ba thing place under -

the fil tered twiligh t o f the sta rs o r the white bl aze o f moo n


,

shine a sti r a nd a waken ing a t so me dea d h o ur pe rh aps a


, ,

sp a c e o f silent wide eyed tho ugh t and then a wa nd e ring


-
,

t hro ugh the hushed woo d s t o so me o t her d o rm ito ry al o ne ,

with his ha ppin ess alo ne w ith the j oy and the l ife tha t
,

s u ffu sed a nd envel o ped him wi th o u t o ther tho ught o r de


,

s i re o r aim except the ho urly and never ceasing co mm u ni o n -

with the j oy o f na ture .

They were in the middl e o f di nner tha t nigh t talking o n ,

indi fferen t subjec ts when D a rcy suddenly bro ke off in the


,

m iddle o f a senten ce .

“ ” “ ’ ”

I ve got it he said
,
At l ast I ve go t it
. .

” “ ”
Congratul ate yo u, said Fra nk Bu t wh at ? .

The radi ca l unsoundness o f your idea I t is thi s : All .

n a t u re fro m highest to lo west is ful l c ra mmed full o f suf ,

fe ring; every living o rgani sm in n atu re preys on an o ther ,

ye t in yo u r aim t o ge t clo se t o to be o ne with nature yo u , ,

le a ve sufi e ring alto gether o ut ; y ou run away fro m it yo u ,


1 04 BEST GHO ST ST O R IES

refu se to recogn ize it And you are waiting you say fo r .


, ,

the fina l revela ti o n .

Frank s brow cl ou ded slightly



.

“ ”
Well ? he asked ra ther wearily ,
.

Cann o t yo u gu ess then when t h e fin al revel a tio n will be ?


In j o y you a re supreme I gra nt yo u tha t ; I did n o t kn o w ,

a m a n c o uld be so m ast e r o f it Yo u h ave lea rned perh a ps .

pra c ti ca lly all tha t n a ture c an teach And if as yo u think .


, ,

the fin a l reve l a ti o n is co ming t o yo u it will be the revel a ,

ti o n o f ho rro r su ffering death pain in all it s hideo us fo rm s


, , ,
.


Su ffering d oe s e xist : you ha te it a nd fear it .

Frank held up h is h and .

“ ”
S top ; let me think he said ,
.

There wa s silen c e fo r a l o ng minute .

“ ” “
Th a t never stru c k me he sa id a t length It is p os ,
.

sible th a t wh a t you s ugge st is tru e D o es the sight o f Pan .

mean tha t d o you think ? Is it th a t n a ture take i t al to


, ,

ge ther suffers ho rribly suffers t o a hideo u s inco nceivable


, ,

extent ? Sh all I be sho wn all the suffering ?
He go t up a nd ca me ro u nd t o where D arcy sa t .

“ ” “
If it is so so be it he sa id
,
Bec ause my dea r fell o w
,
.
, ,

I a m nea r so splendidly nea r t o the fin al revel a ti on T o


,
.

d ay the pipes h ave so und e d almos t witho u t pa u se I h ave .

eve n hea rd th e rustle in the b u shes I believe o f P an s c o m , ,


in g I have seen yes I sa w to d ay the b ushes pu shed as id e


.
, , ,

as if by a hand an d piec e o f a face no t hum an peered


, , ,

thro u gh B ut I w as no t frightened at leas t I did not run


.
,

a way thi s t ime .

He too k a turn u p t o the windo w and ba ck aga in .

“ ” “
Ye s there is su ffe ring all thro ugh
,
he sa id and I have , ,

left it al l o ut o f my sea rch Perh aps as you say th e revel a .


, ,

t i o n will be th at And in th a t case it will be go od bye I


.
,
-
.

have gone o n on e line I Sha ll h ave go ne too fa r al on g o ne


.

ro ad wi tho u t having expl o red the o ther B u t I ca n t go


,
.

b a ck now I wo uldn t if I co uld ; no t a step would I t e


.

trac e ! In any case whate ve r the revelation is it will b e


, ,

G od I m su re o f t ha t
.

.

Th e rainy wea ther so o n p assed a nd wi t h the return o f ,

th e sun D a rcy a gain j o ined Fra nk in l ong rambl i ng d ays .


1 06 BEST GHO ST STO R IES
the momen t h ad been u tterly stayed a s if the t ap O f th e ,

heaven s ha d been t u rned o ff and under the l owe ring bl a c k


,

sk y n o t qu ite d a rk S inc e t h e m oo n r ode so mewhere se ren e


, ,

be hind the co ngl o mera ted th u nd e r clo u ds D a rcy s tumbled-


,

into the garden fo ll o we d by the se rva n t with the c andle


,
.

The mo n stro us leaping sh adow o f himself w as c as t befo re


him o n the l awn ; los t an d wanderin g o do rs o f ro se a nd lily
a n d d am p ea rth Were thi ck a b o u t him b u t m o re p u n g en t ,

w as so me sh a rp an d a c rid smell tha t suddenly rem inded h im


o f a cer ta in ch ale t i n whi ch he ha d o n c e t ak e n refuge in

the Alps In the bl ackness o f the hazy li ght fro m the sk y


.
,

an d the v a gu e t o ss ing o f the c andle b e hind him he sa w th a t ,

the h a mmock i n whi ch Frank so o ften lay w a s t ena nted .

A glea m o f whi t e shirt w as there as if a man sitting u p in,

i t b u t ac ro ss tha t there w as a n o bscu re d ark shadow and a s


, ,

he appro ached the a crid od o r grew mo re inten se .

He wa s now o nly so m e few ya rd s away wh e n suddenly ,

the bla ck sh ad ow se emed t o j u mp into the air then ca me ,

down with tappings o f h a rd ho o fs o n the bri ck pa th th a t


ran d o wn the pergo l a a nd with fro li c so me skippings g
,
al
lo ped o ff into the bu sh e s Wh e n tha t w as go ne D a rcy c o uld
.

se e quite c lea rly th a t a shirted figure sa t u p in the h a m


mo ck Fo r on e m o men t from sheer terro r o f the u n se en
.
, ,

he h u ng o n h is step a nd t h e servant j o ining him they


,

walked to gether t o the h ammoc k .

It w as Frank He w as in shirt and t ro u sers o nly a nd he


.
,

sa t u p with bra c e d a rm s F o r o n e ha lf second he sta red


.
-

a t them , h is fa c e a m ask o f h o rrible co n to r ted t erro r His .

u pper lip w as drawn b ack so th a t th e gu ms o f the tee th a p


p e a re d a n d ,
h is e y es w e re f o cu sed n o t o n t he t w o W h o

a pproa ch e d h im b u t o n so mething q u ite cl o se t o h im ; h is


n o stril s were widely expande d a s if he pa n ted fo r brea th
, ,

a n d terro r in ca rn a te a n d re p ul si o n a nd de a thly a ngu i sh


rul e d dread fu l lin e s o n h is sm o o th chee ks a nd fo re he ad .

Then even a s they looke d t h e b o dy sank b ackwa rd s a nd ,

the rope s o f th e h am m o ck W h e e ze d and strained .

D a rcy li fte d him o u t and ca rrie d h im indoo rs On c e he .

tho ught there w a s a fa int co nvul sive stir o f the limbs tha t
lay with so dead a wei ght in h is a rm s but when they g ot
,

1 side there w as n o tra c e o f life


,
B ut the l oo k o f supreme
.
THE M AN W HO WENT T O O FA R ro 7

terro r and ago ny o f fe a r ha d go ne fro m his fac e a b oy t ired


,

with pl ay b u t still smiling in h is sleep w as the b urd e n he la i d


o n the fl oo r . His eyes had cl ose d an d the b e au tiful mo u th
,

lay in smiling cu rve s eve n as when a few m o m ing


, ,
s ag o in
,

t h e me a d o w by the we ir it h ad qu ivered t o the m u si c o f t h e


,

unheard mel o dy O f Pan s pipes Then they looked fu rt h e r



. .

F ra nk h ad co me b ack fro m h is ba th befo re dinner th a t


n i g ht in h is u su a l c os tu me o f S hirt and tro u sers o nly . He
h a d n o t dressed and d u ring dinner so D a rcy rem e mbered
, , ,

he h ad ro lled up the sleeves o f h is shirt t o abo ve the elbo w .

L a ter a s they sat a nd talked a fter dinner o n the cl o se sul


,

t rin e ss o f the evening he h a d u nb u tto ned the fro n t O f h is


,

S hirt t o le t wh a t lit t le brea th o f wind there w as pl ay o n h is


s kin . The sleeves were ro lled u p n ow the front o f t h e shirt
,

w a s unb u t to ned a n d o n h is arms a nd o n the b ro wn skin


,

o f h is ch es t were s tra nge di sc ol o ra ti o n s which grew m o ment


ly m o re clea r a nd defined till they saw th a t the m a rk s were
,

p o in t ed print s ,
as if c a u sed by the h oo fs o f s o me m o n st ro u s

g oa t th a t ha d l ea ped a n d s ta mpe d up o n
T HE W O MAN S G HO S T S T ORY ”

BY ALGERNO N B LACKWOOD
” “
ES she said fro m her sea t in the dark co rner I ll
, , ,

tell yo u a n experien c e if yo u care to l isten And wh a t s ’

m o re I ll tell it briefly witho u t trimmings—I mean wi th


.
,

, ,

o u une enti l
t ss a s Th t s a thing s to ry te llers never d o yo u
a .
-

,
” “
kno w Sh e laughed
,
They drag in all the unessenti a l s
.

a nd lea ve their li steners t o di sent a ngle ; bu t I ll give y ou


ju st the essenti al s and yo u ca n make o f it wha t you please


, .

B u t o n on e co ndit io n : that a t the end you ask no ques



ti ons beca use I can t expla in it and have no wish t o
,

.

We agreed W e were all seri o u s Afte r li stening t o a


. ,
.


d ozen pro lix sto ri es fro m people who merely wished to tal k
“ ”
b u t had no thing to tell we wanted essen t i als , .

“ ”
In those d ays she began feeling fro m the quality o f
, ,

o ur silen c e th a t we were with her in tho se days I w as in ,

te re st e d in p sychic things an d h ad a rranged t o sit up a l on e ,

in a h aun ted h ou se in the middle o f Londo n It wa s a .

cheap and dingy lodgi ng ho u se in a mean street unfur -


,

n ish e d I had a lre ady made a prel iminary examin a tio n in


.

d ayli gh t tha t a ftern o o n and the keys fro m the ca retaker , ,

w ho lived nex t d oo r were in my p ocket The sto ry w as


'

.
,

a g oo d o n e — sa t isfie d me a t a ny rat e , th at i t w as wo rth ,

i nvestiga ting ; and I wo n t wea ry yo u with details a s t o ’

the wo man s murder and all th e ti reso me elabo ratio n a s to


w hy the pl ace w as aliv e Eno ugh th at i t w as . .


I w as a goo d deal b o re d therefo re to se e a man who m , , ,

I took t o be the talka t ive old c a retaker wai ting fo r me o n ,

the steps when I went in at 1 1 P M fo r I had sufficien tly . .


,

expl ained that I wished t o be there al one fo r the night .

Ta ke n b y p e rm issio n f r o m

T h e L ist e ne r a nd O th e r S t o r ie s,
-E P D u t t o n 8: Co
. . .
n o B EST G HOST S TORIES
meaning, i s the w ay is when o ne is reall y frigh tened Un .

essentia ls l ea ped u p an d pu zz led me a nd I tho ugh t o f wh a t ,

the p ape rs mi ght say if it came o u t , a nd wha t my sm a rt ‘ ’

bro th e r in law wo ul d think a nd wh et her i t wo ul d be


- -
,

told tha t I h a d ciga rettes i n my po cket, a nd was a free


thinker .

The m an w ho w as frightened t o dea th ! I repea te d


‘ ’

a gh ast .


Tha t s me, he sa i d stupidl y


.

I stared a t him j ust as you wo ul d have do ne any o ne


o f yo u men n o w li stening t o m e —a n d fe lt my life ebbing a n d
fl o w ing like a so rt o f h o t fl u id Yo u n eed n t l a ugh ! T ha t s
.
’ ’

h o w I fe l t Small things, you kn ow to u ch the mind w ith


.
,

grea t e arne stness when terro r is there r e ol t error But I -


.

m i gh t ha ve been a t a m iddle cl ass t e a p a rt fo r a ll th efideas


- -

I h ad : they were so o rdina ry !



But I th o ught you were the caretaker I tipped thi s
a ftern oo n t o le t me sleep here ! I g

asped —
Did d id Ca rey .

s en d y ou t o m eet me ?

No he repl ie d in a vo ice tha t t o uched my bo o ts so m e




,

ho w

I am the m an wh o w a s fri ghtened t o death And
. .

w ha t is m o re I a m fri ghtened n ow l

,

SO am I ! I m an aged t o u t ter, speaking instinc ti vely


‘ ’
.


I m simply t erri fied
’ ’
.

Yes he replied i n tha t sa me o d d vo i c e tha t seemed t o



,

so un d w ithi n m e

Bu t you a re sti ll i n the flesh , and I
.


a m n ot I

I fel t the need for vigo rou s self assertio n I stoo d up -
.

i n t ha t empty, un fu rni shed roo m , di gging the na il s into my


palms an d clenching my teeth I w as d e termined t o asser t .

m y ind i vidu ali ty a nd my c ourage a s a new wo ma n a nd a free


s o ul .

You mea n t o say yo u are n o t i n th e fl esh ! I gasped


‘ ’
.


Wha t i n the wo rld a re yo u talking ab o u t ? ’


The silenc e o f the night swall owe d up my vo ice F or .

the fir st time I re alized tha t d ark ness w as o ver th e city ;


tha t d u st lay u po n the sta irs ; tha t th e fl oo r abo ve was nu
t enanted a n d the fl o o r b elo w empty I was alo ne in an nu .

o ccupied a n d ha u nted h o u se unpro t e c ted an d a w o m an I


, , .

c
h illed I hea rd the wind ro und the house , and k new t h e
.
THE WOMAN S GHOST S TORY

1 1 1

t
s ar s w ere hidden My t hou gh ts rush ed t o pol ice men a nd
.

o mnib u ses , and e ve ryt hing th a t wa s u sefu l an d co mfo rting .

I suddenly rea l i zed wha t a fo o l I was t o co me t o such a


ho use al o ne I was icily a fra id I tho ught the end Of my
. .

li fe h a d co me I was a n u tter fo ol t o go in for p sychica l


.

resea rc h wh e n I h a d no t the ne cessa ry nerve .

‘ ’
Goo d G od ! I gas ped ’ ‘
If yo u re no t Ca rey, t he m an
.

I a rra nged with, who a re you ? ’


I w as really sti ff w i th terror The man moved sl owl y
.

t o wa rds m e across the empty roo m I held o u t my a rm t o .

s t o p h im , getting up o u t o f my ch air a t t h e same m o ment ,

an d h e ca me t o ha l t j us t o p po site t o me , a smile o n his


w o rn , sad face .


I to ld yo u wh o I am , he repeated qui etly with a sigh

,

l o o kinga t m e with the sad dest eyes I have e ve r seen , and ‘


I a m fri ghtened still .


By this ti me I w as co nvinced tha t I was e n tertai ning
e it he r a ro gue o r a m adm a n , a n d I cursed my stupidi ty
i n b ringing the man in wi tho ut ha ving seen h is fa c e My .

m i nd w as qui ckly m ade up , and I knew wha t t o do .

G h o sts an d psychic phen o mena flew t o the wi nds I f I an .

g e red t he cre a t u re my l ife m igh t p y


a th e p rice I mu s t .

humo r him t ill I go t to the doo r, an d then race for the


s t reet . I stoo d b olt uprigh t a nd faced him We were abo ut .

o f a heigh t , an d I w as a s t ro ng, a t hleti c w o m a n wh o pl a yed


h o ckey in win t er an d climbed Alp s in summer My h and .

itch ed fo r a s ti ck, bu t I had no ne .


N ow o f cou rse, I remember, I sa id w i th a so r t o f s ti ff
,

s m il e th a t w as very h a rd t o fo rce Now I remember yo u r



.

ca se and the wo nderful w ay yo u b ehaved .


The man sta red a t me s tupidly, turn ing h is head t o watch
m e a s I b ac ked mo re and mo re quickly t o the do o r But .

when his fa ce broke in to a s mile I could contro l m yself no


lo nge r I rea ched the doo r i n a run , and sho t o ut on t o the
.

landing Like a fool , I turned the wrong w ay, and s tum


.

ble d o ver t he stai rs lead ing t o the nex t sto ry But it was .

t o o l a te t o cha nge The man w as after me , I w as sure,


.

tho ugh no so und o f foo tsteps ca m e ; an d I dashed u p the


n ex t fligh t , te a ri ng my sk ir t a n d b a ngi ng m y rib s in the
d a rkness, a nd ru shed h eadl o ng i nto the first roo m I came
1 1 2 BEST GHOST STORIES
to . doo r sto o d a j ar, a nd , stil l more fo rtuna te
L ucki ly th e ,

t hére w a s a key in the l o ck In a seco nd I h ad sl a mmed


.

t he d oo r, fl un g my who le weigh t aga in st it , a n d turned th e

I w as sa fe, b u t my hear t W as beating like a dru m A .

s ec o nd l a ter it se emed t o s t op a lt o ge ther fo r I saw t ha t ,

there w a s so me o ne el se in the roo m besides myself A .

m an s figu re st o od be tween me and the w ind ows w here the



,

s treet l amp s gave j u st en ou gh ligh t t o o utline h is sh a pe


'

a ga in st t h e gl a ss I m a pl ucky wo ma n yo u kn o w fo r

, ,
.

even t hen I didn t give up hope, b u t I m ay tell yo u tha t I


ha ve n e ve r felt so vil e ly frightened i n all my b o rn days I .

ha d lo cked myself in w i th him !


The m a n l e aned a ga inst th e window watch ing me where ,

I lay in a co llapsed heap upo n the flo o r S o there were .

t w o m en i n th e h o u se w i th m e I reflec ted Perhaps o th er


, .

ro o ms were o ccupied t oo ! Wha t c ould i t all mean ? B ut



,

a s I sta red so mething ch a nged in the ro o m , o r in me ha rd


t o sa y whi ch — an d I realized my mi stake so th a t my fe a r, ,

w hi ch h ad so far b een physica l , a t o nc e al tered it s cha ra c


ter and b eca me psychical I beca me a fra id in my so ul
.

in stead o f i n m y hear t, and I knew immedia tely wh o this


m a n w as .

How i n

th e
wo rl d did you get up here ? I stammered ’

t o h im a cro ss the emp ty roo m , am az ement m o men tarily


s temming m y fea r .

No w , l et m e t ell you, h e b egan, in that o dd far



a wa y v o i c e o f h is tha t wen t d own m y spin e lik e a kni fe .

I m in di fferen t sp a c e fo r o ne thing and yo u d find me in


‘ ’ ’
, ,

a n y ro o m yo u wen t in to ; fo r a c c o rding t o yo u r w ay o f
m eas u ri ng I m all o v e r t he h ouse Space is a b o dil y c on

.
,
'

ditio n , but I am out o f the b o dy, and am no t afi e c te d by


sp a c e It s my c o nd i t io n tha t keeps me here I wan t so me

. .

thing t o change my co nditi o n fo r me fo r then I could ge t ,

a wa y Wh a t I wan t is symp athy O r, rea lly, mo re than .


.

s ymp a thy ; I wa n t a ffecti o n I w an t l o v e l



W h ile he w a s spea king I ga thered myself sl owly up on
my feet I wan ted t o sc re a m an d cry an d laugh all a t
.

o n c e b ut I o nly su ccee ded in si ghing for my em o t io n w as


, ,

e xh a uste d an d a numbness wa s co mi ng o ver me I fel t .


1 1 4 B E ST GHOST STO R IES
a ttemp t at sympathy tha t has b een shown me since I d i ed ,
a nd I feel b et te r alread y I n life, yo u know I w as a m is
.
,

an th ro p e Every thing wen t wro ng w ith me an d I cam e t o


.
,

hate my fell o w men so m u ch th at I co uldn t bea r t o see them ’

even Of co urse like b ege ts like and thi s h a te w as retu rned


.
, , .

Finally I suffe red fro m h o rrible del usions and my roo m ,

b ecam e h au nted with dem o n s th at la ughed an d gr im a c ed ,

and o n e nigh t I ra n i nt o a wh o le clu ste r o f th e m n ea r th e



bed and the frigh t stoppe d my heart an d killed m e It s .

hat e and remo rse as mu c h as terro r tha t cl o gs me so thi ck


, ,

ly and keeps me here I f o nly so me o ne co uld feel pi ty a nd


.
,

sym pa thy a nd perh aps a li t tle l o ve fo r me I co uld ge t a w ay


, ,

and be happy W h en you cam e t hi s a ftern oon t o see o ve r


.

the house I watched yo u an d a little hope ca m e o me fo r t


,

the first time I saw you h ad co u rage o riginality reso u rce



.
, ,

lov e If o nly I could touch yo ur heart witho ut frigh t


.
,

cuing you I kn ew I c o uld perh ap s t a p tha t l o ve yo u h av e


,

sto red u p in yo ur b eing there, a nd t hus b o rrow the wi ngs


fo r my escape ! ’


Now I must confess my hea rt b egan to ache a li t tl e ,
as fea r left me a nd the m an s wo rd s san k thei r sa d mea ning

into me Still the who le affair w as so in credible a nd so


.
, ,

touched with unho ly qu a l ity and the sto ry o f a wo m a n s ,


murder I had co me t o investiga te h ad so o bvi o u sly n o t h i ng


to d o with thi s th ing th a t I fel t myself i n a kind o f w ild
,

drea m th a t se emed likely t o sto p a t any mo men t and l ea ve


me somewhere i n b ed a fter a nightma re .


M o reo ver h is wo rds po sse ssed me t o such an exten t t ha t
,

I fo und i t impo ssible t o reflect up o n a nything el se a t all,


o r t o c o n sider adequ a tely any w ays o r mea n s o f a c ti o n o r

escape .


I mo ve d a l i t tle nearer t o h im i n the gl oom ho rri bly ,

frighten e d o f co urse b ut with the b eginn ings o f a stra nge


, ,

determ in atio n in my heart .

Yo u wo men he continued h is v o ice pla inly thrill ing



,

,

at my a ppro a ch y o u w o nderful wo men t o who m life o ften


,

,

brings no o ppo rtu nity o f spending you r grea t l o ve oh i f , ,

y ou o nly c o u ld kn ow h o w m a ny o f us simply yea rn fo r i t !


It wo uld save our so ul s if b u t yo u knew F ew might find , .

the chanc e tha t you n ow h ave b ut if yo u o nly spent your .


THE WOMAN S GHOST S TORY

1 1 5

lo ve free l y, withou t definite o b jec t, ju st l etting it flow o pen


ly fo r all wh o need , you wou ld reach hundred s and tho u
sands o i so ul s like m e , and re le as e as ! Oh , madam , I ask
y o u a ga in t o fe el with m e ,
t o b e ki nd a nd gen t l e —and i f
y o u ca n to l ove me a lit tle ! "


My hea rt did leap wi thin me and th is time the tears
d id c ome fo r I co uld no t restra in the m I l aughed t o o , fo r
, .

th e w ay he ca lled me mad am so unded so o d d here in this


‘ ’
,

e mp t y roo m a t midn igh t i n a Lo nd o n s tr eet , b ut my l a ugh


ter stopped dea d and merged in a fl oo d o f weep ing when I
sa w h o w my change o f fee ling affected h im He h a d left
.

h is pl ac e by the wind o w an d w as kn eeling o n the fl oo r a t my


feet , h is hand s stretch ed o ut t o ward s me , and th e first S i gns
o f a ki nd
g f gl o ry ab o ut his hea d .

Pu t yo u r a rm s round me and kiss m e , fo r the l o ve o f


G o d ! he cried Kiss me , oh kiss m e , and I Shal l b e freed !


’ ‘


.
,

Yo u ha ve do ne so m uch al rea dy no w d o t hi s !

I stuck there h esita ting, shaking my determina tio n on
, ,

t h e verg e o f a ctio n ye t no t qui te a bl e t o co mpass it But


, .

th e terro r h ad al most g one .


Forget tha t I m a m an and yo u re a wo man , h e con
’ ’ ’

t i n n ed in the mos t b eseec h ing vo i c e I eve r he ar d Fo rget ‘


.

t ha t I m a gho st, and come ou t bo ldly and press me t o yo u


w ith a gre a t ki ss a nd l e t yo u r l o ve flo w i nto m e


,
Fo r .

g ye t
,
o u rse l f j u st fo r o n e m i n u te a n d d o a b rave th in g ! Oh ,

l o ve me , lo v e me , LOVE M E ! and I sha ll b e free ! ’


The wo rds, o r th e deep fo rc e they so meho w rel eased in
t h e cen te r o f my b ei ng s t irred me pro fo undly and an e mo
, ,

ti on infini tely grea te r than fea r surged up o ver me an d car


r i ed me with it across the ed ge o f a c ti o n Wi th out hesi ta
.

tio n I too k tw o st ep s fo rward toward s h im where he knel t ,

an d hel d o u t my ar ms Pi ty and l ove were i n my heart a t


.

tha t mo men t genuine pi ty I swea r and genuine l o ve I


, , , .

fo rgo t myself and my li ttl e trembl ings in a grea t desire t o


help an o ther so ul .

I l ove you ! poo r, aching, unhapp y thing ! I love


y o u

,
I c ri ed t hr o ugh h o t t e a rs ;

a nd I a m no t t h e l e a st b it
a fra id in the wo rld

.


Th e man u ttered a curious so und l ik e l augh te r ye t no t , ,

l a ughte r ,
a n d tu rned h is f a ce u p t o me The. light fr o m t h e
1 1 6 BEST G HOST STORIES
s treet b elow fell On it , but there was ano ther light, t OO,
Shining all ro un d it th a t seemed t o co m e fro m t h e eyes and
skin .He rose t o h is fee t a nd me t m e a nd i n th a t se co nd I ,

folded h im to my b reas t and kissed him ful l on the l ips


a ga in a n d again
‘”
.

All our pipes had gon e o u t , an d no t even a ski rt rustled


i n th a t da rk s tudi o as th e sto ry telle r pa u sed a mo men t t o
-

s teady he r v o ic e an d pu t a h a nd so ftly up t o her e yes b e


,

fo re go ing o n again .


Now wha t can I say a nd how can I describ e t o yo u,
, ,

all you Skeptica l m e n s itt ing there with pipes i n yo ur


mou ths the am azing sensa tio n I experi enced o f h olding an
,

intan gible i mpalpabl e t hing so cl osely t o my hea rt tha t it


,

to u ched m y b ody wi th e qu al pressure a ll the w ay d own and ,

then melted awa y so mewhere i nto my very b eing ? F o r it


w as like seiz ing a rush o f co o l wind an d feeling a to uch o f
b urning fire th e m o men t it had s tru ck its sw ift blo w and
passed on A series o f sho cks ran a ll o ver a nd all thro ugh
.

me ; a m o ment ary ecst asy o f fl am in gswee tness and w o nder


thrilled d own i nto me ; my hea rt gave ano the r grea t l ea p
— and then I w as al one .


The roo m w as empty I tu rned o n the gas and s t ruck
.

a m a t ch t o pro ve i t Al l fea r h ad left me, and so meth i ng


.

w as sing i ng ro und me i n the air and in m y hea rt like the


j y
o o f a spring m o rning i n yo u th N o t a ll th e d evil
. s o r
sh a d o ws o r ha untings i n the wo rld c o ul d then ha ve ca u sed
me a single tremo r .


I u nl ocked the d o o r and w en t all o ve r the d ark ho use ,

even i nto kitchen an d cell a r and up a mo ng t he gho stly a t


tics B ut the ho use w as empty S o mething h ad l ef t it
. . .

I lingered a sho rt h o ur an alyzing thinking wo nderi ng


, , ,

y o u c a n gue ss w h a t an d h o w perh a p s b u t I w o n t de t a il ’

fo r I p ro mi sed o nly essenti al s remember—and then wen t


, , ,

o u t t o Sleep the re m a i nde r o f the ni gh t in my o wn fl at l o ck


ing the d oo r behind me upo n a h o use n o l o nger haunted .

B u t my u ncle Si r Henry the o wne r o f the ho u se re


, , ,

quired an account o f m y adventure and o f cou rse I was ,

in duty bo u nd to gi ve him so me ki nd o f a true sto ry Be .

fore I could b egi n h owever, h e hel d up his hand t o stop


,

me .
T HE P HAN T O M R I CK S HAW

BY RUDYARD KIP LIN G


May no ill d r e a m s d ist u r b m y r e st ,

No r Po w e r s o f D a rk n e ss m e m o le st
—Ev e n ing
.

Hy m n .

NE of the few advan tages tha t Indi a h as o ver En gl and


is a certa in grea t Kn owability After five years se r
.

vice a m an is directly o r indirec tly a cqua inted with the tw o


o r three h u ndred Civili a n s in h is Pro vince a ll the Messa ,

o f ten o r twelve Regimen ts an d B a t terie s and so me fiftee n ,

h u ndred o ther peo ple o f the no n o ffic ial castes -


In ten .

years his knowledge sho uld be do ubled and a t the end o f ,

twenty he kn ows o r k nows so me thing abo u t almost every


, ,

Engli shm a n in the Empire and may tra vel anywhere a nd


,

e verywhere with o u t pa ying h o tel bill s



-
.

Glo be tro tters w ho expec t enterta inmen t as a right h a ve


-
, ,

even wi thin my memo ry bl unted th i s o pen hea rtedness but -


, , ,

none the less t o day if you bel o ng t o the Inner Circle and
,

a re nei ther a bea r no r a bl a ck sheep al l h o u ses a re o pen t o

y o u a n d o u r s m a ll w o rld i s very kind a n d helpfu l .

R ickett o f Kam artha stayed with Po lder o f Kuma on ,

so me fifteen yea rs a g o .He meant to stay t w o nights o nly ,

but w as kn ocked down by rheu ma tic fever and fo r six week s ,

diso rganized Po lder s e st abli shment sto ppe d Po lder s wo rk



,

,

a nd nea rly died in Po lder s bed roo m Po lder beh a ves a s



-
.

though he h ad been pl aced u nder etern al o bli gati o n by


Rickett a nd yea rly sends the little Ricketts a b o x o f pres
,

ents and toys It is the same everywhere The men w ho


. .

d o no t ta ke the tro uble t o co nceal fro m you their Opini o n


th a t you a re an inco mpetent ass a nd the women w ho bl ack
,

e n yo u r ch a racter an d mi sundersta nd yo u r wife s a mu se


ments will wo rk them selves t o the b o ne in yo u r beh alf i,


,
'

y o u fa ll sick o r int o seri o u s tr o uble .


THE PHANTOM RIC KS HAW ’
1 1 9

He a the rle gh th e D o cto r kept in additio n t o h is regul ar


, , ,

p ra c tice a ho spital o n h is priv a te acco unt an a rrangemen t
,

o f l o o se b o xes fo r Inc u ra bles h is friend s ca lled it


- — b ut i t
,

w a s re ally a so rt o f fitt ingup shed fo r cra ft tha t h ad been


-

da m aged by stress o f wea ther The wea ther in Indi a is .

o f ten su ltry a n d since the ta le o f bricks is a fixed q u an tity


, ,

a n d the o nly liberty all o wed is permi ssi o n t o w o rk o vertime

an d get n o th a nks men o c ca si o n ally break do wn a n d beco me


,

as mixed a s th e meta pho rs in this sen t ence .

He a t he rlegh is the nices t d o cto r tha t ever w as a nd his ,



inv a ri a ble prescripti o n t o al l h is pa tients is lie lo w go Sl o w , ,

an d keep c oo l He says tha t m o re men a re killed by
.

o verwo rk than the impo rt a n c e o f thi s wo rld j u s tifies He .

m ai nta in s th a t o verwork slew Pansay who died under his


h a nd s ab o u t three yea rs ago He h as o f cou rse the righ t .
, ,

t o spe ak a u th o rit a tively a nd he l aughs a t my theo ry th a t


,

there w a s a c rack in Pansay s head and a little bit o f the ’

D a rk Wo rld ca me thro ugh and pressed him t o death .

says He a t h e rle g
“ ” “
Pa n say went O ff the handle h a fter the
, ,

s tim u l u s o f l o ng lea ve a t H o me He may o r he m ay no t .

h a ve behaved like a bl ackgu ard t o Mrs Keith Wessingto n .


-
.

My n o tio n is tha t the wo rk o f the Ka t ab und i Settlemen t


ra n him o ff h is legs an d th a t he t o o k t o broo ding a n d m ak
,

ing m uch o f an o rdina ry P O flirta tio n He certa inly


. . .

w as engaged t o Mi ss M a nnering and She certai nly bro ke ,

o ff the en gagement Th en he to o k a feveri sh chill an d a ll


.

tha t n o nsense abo ut gho sts devel o ped itself Ov erwo rk .

s t a r ted h is illne ss kep t it a light an d killed him po o r devil


, , ,
.


Write him off t o the System o ne man t o d o the wo rk o f

t w o and a ha lf men
- - -
.

I d o no t believe thi s I used t o sit up with Pansay so me


.

times when Hea the rlegh w as called o u t t o visit pa tients


a n d I h appened t o be within cl a im The m an wo uld make .

m e m os t unhap py by de scribing in a lo w even v o ice the ,

pro c essi o n o f men wo men children a nd devil s tha t w as


, , ,

al w ays pa ssing a t the b o tto m o f h is bed He h ad a sick .

m a n s co mm and o f l an gu age When he reco vered I sug



.

ges ted tha t he sh o uld write o ut the whole a ffair fro m begin
ning t o end kn owing tha t ink might assi st him t o ease his
,
l m ind When little b oys h ave le a rned a new b ad wo rd they
.
1 20 BEST GHO ST ST O R IES

a re never h appy till they ha ve chalked it up o n a d oo r .

And thi s al so is L itera t u re .

He w as in a hi gh fe ver while he w a s writi n g an d t h e ,

blo o d and th u nder M aga zine s tyle he a do pte d did no t c a l m


- -

him T w o mo nths a fte rw a rds he w a s repo rte d fit fo r d u ty


.

b u t in sp ite o f the fac t tha t he w a s u rgently n e e d e d t o hel p


,

a n u nderm a nned Co mmi ss i o n s t a gger thro ugh a d e fi c it h e ,

p re ferr ed t o die ; v o win g a t the l a s t th a t he w a s h a gridden -


.

I se cu red h is man u sc ript be fo re he died an d thi s is h is ver ,

s i o n o f the a ffa ir d a ted 1 8 8 5 :


,

My docto r tells me tha t I nee d rest an d ch ange o f a ir .

It is n o t imp ro b able th a t I sh all get bo t h ere l o ng res t —


tha t neither the red co a ted o rderly no r the mid d ay gun can
- -

break an d chan ge o f a ir fa r b e yo nd tha t which a ny h o m e


,

ward bo und stea mer c an give me In the me antime I a m


-
.

reso lved t o sta y whe re I am ; a nd in fl a t defi a n c e o f m y ,

d octo r s o rders t o ta ke al l the wo rld into my co nfiden c e



,
.

Yo u sh all lea rn fo r yo u rselves the prec i se n a tu re o f m y


m al ady ; and sha ll t oo j u dg e fo r yo u rselves whether an y
, ,

m an b o rn o f wo m an o n thi s we a ry ea rth w as ever so t o r


m e n t ed as I .

S pe aking n ow as a co ndemned crimina l mi ght speak e re


the dro p b o lts a re drawn my sto ry wild and hideo usly im
-
, ,

pro ba ble a s it m ay appea r demands a t leas t a tte nti o n T ha t


,
.

it will ever receive creden c e I u tterly di sbelie ve T w o .

m o nths a go I sho uld h ave sco u ted as m a d o r dru nk the m an


w h o h ad d a red tell me the like T w o m o nth s a g o I w a s the
.

h a ppie st m a n in Ind ia T o d a y fro m Pesh aw a r t o the se a


.
-
, ,

the re is n o one m o re wretched My d o c to r an d I a re the .

o nly t w o w ho kn ow thi s His expl ana tio n is th a t my brain


.
,

digesti o n a nd eyesi ght a re all sl ightly a ffec ted ; giving ri se to


“ ”
my frequ ent an d pe rsi stent del usi o ns D e l u si o n s indeed ! .
,

I call him a foo l ; but he a ttend s me still with th e sa me n u


wea ried smile , th e sa me bl a nd pro fessi o n a l m a nner the ,

sa me ne a tly trimmed red whi skers till I b e gin t o s u spect


-
,

th a t I am a n u ngra tefu l evil tempere d i nvalid Bu t you


,
- .

sha ll j u dge fo r yo u rselves



.

T ree yea rs ago it w as my fo rtune my grea t misfo r


h

tune t o sa il fro m Gravesend to B o mbay o n retu rn fro m ,
1 22 BEST GHO ST ST ORIES

no us face and t imid a ttempts a t reco ncili ati on and I w i th ,

lo a thing o f her in every fiber O f my fra me S evera l ti m e s I .


,

c o uld no t a vo id meeting her a l o ne ; a nd o n ea ch o ccas i o n h e r

wo rd s were identi ca lly the same Still the u nreaso ning w a il .

“ ”
tha t it w a s a ll a mi stake ; and still the h ope o f event u a lly

making friend s .I might have seen h ad I ca red t o l oo k , ,

tha t th a t ho pe only w as keeping her alive She grew m o re .

w a n a n d thin m o nth by m o nth You will agree with me a t


.
,

l e ast tha t su ch c o nd uc t wo uld ha ve driven any o ne t o de


,

spa ir . It w as u ncalled fo r childi sh unwo manly I m a in


, ,
.

tain th a t Sh e w a s m uch t o bl ame And again so metimes in .


, ,

the bl ack fever stricken ni ght wa tches I h ave begun t o


,
-
,

think th a t I might h ave been a littl e kinder to her B ut .


tha t really is a del usio n I co uld no t have co n tinue d
.

pretending t o l o ve her w hen I didn t ; co uld I ? I t wo uld ’

h a ve been u nfair t o us b o th .


Last yea r we met aga in o n the sa me term s as befo re .

The sa me wea ry a ppeal s and the sa me cu rt an swers fro m


,

my lips At least I wo uld m ake her see h ow wholly wro n g


.

a nd h o peless were her a ttempts a t resu ming t h e o ld rel a


t io nsh ip As the sea so n wo re o n we fell a pa rt— tha t is t o
.
,

sa y sh e fo u nd it difficu lt t o meet me fo r I ha d o ther an d


, ,

m o re abso rbing interes ts t o a ttend t o When I think it .

o ver q u ietly in my sick roo m the se as o n o f 1 8 8 4 seems a


-
,

co nfused ni ghtma re wherein li ght an d shade were fan t asti



cally intermingled m y co u rtship o f little Kitty M an nering ;
my h o pes d o ubts an d fea rs ; o ur l o ng rides to gether ; my
,

tremblin g avowal o f a tta chment ; her reply ; and now a nd


a ga in a vi si o n o f a white fa ce flitting by in the ri c kshaw

wi t h the bl ack an d white liveries I o nc e wa tched fo r so


ea rne stly ; the wa ve o f Mrs Wessi ngto n s gl o ved hand ; and
.

,

when sh e met me al o ne whi ch w as b u t seld om the i rksome


, ,

m on o to ny o f her a pp e al I l o ve d Kitty M a nnering hon


.
,

e stly he a rtily l o ved her an d with my l o ve fo r he r grew my


, ,

ha tred fo r Agnes In Augu st Kitty a nd I were engaged


. . .

“ ”
T he next d ay I met tho se a c cu rsed m agp ie j ha mpame s a t
'

the b ack o f Jak ko a nd mo ved by so me pa ssing sen timent


, ,

o f pity st o pped t o tell Mrs Wessin g


, t o n everything
. She .

kn ew it already .


So I hea r yo u re en ga ged Ja ck dea r

T hen wi t hout a
,
.
,
T HE PHANT OM RICKSHAW ’
1 23

m o men t

pause : I m sure it s all a mi st ake — a hideo u s
s
“ ’ ’

m i s take .We shall be as go od friend s so me d ay Jack as , ,


w e eve r were .

My an swer migh t have ma de even a m an wince It cu t .

t h e dyin g wo m a n be fo re m e like the bl o w o f a whip .


Please fo rgive me Ja ck I didn t mea n t o make you angry ;
,
* ’

b u t it s t rue it s true !
’ ’
,

An d Mrs Wessingto n broke do wn co mpletely I tu rned


. .

a w ay a nd left her t o finish her j o u rney in pea c e feeling b u t , ,

o nly fo r a m o ment o r t w o tha t I h ad been an u n u tterably ,

m e a n ho und I l oo ked b ack and saw tha t she had tu rned


.
,

h e r ricksha w with the idea I suppo se o f o vertaking me



, ,
.

Th e scene a nd it s surroundings were pho to gra phed o n my


m em o ry . The ra in swept sk y ( we were a t the end o f the
-

we t wea ther ) the so dden dingy pines the muddy ro ad and


, , , ,

the bla ck po wder riven cliffs fo rmed a gloo my b a ckground


-

aga ins t whi c h the bl a ck a nd whi t e liveries o f the j ham pan ies ,

t h e yell o w p aneled ri cksh aw an d Mrs Wessingto n s do wn


-
’ ’
.

bo wed golden head sto od out clea rly She w as h o lding her .

ha ndkerchief in her left hand and w as lea ning back exhaust


ed aga in st the ri ckshaw cu shi o ns I tu rned my ho rse u p a

.

byp a th nea r the Sa nj o w lie Reserv o ir and l ite rally ran away
“ ”
Once I fancied I heard a faint call o f Jack ! This m ay
h ave been imagina ti o n I never sto pped t o verify it T e n . .

minutes l a ter I ca me acro ss Kitty o n h o rse b ack ; and in the ,

deligh t o f a l o ng ride with her fo rgo t all about the inter ,

A week l a ter Mrs Wessingto n died the inexpressible


.
,
a nd
b urden o f her existe n ce w as remo ved fro m my life I wen t .

P la in sw a rd perfec tly h a ppy Befo re three m o nth s were over .

I h ad fo rgo tten all abo ut her except tha t a t times the d is ,

co v e ry o f so me o f her o ld letters reminded me u npleasa ntly


O f o ur bygone rel a ti o n ship By Janu a ry I h ad disinterred .

wh a t w a s left o f o ur co rrespo nden c e fro m a m o ng my sca t


At the beginning o f
°

t e red bel o ngings and had burnt it .


April o f thi s y ea r 1 88 5 I w as a t Siml a semi deserted -


, ,

Siml a o nce m o re and w as deep in l o ver s talks and walks


,

wi th Kitty It w as dec id e d th a t we sho u ld be m arried at


. ,

the end of June You will unders tand the refo re th a t


.
, , ,

lo v in g Kitty as I did I a m not saying t oo m uch when I ,


1 24 BEST GH O ST STO R IES
pro n ounce myself t o have been a t the time the ha pp i es t , ,

m a n in Indi a .

Fo urteen d e lightful days pa ssed almo st befo re I n o ticed


their flight Then a ro used t o the sen se o f W h a t w as pro per
.
,

a m o ng m o rt a l s c ir cu m s ta n c ed a s we were I po inted o u t t o ,

Kitty th a t a n engagement ring w as the o u twa rd a nd vi sible


-

sign o f her dignity a s a n engaged girl ; an d tha t sh e m u s t


fo rthwith co me t o H amilto n s t o be measured fo r o ne Up ’
.

t o th a t mo ment I give y o u my wo rd we h ad co mpletely


, ,

fo rgo tten so trivia l a m a tte r T o H a milt o n s we a c co rd ing


.

ly went o n the 1 sth o f April 1 8 8 5 Remember tha t wh a t — .


,

ever my do cto r m ay say t o the co ntrary I w as then in per
fec t health enj oying a well b al an ced mind a n d an a b so l u tely
,
-

tra nquil Spirit Kitty and I entered Ha milto n s Sh op t o


.
'

gether and there rega rdless o f the o rd e r o f affa i rs I meas


, , ,

u re d Kitty s finger fo r the rin g in the presen c e o f the


am u sed a ssi sta nt T h e ring w a s a sa pphire with t w o d ia


.

mo nd s We then rode o u t d own the sl ope th a t lea ds t o t he


.

Co mbermere Bridge an d Pe lit i S sh o p ’


.

While my Waler wa s ca u tio usly feelin g his w ay o ver the


lo o se shale and Kitty w as l a ughing and cha ttering a t my

,

S id e W hile a ll Siml a tha t is t o sa y a s m uch o f it as h ad


,
0 then co me fro m the Plain s w a s gro uped ro u nd the Re ading

,

ro o m and e lit i s veranda I w as awa re th a t so me o ne ap


P ’
,

p a re n t ly a t a v a s t di st a nce w as c a lling me by my,


Chri s ti an
name It struck me tha t I had hea rd the v o ice befo re
.
,

bu t when an d where I co uld no t at o n c e determine In .

th e sho rt spa ce it too k t o co ver the ro a d between the path


fro m Ha milto n s sho p a nd the first pl a nk of the Co mbermere

Bridge I ha d tho ught o ver half a do ze n people w ho mi ght - -

have co mmitte d such a solec i sm and h a d eventu ally de ,

cided th a t it must ha ve b e en some S inging in my ears Im .

media tely o pposite Pe liti s Sho p my eye w as a rrested by the


S ight o f fo u r j ha m pam e s in bl a ck a nd white livery , p ulling


a yell o w pa neled
-
chea p b a zar rickshaw In a mo ment
, ,

.

my mind flew b a ck t o the previ o u s se aso n and Mrs W es .

singto n with a sen s e o f irrit a ti o n a n d di sgu st W as it not .

en o ugh th a t the wo man w a s dead an d do ne with wi thout ,

her bl ack and white se rvito rs re appea ri n g t o spo il the d ay s - ’

h appines s ? Wh oever empl oyed them no w I tho u ght I would


1 26 B EST GHOST STO RIES
Ho w lo ng I stared mo tio nless I do no t k n ow Fin ally I .
,

w as aro us ed by my gro o m taking the W a ler s bridle and


a sking whethe r I w as ill I tumbled o ff my ho rse an d


.

d ashed half fainting into Pe liti s fo r a gl ass o f cherry


, ,

bra ndy There two o r three co u ples were ga thered ro und


.

the coffee ta bles di scu ssing the go ssip o f t he day Thei r


-
.

trivi alities were mo re co mfo rtin g t o me j us t then th a n t h e


co nsol a ti o ns o f re ligio n co uld h ave been I pl unged in t o .

the mid st o f the co nve rsa ti o n a t o nce ; ch a tted l aughed a nd ,

jes ted with a face ( when I ca ugh t a glimpse o f it in a m ir


ro r ) a s white a n d dra wn as tha t o f a c o rp se Three o r fo ur .

men no ti c ed my co nditio n ; a nd evidently setting i t d ow n ,

t o the resul ts o f o ver many pegs cha rita bly endeavo red t o ,

draw me a pa rt fro m the rest o f the l o ungers B ut I refuse d .

t o be led away I wanted the co mpany o f my kind a s a


.

child ru shes into the mid st o f the dinner pa rty a fter a frigh t -

in the d a rk I m u st have t alked fo r a bo u t ten min u tes o r


.


so th o u gh i t seemed an eternity t o m e when I hea rd Kit ty s
, ,

c le a r vo ice o u ts ide inq u iring fo r me In ano ther min u te S h e .

h a d entered the Sh o p prepa red t o ro u ndly upbra id me fo r


,

fa iling so Signall y in my duties S ome th ing i n my fa ce .

sto pped her .

“ ”
Why Jack she cried wha t have yo u been d o ing ?
, , ,

Wha t has happened ? Are yo u ill ? Th us driven i nto a
direct lie I sa id that the sun ha d been a little too much
,

fo r me It w as cl o se upo n five o cl ock o f a cl o udy Ap ril


.

a ftern oo n an d t h e su n h a d been hidden a ll d ay


,
I saw my .

mi stake a s soo n a s the wo rds were o ut o f my mo u th : a t


temp ted t o recover it ; bl u ndere d h o pelessly a nd fo ll o wed
Kitty in a rega l rage o ut o f d o o rs amid the smiles o f my
, , ,

a c qu a intan ces I m ade so me excu se ( I ha ve fo rgo tten wha t )


.

o n the sco re o f my feeling fa int ; a n d c a ntered away to m y

ho tel leaving Kitty t o fini sh the ri de by herself


, .

In my roo m I sa t down a nd tried ca lmly t o reaso n o ut


the ma tter Here w as I Theo b ald Jack Pa nsay a well
.
, ,

educa ted Bengal Civi li an in the year o f grace 1 88 5 pre .


,

sum ab ly sa ne c e rt a inly heal thy driven in t erro r fro m my


, ,

swee thea rt s side by the appa riti o n o f a wo m a n w h o h ad


bee n d ead an d b u ried eight mo nths ago These were facts .

that I co uld no t blink No thi ng w as further from my


.
THE PHANT OM RICK SHAW ’
1 27

tho ught tha n any memo ry o f Mrs Wessing to n when Kitty .

a nd I l e f t Ha milt o n s sh o p No th ing w as m o re u tterly



.

co mmo npl ace th a n the stretch o f wall o pposite P elit i s I t ’


.

w a s bro a d d aylight T he ro a d w a s fu ll o f pe o ple ; a nd yet


.

here l oo k y o u in d e fiance o f every law o f probability in


, , ,

direct o u trage o f Na t ure s o rdinance , th ere h ad appea red t o


me a fac e fro m the gra ve .

Kitty s Arab h a d gone t hrough the rickshaw : so th at my


’ ’

firs t ho pe tha t so me wo ma n m a rvel o usly like Mrs W essing .

t o n h ad hired the ca rria ge a nd th e c oo lies with their o ld liv


ery w as l o st Aga in a nd again I went ro und this trea d
.

m ill o i th ou ght ; a n d aga in and aga in gave u p b aflle d and in


despa ir The vo i c e w a s as inexpli ca ble a s the a ppa ri tio n I


. .

h a d o rigin ally some wild n o ti o n o f co nfid ingi t a ll t o Ki tty ;


o f begging he r t o m a rry me a t o nce ; a nd in he r a rm s defy
“ ”
ing the gho stly o ccu pan t o f the rickshaw Afte r all I ’
.
,

a rgued the presen c e o f the ri ckshaw is in i tself eno ugh t o
,

pro ve the existence o f a Spec tral ill u si o n One may see .

gh osts o f men and women b u t su rely never o f coo lies and ,

ca rriages The whole thing is absurd Fancy the ghost o f


. .

a hill m a n !
-

Nex t m o rning I sent a pe niten t no te t o Kit ty i mpl o ring ,

her to o verl o o k my strange co nd uct o f the prev io u s a fter


n oo n My Divinity w as still very wro th and a perso nal
.
,

a po l o gy w as ne c ess a ry I expl ained with a fluency bo rn


.
,

o f night l o ng p o ndering o ver a fa l seh oo d th a t I h ad been


-


,

a tta cked with a su dden pa lpit a ti o n o f the h ear t the resul t


o f indigesti o n Thi s eminently pra ctica l soluti on h ad its
.

effect ; a nd Kitty a nd I ro d e o ut th a t a ftern oon with the


sh a d o w o f my firs t lie dividing u s .

No th ing wo uld please her sa ve a canter ro u nd Jakko .

With my nerves still u nstrung from the previ o u s nigh t I


feebly pro tes ted aga in st the no ti o n su ggesting Observa to ry

,

Hill Ju togh the Bo i e augunge ro ad anythin g ra ther th a n


,
l
,

the Jakko ro u nd Kitty w as angry and a little hu rt so I


.
,

yielded fro m fear o f pro vokin g fu rther mi su nde rstanding ,

a n d we se t o u t to gether to wa rd s Ch o ta Siml a We walked a .

grea ter pa rt o f the way an d acco rding t o our cu sto m , , ,

ca nt ered from a mile o r so bel o w the Co nvent t o the stre tch


o f level roa d b y th e San jo w lie R e serv o ir The wretched .
BES T GHO ST STO R IES
ho rses appeared t o fly and my hea rt bea t qu i cker and ,

q u i c ker a s we ne a red the c re s t o f the a sc e nt M y mind h a d .

been full o f Mrs Wessingto n all the a fterno o n ; an d every


.

in ch o f the Jak ko road b o re witn e ss to o u r o ld time wa lks -

a nd t a lk s .T he b ou lders were full o f it ; the pines sa n g it


a l o u d o v e rh e a d ; the ra in fed to rrent s gi ggled a n d c h u ckled
-

u n seen o ver the shame ful sto ry ; and the wind in my ears
c h a nted the iniqu ity alo u d .

As a fittin g climax in the middle o f the level men ca ll


,

t h e L a dies Mile t h e Ho rro r w a s awa iting me



,
N o o ther .

’ —
ri ck sha w w as in S i ght o nly the fo u r bl ack and white j ha m
p o n i e s ,
t h e yell o w p a neled -
c a rri a g e a n d the g o lden he a d o f ,

t h e wo m a n within — a ll app a rently j u s t a s I had left them


eight mo nth s a nd o ne fo rtnight ago ! F o r an insta nt I
fancied tha t Kitty m u st se e wha t I saw w e were so ma rvel —
o usly symp a thetic in a ll things Her next wo rd s u ndec eived
.

me — “
N o t a so u l in si ght ! Co me al o ng Jack and I ll ra c e , ,


y o u t o the R e serv o ir b u ildin g s ! Her wiry little Ar a b w a s
o ff like a bi rd my W a ler fo ll o wing cl o se behind a nd in thi s
, ,

o rder we d a shed u nder the c li ffs Half a minu te bro ught us


.

within fifty ya rd s o f the ri ckshaw I pu lled my Waler an d ’


.

fell ba ck a little T he ricksh aw w as dire c tly in the middle


.

o f the roa d : a n d o n c e m o re the Ara b passed thro ugh it my ,



ho rse fo ll owing .Jack J ack dea r ! Ple ase fo rgive me
, , ,

rang with a wa il in my ea rs and a fter an interval : It s a ll , ,


a mi st a ke a hideo u s mi st ake !
,

I Spu rred my h o rse like a m a n po ssessed When I tu rned .

my hea d a t the R ese rvo ir wo rks the bl ack and white liver
.


ie s were still wa itin g pa tie n tly wa itin g u nder the g ra y —
hill side a nd the wind bro ught me a mo cking e ch o o f the
,

wo rds I h ad ju st heard Kitty b antered me a good dea l o n


.

my silen ce thro ughou t the rem a i nder o f the ride I h ad been .

t alki n g u p till th e n W ildly a nd a t ra nd o m T o sa ve my li fe .

I co uld n o t sp e ak a fte rwa rd s n a tu ra lly and fro m S an ,

j o w l ie t o t h e C h u r c h w is e ly h e ld my t o n gu e .

I w a s t o di n e w ith t h e Mann e rings th a t ni ght an d h ad


b a rely t im e t o c a nter h o me t o dress O n the roa d t o Ely .

s iu m Hill I o verhe a rd t w o m e n t a lki n g t o g e t h e r in the d u sk


— It s a cu ri o us thing sa id o ne ho w co mpletely all trace
“ ’ ”
,

,

o f it di sa ppe a red Yo u kn o w m v wi fe w as in sanely fo nd of


L
.
1 3 9 B EST GHOST STO RIES
The co nversatio n had al rea dy b eco me general ; an d un d e r ,

co ver o f i t , I w as address in gso me tender small tal k t o m y


s wee the a r t when I w a s a w ar e tha t a t the fu rther end o f t h e
ta ble a sho rt red whiskere d m a n w as describing wi th m u c h
-

bro idery his enco u nter w ith a m a d u nkn own tha t eve nin g .

A fe w se nten ces co nvinced m e th a t h e w as repea ting t h e


inciden t o f h al f a n ho u r ago In th e middle o f the s to ry h e
.

l o o ked round fo r appl a use as pro fessi onal sto ry tellers d o


,
-
,

caugh t my eye, and stra i ghtway co ll apsed There w as a .

m o ment s awkwa rd silen c e an d the red-whiskered m an m u t



,

t e red so mething t o th e effe ct th a t he had fo rgo tten t h e

rest ; thereby sa cri ficing a reputa tio n as a goo d s to ry telle r -

which he had bu il t up fo r six seasons past I b lessed h im



.

fr o m the b tto m o my hea rt an d wen t on with my fish


o f .

In the fullness o f t ime tha t dinn er ca m e t o an e nd ; an d


i
with gen u ne regre t I to re myse f away from Ki tty as c e r
l —
ta i n as I w as o f my o wn exi stence tha t I t wo ul d be wai ting
f o r me o utsi de th e d oo r The red whi skered man who ha d
.
-
,

been i ntroduced t o m e as Dr Hea the rlegh o f S iml a v o lun .


,

t eered t o he ar m e co mpa ny as far as o ur road s la y to geth e r .

I accepted h is offer with gra titude .

My instinc t had no t deceived me It lay m readiness m .

the M all and i n wha t seemed dev ilish m ockery o f o ur ways,


, ,

with a lighted head l amp T he red whiskered m an w ent t o


-
.
-

the po int a t o nce , i n a ma nner th a t showed he h a d be en


thinking o ve r it all d inner time .


I say Pansay wha t the deuce w as the m atter w i th you
, ,

th is evening o n the Elysiu m roa d ? The su ddenness o f the
qu es ti o n wrenched an a nswer fro m m e b efo re I w as a ware .

“ ”
Tha t ! said I , po inting to I t .

Tha t m ay b e eithe r D T o r eyes fo r augh t I know. . .

Now y ou d o n t l iqu or I sa w as much a t dinner so it can t


’ ’
.
,

b e D T There s no thing wha tever where yo u re po inting


. .
’ ’
,

t ho u gh you re swea ting a nd t rembl ing w ith frigh t like a


sca red po ny Therefo re , I co n cl ude tha t it s eyes And I


.

.

o ugh t t o u nderstan d all a b o u t them Co me al o ng h o me with .


me I m o n the B lessing to n lo wer ro ad

. .

T o my inten se delight the ri cksha w i n ste ad o f wa i ting ’

f o r u s kep t a b ou t twenty y ar d s ahead—and thi s too , ,

whether w e walked tro tte d o r c antered In the co urse of


, , .
THE PHANT OM RICKSHAW ’

tha t lo ng n igh t ride I had to ld my companion al mos t a s


much a s I ha ve to ld yo u here .


Well yo u ve spo ilt o ne o f the best tal es I ve e ver l ai d
,
’ ’

” “
to ngue t o said he bu t I ll fo rgive y o u fo r the sake o f
, ,

wh a t yo u ve go ne through N ow co me h o me a n d do wh a t I

. .

t ell yo u ; a nd when I ve cure d yo u yo un g m an let thi s be a



, ,

l e sso n t o yo u t o ste er clea r o f wo men a nd indigestible f o o d



ti l l the d ay o f you r dea th .


The ri cksha w k ep t stea dily i n fro n t ; and my red whis -

k ered friend see med t o derive grea t plea su re fro m my a c


c o u n t o f it s e xact whereab outs

.


Eyes, Pansay all eyes, b ra in and sto mach ; and the
grea test o f t hese three is sto ma ch Yo u ve t oo m uch co n .

c e it e d b ra in t oo l ittle s to m ach
,
a nd th o ro ughly unhea l thy ,

eyes Ge t yo u r sto mach straight a nd t h e rest fo ll ows And


. .

a ll tha t s F rench fo r a liv er p ill



I ll take sol e m edical .

cha rge o f yo u fro m this hou r ; fo r yo u re too interestinga ’

p hen o men o n t o b e p assed o ve r .

By this t ime w e were dee p in th e Shadow o f t he Bl essin g



t o n lo wer ro a d an d the ri cksha w came t o a dea d sto p u n der
a p in e cla d , o verha ngingsha le cli ff
- Instinctively I ha lted .

t oo g ,
ivi ngmy reaso n Heathe rlegh rapped out an oa th
. .


Now if yo u think I m going t o spend a co ld nigh t o n
,

t he h i llside fo r th e sak e o f a s to m ach cuflu b rain cume ye il - - - ‘


lusio n Lo rd ha mercy ! Wha t s th a t ?
’ ’

There was a muflled repo rt a b linding smo ther o f d u st ,

j u s t in f ro n t o f u s a c ra ck t h e n o i se o f re n t bo u ghs a n d

, , ,

a bo u t t e n ya rd s o f the cli sid e ff pines undergrowth an d



, ,

all s l id do wn i n t o the road b el o w co mpletel y b l o cking it ,

up . Th e up roo ted t rees swayed a nd to ttered fo r a m o ment


l ik e d runken gi an ts in the gloo m , a nd then fell pro ne a mong
thei r fell ows w ith a thundero us crash Ou r tw o ho rse s sto od .

mo ti o nless a nd swea ting wi th fear As so on as the ra ttle o f .

falling e a rth an d sto ne ha d sub sided , my co mpani o n m u t


t e red : Man , if we d go ne fo rwa rd w e sho uld ha ve b een ten
“ ’

feet deep in o ur graves by now ! There are mo re t hings i n ‘

heaven and eart h ’


Co me home, Pans ay a nd tha nk ,

G o d I wan t a drink b adly
. .

W e retra ced o ur w ay o ver the Chu rch R idge a nd I a r ,

ri ved a t D r He at h e rle g h s h o u se sh o rtly afte r m idnight



. .
1 3 : B EST GHOS T STO RIES
His attempts towards cure commenced al most im
my
medi a tely, and fo r a week I never l eft his s igh t M a ny a .

ti me in t he course o f tha t week did I bless th e goo d fo rtun e


which ha d t hr o wn me in co nt ac t w ith S imla s best and kin d

e st d oc to r D ay by d ay my S piri ts grew lighte r a nd m o re


.

equable D ay by d ay t oo I b ecame m o re and m o re in


.
, ,

c lin ed t o fa ll in wi t h He a t h e rle g
“ ”
h s spec tra l i ll usi o n t h e

o ry implica t i ng eye s, brai n , a n d s to m a ch


,
I wro te t o Ki tty, .

t elling her tha t a S ligh t spra in c aused b y a fall fro m m y


ho rse kept me ind oo rs fo r a fe w d ays ; and t ha t I sho uld b e
re co ve re d b efo re sh e h ad t i me t o regre t m y ab sen ce .

Heathe rlegh s trea tmen t w as simple t o a degree It c on



.

te
sis d o f l iver pill s ,
c o ld -w a-te r b a ths a n d s tr o ng exercise ,

t aken i n t he dusk o r a t ea rly d awn — fo r, a s he sa gel y O h



se rved : A man with a sp rained ankle doe sn t walk a d o z en ’

m il es a d ay, a nd yo u r yo ungwo man migh t b e wo n de r in gif



she saw yo u .

A t the end of t he week, a fter much examination o f pupil


a nd pul se and s tric t i nj u ncti o ns as t o die t an d pedes tri an
ism, He a the rleg h dismi ssed me as b rusquely as he h ad ta ken
ch arge o f me Here is his pa rting bened icti o n : Man I
.

,

certify t o yo ur men tal c ure a nd t ha t s as much as t o say,


I v e cured m o st o f yo u r bo d ily a ilmen ts



No w get yo u r .
,

t raps out o f thi s as soo n as you ca n ; and b e o ff t o make



lo ve t o Miss Kitty .

I w as endea vo ring t o e xpress my thanks fo r his k in d


ness He cut me sh ort :
.


D o n t think I did thi s b eca use I l ike you I ga ther

.

tha t yo u ve b ehaved like a b la ckgu a rd all thro ugh B ut all



.
,

the sa me yo u re a phen o meno n and a s qu eer a pheno meno n



,

a s y o u a re a b l a ck gu a rd N o w go ou t and se e if yo u c a n
.
,

find the eye s b ra in a nd s to m a ch b u siness a ga in
- - -
I ll give .


y o u a l akh fo r e a ch ti me y o u se e i t .

Hal f an ho u r l a ter I was in the Manne rings d rawing ’

roo m wi th Kitty — drunk with the i nto xica ti o n o f presen t


ha ppiness and the fo rek n owledge th a t I S hould n eve r mo re
be troub led wi th It s hideo u s prese nce Stro ng i n the sens e

.

o f my new fo und secu rity I pro po se d a ride a t o nce ; and


-
, ,

by preference, a ca nte r ro und Jakko .

Never ha ve I fe lt so w e ll so o verl aden with v itality and


,
B EST G HOST STORIES
I have an i ndi stinct i d ea tha t I dragged Kitty by t h e
wri st al o ng the roa d up t o where I t stoo d a nd impl o red h e r ,

fo r pity s sa ke t o speak t o it ; t o tell It tha t we were h e


tro thed ! th a t neithe r D eath no r He ll co uld b reak the tie


between us ; and Kit ty o nly knows ho w m uch mo re t o t he
same e ffect Now a nd a ga in I appealed pa ssi o na tely t o the
.

Terro r in the rickshaw t o b ear witness t o all I ha d sa id



,

and t o relea se me fro m a t o rture th a t w as killin gme As I .

talke d I suppose I mu st have to ld Kitty o f my o ld rela ti o ns


wi th Mrs Wessington fo r I saw her li sten i nten tly with
.
,

white fa ce and b la zing eyes .

Than k yo u M r Pa nsay sh e sai d , th at s q


,
” “
uit e en o ugh
,

.

Bringmy ho rse .

The groo ms, imp assive as O rien ta ls always are had c o m e ,

up wi th the reca p tured h o rses ; an d as K itty spran g int o her


sa ddle I ca ugh t h old o f t he b ri dl e en trea tin g her t o h ear m e
out a nd fo rgive My a nswer w as the cu t o f h er ridi ngw hip
.
-

a cro ss my fa ce fro m mo u t h t o eye a nd a Wo rd o r t w o o f ,

farewell tha t even no w I ca nn o t wri te d own So I judged .


,

and j ud g ed ri gh tly th a t Kitty knew all ; a nd I s t agge red


,

back t o the side o f the ri ckshaw My fac e w as cu t a nd ’


.

bleeding and the bl ow o f the ridin gwhip had ra ised a l ivi d


,
-

b lue wea l o n it I had no se lf respec t Just then Hea ther


.
-
.
,

legh who m ust have b een follo wing Ki tty and me a t a


,

di stance ca ntered up
, .

“ ” “
D oc to r I sa id poi n ti ng to my face here s Mi ss
, , ,

Manne rings sign atu re t o m y o rde r o f d ismi ssal and



I l l th ank you fo r t ha t l akh as so o n as c onvenien t

.

He a the rle gh s face, even in my abject mi sery m o ved m e



,
-

t o l au gh
”—
.

“ “
I l l stake my pro fessio nal repu tatio n

h e b egan D on t .

” “
b e a fool I whi spered
,
Ive l os t my li fe s happin ess a nd
.

yo u d better t ake me ho me

.

As I Spoke th e ri cksha w w as go ne Then I l ost all kn ow



.

ledge o f wha t w as p assing The crest o f Jak ko seemed t o .

hea ve and roll like the chest o f a cl o u d an d fall i n upo n me .

Seven d a ys l a te r ( on th e 7 th o f May th a t is t o say ) I was ,

aware tha t I w as lying in He a th e rle g h s roo m as we ak a s a ’

little child He at he rle gh w as wa tching me intently fro m


.

behind the papers on h is writing table His fi rst w o rds .


THE PHANTO M RICKSHAW ’

w ere not very en c ouraging ; but I was t o o far spent t o be


m uch m o ved by t hem .


Here s Mi ss Kitty has sent b ack yo u r l etters You cor

.

res po nded a goo d deal , you yo u ng peo ple Here s a pa cke t ’


.

t h a t l ooks l ike a ring a n d a cheerful so rt o f a n o te from,

M an neri ng Papa whi ch I ve taken the liberty o f readinga nd


,


b u rning The O ld gentleman s no t plea sed with you ’
. .

“ ”
And K itty ? I a sked d ully .

Ra ther m o re drawn than her father from wha t sh e says .

B y t he sam e t oken yo u m u st have b een l etting o ut any


n umb e r o f qu ee r remini scen c es j u st b efo re I m e t yo u S ays .

t h a t a m an wh o wou ld have b eha ved t o a wo ma n as y ou d id


t o M rs Wessingto n o ugh t t o kil l himsel f o u t o f S heer pity
.

f o r h is kind She s a ho t headed l ittle virago , yo ur m ash



- .
.

W il l ha ve i t t oo tha t you were s uffering fro m D T when . .

t ha t ro w o n the Jak ko roa d tu rned up S ays she ll die .



b efo re She ever spea ks t o yo u aga in .

I gro aned and turned o ver o n the o ther side .

No w yo u ve go t your ch o ic e, my friend This engage



.

m en t has t o be b roken o ff and the Manne ring s d o n t wa n t


t o b e t oo h ard o n yo u W as it b roken t hro ugh D T o r . . .

ep i leptic fit s ? S o rry I ca n t o ffe r you a better exchan ge ’

u nless yo u d prefer he redita ry in sa nity



Say t h e wo rd an d .

I ll tel l e m it s fits Al l Siml a knows ab o u t th a t sc ene o n


’ ’ ’
.

t he La di es Mi le Co me ! I ll give you five minu tes t o



.


think o ver i t .

D u ring t ho se five min u tes I b eliev e th a t I expl o red th o r


o ughly the l o we s t c ircle s o f the Infern o whi c h i t is pe rmitted
m an t o t rea d o n ea rth An d a t the sa me t ime I myself .

w a s wa tching mysel f faltering thro u gh the d a rk lab ryr in th s


o f d o ub t mi s ery a nd utter despair
,
I wo ndere d as Hea ther
, .
,

legh in h is cha ir might h ave wo ndered whi ch drea dful al ,

t e rna t iv e I sho u ld a d o p t Presently I hea rd myse lf a nswer .

ingin a vo i c e th a t I h a rdly recognized :


They re co nfo undedly pa rti cul a r ab out m o ral i ty i n these

parts Give em fits He ath e rlegh a n d my l o ve N ow le t


.

, ,
.

me sleep a b it l onger .

Then my tw o selves j o ined and it w as o nly I ( half c raz ed , ,

devil d rive n I ) tha t t ossed in my bed tracing step by


-
,

step the hi st o ry o f th e p a s t m o n t h .
1 3 6 B EST GHOST STORIES
” “
But I am in Si mla I kep t repea ti ng t o myse lf ,
I .
,

J a ck Pansay am in Siml a and there are n o gho sts here


, ,
.

It s unreaso nable o f tha t wo m a n t o pretend there a re W hy



.

co uldn t Agnes h ave left m e al one ? I neve r d id he r any


h arm It m igh t j ust as w el l h ave b een me as Agnes O nly


. .

I d n eve r ha ve co me b ack on purp ose t o kill h er



W hy

.

can t I be left al one l ef t al o ne a nd ha ppy ?


It w as high no o n when I first awoke : and the sun w as low



in the sk y b efo re I sl ept Slep t as the tor ture d c r im inal
S leep s o n h is rack t oo wo rn t o feel fu rthe r p a in
, .

Nex t d ay I co uld not l ea ve my b ed He a the rlegh t o ld .

m e i n th e m orning tha t h e h ad rec eived an answ er fro m


M r M anne ring and tha t, tha nks t o his ( Hea the rle gh s )
.
,

friendly o ffices t h e s to ry o f my a ffli c tio n ha d t ra vel ed


,

thro ugh the length and breadth o f Siml a where I was o n ,

a ll S ides m u ch piti e d .


And tha t s ra the r m o re than yo u deserve he concl u d e d

,

plea sa ntly tho ugh the Lo rd knows you ve b een go in g
,

t hro ugh a pretty severe m il l Never m ind ; we ll cure y o u ’


.

y et yo u perverse pheno menon


, .


I d e clined firmly t o be c u red Yo u ve b een much t oo .

” “
go o d t o me already o ld m an, sai d I ; b ut I d o n t t hi nk I
,


n eed trouble yo u fur ther .

In my hear t I knew tha t no thing Hea the rle g h c o uld d o


w ould li ghten the b urd en t ha t h ad been l ai d upo n m e .

Wi th tha t knowledge cam e al so a sense o f ho peless im ,

p o tent rebelli o n aga ins t t he unreaso n ableness o f i t all The re .

were sco res o f me n no be tter th a n I wh ose p uni shments


h a d a t leas t been rese rved fo r a n o ther wo rld and I fel t th a t
i t wa s b itterly cruelly unfa ir th a t I al o ne Sho u ld have b een
,

s ingled o u t fo r s o h ideo u s a fa te Thi s m ood would i n time .

g i ve pl a c e t o a n o th e r w here i t seemed th a t the r i ck sh a w ’

an d I were the o nl y real i ties in a wo rld o f Sh ad ows ; th a t


K itty w as a ghost ; th a t M annering He a the rlegh a nd all , ,

t h e o th er m en an d wo men I kn e w were all gh ost s a nd the


grea t gray h ill s themse lves bu t va in Shad ows devi sed to
,

to rtu re me? Fro m m oo d t o mood I tossed backwa rds and


fo rwa rds fo r seve n wea ry d ays my b ody growing d aily ,

s tro nger stro nger until the bed ro o m l o oking gl ass to ld


,
- -

me th a t h a d retu rned t o e veryd ay life and w as a s o ther ,


1 3 8 BEST GHOST STO R IES
Once m o re I wearily climbe d the Co nvent slo pe an d e n
t e red the level ro ad Here Kitty a nd the m an s ta rted o ff .

a t a c a nter a n d I w as left a l o ne with M rs Wess in g


, t on . .

“ ”
Agnes said I will you p u t b ack yo u r ho od and tell me
, ,

wh a t it all mean s ? The hood dro ppe d n o i selessly a n d I
w as fa c e t o fa ce wi th my dea d a n d b u ried mistress S he .

w as wea ring th e dress in whi ch I ha d l a st seen her a live :


c a rried th e same t iny handkerchief in he r right hand ; an d
th e sa me ca rd ca se in her left ( A w
-
o m a n ei ght m o n ths .

dead with a c ard case ! ) I h ad t o pin myself do wn t o the -

rrmlt ip lica t io n table a nd t o se t b o th h a nd s on the s t o ne


-
,

pa ra pe t o f the roa d t o assu re myself th at th at at leas t was


rea l .

“ ” “
Agnes I repea ted fo r pity s sake tell me wha t it all
, ,

mea n s

Mrs Wessing ton leant forward with tha t o dd
. .
, ,

quick tu rn o f t h e hea d I u sed t o know so well and spo ke ,


.

If my sto ry h ad no t a lready SO m adly overleaped the


b ound s o f all h um an belief I sh o uld a po l o gi z e t o you n o w

.

As I kn o w tha t no o e no n o t even Kitty fo r who m i t is


n ,

,

written a s so me so rt o f j u stifica t io n o f my co nd uct will


b elieve me I W ill go o n ,
Mrs Wessingto n spoke and I . .

w alked with her fro m the Sanj o w lie ro ad t o the tu rning


bel ow the Co mm ander in Chief s ho use as I migh t walk by
‘ ’
- -

the S ide o f a ny living wo man s ri cksh aw deep in co nversa


’ ’
,

ti o n The seco nd an d most to rmenting o f my moo ds o f


.

sick ness ha d su ddenly l a i d h o ld upo n me a nd like th e prince ,



i n Tennyso n s po em I se e med t o m ove amid a wo rld of

,

ghosts There had been a garden party a t the Com
.
-

ma nder in Chief s a nd we tw o j o ined the crowd o f home



- -
,

wa rd bo u nd folk AS I saw them then it seemed that t he y


-
.


were th e sh ado ws impalpable fantas tic Shad ows th at d! 4 -

v id e d fo r Mrs Wessin gto n s ri ckshaw to pass thro ugh ’ ’


. .

Wh at we said durin g the co u rse o f that weird interview I



cann o t indee d I d a re no t tell He a the rle gh s comment -
.

,

wo uld h ave been a S ho rt l au gh an d a rema rk th a t I had



been m ashing a bra in eye a nd sto m a ch chimera It was - - -
.

a ghastly a n d yet in so me in d e finab le w a y a ma rvel ously


dea r experien ce Could it be possible I wondered that I .
, ,

w as in thi s life t o woo a sec o nd time the wo m an I had


killed by my o wn neglec t and cruel ty ?
THE PHANTO M R ICK SHAW ’
1 3 9

I me t K itty on the —
ho meward road a sh ado w a m ong
sh a d o ws .

If I were t o desc ribe a ll th e incidents o f the next fo rt


n igh t in their o rd e r my s t o ry wo u ld never c o m e t o an end ;
,

a n d yo u r pa tien c e w o u ld be exh a u s ted M o rning a fter .

mo rning an d evening a ft e i evening the gho stly ricksha w ’

a nd I u sed t o wa nder t hro u gh Siml a t o ge ther Wherever .

I went there the fo u r bla ck a nd white liveries fo ll owed me


,

a nd b o re me c o mp any t o a nd fro m my ho tel At the the . .

a ter I fo u nd them amid the c ro wd o f yelling j hamp anie s ;


out side th e c lu b vera nd a a fter a l o ng evening o f whi s t ;
,

a t t h e birthd a y b all wa iting p atiently fo r my reappea r


,

a nce ; an d in broa d d a yli g ht when I wen t calling S ave .

th a t it ca st no Shad o w the rickshaw w as in every respec t


,

as real t o l oo k upo n as o ne o f wood and i ro n M o re th a n .

on ce,
indeed I ha ve h ad t o check myself fro m wa rning
,

so me h ard riding friend ag


-
a in s t ca ntering o ver it M o re .

tha n o nce I ha ve walked d own the M all deep in co nversa


ti o n with Mrs Wessingto n t o the unspeak able amaz emen t
.

o f the p assers b y -
.

B efo re I had been o ut and abo ut a week I l ea rn t t ha t


“ ”
the fit theo ry had be en di scarded in fa vo r o f insanity .

H owever I made no ch ange in my mode o f life I called


, .
,

ro d e and dined o ut as freely a s ever I h ad a passio n for


,
.

the so ci ety o f my kind whi ch I h ad never fel t befo re ; I


hungered t o be amo ng the reali ties o f life ; and a t th e sa me
time I felt vaguely u nhappy when I h ad been separa ted
t o o long fro m my gh o stly co mp ani o n It wo uld be almost .

impossible to describe my va rying m oo ds fro m th e 1 5th


o f May up t o t o d ay
- .

T he prese n c e o f th e ri cksh aw filled me by t urn s with


ho rro r blind fea r a dim so rt o f plea su re and ut ter despair


, , ,
.

I da red no t leave Siml a ; a nd I knew tha t my s tay there


wa s killing me I knew m o reo ver th a t it w as my des t iny
.
, ,

t o die slo wly and a little every d ay My o nly anxiety w as .

t o ge t the pen ance o ver a s q u ietly as mi ght be Alternately .

I hungered fo r a Sight o f Kitty a nd wa tched her o utrageo us



flirta ti ous wi th my suc cesso r t o speak mo re accu ra tely my

,

su ccesso rs wi t h amused interest She w as as m u ch o ut o f .

my life as I w as o ut o f hers By da y I wandered with Mrs . .


1 40 BEST GHO ST STO R IES
Wessingt o n almo st c on tent By night I implored Hea ven
.

t o le t me ret u rn t o th e wo rld a s I used t o kn o w it Ab o ve .

a ll the se v a ry ing moo d s lay the sen sa ti o n o f d ull n umbing ,

wo nder th a t the seen a nd the u nseen sh ould mingle so


s t ra ngely o n thi s ea rth t o h o u nd o ne poo r so ul t o it s gra ve .

August z 7 t h .
—He athe rle gh ha s been i ndefa tigable in his
a ttend a nce o n me ; a nd o nly yes terd ay to ld me t ha t I o u ght
t o send in a n a pplica ti o n fo r sick lea ve -
An a pplica tio n
.

t o esca pe the c o mpa ny o f a ph a nto m ! A requ es t tha t the


Go vernmen t wo uld graci ou sly permit me t o get rid o f five
gho sts a nd a n airy ri ckshaw by go ing t o En gl a nd ! Hea th

e rleg h s pro po siti o n m o ved me t o almo st hysteri c al l au gh


ter I to ld him tha t I Sho ul d awa it the end qu ietly a t


.

S imla ; and I am su re th a t the end is no t far o ff Believe .

me tha t I dread it s advent mo re tha n any wo rd ca n sa y ;


a nd I to rt u re myse lf ni gh tly with a th o u sa nd spe cu l a t io ns
a s t o the m anne r o f my dea th .

Shall I die in my bed decently and as an Engli sh ge n


t le men sho uld die ; o r, in o n e l as t w alk o n the M all w ill ,

m y so u l be wrenched fro m me t o t ake it s pl a c e fo r eve r


a nd ever by th e S ide o f tha t gh a stly ph a nt a sm ? Sha ll I
return t o my o ld l os t allegi an c e in the next wo rld , o r sh a ll
I mee t Agnes l oa thing her a nd b ound t o her S ide t h ro ugh
a ll eternity ? S ha ll we tw o ho ver o ver the scene o f o u r
l ives till th e end o f time ? AS the d ay o f my death d raws
nearer the inten se ho rro r th a t all l iving flesh feel s to wa rd s
,

esc aped spirits fro m beyond the grave grows mo re and m o re


po werful It is an awful thing t o go down qu ick a m o ng
.

the dead with sca rcely o ne h alf o f yo u r life co mpleted It .

is a th o u sand times m o re awfu l to wait a s I do in y o u r


mid st , fo r I kn ow no t wh a t unimagin able terro r Pity me, .

“ ”
a t le a st o n the sco re o f my del u si on fo r I kn ow yo u
,

will never be lieve wha t I h a ve w ritten here Yet a s su rely .

as eve r a m an w as d o ne t o de a th by the Po we rs o f D a rk
ness I am tha t m an .

In j u sti c e t o o pity her F o r as su rely a s ever wo ma n


, ,
.

w a s killed by m a n I killed M rs Wessingto n


, . And t he las t
.

p o rti o n o f my p u ni s hm e nt is even now up o n me .


1 4 2 BEST GHOST STO R IES
we left Que en stown an d we dro pped a ncho r o ff Qu aran tin e ,

a t t hree o cl o ck o n M o nd ay m o rning

.

I hope we shan t do th a t thi s t ime I ca n t seem t o ’


.

sleep a ny whe n the b o a t st op s .

“ ”
I c an ; b u t I didn t c onti nued Un cle La rry ; beca u se ’
,

m y sta te roo m w as th e m o st fo r a rd in the bo a t a n d th e



-
,

d o nk y engine th a t let d o wn the ancho r w as right o ve r m y


-

h e ad
e.


So you g o t up a n d sa w the su nrise o ver the b ay sa id ,

Dea r Jo nes with th e electric lights o f the c ity tw inkling i n
,

t he di st a n c e an d the first fa in t fl u sh o f the da wn in t h e


,

e a s t j u st o ver Fo rt La fayette a nd the rosy tinge whi c h


sprea d s o ftly upwa rd and ,
“ ”
Did yo u b ot h co me ba ck t o gether ? a sked the Duche s s .

Becau se he h as crossed thirty fo u r times you m u st n o t -


su ppo se th a t he has a m o n o po ly in su nri ses reto rted De a r ,

J o nes .N 0 thi s w as my own sun ri se ; an d a mighty pretty
,

o n e it w a s t o o ,
.


I m no t m a t ching su nrises wit h you remarked Uncle

,

La rry calmly ; b u t I m willin gt o b ack a merry jest ca ll e d
,

fo rth by my su nri se aga in st any t wo merry jests ca lled



fo rth b y yo u rs .


I con fess rel uc tantly tha t my sunrise evoked no merry

jest at all Dea r Jo nes w as an hones t m an and wo u ld
.
,

sco rn t o invent a merry jest o n the spu r o f the m o men t .

“ ”
Th a t s where my sun ri se has the cal l sai d Uncle La rry

, ,

c o mpl acently .

“ ”
Wh a t w a s the merry jest ? w as B ab y Van Ren ssel a er s ’

i nquiry the n atu ral resu lt o f a feminine curi o si ty t hus


,

a rti sti ca lly exc ited .


We ll h e re i t is I wa s standing aft , near a pat rio tic
, .

Am erican a nd a wandering Iri shman and the patri o tic ,

Ameri ca n ra shly decl are d tha t you co uldn t se e a su nri se ’

like th a t a nywhere in Eu rope, a nd thi s ga ve the Irishman


h is ch a n c e a nd he said S u re ye d o n t ha ve em here t ill
‘ ’ ’
, ,

we re thro ugh wi th em o ver there


’ ’
.

“ ” “
I t IS true said Dear Jo nes tho ughtfu lly th a t they do
, , ,

h ave so me thin gs o ver t here bet te r t han we d o ; for in



s ta nce u mbrell as
, .


An d go wn s a dded the D uchess

, .
T HE R IVAL GHOSTS 1 43

And a n ti qu i ti es ,
—thi s Was Uncle Lar ry s con tributi o n

.

And we d o have so me things so mu ch be tter in Amer


ic a ! pro tested B aby Van Ren ssela er as ye t unco rrupt ed ,

b y any wo rship o f the effete mo na rchies o f des o ti c Eu


p
r o pe We m ake lo ts o f things a grea t deal n i cer than

.

y o u ca n ge t them In E u r o pe e speci a lly Ic e c rea m -


.


And pre tty girls, a dded Dea r Jo nes ; but he did not
l oo k a t her .

“ ”
And spo oks rema rked Uncle L a rry casually
, .


Spo oks ? qu eried the D uchess .

S poo ks I ma inta in the wo rd Ghosts if you like th at


. .
,

b ette r o r specters We tu rn out the best quali ty o f


,
.

Yo u fo rge t th e l o vely ghost sto r ies abo ut the Rhine ,



a n d the Bl ac k F o res t interrupted Miss Van Renssel aer
, ,

with feminine in con si stency .


I re member the Rhine and the Bl ack Fo res t and all the
o the r h a u nt s o f elve s an d fa iries a nd h o bgo b l in s ; b u t fo r
go o d ho nest spoo ks there is no pl a ce like ho me And wha t .

— —
di erenti ates o u spook Spirit us Am erican us fro m th e o r
ff r

d in a ry gho st o f lite ra t u re is tha t it respo nd s t o the Ameri


ca n sen se o i h u m o r T ake I rving s st o ries fo r example ’
. .

Th e He adle ss Hor se m an th at s a co mi c ghos t sto ry And



.
,

Rip Van Winkl e c o nsider wh a t h um o r and wh a t goo d ,

humo r there is in the telling o f his meeting wi th the goblin


,

c rew o f Hendrik H u d so n s men ! A still better exa mp le


o f t hi s Ameri c a n w ay o f dealing wi th legend and myst ery is



the m a rvelou s tale o f the rival ghosts .


The riva l ghosts ? qu eried the Duchess and B aby Van

Ren ssel aer t ogether .W h o were they ?

Didn t I ever tell yo u ab o ut them ? a nswere d Uncle

La rry a glea m o f approaching j oy fl ashing fro m his eye


,
.


Since he is b o u nd t o tell us so oner o r l a ter we d be t ter ,


he resigned and hea r it no w sa id De a r Jo nes , .


If you are no t mo re eager I won t tell it a t all ,

.

Oh do Uncle La rry ; yo u kn ow I j ust d o t e on gho st


, ,

pleaded B aby Va n Ren ssel aer .


nc e upo n a t ime bega n Uncle La rry in fact a
few yea rs ago— there lived in the thriv ing town o f
, ,

New Yo rk a you ng Ameri c an called Dunca n Eliphalet —


BEST G HOST STORI ES
Duncan Like his n ame he w as hal f Yankee and half
.
,

Sco tch a nd n a tu rally he w as a lawy er a n d had co m e t o


, ,

New York t o make his w ay His fa ther w as a Soo t ch m an


.
,

who h ad co me o ve r and settled in B osto n a n d m a rr i e d a ,

S alem girl When Eliph alet D u n ca n w as a bo u t twenty he


.

l o st b o th o f his p a ren ts His f a th er l e ft him wi th en o ugh


.

mo ney t o give him a sta rt a nd a stro ng feeling o f pride in


,

his S c o tch birth ; yo u se e t he re w a s a title in the fa mily in


S co tl and and a l tho ugh Eliphalet s fa th er w as th e yo u nger
,

so n o f a yo unger son ye t he a lwa ys remembered a n d a lwa ys


, ,

b ade his o nly so n t o remember t ha t his a n cest ry wa s n o ble


,
.

His mo ther left him her fu ll Sha re o f Ya nkee grit a n d a ,

little ho use in S alem whic h has bel o n ged t o her fa mily fo r


m o re th an two h undred yea rs She w as a Hitchco ck a nd .
,

the Hitchc ocks h ad been settled in S alem since the yea r 1 .

I t wa s a grea t grea t grandfa th er o f Mr Eliph alet Hitch co ck


- -
.

w ho w as fo rem os t in the time o f the S alem witchcra ft cra z e .

And thi s little o ld hous e which sh e left t o my friend Eli


p h a le t Dunc a n w as h a u nted .


B y the ghost o f one o f e wi tches o f c ourse in t er , ,
1

rup t ed Dea r Jo nes .

N o w ho w c o uld it b e the ghos t o f a witch since the ,

witches were all bu rned a t the stake ? Yo u never heard


o f a nyb o dy w ho was b u rned ha ving a g h o st did you ? ,

Tha t s an a rgu men t in favo r o f c rema t ion at any ra t e

, ,

replied Jones eva ding the direc t questi o n


, .

“ ”
It is if yo u don t like ghost s ; I do , sai d B aby Van
,

Renssel aer .

“ ” “
And so do I added Uncle La rry
,
I love a ghos t as .


dea rly as an Engli shman l oves a lo rd .

“ ”
G o o n wi th yo u r sto ry said t he D uchess majest ica l ly
, ,

o v rrulingall extra neo u s di scu ssio n

f
.

‘ ”
Th is l it tle o ld hou se a t Salem w a s h aunted resu med
And by a very di stingu i shed gh ost —
,

Un cle La rry . o r at

least by a gho st with very rema rkable a ttributes .

“ ”
Wh a t w as he like ? asked B aby Van R enssela e r wi th ,
a premo n it o ry Shiver o f a nti c ip a to ry delight .


It h ad a lo t o f pec ulia rities In the first pl ace it never
.
,
appe a red t o the m ast er o f the ho u se M o stly it c on fined .

its vi sit a tio n s t o unwel co me guests In the co urse o f the .


1 46 B EST GHOST STORIES
t he hou se—much to his disgu st too , be cause he wa n t ed to
,

se e fo r himself the mysteri o u s ten a nt a t will o f h is prop


et ty B u t he never saw it never He arra nged with friends
.
, .

t o call him wheneve r i t migh t appea r , a nd he sl e p t in the


n ext roo m with the do o r o pen ; an d ye t when their fright
ened cries waked him the ghost w as gone an d h is o nly ,

reward w as to hea r repro achful sighs as so on as he went


b ack t o b ed Yo u se e the ghos t th o u gh t i t w as no t fa ir o f
.
,

Eliphale t O seek an in trod ucti o n which was pl ainly n u



welcome .

D ea r Jones in terrupted the sto ry t eller by getting up a n d -

t u cking a heavy rugsnugly a ro und B aby Van Ren ssel a e r s


feet, fo r the sk y w as now o vercast a nd gray, an d the air



p u rs ued Uncle L ar ry E li ,

D unca n received great news I told yo u tha t th e re .

was a t i tle in the fam i ly in Sco tl a nd an d th a t Eliph ale t s



,

fa ther w as the yo un ger so n o f a youn ger son Well it h a p .


,

pened tha t all Eliphale t s fa ther s bro thers an d uncles h a d


’ ’

died o ff witho u t m ale i ssu e excep t the eldes t son o f t he


eldest , and he, o f co urse b o re the title and w as B a ro n
, ,

Duncan o f Dunca n No w th e grea t news tha t Eliph a let


.

Du ncan received in New Yo rk one fine sprin g mo rnin g w as


tha t B a ro n D unca n a nd h is o nly so n had been yachtin g in
the Heb rides a nd they ha d b een cau ght i n a bl a ck sq u a ll
, ,

an d they were b o th dead So my friend Eliphale t D un can


.

inherited the t itle a nd the esta tes 9 ’


.


How rom an ti c ! said the D uchess
” “
So he w as a .

b aro n !
“ ” “
Well answered Unc le Larry, he was a ba ron if h e
,

chose But he didn t choo se
.

.

“ ”
Mo re fool he, said Dea r Jo nes se nten ti ously .


an swered Un cle L a rry I m no t so sure o f tha t ’
.
,

Eliphale t D unca n w as half S co tch and half Yan


kee and he ha d t wo eyes t o the m ain chan c e He held
, .

his to ngue a b ou t H i s W in dfa l l o f luck until he co uld find


o ut whe ther the S c otch esta tes were en o ugh t o keep up the
Sco tch title He soo n discovered tha t they were no t and
.
,

th a t th e l at e Lord Dunca n hav ing ma rried money kept


, ,

up such sta te as he could o ut of the revenues o f the d owry


THE RIVAL GHOSTS 1 47

o f Lady D uncan And Eliphal et he decided tha t he wo uld


.
,

r a ther b e a well fed l a wyer i n New Yo rk living co mfo rt


-
,

a bly o n h is prac ti c e ,
an a s ta rving l o rd in Sc o tl a nd , living

s c antily o n h is title .

“ ”
Bu t be kept h is ti tle ? asked t he D u chess .

” “
W ell an swered Uncle La rry, he kept it qu iet I knew
,
.

i t , a nd a friend o r t wo m ore . B ut Elipha let w as a S igh t


t oo sm a r t t o pu t B aro n D u n ca n o f D uncan , Atto rn ey a nd

C o un selo r a t Law, o n his S hi ngle .

“ ”
Wha t has all th is go t t o d o w ith you r gho st ? as ked
D ea r Jones pertinen tl y .


N o thing wi th tha t ghost, bu t a good dea l with an o ther
g h os .t Elip ha le t w as very l ea rned in sp i ri t l o re — perh a p s

b eca u se he o wned the h aunted h o u se at S alem perhaps b e ,

ca u se he was a S co tchm an b y de s c en t A t all events h e


.
,

h a d m ad e a spec ia l stu dy o f the wra i ths and white l adies


a n d b anshees an d b ogies o f a ll kin d s who se sayings a nd
in t he a nn als o f the S co t
t i sh cq uain t ed wi t h the h abi ts
o f every repu ta ble Sp Scotc h pe erage And h e .

knew tha t t here was 3 D u nca n ghos t a ttached t o the pe rson



o f the ho lder o f the titl e o f B ar o n D u nca n o f D u n c an .


So b esides b eing t he o wn e r o f a h aunte
,

S a l em he was a l so a h aun ted man in Sco t la


,

B a y Van Renssel ae r .

Ju st s o . But the Sco tch ghost was not unpleasan t ,

like the S al em ghost , al tho ugh it had one peculi arity in


co mm o n with it s trans Atl antic fell o w sp oo k I t never ap
- -
.

p e a re d t o the h o lder o f the title ju,


s t a s t h e o ther neve r
w as visible t o th e o wner o f the h o u se . I n fa ct the D uncan ,

g h os t w as never se en a t a ll .It w a s a gu a r di a n a n gel o nly .

Its So le duty w as t o b e in pe rso n al a ttend ance o n B a ro


D unca n o f Dun ca n and t o wa rn him o f impe nding evil
,
.

The tra di tions o f the hou se told th a t the B aro n s o f Duncan


f
h a d again and aga in fel t a prem oniti o n o ill fo rtune S o me .

o f them h a d y ielded and wi thdrawn from the ventu re they


h ad undertaken and i t had fa iled di smally
,
S o me h ad
.

b een ob stina te and h ad ha rdened their hearts and h ad


, ,

gone o n reckless o f defea t and to death In no case h ad .

Lo rd Dun can b een expose d t o peril withou t fair warning


BEST GHO ST ST O R IE S

Then how came it tha t the fa ther and son were l o s t H



t he ya cht o ff the Hebride s ? asked Dea r Jo nes .


Becau e they were t o o enlightened t o yield t o s u p e r
s - v

s t it ion . There is extant n ow a letter o f Lo rd D u n ca n w rit ,

ten t o h is wife a few min u tes befo re he and h is so n se t sa il ,

in whi ch he tell s her ho w ha rd he h as h a d to stru gg l e w ith


a n a lm o st o verm astering de sire t o give u p the trip Ha d .

he o beyed the friendly wa rning o f th e family gho st th e la t ,



ter wo uld ha ve been spared a j ou rney a c ross the Atl a n tic .


Did the $ 05 lea ve S co tland for Ameri c a as so o n a s
,baro n ;
a s ed B a by Van Renssela er w iti ,

m u ch interest
Ho w did he come over qu eri ed Dea r Jones — in t he
.

“ “
,

st eerag e o r as a cabin passenger ?
,
“ ” “
I do n t kn o w a nswered Uncle La rry calmly and Eli

, ,

p h a le t
, he didn t kn o w F

o r a s he w.a s in n o d a nger a n d ,

s t oo d in no need o f wa rnin he co uldn t tell whether the ’

t u u

h w n d ty O f c r e he the w t l

g o s a s o o r n o t o s . w as o n a e .

f o r i t a ll the time B u t he never go t any proo f o f it s pres


.

ence u ntil he went d o wn t o the little o ld h o u se o f S a lem ‘

j u st befo r the Fo u rth o f Ju ly He to ok a friend d o w n .


'

wi th h im a yo ung fell o w w ho h ad be en in the regul ar


a rmy S in c e the d ay Fo rt S u mter w as fired o n a nd w ho ,

tho ugh t th a t a fter fo u r years o f the little u nplea sa ntness


d own S o u th inc l u ding S ix mo nths in L ibby an d a fter t en
, ,

yea rs o f fighting the b ad Indi an s on the pl ains he wa sn t ,


likely t o be much fri ghtened by a ghost Well Eliph alet .


,

a nd the o ffi c er sa t o ut o n the p o rch a ll the cv ing sm oking


an d t alking o ver p o int s in milita ry law A little a ft ez .

twelve o clock j ust a s they bega n t o think it w a s a bou 1



,

time t o tu rn in they hea rd the m ost ghas tly no i se in the


ho use It wasn t a shriek o r a b o w l o r a yell o r an ything
.
, , ,

they co uld p u t a n ame t o It w as an u ndetermina te inex .


,

plicable Shiver and shu dder o f so u nd which went wailing ,

o ut o f the wind ow The o fficer h a d been a t Cold Harbor


. .

b ut he felt himself getting co lder this time Eliphale t knew .

i t was the gho st wh o ha u nted the ho use AS t hi s we irc


'

so und died a way it w a s fo ll owed by an o ther sh arp short


, , , .

b l ood curdlin g in it s intensi ty


-
S omething in this or}
.

seeme d fa mili a r t o El iph ale t and he fel t su re th a t it p ro ,


B EST G HOST S TORIES

I guess they w ere ca p able o f pro vi d in g their o wn m usi cal


weapons A t all e vents, t hey h ad them there in th e li ttl e
.<