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    Weird America

    Ambrose Bierce

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    Contents

    Fruitless Assignment Unfinished Race

    harles Ashmore's Trail

    Diagnosis of Deathe Difficulty Of Crossing A FieldOld Man Eckert'ste Isle of Pineshn Bartine's Watchhn Mortonson's FuneralJug Of Syrupe Middle Toe Of The Right Foot

    e Moonlit Roadoxon's Mastere Thing at Nolan

    ne More Unfortunatene Summer Nightesent at a HangingPsychological Shipwreck

    ience To The Fronte Spook Housealey Fleming's HallucinationVine on a HouseWireless Message

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    A Fruitless Assignment

    enry Saylor, who was killed in Covington, in a quarrel with Antoni

    nch, was a reporter on the Cincinnati Commercial. In the year 185

    vacant dwelling in Vine street, in Cincinnati, became the center o

    local excitement because of the strange sights and sounds said t

    e observed in it nightly. According to the testimony of man

    putable residents of the vicinity these were inconsistent with an

    her hypothesis than that the house was haunted. Figures wi

    omething singularly unfamiliar about them were seen by crowds o

    e sidewalk to pass in and out. No one could say just where the

    ppeared upon the open lawn on their way to the front door by whicey entered, nor at exactly what point they vanished as they cam

    ut; or, rather, while each spectator was positive enough about thes

    atters, no two agreed. They were all similarly at variance in the

    escriptions of the figures themselves. Some of the bolder of th

    urious throng ventured on several evenings to stand upon th

    oorsteps to intercept them, or failing in this, get a nearer look em. These courageous men, it was said, were unable to force th

    oor by their united strength, and always were hurled from the step

    y some invisible agency and severely injured; the door immediate

    terward opening, apparently of its own volition, to admit or fre

    ome ghostly guest. The dwelling was known as the Roscoe hous

    family of that name having lived there for some years, and the

    ne by one, disappeared, the last to leave being an old woma

    tories of foul play and successive murders had always been rif

    ut never were authenticated.

    ne day during the prevalence of the excitement Saylor presente

    mself at the office of the Commercial for orders. He received

    ote from the city editor which read as follows: "Go and pass thght alone in the haunted house in Vine street and if anything occu

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    orth while make two columns." Saylor obeyed his superior; h

    ould not afford to lose his position on the paper.

    pprising the police of his intention, he effected an entrance throug

    rear window before dark, walked through the deserted rooms, ba

    furniture, dusty and desolate, and seating himself at last in th

    arlor on an old sofa which he had dragged in from another rooatched the deepening of the gloom as night came on. Before it wa

    together dark the curious crowd had collected in the street, silen

    s a rule, and expectant, with here and there a scoffer uttering h

    credulity and courage with scornful remarks or ribald cries. Non

    new of the anxious watcher inside. He feared to make a light; th

    ncurtained windows would have betrayed his presence, subjectinm to insult, possibly to injury. Moreover, he was too conscientiou

    do anything to enfeeble his impressions and unwilling to alter an

    the customary conditions under which the manifestations wer

    aid to occur.

    was now dark outside, but light from the street faintly illuminated th

    art of the room that he was in. He had set open every door in thhole interior, above and below, but all the outer ones were locke

    nd bolted. Sudden exclamations from the crowd caused him

    pring to the window and look out. He saw the figure of a ma

    oving rapidly across the lawn toward the building--saw it ascen

    e steps; then a projection of the wall concealed it. There was

    oise as of the opening and closing of the hall door; he heard quiceavy footsteps along the passage--heard them ascend the stairs

    eard them on the uncarpeted floor of the chamber immediate

    verhead.

    aylor promptly drew his pistol, and groping his way up the stai

    ntered the chamber, dimly lighted from the street. No one wa

    ere. He heard footsteps in an adjoining room and entered that.

    as dark and silent. He struck his foot against some object on th

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    oor, knelt by it, passed his hand over it. It was a human head--that

    woman. Lifting it by the hair this iron-nerved man returned to th

    alf-lighted room below, carried it near the window and attentive

    xamined it. While so engaged he was half conscious of the rap

    pening and closing of the outer door, of footfalls sounding all abou

    m. He raised his eyes from the ghastly object of his attention an

    aw himself the center of a crowd of men and women dimly seen; thom was thronged with them. He thought the people had broken in

    adies and gentlemen," he said, coolly, "you see me unde

    uspicious circumstances, but"--his voice was drowned in peals

    ughter--such laughter as is heard in asylums for the insane. Th

    ersons about him pointed at the object in his hand and theerriment increased as he dropped it and it went rolling among the

    et. They danced about it with gestures grotesque and attitude

    bscene and indescribable. They struck it with their feet, urging

    bout the room from wall to wall; pushed and overthrew one anothe

    their struggles to kick it; cursed and screamed and sang snatche

    ribald songs as the battered head bounded about the room as if

    rror and trying to escape. At last it shot out of the door into the ha

    llowed by all, with tumultuous haste. That moment the door close

    th a sharp concussion. Saylor was alone, in dead silence.

    arefully putting away his pistol, which all the time he had held in h

    and, he went to a window and looked out. The street was deserte

    nd silent; the lamps were extinguished; the roofs and chimneys e houses were sharply outlined against the dawn-light in the eas

    e left the house, the door yielding easily to his hand, and walked t

    e Commercial office. The city editor was still in his office--aslee

    aylor waked him and said: "I have been at the haunted house."

    he editor stared blankly as if not wholly awake. "Good God!" h

    ied, "are you Saylor?"

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    Yes--why not?" The editor made no answer, but continued staring.

    passed the night there--it seems," said Saylor.

    They say that things were uncommonly quiet out there," the edito

    aid, trifling with a paper-weight upon which he had dropped h

    yes, "did anything occur?"

    Nothing whatever."

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    An Unfinished Race

    ames Burne Worson was a shoemaker who lived in Leamingto

    Warwickshire, England. He had a little shop in one of the by-way

    ading off the road to Warwick. In his humble sphere he wa

    steemed an honest man, although like many of his class in Englis

    wns he was somewhat addicted to drink. When in liquor he wou

    ake foolish wagers. On one of these too frequent occasions h

    as boasting of his prowess as a pedestrian and athlete, and th

    utcome was a match against nature. For a stake of one sovereig

    e undertook to run all the way to Coventry and back, a distance

    omething more than forty miles. This was on the 3d day eptember in 1873. He set out at once, the man with whom he ha

    ade the bet--whose name is not remembered--accompanied b

    arham Wise, a linen draper, and Hamerson Burns, a photographe

    hink, following in a light cart or wagon.

    or several miles Worson went on very well, at an easy gait, witho

    pparent fatigue, for he had really great powers of endurance an

    as not sufficiently intoxicated to enfeeble them. The three men

    e wagon kept a short distance in the rear, giving him occasion

    endly "chaff" or encouragement, as the spirit moved them

    uddenly--in the very middle of the roadway, not a dozen yards from

    em, and with their eyes full upon him--the man seemed to stumbl

    tched headlong forward, uttered a terrible cry and vanished! He dot fall to the earth--he vanished before touching it. No trace of hi

    as ever discovered.

    fter remaining at and about the spot for some time, with aimles

    esolution, the three men returned to Leamington, told the

    stonishing story and were afterward taken into custody. But theere of good standing, had always been considered truthful, we

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    ober at the time of the occurrence, and nothing ever transpired t

    scredit their sworn account of their extraordinary adventur

    oncerning the truth of which, nevertheless, public opinion wa

    vided, throughout the United Kingdom. If they had something t

    onceal, their choice of means is certainly one of the most amazin

    ver made by sane human beings.

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    Charles Ashmore's Trail

    he family of Christian Ashmore consisted of his wife, his mothe

    wo grown daughters, and a son of sixteen years. They lived in Troy

    ew York, were well-to-do, respectable persons, and had man

    ends, some of whom, reading these lines, will doubtless learn fo

    e first time the extraordinary fate of the young man. From Troy th

    shmores moved in 1871 or 1872 to Richmond, Indiana, and a yea

    two later to the vicinity of Quincy, Illinois, where Mr. Ashmor

    ought a farm and lived on it. At some little distance from th

    rmhouse was a spring with a constant flow of clear, cold wate

    hence the family derived its supply for domestic use at all seasons

    n the evening of the 9th of November in 1878, at about nine o'cloc

    oung Charles Ashmore left the family circle about the hearth, took

    n bucket and started toward the spring. As he did not return, th

    mily became uneasy, and going to the door by which he had left th

    ouse, his father called without receiving an answer. He then lighte

    lantern and with the eldest daughter, Martha, who insisted o

    ccompanying him, went in search. A light snow had fallen

    bliterating the path, but making the young man's trail conspicuou

    ach footprint was plainly defined. After going a little more than ha

    ay--perhaps seventy-five yards--the father, who was in advanc

    alted, and elevating his lantern stood peering intently into th

    arkness ahead.

    What is the matter, father?" the girl asked.

    his was the matter: the trail of the young man had abruptly ende

    nd all beyond was smooth, unbroken snow. The last footprints wer

    s conspicuous as any in the line; the very nail-marks were distinctsible. Mr. Ashmore looked upward, shading his eyes with his ha

    eld between them and the lantern. The stars were shinin ; the

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    as not a cloud in the sky; he was denied the explanation which ha

    uggested itself, doubtful as it would have been--a new snowfall wi

    limit so plainly defined. Taking a wide circuit round the ultimat

    acks, so as to leave them undisturbed for further examination, th

    an proceeded to the spring, the girl following, weak and terrifie

    either had spoken a word of what both had observed. The sprin

    as covered with ice, hours old.

    eturning to the house they noted the appearance of the snow o

    oth sides of the trail its entire length. No tracks led away from it.

    he morning light showed nothing more. Smooth, spotles

    nbroken, the shallow snow lay everywhere.

    our days later the grief-stricken mother herself went to the spring fo

    ater. She came back and related that in passing the spot where th

    otprints had ended she had heard the voice of her son and ha

    een eagerly calling to him, wandering about the place, as she ha

    ncied the voice to be now in one direction, now in another, until sh

    as exhausted with fatigue and emotion.

    uestioned as to what the voice had said, she was unable to tell, y

    verred that the words were perfectly distinct. In a moment the enti

    mily was at the place, but nothing was heard, and the voice wa

    elieved to be an hallucination caused by the mother's great anxie

    nd her disordered nerves. But for months afterward, at irregulatervals of a few days, the voice was heard by the several membe

    the family, and by others. All declared it unmistakably the voice o

    harles Ashmore; all agreed that it seemed to come from a grea

    stance, faintly, yet with entire distinctness of articulation; yet non

    ould determine its direction, nor repeat its words. The intervals

    ence grew longer and longer, the voice fainter and farther, and b

    idsummer it was heard no more.

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    anybody knows the fate of Charles Ashmore it is probably h

    other. She is dead.

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    A Diagnosis of Death

    am not so superstitious as some of your physicians--men

    cience, as you are pleased to be called,' said Hawver, replying t

    n accusation that had not been made. 'Some of you--only a few,

    onfess--believe in the immortality of the soul, and in apparition

    hich you have not the honesty to call ghosts. I go no further than

    onviction that the living are sometimes seen where they are not, b

    ave been--where they have lived so long, perhaps so intensely, a

    have left their impress on everything about them. I know, indeed

    at one's environment may be so affected by one's personality as

    eld, long afterward, an image of one's self to the eyes of anotheoubtless the impressing personality has to be the right kind

    ersonality as the perceiving eyes have to be the right kind of eyes

    ine, for example.'

    es, the right kind of eyes, conveying sensations to the wrong kin

    brains,' said Dr. Frayley, smiling.

    hank you; one likes to have an expectation gratified; that is abo

    e reply that I supposed you would have the civility to make.'

    ardon me. But you say that you know. That is a good deal to say

    on't you think? Perhaps you will not mind the trouble of saying ho

    ou learned.'

    ou will call it an hallucination,' Hawver said, 'but that does no

    atter.' And he told the story.

    ast summer I went, as you know, to pass the hot weather term

    e town of Meridian. The relative at whose house I had intended t

    ay was ill, so I sought other quarters. After some difficulty ucceeded in renting a vacant dwelling that had been occupied b

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    n eccentric doctor of the name of Mannering, who had gone awa

    ears before, no one knew where, not even his agent. He had bu

    e house himself and had lived in it with an old servant for about te

    ears. His practice, never very extensive, had after a few years bee

    ven up entirely. Not only so, but he had withdrawn himself almo

    together from social life and become a recluse. I was told by th

    lage doctor, about the only person with whom he held any relationat during his retirement he had devoted himself to a single line

    udy, the result of which he had expounded in a book that did n

    ommend itself to the approval of his professional brethren, wh

    deed, considered him not entirely sane. I have not seen the boo

    nd cannot now recall the title of it, but I am told that it expounded

    ther startling theory. He held that it was possible in the case oany a person in good health to forecast his death with precisio

    everal months in advance of the event. The limit, I think, wa

    ghteen months. There were local tales of his having exerted h

    owers of prognosis, or perhaps you would say diagnosis; and

    as said that in every instance the person whose friends he ha

    arned had died suddenly at the appointed time, and from n

    ssignable cause. All this, however, has nothing to do with what

    ave to tell; I thought it might amuse a physician.

    he house was furnished, just as he had lived in it. It was a rathe

    oomy dwelling for one who was neither a recluse nor a student, an

    hink it gave something of its character to me--perhaps some of i

    rmer occupant's character; for always I felt in it a certaelancholy that was not in my natural disposition, nor, I think, due t

    neliness. I had no servants that slept in the house, but I have alway

    een, as you know, rather fond of my own society, being muc

    ddicted to reading, though little to study. Whatever was the cause

    e effect was dejection and a sense of impending evil; this wa

    specially so in Dr. Mannering's study, although that room was thhtest and most airy in the house. The doctor's life-size portrait in o

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    ung in that room, and seemed completely to dominate it. There wa

    othing unusual in the picture; the man was evidently rather goo

    oking, about fifty years old, with iron-grey hair, a smooth-shave

    ce and dark, serious eyes. Something in the picture always dre

    nd held my attention. The man's appearance became familiar t

    e, and rather "haunted" me.

    ne evening I was passing through this room to my bedroom, with

    mp--there is no gas in Meridian. I stopped as usual before th

    ortrait, which seemed in the lamplight to have a new expression, n

    asily named, but distinctly uncanny. It interested but did not distur

    e. I moved the lamp from one side to the other and observed th

    fects of the altered light. While so engaged I felt an impulse to tuund. As I did so I saw a man moving across the room direct

    ward me! As soon as he came near enough for the lamplight t

    uminate the face I saw that it was Dr. Mannering himself; it was as

    e portrait were walking!

    beg your pardon," I said, somewhat coldly, "but if you knocked

    d not hear."

    e passed me, within an arm's length, lifted his right forefinger, as

    arning, and without a word went on out of the room, though

    bserved his exit no more than I had observed his entrance.

    f course, I need not tell you that this was what you will call allucination and I call an apparition. That room had only two door

    which one was locked; the other led into a bedroom, from whic

    ere was no exit. My feeling on realizing this is not an important pa

    the incident.

    oubtless this seems to you a very commonplace "ghost story"--on

    onstructed on the regular lines laid down by the old masters of tht. If that were so I should not have related it, even if it were true. Th

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    an was not dead; I met him to-day in Union Street. He passed m

    a crowd.'

    awver had finished his story and both men were silent. Dr. Frayle

    bsently drummed on the table with his fingers.

    id he say anything to-day?' he asked--'anything from which yoferred that he was not dead?'

    awver stared and did not reply.

    erhaps,' continued Frayley,' he made a sign, a gesture--lifted

    nger, as in warning. It's a trick he had--a habit when sayin

    omething serious--announcing the result of a diagnosis, foxample.'

    es, he did--just as his apparition had done. But, good God! did yo

    ver know him?'

    awver was apparently growing nervous.

    knew him. I have read his book, as will every physician some day.

    one of the most striking and important of the century

    ontributions to medical science. Yes, I knew him; I attended him

    n illness three years ago. He died.'

    awver sprang from his chair, manifestly disturbed. He strodrward and back across the room; then approached his friend, an

    a voice not altogether steady, said: 'Doctor, have you anything t

    ay to me--as a physician? '

    o, Hawver; you are the healthiest man I ever knew. As a friend

    dvise you to go to your room. You play the violin like an angel. Pla

    play something light and lively. Get this cursed bad business o

    our mind.'

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    he next day Hawver was found dead in his room, the violin at h

    eck, the bow upon the string, his music open before him at Chopin

    uneral March.

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    The Difficulty Of Crossing A Field

    ne morning in July, 1854, a planter named Williamson, living s

    iles from Selma, Alabama, was sitting with his wife and a child o

    e veranda of his dwelling. Immediately in front of the house was

    wn, perhaps fifty yards in extent between the house and publ

    ad, or, as it was called, the "pike." Beyond this road lay a close

    opped pasture of some ten acres, level and without a tree, rock, o

    ny natural or artificial object on its surface. At the time there was n

    ven a domestic animal in the field. In another field, beyond th

    asture, a dozen slaves were at work under an overseer.

    hrowing away the stump of a cigar, the planter rose, saying: "I forg

    tell Andrew about those horses." Andrew was the overseer.

    Williamson strolled leisurely down the gravel walk, plucking a flowe

    s he went, passed across the road and into the pasture, pausing

    oment as he closed the gate leading into it, to greet a passin

    eighbor, Armour Wren, who lived on an adjoining plantation. M

    Wren was in an open carriage with his son James, a lad of thirtee

    When he had driven some two hundred yards from the point

    eeting, Mr. Wren said to his son: "I forgot to tell Mr. Williamso

    bout those horses."

    r. Wren had sold to Mr. Williamson some horses, which were tave been sent for that day, but for some reason not no

    membered it would be inconvenient to deliver them until th

    orrow. The coachman was directed to drive back, and as th

    ehicle turned Williamson was seen by all three, walking leisure

    cross the pasture. At that moment one of the coach horse

    umbled and came near falling. It had no more than fairly recovereself when James Wren cried: "Why, father, what has become of M

    Williamson?"

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    s not the purpose of this narrative to answer that question.

    r. Wren's strange account of the matter, given under oath in th

    ourse of legal proceedings relating to the Williamson estate, her

    llows:

    My son's exclamation caused me to look toward the spot where

    ad seen the deceased [sic] an instant before, but he was not ther

    or was he anywhere visible. I cannot say that at the moment I wa

    eatly startled, or realized the gravity of the occurrence, though

    ought it singular. My son, however, was greatly astonished an

    ept repeating his question in different forms until we arrived at th

    ate. My black boy Sam was similarly affected, even in a greate

    egree, but I reckon more by my son's manner than by anything h

    ad himself observed. [This sentence in the testimony was stricke

    ut.] As we got out of the carriage at the gate of the field, and whi

    am was hanging [sic] the team to the fence, Mrs. Williamson, wi

    er child in her arms and followed by several servants, came runnin

    own the walk in great excitement, crying: 'He is gone, he is gone! od! what an awful thing!' and many other such exclamations, which

    o not distinctly recollect. I got from them the impression that the

    lated to something more--than the mere disappearance of he

    usband, even if that had occurred before her eyes. Her manner wa

    ld, but not more so, I think, than was natural under th

    rcumstances. I have no reason to think she had at that time lost heind. I have never since seen nor heard of Mr. Williamson."

    his testimony, as might have been expected, was corroborated

    most every particular by the only other eye-witness (if that is

    oper term)--the lad James. Mrs. Williamson had lost her reaso

    nd the servants were, of course, not competent to testify. The bo

    ames Wren had declared at first that he saw the disappearanc

    ut there is nothing of this in his testimony given in court. None of th

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    eld hands working in the field to which Williamson was going ha

    een him at all, and the most rigorous search of the entire plantatio

    nd adjoining country failed to supply a clew. The most monstrou

    nd grotesque fictions, originating with the blacks, were current

    at part of the State for many years, and probably are to this day; b

    hat has been here related is all that is certainly known of the matte

    he courts decided that Williamson was dead, and his estate wastributed according to law.

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    A Old Man Eckert'st

    hilip Eckert lived for many years in an old, weather-stained woode

    ouse about three miles from the little town of Marion, in Vermon

    here must be quite a number of persons living who remember him

    ot unkindly, I trust, and know something of the story that I am abou

    tell.

    Old Man Eckert," as he was always called, was not of a sociab

    sposition and lived alone. As he was never known to speak of h

    wn affairs nobody thereabout knew anything of his past, nor of h

    latives if he had any. Without being particularly ungracious opellent in manner or speech, he managed somehow to be immun

    impertinent curiosity, yet exempt from the evil repute with which

    ommonly revenges itself when baffled; so far as I know, Mr. Eckert

    nown as a reformed assassin or a retired pirate of the Spanis

    ain had not reached any ear in Marion. He got his living cultivatin

    small and not very fertile farm.

    ne day he disappeared and a prolonged search by his neighbo

    iled to turn him up or throw any light upon his whereabouts o

    hyabouts. Nothing indicated preparation to leave: all was as h

    ight have left it to go to the spring for a bucket of water. For a fe

    eeks little else was talked of in that region; then "old man Ecker

    ecame a village tale for the ear of the stranger. I do not know whaas done regarding his property--the correct legal thing, doubtles

    he house was standing, still vacant and conspicuously unfit, when

    st heard of it, some twenty years afterward.

    f course it came to be considered "haunted," and the customa

    les were told of moving lights, dolorous sounds and startlinpparitions. At one time, about five years after the disappearance

    ese stories of the su ernatural became so rife, or throu h som

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    testing circumstances seemed so important, that some of Marion

    ost serious citizens deemed it well to investigate, and to that en

    ranged for a night session on the premises. The parties to th

    ndertaking were John Holcomb, an apothecary; Wilson Merle,

    wyer, and Andrus C. Palmer, the teacher of the public school, a

    en of consequence and repute. They were to meet at Holcomb

    ouse at eight o'clock in the evening of the appointed day and ggether to the scene of their vigil, where certain arrangements fo

    eir comfort, a provision of fuel and the like, for the season wa

    nter, had been already made.

    almer did not keep the engagement, and after waiting a half-hou

    r him the others went to the Eckert house without him. Thestablished themselves in the principal room, before a glowing fir

    nd without other light than it gave, awaited events. It had bee

    greed to speak as little as possible: they did not even renew th

    xchange of views regarding the defection of Palmer, which ha

    ccupied their minds on the way.

    robably an hour had passed without incident when they heard (nthout emotion, doubtless) the sound of an opening door in the rea

    the house, followed by footfalls in the room adjoining that in whic

    ey sat. The watchers rose to their feet, but stood firm, prepared fo

    hatever might ensue. A long silence followed--how long neithe

    ould afterward undertake to say. Then the door between the tw

    oms opened and a man entered.

    was Palmer. He was pale, as if from excitement--as pale as th

    hers felt themselves to be. His manner, too, was singularly distra

    e neither responded to their salutations nor so much as looked

    em, but walked slowly across the room in the light of the failing fir

    nd opening the front door passed out into the darkness.

    seems to have been the first thought of both men that Palmer wa

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    uffering from fright--that something seen, heard or imagined in th

    ack room had deprived him of his senses. Acting on the sam

    endly impulse both ran after him through the open door. But neithe

    ey nor anyone ever again saw or heard of Andrus Palmer!

    his much was ascertained the next morning. During the session

    essrs. Holcomb and Merle at the "haunted house" a new snow hallen to a depth of several inches upon the old. In this snow Palmer

    ail from his lodging in the village to the back door of the Ecke

    ouse was conspicuous. But there it ended: from the front doo

    othing led away but the tracks of the two men who swore that h

    eceded them. Palmer's disappearance was as complete as that

    ld man Eckert" himself--whom, indeed, the editor of the local papeomewhat graphically accused of having "reached out and pulle

    m in."

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    The Isle of Pines

    or many years there lived near the town of Gallipolis, Ohio, an o

    an named Herman Deluse. Very little was known of his history, fo

    e would neither speak of it himself nor suffer others. It was

    ommon belief among his neighbors that he had been a pirate-

    pon any better evidence than his collection of boarding pike

    utlasses, and ancient flintlock pistols, no one knew. He lived entire

    one in a small house of four rooms, falling rapidly into decay an

    ever repaired further than was required by the weather. It stood on

    ght elevation in the midst of a large, stony field overgrown wi

    ambles, and cultivated in patches and only in the most primitivay. It was his only visible property, but could hardly have yielde

    m a living, simple and few as were his wants. He seemed alway

    have ready money, and paid cash for all his purchases at th

    lage stores roundabout, seldom buying more than two or thre

    mes at the same place until after the lapse of a considerable time

    e got no commendation, however, for this equitable distribution os patronage; people were disposed to regard it as an ineffectu

    tempt to conceal his possession of so much money. That he ha

    eat hoards of ill-gotten gold buried somewhere about his tumble

    own dwelling was not reasonably to be doubted by any honest so

    onversant with the facts of local tradition and gifted with a sense

    e fitness of things.

    n the 9th of November, 1867, the old man died; at least his dea

    ody was discovered on the 10th, and physicians testified that dea

    ad occurred about twenty-four hours previously--precisely how, the

    ere unable to say; for the post-mortem examination showed eve

    gan to be absolutely healthy, with no indication of disorder o

    olence. According to them, death must have taken place abouoonday, yet the body was found in bed. The verdict of the coroner

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    ry was that he "came to his death by a visitation of God." The bod

    as buried and the public administrator took charge of the estate.

    rigorous search disclosed nothing more than was already know

    bout the dead man, and much patient excavation here and ther

    bout the premises by thoughtful and thrifty neighbors we

    nrewarded. The administrator locked up the house against the timhen the property, real and personal, should be sold by law with

    ew to defraying, partly, the expenses of the sale.

    he night of November 20 was boisterous. A furious gale storme

    cross the country, scourging it with desolating drifts of sleet. Grea

    ees were torn from the earth and hurled across the roads. So wild ght had never been known in all that region, but toward morning th

    orm had blown itself out of breath and day dawned bright and clea

    about eight o'clock that morning the Rev. Henry Galbraith, a we

    nown and highly esteemed Lutheran minister, arrived on foot at h

    ouse, a mile and a half from the Deluse place. Mr. Galbraith ha

    een for a month in Cincinnati. He had come up the river in

    eamboat, and landing at Gallipolis the previous evening hammediately obtained a horse and buggy and set out for home. Th

    olence of the storm had delayed him over night, and in the mornin

    e fallen trees had compelled him to abandon his conveyance an

    ontinue his journey afoot.

    But where did you pass the night?" inquired his wife, after he haiefly related his adventure.

    With old Deluse at the 'Isle of Pines,'" [1] was the laughing repl

    nd a glum enough time I had of it. He made no objection to m

    maining, but not a word could I get out of him."

    ortunately for the interests of truth there was present at thonversation Mr. Robert Mosely Maren, a lawyer and litterateur o

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    olumbus, the same who wrote the delightful "Mellowcraft Papers

    oting, but apparently not sharing, the astonishment caused by M

    albraith's answer this ready-witted person checked by a gestur

    e exclamations that would naturally have followed, and tranqui

    quired: "How came you to go in there?"

    his is Mr. Maren's version of Mr. Galbraith's reply:

    saw a light moving about the house, and being nearly blinded b

    e sleet, and half frozen besides, drove in at the gate and put up m

    orse in the old rail stable, where it is now. I then rapped at the doo

    nd getting no invitation went in without one. The room was dark, b

    aving matches I found a candle and lit it. I tried to enter the adjoininom, but the door was fast, and although I heard the old man

    eavy footsteps in there he made no response to my calls. Ther

    as no fire on the hearth, so I made one and laying [sic] down befor

    with my overcoat under my head, prepared myself for sleep. Pret

    oon the door that I had tried silently opened and the old man cam

    , carrying a candle. I spoke to him pleasantly, apologizing for m

    trusion, but he took no notice of me. He seemed to be searchinr something, though his eyes were unmoved in their sockets.

    onder if he ever walks in his sleep. He took a circuit a part of th

    ay round the room, and went out the same way he had come i

    wice more before I slept he came back into the room, actin

    ecisely the same way, and departing as at first. In the intervals

    eard him tramping all over the house, his footsteps distinctly audibthe pauses of the storm. When I woke in the morning he ha

    ready gone out."

    r. Maren attempted some further questioning, but was unab

    nger to restrain the family's tongues; the story of Deluse's dea

    nd burial came out, greatly to the good minister's astonishment.

    The explanation of your adventure is very simple," said Mr. Maren.

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    on't believe old Deluse walks in his sleep--not in his present on

    ut you evidently dream in yours."

    nd to this view of the matter Mr. Galbraith was compelled reluctant

    assent.

    evertheless, a late hour of the next night found these twentlemen, accompanied by a son of the minister, in the road in fro

    the old Deluse house. There was a light inside; it appeared now

    ne window and now at another. The three men advanced to th

    oor. Just as they reached it there came from the interior a confusio

    the most appalling sounds--the clash of weapons, steel again

    eel, sharp explosions as of firearms, shrieks of women, groans ane curses of men in combat! The investigators stood a momen

    esolute, frightened. Then Mr. Galbraith tried the door. It was fas

    ut the minister was a man of courage, a man, moreover, o

    erculean strength. He retired a pace or two and rushed against th

    oor, striking it with his right shoulder and bursting it from the fram

    th a loud crash. In a moment the three were inside. Darkness an

    ence! The only sound was the beating of their hearts.

    r. Maren had provided himself with matches and a candle. Wi

    ome difficulty, begotten of his excitement, he made a light, and the

    oceeded to explore the place, passing from room to room

    verything was in orderly arrangement, as it had been left by th

    heriff; nothing had been disturbed. A light coating of dust waverywhere. A back door was partly open, as if by neglect, and the

    st thought was that the authors of the awful revelry might hav

    scaped. The door was opened, and the light of the candle shon

    rough upon the ground. The expiring effort of the previous night

    orm had been a light fall of snow; there were no footprints; the whi

    urface was unbroken. They closed the door and entered the la

    om of the four that the house contained--that farthest from the roa

    an angle of the building. Here the candle in Mr. Maren's hand wa

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    uddenly extinguished as by a draught of air. Almost immediate

    llowed the sound of a heavy fall. When the candle had been hasti

    lighted young Mr. Galbraith was seen prostrate on the floor at

    tle distance from the others. He was dead. In one hand the bod

    asped a heavy sack of coins, which later examination showed

    e all of old Spanish mintage. Directly over the body as it lay,

    oard had been torn from its fastenings in the wall, and from thavity so disclosed it was evident that the bag had been taken.

    nother inquest was held: another post-mortem examination failed t

    veal a probable cause of death. Another verdict of "the visitation o

    od" left all at liberty to form their own conclusions. Mr. Mare

    ontended that the young man died of excitement.

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    John Bartine's Watch

    Story by a Physician

    he exact time? Good God! my friend, why do you insist? One wou

    ink--but what does it matter; it is easily bedtime--isn't that neanough? But, here, if you must set your watch, take mine and see f

    ourself.'

    With that he detached his watch--a tremendously heavy, old

    shioned one--from the chain, and handed it to me; then turne

    way, and walking across the room to a shelf of books, began axamination of their backs. His agitation and evident distres

    urprised me; they appeared reasonless. Having set my watch by h

    stepped over to where he stood and said, 'Thank you.'

    s he took his timepiece and reattached it to the guard I observe

    at his hands were unsteady. With a tact upon which I greatly pride

    yself, I sauntered carelessly to the sideboard and took somandy and water; then, begging his pardon for my thoughtlessnes

    sked him to have some and went back to my seat by the fir

    aving him to help himself, as was our custom. He did so an

    esently joined me at the hearth, as tranquil as ever.

    his odd little incident occurred in my apartment, where John Bartinas passing an evening. We had dined together at the club, ha

    ome home in a cab and--in short, everything had been done in th

    ost prosaic way; and why John Bartine should break in upon th

    atural and established order of things to make himself spectacula

    th a display of emotion, apparently for his own entertainment,

    ould nowise understand. The more I thought of it, while his brillia

    onversational gifts were commending themselves to my inattentio

    e more curious I grew, and of course had no difficulty in persuadin

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    yself that my curiosity was friendly solicitude. That is the disguis

    at curiosity usually assumes to evade resentment. So I ruined on

    the finest sentences of his disregarded monologue by cutting

    hort without ceremony.

    ohn Bartine,' I said, 'you must try to forgive me if I am wrong, b

    th the light that I have at present I cannot concede your right to g to pieces when asked the time o' night. I cannot admit that it

    oper to experience a mysterious reluctance to look your own watc

    the face and to cherish in my presence, without explanatio

    ainful emotions which are denied to me, and which are none of m

    usiness.'

    o this ridiculous speech Bartine made no immediate reply, but sa

    oking gravely into the fire. Fearing that I had offended I was abo

    apologize and beg him to think no more about the matter, whe

    oking me calmly in the eyes he said:

    My dear fellow, the levity of your manner does not at all disguise th

    deous impudence of your demand; but happily I had alreadecided to tell you what you wish to know, and no manifestation o

    our unworthiness to hear it shall alter my decision. Be good enoug

    give me your attention and you shall hear all about the matter.

    his watch,' he said, 'had been in my family for three generation

    efore it fell to me. Its original owner, for whom it was made, was meat-grandfather, Bramwell Olcott Bartine, a wealthy planter o

    olonial Virginia, and as staunch a Tory as ever lay awake night

    ontriving new kinds of maledictions for the head of Mr. Washington

    nd new methods of aiding and abetting good King George. On

    ay this worthy gentleman had the deep misfortune to perform for h

    ause a service of capital importance which was not recognized a

    gitimate by those who suffered its disadvantages. It does natter what it was, but among its minor consequences was m

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    xcellent ancestor's arrest one night in his own house by a party

    r. Washington's rebels. He was permitted to say farewell to h

    eeping family, and was then marched away into the darkness whic

    wallowed him up for ever. Not the slenderest clue to his fate wa

    ver found. After the war the most diligent inquiry and the offer o

    rge rewards failed to turn up any of his captors or any fa

    oncerning his disappearance. He had disappeared, and that wa.'

    omething in Bartine's manner that was not in his words--I hard

    new what it was--prompted me to ask:

    What is your view of the matter--of the justice of it?'

    My view of it,' he flamed out, bringing his clenched hand down upo

    e table as if he had been in a public house dicing wi

    ackguards--'my view of it is that it was a characteristically dastard

    ssassination by that damned traitor, Washington, and h

    gamuffin rebels!'

    or some minutes nothing was said: Bartine was recovering h

    mper, and I waited. Then I said:

    Was that all?'

    o--there was something else. A few weeks after my grea

    andfather's arrest his watch was found lying on the porch at thont door of his dwelling. It was wrapped in a sheet of letter-pape

    earing the name of Rupert Bartine, his only son, my grandfather

    m wearing that watch.'

    artine paused. His usually restless black eyes were staring fixed

    to the grate, a point of red light in each, reflected from the glowinoals. He seemed to have forgotten me. A sudden threshing of th

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    anches of a tree outside one of the windows, and almost at th

    ame instant a rattle of rain against the glass, recalled him to

    ense of his surroundings. A storm had risen, heralded by a singl

    ust of wind, and in a few moments the steady plash of the water o

    e pavement was distinctly heard. I hardly know why I relate th

    cident; it seemed somehow to have a certain significance an

    levancy which I am unable now to discern. It at least added aement of seriousness, almost solemnity. Bartine resumed:

    have a singular feeling toward this watch--a kind of affection for it

    e to have it about me, though partly from its weight, and partly for

    ason I shall now explain, I seldom carry it. The reason is this: Eve

    vening when I have it with me I feel an unaccountable desire to opend consult it, even if I can think of no reason for wishing to know th

    me. But if I yield to it, the moment my eyes rest upon the dial I a

    ed with a mysterious apprehension--a sense of imminent calamit

    nd this is the more insupportable the nearer it is to eleven o'clock

    y this watch, no matter what the actual hour may be. After the hand

    ave registered eleven the desire to look is gone; I am entire

    different. Then I can consult the thing as often as I like, with no mor

    motion than you feel in looking at your own. Naturally I have traine

    yself not to look at that watch in the evening before eleven; nothin

    ould induce me. Your insistence this evening upset me a trifle. I fe

    ery much as I suppose an opium-eater might feel if his yearning fo

    s special and particular kind of hell were reinforced by opportuni

    nd advice.

    ow that is my story, and I have told it in the interest of your trumpe

    cience; but if on any evening hereafter you observe me wearing th

    amnable watch, and you have the thoughtfulness to ask me th

    our, I shall beg leave to put you to the inconvenience of bein

    nocked down.'

    s humour did not amuse me. I could see that in relating h

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    elusion he was again somewhat disturbed. His concluding smi

    as positively ghastly, and his eyes had resumed something mor

    an their old restlessness; they shifted hither and thither about th

    om with apparent aimlessness and I fancied had taken on a wi

    xpression, such as is sometimes observed in cases of dementi

    erhaps this was my own imagination, but at any rate I was no

    ersuaded that my friend was afflicted with a most singular anteresting monomania. Without, I trust, any abatement of m

    fectionate solicitude for him as a friend, I began to regard him as

    atient, rich in possibilities of profitable study. Why not? Had he no

    escribed his delusion in the interest of science? Ah, poor fellow, h

    as doing more for science than he knew: not only his story b

    mself was in evidence. I should cure him if I could, of course, bst I should make a little experiment in psychology--nay, th

    xperiment itself might be a step in his restoration.

    hat is very frank and friendly of you, Bartine,' I said cordially, 'an

    m rather proud of your confidence. It is all very odd, certainly. Do yo

    ind showing me the watch?'

    e detached it from his waistcoat, chain and all, and passed it to m

    thout a word. The case was of gold, very thick and strong, an

    ngularly engraved. After closely examining the dial and observin

    at it was nearly twelve o'clock, I opened it at the back and wa

    terested to observe an inner case of ivory, upon which was painte

    miniature portrait in that exquisite and delicate manner which wavogue during the eighteenth century.

    Why, bless my soul!' I exclaimed, feeling a sharp artistic delight

    ow under the sun did you get that done? I thought miniature paintin

    n ivory was a lost art.'

    hat,' he replied, gravely smiling, 'is not I; it is my excellent greaandfather, the late Bramwell Olcott Bartine, Esquire, of Virginia. H

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    as younger then than later--about my age, in fact. It is said t

    semble me; do you think so?'

    esemble you? I should say so! Barring the costume, which

    upposed you to have assumed out of compliment to the art--or fo

    aisemblance, so to say--and the no moustache, that portrait is yo

    every feature, line, and expression.'

    o more was said at that time. Bartine took a book from the tab

    nd began reading. I heard outside the incessant plash of the rain

    e street. There were occasional hurried footfalls on the sidewalk

    nd once a slower, heavier tread seemed to cease at my door--

    oliceman, I thought, seeking shelter in the doorway. The boughs oe trees tapped significantly on the window panes, as if asking fo

    dmittance. I remember it all through these years and years of

    ser, graver life.

    eeing myself unobserved, I took the old-fashioned key that dangle

    om the chain and quickly turned back the hands of the watch a fu

    our; then, closing the case, I handed Bartine his property and sam replace it on his person.

    think you said,' I began, with assumed carelessness, 'that afte

    even the sight of the dial no longer affects you. As it is now near

    welve'--looking at my own timepiece--'perhaps, if you don't rese

    y pursuit of proof, you will look at it now.'

    e smiled good-humouredly, pulled out the watch again, opened

    nd instantly sprang to his feet with a cry that Heaven has not had th

    ercy to permit me to forget! His eyes, their blackness striking

    tensified by the pallor of his face, were fixed upon the watch, whic

    e clutched in both hands. For some time he remained in th

    titude without uttering another sound; then, in a voice that I shouot have recognized as his, he said:

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    amn you! it is two minutes to eleven!'

    was not unprepared for some such outbreak, and without risin

    plied, calmly enough:

    beg your pardon; I must have misread your watch in setting my ow

    y it.'

    e shut the case with a sharp snap and put the watch in his pocke

    e looked at me and made an attempt to smile, but his lower l

    uivered and he seemed unable to close his mouth. His hands, als

    ere shaking, and he thrust them, clenched, into the pockets of h

    ackcoat. The courageous spirit was manifestly endeavouring tubdue the coward body. The effort was too great; he began to swa

    om side to side, as from vertigo, and before I could spring from m

    hair to support him his knees gave way and he pitched awkward

    rward and fell upon his face. I sprang to assist him to rise; but whe

    ohn Bartine rises we shall all rise.

    he post-mortem examination disclosed nothing; every organ wa

    ormal and sound. But when the body had been prepared for burial

    int dark circle was seen to have developed around the neck; a

    ast I was so assured by several persons who said they saw it, b

    my own knowledge I cannot say if that was true.

    or can I set limitations to the law of heredity. I do not know that e spiritual world a sentiment or emotion may not survive the hea

    at held it, and seek expression in a kindred life, ages remove

    urely, if I were to guess at the fate of Bramwell Olcott Bartine,

    hould guess that he was hanged at eleven o'clock in the evenin

    nd that he had been allowed several hours in which to prepare fo

    e change.

    s to John Bartine, my friend, my patient for five minutes, and

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    eaven forgive me!--my victim for eternity, there is no more to say

    e is buried, and his watch with him--I saw to that. May God rest h

    oul in Paradise, and the soul of his Virginian ancestor, if, indeed

    ey are two souls.

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    John Mortonson's Funeral

    ohn Mortonson was dead: his lines in 'the tragedy "Man"' had a

    een spoken and he had left the stage.

    he body rested in a fine mahogany coffin fitted with a plate of glasl arrangements for the funeral had been so well attended to th

    ad the deceased known he would doubtless have approved. Th

    ce, as it showed under the glass, was not disagreeable to loo

    pon: it bore a faint smile, and as the death had been painless, ha

    ot been distorted beyond the repairing power of the undertaker. A

    wo o'clock of the afternoon the friends were to assemble to pay thest tribute of respect to one who had no further need of friends an

    spect. The surviving members of the family came severally eve

    w minutes to the casket and wept above the placid feature

    eneath the glass. This did them no good; it did no good to Joh

    ortonson; but in the presence of death reason and philosophy ar

    ent.

    s the hour of two approached the friends began to arrive and afte

    fering such consolation to the stricken relatives as the proprietie

    the occasion required, solemnly seated themselves about th

    om with an augmented consciousness of their importance in th

    cheme funereal. Then the minister came, and in that overshadowin

    esence the lesser lights went into eclipse. His entrance wallowed by that of the widow, whose lamentations filled the room

    he approached the casket and after leaning her face against th

    old glass for a moment was gently led to a seat near her daughte

    ournfully and low the man of God began his eulogy of the dead, an

    s doleful voice, mingled with the sobbing which it was its purpos

    stimulate and sustain, rose and fell, seemed to come and go, like sound of a sullen sea. The gloomy day grew darker as he spok

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    curtain of cloud underspread the sky and a few drops of rain fe

    udibly. It seemed as if all nature were weeping for John Mortonson

    When the minister had finished his eulogy with prayer a hymn wa

    ung and the pall-bearers took their places beside the bier. As th

    st notes of the hymn died away the widow ran to the coffin, ca

    erself upon it and sobbed hysterically. Gradually, however, shelded to dissuasion, becoming more composed; and as th

    inister was in the act of leading her away her eyes sought the fac

    the dead beneath the glass. She threw up her arms and with

    hriek fell backward insensible.

    he mourners sprang forward to the coffin, the friends followed, ans the clock on the mantel solemnly struck three all were starin

    own upon the face of John Mortonson, deceased.

    hey turned away, sick and faint. One man, trying in his terror t

    scape the awful sight, stumbled against the coffin so heavily as t

    nock away one of its frail supports. The coffin fell to the floor, th

    ass was shattered to bits by the concussion.

    rom the opening crawled John Mortonson's cat, which lazily leapt t

    e floor, sat up, tranquilly wiped its crimson muzzle with a forepaw

    en walked with dignity from the room. [2]

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    A Jug Of Syrup

    his narrative begins with the death of its hero. Silas Deemer die

    n the I6th day of July, 1863; and two days later his remains wer

    uried. As he had been personally known to every man, woman an

    ell-grown child in the village, the funeral, as the local newspape

    hrased it, 'was largely attended.' In accordance with a custom of th

    me and place, the coffin was opened at the graveside and th

    ntire assembly of friends and neighbours filed past, taking a la

    ok at the face of the dead. And then, before the eyes of all, Sila

    eemer was put into the ground. Some of the eyes were a trifle dim

    ut in a general way it may be said that at that interment where wack of neither observance nor observation; Silas was indubitab

    ead, and none could have pointed out any ritual delinquency th

    ould have justified him in coming back from the grave. Yet if huma

    stimony is good for anything (and certainly it once put an end t

    tchcraft in and about Salem) he came back.

    orgot to state that the death and burial of Silas Deemer occurred

    e little village of Hillbrook, where he had lived for thirty-one year

    e had been what is known in some parts of the Union (which

    dmittedly a free country) as a 'merchant'; that is to say, he kept

    tail shop for the sale of such things as are commonly sold in shop

    that character. His honesty had never been questioned, so far a

    known, and he was held in high esteem by all. The only thing thould be urged against him by the most censorious was a too clos

    tention to business. It was not urged against him, though man

    nother, who manifested it in no greater degree, was less lenient

    dged. The business to which Silas was devoted was mostly h

    wn--that, possibly, may have made a difference.

    t the time of Deemer's death nobody could recollect a single da

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    undays excepted, that he had not passed in his 'store,' since h

    ad opened it more than a quarter-century before. His health havin

    een perfect during all that time, he had been unable to discern an

    alidity in whatever may or might have been urged to lure him astra

    om his counter; and it is related that once when he was summone

    the county seat as a witness in an important law case and did no

    tend, the lawyer who had the hardihood to move that he bdmonished' was solemnly informed that the Court regarded th

    oposal with 'surprise.' Judicial surprise being an emotion th

    torneys are not commonly ambitious to arouse, the motion wa

    astily withdrawn and an agreement with the other side effected a

    what Mr. Deemer would have said if he had been there--the othe

    de pushing its advantage to the extreme and making thupposititious testimony distinctly damaging to the interests of i

    oponents. In brief, it was the general feeling in all that region th

    las Deemer was the one immobile verity of Hillbrook, and that h

    anslation in space would precipitate some dismal public ill o

    renuous calamity.

    rs. Deemer and two grown daughters occupied the upper rooms

    e building, but Silas had never been known to sleep elsewher

    an on a cot behind the counter of the store. And there, quite b

    ccident, he was found one night, dying, and passed away ju

    efore the time for taking down the shutters. Though speechless, h

    ppeared conscious, and it was thought by those who knew him be

    at if the end had unfortunately been delayed beyond the usual hor opening the store the effect upon him would have bee

    eplorable.

    uch had been Silas Deemer--such the fixity and invariety of his lif

    nd habit, that the village humorist (who had once attended college

    as moved to bestow upon him the sobriquet of 'Old Ibidem,' and, e first issue of the local newspaper after the death, to expla

    thout offence that Silas had taken 'a da off.' It was more than

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    ay, but from the record it appears that well within a month M

    eemer made it plain that he had not the leisure to be dead.

    ne of Hillbrook's most respected citizens was Alvan Creede,

    anker. He lived in the finest house in town, kept a carriage and wa

    most estimable man variously. He knew something of th

    dvantages of travel, too, having been frequently in Boston, annce, it was thought, in New York, though he modestly disclaime

    at glittering distinction. The matter is mentioned here merely as

    ontribution to an understanding of Mr. Creede's worth, for either wa

    is creditable to him--to his intelligence if he had put himself, eve

    mporarily, into contact with metropolitan culture; to his candour if h

    ad not.

    ne pleasant summer evening at about the hour of ten Mr. Creede

    ntering at his garden gate, passed up the gravel walk, which looke

    ery white in the moonlight, mounted the stone steps of his fin

    ouse and pausing a moment inserted his latchkey in the door. A

    e pushed this open he met his wife, who was crossing the passag

    om the parlour to the library. She greeted him pleasantly and pulline door farther back held it for him to enter. Instead, he turned and

    oking about his feet in front of the threshold, uttered an exclamatio

    surprise.

    Why!--what the devil,' he said, 'has become of that jug?'

    What jug, Alvan?' his wife inquired, not very sympathetically.

    jug of maple syrup--I brought it along from the store and set

    own here to open the door. What the --'

    here, there, Alvan, please don't swear again,' said the lady

    terrupting. Hillbrook, by the way, is not the only place hristendom where a vestigal pol theism forbids the taking in vain

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    e Evil One's name.

    he jug of maple syrup which the easy ways of village life ha

    ermitted Hillbrook's foremost citizen to carry home from the stor

    as not there.

    re you quite sure, Alvan?'

    My dear, do you suppose a man does not know when he is carryin

    jug? I bought that syrup at Deemer's as I was passing. Deeme

    mself drew it and lent me the jug, and I --'

    he sentence remains to this day unfinished. Mr. Creede staggere

    to the house, entered the parlour and dropped into an arm-chaembling in every limb. He had suddenly remembered that Sila

    eemer was three weeks dead.

    rs. Creede stood by her husband, regarding him with surprise an

    nxiety.

    or Heaven's sake,' she said, 'what ails you?' Mr. Creede's ailmen

    aving no obvious relation to the interests of the better land he d

    ot apparently deem it necessary to expound it on that demand; h

    aid nothing--merely stared. There were long moments of silenc

    oken by nothing but the measured ticking of the clock, whic

    eemed somewhat slower than usual, as if it were civilly grantin

    em an extension of time in which to recover their wits.

    ane, I have gone mad--that is it.' He spoke thickly and hurriedl

    ou should have told me; you must have observed my symptom

    efore they became so pronounced that I have observed the

    yself. I thought I was passing Deemer's store; it was open and

    p--that is what I thought; of course it is never open now. Silaeemer stood at his desk behind the counter. My God, Jane, I sa

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    m as distinctly as I see you. Remembering that you had said yo

    anted some maple syrup, I went in and bought some--that is all

    ought two quarts of maple syrup from Silas Deemer, who is dea

    nd underground, but nevertheless drew that syrup from a cask an

    anded it to me in a jug. He talked with me, too, rather gravely,

    member, even more so than was his way, but not a word of wha

    e said can I now recall. But I saw him-good Lord, I saw and talketh him--and he is dead So I thought, but I'm mad, Jane, I'm as craz

    s a beetle; and you have kept it from me.'

    his monologue gave the woman time to collect what faculties sh

    ad.

    lvan,' she said, 'you have given no evidence of insanity, believ

    e. This was undoubtedly an illusion--how should it be anythin

    se? That would be too terrible! But there is no insanity; you ar

    orking too hard at the bank. You should not have attended th

    eeting of directors this evening; anyone could see that you were i

    knew something would occur.'

    may have seemed to him that the prophecy had lagged a b

    waiting the event, but he said nothing of that, being concerned wi

    s own condition. He was calm now, and could think coherently.

    oubtless the phenomenon was subjective,' he said, with

    omewhat ludicrous transition to the slang of science. 'Granting thossibility of spiritual apparition and even materialization, yet th

    pparition and materialization of a half-gallon brown clay jug--a piec

    coarse, heavy pottery evolved from nothing--that is hard

    inkable.'

    s he finished speaking, a child ran into the room--his little daughte

    he was clad in a bedgown. Hastening to her father she threw hems about his neck, saying: 'You naughty papa, you forgot to com

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    and kiss me. We heard you open the gate and got up and looke

    ut. And, papa dear, Eddy says mayn't he have the little jug when it i

    mpty?'

    s the full import of that revelation imparted itself to Alvan Creede

    nderstanding he visibly shuddered. For the child could not hav

    eard a word of the conversation.

    he estate of Silas Deemer being in the hands of an administrato

    ho had thought it best to dispose of the 'business,' the store ha

    een closed ever since the owner's death, the goods having bee

    moved by another 'merchant' who had purchased them en blo

    he rooms above were vacant as well, for the widow and daughtead gone to another town.

    n the evening immediately after Alvan Creede's adventure (whic

    ad somehow 'got out') a crowd of men, women and childre

    ronged the sidewalk opposite the store. That the place wa

    aunted by the spirit of the late Silas Deemer was now well known

    very resident of Hillbrook, though many affected disbelief. Of these hardiest, and in a general way the youngest, threw stones again

    e front of the building, the only part accessible, but carefully misse

    e unshuttered windows. Incredulity had not grown to malice. A few

    enturesome souls crossed the street and rattled the door in i

    ame; struck matches and held them near the window; attempted

    ew the black interior. Some of the spectators invited attention teir wit by shouting and groaning and challenging the ghost to

    ot-race.

    fter a considerable time had elapsed without any manifestatio

    nd many of the crowd had gone away, all those remaining began t

    bserve that the interior of the store was suffused with a dim, yello

    ht. At this all demonstrations ceased; the intrepid souls about thoor and windows fell back to the opposite side of the street an

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    ere merged in the crowd; the small boys ceased throwing stone

    obody spoke above his breath; all whispered excitedly and pointe

    the now steadily growing light. How long a time had passed sinc

    e first faint glow had been observed none could have guessed, b

    ventually the illumination was bright enough to reveal the who

    terior of the store; and there, standing at his desk behind th

    ounter Silas Deemer was distinctly visible!

    he effect upon the crowd was marvellous. It began rapidly to me

    way at both flanks, as the timid left the place. Many ran as fast a

    eir legs would let them; others moved off with greater dignity

    rning occasionally to look backward over the shoulder. At last

    core or more, mostly men, remained where they were, speechlesaring, excited. The apparition inside gave them no attention; it wa

    pparently occupied with a book of accounts.

    resently three men left the crowd on the sidewalk as if by

    ommon impulse and crossed the street. One of them, a heavy ma

    as about to set his shoulder against the door when it opene

    pparently without human agency, and the courageous investigatorassed in. No sooner had they crossed the threshold than they we

    een by the awed observers outside to be acting in the mo

    naccountable way. They thrust out their hands before them, pursue

    evious courses, came into violent collision with the counter, wi

    oxes and barrels on the floor, and with one another. They turne

    wkwardly hither and thither and seemed trying to escape, bnable to retrace their steps. Their voices were heard

    xclamations and curses. But in no way did the apparition of Sila

    eemer manifest an interest in what was going on.

    y what impulse the crowd was moved none ever recollected, but th

    ntire mass--men, women, children, dogs--made a simultaneous an

    multuous rush for the entrance. They congested the doorway

    ushing for precedence--resolving themselves at length into a lin

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    nd moving up step by step. By some subtle spiritual or physic

    chemy observation had been transmuted into action--th

    ghtseers had become participants in the spectacle--the audienc

    ad usurped the stage.

    o the only spectator remaining on the other side of the street--Alva

    reede, the banker--the interior of the store with its inpouring crowontinued in full illumination; all the strange things going on ther

    ere clearly visible. To those inside all was black darkness. It was a

    each person as he was thrust in at the door had been stricke

    nd, and was maddened by the mischance. They groped wi

    mless imprecision, tried to force their way out against the curren

    ushed and elbowed, struck at random, fell and were trampled, rosnd trampled in their turn. They seized one another by the garment

    e hair, the beard--fought like animals, cursed, shouted, called on

    nother opprobrious and obscene names. When, finally, Alva

    reede had seen the last person of the line pass into that awf

    mult the light that had illuminated it was suddenly quenched and a

    as as black to him as to those within. He turned away and left th

    ace.

    the early morning a curious crowd had gathered about 'Deemer's

    was composed partly of those who had run away the night befor

    ut now had the courage of sunshine, partly of honest folk going t

    eir daily toil. The door of the store stood open; the place wa

    acant, but on the walls, the floor, the furniture, were shreds oothing and tangles of hair. Hillbrook militant had manage

    omehow to pull itself out and had gone home to medicine its hur

    nd swear that it had been all night in bed. On the dusty desk, behin

    e counter, was the sales book. The entries in it, in Deemer

    andwriting, had ceased on the 16th day of July, the last of his life

    here was no record of a later sale to Alvan Creede.

    hat is the entire story--except that men's passions having subside

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    nd reason having resumed its immemorial sway, it was confesse

    Hillbrook that, considering the harmless and honourable characte

    his first commercial transaction under the new conditions, Sila

    eemer, deceased, might properly have been suffered to resum

    usiness at the old stand without mobbing. In that judgment the loc

    storian from whose unpublished work these facts are compiled ha

    e thoughtfulness to signify his concurrence.

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    The Middle Toe Of The Right Foo

    is well known that the old Manton house is haunted. In all the rur

    strict near about, and even in the town of Marshall, a mile away, no

    ne person of unbiased mind entertains a doubt of it; incredulity

    onfined to those opinionated persons who will be called 'cranks' a

    oon as the useful word shall have penetrated the intellectu

    emesne of the Marshall Advance. The evidence that the house

    aunted is of two kinds: the testimony of disinterested witnesses wh

    ave had ocular proof, and that of the house itself. The former ma

    e disregarded and ruled out on any of the various grounds

    bjection which may be urged against it by the ingenious; but facthin the observation of all are material and controlling.

    the first place, the Manton house has been unoccupied by morta

    r more than ten years, and with its outbuildings is slowly falling int

    ecay--a circumstance which in itself the judicious will hardly ventur

    ignore. It stands a little way off the loneliest reach of the Marsha

    nd Harriston road, in an opening which was once a farm and is st

    sfigured with strips of rotting fence and half covered with bramble

    verrunning a stony and sterile soil long unacquainted with th

    ough. The house itself is in tolerably good condition, though bad

    eather-stained and in dire need of attention from the glazier, th

    maller male population of the region having attested in the mann

    its kind its disapproval of dwelling without dwellers. It is two storieheight, nearly square, its front pierced by a single doorway flanke

    n each side by a window boarded up to the very to

    orresponding windows above, not protected, serve to admit lig

    nd rain to the rooms of the upper floor. Grass and weeds gro

    etty rankly all about, and a few shade trees, somewhat the wors

    r wind, and leaning all in one direction, seem to be making oncerted effort to run away. In short, as the Marshall town humori

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    xplained in the columns of the Advance, 'the proposition that th

    anton house is badly haunted is the only logical conclusion from th

    emises.' The fact that in this dwelling Mr. Manton thought

    xpedient one night some ten years ago to rise and cut the throats

    s wife and two small children, removing at once to another part

    e country, has no doubt done its share in directing public attentio

    the fitness of the place for supernatural phenomena.

    o this house, one summer evening, came four men in a wagon

    hree of them promptly alighted, and the one who had been drivin

    tched the team to the only remaining post of what had been

    nce. The fourth remained seated in the wagon. 'Come,' said one

    s companions, approaching him, while the others moved away e direction of the dwelling--'this is the place.'

    he man addressed did not move. 'By God!' he said harshly, 'this

    trick, and it looks to me as if you were in it.'

    erhaps I am,' the other said, looking him straight in the face an

    peaking in a tone which had something of contempt in it. 'You wmember, however, that the choice of place was with your ow

    ssent left to the other side. Of course if you are afraid of spooks--'

    am afraid of nothing,' the man interrupted with another oath, an

    prang to the ground. The two then joined the others at the doo

    hich one of them had already opened with some difficulty, causey rust of lock and hinge. All entered. Inside it was dark, but the ma

    ho had unlocked the door produced a candle and matches an

    ade a light. He then unlocked a door on their right as they stood

    e passage. This gave them entrance to a large, square room th

    e candle but dimly lighted. The floor had a thick carpeting of dus

    hich partly muffled their footfalls. Cobwebs were in the angles of th

    alls and depended from the ceiling like strips of rotting lacaking undulatory movements in the disturbed air. The room ha

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    wo windows in adjoining sides, but from neither could anything b

    een except the rough inner surfaces of boards a few inches fro

    e glass. There was no fireplace, no furniture; there was nothin

    esides the cobwebs and the dust, the four men were the on

    bjects there which were not a part of the structure.

    range enough they looked in the yellow light of the candle. The onho had so reluctantly alighted was especially spectacular--he mig

    ave been called sensational. He was of middle age, heavily bui

    eep-chested and broad-shouldered. Looking at his figure, on

    ould have said that he had a giant's strength; at his features, that h

    ould use it like a giant. He was clean-shaven, his hair rather close

    opped and grey. His low forehead was seamed with wrinklebove the eyes, and over the nose these became vertical. The heav

    ack brows followed the same law, saved from meeting only by a

    pward turn at what would otherwise have been the point of contac

    eeply sunken beneath these glowed in the obscure light a pair

    yes of uncertain colour, but obviously enough too small. There wa

    omething forbidding in their expression, which was not bettered b

    e cruel mouth and wide jaw. The nose was well enough, as nose

    o; one does not expect much of noses. All that was sinister in th

    an's face seemed accentuated by an unnatural pallor--h

    ppeared altogether bloodless.

    he appearance of the other men was sufficiently commonplac

    ey were such persons as one meets and forgets that he met. Aere younger than the man described, between whom and the elde

    the others, who stood apart, there was apparently no kind

    eling. They avoided looking at each other.

    entlemen,' said the man holding the candle and keys,' I believ

    verything is right. Are you ready, Mr. Rosser?'

    he man standing apart from the group bowed and smiled.

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    nd you, Mr. Grossmith?'

    he heavy man bowed and scowled.

    ou will be pleased to remove your outer clothing.'

    heir hats, coats, waistcoats and neckwear were soon removed an

    rown outside the door, in the passage. The man with the cand

    ow nodded, and the fourth man--he who had urged Grossmith t

    ave the wagon--produced from the pocket of his overcoat two lon

    urderous-looking bowie-knives, which he drew now from the

    ather scabbards.

    hey are exactly alike,' he said, presenting one to each of the tw

    incipals--for by this time the dullest observer would hav

    nderstood the nature of this meeting. It was to be a duel to th

    eath.

    ach combatant took a knife, examined it critically near the cand

    nd tested the strength of blade and handle across his lifted kne

    heir persons were then searched in turn, each by the second of th

    her.

    it is agreeable to you, Mr. Grossmith,' said the man holding th

    ht,' you will place yourself in that corner.'

    e indicated the angle of the room farthest from the door, whithe

    rossmith retired, his second parting from him with a grasp of th

    and which had nothing of cordiality in it. In the angle nearest th

    oor Mr. Rosser stationed himself, and after a whispere

    onsultation his second left him, joining the other near the door. A

    at moment the candle was suddenly extinguished, leaving all

    ofound darkness. This may have been done by the draught fro

    e opened door; whatever the cause, the effect was startling.

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    entlemen,' said a voice which sounded strangely unfamiliar in th

    tered condition affecting the relations of the senses--'gentleme

    ou will not move until you hear the closing of the outer door.'

    sound of trampling ensued, then the closing of the inner door; an

    nally the outer one closed with a concussion which shook the entiruilding.

    few minutes afterward a belated farmer's boy met a light wago

    hich was being driven furiously toward the town of Marshall. H

    eclared that behind the two figures on the front seat stood a third

    th its hands upon the bowed shoulders of the others, wh

    ppeared to struggle vainly to free themselves from its grasp. Thgure, unlike the others, was clad in white, and had undoubted

    oarded the wagon as it passed the haunted house. As the lad cou

    oast a considerable former experience with the supernatur

    ereabouts his word had the weight justly due to the testimony of a

    xpert. The story (in connection with the next day's events) eventua

    ppeared in the Advance, with some slight literary embellishmentnd a concluding intimation that the gentlemen referred to would b

    owed the use of the paper's columns for their version of the night

    dventure. But the privilege remained without a claimant.

    he events that led up to this 'duel in the dark' were simple enoug

    ne evening three young men of the town of Marshall were sitting

    quiet corner of the porch of the village hotel, smoking an

    scussing such matters as three educated young men of a Southe

    lage would naturally find interesting. Their names were Kin

    ancher and Rosser. At a little distance, within easy hearing, bu

    king no part in the conversation, sat a fourth. He was a stranger t

    e others. They merely knew that on his arrival by the stage-coac

    at afternoon he had written in the hotel register the name Roberossmith. He had not been observed to speak to an one except th

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    otel clerk. He seemed, indeed, singularly fond of his own company

    , as the personnel of the Advance expressed it, 'grossly addicte

    evil associations.' But then it should be said in justice to th

    ranger that the personnel was himself of a too convivial dispositio

    irly to judge one differently gifted, and had, moreover, experience

    slight rebuff in an effort at an 'interview.'

    hate any kind of deformity in a woman,' said King, 'whether natur

    --acquired. I have a theory that any physical defect has i

    orrelative mental and moral defect.'

    infer, then,' said Rosser gravely, 'that a lady lacking the mora

    dvantage of a nose would find the struggle to become Mrs. King aduous enterprise.'

    f course you may put it that way,' was the reply; 'but, seriously,

    nce threw over a most charming girl on learning quite accidental

    at she had suffered amputation of a toe. My conduct was brutal

    ou like, but if I had married that girl I should have been miserable fo

    e and should have made her so.'

    Whereas,' said Sancher, with a light laugh, 'by marrying a gentlema

    more liberal views she escaped with a parted throat.'

    h, you know to whom I refer. Yes, she married Manton, but I don

    now about his liberality; I'm not sure but he cut her throat becaus

    e discovered that she lacked that excellent thing in woman, th

    iddle toe of the right foot.'

    ook at that chap!' said Rosser in a low voice, his eyes fixed upo

    e stranger.

    hat chap' was obviously listening intently to the conversation.

    amn his im udence!' muttered Kin --' what ou ht we to do?'

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    hat's an easy one,' Rosser replied, rising. 'Sir,' he continued

    ddressing the stranger, 'I think it would be better if you wou

    move your chair to the other end of the veranda. The presence

    entlemen is evidently an unfamiliar situation to you.'

    he man sprang to his feet and strode forward with clenched hands face white with rage. All were now standing. Sancher steppe

    etween the belligerents.

    ou are hasty and unjust,' he said to Rosser; 'this gentleman ha

    one nothing to deserve such language.'

    ut Rosser would not withdraw a word. By the custom of the count

    nd the time there could be but one outcome to the quarrel.

    demand the satisfaction due to a gentleman,' said the strange

    ho had become more calm. 'I have not an acquaintance in th

    gion. Perhaps you, sir,' bowing to Sancher, 'will be kind enough t

    present me in this matter.'

    ancher accepted the trust--somewhat reluctantly it must b

    onfessed, for the man's appearance and manner were not at all

    s liking. King, who during the colloquy had hardly removed his eye

    om the stranger's face and had not spoken a word, consented wi

    nod to act for Rosser, and the upshot of it was that, the principa

    aving retired, a meeting was arranged for the next evening. Th

    ature of the arrangements has been already disclosed. The du

    th knives in a dark room was once a commoner feature of sout

    estern life than it is likely to be again. How thin a veneering

    hivalry' covered the essential brutality of the code under which suc

    ncounters were possible we shall see.

    the blaze of a midsummer noonday the old Manton house wa

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    ardly true to its traditions. It was of the earth, earthy. The sunshin

    aressed it warmly and affectionately, with evident disregard of it

    ad reputation. The grass greening all the expanse in its fro

    eemed to grow, not rankly, but with a natural and joyou

    xuberance, and the weeds blossomed quite like plants. Full

    harming lights and shadows and populous with pleasant-voice

    rds, the neglected shade trees no longer struggled to run away, buent reverently beneath their burden of sun and song. Even in th

    assless upper windows was an expression of peace an

    ontentment, due to the light within. Over the stony fields the visib

    eat danced with a lively tremor incompatible with the gravity whic

    an attribute of the supernatural.

    uch was the aspect under which the place presented itself to Sher

    dams and two other men who had come out from Marshall to loo

    it. One of these men was Mr. King, the sheriff's deputy; the othe

    hose name was Brewer, was a brother of the late Mrs. Manton

    nder a beneficent law of the State relating to property which ha

    een for a certain period abandoned by an owner whose residenc

    annot be ascertained, the sheriff was legal custodian of the Manto

    rm and appurtenances thereunto belonging. His present visit wa

    mere perfunctory compliance with some order of a court in whic

    r. Brewer had an action to get possession of the property as heir t

    s deceased sister. By a mere coincidence, the visit was made o

    e day after the night that Deputy King had unlocked the house fo

    nother and very different purpose. His presence now was not of hwn choosing: he had been ordered to accompany his superior, an

    the moment could think of nothing more prudent than simulate

    acrity in obedience to the command.

    arelessly opening the front door, which to his surprise was no

    cked, the sheriff was amazed to see, lying on the floor of thassage into which it opened, a confused heap of men's appare

    xamination showed it to consist of two hats, and the same numbe

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    coats, waistcoats and scarves, all in a remarkably good state o

    eservation, albeit somewhat defiled by the dust in which they la