Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 6/A dreadful ghost


Page:Once a Week Dec 1861 to June 1862.pdf/221 Page:Once a Week Dec 1861 to June 1862.pdf/222 Page:Once a Week Dec 1861 to June 1862.pdf/223 Page:Once a Week Dec 1861 to June 1862.pdf/224 if trying to make believe I saw nothing there; but it was in vain.

For the Figure advanced noiselessly, with that air of irresistibly charming, dignified courtesy of the old school, for which, everybody said, the Doctor had been so remarkable. 1t extended its hand—a hand which a year ago I would have travelled five hundred miles to grasp. Now, I shrank from it—I loathed it.

In vain. It came nearer. It touched mine with a soft, cold, unearthly touch. I could endure no longer. I shrieked out; and my wife woke me from what was, thank Heaven, only a dream. *****

"Yes, it was indeed a Dreadful Ghost," said that excellent woman, when she had heard my whole story, and we had again composed ourselves as sole occupants of the railway carriage which was conveying us through the dead of night to visit that identical family whom I had been dreaming about—whom, as stated, we had never seen.

"Let us be thankful, Charles, that it was a mere fantasy of your over-excited imagination—that the dear old Doctor sleeps peacefully in his quiet grave; and that his affectionate family have never summoned him, soul or body, to sit of nights by their uncanny fire-side, as you so horribly describe. What a blessing that such things cannot be."

"Ay," replied I—"though,_as Imlac says in 'Rasselas,' 'that the dead cannot return, I will not undertake to prove;' still, I think it in the highest degree improbable. Their work here is done; they are translated to a higher sphere of being; they may still see us, love us, watch over us; but they belong to us no more. Mary, when I leave you, remember I don't wish ever to he brought back again; to come rapping on tables and knocking about chairs; delivering ridiculous messages to deluded inquirers, and altogether comporting myself in a manner that proves, great fool as I may have been in the body, I must be a still greater fool out of in."

"And, Charles," said the little woman, creeping up to me with tears in her eyes, "if I must lose you—dearly as I love you—l would rather bury you under the daisies and in my heart; bury you, and never see you again till we meet in the world to come, than I would have you revisiting your old fire-side after the fashion of this Dreadful Ghost."