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Hall, impelled thither by a fascina- last the midnight hour struck, and, tion which was quite irresistible. arming ourselves each with a cue in I gazed at all the pictures, ex- one hand and a candle in the other, amined all the panelling, ascended we marched defiantly towards the the massive staircase, which never- Great Hall. theless creaked even with my The first thing I saw was my light weight, and became fami- friend the warrior whom I had left liar with every object which a with his head under his arm, glarheated imagination could possibly ing at me with his black, ghastly turn into a ghost. Gaunt figures in cavern of a mouth and hollow eyearmour, with a dim light upon them, sockets; but, to my horror and disare especially ghost-like and super- may, his head was back again upon natural. The bars of their visors his shoulders. As none of the seralways look like long teeth, and vants would have ventured into the they make a nasty rattle when you Hall since the comparatively late touch them, extremely disagreeable hour that I had last visited it, I was in the dark. I determined that I driven to the unpleasant conclusion should allow my mind to rest on that this mailed knight had either none of these things when I came put on his own head, or had got an at night with Olga. Indeed, I tried equally unearthly friend to put it to take one warrior to pieces, on on for him. I felt my courage alpurpose to feel on intimate terms ready giving way, so I laughed and with him, and succeeded so far that talked boisterously, and rapped his I got his helmet off, and could not helmet soundly with my cue, as I get it on again; so, as a piece of told the story in a loud tone to bravado, I put it under his arm, Olga. She was at the other end and made him look more ghastly of the room, tapping the panelling than ever. Then I went back to with her cue, as she laughingly said, the drawing-room, and by the time loud enough to drown the sound of ten o'clock struck I had worked the ghost's drum. We seemed both myself up into such a recklessly de- penetrated with the conviction that fiant mood, that I felt almost in- our only chance of safety lay in toxicated with excitement. Olga making as much noise as possible, caught the infection. We could so I began to tap the panels on my scarcely restrain our impatience till side of the room also. At that mothe moment came to dismiss the ment, the most piercing scream I servants : then we jumped up and ever heard issue from mortal throat waltzed round the room, a sort of burst from Olga; her candle dropped war-dance of triumph and defiance with a crash, and before I could Then we lighted every candle, and look round she tore wildly past me, went into the billiard-room and screaming, “Fly! fly! save yourlighted it up too, careless of what self !” I needed no further admothe servants would suppose,-laugh- nition. Never turning my head, I ing, indeed, at the terror whicb the rushed after her to the passage unusual illumination would inspire, leading to the drawing-room, my and which would certainly be at candle also going out, and in we tributed to a posse of debauched both burst to the brilliantly lighted ghosts; then we played a noisy room, pale, panting, and exhausted. game of billiards,—all which, be it Our first care was to double-lock remembered, was merely a form of the doer by which we had just enDutch courage. We were both by tered; and as, in order to regain this time in our secret souls exces- our bedrooms, it was necessary to sively terrified. Both would will traverse the glass passage, now dark, ingly have danced off to bed instead we rested for a minute while I of round the billiard-table ; but our lighted my candle, and Olga took honour was at stake, and we kept another out of the candelabra. up appearances magnificently. At This gave me time to think that a retreat to the cottage, after all my It was now nearly two o'clock, but resolutions, without even knowing as I had quite made up my mind what had happened, would be igno- not to go to bed without one more minious, so I implored Olga to sit attempt at unravelling the mystery, down and calm herself, and give I determined first quietly to go over me some reason for her extravagant in my mind the events which had alarm. I had taken the precaution occurred up to this point, hoping to provide sundry restoratives in that somehow I might hit upon the case of our needing them, and in a clue. As I did so, it flashed across few moments she had comparatively me that upon the occasion of my regained her tranquillity. All she first visit I heard the sighs when could say was, that as she was tap- I was standing on the side of the ping the panel on which was painted room near the picture of the Sclathe Sclavonian warrior, the cue vonian warrior, and that as I leant was suddenly drawn out of her my back against it they seemed hand by some invisible influence. nearer and louder. This then might She had not let it drop, nor had be the haunted spot, if any one she brought it back with her. There place in this “ possessed” old buildwas no denying the fact; the cue ing was more haunted than another, had vanished—but how, remained for exactly here it was that Olga had a mystery. When she felt it being lost hercue. It was a sort of comfort pulled from her hand she screamed, getting some definite locality to fix dropped the light, turned and fled, upon forinvestigation, and a comfort and she could give me no further to have a distinct reason for revisitinformation upon the subject. ing the Hall-my distinct reason Meantime we sat and listened. Not being that I wanted to see whether a sound could we hear except the the cue was lying upon the floor, murmur of the wind and the rust- or had really, as Olga maintained, ling of the pine branches which been spirited away altogether. My overhung the window. Feeling that curiosity on this point was so great this silence would unnerve us, and that I firmly resisted all her endeareluctant to yield to Olga's en vours to dissuade me from going treaties to go to the cottage, I pro- back. I finally promised, however, posed that we should return to the that we should only go as far as billiard-room, lock both the doors, the Hall door, this time on tiptoe; and play a game of billiards. A that we should open it gently and ghost would scarcely be bold enough look in, and be satisfied, if we saw to enter a room in which there were the cue lying on the floor, to leave fifteen candles burning; and if the it there without venturing further; sounds were as loud as usual, we if not, to rest content with our exwould sit there and listen to them periences for the night, and put off safely. After some hesitation, my our investigations as to what had companion consented to this ar- become of the cue to some future rangement, and we went through occasion. This being decided upon, the form of knocking the balls we once more screwed up our courabout, without, however, being able age to the sticking point, and reto get rid for an instant of the one turned to the drawing-room, where thought uppermost in both our everything was still lighted, and minds. Every now and then, by stayed for a moment to listen. To mutual consent, we stopped and my dismay and regret, for I saw listened, but not a sound was audi- my companion's resolution would ble. I was on the point of propos- fail her, we distinctly heard a sort ing another visit to the Hall, when of shuffling sound, as of some one the bang of a distant door checked crossing the Hall in slippers. At the words as they rose to my lips, this time I felt such intense anxiety and made us both start and trem- to know wbat had become of the cue ble. Then again profound stillness. that I was resolved to go on alone if Olga would not come with me; had evidently just been occupied, and when I saw her sink back al for the clothes were all tumbled, a most fainting into a chair, I felt it pair of jack-boots probably just would be cruel of me to urge her pulled off, and a half-eaten loaf of further. Indeed, at the moment bread, were sights infinitely more she was so frightened that she was alarming. I felt that the occupant unable even to go back to the cot of the mysterious chamber must be tage, much less to the Hall. I there- the sort of person who would murfore crept cautiously on by myself, der me if he caught me ; and my and, before opening the door into tell-tale face as I rushed through the Hall, leant my ear against it and the drawing-room required no exlistened. All silent. I put my planation. Olga was sufficiently hand gently on the old-fashioned recovered to fly after me, and once latch, which, fortunately, I could more, breathless and exhausted, we turn without noise, and pushed the reached my bedroom. Here I exdoor softly open. The Sclavonian plained to my sister-in-law what I warrior hung on the wall to the had seen, and we spent the remainleft as I entered, and as the door ing hours till daylight in accounting also opened back into the Hall on for the ghostly sounds, and in vague the same side, I found I should be conjectures as to the identity of obliged either to fling it well back the individual who produced them. or advance into the room in order The servants were somewhat astoto have a view of the floor at the nished not only to find us up at foot of the picture, where I expect the earliest hour in the morning, ed to find the cue lying. I should but to receive an order to send remark that, on passing through the the white-headed steward to us. drawing-room, it occurred to me to Meantime Mrs Phillips had been take, instead of a candle, a reading made acquainted with our dislamp with a very strong reflector, covery, which she communicated which, though somewhat heavy, in a tongue of her own invention could be made to throw a bright light. to the rest of the household, so Before pushing the door wide open that when the steward came we I gave my lamp an extra twist; then, were followed by the whole estabwith every fibre strung, I took one lishment to the Great Hall. To my bold step into the room, and turned astonishment another change had the lamp full on the left-hand wall. taken place since my last visit. What I then saw fairly rooted me to The Sclavonian warrior was no the spot with amazement and dis- longer there, it is true, but no more may. The Sclavonian warrior had were the bed, or the table, or the utterly vanished, and in his room, or chair, or the big boots, or the loaf I should rather say in a room, there of bread, or the sword. Everyappeared a bed, a table with a loaf thing had disappeared except the of bread upon it, a chair, a pair of room, and into that we entered. jack-boots, and a sword hanging It was built into the solid wall, here above them. For an instant I felt nine feet thick. The panel occudizzy with bewilderment, then pied by the warrior had been five turned and fled. I was more thor- feet by seven, and this was the oughly frightened than if a legion size of the entrance to the room. of drumming ghosts had marched The dimensions of it were as folinto the Hall. The dénouement was lows : - eight feet in breadth, so utterly unexpected, so terribly twelve feet in length, seven in real, so exactly the reverse of super- height -- the floor was one foot natural, that the very contrast was higher than that of the hall. It a shock. Spectral figures in white was now quite empty, though the robes, or even the Sclavonian stains of liquid spilt on the floor warrior beating his own drum, I showed it to have been recently occould have borne ; but a bed which cupied. After some difficulty we succeeded in drawing out the sis is that some political refugee panel, which slided noiselessly had made it his abode, preferring along its grove, and the warrior it to Siberia, or something still gradually emerged once more to more summary. Whoever he was, the light of day. We examined he had enjoyed free lodging for the edge of it carefully, and did twenty years, as during all that penot close it completely for fear of riod the castle had been haunted. not understanding the trick of the Judging by the specimen I saw of spring. When we discovered the it, his fare had been of the simplest right spot to touch outside the description ; indeed, not the least panel, we found it acted almost difficult part of the problem is how like a hair-trigger. It was in the he managed to get supplied with crevice of a rock, against which provisions at all. Nor is it easy the warrior was leaning. The ef- to explain why he left the panel fect of a very gentle pressure here open for us to discover his room, made the panel roll softly back of unless we suppose that he did not its own accord about an inch. As give us credit for sufficient courage the carving of the panel projected, to revisit the hall after he bad this opening was generally in taken Olga's cue. Again, he must shade, so that it might very well have seen me standing in the hall, be a little open without being vis- or he could not have known that I ible. There was no difficulty, sup- had found out his secret, and have posing I had been leaning within a decided on utterly abandoning his foot of this apartment, in account home for ever and taking all his ing for the sighs which the occu- property with him. Where he pant had probably resorted to as took his table and his chair and his the easiest mode of frightening me bed to is another mystery that will away, before he began to beat his never be solved, more especially as drum. In the same way the point the old steward is dead, wbo, as I of Olga's cue must have slipped have already said, I have always into this opening, and been dexter- felt firmly convinced could have ously snatched out of her hand thrown some light on the subject. We never saw the cue again. The I need scarcely say that no sounds unfortunate part of it all is “that have ever been heard in the castle here my story ends." Who the since that eventful night. Some of man who lived in this room was, the trees have been cut down, and why he lived there, whether more some of the bedrooms are refurthan one lived there, are all ques- nished, and made habitable and tions which we went on asking cheerful. The recess itself always until we gave it up in despair. I stands open, and contains a whistused often to suspect that the old table; but the Sclavonian warrior steward knew something about it; often sees the light, for the story is but he pretended to be as much still often told, and without him it surprised as any of us at the dis would be a ghost story with the covery. The most likely hypothe- ghost left out.
CORNELIUS O'DOWD UPON MEN AND WOMEN, AND OTHER THINGS
When John Girder declared that take up a census return, you'll alwhatever “ was perfectly uneatable ways find that the place they select might be given to the poor," he will have an overwhelming proporenunciated the grand maxim of Sci- tion of the female population. entific Congresses; these wonderful In this way they are like the meetings of world-famed men being monks of old, who had an aptitude very little else than grand gather for a neat locality that has never ings for the disposal of rejected been surpassed. If you place a articles. What the originators of civil engineer on the top of a mounsuch societies intended, what they tain, he'll tell you very soon where meant or hoped for when they in there will be water, and generally stituted them, is clear and clean be too what direction the streams will yond me. I never met yet the man run in ; and I'd back a Scientific who owned he had gleaned anything Congressite to hit off the spot where from their lucubrations. I never rooms full of green-veiled goddesses saw the woman who did not come will be found, and where the away more conceited and self-op- dreariest old chemists and archæoloinionated from having frequented gists will be fondled and fêted and them. First of all, they are not con- pampered for ten days or a fortgresses at all, for the discussional night, as if they were Phaethons or element in them is at the very low- Apollos. est. When I have read my paper This is the real secret of the whole on the “Prismatic formation obser- thing; it is what the Cockneys call vable in maiden ladies of advanced an out “outing.” Mineralogy and years," another opens with a “Re- comparative anatomy are dead beat markable phosphorescence in the with a hard lecturing season. They eyes of sanguineous gentlemen, when are not creatures who can take their they discuss the poor-rates;” but no- holiday at Homburg and Wiesbadbody disputes, nobody inquires into, en. The musty odour of their daily nobody investigates these. A timid pursuits does not over-well fit them naturalist at the end of the room for general society; and, besides, will perhaps hint that something they have an eye to profit. They or other in his own experience has cherish the thought of all the little not corroborated the learned gen- thoughtful attentions and politetleman's most interesting paper; nesses they are certain to meet in the but the President comes down at provinces. They have only to deonce with his vote of thanks, and termine, then, the interesting scene there's a great clapping of hands of their labours, and all the rest“ will and scraping of feet, and they all be added to them.” Let them rerise and go off to tea, “dreary com- ceive ever so little, they are sure to panions, every one !”
give less. “The paper" they read The only bit of real cleverness I has either been returned scores of have ever detected in these “ scien- times by some quarterly or monthtific” swells, is the choice of the ly, or it is a dexterous synopsis of place they meet in. I have not something they have done at more tested the fact by experiment, and length elsewhere. Whenever it is therefore I am ready to offer an original, take your oath on it it is honest wager on it, that if you'll utterly worthless. The coins the