J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 3.

“That was your great-grandmother, my dear,” said Mrs. Julaper, lowering her eyes.  “It was a dreadful pity it was spoiled.  The boys in the pantry had it for a year there on the table for a tray, to wash the glasses on and the like.  It was a shame; that was the prettiest picture in the house, with the gentlest, rosiest face.”

“It ain’t so gentle or rosy now, I can tell you,” said Philip.  “As fixed as marble; with thin lips, and a curve at the nostril.  Do you remember the woman that was found dead in the clough, when I was a boy, that the gipsies murdered, it was thought,—­a cruel-looking woman?”

“Agoy!  Master Philip, dear! ye would not name that terrible-looking creature with the pretty, fresh, kindly face!”

“Faces change, you see; no matter what she’s like; it’s her talk that frightens me.  She wants to make use of me; and, you see, it is like getting a share in my mind, and a voice in my thoughts, and a command over me gradually; and it is just one idea, as straight as a line of light across the lake—­see what she’s come to.  O Lord, help me!”

“Well, now, don’t you be talkin’ like that.  It is just a little bit dowly and troubled, because the master says a wry word now and then; and so ye let your spirits go down, don’t ye see, and all sorts o’ fancies comes into your head.”

“There’s no fancy in my head,” he said with a quick look of suspicion; “only you asked me what I dreamed.  I don’t care if all the world knew.  I dreamed I went down a flight of steps under the lake, and got a message.  There are no steps near Snakes Island, we all know that,” and he laughed chillily.  “I’m out of spirits, as you say; and—­and—­O dear!  I wish—­Mrs. Julaper—­I wish I was in my coffin, and quiet.”

“Now that’s very wrong of you, Master Philip; you should think of all the blessings you have, and not be makin’ mountains o’ molehills; and those little bits o’ temper Sir Bale shows, why, no one minds ’em—­that is, to take ’em to heart like you do, don’t ye see?”

“I daresay; I suppose, Mrs. Julaper, you are right.  I’m unreasonable often, I know,” said gentle Philip Feltram.  “I daresay I make too much of it; I’ll try.  I’m his secretary, and I know I’m not so bright as he is, and it is natural he should sometimes be a little impatient; I ought to be more reasonable, I’m sure.  It is all that thing that has been disturbing me—­I mean fretting, and, I think, I’m not quite well; and—­and letting myself think too much of vexations.  It’s my own fault, I’m sure, Mrs. Julaper; and I know I’m to blame.”

“That’s quite right, that’s spoken like a wise lad; only I don’t say you’re to blame, nor no one; for folk can’t help frettin’ sometimes, no more than they can help a headache—­none but a mafflin would say that—­and I’ll not deny but he has dowly ways when the fit’s on him, and he frumps us all round, if such be his humour.  But who is there hasn’t his faults?  We must bear and forbear, and take what we get and be cheerful.  So chirp up, my lad; Philip, didn’t I often ring the a’d rhyme in your ear long ago?

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J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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