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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 150 pages of information about J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 3.

The storm was passing gradually away by this time.  The thunder was now echoing among the distant glens and gorges of Daulness Fells, and the angry roar and gusts of the tempest were subsiding into the melancholy soughing and piping that soothe like a lullaby.

Sir Bale therefore had his unpremeditated sleep very comfortably, except that his head was hanging a little uneasily; which, perhaps, helped him to this dream.

It was one of those dreams in which the continuity of the waking state that immediately preceded it seems unbroken; for he thought that he was sitting in the chair which he occupied, and in the room where he actually was.  It seemed to him that he got up, took a candle in his hand, and went through the passages to the old still-room where Philip Feltram lay.  The house seemed perfectly still.  He could hear the chirp of the crickets faintly from the distant kitchen, and the tick of the clock sounded loud and hollow along the passage.  In the old still-room, as he opened the door, was no light, except what was admitted from the candle he carried.  He found the body of poor Philip Feltram just as he had left it—­his gentle face, saddened by the touch of death, was turned upwards, with white lips:  with traces of suffering fixed in its outlines, such as caused Sir Bale, standing by the bed, to draw the coverlet over the dead man’s features, which seemed silently to upbraid him.  “Gone in weakness!” said Sir Bale, repeating the words of the “daft sir,” Hugh Creswell; as he did so, a voice whispered near him, with a great sigh, “Come in power!” He looked round, in his dream, but there was no one; the light seemed to fail, and a horror slowly overcame him, especially as he thought he saw the figure under the coverlet stealthily beginning to move.  Backing towards the door, for he could not take his eyes off it, he saw something like a huge black ape creep out at the foot of the bed; and springing at him, it griped him by the throat, so that he could not breathe; and a thousand voices were instantly round him, holloaing, cursing, laughing in his ears; and in this direful plight he waked.

Was it the ring of those voices still in his ears, or a real shriek, and another, and a long peal, shriek after shriek, swelling madly through the distant passages, that held him still, freezing in the horror of his dream?

I will tell you what this noise was.

CHAPTER XII

Marcella Bligh and Judith Wale Keep Watch

After his bottle of port with Sir Bale, the Doctor had gone down again to the room where poor Philip Feltram lay.

Mrs. Julaper had dried her eyes, and was busy by this time; and two old women were making all their arrangements for a night-watch by the body, which they had washed, and, as their phrase goes, ‘laid out’ in the humble bed where it had lain while there was still a hope that a spark sufficient to rekindle the fire of life might remain.  These old women had points of resemblance:  they were lean, sallow, and wonderfully wrinkled, and looked each malign and ugly enough for a witch.

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