Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 245 pages of information about Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts.

I set down the candle and made off, closing the door behind me.  The horror of it held me by the hair, but I flung it off and pelted down the lane and through the mews.  Once in the street I breathed again, pulled myself together, and set off at a rapid walk, southwards, but not clearly knowing whither.

As a matter of fact, I took the line by which I had come:  with the single difference that I made straight into Berkeley Square through Bruton Street.  I had, I say, no clear purpose in following this line rather than another.  I had none for taking Lennox Gardens on the way to my squalid lodgings in Chelsea.  I had a purpose, no doubt; but will swear it only grew definite as I came in sight of the lamp still burning beneath Gervase’s portico.

There was a figure, too, under the lamp—­the butler—­bending there and rolling up the strip of red carpet.  As he pulled its edges from the frozen snow I came on him suddenly.

“Oh, it’s you, Sir!” He stood erect, and with the air of a man infinitely relieved.

“Gervase!”

The door opened wide and there stood Elaine in her ball-gown, a-glitter with diamonds.

“Gervase, dear, where have you been?  We have been terribly anxious—­”

She said it, looking straight down on me—­on me—­who stood in my tattered clothes in the full glare of the lamp.  And then I heard the butler catch his breath, and suddenly her voice trailed off in wonder and pitiful disappointment.

“It’s not Gervase!  It’s Reg—­Mr. Travers.  I beg your pardon.  I thought—­”

But I passed up the steps and stood before her:  and said, as she drew back—­

“There has been an accident.  Gervase has shot himself.”  I turned to the butler.  “You had better run to the police station.  Stay:  take this revolver.  It won’t count anything as evidence:  but I ask you to examine it and make sure all the chambers are loaded.”

A thud in the hall interrupted me.  I ran in and knelt beside Elaine, and as I stooped to lift her—­as my hand touched her hair—­this was the jealous question on my lips—­

“What has she to do with it.  It is I who cannot do without him—­who must miss him always!”

A PAIR OF HANDS

AN OLD MAID’S GHOST-STORY

“Yes,” said Miss Le Petyt, gazing into the deep fireplace and letting her hands and her knitting lie for the moment idle in her lap.  “Oh, yes, I have seen a ghost.  In fact I have lived in a house with one for quite a long time.”

“How you could—­” began one of my host’s daughters; and “You, Aunt Emily?” cried the other at the same moment.

Miss Le Petyt, gentle soul, withdrew her eyes from the fireplace and protested with a gay little smile.  “Well, my dears, I am not quite the coward you take me for.  And, as it happens, mine was the most harmless ghost in the world.  In fact”—­and here she looked at the fire again—­ “I was quite sorry to lose her.”

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Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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