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In the Wrong Paradise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about In the Wrong Paradise.

“That’s just what I was arriving at,” replied the narrator, “when I was interrupted with as little ceremony as if I had been Mr. Gladstone in the middle of a most important speech.  I was going to say that, in the Easter Vacation after my visit to the castle, I went over to Paris with a friend, a fellow of my college.  We drove to the Hotel d’Alsace (I believe there is no hotel of that name; if there is, I beg the spirited proprietor’s pardon, and assure him that nothing personal is intended).  We marched upstairs with our bags and baggage, and jolly high stairs they were.  When we had removed the soil of travel from our persons, my friend called out to me, ‘I say, Jones, why shouldn’t we go down by the lift.’ {256} ‘All right,’ said I, and my friend walked to the door of the mechanical apparatus, opened it, and got in.  I followed him, when the porter whose business it is to ‘personally conduct’ the inmates of the hotel, entered also, and was closing the door.

“His eyes met mine, and I knew him in a moment.  I had seen him once before.  His sallow face, black, closely shaven chin, furtive glance, and military bearing, were the face and the glance and bearing of the driver of that awful hearse!

“In a moment—­more swiftly than I can tell you—­I pushed past the man, threw open the door, and just managed, by a violent effort, to drag my friend on to the landing.  Then the lift rose with a sudden impulse, fell again, and rushed, with frightful velocity, to the basement of the hotel, whence we heard an appalling crash, followed by groans.  We rushed downstairs, and the horrible spectacle of destruction that met our eyes I shall never forget.  The unhappy porter was expiring in agony; but the warning had saved my life and my friend’s.”

I was that friend,” said I—­the collector of these anecdotes; “and so far I can testify to the truth of Jones’s story.”

At this moment, however, the gong for dressing sounded, and we went to our several apartments, after this emotional specimen of “Evenings at Home.”

IN CASTLE PERILOUS.

“What we suffer from most,” said the spectre, when I had partly recovered from my fright, “is a kind of aphasia.”

The spectre was sitting on the armchair beside my bed in the haunted room of Castle Perilous.

“I don’t know,” said I, as distinctly as the chattering of my teeth would permit, “that I quite follow you.  Would you mind—­excuse me—­handing me that flask which lies on the table near you. . . .  Thanks.”

The spectre, without stirring, so arranged the a priori sensuous schemata of time and space {261} that the silver flask, which had been well out of my reach, was in my hand.  I poured half the contents into a cup and offered it to him.

“No spirits,” he said curtly.

I swallowed eagerly the heady liquor, and felt a little more like myself.

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