The Canterville Ghost eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 43 pages of information about The Canterville Ghost.

IV

[Illustration:  “He met with A severe fall”]

The next day the ghost was very weak and tired.  The terrible excitement of the last four weeks was beginning to have its effect.  His nerves were completely shattered, and he started at the slightest noise.  For five days he kept his room, and at last made up his mind to give up the point of the blood-stain on the library floor.  If the Otis family did not want it, they clearly did not deserve it.  They were evidently people on a low, material plane of existence, and quite incapable of appreciating the symbolic value of sensuous phenomena.  The question of phantasmic apparitions, and the development of astral bodies, was of course quite a different matter, and really not under his control.  It was his solemn duty to appear in the corridor once a week, and to gibber from the large oriel window on the first and third Wednesdays in every month, and he did not see how he could honourably escape from his obligations.  It is quite true that his life had been very evil, but, upon the other hand, he was most conscientious in all things connected with the supernatural.  For the next three Saturdays, accordingly, he traversed the corridor as usual between midnight and three o’clock, taking every possible precaution against being either heard or seen.  He removed his boots, trod as lightly as possible on the old worm-eaten boards, wore a large black velvet cloak, and was careful to use the Rising Sun Lubricator for oiling his chains.  I am bound to acknowledge that it was with a good deal of difficulty that he brought himself to adopt this last mode of protection.  However, one night, while the family were at dinner, he slipped into Mr. Otis’s bedroom and carried off the bottle.  He felt a little humiliated at first, but afterwards was sensible enough to see that there was a great deal to be said for the invention, and, to a certain degree, it served his purpose.  Still in spite of everything he was not left unmolested.  Strings were continually being stretched across the corridor, over which he tripped in the dark, and on one occasion, while dressed for the part of “Black Isaac, or the Huntsman of Hogley Woods,” he met with a severe fall, through treading on a butter-slide, which the twins had constructed from the entrance of the Tapestry Chamber to the top of the oak staircase.  This last insult so enraged him, that he resolved to make one final effort to assert his dignity and social position, and determined to visit the insolent young Etonians the next night in his celebrated character of “Reckless Rupert, or the Headless Earl.”

[Illustration:  “A heavy jug of water fell right down on him.”]

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The Canterville Ghost from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.