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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Famous Modern Ghost Stories.

And next day I had a curious confirmation of my theory.  Once more I was lying under my favorite apple-tree, half reading and half watching the Sound, lulled into a dream by the whir of insects and the spices called up from the earth by the hot sun.  As I bent over the page, I suddenly had the startling impression that someone was leaning over my shoulder and reading with me, and that a girl’s long hair was falling over me down on to the page.  The book was the Ronsard I had found in the little bedroom.  I turned, but again there was nothing there.  Yet this time I knew that I had not been dreaming, and I cried out: 

“Poor child! tell me of your grief—­that I may help your sorrowing heart to rest.”

But, of course, there was no answer; yet that night I dreamed a strange dream.  I thought I was in the orchard again in the afternoon and once again heard the strange singing—­but this time, as I looked up, the singer was no longer invisible.  Coming toward me was a young girl with wonderful blue eyes filled with tears and gold hair that fell to her waist.  She wore a straight, white robe that might have been a shroud or a bridal dress.  She appeared not to see me, though she came directly to the tree where I was sitting.  And there she knelt and buried her face in the grass and sobbed as if her heart would break.  Her long hair fell over her like a mantle, and in my dream I stroked it pityingly and murmured words of comfort for a sorrow I did not understand....  Then I woke suddenly as one does from dreams.  The moon was shining brightly into the room.  Rising from my bed, I looked out into the orchard.  It was almost as bright as day.  I could plainly see the tree of which I had been dreaming, and then a fantastic notion possessed me.  Slipping on my clothes, I went out into one of the old barns and found a spade.  Then I went to the tree where I had seen the girl weeping in my dream and dug down at its foot.

I had dug little more than a foot when my spade struck upon some hard substance, and in a few more moments I had uncovered and exhumed a small box, which, on examination, proved to be one of those pretty old-fashioned Chippendale work-boxes used by our grandmothers to keep their thimbles and needles in, their reels of cotton and skeins of silk.  After smoothing down the little grave in which I had found it, I carried the box into the house, and under the lamplight examined its contents.

Then at once I understood why that sad young spirit went to and fro the orchard singing those little French songs—­for the treasure-trove I had found under the apple-tree, the buried treasure of an unquiet, suffering soul, proved to be a number of love-letters written mostly in French in a very picturesque hand—­letters, too, written but some five or six years before.  Perhaps I should not have read them—­yet I read them with such reverence for the beautiful, impassioned love that animated them, and literally made them “smell sweet and blossom in the dust,” that I felt I had the sanction of the dead to make myself the confidant of their story.  Among the letters were little songs, two of which I had heard the strange young voice singing in the orchard, and, of course, there were many withered flowers and such like remembrances of bygone rapture.

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