mis’sion, what one is sent to do.
in’ter vals, spaces of time.
thrill, feeling, as of pain or pleasure.
af fect’ing, making a show of.
a pol’o gize, express sorrow for an act.
ret ri bu’tion, paying back for one’s acts; punishment.
* * * * *
We staid up till late, and then I was left, at my own door by my friends, who informed me that York was a very quiet, safe place, where people slept with unlocked doors, and nothing ever went amiss o’ nights.
I said nothing of ghosts, being ashamed to own that I quaked, a little at the idea of the “back bed-room,” as I shut out the friendly faces and fastened myself in.
A lamp and matches stood in the hall, and lighting the lamp, I whisked up stairs with suspicious rapidity, locking my door, and went to bed, firmly refusing to own even to myself that I had ever heard the name of Bezee Tucker.
Being very tired, I soon fell asleep; but fried potatoes and a dozen or two of hot clams are not kinds of food best fitted to bring quiet sleep, so a fit of nightmare brought me to a realizing sense of my foolishness.
From a chaos of wild dreams was finally brought forth a gigantic clam, whose mission it was to devour me as I had devoured its relatives. The sharp shells were open before me, and a solemn voice said, “Take her by her little head and eat her quick.”
Retribution was at hand, and, with a despairing effort to escape by diving, I bumped my head smartly against the wall, and woke up feeling as if there was an earthquake under the bed.
Collecting my scattered wits, I tried to go to sleep again; but alas! that fatal feast had destroyed sleep, and I vainly tried to quiet my wakeful senses with the rustle of leaves about the window and the breaking waves upon the beach.
In one of the pauses between the sounds of the waves, I heard a curious noise in the house—a sort of moan, coming at regular intervals.
And, as I sat up to make out where it was, another sound caught my attentive ear. Drip, drip, drip, went something out in the hall, and in an instant the tale told me on Sunset Hill came back with unpleasant reality.
“Nonsense! It is raining, and the roof leaks,” I said to myself, while an unpleasant thrill went through me, and fancy, aided by indigestion, began to people the house with ghostly inmates.
No rain had fallen for weeks, and peeping through my curtain, I saw the big, bright stars shining in a cloudless sky; so that explanation failed, and still the drip, drip, drip went on.
Likewise the moaning—so distinctly now that it was clear that the little back bed-room was next the chamber in which I was quaking at that very moment.