“Yes, drunk; as drunk as a beast.”
“Well, Mrs. Mudge,” hiccoughed her husband, in what he endeavored to make a dignified tone, “you’d be drunk too if you’d seen what I’ve seen.”
“And what have you seen, I should like to know?” said Mrs. Mudge.
Mudge rose with some difficulty, steadied himself on his feet, and approaching his wife, whispered in a tragic tone, “Mrs. Mudge, I’ve seen a sperrit.”
“It’s plain enough that you’ve seen spirit,” retorted his wife. “’Tisn’t many nights that you don’t, for that matter. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Mudge.”
“It isn’t that,” said her husband, shaking his hand, “it’s a sperrit,—a ghost, that I’ve seen.”
“Indeed!” said Mrs. Mudge, sarcastically, “perhaps you can tell whose it is.”
“It was the sperrit of Sally Baker,” said Mudge, solemnly.
“What did she say?” demanded Mrs. Mudge, a little curiously.
“She said that I—that we, half starved her, and then she started to run after me—and—oh, Lordy, there she is now!”
Mudge jumped trembling to his feet. Following the direction of his outstretched finger, Mrs. Mudge caught a glimpse of a white figure just before the window. I need hardly say that it was Ben, who had just arrived upon the scene.
Mrs. Mudge was at first stupefied by what she saw, but being a woman of courage she speedily recovered herself, and seizing the broom from behind the door, darted out in search of the “spirit.” But Ben, perceiving that he was discovered, had disappeared, and there was nothing to be seen.
“Didn’t I tell you so?” muttered Mudge, as his wife re-entered, baffled in her attempt, “you’ll believe it’s a sperrit, now.”
“Go to bed, you fool!” retorted his wife.
This was all that passed between Mr. and Mrs. Mudge on the subject. Mr. Mudge firmly believes, to this day, that the figure which appeared to him was the spirit of Sally Baker.
How Ben got home.
Delighted with the complete success of his practical joke, Ben took his way homeward with the sheet under his arm. By the time he reached his father’s house it was ten o’clock. The question for Ben to consider now was, how to get in. If his father had not fastened the front door he might steal in, and slip up stairs on tiptoe without being heard. This would be the easiest way of overcoming the difficulty, and Ben, perceiving that the light was still burning in the sitting-room, had some hopes that he would be able to adopt it. But while he was only a couple of rods distant he saw the lamp taken up by his father, who appeared to be moving from the room.
“He’s going to lock the front door,” thought Ben, in disappointment; “if I had only got along five minutes sooner.”
From his post outside he heard the key turn in the lock.