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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 179 pages of information about Can Such Things Be?.

As my dazed faculties cleared I observed that the body was in evening dress; the overcoat thrown wide open revealed the dress-coat, the white tie, the broad expanse of shirt front pierced by the sword.  And—­horrible revelation!—­the face, except for its pallor, was that of my companion!  It was to the minutest detail of dress and feature Dr. Dorrimore himself.  Bewildered and horrified, I turned to look for the living man.  He was nowhere visible, and with an added terror I retired from the place, down the hill in the direction whence I had come.  I had taken but a few strides when a strong grasp upon my shoulder arrested me.  I came near crying out with terror:  the dead man, the sword still fixed in his breast, stood beside me!  Pulling out the sword with his disengaged hand, he flung it from him, the moonlight glinting upon the jewels of its hilt and the unsullied steel of its blade.  It fell with a clang upon the sidewalk ahead and—­vanished!  The man, swarthy as before, relaxed his grasp upon my shoulder and looked at me with the same cynical regard that I had observed on first meeting him.  The dead have not that look—­it partly restored me, and turning my head backward, I saw the smooth white expanse of sidewalk, unbroken from street to street.

“What is all this nonsense, you devil?” I demanded, fiercely enough, though weak and trembling in every limb.

“It is what some are pleased to call jugglery,” he answered, with a light, hard laugh.

He turned down Dupont street and I saw him no more until we met in the Auburn ravine.

III

On the day after my second meeting with Dr. Dorrimore I did not see him:  the clerk in the Putnam House explained that a slight illness confined him to his rooms.  That afternoon at the railway station I was surprised and made happy by the unexpected arrival of Miss Margaret Corray and her mother, from Oakland.

This is not a love story.  I am no storyteller, and love as it is cannot be portrayed in a literature dominated and enthralled by the debasing tyranny which “sentences letters” in the name of the Young Girl.  Under the Young Girl’s blighting reign—­or rather under the rule of those false Ministers of the Censure who have appointed themselves to the custody of her welfare—­love

veils her sacred fires, And, unaware, Morality expires,

famished upon the sifted meal and distilled water of a prudish purveyance.

Let it suffice that Miss Corray and I were engaged in marriage.  She and her mother went to the hotel at which I lived, and for two weeks I saw her daily.  That I was happy needs hardly be said; the only bar to my perfect enjoyment of those golden days was the presence of Dr. Dorrimore, whom I had felt compelled to introduce to the ladies.

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