“I certainly never did! What had he eaten?”
“Oh, it’s nothing like that,” Eunice spoke up; “it must be that something gave way—his heart, or lungs—”
“Never! Sanford was a sound as a dollar!”
“That’s what Dr. Harper says. They’re—they’re going to have an autopsy.”
“Of course. We’d never be satisfied without that. They’ll find the cause that way, of course. Dear Eunice, I’m so sorry for you.”
“It’s awful for Eunice,” said Aunt Abby “the excitement and the mystery—oh, Alvord, do let me tell you what I saw!”
“What?” he asked, with interest.
“Why, it was almost dawn—just beginning to be daylight, and, you know—Dr. Harper says Sanford died about daybreak—he thinks—and I was sort of between asleep and awake—don’t you know how you are like that sometimes—”
“And I saw—”
“Aunt Abby, if you’re going to tell that yarn over again, I’ll go away! I can’t stand it!”
“Go on, Eunice,” and Aunt Abby spoke gently. “I wish you would go to your room and lie down for awhile. Even if you don’t want to, it will rest your nerves.”
To her surprise, Eunice rose and without a word went to her own room.
Aunt Abby sent Maggie to look after her, and resumed her story.
“I’m going to tell you, Alvord, for I must tell somebody, and Eunice won’t listen, and Mason is busy telephoning—he’s been at it all day—off and on—”
“Fire away, Aunt Abby, dear,” Hendricks said. He had small desire to hear her meandering tales, but he felt sorry for the pathetic face she showed and listened out of sheer charity.
“Yes, it was near dawn, and I was sort of dozing but yet, awake, too—and I heard a step—no, not a step, just a sort of gliding footfall, like a person shufing in slippers.
“And then, I saw a vague shadowy shape—like Sanford’s—and it passed slowly through the room—not stepping, more like floating —and it stopped right at my bedside, and leaned over me—”
“You saw this!”
“Well, it was so dark, I can’t say I saw it—but I was—I don’t know how to describe it—I was conscious of its presence, that’s all!”
“And you think it was Sanford’s ghost?”
“Don’t put it that way, Al. It was Sanford’s spirit, leaving the earth, and bidding me good-by as it wafted past.”
“Why didn’t he bid his wife good-by?” Hendricks was blunt, but he deemed it best to speak thus, rather than to encourage the ghost talk.
“He probably tried to, but Eunice must have been asleep. I don’t know as to that—but, you know, Alvord, it is not an uncommon thing for such experiences to happen—why, there are thousands of authenticated cases—”
“Your scorn doesn’t alter the truth. I saw him, I tell you, and it was not a dream, or my imagination. I really saw him, though dimly.”