“Mercy me!” exclaimed Aunt Abby; “maybe he won’t—but I don’t like boys prowling among my things!” and she scurried after him.
She found him in her room, and rather gruffly said, “What are you up to, boy?”
“Snuff, ma’am,” he replied, with a comical wink, which ought to have shocked the old lady, but which, somehow, had a contrary effect.
“Do you like candy?” she asked—unnecessarily, she knew—and offered him a box from a drawer.
Fibsy felt that a verbal answer was not called for, and, helping himself, proceeded to munch the sweets, contentedly and continuously.
“Say,” he burst out, after a thoughtful study of the room, “where was that there dropper thing found, anyhow?”
“In this medicine chest—”
“Naw; I mean where’d the girl find it?—the housework girl.”
“You seem to know a lot about the matter!”
“Sure I do. Where’d you say?”
“Right here,” and Aunt Abby pointed to a place on the rug near the head of her bed. It was a narrow bed, which had been brought there for her during her stay.
“Huh! Now you could’a dropped it there?”
“I know,” and Aunt Abby whispered, “Nobody’ll believe me, but I know!”
“You do! Say, you’re some wiz! Spill it to me, there’s a dear!”
Fibsy was, in his way, a psychologist, and he knew by instinct that this old lady would like him better if he retained his ignorant, untutored ways, than if he used the more polished speech, which he had painstakingly acquired for other kinds of occasions.
“I wonder if you’d understand. For a boy, you’re a bright one—”
“Oh, yes, ma’am. I am! They don’t make ’em no brighter ’n me! Try me, do, Miss Ames! I’m right there with the goods.”
“Well, child, it’s this: I saw a—a vision—”
“Yes’m, I know—I mean I know what visions are, they’re fine, too!” He fairly smacked his lips in gusto, and it encouraged Aunt Abby to proceed.
“Yes, and it was the ghost of—who do you suppose it was?”
“Your grandmother, ma’am?” The boy’s attitude was eagerly attentive and his freckled little face was drawn in a desperate interest.
“No!” Aunt Abby drew closer and just breathed the words, “Mr. Embury!”
“Oh!” Fibsy was really startled, and his eyes opened wide, as he urged, “Go on, ma’am!”
“Yes. Well, it was just at the moment that Mr. Embury was—that he died—you know.”
“Yes’m, they always comes then, ma’am!”
“I know it, and oh, child, this is a true story!”
“Oh, yes, ma’am—I know it is!”
Indeed one could scarcely doubt it, for Aunt Abby, having found an interested listener at last, poured forth her account of her strange experience, not caring for comment or explanation, since she had found some one who believed!
“Yes, it was just at that time—I know, because it was almost daylight—just before dawn—and I was asleep, but not entirely asleep—”