“There,” and Flora drew Sylvia near so she could look down a dark narrow stairway.
“But that isn’t seeing a ghost,” Grace said laughingly.
It was rather late when Mrs. Hayes led the way back to the house, and Grace declared that she was almost too sleepy to walk up-stairs. But Sylvia was not at all sleepy. After the colored girl had helped them prepare for bed, blown out the candle, and left the room, she lay watching the shadows of the moving vines on the wall. She wished she was at home, for who knew but that Estralla’s master might sell her before she returned. Sylvia wondered what she could do to protect the little girl. “I might hide her,” she thought; but what place would be secure? Suddenly she remembered something that she had heard Captain Carleton say when she was eating luncheon on that unlucky trip to Fort Sumter. “This fort could make South Carolina give up slavery,” he had said. Why, then, of course Estralla would be perfectly safe if she was only at Fort Sumter, concluded the little girl, with a long sigh of relief. “I must get her there just as soon as I get home,” she decided.
Then suddenly Sylvia sat straight up in bed. The closet door had swung softly open, and a figure with a big hat and trailing dress stepped out. Sylvia was not frightened. “It’s the ghost,” she whispered; and leaning across poked Grace, exclaiming: “Grace! Look quick! here is Lady Caroline!”
In an instant Grace was wide awake.
“Where?” she demanded, in a frightened voice, clutching Sylvia’s hand.
“Right there! By the closet door,” said Sylvia. “Oh! she’s gone!”
For as she looked toward the closet the figure had disappeared.
“There, you waked me up for nothing. You dreamed it,” declared Grace.
“Oh, I didn’t! Truly, I didn’t. I haven’t been asleep,” Sylvia insisted. “It is just as Flora said. There is a ghost.” Just then both the girls heard a startled cry, and a sound as if something had fallen in the room under them.
“What’s that?” whispered Grace. “Oh, Sylvia, do you suppose there really is a ghost?”
“Yes, I saw it,” declared Sylvia, with such evident satisfaction in her tone that Grace forgot to be frightened. “Well, I guess it fell downstairs,” she chuckled; but in spite of their lack of fear both the little girls were excited over the unusual noise, and Sylvia was sure now that Flora had been right in saying the house was haunted. She wished it was already morning that she might tell Flora all that had happened.
A TWILIGHT TEA-PARTY
It was late when Grace and Sylvia awoke the following morning, but they were down-stairs before the boys appeared. Mrs. Hayes greeted them smilingly, but she said that Flora was not well and that Mammy would take her breakfast to her up-stairs.
“After breakfast you must go up and stay with her a little while,” said Mrs. Hayes.