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“From this deep slumber I awoke with a start. I knew I had had a horrible dream ; but what it was I could not remember. My heart was thumping furiously ; I felt bewildered and feverish; I sate up in the bed, and looked about the room. A broad flood of moonlight came in through the curtainless window ; everything was as I had last seen it; and though the do. mestic squabble in the back lane was, unhappily for me, allayed, I yet could hear a pleasant fellow singing, on his way home, the then popular comic dit. ty called, .Murphy Delany.' Taking advantage of this diversion I lay down again, with my face towards the fire place, and closing my eyes, did my best to think of nothing else but the song, which was every moment grow. ing fainter in the distance :
** • 'Twas Murphy Delany, so funny and frisky,
Stept into a shebeen shop to get his skin full; He reeled out again pretty well lined with whis
key, As fresh as a shamrock, as blind as a bull.' - The singer, whose condition I dare say resembled that of his hero, was soon too far off to regale my ears any more; and as his music died away, I myself sank into a doze, neither sound nor refreshing. Somehow the song had got into my head, and I went meandering on through the adventures of my respectable fellow-countryman, who, on emerging from the “shebeen shop,' fell into a river, from which he was fished up to be 'sat upon’ by a coroner's jury, who having learned from a horse-doctor' that he was *dead as a door-nail, so there was an end,' returned their verdict accord, ingly, just as he returned to his senses; when an angry altercation and a pitched battle between the body and the coroner winds up the lay with due spirit and pleasantry.
" Through this ballad I continued with a weary monotony to plod, down to the very last line, and then da capo, and so on, in my uncomfortable balf. sleep, for how long, I can't conjecture. I found myself at last, however, muttering dead as a door-nail, so there was an end ;' and something like another voice within me, seemed to say, very faintly, but sharply, dead I dead! dead i and may the Lord have mercy on your soul!' and instantaneously I was wide awake, and staring right before me from the pillow.
“Now-will you believe it, Dick ?-
I saw the same accursed figure standing full front, and gazing at me with its stony and fiendish countenance, not two yards from the bedside.”
Tom stopped here, and wiped the perspiration from his face. I felt very queer. The girl was as pale as Tom; and, assembled as we were in the very scene of these adventures, we were all, I dare say, equally grateful for the clear daylight and the resuming bustle out of doors.
“ For about three seconds only I saw it plainly; then it grew indistinct; but, for a long time, there was something like a column of dark vapour where it had been standing, between me and the wall; and I felt sure that he still was there. After a good while, this appearance went too. I took my clothes down stairs to the ball, and dressed there, with the door half open; then went out into the street, and walked about the town till morning, when I came back, in a miserable state of nervousness and exhaustion. I was such a fool, Dick, as to be ashamed to tell you how I came to be so upset. I thought you would laugh at me; especially as I had always talked philosophy, and treated your ghosts with contempt. I concluded you would give me no quarter ; and so kept my tale of horror to myself.
“Now, Dick, you will hardly believe me, when I assure you, that for many nights after this last experience, I did not go to my room at all. I used to sit up for a while in the drawing-room after you had gone up to your bed ; and then steal down softly to the hall.door, let myself out, and sit in the · Robin Hood' tavern until the last guest went off; and then I got through the night like a sentry, pacing the streets till morning.
“For more than a week I never slept in a bed. I sometimes had a snooze on a form in the · Robin Hood,' and sometimes a nap in a chair during the day ; but regular sleep I had absolutely none.
"I was quite resolved that we should get into another house; but I could not bring myself to tell you the reason, and I somehow put it off from day to day, although my life was, during every hour of this procrastination, rendered as miserable as that of a felon with the constables on his track. I was grow. ing absolutely ill from this wretched mode of life.
“ One afternoon I determined to en. place. Its back was rather towards me, joy an hour's sleep upon your bed. I but I could not be mistaken ; it turned hated mine; so that I had never, ex. slowly round, and, merciful heavens ! cept in a stealthy visit every day to there was the stony face, with its inunmake it, lest Martha should discover fernal lineaments of malignity and de. the secret of my nightly absence, en- spair, gloating on me. There was tered the ill-omened chamber.
now no doubt as to its consciousness of “ As ill-luck would have it, you had my presence, and the hellish malice locked your bedroom, and taken away with which it was animated, for it the key. I went into my own to unset- arose, and drew close to the bedside. tle the bedclothes, as usual, and give There was a rope about its neck, and the bed the appearance of having been . the other end, coiled up, it held stiffly slept in. Now, a variety of circum- in its hand. stances concurred to bring about the “My good angel nerved me for this dreadful scene through which I was horrible crisis. I remained for some that night to pass. In the first place, I seconds transfixed by the gaze of this was literally overpowered with fatigue, tremendous phantom. He came close and longing for sleep; in the next to the bed, and appeared on the point place, the effect of this extreme ex of mounting upon it. The next inhaustion upon my nerves resembled stant I was upon the floor at the far that of a narcotic, and rendered me side, and in a moment more was, I less susceptible than, perhaps, I should don't know how, upon the lobby. in any other condition have been, of “ But the spell was not yet broken; the exciting fears which had become the valley of the shadow of death was habitual to me. Then again, a little not yet traversed. The abhorred bit of the window was open, a pleasant phantom was before me there; it was freshness pervaded the room, and, to standing near the banisters, stooping crown all, the cheerful sun of day was a little, and with one end of the rope making the room quite pleasant. What round its own neck, was poising a was to prevent my enjoying an hour's noose at the other, as if to throw over nap here? The whole air was resonant mine; and while engaged in this balewith the cheerful bum of life, and the ful pantomime, it wore a smile so senbroad matter-of-fact light of day filled sual, so unspeakably dreadful, that my every corner of the room.
senses were nearly overpowered. I saw “I yielded-stilling my qualms -- to and remember nothing more, until I the almost overpowering temptation; found myself in your room. and merely throwing off my coat, and “I had a wonderful escape, Dick loosening my cravat, I lay down, limits there is no disputing that – an escape ing myself to half-an-hour's doze in for which, while I live, I shall bless the the unwonted enjoyment of a feather mercy of heaven. No one can conceive bed, a coverlet, and bolster,
or imagine what it is for flesh and “It was horribly insidious; and the blood to stand in the presence of such demon, no doubt, marked my infa- a thing, but one who has had the tertuated preparations. Dolt that I was, rific experience. Dick, Dick, a shaI fancied, with mind and body worn dow has passed over me—a chill has out for want of sleep, and an arrear crossed my blood and marrow, and I of a full week's rest to my credit, that will never be the same again - never, such a measure as half-an-hour's sleep, Dick-never!” in such a situation, was possible. My Our handmaid, a mature girl of fivesleep was death-like, long, and dream and-forty, as I have said, stayed her less.
hand, as Tom's story proceeded, and « Without a start or fearful sensa. by little and little drew near to us, tion of any kind, I waked gently, but with open mouth, and her brows concompletely. It was, as you have good tracted over her little, beady black reason to remember, long past mid eyes, till stealing a glance over her night - I believe, about two o'clock. shoulder now and then, she estabWhen sleep has been deep and long lished herself close behind us. Durenough to satisfy nature thoroughly, ing the relation, she had made various one often wakens in this way, sudden. earnest comments, in an undertone; ly, tranquilly, and completely.
but these and her ejaculations, for the « There was a figure seated in that sake of brevity and simplicity, I have lumbering, old sofa-chair, near the fire. omitted in my narration.
VOL. XLII.-NO. CCLII.
“ It's often I heard tell of it,” she now said, "but I never believed it rightly till now—though, indeed, why should not I? Does not my mother, down there in the lane, know quare stories, God bless us, beyant telling about it? But you ought not to have slept in the back bedroom. She was loath to let me be going in and out of that room even in the day time, let alone for any Christian to spend the night in it; for sure she says it was his own bedroom."
" Whose own bedroom?" we asked in a breath.
“Why, his -- the ould Judge's Judge Horrock's, to be sure, God rest his sowl;" and she looked fearfully round,
“ Amen!" I muttered. “But did he die there?"
“Die there! No, not quite there," she said. “Shure, was not it over the banisters he hung himself, the ould sinner, God be merciful to us all ? and was not it in the alcove they found the handles of the skipping-rope cut off, and the knife where he was settling the cord, God bless us, to hang himself with ? It was his housekeeper's daughter owned the rope, my mother often told me, and the child never throve after, and used to be starting up out of her sleep, and screeching in the night time, wid dhrames and frights that cum an her; and they said how it was the sper. rit of the ould Judge that was torment in' her; and she used to be roaring and yelling out to hould back the big ould fellow with the crooked neck; and then she'd screech Oh, the master! the master! he's stampin' at me, and beckoning to me! Mother, darling, don't let me go!' And so the poor crathure died at last, and the docthers said it was wather on the brain, for it was all they could say."
“How long ago was all this?" I asked.
"Oh, then, how would I know ?” she answered. “But it must be a won dherful long time ago, for the house keeper was an ould woman, with a pipe in her mouth, and not a tooth left, and betther nor eighty years ould when my mother was first married; and they said she was a rale buxom, fine-dressed woman when the ould Judge come to his end; an', indeed, my mother's not far from eighty years ould herself thiş day; and what made it worse for the unnatural ould villain,
God rest his soul, to frighten the little girl out of the world the way he did, was what was mostly thought and be. lieved by every one. My mother says how the poor little crathure was his own child; for he was by all accounts an ould villain every way, an' the hangin'est judge that ever was known in Ireland's ground.”
From what you said about the dan ger of sleeping in that bedroom," said I, “I suppose there were stories about the ghost having appeared there to others."
“Well, there was things said-quare things, surely," she answered, as it seemed, with some reluctance. “ And why would not there? Sure was it not up in that same room he slept for more than twenty years? and was it not in the alcove he got the rope ready that done his own business at last, the way he done many a betther man's in his lifetime ?--and was not the body lying in the same bed afther death, and put in the coffin there, too, and carried out to his grave from it in Pether's churchyard, afther the coroner was done? But there was quare stories - my mother has them all about how one Nicholas Spaight got into trouble on the bead of it."
"And what did they say of this Ni. cholas Spaight?" I asked.
“Oh, for that matther, it's soon told," she answered.
And she certainly did relate a very strange story, which so piqued my cu. riosity, that I took occasion to visit the ancient lady, her mother, from whom I learned many very curious particulars. Indeed, I am tempted to tell the tale, but my fingers are weary, and I must defer it. But if you wish to hear it another time, I shall do my best.
When we had heard the strange tale I have not told you, we put one or two further questions to her about the alleged spectral visitations, to which the house had, ever since the death of the wicked old Judge, been subjected.
“No one ever had luck in it," she told us. " There was always cross accidents, sudden deaths, and short times in it. The first that tuck it was a family-I forget their name—but at any rate there was two young ladies and their papa. He was about sixty, and a stout healthy gentleman as you'd wish to see at that age. Well, he slept in that unlucky back bedroom ; and, God between us an' harm! sure enough he was found dead one morning, half out of the bed, with his head as black as a sloe, and swelled like a pud. din', hanging down near the floor. It was a fit, they said. He was as dead as a mackerel, and so he could not say what it was; but the ould people was all sure that it was nothing at all but the ould Judge, God bless us! that frightened him out of his senses and his life together.
« Some time after there was a rich old maiden lady took the house. I don't know which room she slept in, but she lived alone; and at any rate, one morning, the servants going down early to their work, found her sitting on the passage - stairs, shivering and talkin' to herself, quite mad; and never a word more could any of them or her friends get from her ever afterwards but, Don't ask me to go, for I promised to wait for him. They never made out from her who it was she meant by him, but of course those that knew all about the ould house were at no loss for the meaning of all that happened to her.
" Then afterwards, when the house was let out in lodgings, there was Micky Byrne that took the same room, with his wife and three little children ; and sure I heard Mrs. Byrne myself telling how the children used to be lifted up in the bed at night, she could not see by what mains; and how they were starting and screeching every hour, just all as one as the housekeeper's little girl that died, till at last one night poor Micky had a dhrop in him, the way he used now and again ; and what do you think, in the middle of the night he thought he heard a noise on the stairs, and being in liquor, no. thing less id do him but out he must go himself to see what was wrong. Well, after that, all she ever heard of bim was himself sayin' Oh, God !' and a tumble that shook the very house;
and there, sure enough, he was lying on the lower stairs, under the lobby, with his neck smashed double undher him, where he was flung over the banisters."
Then the handmaiden added
“I'll go down to the lane, and send up Joe Gavvey to pack up the rest of the taythings, and bring all the things across to your new lodgings."
And so we all sallied out together, each of us breathing more freely, I have no doubt, as we crossed that illomened threshold for the last time.
Now, I may add thus much, in compliance with the immemorial usage of the realm of fiction, which sees the hero not only through his adventures, but fairly out of the world. You must have perceived that what the flesh, blood, and bone hero of romance proper is to the regular compounder of fiction, this old house of brick, wood, and mortar is to the humble recorder of this true tale. I, therefore, relate, as in duty bound, the catastrophe which ultimately befell it, which was simply this--that about two years subsequently to my story it was taken by a quack doctor, who called himself Baron Dublstoerf, and filled the parlour windows with bottles of indescribable horrors preserved in brandy, and the newspapers with the usual grandiloquent and mendacious advertisements. This gentleman among his virtues did not reckon sobriety, and one night, being overcome with much wine, he set fire to his bed curtains, partially burned himself, and totally consumed the house. It was afterwards rebuilt, and for a time an undertaker established himself in the premises.
I have now told you my own and Tom's adventures, together with some valuable collateral particulars; and having acquitted myself of my engagement, I wish you a very good night, and pleasant dreams.
• Who among us shall dwell with everlasting barnings ?"-Isaiah, xxxiii. 14,
Far, far beyond the furthest bound
Of mortal sight, or mortal sound,
That brimstone lake of molten flame,
That pit of infamy and shame,
Each scorching eye to Heaven they raise,
From out that red sulphuric blaze, One drop, one cooling drop from pitying Heaven to crave.
There gnaw they still their tongues for pain,
There curse for evermore in vain.
Oh! who those scalding tears shall dry?
Or paint the matchless agony
Remembrance of the hopes no more,
The crown within their reach before, The Saviour's sacrifice that diadem to win.
For spotless robe of shining white,
For crown of glory, fair and bright,
Around each charred, yet deathless brow,
There wreathes the smoke of ages now;
Yet, worse than all, the blissful song,
The harpings of the white-robed throng,
Do now the tortured ear attain
To poison more the cup of pain, And more the depth profound of their dread fall disclose.
Their happy seat of bliss on high,
Where falls no tear, nor heaveth sigh, Their Lord's approving smile, his words of welcome sweet.
All, all before the eye appear,
Yet never more the heart to cheer,
O Crucified! be mine the power
To seek Thee in a favoured hour,
And deign upon my honoured head
Thy heavenly benediction shed,