Select Story

A Ghost in a State-Room


A Story Better Suited to a Christmas Number


 [From The Galaxy]

I was always greatly taken by those ghost stories, which Mr. Washington Irving and Mr. Dickens relate, with an uncle as the hero. There is a certain air of mystery enveloping an elderly uncle in knee-breeches, a cocked hat and powdered hair, which gives a delightful probability to the tales of their entertaining supernatural visitors and undergoing all kinds of uncanny nocturnal experiences. I wish with all my heart that this adventure which I am about to describe had happened to my uncle, because I know the reader would have been much more entertained by it; besides, it is much pleasanter to have one’s uncle see a ghost than to have such an experience one’s self.

To be sure, on second thoughts, an uncle is at the bottom of this story, because I am dictating at this moment to my nephew, who scribbles a little for the magazines, and who thinks he can see in it material which can be well worked up. But the fellow is conceited, and I don’t believe he will print it as I tell it, and I don’t believe, moreover, that he will make out of it anything worth reading.

I like to trace the relation between cause and effect; and to begin, I think my ghost arose indirectly from a lobster salad.

“Oho!” cries out the experienced and acute reader; “I see; this fellow had a bad dream.

“I beg your pardon, but allow me to say you are in error. I think I have been enough annoyed, not to say disgusted, in my day, by ghost stories, which, after describing the most impossible apparitions, ended with—

“—when he suddenly awoke and found himself safe in his own room.”

I can safely promise that my story, however stupid it may be, will… Read More