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The Phantoms of the Foot-Bridge and Other Stories   By: (1850-1922)

The Phantoms of the Foot-Bridge and Other Stories by Mary Noailles Murfree

First Page:

[Illustration: "'WARN'T YOU UNS APOLOGIZIN' TER ME FUR NOT BEIN' A NEPHEW?'"]

The Phantoms of the Foot Bridge

And Other Stories

BY

CHARLES EGBERT CRADDOCK

AUTHOR OF

"IN THE 'STRANGER PEOPLE'S' COUNTRY" ETC.

ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

1895

Copyright, 1895, by HARPER & BROTHERS

All rights reserved.

CONTENTS

THE PHANTOMS OF THE FOOT BRIDGE

HIS "DAY IN COURT"

'WAY DOWN IN LONESOME COVE

THE MOONSHINERS AT HOHO HEBEE FALLS

THE RIDDLE OF THE ROCKS

ILLUSTRATIONS

"'WARN'T YOU UNS APOLOGIZIN' TER ME FUR NOT BEIN' A NEPHEW?'"

THE PHANTOM OF THE FOOT BRIDGE

OLD JOEL QUIMBEY

"'WHY'N'T YE GIN DAD THEM MESSAGES?'"

"SHE FLUNG HER APRON OVER HER HEAD"

"HE STOLE NOISELESSLY IN THE SOFT SNOW"

OLD QUIMBEY AND HIS GRANDSON

"YET THIS WAS CHRISTMAS EVE"

"HE HAD HAD AN ACTIVE DAY, INDUCING A KEEN THIRST"

"'LOOK OUT! SOMEBODY'S THAR!'"

"SHE SMILED UPON THE BABY"

THE BLACKSMITH'S SHOP

"THE TABLES OF THE LAW"

"'WHAT WORD DID HE SEND TER ME ?'"

THE PHANTOMS OF THE FOOT BRIDGE

Across the narrow gorge the little foot bridge stretched a brace of logs, the upper surface hewn, and a slight hand rail formed of a cedar pole. A flimsy structure, one might think, looking down at the dark and rocky depths beneath, through which flowed the mountain stream, swift and strong, but it was doubtless substantial enough for all ordinary usage, and certainly sufficient for the imponderable and elusive travellers who by common report frequented it.

"We ain't likely ter meet nobody. Few folks kem this way nowadays, 'thout it air jes' ter ford the creek down along hyar a piece, sence harnts an' sech onlikely critters hev been viewed a crossin' the foot bredge. An' it hev got the name o' bein' toler'ble onlucky, too," said Roxby.

His interlocutor drew back slightly. He had his own reasons to recoil from the subject of death. For him it was invested with a more immediate terror than is usual to many of the living, with that flattering persuasion of immortality in every strong pulsation repudiating all possibility of cessation. Then, lifting his gloomy, long lashed eyes to the bridge far up the stream, he asked, "Whose 'harnts'?"

His voice had a low, repressed cadence, as of one who speaks seldom, grave, even melancholy, and little indicative of the averse interest that had kindled in his sombre eyes. In comparison the drawl of the mountaineer, who had found him heavy company by the way, seemed imbued with an abnormal vivacity, and keyed a tone or two higher than was its wont.

"Thar ain't a few," he replied, with a sudden glow of the pride of the cicerone. "Thar's a graveyard t'other side o' the gorge, an' not more than a haffen mile off, an' a cornsider'ble passel o' folks hev been buried thar off an' on, an' the foot bredge ain't in nowise ill convenient ter them."

Thus demonstrating the spectral resources of the locality, he rode his horse well into the stream as he spoke, and dropped the reins that the animal's impatient lips might reach the water. He sat facing the foot bridge, flecked with the alternate shifting of the sunshine and the shadows of the tremulous firs that grew on either side of the high banks on the ever ascending slope, thus arching both above and below the haunted bridge. His companion had joined him in the centre of the stream; but while the horses drank, the stranger's eyes were persistently bent on the concentric circles of the water that the movement of the animals had set astir in the current, as if he feared that too close or curious a gaze might discern some pilgrim, whom he cared not to see, traversing that shadowy quivering foot bridge. He was mounted on a strong, handsome chestnut, as marked a contrast to his guide's lank and trace galled sorrel as were the two riders. A slender gloved hand had fallen with the reins to the pommel of the saddle... Continue reading book >>




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