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Stories by American Authors, Volume 2   By:

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Stories by American Authors

VOLUME II

THE TRANSFERRED GHOST BY FRANK R. STOCKTON

A MARTYR TO SCIENCE BY MARY PUTNAM JACOBI, M. D.

MRS. KNOLLYS BY J. S. OF DALE, AUTHOR OF "GUERNDALE"

A DINNER PARTY BY JOHN EDDY

THE MOUNT OF SORROW BY HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD

SISTER SILVIA BY MARY AGNES TINCKER

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1896

COPYRIGHT, 1884, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

The Stories in this Volume are protected by copyright, and are printed here by authority of the authors or their representatives.

[Illustration: Frank R. Stockton]

THE TRANSFERRED GHOST.

BY FRANK R. STOCKTON.

Century Magazine, May, 1882.

The country residence of Mr. John Hinckman was a delightful place to me, for many reasons. It was the abode of a genial, though somewhat impulsive, hospitality. It had broad, smooth shaven lawns and towering oaks and elms; there were bosky shades at several points, and not far from the house there was a little rill spanned by a rustic bridge with the bark on; there were fruits and flowers, pleasant people, chess, billiards, rides, walks, and fishing. These were great attractions, but none of them, nor all of them together, would have been sufficient to hold me to the place very long. I had been invited for the trout season, but should, probably, have finished my visit early in the summer had it not been that upon fair days, when the grass was dry, and the sun not too hot, and there was but little wind, there strolled beneath the lofty elms, or passed lightly through the bosky shades, the form of my Madeline.

This lady was not, in very truth, my Madeline. She had never given herself to me, nor had I, in any way, acquired possession of her. But as I considered her possession the only sufficient reason for the continuance of my existence, I called her, in my reveries, mine. It may have been that I would not have been obliged to confine the use of this possessive pronoun to my reveries had I confessed the state of my feelings to the lady.

But this was an unusually difficult thing to do. Not only did I dread, as almost all lovers dread, taking the step which would in an instant put an end to that delightful season which may be termed the ante interrogatory period of love, and which might at the same time terminate all intercourse or connection with the object of my passion; but I was, also, dreadfully afraid of John Hinckman. This gentleman was a good friend of mine, but it would have required a bolder man than I was at that time to ask him for the gift of his niece, who was the head of his household, and, according to his own frequent statement, the main prop of his declining years. Had Madeline acquiesced in my general views on the subject, I might have felt encouraged to open the matter to Mr. Hinckman, but, as I said before, I had never asked her whether or not she would be mine. I thought of these things at all hours of the day and night, particularly the latter.

I was lying awake one night, in the great bed in my spacious chamber, when, by the dim light of the new moon, which partially filled the room, I saw John Hinckman standing by a large chair near the door. I was very much surprised at this for two reasons. In the first place, my host had never before come into my room, and, in the second place, he had gone from home that morning, and had not expected to return for several days. It was for this reason that I had been able that evening to sit much later than usual with Madeline on the moonlit porch. The figure was certainly that of John Hinckman in his ordinary dress, but there was a vagueness and indistinctness about it which presently assured me that it was a ghost. Had the good old man been murdered? and had his spirit come to tell me of the deed, and to confide to me the protection of his dear ? My heart fluttered at what I was about to think, but at this instant the figure spoke... Continue reading book >>


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