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i GHOSTS AND NEAR GHOSTS
p ---A THING
(Sara T. Ste ing.)
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My ancestrial home (dear to my
heart) is a grand gray house in win
ter, set in its grove of live oaks and
the long black branches of pecan
trees mingling. The house is gray
and the huge gray columns of its long
galleries are a gruesome sight-and
one that has made shivers possess me
many times, but not more so than in
this December twilight. As I cross
ed the pasture and wished and wished
I was safe at auntie's fire, and past
the Rubicon of dark trees and shrubs.
Then, I saw it. I was about 50 yards
outside the yard gate when I saw it.
It was a tall white figure standing by
one of the columns at the top of the
steps. I have no idea whether I
moved or not. I knew there was no
use. The thing could be right by me,
as well as on the gallery, but if it did
not come, I would have to pass it.
That was the awfullest. I was alone
in the world. Me or The Thing. It
was all white, white hair, white face,
white hands, white clothes, white bare
feet, in the December twilight and I
remembered afterward that fury as
well as terror possessed me. What
dead relation was this come to tor
ture me so? And still the dreadful
eyes of The Thing pulled me, and
some power put me inside the gate.
Then It moved slightly and I knew
that my end had come. With no voli
tion of my own I ran. Now I am pos
itive that Atlanta is my guardian
angel, for she lent my feet wings, and
I beat that Thing three times the
distance around to auntie's steps. It
was behind me. It breathed. Oh
thank God, I heard it breathe at my
shoulders, Oh terror! I felt it touch
me, I knew It had me. I stumbled on
my dress and fell up the steps. My
cousins dragged me in and swiftly
locked the door. They said they heard
me coming, raging in awful shrieks,
God, open the door, God, open the
door, and they knew the crazy man
was after me.
I hated them for quite a week, for
not sending me word that the crazy
man had taken up his abode there,
but the next day the "Poor Thing"
was sent back to the place he came
WHAT MAMMY SAID.
Oh Miss Bella! pretty chile. Mam
my sho' is proud to see you once mo'.
And when did you come? An' who
is all dese beautiful young ladies you
is got for comp'ny?
An' is you done school and come
home a fine young lady now?
An' you bring all yo' comp'ny down
to hear 'bout me an' Isaac? Bless
you chile, don' be makin' game of ole
Mammy. Let me see if yo' curls jus'
come to my mouf to kiss, like when
you went away, and medjure you wid
I was'n spectin' you so soon, Baby,
but las' night I seed de new moon
over my right shoulder, and a rabbit
runned from right under my foot. I
knowed som'thin' mighty honorous
was 'bout to happen den.
All you young ladies plase to set
down. I most forgot my manners
and I know Mistus would never
scuse me if I didnt say fuss thing
"Remove your things and set down
ladies, dis is mo' comfable." An' all
you ladies come from de norf to hear
po' ole Mammy's sperience wid de
ghoses. Why chillun if you was
bornded wid a caul ober yo' face you
can jus' sperience yo' own self. Its
awful shiverin' kind of business dis
here communication wid de dead. If
dey is dead and laid in de grave, cose
we know de is, but whar is dey? De
can't none of you tell, neither kin
Mammy. Jus' de same when my
hair gets flat an' sof' on my head
agin an' my flesh in de right place
on my bones why I'm right glad
Isaac members me so long in de spir
it worl' as he sho' do testify to me.
Once, long in slavety time fo' Isaac
and me was married, he come down
to de aige of his Mistus' place and
I come down to de aige of my Mistus'
place we talk cernin one 'nother. He
say Louisa you jus' mount on de back
of dis here mule an' less take a lit
tle moon light ride, like de white
folks does, fo' when I lighted on dat
mule's back it kicked up a while, an'
Isaac he say "You ought to be in
front honey, so I could hold to you,"
but twant no time, Isaac he hollered
"whoa mule, you spec you see spirits"
and fo' Gaud a white mist veil 'vel
oped us, mule and all, an' dat mule
hit a clip down dat road, jis' a tarin'
down dat road. Isaac he never said
a word. I never heard nobody speak
an' if dere was any laughin' it must
have been de ghos.
We come a good piece an' Isaac he
say, What we goin' do now, git a
beatin' or go back through that there
twinen veil? I say git a beatin, says
I for I rather consider spirits after
prayer and in good day light. Amen!
and I crossed myself like I seen Mis
tus do hoping 'twas a good charm.
Well! in spite of all de trouble we
had dat night, an' other whiles, Isaac
jes naturly come back to me when he
died. Dats de on considerateness of
de mankind, Da' he would be settin'
in de chimbly corner. Here he would
be walkin' up de paf to de do'. An'
one night Mistus was sick (I mean
your Grandma honey) an' I was kep
up to de house tenden of her till near
bout 11 o'clock. An' when I started
home, twasn't no chick nor chile eben
to come long wid me for nourish
ment fo' I say Hi! it's mightty lone
some, and if I cant get nobody else
to walk along maybe de Lord will
abide wid me, so I struck up a hymn
and hush! dere was Marster Kerridge
a-comin'. I seed Isaac on de box an'
ole Jo, de lef horse wid his one black
foot, an I jes swoonded away right
flat out in de road an de jes driv
right over me straight up in de
clouds, and Isaac lean way over and
touched me wid de whip and he say
"We come for Mistus." Sho' to God
I looked, and dere was Mistus set
tin' back in dat kerridge wid Marster.
Well! when I got back to de house
by daylight, Mistus was gone, but I
had knowed it when I seed Isaac. I
wish Isaac could lemme lone till I get
to hebben myself to do his sparkin' an
testifyin. Howsomever he had pes
terin' ways in dis worl- Is you got
to go ladies? Come back my honey
an see ole Mammy. I sho am proud
to narate dese discomfortin' things to
you. I'll 'scort you to de gate lad
ies and when I come back Isaac
mought be settin' right dere by de
fire, 'twould be jes like him. An
amen, amen, Goodbye, chillun, an
EXPERIENCE WITH JANE.
Jane is a dear, and we have been
friends longer than I care to tell.
But the funny part of it is, that when
ever she is in trouble, I know it. No
matter how far apart we are our
souls commune. I feel whatever she
feels, altho' I don't always know
Jane married rather a dear relation.
so of course her children are my kin
folks, but it's Jane that my soul finds.
I have always believed in the spirit
of the house. You will feel the pres
ence in any old home. Also the spir
it of the family. That may or may
not be a Banshee from the far legend
of Scottish history. The Banshees
are always wailing around the tur
t rets of castles or across moors among
cottages to tell young women they
will never get husbands, or any other
distortions'their "I told you so brains c
can think of.
Perhaps Banshees are to simply
warn, because there are happy spirits 1
'every where, only we don't pay them
as much mind as we do the probabil- f
ities and possibilities of perpetual c
wailing. However I am not going to r
be disrespectful to any of the inhabi- e
I tants of mystery. I have seen too t
many to disbelieve. I know that 1
I there is only a thin veil and it is not t
Stime yet for it to be rent between us a
but when the curtain is parted there
are those who, against their own will, J
see beyond, tho they see darkly.
And now for the simple commun- S
ings with Jane, that stretch over half
a life time.
I was at her house once, busy up
stairs by myself, when quite a furious
storm arose. The only thought I re- d
member was, to get the windows
down and go below with the rest of d
the family. Their home was one that
had been in the family since early in
1700. The big country house was in
the midst of the one time deer park
and set with live oak, beeches and
I founSl myself by one of the win
dows gazing at a beautiful golden
curled boy, dressed in black velvet,
with broad lace collar. A Gainsbur
ough picture. The big blue eyes were
lifted in entreaty to mine. He was
leaning against the knarled trunk of
a cedar tree and protected from the
rain by its blue berried branches, as
beautiful a picture as I have ever
seer, and as I looked the picture
changed into a perfect likeness of
her second son. Oh, Charlie! I said,
Swere you out in the rain? because
Charlie was standing by me with a
message from his mother. She said
r to come down at once and not stay up
there alone, during the storm. In a
Sweek we were battling day and night
with the unseen for Charlie's life.
Another time Jane sent for me to
come and look after her house, hus
band and children as she was going
for a few days to the city. All went
well until the day appointed for her
to come home. We set the house in
order. Her niother came over to wel
come the travellers as she had taken
two of her boys. As train time ap
proached the carriage was driven
around, and there was quite a bit of
trouble to get a wagon to go after
the trunk. All seemed out of the way.
The big boys went hither arid Yon
Roland came out of the field, so dis
turbed, until at last I said, "Don't
worry, she is not coming today."
"What do you mean?" he said;
"have you heard?"
"Don't tell her mother, it will make
her so nervous."
"What do you mean?" he insisted.
I said, "I am not going to tell you
until you get a letter, but she is not
coming today, and after train time
I want you to take the carriage and
bring Mrs. Smith to stay all night
with me. I can't stay any ion ,er
alone with these children."
She did not come, and she did not
come, and she did not come. For
three days then he got a letter. The
two children were very ill with meas
This is what I told Mrs. Smith )c
fore we got the letter, and the rest
of the family afterward. Jane's
mother was taking a nap; everybody
else was getting ready to go to the
train. I was sitting on the front gal
lery when I saw Jane wandering in
the park, dressed in a long gray dress
and veil. One child Was clinging to
her skirts. They were both weeping,
Jane's hands clasping her face. The
next afternoon I saw her again, the
same.way, only there were two chil
dren clasping her skirts. I told Mrs.
Smith both times, before the letter
came, and I said she is in deep trou
ble about her children, but it's not
death as she is all in gray, otherwise
it would have been black. The chil
dren are hearty specimens today.
Another time Jane took a notion to
wear some rings of mine on a house
party. I loaned her two cameo rings.
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4% ---- -------- PAIDONSAVINGS---------4%
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