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Animal Ghosts Or, Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter

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Author Topic: Animal Ghosts Or, Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter  (Read 475 times)
Spirits of the Dead
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« Reply #135 on: November 01, 2009, 02:39:02 am »

"The coach did not go as fast as my uncle expected, but moved with a curious gliding motion, and the wheels made no noise whatever. This added to my uncle's apprehensions, and he almost made up his mind to open the carriage door and jump out. Something, however, which he could not account for restrained him, and he maintained his seat. Outside, all was still profoundly dark. The trees were scarcely distinguishable as deeper masses of shadow, and were recognizable only by the resinous odour, that, from time to time, sluggishly flowed in at the open window as the coach rolled on.

"At length they overtook some other vehicle, and for the first time for some hours my uncle heard the sound of solid wheels, which were as welcome to him as any joy bells. Just as they were passing the conveyance—a small wagonette drawn by a pair of horses, the latter took fright; there were loud shouts and a great stampede, and my uncle, who leaned out of the coach window, caught a glimpse of the vehicle dashing along ahead of them at a frightful speed. The driver of the coach, apparently totally unconcerned, continued his journey at the same regular, mechanical pace.

"Presently my uncle heard the sound of rushing water, and knew they must be nearing the Usk, a tributary of the Battle, which was only five miles from his house.

"The forest now ceased, and they crossed the road over the bridge in a brilliant burst of moonlight. About a mile or so further on the coach halted, and, to my uncle's surprise, he found himself in front of a house he had no recollection of seeing before. He got out, and to his horror saw that instead of riding in a coach he had been riding in a hearse, and that the horses had on their heads gigantic sable plumes.

"While he was standing gazing at the extraordinary equipage, the door of the house slowly opened, and two figures came out carrying a small coffin, which they placed inside the vehicle. He then heard loud peals of mad, hilarious laughter, and coach and horses immediately vanished. My uncle arrived home safely, but the shock of what he had experienced kept him in bed for some days. He learned that a phantom coach similar to the one he had ridden in had been seen in the forest twenty years previously, and that it was supposed to be a prognostication of some great misfortune, which supposition, in my uncle's case at least, proved true, as his wife died of apoplexy a few days after this adventure."
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« Reply #136 on: November 01, 2009, 02:39:25 am »

Yet another case of haunting by the phantasms of a horse comes to me from a gentleman in Marseilles, who told it me thus:—

"It was 9 p.m. when I left my friend Maitland's hotel in Châteauborne, and, facing north, set out on my way to Liffre, where my headquarters had been for the past fortnight. Liffre is in the hills, and the road which separated it from Châteauborne, wild and lonely enough in daylight and when the weather is fair, is almost untraversable in winter. The night in question was Christmas Eve; the snow had fallen heavily during the day, and with the wind blowing in icy draughts from the north-east, there was every prospect of another downfall. Maitland pressed me to stay in his hotel. 'It is sheer folly,' he said, 'for you to attempt to get home in weather like this. It is pitch dark, you are not familiar with the route, and if you don't wander off the track and tumble over a precipice, you will walk into a snowdrift. Be sensible—sleep here!'

"Much, however, as I should have liked to follow his counsel, I did not feel justified in doing so, as I had a lot of correspondence to attend to, and I realized it was most necessary for me to get back to Liffre without any further delay.

"It was true the night was inky black; but, with the aid of a lamp, I hadn't the slightest doubt I could find my way. Maitland bartered for a candle lantern with his host, and armed with this, a flagon of brandy and water and a thick stick, I said good-bye to Châteauborne.

"A couple of hundred yards saw me beyond the outskirts of the town, wherein I was the sole pedestrian, and silence reigned supreme. On and on I plodded, the feeble, yellow light of my lantern just preventing me—but only just—from wandering from the track. The road, which for the first mile or so was tolerably level, gradually began to rise, and, as it did so, I noticed for the first time indistinct images of gigantic, naked trees that becoming more and more numerous, and closer and closer together, at length united their long and grotesquely shaped branches overhead, and I found myself in the depths of a vast forest. The snow, which had up to the present held off, now recommenced to fall, and presently the wind, which had for some time been slowly acquiring strength, came howling through the trees with the utmost fury, the first blast swishing the lantern out of my hands and hurling me with considerable force into an undergrowth of thorns and brambles, out of which I extricated myself with no little difficulty.
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« Reply #137 on: November 01, 2009, 02:39:38 am »

"I was now in the sorriest of plights—enveloped on all sides in Stygian darkness I was unable to discover my lantern, and was thus totally at the mercy of the ruthless elements. There were only two courses before me—either I must remain where I was and be frozen to death, or, making a guess at the route, I must push on ahead and run the risk of ending my life at the bottom of a ravine. I chose the latter. Groping about with my feet, until I at length discovered what I thought must be the right track, I pushed ahead, and, staggering and stumbling forward, managed to make some sort of progress, terribly slow though it was. The blinding darkness of the snowy night, the intense silence and utter solitude of the place, combined with the knowledge that on all sides of me lay holes and chasms, dampened my spirits and raised strange phantoms in my imagination. The wind now rose, and the dismal sighing of the trees speedily grew into a series of the most perturbing screeches, as the branches and trunks swayed to and fro like reeds before the violence of the hurricane.

"At this juncture I gave myself up for lost, and, coming to a standstill up to my knees in snow, was preparing to lie down and die, when, to my great joy, a light suddenly appeared ahead of me, and the next moment a man, mounted on a big white horse, rode noiselessly up to me. He was wrapped in a shaggy great-coat, and a slouch hat worn low over his eyes completely hid his face from me. In his disengaged hand he carried a lantern.

"'By Jove!' I exclaimed, 'I am glad to see you, for I've lost the track to Liffre. Can you tell me, or, better still, show me, the way to some house where I can put up for the remainder of the night?'

"The stranger made no reply, but bidding me follow with a wave of his hand, rode silently in front of me, and although I tried to keep up with him, I could not; and the odd thing was, that without apparently increasing his pace, he always maintained his distance. After proceeding in this manner for possibly ten minutes, we suddenly turned to the left, and I found myself in a big clearing in the wood, with a long, low-built house opposite me.
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« Reply #138 on: November 01, 2009, 02:40:00 am »

"My guide then paused, and indicating the front door of the house with an emphatic gesture of his hand, seemed suddenly to melt away into thin air, for although I peered about me on all sides to try to find some indications of him, neither he nor his horse was anywhere to be seen. Thinking this was rather queer, but quite ready to attribute it to natural causes, I approached the building, and, making use of my knuckles in lieu of a knocker, beat a loud tattoo on the woodwork. There was no response. Again I rapped, and the door slowly opening revealed a pair of gleaming, dark eyes. 'What do you want?' enquired a harsh voice in barbarous accents. 'A night's lodging,' I replied; 'and I'm willing to pay a good price for it, for I'm more than half frozen.'

"At this the door opened wider, and I found myself confronted by a woman with a candle. She had not the most prepossessing of expressions, though her hair, eyes and features were decidedly good. She was dressed with tawdry smartness—earrings, necklace, and rings, and very high-heeled buckle shoes. Indeed, her costume was so out of keeping with the rusticity of her surroundings as to be quite extraordinary. This fact struck me at once, as did her fingers, which, though spatulate and ugly, had been manicured, and of course very much over-manicured, for effect. Had this not been the case, I probably should not have noticed them. But the unnatural gloss on them, exaggerated by the candlelight, made me look, and I was at once impressed with the criminal formation of the fingers—the club-shaped ends denoted something very bad—something homicidal—and as my eyes wandered from the hands to the face, I saw with a thrill of horror that the ears were set low down and far back on the head, and that the eyes gleamed with the sinister glitter of the wolf.
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« Reply #139 on: November 01, 2009, 02:40:14 am »

"Still, I must take my chance—the woman or the wood—it had to be one of the two. 'If you'll step inside, monsieur,' she said, 'I'll see what can be done for you. We have only recently come here, and the house is anyhow at present. Still, if you don't mind roughing it a little, we can let you have a bed, and you can rely upon me that it is clean and well-aired.' I followed her eagerly, and she led me down a narrow passage into a big room with a low ceiling, traversed with a ponderous oak beam, blackened with the smoke of endless peat fires.

"Before the blazing faggots on the hearth sat a burly-looking individual in a blue blouse. On our arrival he arose, and as his huge form towered above me, I thought I had never seen anyone quite so hideous, nor so utterly unlike the orthodox Frenchman. Obeying his injunction—for I can scarcely call it an invitation—to sit down, I took a seat by the fire, and warming my half-frozen limbs, waited impatiently whilst the woman made up my bed and prepared supper.

"The storm had now reached cyclonic dimensions, and under its stupendous fury the whole house—stoutly built though it was—swayed on its foundations. The howling of the wind in the rude, old-fashioned chimney and along the passage, and the frenzied beating of the snow against the diamond window-panes, deadened all other noises, and rendered any attempt at conversation absolutely abortive. So I ate my meal in silence, pretending not to notice the subtle interchange of glances that constantly took place between the strangely assorted pair. Whether they were husband and wife, what the man did for a living, were questions that continually occurred to me, and I found my eyes incessantly wandering to the numerous packing-cases, piles of carpets, casks and other articles, which corroborated the woman's statement that they had but recently 'moved in.' Once I attempted to empty the coffee (which was black and peculiarly bitter) under the table, but had to desist, as I saw the man's devilish eyes fixed searchingly on me. I then pushed aside the cup, and on the woman asking if it was not to my liking, I shouted out that I was not in the least thirsty. After this incident the covert looks became more numerous, and my suspicions increased accordingly.
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« Reply #140 on: November 01, 2009, 02:40:27 am »

"At the first opportunity I got up, and signalling my intention to go to bed, was preparing to leave my seat, when my host, walking to a cupboard, fetched out a bottle of cognac, and pouring out a tumbler, handed it me with a mien that I dare not refuse.

"The woman then led me up a flight of rickety, wooden steps and into a sepulchral-looking chamber with no other furniture in it save a long, narrow, iron bedstead, a dilapidated washstand, a very unsteady, common deal table, on which was a looking-glass and a collar stud, and a rush-bottomed chair. Setting the candlestick on the dressing-table, and assuring me again that the bed was well aired, my hostess withdrew, observing as she left the room that she would get me a nice breakfast and call me at seven. At seven! How I wished it was seven now! As I stood in the midst of the floor shivering—for the room was icy cold, I suddenly saw a dark shadow emerge from a remote corner of the room and slide surreptitiously towards the door, where it halted. My eyes then fell on the lock, and I perceived that there was no key. No key! And that evil-looking pair below! I must barricade the door somehow. Yet with what? There was nothing of any weight in the room! Nothing! I began to feel horribly tired and sleepy—so sleepy that it was only with supreme effort I could prevent my eyelids closing. Ah! I had it—a wedge! I had a knife. Of wood there was plenty—a piece off the washstand, table, or chair. Anything would suffice. I essayed to struggle to the chair, my limbs tottered, my eyelids closed. Then the shadow from the doorway moved towards and THROUGH me, and with the coldness of its passage I revived! With desperate energy I cut a couple of chunks off the washstand, and paring them down, eventually succeeded in slipping them in the crack of the door, and rendering it impossible to open from the outside. That done, I staggered to the bed, and falling, dressed as I was, on the counterpane, sank into a deep sleep. How long I slept I cannot say. I suddenly heard the loud neighing of a horse which seemed to come from just under my window, and, as in a vision, saw by my side in the bed a something which gradually developed into the figure of a man, the counterpart of the mysterious being in the shaggy coat who had guided me to the house. He was fully dressed, sound asleep and breathing heavily. As I was looking a dark shadow fell across the sleeper's face, and on glancing up I perceived, to my horror, a black something crawling on the floor. Nearer and nearer it came, until it reached the side of the bed, when I immediately recognized the evil, smirking face of my hostess. In one hand she held a lamp and in the other a horn-handled knife. Setting the lamp on the floor, she coolly undid the collar of the sleeping man, and I saw a stud, the counterpart of the one on the dressing-table, fall on the bare boards with a sharp tap, and disappear in the surrounding darkness. Then the woman felt the edge of the knife with her repulsive thumb, and calmly cut the helpless man's throat. I screamed—and the murderess and her victim instantly vanished—and I realized I was alone in the room and very much awake. Whether all that had occurred was a dream, I cannot say with certainty, though I am inclined to think not.
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« Reply #141 on: November 01, 2009, 02:40:48 am »

"For some minutes my heart pulsated painfully, and then as the sound of its throbbing grew fainter and fainter, I heard a curious noise outside my room—someone was ascending the stairs. I endeavoured to rise, but could not—fear, an awful, ungovernable fear, held me spellbound. The steps paused outside the door, the handle of which was gently turned. Then there was a suggestive silence, then whispering, then another turning of the handle, and then—my state of coma abruptly ended, and I stepped noiselessly out of bed and crept to the window. I was heard. 'Stop him,' the woman cried out, 'he's trying to escape. Use the gun.' She hurled herself against the door as she spoke, whilst the man tore downstairs.

"It was now a matter of seconds, the slightest accident, a hesitation, and I was lost. Swinging open the window, I scrambled on the ledge, and without the slightest idea of the distance—dropped! There was a brief rushing through air and I alighted—safe and sound—on the snow. Blessed snow! Had it not been for the snow I should in all probability have hurt myself! I alighted not an instant too soon, for hardly had I touched the ground before my gigantic host came tearing round the angle of the wall with a lantern in one hand and gun in the other. I immediately dashed away, and, thanks to the intense darkness of the morning—for it must have been two o'clock—had no difficulty in evading my pursuer, who fired twice in rapid succession.

"On and on I went, sometimes falling up to my armpits in the snowdrift, and sometimes stunning myself against a low-hanging branch of a tree. With the first rays of sunlight, however, my troubles came to an end. The snow had ceased falling, and I quickly alighted on a track, which brought me to a village, whence I obtained a conveyance into Liffre.

"I reported the affair to the local police, and a party of gendarmes at once set off to arrest the miscreants. But, alas, they had fled. The house was pulled down, and, on the soil being excavated, a dozen or more skeletons of men and women—all showing unmistakable signs of foul play—together with the remains of a horse, were found in various parts of the premises. The place was a veritable Golgotha. I suppose the phantom horse and rider had appeared to me with the sole purpose of making their fate known. If so, they at all events partly achieved their end, though the mystery surrounding their identity was never solved. All the remains, both human and animal, were removed elsewhere, and accorded a decent burial. The site of their original interment, however, is, I believe, still haunted, and maybe will remain so till the miscreants are brought to book."
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« Reply #142 on: November 01, 2009, 02:41:04 am »

Brief Summary

After a little consideration I am inclined to think there are quite as many authentic cases of hauntings by the phantasms of horses as by the phantasms of cats and dogs. Innumerable horses die unnatural deaths. Apart from those killed in war, many,—more particularly, it is true, in the olden times,—have been murdered in the highways along with their masters; whilst all but the comparative few, when no longer of use to their owners, are butchered in the slaughter-house, and subsequently despatched to the Zoological Gardens, to be eaten by lions and tigers. So much for Christianity, and for man's gratitude. How much better would the promoters of the White Slave Traffic Act be employed, if,—instead of trying to pass a bill which obviously cannot cure the evil it aims at, but can only, by diverting the course of that evil, drive from pillar to post thousands of defenceless, albeit erring women,—they were to labour to secure a peaceful ending for our four-footed toilers, who work for us all their lives, never strike, never think of a pension for old age, and never even dream of a vote. Alas! If only our poor horses could vote, what a different attitude would our pharisaical politicians at once adopt towards them!
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« Reply #143 on: November 01, 2009, 02:41:25 am »

Phantasms of Living Horses

From what I have experienced and have been told, I am of the opinion that horses possess the same faculty of separating their immaterial from their material bodies, as cats and dogs. I knew a Virginian lady who had a piebald horse that frequently appeared simultaneously in two places. She lived in an old country house near Winchfield, and one morning when she went into the breakfast-room, she was surprised to see the piebald horse standing on the gravel path, outside the window, looking in at her. When she called it by name, it immediately melted into fine air. Going round to the stables she found the horse in its stall, and on enquiry was informed that it had been there all the time.

The same thing frequently occurred, other members of the household besides herself witnessing it, and so like, in all its details, was the immaterial horse to the material, that they were often at a loss to tell which was which. The phenomenon sometimes occurring when the real horse was awake, and sometimes when it was asleep, proves that the animal possessed the faculty of projecting its spiritual ego—astral body, or whatever you like to call it—both consciously and unconsciously. I know of many similar instances.
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« Reply #144 on: November 01, 2009, 02:41:57 am »

Horses and the Psychic Faculty of Scent

Horses, in a rather less degree than cats, and in much the same degree as dogs, possess the property of scenting the advent and presence of spirits. On more than one occasion, when I have been riding after dusk, my horse has suddenly come to an abrupt halt and shown unmistakable signs of terror. I have not been able to see anything to account for its conduct, but on subsequent enquiry have learned, either that a tragedy was actually known to have taken place there, or that the spot had long borne a reputation for being haunted. And my experiences are the experiences of countless other people.

Before a death a horse will often neigh repeatedly outside the house of the doomed person, and not infrequently show evidences of terror in passing close to it, from which I deduce the horse can at all events scent the proximity of the phantom of death. Like the dog, however, I think it only possesses this peculiar psychic property in a limited degree. It can, for example, readily detect the whereabouts of phantasms haunting localities, but not so easily those haunting people.

It shows little or no discrimination on sight, between cruel and brutal people and those who are kind, giving the same amount of passing space to the one as it does to the other. Yet, on the other hand, I have watched horses at night, standing in the fields, their heads thrown back, a transfixed, far-off expression in their eyes, sniffing the atmosphere—and snuffling it in a manner that strongly suggested to me they were carrying on, by means of some silent, secret code, a conversation with some superphysical presence, which they either saw or scented, very likely both.

Scent, I am convinced, is the medium of conversation, not only between superphysical animals, but between material animals, and if we ever wish to converse with spirits we must employ cats, dogs, and horses to teach us.
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« Reply #145 on: November 01, 2009, 02:42:10 am »

Phantom Coaches

There are few parts of the British Isles—few countries in Europe—which have not their phantom coaches. Perhaps the most famous are those that haunt a road near Newport, South Wales, and an old highway in Devon.
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« Reply #146 on: November 01, 2009, 02:42:31 am »

A Spectre Coach and Horses in Pembrokeshire

Miss Mary L. Lewes, in an article called "Some More Welsh Ghosts," that appeared in the Occult Review for December, 1907, writes thus:—

"In common with several other districts in Great Britain and Ireland, Pembrokeshire possesses a good 'phantom coach' legend, localized in the southern part of the county, at a place where four roads meet, called Sampson Cross. In old days the belated farmer driving home in his gig from market was apt to cast a nervous glance over his shoulder as his pony slowly climbed the last pitch leading up to the Cross. For tradition says that every night a certain Lady Z. (who lived in the seventeenth century, and whose monument is in the church close by) drives over from Tenby, ten miles distant, in a coach drawn by headless horses, guided by a headless coachman. She also has no head, and arriving by midnight at Sampson Cross, the whole equipage is said to disappear in a flame of fire, with a loud noise of explosion."

Miss Mary L. Lewes goes on to add:—

"A clergyman living in the immediate neighbourhood, who told the writer the story, said that some people believed the ghostly traveller had been safely 'laid' many years ago in the waters of the lake not far off. He added, however that might be, it was an odd fact that his sedate and elderly cob, when driven home past the Cross after nightfall, would invariably start as if frightened there, a thing which never happened by daylight."

What these kinds of spectral horses are no one can say. At the most—despite what theosophists and occultists may declare to the contrary—one can only theorize—and the speculations of one person, be he who he may, seem to me to be of no more consequence than those of another.
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« Reply #147 on: November 01, 2009, 02:43:06 am »

For my own part I am inclined to think that whereas, in some cases, the ghostly coach horses are the phantoms of horses that were killed on the highways, in others they are either Vice-Elementals, or Elementals whose particular function it is to prognosticate death,—either the death of those who see them, or the death of someone connected with those who see them.
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« Reply #148 on: November 01, 2009, 02:43:45 am »

A Phantom Horse and Policeman

According to one of my correspondents, Mr. T—— P——, a comparatively modern phantom rider has been seen in Canada. Writing to me from C——, where he lives, he says: "It is stated that this town is periodically haunted by the phantom of a tall, fair policeman mounted on a white horse and clothed in the uniform of the 'forties—namely, tail coat, tight trousers, and tall hat. His 'phantom' beat extends from a gateway at the commencement of Cod Hill, along the Park side of Pablo Street to Sutton Street, and Adam Street, down Dane Street, and back, through Pablo Street, to the gateway on Cod Hill."

A gentleman well known in the art world, who, in order to avoid publicity, wishes to be designated Mr. Bates, gave me his experience of the phenomena as follows:—

"Yes, I have seen the ghostly policeman and his milk-white horse. I was walking along Pablo Street on the Park side, one grey afternoon in November, with the express intention of meeting a friend at my Club in Royal Street, when to my surprise, just as I was about a hundred yards from the gateway on Cod Hill, I was overtaken by a tall, fair-haired man, riding a white horse. He was so dressed that I stared in astonishment. He was wearing the costume of seventy or eighty years ago, and reminded me of the policemen in Cruikshank's illustrations of Dickens. I was not frightened, because I thought he must be someone masquerading; and, in my curiosity to see his face, I hastened my steps to overtake him. I failed; for although he appeared to be riding slowly, hardly moving at all, I could not draw an inch nearer to him. This made me think, and I examined him more critically. Then I noticed several things about him, that, at first, had escaped my notice. They were these: (one) that although he was mounted he was wearing walking clothes—he had on long trousers and thick, clumsy boots; (two) that his ears and neck were perfectly colourless, of an unnatural and startling white; (three) that despite the incongruity of his attire, no one but myself seemed to see him. On he rode, neither looking to the left nor to the right, until he came to Sutton Street, when, without paying the slightest attention to the traffic, he began to cross over. There were crowds of vehicles passing at the time, and one of them rushed right on him. Making sure he would be killed, I uttered an ejaculation of horror. Judge, then, of my amazement, when, instead of seeing him lying on the ground, crushed out of all shape, I saw him still riding on, as leisurely and unconcernedly as if he had been on a country road. The vehicle had passed right through him. Though I had hitherto scoffed at ghosts, I was now certain I had seen one, and suddenly becoming conscious how very cold it was, I tore on, not feeling at all comfortable till I had reached the warm, cheery, and thoroughly material quarters of my Club."
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« Reply #149 on: November 01, 2009, 02:44:04 am »

To corroborate the evidence of "Mr. Bates," I append a narrative given me verbally by Miss Hartly, who, like Mr. Bates, had, up to the time of her experience, posed as a pronounced and somewhat bitter sceptic. She was an emphatic freethinker, and had then no belief whatsoever in a future life. Now she believes "a sight" more than most people.

"One afternoon, in February, 1911," she stated, "just as twilight was commencing, I left the Park, where I had been exercising my dog, and turning into Pablo Street, made for Bright Street. At the corner of Wolf Street I saw something so strange that I involuntarily halted. Riding slowly along on a big white horse, a few paces ahead of me, was an enormous policeman in the quaint attire of the 'forties—top hat, tail coat, tight trousers, just as I had so often seen portrayed in old books. He was riding stiffly, as if unaccustomed to the saddle, and kept looking rigidly in front of him. Thinking it was someone doing it either for a joke or a wager, I was greatly tickled, and kept saying to myself, 'Well, you are a sport, an A1 sport.' I tried to catch him up, to see how he made up his face, but could not, for although the horse never seemed to quicken its pace—a mere crawl—and I ran, it nevertheless maintained precisely the same distance in front of me. When we had progressed in this fashion some hundred or so yards, I perceived a City policeman advancing towards us.

"'Come, now,' I said to myself, 'we shall see some fun—the 1911 copper meeting the peeler of 1840. I wonder what he will think of him.'

"To my intense astonishment, however, neither even as much as gave the other a fleeting glance, but passed by unmoved, and, to all appearance, wholly unconscious of each other.
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