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Ghosts I have Met and Some Others


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Author Topic: Ghosts I have Met and Some Others  (Read 1137 times)
Keeper of the Seven Keys
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« Reply #90 on: November 03, 2009, 02:17:41 am »

"But you doubt my ability to do so?" he put in. "Oh--well--yes--of
course you do; and why shouldn't you? Nevertheless, I have noticed
this: At times when I have been baffled in my work a mere hint from
another, from one who knew nothing of my work, has carried me on to
a solution of my problem. I have read most of your writings, and I
have thought over some of them many a time, and I have even had
ideas for stories, which, in my own conceit, I have imagined were
good enough for you, and I have wished that I possessed your
facility with the pen that I might make of them myself what I
thought you would make of them had they been ideas of your own."

The old gentleman's pallid face reddened as he said this, and while
I was hopeless as to anything of value resulting from his ideas, I
could not resist the temptation to hear what he had to say further,
his manner was so deliciously simple, and his desire to aid me so
manifest. He rattled on with suggestions for a half-hour. Some of
them were good, but none were new. Some were irresistibly funny, and
did me good because they made me laugh, and I hadn't laughed
naturally for a period so long that it made me shudder to think of
it, fearing lest I should forget how to be mirthful. Finally I grew
tired of his persistence, and, with a very ill-concealed impatience,
told him plainly that I could do nothing with his suggestions,
thanking him, however, for the spirit of kindliness which had
prompted him to offer them. He appeared somewhat hurt, but
immediately desisted, and when nine o'clock came he rose up to go.
As he walked to the door he seemed to be undergoing some mental
struggle, to which, with a sudden resolve, he finally succumbed,
for, after having picked up his hat and stick and donned his
overcoat, he turned to me and said:

"Mr. Thurlow, I don't want to offend you. On the contrary, it is my
dearest wish to assist you. You have helped me, as I have told you.
Why may I not help you?"

[Illustration: "HE RATTLED ON FOR HALF AN HOUR"]

"I assure you, sir--" I began, when he interrupted me.

"One moment, please," he said, putting his hand into the inside
pocket of his black coat and extracting from it an envelope
addressed to me. "Let me finish: it is the whim of one who has an
affection for you. For ten years I have secretly been at work myself
on a story. It is a short one, but it has seemed good to me. I had a
double object in seeking you out to-night. I wanted not only to see
you, but to read my story to you. No one knows that I have written
it; I had intended it as a surprise to my--to my friends. I had
hoped to have it published somewhere, and I had come here to seek
your advice in the matter. It is a story which I have written and
rewritten and rewritten time and time again in my leisure moments
during the ten years past, as I have told you. It is not likely that
I shall ever write another. I am proud of having done it, but I
should be prouder yet if it--if it could in some way help you. I
leave it with you, sir, to print or to destroy; and if you print it,
to see it in type will be enough for me; to see your name signed to
it will be a matter of pride to me. No one will ever be the wiser,
for, as I say, no one knows I have written it, and I promise you
that no one shall know of it if you decide to do as I not only
suggest but ask you to do. No one would believe me after it has
appeared as _yours,_ even if I should forget my promise and claim it
as my own. Take it. It is yours. You are entitled to it as a slight
measure of repayment for the debt of gratitude I owe you."
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