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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 1136 times)
Keeper of the Seven Keys
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« Reply #90 on: November 03, 2009, 02:18:21 am »

He pressed the manuscript into my hands, and before I could reply
had opened the door and disappeared into the darkness of the street.
I rushed to the sidewalk and shouted out to him to return, but I
might as well have saved my breath and spared the neighborhood, for
there was no answer. Holding his story in my hand, I re-entered the
house and walked back into my library, where, sitting and reflecting
upon the curious interview, I realized for the first time that I was
in entire ignorance as to my visitor's name and address.

[Illustration: "THE DEMON VANISHED"]

I opened the envelope hoping to find them, but they were not there.
The envelope contained merely a finely written manuscript of thirty
odd pages, unsigned.

And then I read the story. When I began it was with a half-smile
upon my lips, and with a feeling that I was wasting my time. The
smile soon faded, however; after reading the first paragraph there
was no question of wasted time. The story was a masterpiece. It is
needless to say to you that I am not a man of enthusiasms. It is
difficult to arouse that emotion in my breast, but upon this
occasion I yielded to a force too great for me to resist. I have
read the tales of Hoffmann and of Poe, the wondrous romances of De
La Motte Fouque, the unfortunately little-known tales of the
lamented Fitz-James O'Brien, the weird tales of writers of all
tongues have been thoroughly sifted by me in the course of my
reading, and I say to you now that in the whole of my life I never
read one story, one paragraph, one line, that could approach in
vivid delineation, in weirdness of conception, in anything, in any
quality which goes to make up the truly great story, that story
which came into my hands as I have told you. I read it once and was
amazed. I read it a second time and was--tempted. It was mine. The
writer himself had authorized me to treat it as if it were my own;
had voluntarily sacrificed his own claim to its authorship that he
might relieve me of my very pressing embarrassment. Not only this;
he had almost intimated that in putting my name to his work I should
be doing him a favor. Why not do so, then, I asked myself; and
immediately my better self rejected the idea as impossible. How
could I put out as my own another man's work and retain my self
-respect? I resolved on another and better course--to send you the
story in lieu of my own with a full statement of the circumstances
under which it had come into my possession, when that demon rose up
out of the floor at my side, this time more evil of aspect than
before, more commanding in its manner. With a groan I shrank back
into the cushions of my chair, and by passing my hands over my eyes
tried to obliterate forever the offending sight; but it was useless.
The uncanny thing approached me, and as truly as I write sat upon
the edge of my couch, where for the first time it addressed me.
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