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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 557 times)
Keeper of the Seven Keys
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« Reply #105 on: November 03, 2009, 02:19:48 am »

"It is the same," it said, with a leer and a contemptuous shrug.
"You and I are inseparable. Aren't you glad?" it added, with a laugh
that grated on every fibre of my being. I was too overwhelmed to
reply, and it resumed: "It is one of the immortal stories. We agree
to that. Published over your name, your name will live. The stuff
you write yourself will give you present glory; but when you have
been dead ten years people won't remember your name even--unless I
get control of you, and in that case there is a very pretty though
hardly a literary record in store for you."

Again it laughed harshly, and I buried my face in the pillows of my
couch, hoping to find relief there from this dreadful vision.

"Curious," it said. "What you call your decent self doesn't dare
look me in the eye! What a mistake people make who say that the man
who won't look you in the eye is not to be trusted! As if mere
brazenness were a sign of honesty; really, the theory of decency is
the most amusing thing in the world. But come, time is growing
short. Take that story. The writer gave it to you. Begged you to use
it as your own. It is yours. It will make your reputation, and save
you with your publishers. How can you hesitate?"

"I shall not use it!" I cried, desperately.

"You must--consider your children. Suppose you lose your connection
with these publishers of yours?"

"But it would be a crime."

"Not a bit of it. Whom do you rob? A man who voluntarily came to
you, and gave you that of which you rob him. Think of it as it is--
and act, only act quickly. It is now midnight."

The tempter rose up and walked to the other end of the room, whence,
while he pretended to be looking over a few of my books and
pictures, I was aware he was eyeing me closely, and gradually
compelling me by sheer force of will to do a thing which I abhorred.
And I--I struggled weakly against the temptation, but gradually,
little by little, I yielded, and finally succumbed altogether.
Springing to my feet, I rushed to the table, seized my pen, and
signed my name to the story.

"There!" I said. "It is done. I have saved my position and made my
reputation, and am now a thief!"

[Illustration: "DOESN'T DARE TO LOOK ME IN THE EYE"]

"As well as a fool," said the other, calmly. "You don't mean to say
you are going to send that manuscript in as it is?"

"Good Lord!" I cried. "What under heaven have you been trying to
make me do for the last half hour?"

"Act like a sane being," said the demon. "If you send that
manuscript to Currier he'll know in a minute it isn't yours. He
knows you haven't an amanuensis, and that handwriting isn't yours.
Copy it."

"True!" I answered. "I haven't much of a mind for details to-night.
I will do as you say."
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