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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 33


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The clock struck twelve when I entered my chamber. All was still—more so than ever I had noticed before—and the stillness inspired me with a fear, which was as the presage of some momentous event.

I threw myself into a chair, exhausted by what I had undergone, and appalled by the superincumbent hour.

A sigh, uttered at my side, startled me. The selfsame sigh it was which came from the bed-head of my departed Friend, but expressing more pain.

"Whatever can this mystery be?" I murmured to myself. The sigh was repeated. "Good heavens," I exclaimed, "is there a presence here besides mine own?" Again there came a sigh. I turned in terror to the direction of the sound. "Art thou anything or nothing?" I demanded in fearful accents. The sigh arose once more, but with more agonizing emphasis. "If aught more than my wandering fancy," I shrieked in anguish, "speak, if thou hast the power of speech, and cease to sting my brain to madness." Another sigh came forth, as of one who relieves himself from the martrydom of pain ere he frames his tongue for utterance. "What art thou?" I cried aloud, following up my last words, and the answering sigh by instinctive logic.

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"The Spirit of thy Friend."

The words were pronounced, not as of mortal speech, but as the syllabling of silence itself.

I sank into my chair, and was held in a trance of horror for some time; yet, in the trance, a course of reasoning ran through my brain, so that when I recovered, I spoke as a partner in the mysterious converse.

"And wherefore art thou here?" I asked.

"It is thine own doing," came the reply, firmer and more distinct.

"My doing," I cried: "let me know further."