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lady, I know — the Blue Lady, we call her, because, 1
believe, she wears a blue sacque — do take some sug^ar,

9^



THE GHOST BABY

Morrison; there's no good in making a martyr of your-
self — but I have never seen her myself. I daresay
Morrison will tell you all about her to-morrow."

There was a good deal more laughing and joking
about the ghosts and much merry anticipation of the
wonderful story I should have to tell in the morning.
I myself was much excited by the little that Kirby had
said about the ghost, all of which seemed so perfectly
applicable to the apparition I had seen at Temsbury —
the" mother of Euphemia. Could it really be she? I
wondered.

I got away to my room as early as I could, and
waited anxiously for the appearance of the ghost. I had
some idea of telling Euphemia about it, in case she
might be able to exercise some kind of occult influence
over her mother's spirit, and at least oblige her to ap-
pear and speak to me. But I decided against this plan.
Though the Baby had practically been deserted by its
mother, it might not be conscious of the fact, and, at
any rate, I was not going to try to set any division be-
tween them, if such did not exist already. Respect of
parents is one of the first Christian principles, and I am
satisfied that if this was properly impressed upon all
little ghosts, they would, in many cases, turn out much
more creditable members of society than they are at
present. Besides, the Baby was still in the same
dreamy, quiescent kind of state, and I did not like to
disturb it. Perhaps it was not well — and then came
over me the dreadful thought, what on earth I should
do if it fell ill. It was a contingency I had never
thought of before, and the conviction that I should, in
such a case, be wholly unable to do anything to relieve
its sufferings was extremely painful. Clearly I was not
fitted to be the Baby's guardian, and I looked forward
anxiously to what seemed to be the only chance of get-
ting her off my hands.

99



COMEDY

Absorbed in these considerations, it was some time
before I observed that the phantom I wished to speak
with had already appeared in the room. Chancing to
look towards the cradle, I now saw the same figure
that I had seen before at Temsbury bending over the
cradle and fondly caressing the Baby, who seemed
equally delighted at the meeting. As I gazed at the
pair the lady looked up and smiled, and I bowed, but
otherwise she took no notice of me. Not knowing
exactly what to do, I coughed once or twice in the
hope of attracting her attention again; but as she took
no notice, I determined to speak out boldly without
waiting for her to address me.

"Madam," I began, "I — a — I — ahem — I believe I
have the honor to address the Countess of Ruetown?"
I said at last, in despair of finding something else to
say.

The lady bowed slightly, with some appearance of
astonishment at my audacity.

"I desire to speak to your ladyship concerning your
daughter. I — I am not at all easy in my mind about
her. I do not think "

"Why, she is not ill?" said the Countess, anxiously
interrupting me.

"N — no, not ill," I said — "not that I know of, at
least — I am not sure — I believe not. But, Madam, I
see how the mere suggestion of Euphemia "

"Of the Lady Euphemia, you were saying," said the
Countess, severely.

"The Lady Euphemia — exactly," I acquiesced, while
thinking it was rather hard that one might not speak of
one's own ward by her Christian name alone; "how the
mere suggestion of her falling ill affects you. May I
represent to you, Madam, how utterly unable I
should be in such a case to give your daughter the care
she required?"

100



THE GHOST BABY

"Do you mean to say," broke in the lady, indignantly,
"that you would not do everything in your power "

"In my power — certainly," said I, venturing to inter-
rupt in my turn; "but that is just the point- The at-
tentions which would be required in such a case would
be beyond my power to give. In fact, Madam, I regret
that experience has convinced me that there are many
points in which it is quite impossible for a living man
like myself to discharge the duties of the guardianship
which you have been good enough to confer upon me."

"In other words, you wish to renounce the sacred
charge I intrusted to you," said the Countess, sternly.
"Is it not so?"

"Well — I — a — in fact. I must say I do think that
that course would be the most satisfactory for all con-
cerned."

"Strange," muttered the Countess, musingly — "unac-
countable indeed ;" then she cried suddenly, in a tone
that rather frightened me: "Why do you say this? Is
it not a great honor to you to be intrusted with the cus-
tody of my child? Has she not, even in this short
time, brought happiness and prosperity to her guar-
dian?"

"Well, yes," I admitted — "prosperity certainly, of a
kind; but as to happiness, I am not quite so sure about
that."

''Could any one be anything but happy with that
sweet child?" said the lady, indignantly.

"She is a nice child," I agreed, for I wasn't going to
be unjust to the Baby — "an uncommonly nice child —
and certainly one ought to be very happy with her;
but the fact is, I had hoped to be happy with some-
body else. You see, IMadam, I had already formed
other ties, even at the time when I first had the honor
of seeing you "



COMEDY

"And when you accepted the guardianship of my
child," said the lady, severely.

"If you will excuse me, I did nothing of the kind.
I had not the remotest idea what the charge was you
were going to commit to me. If you had allowed me
to explain then, I should have told you that I am en-
gaged to be married, and I should have strongly pro-
tested against your proposal to make me the guardian
of your child."

"You wish, then, to be relieved from the guardian-
ship of my child? It is well. Sir. Such as I do not
require to thrust their favors upon those who are un-
willing to receive them. But remember, the prosperity
which this charge would have brought to you is lost
to you forever."

"I care little for that," I said — I was quite bold, now
that there seemed some chance of success — "I only
hope. Madam, that you are not thinking of taking this
charge from me merely in order to impose it upon
some other unfortunate man."

"You are mistaken. Sir," said the Countess, proudly;
"I have only once asked a favor from mortal man, and
assuredly I will never do so again. From henceforth
my child remains with me, to share in all the miseries
of my wandering, unhappy existence. It will be a
pleasant thought for you," she added, with a f^ash of
anger in her eyes, "in the happiness you have prepared
for yourself, to think that from these dangers you
might have saved her — and would not."

This was horrible. I began to feel that I must be
acting like an absolute ruffian. The Countess had
taken the Baby into her arms now, and stood looking
defiantly at me. I felt that she might vanish at any
moment and take the Baby with her; and though her
doing so would relieve me of my personal difficulties,

102



THE GHOST BABY

Still it was my duty to try and do something for Eu-
phemia.

"Madam," I said, at last, "I hope you will reflect be-
fore taking so serious a step. The Baby — I mean the
Lady Euphemia — appears to me to be a young lady of
great promise, and I think something better could be
done for her. If you will allow me to say so, I doubt
whether the profession of a ghost is one that a con-
scientious mother should bring up her child to."

"It is all that is left to us," said the lady, sadly; "what
else can we do?"

"Of that. Madam, you must be a much better judge
than I can be. Surely if you had power to put the
Baby under my care, you must also be capable of dis-
posing of it — I should say her — in some other more
convenient manner. You yourself say that the life of a
ghost is not a happy one, and I am sure it can only in
very exceptional cases be considered useful. Do you
not think, if representations were made in the proper
quarters, it might be possible to relieve her, at least,
from the life you were speaking of?"

"It is a strange proposal," said the lady, meditatively.
"I had never thought that such a thing could be pos-
sible, but — yes. Sir, yes, perhaps you are right. In any
case, it is worth trying. I will do anything to save
my poor child from such a life, and if she can be free,
what matters it what becomes of me?"

"Let me hope, Madam," said I, delighted at having
carried my point, "that you also will obtain your free-
dom. And wh''e we are upon this subject," I con-
tinued, thinking the opportunity a good one for laying
down certain moral reflections which had occurred to
me during my ghost-seeking career, "let me endeavor
to explain to you, Lady Ruetown, the ideas which have
been suggested to me by my own personal experiences,
and which may prove of great value to yourself and

103



COMEDY

your — a — companions in misfortune. Judging from
what I have seen and heard, it is — a — my deUberate

opinion that "

I broke off abruptly, as I became suddenly conscious
that my audience was gone, vanished in a moment,
without even taking any leave of me, their benefactor,
as I felt myself to be. I did, for a moment, see the
Baby waving its little hand to me, but it did not show
the least desire to stay. It is a pity, for I think I could
have drawn attention to some facts which would have
been of value to the ghost world, but it was not my
fault-
When I come to think of it, I very much doubt
whether the Baby was ever satisfied with the arrange-
ment by which she was put under my care. I think she
must have seen the absurdity of the position from the
very beginning, but being a Baby of strong character,
she determined to adapt herself to the circumstances,
and certainly she succeeded wonderfully well. Poor
Euphemia! I sometimes think I should like to see her
again, but never from that time to this have I — or any
other person, I believe — set eyes upon either mother or
daughter.

There is hardly anything more to tell. Though the
great obstacle to our happiness was removed by the
Baby's disappearance, it was only a very short time ago
that Alice Raynsley and I were married.

I have told her the story, and I am bound to admit
that she does not believe it.

She thinks, however, that other people may, perhaps;
at any rate, whether they do or not, I can assure them
that the above is a true and faithful account of the cir»
cumstances which attended my extraordinary and prob-
ably unique position as guardian to a ghost baby.



lO)



MENDING THE CLOCK

By J. M. Barrie



TT is a little American clock, which I got as a pres-
ent about two years ago. The donor told me it
cost half a guinea, but on inquiry at the shop where
it was bought (this is what I always do when I get a
present), I learned that the real price was four-and-
sixpence. Up to this time I had been hesitating about
buying a stand for it, but after that I determined not to
do so. Since I got it, it has stood on my study man-
telpiece, except once or twice at first, when its loud
tick compelled me to wrap it up in flannel and bury it
in the bottom of the drawer. Until a fortnight ago my
clock went beautifully, and I have a feeling that had we
treated it a little less hardly it would have continued to
go well. One night a fortnight ago it stopped as if un-
der the impression that I had forgotten to wind it up.
I wound it up as far as possible, but after going for an
hour it stopped again. Then I shook it and it went for
five minutes. I strode into another room to ask who
had been meddling with my clock, but no one had
touched it. When I came back it was going again, but
as soon as I sat down it stopped- I shook my fist at
it, which terrified it into going for half a minute, and
then it went creak, creak, like a clock in pain. The
last thing it did before stopping finally was to strike
nineteen.

For two days I left my clock serenely alone, nor

T07



COMEDY

would ever have annoyed myself with the thing had it
not been for my visitors. I have a soul above mechanics,
but when these visitors saw that my clock had stopped
they expressed surprise at my not mending it. How
different I must be, they said, from my brother, who
had a passion for making himself generally use-
ful. If the clock had been his he would have had it to
pieces and put it right within the hour. I pointed out
that my mind was so full of weightier matters that I
could not descend to clocks, but they had not the
brains to see that what prevented my mending the
clock was not incapacity, but want of desire to do so. >
This has ever been the worry of my life, that, because I
I don't do certain things, people take it for granted
that I can't do them. I took no prizes at school or
college, but you entirely misunderstand me if you
think that was because I could not take them. The fact
is, that I had always a contempt for prizes and prize-
men, and I have ever been one of the men who gather
statistics to prove that it is the boy who sat at the foot
of the class that makes his name in after life? I was
that boy, and though I have not made my mark in life
as yet, I could have done it had I wanted to do so as
easily as I could mend a clock. My visitors, judging
me by themselves, could not follow this argument,
though I have given expression to it in their presence
many times, and they were so ridiculous as to say it
was a pity that my brother did not happen to be at
home.

"Why, what do I need him for?" I asked, irritably.

"To mend the clock." they replied, and all the answer
I made them was that if I wanted the clock mended
I would mend it myself.

"But you don't know the way." they said.

"Do you really think," I asked them, "that I am the
kind of man to be beaten by a little American clock?"

io8



MENDING THE CLOCK

They replied that that was their belief, at which I
coldly changed the subject.

"Are you really going to attempt it?" they asked, as
they departed.

"Not I," I said. "I have other things to do."

Nevertheless, the way they flung my brother at me
annoyed me, and I returned straight from the door to
the study to mend the clock. It amused me to picture
their chagrin when they dropped in the next night and
found my clock going beautifully. "Who mended it?"
I fancied them asking, and I could not help practicing the
careless reply, "Oh, I did it myself." Then I took the
clock in my hands, and sat down to examine it.

The annoying thing, to begin with, was that there
seemed to be no way in. The clock was practically her-
metically sealed, for, though the back shook a little when
I thumped it on my knee, I could see quite well that
the back would not come off unless I broke the main-
spring. I examined the clock carefully round and round,
but to open the thing up was as impossible as to get
into an egg without chipping the shell. I twisted and
twirled it, but nothing would move. Then I raged at
the idiots who made clocks that would not open. My
mother came in about that time to ask how I was
getting on.

"Getting on with what?" I asked.

"With the clock," she said.

"The clock," I growled, "is nothing to me," for it
irritated me to hear her insinuating that I had been
foiled.

"But I thought you were trying to mend it," she said.

"Not at all," I replied. "I have something else to do."

"What a pity," she said, "that Andrew is not here."

Andrew is the brother they are always flinging at me.

"He could have done nothing," I retorted, "for the
asses made this clock not to open."

log



COMEDY

"I'm sure it opens," my mother said.

"Why should you be sure?" I asked, fiercely.

"Because," she explained, "I never saw or heard of a
clock that doesn't open."

"Then," I snarled, "you can both see and hear of it
now" — and I pointed contemptuously at my clock.

She shook her head as she went out, and as soon as
the door shut I hit the clock with my clenched fist, stun-
ning my fourth finger. I had a presentiment that my
mother was right about the clock's opening, and I
feared she still labored under the delusion that I had
been trying to mend the exasperating thing.

On the following day we had a visit from my friend
Summer, and he had scarcely sat down in my study
when he jumped up, exclaiming, "Hullo, is that the
right time?"

I said to him that the clock had stopped, and he
immediately took it on his knees. I looked at him side-
ways, and saw at once that he was the kind of man who
knows about clocks. After shaking it he asked me what
was wrong.

"It needs cleaning," I said at a venture, for if I had
told him the whole story he might have thought that I
did not know how to mend a clock.

"Then you have opened it and examined the works?"
he asked, and, not to disappoint him, I answered yes.

"If it needs cleaning, why did you not clean it?" was
his next question.

I hate inquisitiveness in a man, but I replied that I
had not had time to clean it. He turned it round in
his hands, and I knew what he was looking for before
he said:

"I have never taken an American clock to pieces.
Does it open in the ordinary way?"

This took me somewhat aback, but Summer being my
guest, had to be answered.

IIO



MENDIXG THE CLOCK

"Well," I said, cautiously, "it does and it doesn't."

He looked at it again, and then held it out to me,
saying: "You had better open it yourself, seeing that
you know the way."

There was a clock in the next room, and such a
silence was there in my study after that remark that I
could distinctly hear it ticking.

"Curiously unsettled weather," I said.

"Very," he answered. "But let me see how you get at
the works of the clock."

"The fact is," I said, "that I don't want this clock
mended : it ticks so loud that it disturbs me."

"Never mind," Summer said, "about that. I should
like to have a look at its internals, and then we can
stop it if you want to do so."

Summer talked in a light way, and I was by no
means certain whether, once it was set agoing, the clock
could be stopped so easily as he thought, but he was
evidently determined to get inside.

"It is a curious little clock," I said to him, "a sort of
puzzle, indeed, and it took me ten minutes to discover
how to open it myself. Suppose you try to find out the
way?"

"All right," Summer said, and then he tried to remove
the glass.

"The glass doesn't come off, does it ?" he asked.

"I'm not going to tell you," I replied.

"Stop a bit," said Summer, speaking to himself; "is it
the feet that screw out?"

It had never struck me to try the feet, but I said:
"Find out for yourself."

I sat watching with more interest than he gave me
credit for, and very soon he had both the feet out ; then
he unscrewed the ring at the top, and then the clock
came to pieces.

"I've done it," said Summer.



Ill



COMEDY



1



"Yes," I said, "but you have been a long time about it."

He examined the clock with a practiced eye, and
then —

"It doesn't seem to me," he said, "to be requiring
cleaning."

A less cautious man than myself would have weakly
yielded to the confidence of this assertion, and so have
shown that he did not know about clocks.

"Oh, yes, it does," I said, in a decisive tone.

"Well," he said, "we had better clean it."

"I can't be bothered cleaning it," I replied, "but, if you
like, you can clean it."

"Are they cleaned in the ordinary way, those American
clocks?" he asked.

"Well," I said, "they are and they aren't."

"How should I clean it, then?" he asked.

"Oh, in the ordinary way," I replied.

Summer proceeded to clean it by blowing at the
wheels, and after a time he said, "We'll try it now."

He put it together again and then wound it up, but it
would not go.

"There is something else wrong with it," he said.

"We have not cleaned it properly," I explained.

"Clean it yourself," he replied, and flung out of the
house.

After he had gone I took up the clock to see how he
had opened it, and to my surprise it began to go. I laid
it down triumphantly. At last I had mended it. When
Summer came in an hour afterward he exclaimed —

"Hullo, it's going."

"Yes," I said, "I put it to rights after you went out."

"How did you do it?" he asked.

"I cleaned it properly," I replied.

As I spoke I was leaning against a mantelpiece, and
I heard the clock beginning to make curious sounds. I



^•»f>MiutmmuO'H m m'^t ^ itt\*A>-t



MENDING THE CLOCK

gave the mantelpiece a shove with my elbow, and the
clock went all right again.

Summer had not noticed. He remained in the room
for half an hour, and all that time I dared not sit down.
Had I not gone on shaking the mantelpiece the clock
would have stopped at any moment. When he went at
last I fell thankfully in a chair, and the clock had
stopped before he was half-way downstairs. I shook it
and it went for five minutes, and then stopped. I shook
it again, and it went for two minutes. I shook it, and
it went for half a minute. I shook it, and it did not go
at all.

The day was fine, and my study window stood open.
In a passion, I seized hold of that clock and flung it
fiercely out into the garden. It struck against a tree and
fell into a flower-bed.

Then I stood at a window sneering at it, when sud-
denly I started. I have mentioned that it has a very
loud tick. Surely I heard it ticking! I ran into the
garden.

The clock was going again I Concealing it beneath my
coat, I brought it back to the study, and since then it
has gone beautifully.

Everybody is delighted except Summer, who is nat-
urally a little annoyed.



Vol. 18—8 ii.i



THE TACHYPOMP

A MATHEMATICAL DEMONSTRATION

By E. p. Mitchell

CHERE was nothing mysterious about Professor
Surd's dislike for me. I was the only poor mathe-
matician in an exceptionally mathematical class. The
old gentleman sought the lecture-room every morning
with eagerness, and left it reluctantly. For was it not
a thing of joy to find seventy young men who, individu-
ally and collectively, preferred x to XX ; who had rather
differentiate than dissipate; and for whom the limbs of
the heavenly bodies had more attractions than those of
earthly stars upon the spectacular stage?

So affairs went on swimmingly between the Professor
of Mathematics and the Junior Class at Polyp University.
In every man of the seventy the sage saw the logarithm
of a possible La Place, of a Sturm, or of a Newton. It
was a delightful task for him to lead them through the
pleasant valleys of conic sections, and beside the still
waters of the integral calculus. Figuratively speaking,
his problem was not a hard one. He had only to ma-
nipulate, and eliminate, and to raise to a higher power,
and the triumphant result of examination day was as-
sured.

But I was a disturbing element, a perplexing unknown
quantity, which had somehow crept into the work, and
which seriously threatened to impair the accuracy of his



T17



COMEDY

calculations. It was a touching sight to behold the ven-
erable mathematician as he pleaded with me not so ut-
terly to disregard precedent in the use of cotangents ;
or as he urged, with eyes almost tearful, that ordinates
were dangerous things to trifle with. All in vain. More
theorems went on to my cuflf than into my head. Never
did chalk do so much work to so little purpose. And,
therefore, it came that Furnace Second was reduced to
zero in Professor Surd's estimation. He looked upon
me with all the horror which an unalgebraic nature could
inspire. I have seen the Professor walk around an en-
tire square rather than meet the man who had no mathe-
matics in his soul.

For Furnace Second were no invitations to Professor
Surd's house. Seventy of the class supped in delegations
around the periphery of the Professor's tea-table. The
seventy-first knew nothing of the charms of that perfect
ellipse, with its twin bunches of fuchsias and geraniums
in gorgeous precision at the two foci.

This, imfortunately enough, was no trifling depriva-
tion. Not that I longed especially for segments of Mrs.
Surd's justly celebrated lemon pies; not that the
spheroidal damsons of her excellent preserving had any
marked allurements ; not even that I yearned to hear the
Professor's jocose table-talk about binomials, and chatty
illustrations of abstruse paradoxes. The explanation is
far difiFerent. Professor Surd had a daughter. Twenty
years before, he made a proposition of marriage to the
present Mrs. S. He added a little Corollary to his
proposition not long after. The Corollary was a girl.


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