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Alone At Last


             Haggard and shaken, an English country-house guest
once enthralled his  breakfast companions with this account
of his night's adventure:

           His hostess had warned him, he said, that his bedchamber
was haunted, but he had merely laughed st this. When he went
up the stairs to his bedchamber that night, however, he found
himself anxious - unaccountably so, for the room was well lighted
and eminently comfortable. To soothe his nerves, he looked under
the bed and into each cupboard. He examined the blanket chest
and opened every drawer of every table. All was serene. He was
alone in the room. After a glance up and down the empty hallway,
he closed the bedchamber door and bolted it. Then he shut the
windows, latched them, drew the curtains and snuffed out all the
candles but one. Then he got into bed, pulled the covers to his
chin and lay there as still as he could, listening. He heard nothing,
not a rustle, not a murmur. Relaxed at last, he extinguished the
beside candle, and as he did so, he heard a voice - a tiny, dry,
satisfied voice that seemed to emanate from an inkstand on the
desk. It spoke only once, but that was enough to keep him in a
state of rigid wakefulness until dawn.

                          "Now we're shut in for the night," it said.

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