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The Major's Lease
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The Warlock Of Glororum
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A Man With Two Lives
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A Fruitless Assignment

Henry Saylor, who was killed in Covington, in a quarrel with Antonio
Finch, was a reporter on the Cincinnati Commercial. In the year
1859 a vacant dwelling in Vine street, in Cincinnati, became the
center of a local excitement because of the strange sights and
sounds said to be observed in it nightly. According to the
testimony of many reputable residents of the vicinity these were
inconsistent with any other hypothesis than that the house was
haunted. Figures with something singularly unfamiliar about them
were seen by crowds on the sidewalk to pass in and out. No one
could say just where they appeared upon the open lawn on their way
to the front door by which they entered, nor at exactly what point
they vanished as they came out; or, rather, while each spectator was
positive enough about these matters, no two agreed. They were all
similarly at variance in their descriptions of the figures
themselves. Some of the bolder of the curious throng ventured on
several evenings to stand upon the doorsteps to intercept them, or
failing in this, get a nearer look at them. These courageous men,
it was said, were unable to force the door by their united strength,
and always were hurled from the steps by some invisible agency and
severely injured; the door immediately afterward opening, apparently
of its own volition, to admit or free some ghostly guest. The
dwelling was known as the Roscoe house, a family of that name having
lived there for some years, and then, one by one, disappeared, the
last to leave being an old woman. Stories of foul play and
successive murders had always been rife, but never were

One day during the prevalence of the excitement Saylor presented
himself at the office of the Commercial for orders. He received a
note from the city editor which read as follows: "Go and pass the
night alone in the haunted house in Vine street and if anything
occurs worth while make two columns." Saylor obeyed his superior;
he could not afford to lose his position on the paper.

Apprising the police of his intention, he effected an entrance
through a rear window before dark, walked through the deserted
rooms, bare of furniture, dusty and desolate, and seating himself at
last in the parlor on an old sofa which he had dragged in from
another room watched the deepening of the gloom as night came on.
Before it was altogether dark the curious crowd had collected in the
street, silent, as a rule, and expectant, with here and there a
scoffer uttering his incredulity and courage with scornful remarks
or ribald cries. None knew of the anxious watcher inside. He
feared to make a light; the uncurtained windows would have betrayed
his presence, subjecting him to insult, possibly to injury.
Moreover, he was too conscientious to do anything to enfeeble his
impressions and unwilling to alter any of the customary conditions
under which the manifestations were said to occur.

It was now dark outside, but light from the street faintly
illuminated the part of the room that he was in. He had set open
every door in the whole interior, above and below, but all the outer
ones were locked and bolted. Sudden exclamations from the crowd
caused him to spring to the window and look out. He saw the figure
of a man moving rapidly across the lawn toward the building--saw it
ascend the steps; then a projection of the wall concealed it. There
was a noise as of the opening and closing of the hall door; he heard
quick, heavy footsteps along the passage--heard them ascend the
stairs--heard them on the uncarpeted floor of the chamber
immediately overhead.

Saylor promptly drew his pistol, and groping his way up the stairs
entered the chamber, dimly lighted from the street. No one was
there. He heard footsteps in an adjoining room and entered that.
It was dark and silent. He struck his foot against some object on
the floor, knelt by it, passed his hand over it. It was a human
head--that of a woman. Lifting it by the hair this iron-nerved man
returned to the half-lighted room below, carried it near the window
and attentively examined it. While so engaged he was half conscious
of the rapid opening and closing of the outer door, of footfalls
sounding all about him. He raised his eyes from the ghastly object
of his attention and saw himself the center of a crowd of men and
women dimly seen; the room was thronged with them. He thought the
people had broken in.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, coolly, "you see me under
suspicious circumstances, but"--his voice was drowned in peals of
laughter--such laughter as is heard in asylums for the insane. The
persons about him pointed at the object in his hand and their
merriment increased as he dropped it and it went rolling among their
feet. They danced about it with gestures grotesque and attitudes
obscene and indescribable. They struck it with their feet, urging
it about the room from wall to wall; pushed and overthrew one
another in their struggles to kick it; cursed and screamed and sang
snatches of ribald songs as the battered head bounded about the room
as if in terror and trying to escape. At last it shot out of the
door into the hall, followed by all, with tumultuous haste. That
moment the door closed with a sharp concussion. Saylor was alone,
in dead silence.

Carefully putting away his pistol, which all the time he had held in
his hand, he went to a window and looked out. The street was
deserted and silent; the lamps were extinguished; the roofs and
chimneys of the houses were sharply outlined against the dawn-light
in the east. He left the house, the door yielding easily to his
hand, and walked to the Commercial office. The city editor was
still in his office--asleep. Saylor waked him and said: "I have
been at the haunted house."

The editor stared blankly as if not wholly awake. "Good God!" he
cried, "are you Saylor?"

"Yes--why not?" The editor made no answer, but continued staring.

"I passed the night there--it seems," said Saylor.

"They say that things were uncommonly quiet out there," the editor
said, trifling with a paper-weight upon which he had dropped his
eyes, "did anything occur?"

"Nothing whatever."

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