Here is a little tangle that is perpetually cropping up in various guises. A cyclist bought a bicycle for L15 and gave in payment a cheque for L25. The seller went to a neighbouring shopkeeper and got him to change the cheque for him, and the cycl... Read more of THE BICYCLE THIEF. at Math Puzzle.caInformational Site Network Informational

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Riding Home From Mess

In 1854, General Barter, C.B., was a subaltern in the 75th Regiment,
and was doing duty at the hill station of Murree in the Punjaub. He
lived in a house built recently by a Lieutenant B., who died, as
researches at the War Office prove, at Peshawur on 2nd January, 1854.
The house was on a spur of the hill, three or four hundred yards under
the only road, with which it communicated by a "bridle path," never
used by horsemen. That path ended in a precipice; a footpath led into
the bridle path from Mr. Barter's house.

One evening Mr. Barter had a visit from a Mr. and Mrs. Deane, who
stayed till near eleven o'clock. There was a full moon, and Mr.
Barter walked to the bridle path with his friends, who climbed it to
join the road. He loitered with two dogs, smoking a cigar, and just
as he turned to go home, he heard a horse's hoofs coming down the
bridle path. At a bend of the path a tall hat came into view, then
round the corner, the wearer of the hat, who rode a pony and was
attended by two native grooms. "At this time the two dogs came, and
crouching at my side, gave low frightened whimpers. The moon was at
the full, a tropical moon, so bright that you could see to read a
newspaper by its light, and I saw the party above me advance as
plainly as if it were noon-day; they were above me some eight or ten
feet on the bridle road. . . . On the party came, . . . and now I had
better describe them. The rider was in full dinner dress, with white
waistcoat and a tall chimney-pot hat, and he sat on a powerful hill
pony (dark-brown, with black mane and tail) in a listless sort of way,
the reins hanging loosely from both hands." Grooms led the pony and
supported the rider. Mr. Barter, knowing that there was no place they
could go to but his own house, cried "Quon hai?" (who is it?), adding
in English, "Hullo, what the devil do you want here?" The group
halted, the rider gathered up the reins with both hands, and turning,
showed Mr. Barter the known features of the late Lieutenant B.

He was very pale, the face was a dead man's face, he was stouter than
when Mr. Barter knew him and he wore _a dark Newgate fringe_.

Mr. Barter dashed up the bank, the earth thrown up in making the
bridle path crumbled under him, he fell, scrambled on, reached the
bridle path where the group had stopped, and found nobody. Mr. Barter
ran up the path for a hundred yards, as nobody could go _down_ it
except over a precipice, and neither heard nor saw anything. His dogs
did not accompany him.

Next day Mr. Barter gently led his friend Deane to talk of Lieutenant
B., who said that the lieutenant "grew very bloated before his death,
and while on the sick list he allowed the fringe to grow in spite of
all we could say to him, and I believe he was buried with it". Mr.
Barter then asked where he got the pony, describing it minutely.

"He bought him at Peshawur, and killed him one day, riding in his
reckless fashion down the hill to Trete."

Mr. Barter and his wife often heard the horse's hoofs later, though he
doubts if any one but B. had ever ridden the bridle path. His Hindoo
bearer he found one day armed with a lattie, being determined to
waylay the sound, which "passed him like a typhoon". {74} Here the
appearance gave correct information unknown previously to General
Barter, namely, that Lieutenant B. grew stout and wore a beard before
his death, also that he had owned a brown pony, with black mane and
tail. Even granting that the ghosts of the pony and lieutenant were
present (both being dead), we are not informed that the grooms were
dead also. The hallucination, on the theory of "mental telegraphy,"
was telegraphed to General Barter's mind from some one who had seen
Lieutenant B. ride home from mess not very sober, or from the mind of
the defunct lieutenant, or, perhaps, from that of the deceased pony.
The message also reached and alarmed General Barter's dogs.

Something of the same kind may or may not explain Mr. Hyndford's view
of the family coach, which gave no traceable information.

The following story, in which an appearance of the dead conveyed
information not known to the seer, and so deserving to be called
veracious, is a little ghastly.

Next: The Bright Scar

Previous: The Old Family Coach

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