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The Innocent Devil Or Agreeable Disappointment






The following story is extracted from a letter I received, some time
since, from a friend, on the subject of apparitions.

"Returning, one evening in the summer, to my apartments, at a short
distance from town, I was invited by my landlady, a brisk young widow,
to partake of un petit souper, as she termed it. The invitation, of
course, I accepted; and, after a pleasant repast, the cloth being
removed, various conversation ensued, and the terminating subject was
ghosts and hobgoblins. After my attention had been greatly excited by
many dreadful recitals, I thought I perceived something black glide
swiftly by my feet. My back at that time being towards the door, I
instantly turned round; and, perceiving the same to be shut, I fancied
my fear to be only a chimaera arising from the subject we had been
conversing on. I therefore replenished my glass; and the subject of
spectres was again renewed. In the midst of the discourse, when I was
all attention to some dreadful tale, I felt something gently brush the
bottom of my chair; when, on looking down, I beheld the most hideous
black figure imagination can conceive. It was a monster on all fours,
with cloven feet, horns on its head, and a long tail trailing after it
as it moved along. My terror, I will acknowledge, was so great, that I
instantly jumped up as high as the table, and loudly vociferated, 'Lord
have mercy upon me! what is it?' My friendly hostess now begged me to
sit down and be a little calm, and she would explain to me the cause of
my alarm. The figure having again disappeared, the lady of the
ceremonies thus addressed me--'I beg your pardon, Sir, for the fright I
have thus occasioned you. It is only a little joke I have been playing
off, merely to see whether you were proof against supernatural
appearances. A friend of mine having been to a masqued ball in a domino,
I prepared the stratagem, by making a head-piece to the dress, with
horns, false legs, cloven feet, and a tail. I then instructed my
servant, who was by agreement to be in the adjoining room, on hearing a
certain part of my story, to open the door as softly as possible, and to
make her entre, in this habiliment. This she attempted before the plot
was sufficiently ripe, when you turned round towards the door, and she
retreated. The second attempt too effectually succeeded; for which I
again ask your pardon, and am extremely sorry, though luckily it has had
no bad effect. But I will never, while I live, again be induced to act
so foolishly.'--"





Next: The Spectre Of The Broken

Previous: A Man With His Head On Fire And Covered With Blood



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