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A Jug of Sirup
by [?]

This monologue gave the woman time to collect what faculties she had.

“Alvan,” she said, “you have given no evidence of insanity, believe me. This was undoubtedly an illusion–how should it be anything else? That would be too terrible! But there is no insanity; you are working too hard at the bank. You should not have attended the meeting of directors this evening; any one could see that you were ill; I knew something would occur.”

It may have seemed to him that the prophecy had lagged a bit, awaiting the event, but he said nothing of that, being concerned with his own condition. He was calm now, and could think coherently.

“Doubtless the phenomenon was subjective,” he said, with a somewhat ludicrous transition to the slang of science. “Granting the possibility of spiritual apparition and even materialization, yet the apparition and materialization of a half-gallon brown clay jug–a piece of coarse, heavy pottery evolved from nothing–that is hardly thinkable.”

As he finished speaking, a child ran into the room–his little daughter. She was clad in a bedgown. Hastening to her father she threw her arms about his neck, saying: “You naughty papa, you forgot to come in and kiss me. We heard you open the gate and got up and looked out. And, papa dear, Eddy says mayn’t he have the little jug when it is empty?”

As the full import of that revelation imparted itself to Alvan Creede’s understanding he visibly shuddered. For the child could not have heard a word of the conversation.

The estate of Silas Deemer being in the hands of an administrator who had thought it best to dispose of the “business” the store had been closed ever since the owner’s death, the goods having been removed by another “merchant” who had purchased them en bloc. The rooms above were vacant as well, for the widow and daughters had gone to another town.

On the evening immediately after Alvan Creede’s adventure (which had somehow “got out”) a crowd of men, women and children thronged the sidewalk opposite the store. That the place was haunted by the spirit of the late Silas Deemer was now well known to every resident of Hillbrook, though many affected disbelief. Of these the hardiest, and in a general way the youngest, threw stones against the front of the building, the only part accessible, but carefully missed the unshuttered windows. Incredulity had not grown to malice. A few venturesome souls crossed the street and rattled the door in its frame; struck matches and held them near the window; attempted to view the black interior. Some of the spectators invited attention to their wit by shouting and groaning and challenging the ghost to a footrace.

After a considerable time had elapsed without any manifestation, and many of the crowd had gone away, all those remaining began to observe that the interior of the store was suffused with a dim, yellow light. At this all demonstrations ceased; the intrepid souls about the door and windows fell back to the opposite side of the street and were merged in the crowd; the small boys ceased throwing stones. Nobody spoke above his breath; all whispered excitedly and pointed to the now steadily growing light. How long a time had passed since the first faint glow had been observed none could have guessed, but eventually the illumination was bright enough to reveal the whole interior of the store; and there, standing at his desk behind the counter, Silas Deemer was distinctly visible!

The effect upon the crowd was marvelous. It began rapidly to melt away at both flanks, as the timid left the place. Many ran as fast as their legs would let them; others moved off with greater dignity, turning occasionally to look backward over the shoulder. At last a score or more, mostly men, remained where they were, speechless, staring, excited. The apparition inside gave them no attention; it was apparently occupied with a book of accounts.