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Clams, a Ghost Story
by [?]

“I haven’t a room in the house, ma’am, but if you don’t mind going down to the cottage, and coming up here to your meals, I can accommodate you, and would be glad to,” said Mrs. Grant, in answer to my demand for board.

“Where is the cottage?” and I looked about me, feeling ready to accept anything in the way of shelter, after the long, hot journey from broiling Boston, to breezy York Harbor.

“Right down there, just a step, you see. It’s all in order, and next week it will be full, for many folks prefer it because of the quiet.”

At the end of a precipitous path, which offered every facility for accidents of all sorts, from a sprained ankle to a broken neck, stood the cottage, a little white building with a pretty woodbine over the porch, gay flowers in the garden, and the blue Atlantic rolling up at the foot of the cliff.

“A regular ‘Cottage by the Sea.’ It will suit me exactly if I can have that front upper room. I don’t mind being alone, so have my trunk taken down, please, and I’ll get ready for tea,” said I, congratulating myself on my good luck. Alas, how little I knew what a night of terror I was to pass in that picturesque abode!

An hour later, refreshed by my tea and invigorated by the delicious coolness, I plunged recklessly into the gayeties of the season, and accepted two invitations for the evening,–one to a stroll on Sunset Hill, the other to a clam-bake on the beach.

The stroll came first, and while my friend paused at one of the fishily-fragrant houses by the way, to interview her washerwoman, I went on to the hill-top, where a nautical old gentleman with a spy-glass, welcomed me with the amiable remark,–

“Pretty likely place for a prospeck.”

Entering into a conversation with this ancient mariner, I asked if he knew any legend or stories concerning the old houses all about us.

“Sights of ’em; but it aint allers the old places as has the most stories concernin’ ’em. Why, that cottage down yonder aint more ‘n fifty year old, and they say there’s been a lot of ghosts seen there, owin’ to a man’s killin’ of himself in the back bedroom.”

“What, that house at the end of the lane?” I asked, with sudden interest.

“Jes’ so; nice place, but lonesome and dampish. Ghosts and toadstools is apt to locate in houses of that sort,” placidly responded the venerable tar.

The dampness scared me more than the goblins, for I never saw a ghost yet, but I had been haunted by rheumatism, and found it a hard fiend to exorcise.

“I’ve taken a room there, so I’m rather interested in knowing what company I’m to have.”

“Took a room, hev you? Wal, I dare say you won’t be troubled. Some folks have a knack of seeing sperrits, and then agin some hasn’t. My wife is uncommon powerful that way, but I aint; my sight’s dreadful poor for that sort of critter.”

There was such a sly twinkle in the starboard eye of the old fellow as he spoke, that I laughed outright, and asked, sociably,–

“Has she ever seen the ghosts of the cottage? I think I have rather a knack that way, and I’d like to know what to expect.”

“No, her sort is the rappin’ kind. Down yonder the only ghost I take much stock in is old Bezee Tucker’s. He killed himself in the back bedroom, and some folks say they’ve heard him groanin’ there nights, and a drippin’ sound; he bled to death, you know. It was kep’ quiet at the time, and is forgotten now by all but a few old chaps like me. Bezee was allers civil to the ladies, so I guess he won’t bother you, ma’am;” and the old fellow laughed.

“If he does, I’ll let you know;” and with that I departed, for my friend called to me that the beach party was clamoring for our company.