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Jerry Bundler
by [?]

It wanted a few nights to Christmas, a festival for which the small market-town of Torchesterwas making extensive preparations. The narrow streets which had been thronged with peoplewere now almost deserted; the cheap-jack from London, with the remnant of breath left him afterhis evening’s exertions, was making feeble attempts to blow out his naphtha lamp, and the lastshops open were rapidly closing for the night.

In the comfortable coffee-room of the old "Boar’s Head", half a dozen guests, principallycommercial travellers, sat talking by the light of the fire. The talk had drifted from trade topolitics, from politics to religion and so by easy stages to the supernatural. Three ghost stories,never known to fail before, had fallen flat; there was too much noise outside, too much lightwithin. The fourth story was told by an old hand with more success; the streets were quiet, andhe had turned the gas out. In the flickering light of the fire, as it shone on the glasses and dancedwith the shadows on the walls, the story proved so enthralling that George, the waiter, whosepresence had been forgotten, created a very disagreeable sensation by suddenly starting up froma dark corner and gliding silently from the room.