**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Ghost Of A Chance
by [?]

“Actually, a hod!” repeated Mrs. Kinsolving, pathetically.

Mrs. Bellamy Bellmore arched a sympathetic eyebrow. Thus she expressed condolence and a generous amount of apparent surprise.

“Fancy her telling everywhere,” recapitulated Mrs. Kinsolving, “that she saw a ghost in the apartment she occupied here — our choicest guest-room — a ghost, carrying a hod on its shoulder — the ghost of an old man in overalls, smoking a pipe and carrying a hod! The very absurdity of the thing shows her malicious intent. There never was a Kinsolving that carried a hod. Every one knows that Mr. Kinsolving’s father accumulated his money by large building contracts, but he never worked a day with his own hands. He had this house built from his own plans; but — oh, a hod! Why need she have been so cruel and malicious?”

“It is really too bad,” murmured Mrs. Bellmore, with an approving glance of her fine eyes about the vast chamber done in lilac and old gold. “And it was in this room she saw it! Oh, no, I’m not afraid of ghosts. Don’t have the least fear on my account. I’m glad you put me in here. I think family ghosts so interesting! But, really, the story does sound a little inconsistent. I should have expected something better from Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins. Don’t they carry bricks in hods? Why should a ghost bring bricks into a villa built of marble and stone? I’m so sorry, but it makes me think that age is beginning to tell upon Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins.”

“This house,” continued Mrs. Kinsolving, “was built upon the site of an old one used by the family during the Revolution. There wouldn’t be anything strange in its having a ghost. And there was a Captain Kinsolving who fought in General Greene’s army, though we’ve never been able to secure any papers to vouch for it. If there is to be a family ghost, why couldn’t it have been his, instead of a bricklayer’s?”

“The ghost of a Revolutionary ancestor wouldn’t be a bad idea,” agreed Mrs. Bellmore; “but you know how arbitrary and inconsiderate ghosts can be. Maybe, like love, they are ‘engendered in the eye.’ One advantage of those who see ghosts is that their stories can’t be disproved. By a spiteful eye, a Revolutionary knapsack might easily be construed to be a hod. Dear Mrs. Kinsolving, think no more of it. I am sure it was a knapsack.”

“But she told everybody!” mourned Mrs. Kinsolving, inconsolable. “She insisted upon the details. There is the pipe. And how are you going to get out of the overalls?”

“Shan’t get into them,” said Mrs. Bellmore, with a prettily suppressed yawn; “too stiff and wrinkly. Is that you, Felice? Prepare my bath, please. Do you dine at seven at Clifftop, Mrs. Kinsolving? So kind of you to run in for a chat before dinner! I love those little touches of informality with a guest. They give such a home flavour to a visit. So sorry; I must be dressing. I am so indolent I always postpone it until the last moment.”

Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins had been the first large plum that the Kinsolvings had drawn from the social pie. For a long time, the pie itself had been out of reach on a top shelf. But the purse and the pursuit had at last lowered it. Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins was the heliograph of the smart society parading corps. The glitter of her wit and actions passed along the line, transmitting whatever was latest and most daring in the game of peep-show. Formerly, her fame and leadership had been secure enough not to need the support of such artifices as handing around live frogs for favours at a cotillon. But, now, these things were necessary to the holding of her throne. Beside, middle age had come to preside, incongruous, at her capers. The sensational papers had cut her space from a page to two columns. Her wit developed a sting; her manners became more rough and inconsiderate, as if she felt the royal necessity of establishing her autocracy by scorning the conventionalities that bound lesser potentates.