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The Ghost Of A Chance
by [?]

“I believe so; one of those old chaps in raglan vests and golf trousers. I don’t care a continental for a Continental, myself. But the mother has set her heart on pomp and heraldry and pyrotechnics, and I want her to be happy.”

“You are a good boy, Terence,” said Mrs. Bellmore, sweeping her silks close to one side of her, “not to beat your mother. Sit here by me, and let’s look at the album, just as people used to do twenty years ago. Now, tell me about every one of them. Who is this tall, dignified gentleman leaning against the horizon, with one arm on the Corinthian column?”

“That old chap with the big feet?” inquired Terence, craning his neck. “That’s great-uncle O’Brannigan. He used to keep a rathskeller on the Bowery.”

“I asked you to sit down, Terence. If you are not going to amuse, or obey, me, I shall report in the morning that I saw a ghost wearing an apron and carrying schooners of beer. Now, that is better. To be shy, at your age, Terence, is a thing that you should blush to acknowledge.”

At breakfast on the last morning of her visit, Mrs. Bellmore startled and entranced every one present by announcing positively that she had seen the ghost.

“Did it have a — a — a –?” Mrs. Kinsolving, in her suspense and agitation, could not bring out the word.

“No, indeed — far from it.”

There was a chorus of questions from others at the table. “Were n’t you frightened?” “What did it do?” “How did it look?” “How was it dressed?” “Did it say anything?” “Didn’t you scream?”

“I’ll try to answer everything at once,” said Mrs. Bellmore, heroically, “although I’m frightfully hungry. Something awakened me — I’m not sure whether it was a noise or a touch — and there stood the phantom. I never burn a light at night, so the room was quite dark, but I saw it plainly. I wasn’t dreaming. It was a tall man, all misty white from head to foot. It wore the full dress of the old Colonial days — powdered hair, baggy coat skirts, lace ruffles, and a sword. It looked intangible and luminous in the dark, and moved without a sound. Yes, I was a little frightened at first — or startled, I should say. It was the first ghost I had ever seen. No, it didn’t say anything. I didn’t scream. I raised up on my elbow, and then it glided silently away, and disappeared when it reached the door.”

Mrs. Kinsolving was in the seventh heaven. “The description is that of Captain Kinsolving, of General Greene’s army, one of our ancestors,” she said, in a voice that trembled with pride and relief. “I really think I must apologize for our ghostly relative, Mrs. Bellmore. I am afraid he must have badly disturbed your rest.”

Terence sent a smile of pleased congratulation toward his mother. Attainment was Mrs. Kinsolving’s, at last, and he loved to see her happy.

“I suppose I ought to be ashamed to confess,” said Mrs. Bellmore, who was now enjoying her breakfast, “that I wasn’t very much disturbed. I presume it would have been the customary thing to scream and faint, and have all of you running about in picturesque costumes. But, after the first alarm was over, I really couldn’t work myself up to a panic. The ghost retired from the stage quietly and peacefully, after doing its little turn, and I went to sleep again.”

Nearly all listened, politely accepted Mrs. Bellmore s story as a made-up affair, charitably offered as an offset to the unkind vision seen by Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins. But one or two present perceived that her assertions bore the genuine stamp of her own convictions. Truth and candour seemed to attend upon every word. Even a scoffer at ghosts — if he were very observant — would have been forced to admit that she had, at least in a very vivid dream, been honestly aware of the weird visitor. ‘