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The "Haunted House" In Royal Street
by [?]

[Illustration: THE ENTRANCE OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE. From a Photograph.] Measure one of the windows–eight feet across. Each of its shutters is four feet wide. Look at those old crystal chandeliers. And already here is something uncanny–at the bottom of one of these rooms, a little door in the wall. It is barely a woman’s height, yet big hinges jut out from the jamb, and when you open it and look in you see only a small dark place without steps or anything to let you down to its floor below, a leap of several feet. It is hardly noteworthy; only neither you nor—-can make out what it ever was for.

The house is very still. As you stand a moment in the middle of the drawing-room looking at each other you hear the walls and floors saying those soft nothings to one another that they so often say when left to themselves. While you are looking straight at one of the large doors that lead into the hall its lock gives a whispered click and the door slowly swings open. No cat, no draft, you and—-exchange a silent smile and rather like the mystery; but do you know? That is an old trick of those doors, and has made many an emotional girl smile less instead of more; although I doubt not any carpenter could explain it.

I assume, you see, that you visit the house when it is vacant. It is only at such times that you are likely to get in. A friend wrote me lately: “Miss —- and I tried to get permission to see the interior. Madame said the landlord had requested her not to allow visitors; that over three hundred had called last winter, and had been refused for that reason. I thought of the three thousand who would call if they knew its story.” Another writes: “The landlord’s orders are positive that no photographer of any kind shall come into his house.”

The house has three stories and an attic. The windows farthest from the street are masked by long, green latticed balconies or “galleries,” one to each story, which communicate with one another by staircases behind the lattices and partly overhang a small, damp, paved court which is quite hidden from outer view save from one or two neighboring windows. On your right as you look down into this court a long, narrow wing stands out at right angles from the main house, four stories high, with the latticed galleries continuing along the entire length of each floor. It bounds this court on the southern side. Each story is a row of small square rooms, and each room has a single high window in the southern wall and a single door on the hither side opening upon the latticed gallery of that floor. Wings of that sort were once very common in New Orleans in the residences of the rich; they were the house’s slave quarters. But certainly some of the features you see here never were common–locks seven inches across; several windows without sashes, but with sturdy iron gratings and solid iron shutters. On the fourth floor the doorway communicating with the main house is entirely closed twice over, by two pairs of full length batten shutters held in on the side of the main house by iron hooks eighteen inches long, two to each shutter. And yet it was through this doorway that the ghosts–figuratively speaking, of course, for we are dealing with plain fact and history–got into this house.

Will you go to the belvedere? I went there once. Unless the cramped stair that reaches it has been repaired you will find it something rickety. The newspapers, writing fifty-five years ago in the heat and haste of the moment, must have erred as to heavy pieces of furniture being carried up this last cramped flight of steps to be cast out of the windows into the street far below. Besides, the third-story windows are high enough for the most thorough smashing of anything dropped from them for that purpose.