Magick7's Moonlight Stories Index





An Agreeable Explanation


Joseph Taylor




A gentleman of undoubted veracity relates the following story.

"When I was a young man, I took up my residence at a lodging-house, which was occupied by several families. On taking possession of my apartments, I agreed with the old lady of the house, who had two children, to accommodate me with a key to the street-door, to prevent unnecessary trouble to the servant or family, as I should very frequently stay out late in the evening. This was agreed to; and, by way of making things more agreeable, I had always a light left burning for me on the staircase, which was opposite to the outer door. This arrangement being made, things continued very comfortable for some months; till, one night, or rather morning, returning and opening the door as usual, I thought I heard a faint scream—I paused for a few seconds. The cry of 'Murder!' now feebly succeeded. I hesitated how to act, when the cry of 'Murder!' was again more loudly vociferated. This very much alarmed me; and, instead of going forward, I instantly re-opened the street-door, and was in the act of calling the watch, when a tall spare figure, at least six feet high, in a complete white dress, and pointed cap, with a candle in its hand, appeared before me. This unexpected encounter completed my astonishment, and I was about to speak, when the phantom (which proved to be my good old landlady) thus addressed me—'I hope, Sir, I have not alarmed you; but, just before you came to the door, I had a most frightful dream. I thought robbers had broken into my house, and, not content with plunder, had murdered my children, and were about to destroy me; when the noise you made on opening the door increased my agony of mind; and, before I was sufficiently sensible,  I screamed out Murder! as you must have heard.' This explanation having taken place, the poor woman retired, and was for several days after extremely ill; and I was not a little pleased myself at finding what I at first supposed a supernatural encounter thus terminate, without having recourse to a divine exorcist."