In the wee hours of Friday morning, October 7, 1859, when all the good residents of Charlottetown should still be sleeping in their beds, a deep bell tone was heard from the bell tower in St. James Church.
A father had two sons, the elder of whom was forward and clever enough to do almost anything; and so, the younger son was ignored. If anything was to be done, the elder had at all times to do it; but sometimes the father would call him to fetch something in the dead of night, and perhaps the way led through the churchyard or by a dismal place, and then he used to answer, “No, father, I cannot go there, I am afraid,” for he was a coward.
There was once a mother who had a little boy of seven years old, who was so handsome and lovable that no one could look at him without liking him, and she herself worshipped him above everything in the world.
One day, a little brother took his little sister by the hand and said, “Since our mother died, we have had no happiness; our stepmother beats us every day, and if we come near her, she kicks us away with her foot. Our meals are the hard crusts of bread that are left over; and the little dog under the table is better off, for she often throws it a nice bit. May Heaven pity us. If our mother only knew! Come, we will go forth together into the wide world.”
In a certain country there was once great lamentation over a wild boar that laid waste the farmer’s fields, killed the cattle, and ripped up people’s bodies with his tusks. The King promised a large reward to anyone who would free the land from this plague; but the beast was so big and strong that no one dared to go near the forest in which it lived.
There was once on a time a miller, who had a beautiful daughter, and as she was grown up, he wished that she was provided for, and well married. He thought, “If any good suitor comes and asks for her, I will give her to him.” Not long afterwards, a suitor came, who appeared to be very rich, and as the miller had no fault to find with him, he promised his daughter to him.
A poor man had twelve children and was forced to work night and day to give them even bread. When therefore the thirteenth came into the world, he knew not what to do in his trouble, but ran out into the great highway, and resolved to ask the first person whom he met to be godfather.
I am not an imaginative man, and no one who knows me can say that I have ever indulged in sentimental ideas upon any subject. I am rather predisposed, in fact, to look at everything from a purely practical standpoint, and this quality has been further developed in me by the fact that for twenty years I have been an active member of the detective police force at Westford, a large town in one of our most important manufacturing districts.
I am not a superstitious man, far from it, but despite all my efforts to the contrary I could not help thinking, directly I had taken a survey of my chamber, that I should never quit it without going through a strange adventure. There was something in its immense size, heaviness and gloom that seemed to annihilate at one blow all my resolute skepticism as regards supernatural visitations. It appeared to me totally impossible to go into that room and disbelieve in ghosts.
Virgil Hoyt, a photographer’s assistant up at St. Paul, had a whimsical view of the world, and he did not like to be bothered with anything disagreeable. That is the reason that he loathes and detests going to a house of mourning to photograph a corpse. The horribly bad taste of it offends him partly, and partly he is annoyed at having to shoulder, even for a few moments, a part of someone’s burden of sorrow. He doesn’t like sorrow and would willingly canoe 500 miles up the cold Canadian rivers to get rid of it. Nevertheless, as assistant photographer, it is often his duty to do this very kind of thing.