"Oh yes, you may write it down—every one's dead." I profited by my old friend's permission and made a note of the story, which, at the time he told it to me, seemed curious and interesting. Will it strike you in the same light? Perhaps not, but I will run the risk and copy it out for you as I reported it, with just a little amplification from memory. Though every one is dead, perhaps you had better not let it go further. My old friend is dead himself, and how can I say how I miss him? He had many merits, and not the least of them was that he was always at home. The infirmities of the last years of his life confined him to London and to his own house, and of an afternoon, between five and six o'clock, I often knocked at his door. He is before me now, as he leans back in his chair, with his eyes wandering round the top of his room as if a thousand ghostly pictures were suspended there. Following his profession in many countries, he had seen much of life and knew much of men. This thing dropped from him piece by piece (one wet, windy spring afternoon, when we happened to be uninterrupted), like a painless belated confession. I have only given it continuity.
- Copyright, 1891, by Macmillan & Co.