Page:Weird Tales volume 31 number 02.djvu/120

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We did not have electric light in those days. At the door stood Iversen's house-boy, a young fellow about eighteen. He was half asleep, and very much upset. He 'cut his eyes' at me, and said nothing.

" 'What is it, mon?" I asked the boy.

" 'Mistress Iversen send ax yo' sir, please come to de house. Mr. Iversen die, sir.'

" 'What time Mr. Iversen die, mon,–you hear?'

" 'I ain' able to say what o'clock, sir. Mistress Iversen come wake me where I sleep in a room in the yard, sir, an' sen' me please cahl you,–I t'ink he die aboht an hour ago, sir.'

"I put on my shoes again, and the rest of my clothes, and picked up a St. Kitts supplejack–I'll get you one; it's one of those limber, grapevine walking-sticks, a handy thing on a dark night–and started with the boy for Iversen's house.

"When we had arrived almost at the Moravian Church, I saw something ahead, near the roadside. It was then about 11:15, and the streets were deserted. What I saw made me curious to test something. I paused, and told the boy to run on ahead and tell Mrs. Iversen I would be there shortly. The boy started to trot ahead. He was pure black, Mr. Lee, but he went past what I saw without noticing it. He swerved a little away from it, and I think, perhaps, he slightly quickened his pace just at that point, but that was all."

"What did you see?" asked Mr. Lee, interrupting. He spoke a trifle breathlessly. His left lung was, as yet, far from being healed.

"The 'Hanging Jumbee,' " replied Mr. Da Silva, in his usual tones.

"Yes! There at the side of the road were three Jumbees. There's a reference to that in The History of Stewart McCann. Perhaps you've run across that, eh?"

Mr. Lee nodded, and Mr. Da Silva quoted:

"There they hung, though no ladder's rung
Supported their dangling feet.

"And there's another line in The History," he continued, smiling, which describes a typical group of Hanging Jumbee:

"Maiden, man-child, and shrew."

"Well, there were the usual three Jumbees, apparently hanging in the air. It wasn't very light, but I could make out a boy of about twelve, a young girl, and a shriveled old woman,–what the author of The History of Stewart McCann meant by the word 'shrew.' He told me himself, by the way, Mr. Lee, that he had put feet on his Jumbees mostly for the sake of a convenient rime,–poetic license.' The Hanging Jumbees have no feet. It is one of their peculiarities. Their legs stop at the ankles. They have abnormally long, thin legs–African legs. They are always black, you know. Their feet–if they have them–are always hidden in a kind of mist that lies along the ground where-ever one sees them. They shift and 'weave,' as a full-blooded African does–standing on one foot and resting the other–you've noticed that, of course–or scratching the supporting ankle with the toes of the other foot. They do not swing in the sense that they seem to be swung on a rope,–that is not what it means; they do not twirl about. But they do–always–face the oncomer….

"I walked on, slowly, and passed them; and they kept their faces to me as they always do. I'm used to that….

"I went up the steps of the house to the front gallery, and found Mrs. Iversen waiting for me. Her sister was with her, too. I remained sitting with them for the