We regained the bedchamber appropriated to myself, and I then remarked that my dog had not followed us
when we had left it. He was thrusting himself close to the fire, and trembling. I was impatient to examine the
letters; and while I read them, my servant opened a little box in which he had deposited the weapons I had
ordered him to bring; took them out, placed them on a table close at my bed-head, and then occupied himself
in soothing the dog, who, however, seemed to heed him very little.
The letters were short--they were dated; the dates exactly thirty-five years ago. They were evidently from a
lover to his mistress, or a husband to some young wife. Not only the terms of expression, but a distinct
reference to a former voyage, indicated the writer to have been a seafarer. The spelling and handwriting were
those of a man imperfectly educated, but still the language itself was forcible. In the expressions of
endearment there was a kind of rough wild love; but here and there were dark and unintelligible hints at some
secret not of love--some secret that seemed of crime. 'We ought to love each other,' was one of the sentences
I remember, 'for how every one else would execrate us if all was known.' Again: 'Don't let any one be in the
same room with you at night--you talk in your sleep.' And again: 'What's done can't be undone; and I tell you
there's nothing against us unless the dead could come to life.' Here there was underlined in a better
handwriting (a female's), 'They do!' At the end of the letter latest in date the same female hand had written
these words: 'Lost at sea the 4th of June, the same day as ----.'
I put down the letters, and began to muse over their contents.
Fearing, however, that the train of thought into which I fell might unsteady my nerves, I fully determined to
keep my mind in a fit state to cope with whatever of marvelous the advancing night might bring forth. I
roused myself--laid the letters on the table--stirred up the fire, which was still bright and cheering--and opened
my volume of Macaulay. I read quietly enough till about half-past eleven. I then threw myself dressed upon
the bed, and told my servant he might retire to his own room, but must keep himself awake. I bade him leave
open the door between the two rooms. Thus alone, I kept two candles burning on the table by my bed-head. I
placed my watch beside the weapons, and calmly resumed my Macaulay. Opposite to me the fire burned
clear; and on the hearthrug, seemingly asleep, lay the dog. In about twenty minutes I felt an exceedingly cold
air pass by my cheek, like a sudden draught. I fancied the door to my right, communicating with the
landing-place, must have got open; but no--it was closed. I then turned my glance to my left, and saw the
flame of the candles violently swayed as by a wind. At the same moment the watch beside the revolver softly
slid from the table--softly, softly--no visible hand--it was gone. I sprang up, seizing the revolver with the one
hand, the dagger with other: I was not willing that my weapons should share the fate of the watch. Thus
armed, I looked round the floor--no sign of the watch. Three slow, loud, distinct knocks were now heard at the
bed-head; my servant called out, 'Is that you, sir?'
'No; be on your guard.'
The dog now roused himself and sat on his haunches, his ears moving quickly backwards and forwards. He
kept his eyes fixed on me with a look so strange that he concentered all my attention on himself. Slowly he
rose up, all his hair bristling, and stood perfectly rigid, and with the same wild stare. I had no time, however,
to examine the dog. Presently my servant emerged from his room; and if ever I saw horror in the human face,
it was then. I should not have recognized him had we met in the street, so altered was every lineament. He
passed by me quickly, saying in a whisper that seemed scarcely to come from his lips, 'Run--run! it is after