Accordingly, about half-past nine, I put the book into my pocket, and strolled leisurely towards the haunted
house. I took with me a favorite dog--an exceedingly sharp, bold and vigilant bull-terrier--a dog fond of
prowling about strange ghostly corners and passages at night in search of rats--a dog of dogs for a ghost.
It was a summer night, but chilly, the sky somewhat gloomy and overcast. Still there was a moon--faint and
sickly, but still a moon--and if the clouds permitted, after midnight it would be brighter.
I reached the house, knocked, and my servant opened with a cheerful smile.
'All right, sir, and very comfortable.'
'Oh!' said I, rather disappointed; 'have you not seen nor heard anything remarkable?'
'Well, sir, I must own I have heard something queer.'
'The sound of feet pattering behind me; and once or twice small noises like whispers close at my ear--nothing
'You are not at all frightened?'
'I! not a bit of it, sir,' and the man's bold look reassured me on one point--viz., that happen what might, he
would not desert me.
We were in the hall, the street-door closed, and my attention was now drawn to my dog. He had at first run in
eagerly enough, but had sneaked back to the door, and was scratching and whining to get out. After patting
him on the head, and encouraging him gently, the dog seemed to reconcile himself to the situation, and
followed me and F---- through the house, but keeping close at my heels instead of hurrying inquisitively in
advance, which was his usual and normal habit in all strange places. We first visited the subterranean
apartments, the kitchen and other offices, and especially the cellars, in which last there were two or three
bottles of wine still left in a bin, covered with cobwebs, and evidently, by their appearance, undisturbed for
many years. It was clear that the ghosts were not wine-bibbers. For the rest we discovered nothing of interest.
There was a gloomy little backyard with very high walls. The stones of this yard were very damp; and what
with the damp, and what with the dust and smoke-grime on the pavement, our feet left a slight impression
where we passed.
And now appeared the first strange phenomenon witnessed by myself in this strange abode. I saw, just before
me, the print of a foot suddenly form itself, as it were. I stopped, caught hold of my servant, and pointed to it.
In advance of that footprint as suddenly dropped another. We both saw it. I advanced quickly to the place; the
footprint kept advancing before me, a small footprint--the foot of a child; the impression was too faint
thoroughly to distinguish the shape, but it seemed to us both that it was the print of a naked foot. This
phenomenon ceased when we arrived at the opposite wall, nor did it repeat itself on returning. We remounted
the stairs, and entered the rooms on the ground floor, a dining-parlor, a small back parlor, and a still smaller
third room that had been probably appropriated to a footman--all still as death. We then visited the
drawing-rooms, which seemed fresh and new. In the front room I seated myself in an armchair. F---- placed
on the table the candlestick with which he had lighted us. I told him to shut the door. As he turned to do so, a
chair opposite to me moved from the wall quickly and noiselessly, and dropped itself about a yard from my
own chair, immediately fronting it.
'Why, this is better than the turning tables,' said I, with a half-laugh; and as I laughed, my dog put back his
head and howled.
F----, coming back, had not observed the movement of the chair. He employed himself now in stilling the dog.
I continued to gaze on the chair, and fancied I saw on it a pale blue misty outline of a human figure, but an
outline so indistinct that I could only distrust my own vision. The dog now was quiet.
'Put back that chair opposite me,' said I to F----; 'put it back to the wall.'
F---- obeyed. 'Was that you, sir?' said he, turning abruptly.
'Why, something struck me. I felt it sharply on the shoulder--just here.'
'No,' said I. 'But we have jugglers present, and though we may not discover their tricks, we shall catch them
before they frighten us.'
We did not stay long in the drawing-rooms--in fact, they felt so damp and so chilly that I was glad to get to
the fire upstairs. We locked the doors of the drawing-rooms--a precaution which, I should observe, we had
taken with all the rooms we had searched below. The bedroom my servant had selected for me was the best on
the floor--a large one, with two windows fronting the street. The four-posted bed, which took up no
inconsiderable space, was opposite to the fire, which burnt clear and bright; a door in the wall to the left,
between the bed and the window, communicated with the room which my servant appropriated to himself.