'My heart did leap within me and this time the tears did come, for I could not restrain them. I laughed too, for
the way he called me 'madam' sounded so odd, here in this empty room at midnight in a London street, but my
laughter stopped dead and merged in a flood of weeping when I saw how my change of feeling affected him.
He had left his place by the window and was kneeling on the floor at my feet, his hands stretched out towards
me, and the first signs of a kind of glory about his head.
''Put your arms round me and kiss me, for the love of God!' he cried. 'Kiss me, oh, kiss me, and I shall be
freed! You have done so much already--now do this!'
'I stuck there, hesitating, shaking, my determination on the verge of action, yet not quite able to compass it.
But the terror had almost gone.
''Forget that I'm a man and you're a woman,' he continued in the most beseeching voice I ever heard. 'Forget
that I'm a ghost, and come out boldly and press me to you with a great kiss, and let your love flow into me.
Forget yourself just for one minute and do a brave thing! Oh, love me, love me, LOVE ME! and I shall be
'The words, or the deep force they somehow released in the center of my being, stirred me profoundly, and an
emotion infinitely greater than fear surged up over me and carried me with it across the edge of action.
Without hesitation I took two steps forward towards him where he knelt, and held out my arms. Pity and love
were in my heart at that moment, genuine pity, I swear, and genuine love. I forgot myself and my little
tremblings in a great desire to help another soul.
''I love you! poor, aching, unhappy thing! I love you,' I cried through hot tears; 'and I am not the least bit
afraid in the world.'
'The man uttered a curious sound, like laughter, yet not laughter, and turned his face up to me. The light from
the street below fell on it, but there was another light, too, shining all round it that seemed to come from the
eyes and skin. He rose to his feet and met me, and in that second I folded him to my breast and kissed him full
on the lips again and again.'
All our pipes had gone out, and not even a skirt rustled in that dark studio as the story-teller paused a moment
to steady her voice, and put a hand softly up to her eyes before going on again.
'Now, what can I say, and how can I describe to you, all you skeptical men sitting there with pipes in your
mouths, the amazing sensation I experienced of holding an intangible, impalpable thing so closely to my heart
that it touched my body with equal pressure all the way down, and then melted away somewhere into my very
being? For it was like seizing a rush of cool wind and feeling a touch of burning fire the moment it had struck
its swift blow and passed on. A series of shocks ran all over and all through me; a momentary ecstasy of
flaming sweetness and wonder thrilled down into me; my heart gave another great leap--and then I was alone.
'The room was empty. I turned on the gas and struck a match to prove it. All fear had left me, and something
was singing round me in the air and in my heart like the joy of a spring morning in youth. Not all the devils or
shadows or hauntings in the world could then have caused me a single tremor.
'I unlocked the door and went all over the dark house, even into kitchen and cellar and up among the ghostly
attics. But the house was empty. Something had left it. I lingered a short hour, analyzing, thinking,
wondering--you can guess what and how, perhaps, but I won't detail, for I promised only essentials,
remember--and then went out to sleep the remainder of the night in my own flat, locking the door behind me
upon a house no longer haunted.
'But my uncle, Sir Henry, the owner of the house, required an account of my adventure, and of course I was
in duty bound to give him some kind of a true story. Before I could begin, however, he held up his hand to