There is probably a smell of rasted chestnuts and other good comfortable things all the time, for we are telling Winter Stories-- Ghost Stories, or more shame for us--round the Christmas fire; and we have never stirred, except to draw a little nearer to it. ut, no matter for that. We came to the house, and it is an old house, full of great chimneys where wood is burnt on ancient dogs pon the hearth, and grim portraits (some of them with grim legends, too) lower distrustfully from the oaken panels of the walls. e are a middle-aged nobleman, and we make a generous supper with our host and hostess and their guests--it being hristmas-ime, and the old house full of company--and then we go to bed. Our room is a very old room. It is hung with tapestry. We don't ike the portrait of a cavalier in green, over the fireplace. There are great black beams in the ceiling, and there is a great black edstead, supported at the foot by two great black figures, who seem to have come off a couple of tombs in the old baronial hurch in the park, for our particular accommodation. But, we are not a superstitious nobleman, and we don't mind. Well! we ismiss our servant, lock the door, and sit before the fire in our dressing-gown, musing about a great many things. At length we o to bed. Well! we can't sleep. We toss and tumble, and can't sleep. The embers on the hearth burn fitfully and make the room ook ghostly. We can't help peeping out over the counterpane, at the two black figures and the cavalier--that wicked- looking avalier--in green. In the flickering light they seem to advance and retire: which, though we are not by any means a superstitious obleman, is not agreeable. Well! we get nervous-- more and more nervous. We say "This is very foolish, but we can't stand this;we'll pretend to be ill, and knock up somebody." Well! we are just going to do it, when the locked door opens, and there comes in a young woman, deadly pale, and with long fair hair, who glides to the fire, and sits down in the chair we have left here, wringing her hands. Then, we notice that her clothes are wet. Our tongue cleaves to the roof of our mouth, and we can't peak; but, we observe her accurately. Her clothes are wet; her long hair is dabbled with moist mud; she is dressed in the ashion of two hundred years ago; and she has at her girdle a bunch of rusty keys. Well! there she sits, and we can't even faint, we are in such a state about it. Presently she gets up, and tries all the locks in the room with the rusty keys, which won't fit neof them; then, she fixes her eyes on the portrait of the cavalier in green, and says, in a low, terrible voice, "The stags know t!" After that, she wrings her hands again, passes the bedside, and goes out at the door. We hurry on our dressing-gown, seizeour pistols (we always travel with pistols), and are following, when we find the door locked. We turn the key, look out into he dark gallery; no one there. We wander away, and try to find our servant. Can't be done. We pace the gallery till daybreak; hen return to our deserted room, fall asleep, and are awakened by our servant (nothing ever haunts him) and the shining sun. ell! we make a wretched breakfast, and all the company say we look queer. After breakfast, we go over the house with our ost, nd then we take him to the portrait of the cavalier in green, and then it all comes out. He was false to a young housekeeper nceattached to that family, and famous for her beauty, who drowned herself in a pond, and whose body was discovered, after a ong time, because the stags refused to drink of the water. Since which, it has been whispered that she traverses the house at idnight (but goes especially to that room where the cavalier in green was wont to sleep), trying the old locks with the rusty eys. ell! we tell our host of what we have seen, and a shade comes over his features, and he begs it may be hushed up; and so it is.But, it's all true; and we said so, before we died (we are dead now) to many responsible people.
From " A Christmas Tree" by Charles Dickens