"Ghosts!" said my aunt resolutely, "I'll singe their whiskers for
They entered the chamber. All was still and undisturbed as when she
left it. They approached the portrait of my uncle.
"Pull me down that picture!" cried my aunt.
A heavy groan, and a sound like the chattering of teeth, was heard from
the portrait. The servants shrunk back. The maid uttered a faint
shriek, and clung to the footman.
"Instantly!" added my aunt, with a stamp of the foot.
The picture was pulled down, and from a recess behind it, in which had
formerly stood a clock, they hauled forth a round-shouldered,
black-bearded varlet, with a knife as long as my arm, but trembling all
over like an aspen leaf.
"Well, and who was he? No ghost, I suppose!" said the inquisitive
"A knight of the post," replied the narrator, "who had been smitten
with the worth of the wealthy widow; or rather a marauding Tarquin, who
had stolen into her chamber to violate her purse and rifle her strong
box when all the house should be asleep. In plain terms," continued he,
"the vagabond was a loose idle fellow of the neighborhood, who had once
been a servant in the house, and had been employed to assist in
arranging it for the reception of its mistress.