One night I had a curious experience…
The room was unusually quiet, and I had closed my eyes, but I was not asleep.
I opened them, and, in the bright light of one unshaded gas jet, I saw a dark figure moving.
Its back was towards me, and I instantly thought a plain clothes policeman had entered, no unusual occurrence, without my hearing him.
In these days detectives used often to escort the West End ladies on slumming expeditions, and they usually called on me.
Then I saw this figure was clad in dark robes, and was very tall. I saw through him and beyond him.
I then and there realized that feeling of hair of one's head rising on one's scalp is no mere figment of speech.
The figure moved softly round the room, it made no sound whatever, and as it came to each sleeper it bent down, as if closely scrutinizing each face. It occurred to me that it was looking for someone.
I began to dread the moment when the search was over, and the figure would turn its face towards me.
I felt that my hair had turned into the quills of a porcupine. I wanted to shut my eyes, but dared not.
Then before that quest was over, the figure straightened itself and turned full towards me.
My fears instantly fell away from me like a fallen mantle, for though I knew the visitor had come from the other side, there was something so profoundly sad in the pale weary face, that compassion quite eclipsed fear.
Another second and it had vanished….
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