The Ghost Girl

Cover of book The Ghost Girl
Categories: Fiction » Children

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been after two when, again in Harlem, I went up the interminable stairs. On the way I was thinking of that girl and her undreamed-of beauty. As I began at the fifth, I saw what I took to be an old woman huddled on the landing opposite my door. But, as I advanced, she stood up. I saw then she was not old but young and, immediately, as I approached her, I could not help it, I started and nearly slipped. Then I raised my hat. It was Nelly Chilton! Why was she there? How had she come? What did she want? And where had she got a hat and where had she changed her furs? Where, for that matter, had she changed her expression? At supper it had been alluring. Now it was reserved. My bewilderment must have been very manifest. In any event, at once she spoke. With an intonation, slightly foreign, she said something. I heard, but I did not hear understandingly. That also she must have seen. She spoke again. "Could you, without inconvenience, loan me a chair?" I did get that and inanely I parroted it. "A chair?" She indicated an adjoining door. "I have lost my key. Until morning I am a vagrant." And an exotic, I thought, for already I had recognised my mistake. "You are quite right." That is what she said and I started again. "About what?" But, rallying, I resumed; "I have five chairs, I have even six, but the sixth is broken. You shall have whatever displeases you least." I opened my door, switched the light in the hall and turned to her. She entered and followed me into the workshop where I again switched a light. As I looked at her then, she sniffed, much as a terrier will, and catalogued me. "You are a literary man." "No, I write for the magazines. There is nothing less literary than that. Will you try this chair?" As I s...

The Ghost Girl
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