Told After Supper
My Uncle's Story - The Ghost Of The Blue Chamber
"I don't want to make you fellows nervous," began my uncle in a peculiarly impressive,
not to say blood-curdling, tone of voice, "and if you would rather that I did not mention
it, I won't; but, as a matter of fact, this very house, in which we are now sitting, is
"You don't say that!" exclaimed Mr. Coombes.
"What's the use of your saying I don't say it when I have just said it?" retorted my uncle
somewhat pettishly. "You do talk so foolishly. I tell you the house is haunted. Regularly
on Christmas Eve the Blue Chamber [they called the room next to the nursery the 'blue
chamber,' at my uncle's, most of the toilet service being of that shade] is haunted by the
ghost of a sinful man--a man who once killed a Christmas wait with a lump of coal."
"How did he do it?" asked Mr. Coombes, with eager anxiousness. "Was it difficult?"
"I do not know how he did it," replied my uncle; "he did not explain the process. The wait
had taken up a position just inside the front gate, and was singing a ballad. It is presumed
that, when he opened his mouth for B flat, the lump of coal was thrown by the sinful man
from one of the windows, and that it went down the wait's throat and choked him."
"You want to be a good shot, but it is certainly worth trying," murmured Mr. Coombes
"But that was not his only crime, alas!" added my uncle. "Prior to that he had killed a solo
"No! Is that really a fact?" exclaimed Mr. Coombes.
"Of course it's a fact," answered my uncle testily; "at all events, as much a fact as you can
expect to get in a case of this sort.
"How very captious you are this evening. The circumstantial evidence was
overwhelming. The poor fellow, the cornet-player, had been in the neighbourhood barely
a month. Old Mr. Bishop, who kept the 'Jolly Sand Boys' at the time, and from whom I
had the story, said he had never known a more hard-working and energetic solo cornet-
player. He, the cornet-player, only knew two tunes, but Mr. Bishop said that the man
could not have played with more vigour, or for more hours in a day, if he had known
forty. The two tunes he did play were "Annie Laurie" and "Home, Sweet Home"; and as
regarded his performance of the former melody, Mr. Bishop said that a mere child could
have told what it was meant for.
"This musician--this poor, friendless artist used to come regularly and play in this street
just opposite for two hours every evening. One evening he was seen, evidently in