Told After Supper
My Own Story
As soon as my uncle had finished his story, I, as I have already told you, rose up and said
that I would sleep in the Blue Chamber that very night.
"Never!" cried my uncle, springing up. "You shall not put yourself in this deadly peril.
Besides, the bed is not made."
"Never mind the bed," I replied. "I have lived in furnished apartments for gentlemen, and
have been accustomed to sleep on beds that have never been made from one year's end to
the other. Do not thwart me in my resolve. I am young, and have had a clear conscience
now for over a month. The spirits will not harm me. I may even do them some little good,
and induce them to be quiet and go away. Besides, I should like to see the show."
Saying which, I sat down again. (How Mr. Coombes came to be in my chair, instead of at
the other side of the room, where he had been all the evening; and why he never offered
to apologise when I sat right down on top of him; and why young Biffles should have
tried to palm himself off upon me as my Uncle John, and induced me, under that
erroneous impression, to shake him by the hand for nearly three minutes, and tell him that
I had always regarded him as father,--are matters that, to this day, I have never been able
to fully understand.)
They tried to dissuade me from what they termed my foolhardy enterprise, but I remained
firm, and claimed my privilege. I was 'the guest.' 'The guest' always sleeps in the haunted
chamber on Christmas Eve; it is his perquisite.
They said that if I put it on that footing, they had, of course, no answer; and they lighted a
candle for me, and accompanied me upstairs in a body.
Whether elevated by the feeling that I was doing a noble action, or animated by a mere
general consciousness of rectitude, is not for me to say, but I went upstairs that night with
remarkable buoyancy. It was as much as I could do to stop at the landing when I came to
it; I felt I wanted to go on up to the roof. But, with the help of the banisters, I restrained
my ambition, wished them all good- night, and went in and shut the door.
Things began to go wrong with me from the very first. The candle tumbled out of the
candlestick before my hand was off the lock. It kept on tumbling out of the candlestick,
and every time I picked put it up and put it in, it tumbled out again: I never saw such a
slippery candle. I gave up attempting to use the candlestick at last, and carried the candle
about in my hand; and, even then, it would not keep upright. So I got wild and threw it
out of window, and undressed and went to bed in the dark.
I did not go to sleep,--I did not feel sleepy at all,--I lay on my back, looking up at the
ceiling, and thinking of things. I wish I could remember some of the ideas that came to