Famous Modern Ghost Stories HTML version

At the Gate
From the Century Magazine. By permission of the Century Company and Myla J. Closser.
A shaggy Airedale scented his way along the highroad. He had not been there before, but
he was guided by the trail of his brethren who had preceded him. He had gone
unwillingly upon this journey, yet with the perfect training of dogs he had accepted it
without complaint. The path had been lonely, and his heart would have failed him,
traveling as he must without his people, had not these traces of countless dogs before him
promised companionship of a sort at the end of the road.
The landscape had appeared arid at first, for the translation from recent agony into
freedom from pain had been so numbing in its swiftness that it was some time before he
could fully appreciate the pleasant dog-country through which he was passing. There
were woods with leaves upon the ground through which to scurry, long grassy slopes for
extended runs, and lakes into which he might plunge for sticks and bring them back to—
But he did not complete his thought, for the boy was not with him. A little wave of
homesickness possessed him.
It made his mind easier to see far ahead a great gate as high as the heavens, wide enough
for all. He understood that only man built such barriers and by straining his eyes he
fancied he could discern humans passing through to whatever lay beyond. He broke into
a run that he might the more quickly gain this inclosure made beautiful by men and
women; but his thoughts outran his pace, and he remembered that he had left the family
behind, and again this lovely new compound became not perfect, since it would lack the
The scent of the dogs grew very strong now, and coming nearer, he discovered, to his
astonishment that of the myriads of those who had arrived ahead of him thousands were
still gathered on the outside of the portal. They sat in a wide circle spreading out on each
side of the entrance, big, little, curly, handsome, mongrel, thoroughbred dogs of every
age, complexion, and personality. All were apparently waiting for something, someone,
and at the pad of the Airedale's feet on the hard road they arose and looked in his
That the interest passed as soon as they discovered the new-comer to be a dog puzzled
him. In his former dwelling-place a four-footed brother was greeted with enthusiasm
when he was a friend, with suspicious diplomacy when a stranger, and with sharp reproof
when an enemy; but never had he been utterly ignored.
He remembered something that he had read many times on great buildings with lofty
entrances. "Dogs not admitted," the signs had said, and he feared this might be the reason
for the waiting circle outside the gate. It might be that this noble portal stood as the