The Best Ghost Stories HTML version
"I should like to ask one question, Mr. Coroner," he said. "What asylum did this yer last
witness escape from?"
"Mr. Harker," said the coroner, gravely and tranquilly, "from what asylum did you last
Harker flushed crimson again, but said nothing, and the seven jurors rose and solemnly
filed out of the cabin.
"If you have done insulting me, sir," said Harker, as soon as he and the officer were left
alone with the dead man, "I suppose I am at liberty to go?"
Harker started to leave, but paused, with his hand on the door latch. The habit of his
profession was strong in him—stronger than his sense of personal dignity. He turned
about and said:
"The book that you have there—I recognize it as Morgan's diary. You seemed greatly
interested in it; you read in it while I was testifying. May I see it? The public would
"The book will cut no figure in this matter," replied the official, slipping it into his coat
pocket; "all the entries in it were made before the writer's death."
As Harker passed out of the house the jury reëntered and stood about the table, on which
the now covered corpse showed under the sheet with sharp definition. The foreman
seated himself near the candle, produced from his breast pocket a pencil and scrap of
paper and wrote rather laboriously the following verdict, which with various degrees of
effort all signed:
"We, the jury, do find that the remains come to their death at the hands of a mountain
lion, but some of us thinks, all the same, they had fits."
AN EXPLANATION FROM THE TOMB
In the diary of the late Hugh Morgan are certain interesting entries having, possibly, a
scientific value as suggestions. At the inquest upon his body the book was not put in
evidence; possibly the coroner thought it not worth while to confuse the jury. The date of
the first of the entries mentioned cannot be ascertained; the upper part of the leaf is torn
away; the part of the entry remaining follows:
" . . . would run in a half-circle, keeping his head turned always toward the center, and
again he would stand still, barking furiously. At last he ran away into the brush as fast as