Told After Supper HTML version
Teddy Biffles' Story
Teddy Biffles told the first story, I will let him repeat it here in his own words.
(Do not ask me how it is that I recollect his own exact words-- whether I took them down
in shorthand at the time, or whether he had the story written out, and handed me the MS.
afterwards for publication in this book, because I should not tell you if you did. It is a
Biffles called his story -
JOHNSON AND EMILY
THE FAITHFUL GHOST
(Teddy Biffles' Story)
I was little more than a lad when I first met with Johnson. I was home for the Christmas
holidays, and, it being Christmas Eve, I had been allowed to sit up very late. On opening
the door of my little bedroom, to go in, I found myself face to face with Johnson, who
was coming out. It passed through me, and uttering a long low wail of misery,
disappeared out of the staircase window.
I was startled for the moment--I was only a schoolboy at the time, and had never seen a
ghost before,--and felt a little nervous about going to bed. But, on reflection, I
remembered that it was only sinful people that spirits could do any harm to, and so
tucked myself up, and went to sleep.
In the morning I told the Pater what I had seen.
"Oh yes, that was old Johnson," he answered. "Don't you be frightened of that; he lives
here." And then he told me the poor thing's history.
It seemed that Johnson, when it was alive, had loved, in early life, the daughter of a
former lessee of our house, a very beautiful girl, whose Christian name had been Emily.
Father did not know her other name.
Johnson was too poor to marry the girl, so he kissed her good-bye, told her he would
soon be back, and went off to Australia to make his fortune.
But Australia was not then what it became later on. Travellers through the bush were few
and far between in those early days; and, even when one was caught, the portable
property found upon the body was often of hardly sufficiently negotiable value to pay the
simple funeral expenses rendered necessary. So that it took Johnson nearly twenty years
to make his fortune.