WANTED short, scary ghost stories - fiction or factual - for publication on this site.If published, we will be happy to list author's biographical details and a link back to your Web site.Copyright will remain with authors. Send submissions/outlines to abracad.
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (M R James) online
CANON ALBERIC'S SCRAP-BOOK
Almost at dawn the little man had come to the inn on some pretence, and had listened with the deepest interest to the story retailed by the landlady. He showed no surprise.
'It is he--it is he! I have seen him myself,' was his only comment; and to all questionings but one reply was vouchsafed: 'Deux fois je l'ai vu: mille fois je l'ai senti.' He would tell them nothing of the provenance of the book, nor any details of his experiences. 'I shall soon sleep, and my rest will be sweet. Why should you trouble me?' he said.
 He died that summer; his daughter married, and settled at St Papoul. She never understood the circumstances of her father's 'obsession'.
We shall never know what he or Canon Alberic de Mauleon suffered. At the back of that fateful drawing were some lines of writing which may be supposed to throw light on the situation:
_Contradictio Salomonis cum demonio nocturno. Albericus de Mauleone delineavit. V. Deus in adiutorium. Ps. Qui habitat. Sancte Bertrande, demoniorum effugator, intercede pro me miserrimo. Primum uidi nocte 12(mi) Dec. 1694: uidebo mox ultimum. Peccaui et passus sum, plura adhuc passurus. Dec. 29, 1701_.
 _i.e._, The Dispute of Solomon with a demon of the night. Drawn by Alberic de Mauleon. _Versicle_. O Lord, make haste to help me. _Psalm_. Whoso dwelleth xci.
Saint Bertrand, who puttest devils to flight, pray for me most unhappy. I saw it first on the night of Dec. 12, 1694: soon I shall see it for the last time. I have sinned and suffered, and have more to suffer yet. Dec. 29, 1701.
The 'Gallia Christiana' gives the date of the Canon's death as December 31, 1701, 'in bed, of a sudden seizure'. Details of this kind are not common in the great work of the Sammarthani.
I have never quite understood what was Dennistoun's view of the events I have narrated. He quoted to me once a text from Ecclesiasticus: 'Some spirits there be that are created for vengeance, and in their fury lay on sore strokes.' On another occasion he said: 'Isaiah was a very sensible man; doesn't he say something about night monsters living in the ruins of Babylon? These things are rather beyond us at present.'
Another confidence of his impressed me rather, and I sympathized with it. We had been, last year, to Comminges, to see Canon Alberic's tomb. It is a great marble erection with an effigy of the Canon in a large wig and soutane, and an elaborate eulogy of his learning below. I saw Dennistoun talking for some time with the Vicar of St Bertrand's, and as we drove away he said to me: 'I hope it isn't wrong: you know I am a Presbyterian--but I--I believe there will be "saying of Mass and singing of dirges" for Alberic de Mauleon's rest.' Then he added, with a touch of the Northern British in his tone, 'I had no notion they came so dear.'
* * * * *
The book is in the Wentworth Collection at Cambridge. The drawing was photographed and then burnt by Dennistoun on the day when he left Comminges on the occasion of his first visit.