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REAL GHOST STORIES (Collected and Edited by William T. Stead) online
PART VI. GHOSTS KEEPING PROMISE.
"Now, though I was frightened, I did not for a moment think he was dead, nor did it enter my mind then about our agreement. I tried to shake off the nervousness, and quite thought it must be something in my sight caused by imagination, and nerves being overdone by sitting up so late for so many nights together. Still, I thought it dreadfully strange, it was _so real_."
_A Ghost's Cough._
"Well, about three days passed, and then I was startled by hearing his voice outside my window, as plain as a voice could be, calling, 'Georgie! Are you there, Georgie?' I felt certain it was really him come back to England. I could not mistake his voice. I felt quite flurried, and ran out to the hall door, but no one in sight. I went back in, and felt rather upset and disappointed, for I would have been glad if he had come back again, and began to wish he really would turn up. I then thought to myself, 'Well, that was so queer. Oh, it _must_ be Irwin, and perhaps he is just hiding in some hall door to see if I _will_ go out and let him in, or what I will do. So out I went again. This time I put my hat on, and ran along and peeped into hall doors where he might be hiding, but with no result. Later on that night I could have sworn I heard him cough twice right at the window, as if he did it to attract attention. Out I went again. No result.
"Well, to make a long story short, from that night till about nine weeks after that voice called to me, and coughed, and coughed, sometimes every night for a week, then three nights a week, then miss a night and call on two nights, miss three or four days, and keep calling me the whole night long, on and off, up till 12 midnight or later. One time it would be, 'Georgie! It's _me_! Ah, Georgie!' Or, '_Georgie_, are you in? Will you _speak_ to Irwin?' Then a long pause, and at the end of, say, ten minutes, a most strange, unearthly _sigh_, or a cough--a perfectly intentional, forced cough, other times nothing but, 'Ah, Georgie!' On one night there was a dreadful fog. He called me so plain, I got up and said, 'Oh, really! that man _must_ be here; he must be lodging somewhere near, as sure as life; if he is not outside I must be going mad in my mind or imagination.' I went and stood outside the hall door steps in the thick black fog. No lights could be seen that night. I called out, 'Irwin! Irwin! here, come on. I _know_ you're there, trying to humbug me, I _saw_ you in _town_; come on in, and don't be making a fool of yourself.'
"Well, I declare to you, a voice that seemed _within three yards_ of me, replied out of the fog, 'It's _only Irwin_,' and a most awful, and great, and supernatural sort of sigh faded away in the distance. I went in, feeling quite unhinged and nervous, and could not sleep. After that night it was chiefly sighs and coughing, and it was kept up until one day, at the end of about nine weeks, my letter was returned marked, 'Signor O'Neill e morto,' together with a letter from the Consul to say he had died on November 28th, 1888, _the day on which he appeared to me_."
_The Question of Dates._
On inquiring as to dates and verification Mrs. F---- replied:--
"I don't know the _hour_ of his death, but if you write to Mr. Turner, Vice Consul, Naples, he can get it for you. He appeared to me at the hour I say; of course there is a difference of time between here and Naples. The strange part is that once I was informed of his death by human means (the letter), his spirit seemed to be satisfied, for no voice ever came again after; it was as if he wanted to inform and make me know he had died, and as if he _knew_ I had not been informed by human agency.