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Scottish Ghost Stories (Elliott O'Donnell) online
CASE X - "---- HOUSE," NEAR BLYTHSWOOD SQUARE, GLASGOW. THE HAUNTED BATH
It was whilst the bather was occupied thus that the cupboard door began to open very quietly and stealthily, and Captain de Smythe heard the chair he had so carefully placed against it being gradually propelled across the floor.
Then something, he would have given anything to tell what, came out and began to steal towards him. He tried to crawl out of its way, but could not; his limbs no longer acted conjointly with his brain, and when he opened his mouth to shout at it, his voice withered away in his throat. It came up to him, and directly it touched his naked skin he knew it was a woman--a woman with a much-beflounced silk skirt and silk petticoats--a woman whose person was perfumed with violets (a scent for which the Captain had a particular weakness), and without doubt, loaded with jewellery. Her behaviour did not betray any symptoms of embarrassment when she encountered the Captain lying on the floor, but, planting one icy-cold high-heeled shoe on his chest and the other on his cheek, she stepped on him as if he had been an orthodox cushion or footstool, purposely placed there for her convenience. A hollow exclamation, which died away in a gasp, issued from the bath, as the woman, with a swift movement of her arms, threw something over it. What followed, the Captain could only surmise, but from the muttered imprecations and splashes in the water, it seemed to him that nothing short of murder was taking place. After a while the noises in the bath grew feebler and feebler, and when they finally ceased, the woman, with a sigh of relief, shook the water from her arms, and, stepping off the Captain, moved towards the fireplace. The spell which had, up to the present, enthralled the unfortunate Captain, was now broken, and, thinking that his ghostly visitor had betaken herself right away, he sat up. He had hardly done so before the darkness was rudely dissipated, and, to his horror, he saw looking at him, from a distance of only a few feet, a white, luminous face, presumably that of a woman. But what a woman! What a devil!--what a match for the most lurid of any of Satan's male retainers. Yet she was not without beauty--beauty of the richest sensual order; beauty that, had it been flesh and blood, would have sent men mad. Her hair, jet black, wavy, and parted in the centre, was looped over her shell-like ears, which were set unusually low and far back on her head; her nose was of that rare and matchless shape termed Grecian; and her mouth--in form, a triumph of all things heavenly, in expression, a triumph of all things hellish. The magnificent turn of its short upper lip, and the soft voluptuous line of its under lip; its sportive dimples and ripe red colour; its even rows of dazzling, pearly teeth were adorable; but they appealed to the senses, and in no sense or shape to the soul. Her brows, slightly irregular in outline, met over the nose; her eyelashes were of great length, and her eyes--slightly, ever so slightly, obliquely set, and larger than those of living human beings--were black, black as her hair; and the pupils sparkled and shone with the most damnable expression of satanical hatred and glee. The whole thing, the face and the light that emanated from it, was so entirely awful and devilish, that Captain Smythe sat like one turned to stone, and it was not until long after it had vanished that he groped his way to the door, and in Adam's costume, for he dared not stay to put on his clothes, fled down the passage to his bedroom.