authority for it? In Shakespeare, for instance ----there are plenty of ghosts there----does Shakespeare
ever give the stage-direction 'hands chair to Ghost'?"
The lady looked puzzled and thoughtful for a moment: then she almost clapped her hands. "Yes, yes, he
does!" she cried. "He makes Hamlet say 'Rest, rest, perturbed Spirit!"'
"And that, I suppose, means an easy-chair?"
"An American rocking-chair, I think----"
"Fayfield Junction, my Lady, change for Elveston!" the guard announced, flinging open the door of the
carriage: and we soon found ourselves, with all our portable property around us, on the platform.
The accommodation, provided for passengers waiting at this Junction, was distinctly inadequate----a
single wooden bench, apparently intended for three sitters only: and even this was already partially occupied
by a very old man, in a smock frock, who sat, with rounded shoulders and drooping head, and with
hands clasped on the top of his stick so as to make a sort of pillow for that wrinkled face with its look
of patient weariness.
"Come, you be off!" the Station-master roughly accosted the poor old man. "You be off, and make way
for your betters! This way, my Lady!" he added in a perfectly different tone. "If your Ladyship will take
a seat, the train will be up in a few minutes." The cringing servility of his manner was due, no doubt,
to the address legible on the pile of luggage, which announced their owner to be "Lady Muriel Orme,
passenger to Elveston, viâ Fayfield Junction."
As I watched the old man slowly rise to his feet, and hobble a few paces down the platform, the lines
came to my lips:-
- "From sackcloth couch the Monk arose,
- With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;
- A hundred years had flung their snows
- On his thin locks and floating beard."
- But the lady scarcely noticed the little incident. After one glance at the 'banished man,' who stood tremulously
leaning on his stick, she turned to me. "This is not an American rocking-chair, by any means! Yet may
I say," slightly changing her place, so as to make room for me beside her, "may I say, in Hamlet's words,
'Rest, rest----'" she broke off with a silvery laugh.
"----perturbed Spirit!"' I finished the sentence for her. "Yes, that describes a railway-traveler exactly! And
here is an instance of it," I added, as the tiny local train drew up alongside the platform, and the porters
bustled about, opening carriage-doors----one of them helping the poor old man to hoist himself into a
third-class carriage, while another of them obsequiously conducted the lady and myself into a first-class.
She paused, before following him, to watch the progress of the other passenger. "Poor old man!" she
said. "How weak and ill he looks! It was a shame to let him be turned away like that. I'm very sorry----"
At this moment it dawned on me that these words were not addressed to me, but that she was unconsciously
thinking aloud. I moved away a few steps, and waited to follow her into the carriage, where I resumed
"Shakespeare must have traveled by rail, if only in a dream: 'perturbed Spirit' is such a happy phrase."
"'Perturbed' referring, no doubt," she rejoined, "to the sensational booklets peculiar to the Rail. If Steam
has done nothing else, it has at least added a whole new Species to English Literature!"
"No doubt of it," I echoed. "The true origin of all our medical books----and all our cookery-books----"