He grew angry at her telling him so, and answered, that she ought to be very well satisfied with it, for that it was time little enough, as his sons circumstances might be.
Well, she teased him however so continually, that at last she brought him down to one year: but before she brought him to that, she told him one day in a heat, that she hoped his ghost would one time or other appear to him, and tell him that he was dead, and that he ought to do justice to his other children, for he should never come to claim the estate.
When he came, so much against his will, to consent to shorten the time to one year, he told her that he hoped his sons ghost, though he was not dead, would come to her, and tell her he was alive, before the time expired. For why, says he, may not injured souls walk while embodied, as well as afterwards?
It happened one evening after this, that they had a most violent family quarrel upon this subject, when on a sudden a hand appeared at a casement, endeavouring to open it; but as all the iron casements used in former times opened outward, but hasped and fastened themselves in the inside, so the hand seemed to try to open the casement, but could not. The gentleman did not see it, but his wife did, and she presently started up, as if she was frighted, and, forgetting the quarrel they had upon their hands: Lord bless me! says she, there are thieves in the garden. Her husband ran immediately to the door of the room they sat in, and opening it, looked out.
Theres nobody in the garden, says he; so he clapped the door to again, and came back.
I am sure, says she, I saw a man there.
It must be the devil then, says he; for Im sure theres nobody in the garden.
Ill swear, says she, I saw a man put his hand up to open the casement; but finding it fast, and I suppose, adds she, seeing us in the room, he walked off.
It is impossible he could be gone, says he; did not I run to the door immediately? and you know the garden walls on both sides hinder him going.
Prythee, says she angrily, I ant drunk nor in a dream, I know a man when I see him, and tis not dark, the sun is not quite down.
Youre only frighted with shadows, says he (very full of ill-nature): folks generally are so that are haunted with an evil conscience: it may be twas the devil.
No, no, Im not soon frighted, says she; if twas the devil, twas the ghost of your son: it may be come to tell you he was gone to the devil, and you might give your estate to your eldest bastard, since you wont settle it on the lawful heir.
If it was my son, says he, hes come to tell us hes alive, I warrant you, and to ask how you can be so much a devil to desire me to disinherit him; and with these words: Alexander, says he aloud, repeating it twice, starting up out of his chair, if you are alive, show yourself, and dont let me be insulted thus every day with your being dead.
At those very words, the casement which the hand had been seen at by the mother, opened of itself, and his son Alexander looked in with a full face, and staring directly upon the mother with an angry countenance, cried Here, and then vanished in a moment.
The woman that was so stout before, shrieked out in a most dismal manner, so as alarmed the whole house; her maid ran into the parlour, to see what was the matter, but her mistress was fainted away in her chair.
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