12:49 pm - Sunday June 24, 2018

Ghosts-by Guy de Maupassant-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:Ghosts

Written by:Guy de Maupassant

Category:Horror, Classics, Fiction

Page 1:

Just at the time when the Concordat was in its most flourishing
condition, a young man belonging to a wealthy and highly respected
middle-class family went to the office of the head of the police at
P—-, and begged for his help and advice, which was immediately
promised him.

“My father threatens to disinherit me,” the young man then began,
“although I have never offended against the laws of the State, of
morality or of his paternal authority, merely because I do not share
his blind reverence for the Catholic Church and her Ministers. On that
account he looks upon me, not merely as Latitudinarian, but as a
perfect Atheist, and a faithful old manservant of ours, who is much
attached to me, and who accidentally saw my father’s will, told me in
confidence that he had left all his property to the Jesuits. I think
this is highly suspicious, and I fear that the priests have been
maligning me to my father. Until less than a year ago, we used to live
very quietly and happily together, but ever since he has had so much to
do with the clergy, our domestic peace and happiness are at an end.”

“What you have told me,” the official replied, “is as likely as it is
regrettable, but I fail to see how I can interfere in the matter. Your
father is in full possession of all his mental faculties, and can
dispose of all his property exactly as he pleases. I also think that
your protest is premature; you must wait until his will can legally
take effect, and then you can invoke the aid of justice; I am sorry to
say that I can do nothing for you.”

“I think you will be able to,” the young man replied; “for I believe
that a very clever piece of deceit is being carried on here.”

“How? Please explain yourself more clearly.”

“When I remonstrated with him, yesterday evening, he referred to my
dead mother, and at last assured me, in a voice of the deepest
conviction, that she had frequently appeared to him, and had threatened
him with all the torments of the damned if he did not disinherit his
son, who had fallen away from God, and leave all his property to the
Church. Now I do not believe in ghosts.”

“Neither do I,” the police director replied; “but I cannot well do
anything on this dangerous ground if I had nothing but superstitions to
go upon. You know how the Church rules all our affairs since the
Concordat with Rome, and if I investigate this matter, and obtain no
results, I am risking my post. It would be very different if you could
adduce any proofs for your suspicions. I do not deny that I should like
to see the clerical party, which will, I fear, be the ruin of Austria,
receive a staggering blow; try, therefore, to get to the bottom of this
business, and then we will talk it over again.”

About a month passed without the young Latitudinarian being heard of;
but then he suddenly came one evening, evidently in a great state of
excitement, and told him that he was in a position to expose the
priestly deceit which he had mentioned, if the authorities would assist
him. The police director asked for further information.

“I have obtained a number of important clews,” the young man said. “In
the first place, my father confessed to me that my mother did not
appear to him in our house, but in the churchyard where she is buried.
My mother was consumptive for many years, and a few weeks before her
death she went to the village of S—-, where she died and was buried.
In addition to this, I found out from our footman that my father has
already left the house twice, late at night, in company of X—-, the
Jesuit priest, and that on both occasions he did not return till
morning. Each time he was remarkably uneasy and low-spirited after his
return, and had three masses said for my dead mother. He also told me
just now that he has to leave home this evening on business, but
immediately he told me that, our footman saw the Jesuit go out of the
house. We may, therefore, assume that he intends this evening to
consult the spirit of my dead mother again, and this would be an
excellent opportunity for getting on the track of the matter, if you do
not object to opposing the most powerful force in the Empire, for the
sake of such an insignificant individual as myself.”

“Every citizen has an equal right to the protection of the State,” the
police director replied; “and I think that I have shown often enough
that I am not wanting in courage to perform my duty, no matter how
serious the consequences may be; but only very young men act without
any prospects of success, as they are carried away by their feelings.
When you came to me the first time, I was obliged to refuse your
request for assistance, but to-day your shares have risen in value. It
is now eight o’clock, and I shall expect you in two hours’ time here in
my office. At present, all you have to do is to hold your tongue;
everything else is my affair.”

As soon as it was dark, four men got into a closed carriage in the yard
of the police office, and were driven in the direction of the village
of S—-; their carriage, however, did not enter the village, but
stopped at the edge of a small wood in the immediate neighborhood. Here
they all four alighted; they were the police director, accompanied by
the young Latitudinarian, a police sergeant and an ordinary policeman,
who was, however, dressed in plain clothes.

“The first thing for us to do is to examine the locality carefully,”
the police director said: “it is eleven o’clock and the exercisers of
ghosts will not arrive before midnight, so we have time to look round
us, and to take our measure.”

The four men went to the churchyard, which lay at the end of the
village, near the little wood. Everything was as still as death, and
not a soul was to be seen. The sexton was evidently sitting in the
public house, for they found the door of his cottage locked, as well as
the door of the little chapel that stood in the middle of the
churchyard.

Filed in: Classics, Fiction, Guy de Maupassant, Horror

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