LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 533
AN AUTHENTIC GHOST STORY.
For some remarkable reason, ghostly legends were uncommonly rife, about this time, among the servants on Legree's place.
It was whisperingly asserted that footsteps, in the dead of night, had been heard descending the garret stairs, and patrolling the house. In vain the doors of the upper entry had been locked ; the ghost either carried a duplicate key in its pocket, or availed itself of a ghost's immemorial privilege of coming through the keyhole, and promenaded as before, with a freedom that was alarming.
Authorities were somewhat divided, as to the outward form of the spirit, owing to a custom quite prevalent among negroes, — and. for aught we know, among whites, too, — of invariably shutting the eyes, and covering up heads under blankets, petticoats, or whatever else might come in use for a shelter, on these occasions. Of course, as everybody knows, when the bodily eyes are thus out of the lists, the spiritual eyes are uncommonly vivacious and perspicuous; and, therefore, there were abundance of full-length portraits of the ghost, abundantly sworn and testified to, which, as is often the case with portraits, agreed with each other in no particular, except the common family peculiarity of the ghost tribe,—the wearing of a, white sheet. The poor souls were not versed in ancient history, and did not know that Shakespeare had authenticated this costume, by telling how
" The sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the streets of Rome."
And, therefore, their all hitting upon this is a striking fact