The Spectre Cook of Bangletop
by John Kendrick Bangs
For the purposes of this bit of history, Bangletop Hall stands upon a
grassy knoll on the left bank of the River Dee, about eighteen miles
from the quaint old city of Chester. It does not in reality stand
there, nor has it ever done so, but consideration for the interests of
the living compels me to conceal its exact location, and so to befog
the public as to its whereabouts that its identity may never be
revealed to its disadvantage. It is a rentable property, and were it
known that it has had a mystery connected with it of so deep, dark,
and eerie a nature as that about to be related, I fear that its
usefulness, save as an accessory to romance, would be seriously
impaired, and that as an investment it would become practically
The hall is a fair specimen of the architecture which prevailed at
the time of Edward the Confessor; that is to say, the main portion of
the structure, erected in Edward's time by the first Baron Bangletop,
has that square, substantial, stony aspect which to the eye versed in
architecture identifies it at once as a product of that enlightened
era. Later owners, the successive Barons Bangletop, have added to its
original dimensions, putting Queen Anne wings here, Elizabethan ells
there, and an Italian-Renaissance façade on the river front. A
Wisconsin water tower, connected with the main building by a low
Gothic alleyway, stands to the south; while toward the east is a Greek
chapel, used by the present occupant as a store-room for his wife's
trunks, she having lately returned from Paris with a wardrobe
calculated to last through the first half of the coming London season.
Altogether Bangletop Hall is an impressive structure, and at first
sight gives rise to various emotions in the æsthetic breast; some
cavil, others admire. One leading architect of Berlin travelled all
the way from his German home to Bangletop Hall to show that famous
structure to his son, a student in the profession which his father
adorned; to whom he is said to have observed that, architecturally,
Bangletop Hall was "cosmopolitan and omniperiodic, and therefore a
liberal education to all who should come to study and master its
details." In short, Bangletop Hall was an object-lesson to young
architects, and showed them at a glance that which they should ever
strive to avoid.
Strange to say, for quite two centuries had Bangletop Hall remained
without a tenant, and for nearly seventy-five years it had been in the
market for rent, the barons, father and son, for many generations
having found it impossible to dwell within its walls, and for a very
good reason: no cook could ever be induced to live at Bangletop for a
longer period than two weeks. Why the queens of the kitchen invariably
took what is commonly known as French leave no occupant could ever
learn, because, male or female, the departed domestics never returned
to tell, and even had they done so, the pride of the Bangletops would
not have permitted them to listen to the explanation. The Bangletop
escutcheon was clear of blots, no suspicion even of a conversational
blemish appearing thereon, and it was always a matter of extreme
satisfaction to the family that no one of its scions since the title
was created had ever been known to speak directly to any one of lesser
rank than himself, communication with inferiors being always had
through the medium of a private secretary, himself a baron, or better,
in reduced circumstances.
The first cook to leave Bangletop under circumstances of a Gallic
nature—that is, without known cause, wages, or luggage—had been
employed by Fitzherbert Alexander, seventeenth.Baron of Bangletop,
through Charles Mortimor de Herbert, Baron Peddlington, formerly of
Peddlington Manor at Dunwoodie-on-the-Hike, his private secretary, a
handsome old gentleman of sixty-five, who had been deprived of his
estates by the crown in 1629 because he was suspected of having
inspired a comic broadside published in those troublous days, and
directed against Charles the First, which had set all London in a
This broadside, one of very few which are not preserved in the
British Museum—and a greater tribute to its rarity could not be
devised—was called, "A Good Suggestion as to ye Proper Use of ye
Chinne Whisker," and consisted of a few lines of doggerel printed
beneath a caricature of the king, with the crown hanging from his
goatee, reading as follows:
"Ye King doth sporte a gallous grey goatee
Uponne ye chinne, where evey one may see.
And since ye Monarch's head's too small to holde
With comfort to himselfe ye crowne of gold,
Why not enwax and hooke ye goatee rare,
And lette ye British crown hang down from there?"
Whether or no the Baron of Peddlington was guilty of this
traitorous effusion no one, not even the king, could ever really make
up his mind. The charge was never fully proven, nor was De Herbert
ever able to refute it successfully, although he made frantic efforts
to do so. The king, eminently just in such matters, gave the baron the
benefit of the doubt, and inflicted only half the penalty prescribed,
confiscating his estates, and letting him keep his head and liberty. De
Herbert's family begged the crown to reverse the sentence, permitting
them to keep the estates, the king taking their uncle's head in lieu
thereof, he being unmarried and having no children who would mourn his
loss. But Charles was poor rather than vindictive at this period, and
preferring to adopt the other course, turned a deaf ear to the
petitioners. This was probably one of the earliest factors in the
decadence of literature as a pastime for men of high station.
De Herbert would have starved had it not been for his old friend
Baron Bangletop, who offered him the post of private secretary, lately
made vacant by the death of the Duke of Algeria, who had been the
incumbent of that office for ten years, and in a short time the Baron
of Peddlington was in full charge of the domestic arrangements of his
friend. It was far from easy, the work that devolved upon him. He was
a proud, haughty man, used to luxury of every sort, to whom contact
with those who serve was truly distasteful; to whom the necessity of
himself serving was most galling; but he had the manliness to face the
hardships Fate had put upon him, particularly when he realized that
Baron Bangle-top's attitude towards servants was such that he could
with impunity impose on the latter seven indignities for every one
that was imposed on him. Misery loves company, particularly when she
is herself the hostess, and can give generously of her stores to
Desiring to retrieve his fallen fortunes, the Baron of Peddlington
offered large salaries to all those whom he employed to serve in the
Bangletop menage, and on payday, through an ingenious system of fines,
managed to retain almost seventy-five per cent of the funds for his
own use. Of this Baron Bangletop, of course, could know nothing. He
was aware that under De Herbert the running expenses of his house-hold
were nearly twice what they had been under the dusky Duke of Algeria;
but he also observed that repairs to the property, for which the late
duke had annually paid out several thousands of pounds sterling, with
very little to show for it, now cost him as many hundreds with no
fewer tangible results. So he winked his eye—the only.unaristocratic
habit he had, by-the-way—and said nothing. The revenue was large
enough, he had been known to say, to support himself and all his
relatives in state, with enough left over to satisfy even Ali Baba and
the forty thieves.
Had he foreseen the results of his complacency in financial
matters, I doubt if he would have persisted therein.
For some ten years under De Herbert's management everything went
smoothly and expensively for the Bangletop Hall people, and then there
came a change. The Baron Bangletop rang for his breakfast one morning,
and his breakfast was not. The cook had disappeared.
Whither or why she had gone, the private secretary professed to be
unable to say. That she could easily be replaced, he was certain.
Equally certain was it that Baron Bangletop stormed and raved for two
hours, ate a cold breakfast—a thing he never had been known to do
before—and then departed for London to dine at the club until
Peddlington had secured a successor to the departed cook, which the
private secretary succeeded in doing within three days. The baron was
informed of his manager's success, and at the end of a week returned
to Bangletop Hall, arriving there late on a Saturday night, hungry as
a bear, and not too amiable, the king having negotiated a forcible
loan with him during his sojourn in the metropolis.
"Welcome to Bangletop, Baron," said De Herbert, uneasily, as his
employer alighted from his coach.
"Blast your welcome, and serve the dinner," returned the baron,
with a somewhat ill grace.
At this the private secretary seemed much embarrassed. "Ahem!" he
said. "I'll be very glad to have the dinner served, my dear Baron; but
the fact is I—er—I have been unable to provide anything but canned
lobster and apples."
"What, in the name of Chaucer, does this mean?" roared Bangletop,
who was a great admirer of the father of English poetry; chiefly
because, as he was wont to say, Chaucer showed that a bad speller
could be a great man, which was a condition of affairs exactly suited
to his mind, since in the science of orthography he was weak, like
most of the aristocrats of his day. "I thought you sent me word you
had a cook?"
"Yes, Baron, I did; but the fact of the matter is, sir, she left us
last night, or, rather, early this morning."
"Another one of your beautiful Parisian exits, I presume?" sneered
the baron, tapping the floor angrily with his toe.
"Well, yes, somewhat so; only she got her money first."
"Money!" shrieked the baron. "Money! Why in Liverpool did she get
her money? What did we owe her money for? Rent?"
"No, Baron; for services. She cooked three dinners."
"Well, you'll pay the bill out of your perquisites, that's all.
She's done no cooking for me, and she gets no pay from me. Why do you
think she left?"
"Never mind what she said, sir," cried Bangletop cutting De Herbert
short. "When I am interested in the table-talk of cooks, I'll let you
know. What I wish to hear is what do you think was the cause of her
"I have no opinion on the subject," replied the private secretary,
with becoming dignity. "I only know that at four o'clock this morning
she knocked at my door, and demanded her wages for four days, and
vowed she'd stay no longer in the house."
"And why, pray, did you not inform me of the fact, instead of
having me travel away down here from London?" queried Bangletop.
"You forget, Baron," replied De Herbert, with a deprecatory
gesture—"you forget that there is no system of telegraphy by which
you could be reached. I may be poor, sir, but I'm just as much of a
baron as you are, and I will take the liberty of saying right here, in
what would be the shadow of your beard, if you had one, sir, that a
man who insists on receiving cable messages when no such things exist
is rather rushing business."
"Pardon my haste, Peddlington, old chap," returned the baron,
softening. "You are quite right.
My desire was unreasonable; but I swear to you, by all my ancestral
Bangletops, that I am hungry as a pit full of bears, and if there's
one thing I can't eat, it is lobster and apples. Can't you scare up a
snack of bread and cheese and a little cold larded fillet? If you'll
supply the fillet, I'll provide the cold."
At this sally the Baron of Peddlington laughed and the quarrel was
over. But none the less the master of Bangletop went to bed hungry;
nor could he do any better in the morning at breakfast-time.
The butler had not been trained to cook, and the coachman's art had
once been tried on a boiled egg, which no one had been able to open,
much less eat, and as it was the parlor-maid's Sunday off, there was
absolutely no one in the house who could prepare a meal. The Baron of
Bangletop had a sort of sneaking notion that if there were nobody
around he could have managed the spit or gridiron himself; but, of
course, in view of his position, he could not make the attempt.
And so he once more returned to London, and vowed never to set his
foot within the walls of Bangletop hall again until his ancestral home
was provided with a cook "copper-fastened and riveted to her
And Bangletop Hall from that time was as a place deserted. The
baron never returned, because lie could not return without violating
his oath; for De Herbert was not able to obtain a cook for the
Bangletop cuisine who would stay, nor was any one able to discover why.
Cook after cook came, stayed a day, a week, and one or two held on for
two weeks, but never longer. Their course was invariably the
same—they would leave without notice; nor could any inducement be
offered which would persuade them to remain. The Baron of Peddlington
became, first round-shouldered, then deaf, an then insane in his
search for a permanent cook, landing finally in an asylum, where he
died, four years after the demise of his employer in London, of
softening of the brain. His last words were, "Why did you leave your
And so time went on. Barons of Bangle-top were born, educated, and
died. Dynasties rose and fell, but Bangletop Hall remained
uninhabited, although it was not until 1799 that the family gave up
all hopes of being able to use their ancestral home. Tremendous
alterations, as I have already hinted, were made. The drainage was
carefully inspected, and a special apartment connected with the
kitchen, finished in hardwood, handsomely decorated, and hung with rich
tapestries, was provided for the cook, in the vain hope that she might
be induced permanently to occupy her position. The Queen Anne wing and
Elizabethan ell were constructed, the latter to provide bowling-alleys
and smoking-rooms for the probable cousins of possible culinary queens,
and many there were who accepted the office with alacrity, throwing it
up with still greater alacrity before the usual fortnight passed. Then
the Bangletops saw clearly that it was impossible for them to live
there, and moving away, the house was announced to be "for rent, with
all modern improvements, conveniently located, spacious grounds,
especially adapted to the use of those who do their own cooking." The
last clause of the announcement puzzled a great many people, who went
to see the mansion for no other reason than to ascertain just what the
an-nouncement meant, and the line, which was inserted in a pure spirit
of facetious bravado, was probably the cause of the mansion's quickly
renting, as hardly a month had passed before it was leased for one
year by a retired London brewer, whose wife's curiosity had been so
excited by.the strange wording of the advertisement that she travelled
out to Bangletop to gratify it, fell in love with the place, and
insisted upon her husband's taking it for a season. The luck of the
brewer and his wife was no better than that of the Bangletops. Their
cooks—and they had fourteen during their stay there—fled after an
average service of four days apiece, and later the tenants themselves
were forced to give up and return to London, where they told their
friends that the " 'all was 'aunted," which might have filled the
Bangletops with concern had they heard of it. They did not hear of it,
however, for they and their friends did not know the brewer and the
brewers friends, and as for complaining to the Bangletop agent in the
matter, the worthy beer-maker thought he would better not do that,
because he had hopes of being knighted some day, and he did not wish
to antagonize so illustrious a family as the Bangletops by running down
their famous hall—an antagonism which might materially affect the
chances of himself and his good wife when they came to knock at the
doors of London society. The lease was allowed to run its course, the
rent was paid when due, and at the end of the stipulated term Bangletop
Hall was once more on the lists as for rent.
For fourscore years and ten did the same hard fortune pursue the
owners of Bangletop. Additions to the property were made immediately
upon request of possible lessees. The Greek chapel was constructed in
1868 at the mere suggestion of a Hellenic prince, who came to England
to write a history of the American rebellion, finding the information
in back files of British newspapers ex-actly suited to the purposes of
picturesque narrative, and no more misleading than most home-made
history. Bangletop was retired, "far from the gadding crowd," as the
prince put it, and therefore just the place in which a historian of
the romantic school might produce his magnum opus without disturbance;
the only objection being that there was no place whither the eminently
Christian sojourner could go to worship according to his faith, he
being a communicant in the Greek Church. This defect Baron Bangletop
immediately remedied by erecting and endowing the chapel; and his
youngest son, having been found too delicate morally for the army, was
appointed to the living and placed in charge of the chapel, having
first embraced with considerable ardor the faith upon which the soul
of the princely tenant was wont to feed. All of these
improvements—chapel, priest, the latter's change of faith, and all—
the Bangletop agent put at the exceedingly low sum of forty-two
guineas per annum and board for the priest; an offer which the prince
at once accepted, stipulating, however, that the lease should be
terminable at any time he or his landlord should see fit. Against this
the agent fought nobly, but without avail. The prince had heard rumors
about the cooks of Bangletop, and he was wary. Finally the stipulation
was accepted by the baron, with what result the reader need hardly be
told. The prince stayed two weeks, listened to one sermon in classic
university Greek by the youthful Bangletop, was deserted by his cook,
and moved away.
After the departure of the prince the estate was neglected for
nearly twenty-two years, the owner having made up his mind that the
case was hopeless. At the end of that period there came from the
United States a wealthy shoemaker, Hankinson J. Terwilliger by name,
chief owner of the Terwilliger Three-dollar Shoe Company (Limited), of
Soleton, Massachusetts, and to him was leased Bangletop Hall, with all
its rights and appurtenances, for a term of five years. Mr.
Terwilliger was the first applicant for the hall as a dwelling to
whom the agent, at the instance of the baron, spoke in a spirit of
absolute candor. The baron was well on in years, and he did not feel
like getting into trouble with a Yankee, so he said, at his time of
life. The hall had been a.thorn in his flesh all his days, and he
didn't care if it was never occupied, and therefore he wished nothing
concealed from a prospective tenant. It was the agent's candor more
than anything else that induced Mr. Terwilliger to close with him for
the term of five years. He suspected that the Bangletops did not want
him for a tenant, and from the moment that notion entered his head, he
was resolved that he would be a tenant.
"I'm as good a man as any baron that ever lived," he said; "and if
it pleases Hankinson J.
Terwilliger to live in a baronial hail, a baronial hall is where
Hankinson J. Terwilliger puts up."
"We certainly have none of the feeling which your words seem to
attribute to us, my dear sir,"
the agent had answered. "Baron Bangletop would feel highly honored
to have so distinguished a sojourner in England as yourself occupy his
estate, but he does not wish you to take it without fully
understanding the circumstances. Desirable as Bangletop Hall is, it
seems fated to be unoccupied because it is thought to he haunted, or
something of that sort, the effect of which is to drive away cooks,
and without cooks life is hardly an ideal."
Mr. Terwilliger laughed. "Ghosts and me are not afraid of each
other," he said. " 'Let 'em haunt,' I say; and as for cooks, Mrs. H.
J. T. hasn't had a liberal education for nothing. We could live if all
the cooks in creation were to go off in a whiff. We have daughters too,
we have. Good smart American girls, who can adorn a palace or grace a
hut on demand, not afraid of poverty, and able to take care of good
round dollars. They can play the piano all the morning and cook dinner
all the afternoon if they're called on to do it; so your difficulties
ain't my difficulties. I'll take the hall at your figures; term, five
years; and if the baron 'll come down and spend a month with us at any
time, I don't care when, we'll show him what a big lap Luxury can get
up when she tries."
And so it happened. The New York papers announced that Hankinson J.
Terwilliger, the Misses Terwilliger, and Master Hankinson J.
Terwilliger, Jun., of Soleton, Massachusetts, had plunged into the
dizzy whirl of English society, and that the sole of the three-dollar
shoe now trod the baronial halls of the Bangletops. Later it was
announced that the Misses Terwilliger, of Bangletop Hall, had been
presented to the queen; that the Terwilligers had entertained the
Prince of Wales at Bangletop; in fact, the Terwilligers became an
important factor in the letters of all foreign correspondents of
American papers, for the president of the Terwilliger Three-dollar
Shoe Company, of Soleton, Massachusetts (Limited), was now in full
possession of the historic mansion, and was living up to his
For a time everything was plain sailing for the Americans at Bangle
top. The dire forebodings of the agent did not seem to be fulfilled,
and Mr. Terwilliger was beginning to feel aggrieved. He had hired a
house with a ghost, and he wanted the use of it; but when he reflected
upon the consequences below stairs, he held his peace. He was not so
sure, after he had stayed at Bangletop awhile, and had had his
daughters presented to the queen, that he could be so independent of
cooks as he had at first supposed. Several times he had hinted rather
broadly that some of the old New England homemade flap-jacks would be
most pleasing to his palate; but since the prince had spent an
afternoon on the lawn of Bangletop, the young ladies seemed deeply
pained at the mere mention of their accomplishments in the line of
griddles and batter; nor could Mrs. Terwilliger, after having tasted
the joys of aristocratic life, bring herself to don the apron which so
became her portly person in the early American days, and prepare for
her lord and master one of those delicious platters of poached eggs
and breakfast bacon, the mere memory of which made his mouth water. In
short, palatial surroundings had too obviously destroyed in his wife
and daughters all that capacity for happiness in a hovel of which Mr.
Terwilliger had been so proud, and concerning which he had so
eloquently spoken to Baron.Bangletop's agent, and he now found himself
in the position of Damocles. The hall was leased for a term,
entertainment had been provided for the county with lavish hand; but
success was dependent entirely upon his ability to keep a cook, his
family having departed from their republican principles, and the
history of the house was dead against a successful issue. So he
decided that, after all, it was better that the ghost should he
allowed to remain quiescent, and he uttered no word of complaint.
It was just as well, too, that Mr. Terwilliger held his peace, and
refrained from addressing a complaining missive to the agent of
Bangletop Hall; for before a message of that nature could have reached
the person addressed, its contents would have been misleading, for at a
quarter after midnight on the morning of the date set for the first of
a series of grand banquets to the county folk, there came from the
kitchen of Bangletop Hall a quick succession of shrieks that sent the
three Misses Terwilliger into hysterics, and caused Hankinson J.
Terwilliger's sole remaining lock to stand erect. Mrs. Terwilliger did
not hear the shrieks, owing to a lately acquired habit of hearing
nothing that proceeded from below stairs.
The first impulse of Terwilliger père was to dive down under the
bedclothes, and endeavor to drown the fearful sound by his own labored
breathing, but he never yielded to first impulses. So he awaited the
second, which came simultaneously with a second series of shrieks and a
cry for help in the unmistakable voice of the cook; a lady,
by-the-way, who had followed the Terwilliger fortunes ever since the
Terwilligers began to have fortunes, and whose first capacity in the
family had been the dual one of mistress of the kitchen and confidante
of madame. The second impulse was to arise in his might, put on a
stout pair of the Terwilliger three-dollar brogans—the strongest shoe
made, having been especially devised for the British Infantry in the
Soudan—and garments suitable to the occasion, namely, a mackintosh
and pair of broadcloth trousers, and go to the rescue of the
distressed domestic. This Hankinson J. Terwilliger at once proceeded to
do, arming himself with a pair of horse-pistols, murmuring on the way
below a soft prayer, the only one he knew, and which, with singular
inappropriateness on this occasion, began with the words, "Now I lay
me down to sleep."
"What's the matter, Judson?" queried Mrs. Terwilliger, drowsily, as
she opened her eyes and saw her husband preparing for the fray.
She no longer called him Hankinson, not because she did not think
it a good name, nor was it less euphonious to her ear than Judson, but
Judson was Mr. Terwilliger's middle name, and middle names were quite
the thing, she had observed, in the best circles. It was doubtless due
to this discovery that her visiting cards had been engraved to read
"Mrs. H. Judson-Terwilliger."
the hyphen presumably being a typographical error, for which the
engraver was responsible.
"Matter enough," growled Hankinson. "I have reason to believe that
that jackass of a ghost is on duty to-night."
At the word ghost a pseudo-aristocratic shriek pervaded the
atmosphere, and Mrs. Terwilliger, forgetting her social position for a
moment, groaned "Oh, Hank!" and swooned away. And then the president
of the Terwilliger Three-dollar Shoe Company of Soleton, Massachusetts
(Limited), descended to the kitchen.
Across the sill of the kitchen door lay the culinary treasure whose
lobster croquettes the Prince of Wales had likened unto a dream of
Lucullus. Within the kitchen were signs of disorder. Chairs were upset
the table was lying flat on its back, with its four legs held rigidly
up in the air; the kitchen library, consisting of a copy of Marie
Antoinette's Dream-Book; a yellow-covered novel bearing the title
Little Lucy: or, The Kitchen-maid who Became a Marchioness; and Sixty
Soups, by One who Knows, lay strewn about the room, the Dream-Book
sadly torn, and Little Lucy.disfigured forever with batter. Even to the
unpractised eve it was evident that something had happened, and Mr.
Terwilliger felt a cold chill mounting his spine three sections at a
Whether it was the chill or his concern for the prostrate cook that
was responsible or not I cannot say, but for some cause or other Mr.
Terwilliger immediately got down on his knees, in which position he
gazed fearfully about him for a few minutes, and then timidly remarked,
There was no answer.
"Mary, I say. Cook," he whispered, "what the deuce is the meaning
of all this?"
A low moan was all that came from the cook, nor would Hankinson
have listened to more had there been more to hear, for simultaneously
with the moan he became uncomfortably conscious of a presence. In
trying to describe it afterwards, Hankinson said that at first he
thought a cold draught from a dank cavern filled with a million eels,
and a rattlesnake or two thrown in for luck, was blowing over him, and
he avowed that it was anything but pleasant; and then it seemed to
change into a mist drawn largely from a stagnant pool in a malarial
country, floating through which were great quantities of finely
chopped sea-weed, wet hair, and an indescribable atmosphere of
something the chief quality of which was a sort of stale clamminess
that was awful in its intensity.
"I'm glad," Mr. Terwilliger murmured to himself, "that I ain't one
of those delicately reared nobles. If I had anything less than a
right-down regular republican constitution I'd die of fright."
And then his natural grit came to his rescue, and it was well it
did, for the presence had assumed shape, and now sat on the
window-ledge in the form of a hag, glaring at him from out of the
depths of her unfathomable eyes, in which, despite their deadly
greenness, there lurked a tinge of red caused by small specks of that
hue semi-occasionally seen floating across her dilated pupils.
"You are the Bangletop ghost, I presume?" said Terwilliger, rising
and standing near the fire to thaw out his system.
The spectre made no reply, but pointed to the door.
"Yes," Terwilliger said, as if answering a question. That's the way
out, madame. It's a beautiful exit, too. Just try it."
"H'I knows the wi out," returned the spectre, rising and
approaching the tenant of Bangletop, whose solitary lock also rose,
being too polite to remain seated while the ghost walked. "H'I also
knows the wi in, 'Ankinson Judson Terwilliger."
"That's very evident, madame, and between you and me I wish you
didn't," returned Hankinson, somewhat relieved to hear the ghost talk,
even if her voice did sound like the roar of a conch-shell with a bad
case of grip. "I may say to von that, aside from a certain uncanny
satisfaction which I feel at being permitted for the first time in my
life to gaze upon the linaments of a real live misty musty spook, I
regard your coming here as an invasion of the sacred rights of privacy
which is, as you might say, 'hinexcusable.' "
"Hinvaision?" retorted the ghost, snapping her fingers in his face
with such effect that his chin dropped until Terwilliger began to fear
it might never resume its normal position. "Hinvaision?p
H'I'd like to know 'oo's the hinvaider. H'I've occupied hese 'ere
'alls for hover two 'undred years."
"Then its time you moved, unless per chance you are the ghost of a
Hankinson said, his calmness returning now that he had succeeded in
plastering his iron-gray lock across the top of his otherwise bald
head. "Of course, if you are a spook of that kind you want the earth,
and maybe you'll get it."
"H'I'm no porker," returned the spectre. "H'I'm simply the shide of
a poor abused cook which is hafter revenge."
"Ah!" ejaculated Terwilliger, raising his eyebrows, "this is
getting interesting. You're a spook with a grievance, eh? Against me?
I've never wronged a ghost that I know of."
"No, h'I've no 'ard feelinks against you, sir," answered the ghost.
"Hin fact h'I don't know nothink about you. My trouble's with them
Baingletops, and h'I'm a-pursuin' of 'em. H'I've cut 'em out of two
'undred years of rent 'ere. They might better 'ave pide me me waiges
"Oho!" cried Terwilliger; "it's a question of wages, is it? The
Bangletops were hard up?"
"'Ard up? The Baingletops?" laughed the ghost. "When they gets 'ard
up the Baink o' Hengland will be in all the sixty soups mentioned in
that there book."
"You seem to be up in the vernacular," returned Terwilliger, with a
smile. "I'll bet you are an old fraud of a modern ghost."
Here he discharged all six chambers of his pistol into the body of
"No taikers," retorted the ghost, as the bullets whistled through
her chest, and struck deep into the wall on the other side of the
kitchen. "That's a noisy gun you've got, but you carn't ly a ghost
with cold lead hany more than you can ly a corner-stone with a
chicken. H'I'm 'ere to sty until I gets me waiges."
"What was the amount of your wages due at the time of your
discharge?" asked Hankinson.
"Hi was gettin' ten pounds a month," returned the spectre.
"Geewhittaker!" cried Terwilliger, "you must have been an all-fired
"H'I was," assented the ghost, with a proud smile. "H'I cooked a
boar's 'ead for 'is Royal 'Ighness King Charles when 'e visited
Baingletop 'All as which was the finest 'e hever taisted, so 'e said,
hand 'e'd 'ave knighted me hon the spot honly me sex wasn't suited to
the title. 'You carn't make a knight out of a woman,' says the king,
'but give 'er my compliments, and tell 'er 'er monarch says as 'ow
she's a cook as is too good for 'er staition.' "
"That was very nice," said Terwilliger. "No one could have desired
a higher recommendation than that."
"My words hexackly when the baron's privit secretary told me two
dys laiter as 'ow the baron's heggs wasn't done proper," said the
ghost. "H'I says to 'im, says I: 'The baron's heggs be blowed. My
monarch's hopinion is worth two of any ten barons's livin', and Mister
Baingletop,' (h'I allus called 'im mister when 'e was ugly,) 'can get
'is heggs cooked helsewhere if 'e don't like the wy h'I boils 'em.'
Hand what do you suppose the secretary said then?"
"I give it up," replied Terwilliger. "What?"
"'E said as 'ow h'I 'ad the big 'eadl."
"How disgusting of him!" murmured Terwilliger. "That was simply
"Hand then 'e accuged me of bein' himpudent."
"'E did, hindeed; hand then 'e discharged me without me waiges. Hof
course h'I wouldn't sty after that; but h'I says to 'im, 'Hif I don't
get me py, h'I'll 'aunt this place from the dy of me death;' hand 'e
says, ''Aunt awy.'
"And you have kept your word."
"H'I 'ave that! HI've made it 'ot for 'em, too.
"Well, now, look here," said Terwilliger, "I'll tell you what I'll
do. I'll pay you your wages if you'll go back to Spookland and mind
your own business. Ten pounds isn't much when three-dollar shoes cost
fifteen cents a pair and sell like hot waffles. Is it a bargain?"
"H'I was sent off with three months' money owin' me," said the
"Well, call it thirty pounds, then," replied Terwilliger.
"With hinterest—compound hinterest at six per cent.—for two
'undlred and thirty years," said the ghost.
"Phew!" whistled Terwilliger. "Have you any idea how much money
"Certingly," replied the ghost. "Hit's just 63,609,609 pounds 6
shillings 4 ½ pence. Whe n h'I gets that, h'I flies; huntil I gets it
h'I stys 'ere an' I 'aunts."
"Say," said Terwilliger, "haven't you been chumming with an Italian
ghost named Shylock over on the other shore?"
"Shylock!" said the ghost. "No, h'I've never 'eard the naime.
Perhaps 'e's stoppin' at the hother place."
"Very likely," said Terwilliger. " He is an eminent saint alongside
of you. But I say now, Mrs.
Spook, or whatever your name is, this is rubbing it in, to try to
collect as much money as that, particularly from me, who wasn't to
blame in any way, and on whom you haven't the spook of a claim."
"H'I'm very sorry for you, Mr. Terwilliger," said the ghost. "But
my vow must be kept sacrid."
"But why don't you come down on the Bangletops up in London, and
squeeze it out of them?"
"H'I carn't. H'I'm bound to 'aunt this 'all, an' that's hall there
is about it. H'I carn't find a better wy to ly them Baingletops low
than by attachin' of their hincome, hand the rent of this 'all is the
honly bit of hincome within my reach."
"But I've leased the place for five years," said Terwilliger, in
despair; "and I've paid the rent in advance."
"Carn't 'elp it," returned the ghost. "Hif you did that, hit's your
"I wouldn't have done it, except to advertise my shoe business,"
said Terwilliger, ruefully.
"The items in the papers at home that arise from my occupancy of
this house, together with the social cinch it gives me, are worth the
money; but I'm hanged if it's worth my while to pay back salaries to
every grasping apparition that chooses to rise up out of the moat and
dip his or her clammy hand into my surplus. The shoe trade is a
blooming big thing, but the profits aren't big enough to divide with
"Your tone is very 'aughty, 'Ankinson J. Terwilliger, but it don't
haffeck me. H'I don't care 'oo pys the money, an' h'I 'aven't got you
into this scripe. You've done that yourself. Hon the other 'and, sir,
h'I've showed you 'ow to get out of it."
"Well, perhaps you're right," returned Hankinson. "I can't say I
blame you for not perjuring yourself, particularly since you've been
dead long enough to have discovered what the probable consequences
would be. But I do wish there was some other way out of it. I couldn't
pay you all that money without losing a controlling interest in the
shoe company, and that's hardly worth my while, now is it?"
"No, Mr. Terwilliger; hit is not."
"I have a scheme," said Hankinson, after a moment or two of deep
thought. "Why don't you go back to the spirit world and expose the
Bangletops there? They have spooks, havent they?"
"Yes," replied the ghost, sadlly. "But the spirit world his as bad
as this 'ere. The spook of a cook carn't reach the spook of a baron
there hany more than a scullery-maid can reach a markis 'ere. H'I
tried that when the baron died and came over to the hother world, but
'e 'ad 'is spook flunkies on 'and to tell me 'e was hout drivin' with
the ghost of William the Conqueror and the shide of Solomon. H'I knew
'e wasn't, but what could h'1 do?"
"It was a mean game of bluff," said Terwilliger. "I suppose,
though, if you were the shade of a duchess, you could simply knock
"Yes, and the Baron of Peddlington too. 'E was the private
secretary as said h'I 'ad the big 'ead."
"H'm!" said Terwilliger, meditatively. "Would you—er—would you
consent to retire from this haunting business of yours, and give me a
receipt for that bill for wages, interest and all, if I had you made
over into the spook of a duchess? Revenge is sweet, you know, and there
are some revenges that are simply a thousand times more balmy than
"Would h'I?" ejaculated the ghost, rising and looking at the clock.
"Would h'I?" she repeated.
"Well, rather. If h'I could enter spook society as a duchess, you
can wager a year's hincome them Bangletops wouldn't be hin it."
"Good I am glad to see that you are a spook of spirit. If you had
veins, I believe there'd be sporting blood in them."
"Thainks," said the ghost, dryly. " But 'ow can it hever be did?"
"Leave that to me," Terwilliger answered. "We'll call a truce for
two weeks, at the end of which time you must come back here, and we'll
settle on the final arrangements. Keep your own counsel in the matter,
and don't breathe a word about your intentions to anybody. Above all,
"H'I'm no cannibal," retorted the ghost.
"Who said you were?" asked Terwilliger.
"You intimated as much," said the ghost, with a smile. "You said as
'ow I must keep sober, and 'ow could I do hotherwise hunless I
swallered some spirits?"
Terwilliger laughed. He thought it was a pretty good joke For a
ghost—especially a cook's ghost—and then, having agreed on the hour
of midnight one fortnight thence for the next meeting, they shook
hands and parted.
"What was it, Hankinson?" asked Mrs. Terwilliger, as her husband
crawled back into bed.
"Not a burglar," returned Hankinson. "Nothing but a ghost—a poor,
old, female ghost."
"Ghost!" cried Mrs. Terwilliger, trembling with fright. "In this
"Yes, my dear. Haunted us by mistake, that's all. Belongs to
another place entirely; got a little befogged, and came here without
intending to, that's all. When she found out her mistake, she
apologized, and left."
"What did she have on?" asked Mrs. Terwilliger, with a sigh of
But the president of the Three-dollar Shoe Company, of Soleton,
Massachusetts (Limited), said nothing. He had dropped off into a
For the next two weeks Terwilliger lived in a state of preoccupation
that worried his wife and daughters to a very considerable extent.
They were afraid that something had happened, or was about to happen,
in connection with the shoe corporation; and this deprived them of
sleep, particularly the elder Miss Terwilliger, who had danced four
times at a recent ball with an impecunious young earl, whom she
suspected of having intentions. Ariadne was in a state of grave
apprehension, because she knew that much as the earl might love her, it
would be difficult for them to marry on his income, which was
literally too small to keep the roof over his head in decent repair.
But it was not business troubles that occupied every sleeping and
waking thought of Hankinson Judson Terwilliger. His mind was now set
upon the hardest problem it had ever had to cope with,.that problem
being how to so ennoble the spectre cook of Bangletop that she might
outrank the ancestors of his landlord in the other world—the shady
world, he called it. The living cook had been induced to remain partly
by threats and partly by promises of increased pay; the threats
consisting largely of expressions of determination to leave her in
England, thousands of miles from her home in Massachusetts, deserted
and forlorn, the poor woman being insufficiently provided with funds
to get back to America, and holding in her veins a strain of Celtic
blood quite large enough to make the idea of remaining an outcast in
England absolutely intolerable to her. At the end of seven days
Terwilliger was seemingly as far from the solution of his problem as
ever, and at the grand fête given by himself and wife on the afternoon
of the seventh day of his trial, to the Earl of Mugley, the one in
whom Ariadne was interested, he seemed almost rude to his guests,
which the latter overlooked, taking it for the American way of
entertaining. It is very hard for a shoemaker to entertain earls,
dukes, and the plainest kind of every-day lords under ordinary
circumstances; but when, in addition to the duties of host, the maker
of soles has to think out a recipe for the making of an aristocrat out
of a deceased plebe, a polite drawing-room manner is hardly to be
expected. Mr. Terwilliger's manner remained of the kind to be expected
under the circumstances, neither better nor worse, until the flunky at
the door announced, in stentorian tones, "'The Hearl of Mugley."
The "Hearl" of Mugley seemed to be the open sesame to the door
betwixt Terwilliger and success. Simultaneously with the entrance of
the earl the solution of his problem flashed across the mind of the
master of Bangletop, and his affronting demeanor, his preoccupation and
all disappeared in an instant. Indeed, so elegantly enthusiastic was
his reception of the earl that Lady Maud Sniffles, on the other side
of the room, whispered in the ear of the Hon. Miss Pottleton that
Mugley's creditors were in luck; to which the Hon. Miss Pottleton,
whose smiles upon the nobleman had been returned unopened, curved her
upper lip spitefully, and replied that they were indeed, but she
didn't envy Ariadne that pompous little error of nature's, the earl.
"Howdy do, Earl?" said Terwilliger. "Glad to see you looking so
well. How's your mamma?"
"The countess is in her usual state of health, Mr. Terwilliger,"
returned the earl.
"Ain't she coming this afternoon?"
"I really can't say," answered Mugley. "I asked her if she was
coming, and all she did was to call for her salts. She's a little
given to fainting-spells, and the slightest shock rather upsets her."
And then the earl turned on his heel and sought out the fair
Ariadne, while Terwilliger, excusing himself, left the assemblage, and
went directly to his private office in the crypt of the Greek chapel.
Arrived there, he seated himself at his desk and wrote the following
formal card, which he put in an envelope and addressed to the Earl of
Mugley "If the Earl of Mugley will call at the private office of Mr.
H. Judson Terwilliger at once, he will not only greatly oblige Mr. H.
Judson Terwilliger, but may also hear of something to his advantage."
The card written, Terwilliger summoned an attendant, ordered a
quantity of liqueurs, whiskey, sherry, port, and lemon squash for two
to be brought to the office, and then sent his communication to the
Now the earl was a great stickler for etiquette, and he did not at
all like the idea of one in his position waiting upon one of Mr.
Terwilliger's rank or lack of rank, and, at first thought, he was
inclined to ignore the request of his host, but a combination of
circumstances served to change his resolution. He so seldom heard
anything to his advantage that, for mere novelty's sake, he thought he
would do as he was asked; but the question of his dignity rose up
again, and shoving the note into his pocket he tried to forget it.
After five minutes he found he could not forget it,.and putting his
hand into the pocket for the missive, meaning to give it a second
reading, he drew out another paper by mistake, which was, in brief, a
reminder from a firm of London lawyers that he owed certain clients of
theirs a few thousands of pounds for the clothing that had adorned his
back for the last two years, and stating that proceedings would be
begun if at the expiration of three months the account was not paid in
full. The reminder settled it. The Earl of Mugley graciously concluded
to grant Mr. H. Judson Terwilliger an audience in the private office
under the Greek chapel.
"Sit down, Earl, and have a cream de mint with me,'' said
Terwilliger, as the earl, four minutes later, entered the apartment.
"Thanks," returned the earl. "Beautiful color that," he added,
pleasantly, smacking his lips with satisfaction as the soft green
fluid disappeared from the glass into his inner earl.
"Fine," said Terwilliger. "Little unripe, perhaps, but pleasant to
the eye. I prefer the hue of the Maraschino, myself. Just taste that
Maraschino, Earl. It's A1; thirty-six dollars a case."
"You wanted to see me about some matter of interest to both of us,
I believe, Mr. Terwilliger,"
said the earl, declining the proffered Maraschino.
"Well, yes," returned Terwilliger. "More of interest to you,
perhaps, than to me. The fact is, Earl, I've taken quite a shine to
you, so much of a one in fact, that I've looked you up at a commercial
agency, and H. J. Terwilliger never does that unless he's mightily
interested in a man."
"I—er—I hope you are not to be prejudiced against me," the earl
said, uneasily, "by—er—by what those cads of tradesmen say about
"Not a bit," returned Terwilliger—"not a bit. In fact, what I've
discovered has prejudiced me in your favor. You are just the man I've
been looking for for some days. I've wanted a man with three A blood
and three Z finances for 'most a week now, and from what I gather from
Burke and Bradstreet, you fill the bill. You owe pretty much everybody
from your tailor to the collector of pew rents at your church, eh?"
"I've been unfortunate in financial matters," returned the earl;
"but I have left the family name untarnished."
"So I believe, Earl. That's what I admire about you. Some men with
your debts would be driven to drink or other pastimes of a more or
less tarnishing nature, and I admire you for the admirable restraint
you have put upon yourself. You owe, I am told, about twenty-seven
"My secretary has the figures I believe," said the earl, slightly
"Well, we'll say thirty thousand in round figures. Now what hope
have you of ever paying that sum off?"
"None—unless I— er—well, unless I should be fortunate enough to
secure a rich wife."
"Precisely; that is exactly what I thought," rejoined Terwilliger.
"Marriage is your only asset, and as yet that is hardly negotiable.
Now I have called you here this afternoon to make a proposition to
you. If you will marry according to my wishes I will give you an income
of five thousand pounds a year for the next five years."
"I don't quite understand you," the earl replied, in a disappointed
tone. It was evident that five thousand pounds per annum was too small
a figure for his tastes.
"I think I was quite plain,'' said Terwilliger, and he repeated his
"I certainly admire the lady very much," said the earl; "but the
settlement of income seems very small.".Terwilliger opened his eyes
wide with astonishment. "Oh, you admire the lady, eh?" he said.
"Well, there is no accounting for tastes."
"You surprise me slightly," said the earl, in response to this
remark. "The lady is certainly worthy of any man's admiration. She is
refined, cultivated, beautiful, and—"
Ahem!" said Terwilliger. " May I ask, my dear Earl, to whom you
"To Ariadne, of course. I thought your course somewhat unusual, but
we do not pretend to comprehend you Americans over here. Your
proposition is that I shall marry Ariadne?"
I hesitate to place on record what Terwilliger said in answer to
this statement. It was forcible rather than polite, and the earl from
that moment adopted a new simile for degrees of profanity,
substituting "to swear like an American" for the old forms having to
do with pirates and troopers.
The string of expletives was about five minutes in length, at the
end of which time Terwilliger managed to say:
"No such d— proposition ever entered my mind. I want you to marry
a cold, misty, musty spectre, nothing more or less, and I'll tell you
And then he proceeded to tell the Earl of Mugley all that he knew
of the history of Bangletop Hall, concluding with a narration of his
experiences with the ghost cook.
"My rent here," he said, in conclusion, "is five thousand pounds
per annum. The advertising I get out of the fact of my being here and
swelling it with you nabobs is worth twenty-five thousand pounds a
year, and I'm willing to pay, in good hard cash, twenty per cent. of
that amount rather than he forced to give up. Now here's your chance
to get an income without an encumbrance and stave off your creditors.
Marry the spook, so that she can go back to the spirit land a countess
and make it hot for the Bangletops, and don't be so allfired proud.
She'll be disappointed enough I can tell you, when I inform her that
an earl was the best I could do, the promised duke not being within
reach. If she says earls are drugs in the market, I won't be able to
deny it; and, after all, my lad, a good cook is a greater blessing in
this world than any earl that ever lived, and a blamed sight rarer."
"Your proposition is absolutely ridiculous, Mr. Terwilliger,"
replied the earl.
"I'd look well marrying a draught from a dark cavern, as you call
it, now wouldn't I? To say nothing of the impossibility of a Mugley
marrying a cook. I cannot entertain the proposition."
"You'll find you can't entertain anything if you don't watch out,"
fumed Terwilliger, in return.
"I'm not so sure about that," replied the earl, haughtily, sipping
his lemon squash. "I fancy Miss Ariadne is not entirely indifferent to
"Well, you might just as well understand on this 18 th day of July,
18—, as any other time, that my daughter Ariadne never becomes the
Earless of Mugley," said Terwilliger, in a tone of exasperation.
"Not even when her father considers the commercial value of such an
alliance for his daughter?" retorted the earl, shaking his tinger in
Terwilliger's face. "Not even when the President of the Three-dollar
Shoe Company, of Soleton, Massachusetts (Limited), considers the
advertising sure to result from a marriage between his house and that
of Mugley, with presents from her majesty the queen, the Duke of York
acting as best man, and telegrams of congratulation from the crowned
heads of Europe pouring in at the rate of two an hour for half as many
hours as there are thrones?"
Terwilliger turned pale.
The picture painted by the earl was terribly alluring.
He was lost.
"Mugley," he whispered, hoarsely—"Mugley, I have wronged you. I
thought you were a fortune-hunter. I see you love her. Take her, my
boy, and pass me the brandy."
"Certainly, Mr. Terwilliger," replied the earl, affably. "And then,
if you've no objection, you may pass it back, and I'll join you in a
And then the two men drank each other's health in silence, which
was prolonged for at least five minutes, during which time the earl
and his host both appeared to be immersed in deep thought.
"Come," said Terwilliger at last. "Let us go back to the
drawing-room, or they'll miss us, and, by-the-way, you might speak of
that little matter to Ariadlne to-night. It'll help the fall trade to
have the engagement announced.
"I will, Mr. Terwilliger," returned the earl, as they started to
leave the room; "but I say, father-in- law elect," he whispered,
catching Terwilliger's coat sleeve and drawing him back into the
office for an instant, "you couldn't let me have five pounds on
account this evening, could you?"
Two minutes later Terwilliger and the earl appeared in the
drawing-room, the former looking haggard and worn, his eyes feverishly
bright, and his manner betraying the presence of disturbing elements
in his nerve centres; the latter smiling more affably than was
consistent with his title, and jingling a number of gold coins in his
pocket, which his intimate friend and old college chum, Lord
Dufferton, on the other side of the room, marvelled at greatly, for he
knew well that upon the earl's arrival at Bangle-top Hall an hour
before his pockets were as empty as a flunky's head.
Terwilliger's time was almost up. The hour for his interview with the
spectre cook of Bangletop was hardly forty-eight hours distant, and he
was wellnigh distracted. No solution of the problem seemed possible
since the earl had so peremptorily declined to fall in with his plan.
He was glad the earl had done so, for otherwise he would have been
denied the tremendous satisfaction which the consummation of an
alliance between his own and one of the oldest and noblest houses of
England was about to give him, not to mention the commercial phase of
the situation, which had been so potent a factor in bringing the
engagement about; for Ariadne had said yes to the earl that same
nights and the betrothal was shortly to be announced. It would have
been announced at once, only the earl felt that he should break the
news himself first to his mother, the countess— an operation which he
dreaded, and for which he believed some eight or ten weeks of time were
"What is the matter, Judson?" Mrs. Terwilliger asked finally, her
husband was growing so careworn of aspect.
"Nothing, my dear, nothing."
"But there is something, Judson, and as your wife I demand to know
what it is. Perhaps I can help you."
And then Mr. Terwilliger broke down, and told the whole story to
Mrs. Terwilliger, omitting no detail, stopping only to bring that
worthy lady to on the half-dozen or more occasions when her emotions
were too strong for her nerves, causing her to swoon. When he had quite
done, she looked him reproachfully in the eye, and said that if he had
told her the truth instead of deceiving her on the night of the
spectral visitation, he might have been spared all his trouble.
"For you know, Judson," she said, "I have made a study of the art of
acquiring titles. Since I read the story of the girl who started in
life as an innkeeper's daughter and died a duchess, by Elizabeth
Harley Hicks, of Salem, and realized how one might be lowly born and
yet rise to lofty heights, it has been my dearest wish that my girls
might become noblewomen, and at times, Judson, I have even hoped that
you might yet become a duke."
"Great Scott!" ejaculated Terwilliger. "That would be awful.
Hankinson, Duke of Terwilliger!
Why, Molly, I'd never be able to hold up my head in shoe circles
with a name on me like that."
"Is there nothing in the world but shoes, Judson?" asked his wife,
"You'll find shoes are the foundation upon which society stands,"
chuckled Terwilliger in return.
"You are never serious," returned Mrs. Terwilliger; "but now you
must be. You are coping with the supernatural. Now I have discovered,"
continued the lady, "that there are three methods by which titles are
acquired—birth, marriage, and purchase."
"You forget the fourth—achievement," suggested Terwilliger.
"Not these days, Judson. It used to be so, but it is not so now.
Now the spectre hasn't birth, we can't get any living duke to marry
her, dead dukes are hard to find, so there's nothing to do but to buy
her a title."
"In Italy. You can get 'em by the dozen. Every hand-organ grinder
in America grinds away in the hope of going back to Italy and
purchasing a title. Why can't you do the same?"
"Me? Me grind a hand-organ in America?" cried Jlankinson.
"No, no; purchase a dukedom."
"I don't want a dukedom; I want a duchessdom."
"That's all right. Buy the title, give it to the cook, and let her
marry some spectre of her own rank; she can give him the title; and
there you are!"
"Good scheme!" cried Terwilliger. "But I say, Molly, don't you
think it would be better to get her to bring the spectre over here,
and have me give him the title, and then let him marry her here?"
"No, I don't. If you give it to him first, the chances are he would
go back on his bargain. He'd say that, being a duke, he couldn't marry
"You have a large mind, Molly," said Terwilliger.
"I know men!" snapped Mrs. Terwilliger.
And so it happened. Hankinson Judson Terwilliger applied by wire to
the authorities in Rome for all right, title, and interest in one
dukedom, free from encumbrances irrevocable, and duly witnessed by the
proper dignitaries of the Italian government, and at the second
interview with the spectre cook of Bangletop, he was able to show her
a cablegram received from the Eternal City stating that the papers
would be sent upon receipt of the applicant's check for one hundred
"'Ow much his that?" asked the ghost.
"One hundred lire?" returned Terwilliger, repeating the sum to gain
time to think. He was himself surprised at the cheapness of the duchy,
and he was afraid that if the ghost knew its real value she would
decline to take it. "One hundred lire? Why, that's about 750,000
dollars— 150,000 pounds. They charge high for their titles," he
added, blushing slightly.
"Pretty 'igh," returned the ghost. "But h'I carn't be a duke, ye
know. 'Ow'll I manidge that?"
Hankinson explained his wife's scheme to the spectre.
"That's helegant," said she. "H'I've loved a butler o' the
Bangletops for nigh hon to two 'undred years, but, some 'ow or hother,
he's kep' shy o' me. This 'll fix 'im. But h'I say, Mr.
Terwilliger, his one o' them Heyetalian dukes as good as a Henglish
"Every bit," said Terwilliger. "A duke's a duke the world over.
Don't you know the lines of Burns, 'A duke's a duke for a' that'?"
"Never 'eard of 'im," replied the ghost.
"Well, you look him up when you get settled down at home. He was a
smart man here, and, if his ghost does him justice, you'll be mighty
glad to know him," Terwilliger answered.
And thus was Bangletop Hall delivered of its uncanny visitor. The
ducal appointment, entitling its owner to call himself "Duke of
Cavalcadi," was received in due time, and handed over to the curse of
the kitchen, who immediately disappeared, and permanently, from the
haunts that had known her for so long and so disadvantageously.
Bangletop Hall is now the home of a happy family, to whom all are
devoted, and from whose ménage no cook has ever been known to depart,
save for natural causes, despite all that has gone before.
Ariadne has become Countess of MugIcy, and Mrs. Terwilliger is
content with her Judson, whom, however, she occasionally calls Duke of
Cavalcadi, claiming that he is the representative of that ancient and
noble family on earth. As for Judson, he always smiles when his wife
calls him Duke, but denies the titular impeachment, for he is on good
terms with his landlord, whose admiration for his tenant's wholly
unexpected ability to retain his cook causes him to regard him as a
supernatural being, and therefore worthy of a Bangletop's regard.
"All of which," Terwilliger says to Mrs. Terwilliger, "might not be
so, my dear, were I really the duke, for I honestly believe that if
there is a feud of long standing anywhere in the universe, it is
between the noble families of Bangletop and Cavalcadi over on the other