Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.
`At this time of the rolling year,' the spectre said
Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.
When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before.
The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.
The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.
The sweet scents of the summer night rose all around him, and rose, as the rain falls, impartially, on the dusty, ragged, and toil-worn group at the fountain not far away; to whom the mender of roads, with the aid of the blue cap without which he was nothing, still enlarged upon his man like a spectre
, as long as they could bear it.
Hither I came with all the speed the beast could compass man and mother's son flying before me wherever I came, taking me for a spectre
, the more especially as, to prevent my being recognised, I drew the corpse-hood over my face.
But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cuddling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no spectre dared to show its face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homewards.
The chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favorite spectre of Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman, who had been heard several times of late, patrolling the country; and, it was said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard.
His terror rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping by a sudden movement to give his companion the slip; but the spectre started full jump with him.
All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was--a woman.