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In Nesbit's twilight world, the dead return from the grave, scientists pursue knowledge to the gates of death - and beyond; souls are bartered to the Devil in exchange for one last wish; a casual wager leads to madness; and a seemingly harmless maker of models exacts a terrible price for a wrong done years before.
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Copyright © 2016 by Edith Nesbit
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It may have been a form of madness. Or it may be that he really was what is called haunted. Or it may-though I don’t pretend to understand how-have been the development, through intense suffering, of a sixth sense in a very nervous, highly strung nature. Something certainly led him where They were. And to him They were all one.
He told me the first part of the story, and the last part of it I saw with my own eyes.
HALDANE AND I WERE FRIENDS even in our school-days. What first brought us together was our common hatred of Visger, who came from our part of the country. His people knew our people at home, so he was put on to us when he came. He was the most intolerable person, boy and man, that I have ever known. He would not tell a lie. And that was all right. But he didn’t stop at that. If he were asked whether any other chap had done anything-been out of bounds, or up to any sort of lark-he would always say, ‘I don’t know, sir, but I believe so. He never did know-we took care of that. But what he believed was always right. I remember Haldane twisting his arm to say how he knew about that cherry-tree business, and he only said, ‘I don’t know-I just feel sure. And I was right, you see.’ What can you do with a boy like that?
We grew up to be men. At least Haldane and I did. Visger grew up to be a prig. He was a vegetarian and a teetotaller, and an all-wooler and Christian Scientist, and all the things that prigs are-but he wasn’t a common prig. He knew all sorts of things that he oughtn’t to have known, that he couldn’t have known in any ordinary decent way. It wasn’t that he found things out. He just knew them. Once, when I was very unhappy, he came into my rooms-we were all in our last year at Oxford-and talked about things I hardly knew myself. That was really why I went to India that winter. It was bad enough to be unhappy, without having that beast knowing all about it.
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