The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories
Retold by Stephen Colbourn




A Note About the Author
Oscar Wilde was bom in Dublin, Ireland in 1854. He died in Paris in 1900. Many of the stories, plays and poems that Oscar Wilde wrote are still popular. Stories: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stones, The Happy Prince and Other Tales. Plays: Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest. Poems and Essays: The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Ravenna, De Profundis.




He had come to live and work in England.' 'But several members of my family have seen it.' said Lord Canterville.' Mr Otis said again.' 'I want to buy the house. Mrs Umney. Otis visited Lord Canterville. 'I do not want to live there.' said Lord Canterville. Also.' 'I don't believe in ghosts. Only the housekeeper. 'My aunt saw the ghost. Canterville Chase was a large and very old house near London. Will you sell Canterville Chase? Will you sell the ghost?' 4 . 'I do not live in Canterville Chase. the owner. Mrs Umney lives there alone.' said Mr Otis. 'America is a modern country. 'No one has found a ghost. Otis was a rich American from New York. 'but I have heard it at night. but he did not want to live in London. The house has a ghost . I don't believe in ghosts. No one has put a ghost in a museum. He wanted to live in the countryside outside London. 'I'll buy the ghost as well. lives in Canterville Chase. Lord Canterville. And you haven't seen this ghost either. So Mr Hiram B. She was so frightened that she was ill for the rest of her life. the servants have seen it so they will not stay in the house at night.THE CANTERVILLE GHOST Mr Hiram B.' 'I come from America. Have you seen this Canterville Ghost?' 'No.' Lord Canterville said to Mr Otis.The Canterville Ghost. wanted to sell it. He did not want to live in the city.' said Mr Otis.

so the family went inside the house quickly. A thunderstorm was coming. Rain started to fall. Canterville Chase was big and old. 'Would you like some tea?' 'Yes. The Otis family wanted to stop and look at the outside of the house. Washington. He had a wife called Lucretia.' said Lord Canterville. please remember. His two young brothers were twins. The old house was in the countryside west of London. three sons and a daughter. There was a big table in the centre of the room and many 5 . Then they rode to the house in a wagon pulled by two horses. She lived at Canterville Chase and looked after the house. I told you about the ghost before you bought the house. Mrs Umney. I will.' Mr Hiram B.' said Mrs Umney. Mr Otis and his family travelled from London by train. She was an old woman and wore a black dress and white apron. 'But. please. Trees grew all around the house.'Yes. Otis bought Canterville Chase. was waiting for them by the front door. Mr Otis took his family to live at Canterville Chase. the housekeeper. The eldest son. was almost twenty years old. He was good-looking and had fair hair. Virginia. She had large blue eyes and a lovely face.' said Mrs Otis. The Otis family followed Mrs Umney into the library. The daughter. was fifteen years old. They were twelve years old. 'Welcome to Canterville Chase. but the sky darkened. Then his family came to England from America.

' answered the old housekeeper in a quiet voice. in 1575.' Washington Otis took the stain remover from a bag. 'The blood-stain has gone. 'What is this red stain?' Mrs Otis asked Mrs Umney. She was murdered by her husband. He rubbed the stick on the blood-stain. The rain was falling heavily and the sky was black.' 6 . The Otises sat in the library and drank their tea. Sir Simon de Canterville. 'I don't want a blood-stain in my library. It cannot be removed. The stick had removed the stain quickly and easily. They looked out of a large window at the rain. Mrs Otis looked around the room. 'I have some Pinkerton's Stain Remover from America. Mrs Umney looked at the floor. There was also a red stain on the floor. 'It is blood.' said Washington Otis. Mrs Umney was very frightened. 'It is the blood of Lady Eleanore de Canterville. There were paintings on the walls. The red stain was by the fireplace. The blood-stain has been here for over three hundred years. She was frightened. No one had removed the blood-stain for three hundred years. Watch. There were many books on bookshelves. They heard thunder and they saw lightning. then she brought a pot of tea. Mrs Umney put teacups on the table.chairs. Please clean the floor immediately.' said Washington Otis.' 'Nonsense.' The old woman smiled. It can remove any stain. 'Please remove the stain. Pinkerton's Stain Remover looked like a small black stick. 'Pinkerton's can remove anything.' said Mrs Otis. A minute later the floor was clean.

' said the Otis hoys. Mrs Umney fainted. 'I'll remove this blood-stain once more. 'This is very strange. 'Mrs Umney! Mrs Umney!' cried Mrs Otis.' she said. Mrs Umney's eyes were closed and her face was pale. 'I'll lock the library 7 .Lightning flashed and lit the library. They helped the old housekeeper who lay on the floor. Trouble will come to this house.' she said again. 'Can you speak?' Mrs Umney opened her eyes. 'You must not remove the blood-stain. You must not clean the library floor. Mr and Mrs Otis ran across the library. The blood-stain had reappeared on the floor. The ghost will come to you. 'Mother doesn't want a blood-stain in the library. The storm continued all night. The library floor was clean.' Then Mrs Umney went upstairs to her room.' All the Otises helped Mrs Umney to stand up. But the next morning the stain had come back again. 'I have seen the ghost. 'Let's look round the house.' said Washington Otis.' He removed the blood-stain with Pinkerton's Stain Remover. That night the family went to bed early. Next morning they went into the library. The ghost will be angry. Thunder crashed over the house. 'Let's look for the ghost. But they did not see the Canterville Ghost.' The Otises looked round the house together. 'The ghost will come.' said Mr Otis. I'll clean the floor again.

They walked around the countryside near Canterville Chase.' 'I don't think Pinkerton's Stain Remover is bad. The ghost puts the stain on the floor at night. 'It must stop making these stains. The ghost was an old man with burning red eyes. He had long grey hair and wore very old-fashioned clothes. The chains were nibbing together.' 8 . Then they walked back to Canterville Chase through the woods. They looked at the old village houses. No one can put a stain on the floor. The Otises were hungry and tired.' 'We must find this ghost. The ghost is making the blood-stain. He-looked into the corridor. your chains make a terrible noise. Your mother does not like blood on the library floor. Mr Otis woke up after midnight. He was rubbing the chains together so they made a noise. No one can come into the library.' said Mr Hiram B. It was late when they got back to the house. He saw the Canterville Ghost in the corridor. Mr Otis got out of bed and opened the bedroom door.door at night. The bedroom doors were along this corridor. There was a long corridor upstairs. Please put the oil on your chains. 'I think there really is a ghost. 'You must put some oil on those chains. The sound was like metal chains. They went to the nearby village. 'My dear sir.' That day the family went out. It was a summer evening and the weather was tine. There was a strange noise outside his room.' Mr Otis said to the ghost. There were chains on his hands and feet.' said Washington Otis. Otis. Here is some Tammany Rising Sun Oil from the United States. After eating supper they went to bed The bedrooms were upstairs.

He was a ghost. They threw the pillows at the ghost. He disappeared through the wall and the house became quiet. The ghost was amazed and upset. Then he closed his bedroom door and went back to bed. He had looked through windows and frightened the servants. The ghost went to the secret room where he lived. No one had ever laughed at the Canterville Ghost before. Everyone is frightened of ghosts. No one had given him Rising Sun Oil to put on his chains. Everyone had always been frightened. No one had thrown pillows at him. He thought about what had happened. Mr Otis's youngest sons came out of their bedroom. The Canterville Ghost was very surprised. He had turned green and made noises with his chains. No one had laughed at him before. He had lived in Canterville Chase for three hundred years. Everyone was frightened of him. He had blown out candles in the night. The Canterville Ghost did not know what to do. 9 . The Canterville Ghost decided to work harder. He sat down on a chair. They laughed at the ghost. The two young boys had the pillows from their beds in their hands. He had frightened people for three hundred years. because everyone was afraid of ghosts. He wanted to frighten the American. He made a terrible noise and shone a horrible green light in the corridor. He had knocked on bedroom doors. He was a very unhappy ghost. But this American gentleman was not afraid.Mr Otis put a bottle of oil on a table in the corridor. Another door opened at the end of the corridor. He had frightened people in their beds.

The Otises had all gone to bed. Another morning it was purple. But the stain was no longer the colour of blood. 'The stain has been here for three hundred years. Virginia Otis did not laugh. 10 . It was dark but Mr Otis and his eldest son carried candles. One morning it was brown. They heard another crashing noise in the hallway near the front door.Washington Otis removed the blood-stain in the library every day. Then it became bright green. 'It's green!' shouted the twins. The Otises laughed at the blood-stain. Can't you leave the stain there?' But the others did not listen to Virginia. The blood-stain made her feel sad and she almost cried when she saw the bright green stain. 'What colour is it today?' asked Washington Otis. She felt sorry for the ghost. 'It's green blood today. Every morning the stain had reappeared. 'We have been here for three weeks. She was sure that the ghost put the stain on the floor.' They laughed at the green blood-stain on the library floor. The second appearance of the ghost was on a Sunday night. Suddenly they were woken up. The young girl was silent at breakfast. The poor ghost puts the stain on the floor every night. They ran downstairs. They looked for it every morning before breakfast. The whole family ran out of their bedrooms.' said Virginia. They heard a terrible crashing noise downstairs.

There was no light in the hall. 'I have a bottle of Dr Dobell's medicine. The armour had fallen over and the ghost had hurt his leg. He was very unhappy. Then he disappeared in a green cloud and went back to his secret room. It is good for stomach-aches and headaches. He blew out the candle in Washington Otis's hand. He wanted to walk around the house and frighten the Otis family. It had fallen over and made a loud noise. Please take the medicine. The suit of armour had fallen onto the floor. He was rubbing his knee. But the metal suit was too heavy. The Canterville Ghost was sitting on the floor next to the armour. He had tried to put on the suit of armour.' The ghost looked at Mrs Otis angrily. Men's hair had turned grey when they heard him laugh. Mr Hiram B. 11 . This suit of armour was more than three hundred years old.There was a suit of armour in the hallway. He stopped at the top of the stairs and laughed. The Otis twins laughed loudly. Virginia was afraid and stood beside her mother. He stood up and gave a loud shout. They all looked at the Canterville Ghost. The Canterville Ghost was sitting beside the armour. Then the ghost ran up the stairs in the darkness. but it was too heavy. Otis pointed a gun at the ghost. Washington Otis held his candle high in the air. 'Are you in pain?' asked Mrs Otis. The ghost was very angry. He had a frightening laugh. The ghost had tried to put on the suit of armour. But the Otises were not afraid. He had hurt himself.

but its eyes were no longer burning. He planned to turn himself green and make a horrible noise. Before daylight came.The ghost stayed in his room during the day. He had never seen a ghost before and felt very frightened. It was a head made from a 12 . sometimes he painted the blood-stain green. The twins' bedroom was at the end of the corridor round a corner. He wanted to frighten the Otis twins. Washington Otis removed the blood-stain with Pinkerton's Stain Remover. It was not a ghost at all. He planned to visit the twins in the night. the Canterville Ghost felt better. But the ghost had a problem. He climbed the stairs and walked along the corridor. He planned to touch them with his ice-cold hands in the dark. Suddenly he stopped. It was the face of a ghost! The Canterville Ghost gave a shout and ran back to his secret room. The house was dark. He repainted the blood-stain every night. He turned the corner. sometimes blue. He planned to visit the twins in their bedroom. The second ghost was still there. So. He went back upstairs and walked along the corridor towards the twins' room. He went up to it. And every morning. The head of the second ghost fell onto the floor. In front of him was a round face with a terrible mouth and burning eyes. He touched it. He left his secret room at midnight. Fire shone out of the mouth and eyes of this horrible face. He must meet the second ghost. The ghost made plans. He had quickly finished all his red paint. He came out at night to visit the library. Were there two ghosts in the house? He must find out. Now his brown and purple paints were finished as well.

He did not repaint the blood-stain in the library. The door banged against the wall. He stayed in his room for five days. The twins had put a candle inside it. There had been a blood-stain on the library floor for three hundred years. It is terrifying to see a headless ghost. He wanted to terrify the twins. But a heavy jug of water fell from the top of the door. After a week the ghost felt better. The ghost took off his head and carried it under his arm. This made the Canterville Ghost very angry. He planned to make his face look as horrible as possible. The ghost felt very weak and tired. What could he do? He could think of nothing at that moment. so he went back to his room. He pushed open the door of the twins' bedroom. The house was quiet. THE OTIS GHOST THE ONLY TRUE CANTERVILLE GHOST The twins had put the head in the corridor to frighten him. He had planned to shout and hold his head in his hinds. There was a card on the floor. He decided to try once more to frighten the Otis twins. It was one o'clock in the morning. He waited until the middle of the night. Now the library floor was clean.large round vegetable called a pumpkin. The door of the twins' room was slightly open. 13 . Slowly and silently he walked to the twins' bedroom.

The twins shouted and laughed.in his ears and waved their arms. 'Can't you leave the poor ghost alone?' she said. The twins waited for him when it was dark. The ghost stopped running. She pushed the door wide open and quietly walked into the room. He could not frighten anyone in the Otis family.The wins had played a trick on him. Leave him alone. went back to the secret room and lay down. 'Why do you want to hurt him? Why do you want to play tricks on him? He has lived here for a very long time. He could not frighten anyone. There was somebody sitting by the window. Virginia went to the library. Washington Otis came out of his bedroom. The Otises did not see the Canterville ghost at night again. He was soaked with water. The ghost did not know what to do. Only Mr Otis came along the corridor. He fell over the rope and was very angry. The library door was slightly open. He was a very unhappy ghost. They shouted . They put a rope across the corridor. The ghost ran back down the corridor. Behind him. Virginia Otis was also angry with the twins. Washington Otis laughed at him. The words gave him hope. But the ghost did not walk into the tins. One afternoon. but the ghost heard Virginia's words. He could not frighten the twins. the twins ran down the corridor. He ran through the nearest door. They tied metal tins to the rope.' The twins did not listen. It was the Canterville Ghost! 14 .'Boo!' .

' She turned to go. 'It is my job to frighten everyone who comes to Canterville Chase. I know.He was looking at the library window which was made of coloured glass. I want to go to sleep and I cannot.' said Virginia. 'Oh.' 'Yes I did. 'Mrs Umney. poor ghost.' said Virginia.' said the ghost.' replied the ghost. You stole my paint box. He was wearing his best clothes and had combed his long grey hair. You are much kinder than the rest of your family. 'But she wasn't very kind. But you did try to frighten them. 'You are nasty and unkind too. You used my paints to make the blood-stain in the library.' 'Stop!' cried Virginia.' 'You are very wicked. And it wasn't very kind of her brothers to starve me to death.' 15 . But you are very kind. Miss Virginia. the housekeeper.' he replied. But now I'm going to fetch my father. 'Please do not go.' 'Yes I did. nasty and unkind. 'I'm sorry that my brothers were not very kind to you.' said the ghost.' said Virginia quietly. 'I have not slept since I was murdered by my wife's brothers. There were words painted on the glass. They are rude. 'I am so lonely and so unhappy. 'I feel very sorry for you.' 'Starve you to death?' said Virginia. 'You go to bed and close your eyes. are you hungry? Would you like a sandwich?' 'No thank you. I never told anyone about it.' said the ghost.' 'It's easy to sleep. but the ghost spoke again.' 'I have not slept for three hundred years. told us that you killed your wife. I do not know what to do. 'I never eat anything.

The white stars and the pale moon look down on this little garden. the Garden of Sleep. It is very peaceful.' Virginia looked at the window and read the lines of poetry: When a golden girl shall weep For the ghost that cannot sleep.' 'Look.Virginia walked across the library and looked at the old face of the ghost.' said Virginia.' Virginia's eyes were full of tears. 'You mean it is the Garden of Death.' said the ghost.' said the ghost. 'Poor ghost. 'there is a little garden. For Love is stronger than Death. It was a sad face. 'Then the Angel of Death will let me rest. 'how can I help you to sleep?' 'Far away in the woods. 'The words mean you must weep for me. But only Love can open the door to the garden.' said Virginia. She put her hands over her face. There is no yesterday and no tomorrow. 'but I do not understand it. 'Yes. There is peace and silence. 'It is very beautiful. In the little garden the grass grows long and thick. A nightingale sings all night long.' said the ghost. 16 .' said the unhappy ghost.' Virginia did not know what to say. She listened as the ghost spoke again. The bird's sweet song is beautiful and sad. 'Have you read the writing on the library window?' 'Yes. 'Read the lines on the window.' she said quietly. Then the dead at last shall die And in restful earth may lie. There are many flowers and trees.

' Virginia walked into the darkness with the ghost. The dark cannot hurt you. This was the longest minute of all that time.' Virginia did not answer and the ghost waited. But no one 17 . Voices spoke out of the wind. 'Go back. Mr Otis sent one of the servants to her room. Virginia did not come downstairs for supper. Virginia. The wall opened. They looked in the pond. It was a summer evening and the sun had not set. Then they asked people at the railway station. There was darkness beyond the wall and a cold wind. 'I will come with you into the dark. 'You must come with me into the darkness. They looked everywhere but they could not find her. You will hear strange voices. His lips were cold like ice.Will you help?' 'What do I have to do?' asked Virginia. In the garden there were many trees and a deep pond.' said Virginia at last. Go back before it is too late. hut they burned like fire.' The ghost kissed her hand. Virginia and the ghost disappeared through the library wall. You are good and kind. They looked in the trees. He had waited for three hundred years. Mr and Mrs Otis were very worried. 'I am not afraid. hut nothing will hurt you. You will see strange things. The servant could not find Virginia so everybody searched the house. so the family and the servants searched the gardens before it was dark. The ghost held her hand and they walked to the wall of the library.

You have frightened us all. They sat in the library and waited. 'Where have you been?' Mr Otis asked angrily. 'I have been with the ghost.' said the twins. 'You can play tricks on the ghost!' 'Father. She looked down the stairs at them. Thunder crashed outside the house and the Otises heard a dreadful cry.' She showed her father the small box. Inside was a necklace made of red stones. They planned to search for Virginia again in the morning. Virginia stood in the doorway. 'Come.' 'Except on the ghost. You must never play a trick like this again. it was dark and no one could search any more that night. He gave me this box of beautiful jewels before he died. 'Where have you been?' Mr Otis forgot to be angry. 'Your mother has been very worried. It was midnight when the family decided to go to bed. I'll show you. Mr Otis went to tell the village policeman that Virginia had disappeared. He is dead and now he can rest. by that time. 'Where did you get this?' asked her father.' Virginia said quietly. None of the family wanted to eat or sleep. But. They hoped Virginia would return safely.had seen Virginia. He was so pleased to see that Virginia was safe. They left the library and started to walk up the stairs together. Suddenly all the clocks in the house struck twelve and they heard a terrible noise. Her face was very pale and she carried a small box in her hand. 18 . Strange music sounded inside the house and a door opened at the top of the stairs.' said Virginia.

His ghost was in this house for three hundred years. Virginia knelt on the floor beside the skeleton and began to pray. Virginia carried white flowers. Many people had come to the funeral. A nightingale began to sing. Only bones remained.' said Virginia. At the end of the chains was a body. Sir Simon starved to death. Then his wife's brothers shut him in this room. All of the family followed her. The bird's sweet song was beautiful and sad. The Otises buried the body of Sir Simon de Canterville in a grave among the trees. Beyond the door was a little room with a low ceiling. It was a skeleton. Mrs Umney the housekeeper. Virginia smiled. She looked up at the stars and the pale moon and the dark trees. 19 . There was a funeral four nights later. They came to an old wooden door which was open. Washington Otis carried a lighted candle. She remembered what the ghost had said about the Garden of Death. He was given no food. and all the servants from Canterville Chase stood near the grave. But now he has found peace. 'This is the body of Sir Simon de Canterville.' The Otis family looked around the little room and did not know what to say. The Otises. Virginia led them along a secret corridor. There was an iron ring in the wall and two chains. Behind them were people from the nearby village.She turned back to the door at the top of the stairs. 'God has forgiven him for murdering his wire. 'He murdered his wife in 1575.' she said.


His father was dead. Hughie Erskine had tried to do several jobs. 'but you have no money. the daughter of an army officer. However. 'You are a fine young man. But poor Hughie was not good at anything. He loved Laura Merton. He had worked for a tea merchant selling tea. He also had many friends. He had curly brown hair.' Hughie did not have ten thousand pounds. Alan was an artist who painted pictures of people. Hughie was in love and wanted to get married. His father had been an officer in the army. grey eyes and a handsome face.' Colonel Merton said to Hughie. Many people wanted him to paint their 21 . Hughie Erskine did not have much money. but her father did not want them to get married. He was a good artist and quite famous. You may marry my daughter when you have ten thousand pounds. He had worked for a wine merchant selling wine. Today he had only one pound in his pocket. Now Hughie had his father's sword and a few books but no money. Hughie was almost broke. My daughter cannot marry a man with no money. He did not have ten pounds.THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE Hughie Erskine was a good-looking man. Hughie had a friend called Alan Trevor. His old aunt gave him four or five pounds a week. Hughie Erskine was the best-looking gentleman in London. Laura loved Hughie.

'I don't want a beggar to look happy. torn clothes. Alan painted their portraits in the studio.' answered Alan. It's not difficult to be a beggar. 'You're a rich man. The old man's face was sad. 'Nonsense .. With one hand he held out a hat.' 'But many people want to be rich and famous painters. The model was an old man dressed in old.' 'And how much money do you get when you sell a picture?' asked Hughie. 'Not much.' said Hughie. 'How sad he looks.. nonsense!' said Alan. Alan's pictures were very expensive.' said Alan.' said Hughie.portrait. 'For this picture. Hughie Erskine visited Alan Trevor in his studio. I will get two thousand pounds. Alan was painting a picture of a man who was standing in the corner of the studio. He only painted pictures for rich men.' said Alan. Few people can paint pictures. 'What do you think of this?' asked Alan Trevor. 'Have you ever seen such a wonderful beggar?' 'Poor old man. 'And what do you think of my model?' Hughie looked at the painting. Alan was working on a painting. 'My model is wonderful. 'It's difficult to be a painter. 'only a shilling an hour. I think the model should get some of the money. People came to Alan's studio.' said Alan. You artists 22 . 'No one wants to be a poor beggar. Anyone can beg. In the other hand he held a stick.' 'How much is a model paid for standing in your studio?' asked Hughie. It was a picture of an old beggar.' said Hughie.' 'Of course.

He had a pound.' he said. sir.' said Alan. What did he ask you about me?' 23 .' Alan Trevor came back into the studio and Hughie left.' A servant came in. he needs the money more than I do.are very unkind. 'You gave all your money away?' said Laura. My father will never let me marry a foolish man. 'A gentleman is outside. Alan was looking very pleased. Hughie put his hand in his pocket.' Alan left the room. 'Thank you very much. sir. He went to see Laura and told her about the beggar. 'That was very-foolish.' Alan said to Hughie. He wants you to paint his portrait.' said Hughie. He asked me lots of questions. 'I finished that picture. 'I'll be back in a moment.' he said. The old beggar sat down on a chair and rested. 'Thank you. 'I wish I could help him. You are very foolish. Can you speak to him. It was the last of his money. His hat was still in his hand. 'Sit down and stop talking. 'I'm busy.' Alan Trevor laughed. The old man was very surprised. Well.' 'Poor old man. The old man looked so sad that Hughie felt sorry for him. He looked at the money and smiled. 'And my model was very interested in you. Hughie went across the room and put the pound in the old man's hat. but you are very kind and I love you very much.' That night Hughie met Alan Trevor at a club. please?' 'Don't go away. thought Hughie.

' said Hughie. I told him about Laura. He felt foolish.' Skid Alan. The next day Hughie Erskine had a visitor. Hughie Erskine walked home. He is one of the richest men in Europe. 'But I gave him a pound. 'You told him all about my private business?' 'Don't be angry. 'I did not know him when we met yesterday. 'And what did you tell him?' 'I told him everything.' The visitor smiled. 'Now I feel foolish. I want to tell the Baron that I am sorry. The colonel would never let his daughter marry a fool. 'How can I help you?' asked Hughie. I think I was rude to him. I told him about Laura's father. 'You mean that old beggar was the Baron himself?' 'Yes. Laura's father would hear about this. 'That's the funniest thing I've ever heard. I told him you want to marry Laura hut have no money.' said Alan.' said Alan.' said the visitor. The Baron dressed up as an old beggar. He had given his last pound to a millionaire.' said Alan. 'You were not rude to the Baron. 'I told him all about you.' 'You gave him a pound?' said Alan.'He wanted to know everything about you.' 'Alan!' said Hughie angrily. I was painting it for the Baron von Hausberg. 'The Baron von Hausberg!' said Hughie Erskine. 'You don't know who I was painting the picture for.' he 24 .' 'The Baron von Hausberg!' cried Hughie. Baron von Hausberg was my model. Hughie did not know the man. 'I have come from the Baron von Hausberg.' Alan Trevor could not stop laughing.

'The Baron asked me to give you this.' He gave Hughie an envelope. Hughie thanked him and looked at the envelope. Inside was a cheque for ten thousand pounds. 25 .said. These words were written on the envelope: A wedding present to Hugh Erskine and Laura Merton. from an old beggar.


'But I do not want to know my future. Everyone in London wants to see a palmist. A palmist can tell you your future by looking at your hand. please introduce me to Mr Podgers. This was Lady Windermere's Spring Reception. My palmist reads my hand every week.' 'Very well.' said Lord Arthur. no. he is English. 'A palmist is a man who reads people's hands.' said Lord Arthur Savile.' They walked through a crowd of people.' Lady Windermere answered. 'he is not a fortune-teller. 'His name is Mr Podgers.' said Lady Windermere.LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME 'I want you to meet my palmist. It is important for a young man to know what his future will be. you mean that he's an ordinary fortune-teller.' 'Oh. A palmist is much cleverer than a fortuneteller. I am happy with my life at the present time. 'What is a palmist?' asked Lord Arthur Savile. They were all Lady Windermere's guests. The room was full of ladies and gentlemen who were wearing fashionable and expensive clothes. Also palmists are more fashionable than fortunetellers. 'No. She had a reception every year and invited all the most famous and fashionable people in the capital.' said Lady Windermere. 27 . 'No.' 'Does he have a foreign name?' asked Lord Arthur. Lady Windermere's receptions were the most famous and fashionable parties in London.' said Lady Windermere quickly.

It was small and ugly. There were famous artists and musicians and doctors.' Everyone laughed at this. my lady. There was a Russian anarchist who talked about bombs. 'There is Mr Podgers. 'When I married Lord Paisley I was a young woman. fat man with an unpleasant smile. 'You have had many adventures.There were several lords at the reception. I made my husband sell the castles. 'Your hand is beautiful. He held out his hand and Mr Podger smiled.' said Lady Windermere. There was a fashionable scientist who talked about politics and economics. Then everyone wanted Mr Podgers to look at their hands. Mr Podgers was a short. Mr Podgers laughed most of all. He smiled unpleasantly and bowed towards her. The Duchess waved her left hand and smiled at Mr Podgers. 'Lord Paisley had eleven castles and no houses.' he said. The ministers smiled at Lady Windermere as she passed. the famous explorer. And there was Mr Podgers . Sir Thomas. 'You 28 . But Lord Arthur Savile waited and watched.' said Mr Podgers.' Lord Arthur Savile looked at Mr Podgers.the palmist.' said the Duchess. His eyes were small and bright and he wore gold spectacles He held the Duchess's right hand and looked at it carefully. 'There he is. There were diplomats from many countries.' said Mr Podgers. Mr Podgers was looking at the Duchess of Paisley's hand. was next. Lord Arthur Savile looked at the Duchess's hand. Now I have twelve houses and no castles. 'Your Ladyship is clever at business. He is talking to the Duchess of Paisley. Six government ministers were talking to a German Princess.

'He is fashionable and amuses the guests. eight people held out their hands to Mr Podgers.' 'Then. He smiled and promised good fortune. It's quite amazing. 'Now.to the Antarctic.have been on four long sea voyages. 'Every word is true.' Lady Windermere answered.' said Lady Windermere. Lord Arthur Savile waited and watched. You are planning another voyage . you do not believe in fortune-telling. 'Why did you invite him to your reception?' 'I find him amusing.' 29 . 'It is not difficult to tell the fortunes of famous people if you read the newspapers. Only the Russian ambassador did not hold out his hand. seven.' Lady Windermere said to Lord Arthur. They all laughed and talked loudly. I will tell Sybil the good news. You are getting married next month. You had an illness when you were seventeen years old. I want to know that you will be happy. Twice your ship has been sunk.' 'Why?' asked Lord Arthur. 'Because your fiancee Sybil is coming to see me tomorrow.' 'He reads the newspapers as well as hands.' said Lord Arthur. You became rich when you were thirty. 'I want to know your future. You do not like cats. Everyone was surprised and amazed.' Mr Podgers read the hands of all the people around him. 'Brilliant!' 'True!' 'Amazing!' 'Mr Podgers is wonderful. Lord Arthur.' 'Amazing!' said Sir Thomas. He read their hands and told them their future. it is your turn.' Six.

His gold spectacles almost touched Lord Arthur's hand.' Mr Podgers smiled at Lady Windermere.' said Lady Windermere. He looked closely at Lord Arthur's hand for more than a minute.' said Mr Podgers. Please tell him his future.' he said. 'But will he he a charming young husband? That's what I want to know. 'Of course it is.' 'All charming young men are charming husbands. The palmist's face turned pale. Do you mean that? Do you mean his honeymoon?' 'I do not know. But he looked up quickly and smiled unpleasantly.' said Lady Windermere.' said Mr Podgers. 'He will go on a journey .. He and his wife will go on their honeymoon.' Mr Podgers held Lord Arthur's right hand. He is getting married next month. 'Tell me his future. 'It is the hand of a very pleasant and charming young man. my lady. 'I know that.' said Lady Windermere loudly. 'I am waiting. His face showed that he saw something horrible. What will happen in Lord Arthur's life?' 'There is little to tell. 'Mr Podgers. Mr Podgers took hold of Lord Arthur's left hand. 'I will be pleased to do so. Lord Arthur suddenly felt afraid.' 'Of course he will go on a journey. He looked at it very closely. He is one of my favourite young men.Lady Windermere spoke to Mr Podgers. He said nothing. 'We are all waiting. Mr Podgers. 'He is getting married next month. 'Also.' said Mr Podgers.. one of his 30 .' said Mr Podgers. Please tell him something good.' said Lady Windermere angrily. here is Lord Arthur Savile.

31 . 'The food is ready. Mr Podgers was afraid.relatives will die soon. He said no more. 'Come.' Lady Windermere called to her guests.' said Lord Arthur. I must know the truth. Lady Windermere was angry.' Then he was silent.' Mr Podgers' eyes shone brightly.' said Mr Podgers. Lord Arthur looked at Mr Podgers angrily. 'Tell me what you saw in my hand. A distant relative. This was a bad end to a wonderful evening. PODGERS Professional Palmist 103A WEST MOON STREET. He listened while Mr Podgers told his fortune.' Lord Arthur Savile took the card.' She walked out of the room. LONDON Please send a hundred pounds to my office tomorrow. 'Very well. perhaps. no. A hundred pounds was a lot of money.' 'Who?' demanded Lady Windermere.' said Mr Podgers. It is time for supper. Everyone followed her to the supper table. but you will not like it. Tell me now. not a member of his close family. I will pay you a hundred pounds. 'Not his sister?' 'No. Now I will tell you what I saw. 'I am not a child. 'Here is my address card. except for Lord Arthur and Mr Podgers. MR SEPTIMUS R. 'A distant cousin.

Two women with thick make-up on their faces laughed at him.and afraid. Was it this man's fortune to he poor? Was it Lord Arthur's fortune to he rich? Was a man's future written in his hand? Could Mr Podgers read that future ? Mr Podgers had read the future in Lord Arthur's hand. Lord Arthur did not believe he could change the future. A beggar asked for money as Lord Arthur passed.' said the policeman. At the corner of Rich Street he saw two men. He put a coin in the old man's hand. Could Lord Arthur escape his fate? No. He walked away from the large house. Lord Arthur was rich. But perhaps he could make it happen in a different way ? Now Lord Arthur had walked to Marylebone. This man was poor. He turned back towards Oxford Street. Lord Arthur saw another beggar. He did not say goodbye to her. He walked across Oxford Street and along the unfashionable streets in Soho. He walked away from the fashionable street. He was worried. Then a policeman stopped him. Lord Arthur thanked him and walked on. dirty building. All the houses in the street belonged to rich men. He heard a scream from a dark. They were reading a police notice on the wall. He saw the word MURDER in 32 . He saw a fight in a dark street. 'It's not safe for a gentleman to be walking along these streets at night.Ten minutes later. Lord Arthur Savile left Lady Windermere's house. Lord Arthur went up to the notice and read it. The streets were lit by gas lamps and fog came up from the river. upset . He did not know this part of London. This was a poor part of London.

' Mr Podgers had said.' he said. It was simple. There was a drawing of the murderer on the notice. Her photograph was beside his bed. a distant relative. The first was that he could not marry Sybil . Perhaps a police notice will show a drawing of me one day. He went to bed immediately and did not wake up until twelve o'clock the next day. It is my fate to be a murderer. 'One of your relatives will die soon . I will kill someone.' he said.. Mr Podgers had said nothing. The second was this .' Lord Arthur did not have many distant relatives. He thought about his fiancee. soon. They were going to be married in a month and he loved her. Sybil. Lord Arthur walked home to his house in Belgrave Square. He had felt afraid when Mr Podgers spoke. 'You will kill someone. 'I will kill someone. Lord Arthur Savile decided two things. Lord Arthur believed that the palmist's words were true. Why did he believe the palmist? It was strange. 33 . But who? Where? When? The questions went round and round in his head. thought Lord Arthur.. There had been a murder in Soho. Mr Podgers had said something else. The notice said the police would pay money for information. but Lord Arthur had decided what to do. perhaps a distant cousin. He also thought about what Mr Podgers had told him.'I will make my own future. 'But who will I kill?' Lord Arthur had asked. Perhaps the decisions were strange. Mr Podgers says that I will kill someone.large black letters.not yet.

'Well.' 'Yes.' said the pharmacist.' said the pharmacist. 'I have a large dog. 'I will kill her. I need a certificate from a doctor before I can give you the poison. Lord Arthur wrote down the name of the poison then went to a pharmacy. there is a poison called aconitine. 'but I cannot give it to you. Then he 34 . 'She is old and will not live long. It was a book about poisons.' The pharmacist made the poison pill. She was an old lady who lived in Curzon Street.' 'Very well. my lord. Can you help me? I need a quick and painless poison. of course.' The pharmacist had heard the name. Then I will marry Sybil. 'I will make a pill of poison for your dog.' 'My doctor is Sir Matthew Reid and I am Lord Arthur Savile. I must kill the dog. Sir Matthew Reid. but I do not want to shoot it. Half an hour later. if you promise you will only use the poison to kill this dog. You must bring a signed paper from your doctor. round sweet. My doctor told me there is a poison called aconitine. It looked like a small. Lord Arthur decided to kill her. 'It has bitten several people. Lord Arthur bought a small box of sweets in a shop in Piccadilly.' Lord Arthur said the pharmacist. Lady Clementina Beauchamp.There was only his second cousin. Lord Arthur asked to see the pharmacist. A book called Toxicology helped him..' said Lord Arthur. He threw the sweets away and put the poison pill in the box. Do I have to get a certificate? I am leaving the country very soon and I am in a hurry.' He went to a large library and looked at the books on medicine. There was a strong poison called aconitine which worked quickly and painlessly.' 'Yes.. 'I promise.' he said. Sir Matthew Reid was a famous doctor.

but do not take it now. 'I will try to remember to take it. It is a very good medicine. 'We will be married . 'Are you sure it is medicine? Shall I take it now?' 'It is medicine . I'm sure you young people think I am boring. She took out the pill and looked at it.' 'You are very kind. Then he went to see Sybil at her father's house in Park Lane.' 'You are very kind to visit me.' said Lord Arthur.' Lord Arthur said goodbye to Lady Clementina. thank you. Why did Arthur want to delay their marriage? Lord Arthur sat and talked with her until late in the evening. He wanted to delay their marriage. yes . but not yet. He wanted to change the date of their marriage. Take it before you go to bed.went to visit Lady Clementina Beauchamp. 'I am old and ill. But I will not forget to come to your wedding.' Lady Clementina said. 'How is Sybil? Is everything ready for your marriage?' 'Sybil is very well.' said Lord Arthur.' He gave the sweet box to Lady Clementina who looked inside. Everything will be all right. Lord Arthur asked Sybil to wait. 'It is a new medicine from America.. Believe me. I am going to see Sybil later. My only visitor is the doctor. 'I have brought you some medicine.' Sybil was very unhappy. I am old and I forget many things. Please wait a little longer.' 'I know you are not well.' said Lord Arthur.' said Lady Clementina. Arthur! I'm so happy to see you. 'She has gone to see Lady Windermere today. She did not understand. Then he took 35 .' said Lady Clementina. 'It looks like a sweet..' said Lady Clementina. but he did not want to hurt Sybil. It will help you to sleep.....

'It has an old sweet inside it. Lord Arthur and Sybil looked around Lady Clementina's house. 'But don't burn the box.' said Lord Arthur. Lord Surbiton.' said Sybil. In one drawer Sybil found a small sweet box. It was the box he had given to Lady Clementina. Arthur. 'Look at this lovely little box. 'I will throw it away. He was worried and restless. you look very pale. Then he and Sybil went to Lady Clementina's house.' Sybil said to Arthur. So Lord Arthur Savile now owned Lady Clementina's house. He took the pill and threw it on the fire. One morning a message arrived from London. He had decided to kill someone before his marriage. Is anything wrong?' Lord Arthur knew he had not killed Lady Clementina.the midnight train to Venice in Italy. They were together for two weeks but Lord Arthur did not enjoy his visit to Venice.' Lord Arthur looked. His face turned pale. The poison pill was still inside. He read the newspapers from England every day. She had said she wanted Lord Arthur to have her house. In Venice. Lord Arthur met his brother. Lord Arthur returned to London at once. They opened drawers and cupboards. First he went to see Sybil and make plans for their wedding. Lady Clementina was dead. He looked for news of Lady Clementina Beauchamp. 'Please don't throw the box away. 36 . Now he had to delay his marriage again.

'You want a bomb?' said the Count. The Dean was interested in clocks. do not worry. He thought that only anarchists used bombs. There was often news of anarchists in the newspapers.Lord Arthur Savile delayed his marriage for the second time. I'm not interested in politics. He shook the Russian's hand then left. Lord Arthur Savile was very unhappy. Lord Arthur knew that the Count lived near the British Museum. 'I did not know you were interested in politics. 'This is a secret address. Soho was a poor part of London where 37 . Lord Arthur had to find someone to murder. the Dean of Chichester.' said Count Rouvaloff. His uncle was an important man in the Church.' 'I shall burn it. Count Rouvaloff looked at him in surprise. He had a large collection of clocks. But where could he find a bomb? He remembered Lady Windermere's reception. The paper gave an address in Soho. Lord Arthur decided to send him a bomb inside a clock. He believed that Lord Arthur did want a bomb.' said Lord Arthur.' said Lord Arthur. Read this address then burn the paper.' 'I have some private business. his uncle. Her father was angry. Sybil was very upset. He wrote an address on a piece of paper. He had no more distant relatives. So. 'Tell no one. He went to visit him. He had met a young Russian called Count Rouvaloff. So he decided to murder a close member of his family. Anarchists killed important people with bombs. The Count had talked about anarchism and bombs. But he saw Lord Arthur was serious.

' said Lord Arthur. When do you want it to explode?' 'On Friday. 'My name is Herr Winckelkopf. it is private business. you are interested in religion. Then another man came into the room. 'Ah. The building was an empty shop. 'But I can make your bomb in a few days. He showed a clock to Lord Arthur. I sent a bomb in a clock to the governor of Odessa. 'Count Rouvaloff sent me. 'The woman is Liberty.a woman and a dragon. 'Please send it to the Dean of Chichester.' 'What kind of a bomb?' asked Herr Winckelkopf.many foreign people lived.' 'Yes.' said Herr Winckelkopf.' said Lord Arthur. Can you make the bomb immediately?' 'I have an important job to do for friends in Moscow.' 'A churchman? So. 'A bomb in a clock.' said Lord Arthur. at midday. The man who opened the door spoke German.' 'No.' said the man. He knocked on the door of an old building.' Lord Arthur wrote an address on a piece of paper. "The dragon is Dictatorship. I need a bomb.' said Herr Winckelkopf. There were two wooden figures on the clock . 'How can I help you?' 'My name is Smith.' said Herr Winckelkopf. 'But I am not interested in politics. 'Come in. Here is the 38 .' 'I have a beautiful clock. Lord Arthur waited for a few minutes. Liberty is stronger than Dictatorship.' said the man. 'Who do you want to blow up?' 'I want to blow up the Dean of Chichester. I understand.' continued Herr Winckelkopf. Lord Arthur showed him the paper from Count Rouvaloff. Lord Arthur went to Greek Street.

The weekend came. Does everyone in London have a clock like this? Your Uncle Lord Arthur had not killed his uncle. Please pay me five pounds. He waited at home until the weekend. It is a clever toy.' Lord Arthur paid him five pounds and left the house in Greek Street. but I do not know who sent it. Chichester Dear Arthur. Last week I received a clock. 'What shall I do?' he asked himself.' 'And how much money do I owe you?' asked Lord Arthur. Nothing happened. Then he received a letter from the Dean of Chichester. 'Shall I leave the country? Shall I tell Sybil I will not marry her?' 39 . He was very worried. I'm working for Liberty. He waited another week. 'I'm an anarchist. It has an alarm inside like a small hammer. It is very clever. Still nothing happened. The bomb had not worked.address. smoke comes out of the clock.' 'Friday. When the alarm strikes twelve. 'I do not work for money. 'The Dean of Chichester. at midday.' said Herr Winckelkopf. I am writing to ask you about London fashions.' repeated Herr Winckelkopf. He waited for news. The Deanery.

He walked on. Lord Arthur walked from Blackfriars towards Westminster. Was he going to jump into the river? Lord Arthur walked forward quickly. He heard Big Ben . Lord Arthur stood by the wall and looked down at the river.' Lord Arthur said to himself. There was a cry and a splash. It was Mr Podgers the palmist! Lord Arthur had a clever idea. He could not see Mr Podgers. Lord Arthur became bored with their conversation. The street lamps along the road shone like silver moons. They made a lot of noise in the restaurant. then silence. 'I know I will kill someone. sir?' asked a voice 40 . A fog was coming off the river. The river made Lord Arthur think of dark and terrible things. His brother's friends were young and foolish. A man was leaning over the wall. Lord Arthur stood by the wall and looked down. There were few people on the streets. A street lamp was shining on the man's face. 'It is my fate. He had been happy before he knew his fate. Why did Mr Podgers tell me? I was happy.' He looked away from the river and saw something moving in front of him.That evening he went out to dinner with his brother. He left the restaurant at eleven o'clock and walked beside the river.strike twelve o'clock. He hated Mr Podgers the palmist. The water was moving quickly. I did not want to know my future. The fog was thick and he could not see the river easily. Lord Surbiton. There was something strange in front of him. Then he stopped. Lord Arthur ran forward quickly and quietly. The light of the street lamps made the river black and silver. He took hold of Mr Podgers by the legs and pushed him over the wall.the huge clock at Westminster . 'Have you dropped something.

. A day later Lord Times newspaper.. The police believe that Me Podgers killed himself by jumping into the River Thames. Sybil was looking out of the window. Lord Arthur suddenly felt very happy. not tomorrow . Let's get married today!' 'You foolish boy!' Sybil was laughing and crying at the same time. Lord Arthur ran out of the house and went to Sybil's house in Park Lane. let us get married tomorrow.' Lord Arthur answered. 'Sybil. He turned round and saw a policeman with a lamp. Mr Podgers was a famous palmist. 'It was nothing important. His friends thought he had become ill because he worked so hard. Podgers was found in the River Thames yesterday.. They said that Mr Podgers had been working very hard. 'No . 41 . Arthur read a report in The SUICIDE OF A PALMIST The body of Mr Septimus R.. Now he had no more worries. She and Arthur were both very happy. sergeant. smiling. When she saw Arthur in the street.' Arthur shouted. she ran downstairs to meet him.behind him suddenly. Police questioned Mr Podgers' friends. Mr Podgers was writing a book about reading palms.

There is a new fashion now.' said Arthur.' said Arthur. 'We are both very happy. He never told me anything useful. I did not believe him. 'And we hope that you are too. It is called telepathy.' 'I have no time to be happy.' 42 .' replied Lady Windermere.. He has made me very happy!' 'How has he made you happy?' asked Lady Windermere in surprise. I have a telepathist who reads peoples' minds. Mr Podgers . He could not read the future. Arthur and Sybil visited Lady Windermere..' said Arthur. is dead. 'Everything he told me was true. 'Oh. 'I never heard such nonsense. 'He has helped me to marry Sybil.' 'What nonsense!' cried Lady Windermere. I became tired of Mr Podgers. your palmist. Arthur looked into his wife's eyes and said. 'I am always looking for new people to invite to my receptions. 'Are you happy?' asked Lady Windermere.After their wedding.' 'I read in the newspaper that Mr Podgers.' said Lady Windermere.' 'I believed him.

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