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The Guns of ShilohThe history of the American Christmas and its Tradition

The Haunted Pajamas
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The Haunted Pajamas

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I pushed a wicker arm-chair into the moonlight and breeze by a window, and pulling a flame to a cigarette, leaned back, feeling jolly comfy. For the breeze was ripping and delicious, and the delicate silk of the pajamas flowed in little wavelets all the way from my heels to my neck.

And, thinking of the pajamas, I tried to fix my mind on it that I must tell Jenkins to have me write that chap, Mastermann, and send him another lot of those devilish good cigars he liked. I tried to recall what Jenkins had said was the name of the brand—something deuced clever, I remembered that much.

I was just about dropping off, when I heard some one hurrying along the private hall leading from the back. Jenkins himself popped into the room.

"Did you ring, sir?" he inquired, and advanced quickly.

And then, before I could think about it to reply, he halted suddenly, almost pitching forward. Then, with a kind of wheezy howl, he sprang to the wall. Next instant, I was blinking under the dazzling electrolier.

"Here, I say! Shut off that light!" I remonstrated, half blinded.

I heard a swift rush across the rugs, and the next thing I knew I was roughly jerked from out my chair; strong fingers clutched my throat, and I found myself glaring into a frightened but resolute face.

"Jen-Jenkins!" I tried to gasp, but only a gurgle came.

I was so taken unawares, I knew it must be some dashed dream. Perhaps another minute, and I

would wake up. But he gripped me tighter and shook me like a rag. "Say, who are you?" he hissed. "How did you get in here?"

And then, of course, I knew that he was crazy. Whether he was crazy in a dream or crazy with me awake, I couldn't guess. It made very little difference, anyhow, for I knew that in another minute I should be either dream dead or real dead; and dash me if I could see any odds worth tossing for in either, you know.

But I don't belong to the athletic club quite for nothing, and have managed to pick up a few tricks, you know. So with the decision to chuck the dream theory, I shot my leg forward with a mix-up and twist that made Jenkins loosen his clutch and stagger backward.

"What's the matter with you?" I gasped, advancing toward him. "Are you trying to murder me?" But I was so hoarse, the only word that came out plainly was "murder."

Jenkins uttered a howl. "Help, Mr. Lightnut! Murder!" "You old fool!" I cried, exasperated. "Come here!"

He was coming. He seized a light chair and swung it behind his head. Then he rushed me with a shout.

 

91 Pages





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