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meaning. With a scornful laugh, he uttered
this dark prophecy:


We parted in the storm, after I had forced
half-a-crown on his acceptance, with a
trembling hand. I conclude that something
supernatural happened to the steam-boat, as
it bore his reeking figure down the river; but
it never got into the papers.

Two years elapsed, during which I followed
my profession without any vicissitudes; never
holding so much as a motion, of course. At
the expiration of that period, I found myself
making my way home to the Temple, one night,
in precisely such another storm of thunder
and lightning as that by which I had been
overtaken on board the steam-boatexcept
that this storm, bursting over the town at
midnight, was rendered much more awful by
the darkness and the hour.

As I turned into my court, I really thought
a thunderbolt would fall, and plough the
pavement up. Every brick and stone in
the place seemed to have an echo of its own
for the thunder. The water-spouts were
overcharged, and the rain came tearing down
from the house-tops as if they had been

Mrs. Parkins, my laundresswife of
Parkins the porter, then newly dead of a
dropsyhad particular instructions to place
a bedroom candle and a match under the
staircase lamp on my landing, in order that I
might light my candle there, whenever I came
home. Mrs. Parkins invariably disregarding
all instructions, they were never there. Thus
it happened that on this occasion I groped
my way into my sitting-room to find the
candle, and came out to light it.

What were my emotions when, underneath
the staircase lamp, shining with wet as if he
had never been dry since our last meeting,
stood the mysterious Being whom I had
encountered on the steam-boat in a thunderstorm,
two years before! His prediction
rushed upon my mind, and I turned faint.

"I said I'd do it," he observed, in a hollow
voice, "and I have done it. May I come

"Misguided creature, what have you done?"
I returned.

"I'll let you know," was his reply, "if
you'll let me in."

Could it be murder that he had done? And
had he been so successful that he wanted to
do it again, at my expense?

I hesitated.

"May I come in?" said he.

I inclined my head, with as much presence
of mind as I could command, and he followed
me into my chambers. There, I saw that the
lower part of his face was tied up, in what is
commonly called a Belcher handkerchief.
He slowly removed this bandage, and
exposed to view a long dark beard, curling
over his upper lip, twisting about the corners
of his mouth, and hanging down upon his

"What is this?" I exclaimed involuntarily,
"and what have you become?"

"I am the Ghost of Art!" said he.

The effect of these words, slowly uttered in
the thunderstorm at midnight, was appalling
in the last degree. More dead than alive, I
surveyed him in silence.

"The German taste came up," said he,
"and threw me out of bread. I am ready for
the taste now."

He made his beard a little jagged with his
hands, folded his arms, and said,


I shuddered. It was so severe.

He made his beard flowing, on his breast,
and, leaning, both hands on the staff of a carpet-
broom which Mrs. Parkins had left among my
books, said:


I stood transfixed. The change of sentiment
was entirely in the beard. The man
might have left his face alone, or had no face.
The beard did everything.

He laid down, on his back, on my table, and
with that action of his head threw up his
beard at the chin.

"That's death!" said he.

He got off my table and, looking up at
the ceiling, cocked his beard a little awry;
at the same time making it stick out before

"Adoration, or a vow of vengeance," he

He turned his profile to me, making his
upper lip very bulgy with the upper part of
his beard.

"Romantic character," said he.

He looked sideways out of his beard, as if
it were an ivy-bush. "Jealousy," said he.
He gave it an ingenious twist in the air, and
informed me that he was carousing. He made
it shaggy with his fingersand it was Despair;
lankand it was avarice; tossed it all kinds
of waysand it was rage. The beard did

"I am the Ghost of Art," said he. "Two
bob a-day now, and more when its longer!
Hair's the true expression. There is no other.

He may have tumbled down stairs in the
dark, but he never walked down or ran down.
I looked over the bannisters, and I was alone
with the thunder.

Need I add more of my terrific fate? It
HAS haunted me ever since. It glares upon
me from the walls of the Royal Academy,
(except when MACLISE subdues it to his genius,) it
fills my soul with terror at the British
Institution, it lures young artists on to their
destruction. Go where I will, the Ghost of Art,
eternally working the passions in hair, and
expressing everything by beard, pursues me.
The prediction is accomplished, and the Victim
has no rest.