The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but
except the obvious remark that it was gruesome, as, on Christmas Eve
in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be, I remember no
comment uttered till somebody happened to say that it was the only case
he had met in which such a visitation had fallen on a child. The case, I
may mention, was that of an apparition in just such an old house as had
gathered us for the occasion--an appearance, of a dreadful kind, to a
little boy sleeping in the room with his mother and waking her up in the
terror of it; waking her not to dissipate his dread and soothe him to
sleep again, but to encounter also, herself, before she had succeeded
in doing so, the same sight that had shaken him. It was this observation
that drew from Douglas--not immediately, but later in the evening--a
reply that had the interesting consequence to which I call attention.
Someone else told a story not particularly effective, which I saw he was
not following. This I took for a sign that he had himself something to
produce and that we should only have to wait. We waited in fact till two
nights later; but that same evening, before we scattered, he brought out
what was in his mind.
"I quite agree--in regard to Griffin's ghost, or whatever it was--that
its appearing first to the little boy, at so tender an age, adds a
particular touch. But it's not the first occurrence of its charming
kind that I know to have involved a child. If the child gives the effect
another turn of the screw, what do you say to TWO children--?"
"We say, of course," somebody exclaimed, "that they give two turns! Also
that we want to hear about them."