THE HAUNTED HOUSE
by Abbie Farwell Brown
Upon a little rise it stands alone,
Dark and forbidding, where three crossroads meet;
The dim, fierce windows frown upon the street
From walls with mould and mosses overgrown.
Pink hollyhocks group idly at the door,
And bend above the latch with prying eyes,
Or shake their heads and whisper, gossip-wise,
Secrets that trouble living hearts no more.
The rusty hinges give a warning scream;
The jealous panels shudder as they swing.
About my face the dusty cobwebs cling,
Soft as the shadow-fingers of a dream.
There is a window looking to the sea;
The small, cracked panes are blurred as if with tears.
Here long ago a young bride felt the fears
That even now creep coldly over me.
Here trembling still she sat, yet made no moan,
But felt an unseen presence fill the door,
And heard a light step steal across the floor,
And shrank beneath a touch that chilled her own.
Once more I pass the hall, the dim oak stair.
A sudden gust breathes down, a tremulous sigh;
A silken rustle lightly whispers by;
A fragrance as of roses fills the air.