The Wonder Club had its home in the ancient hostelry know as 'Ye Headless Ladye,' situated in the centre of two cross-roads in one of the Midland counties. More than two hundred years ago the members--a very select company--met there regularly, and regaled each other with stories. Their enemies--those not admitted to the gathering--called the club 'The Morbid Club,' and some of the tales here collected lend a suggestion of appropriateness to the name. There is an old-world air about all of the stories that will appeal to many. For winter evenings, when the reader is seated before a glowing fire and bright lights gleam cheerfully, these stories are well suited; and much gratification--of the 'creepy' sort--grim amusement, and stirring of the nerves will then be obtained from them.
gentlemen," said the lawyer, gravely, "that the narrative I am about to relate is not one to provoke mirth. It is of a solemn character, I can promise you. No one felt less inclined to laugh than I did when I was reluctantly compelled to take part in this tragedy. Though by no means a timid man, I, nevertheless, experienced a sort of cold shiver all down my back when----"
"Exactly so," said the doctor.
"And each particular hair to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine," quoted Mr. Blackdeed, the tragedian.
"Belay that," roared Captain Toughyarn, from the depths of his stentorian lungs, "and make room on board for the 'Phantom Flea.'"
"Bedad, and sure I feel myself itching all over alriddy," broke in Mr. Jollytoast, assuming an Irish brogue, and scratching himself.
"Order, order! Chair, chair!" called out other guests.
"Silence! gentlemen," said Mr. Oldstone, with authority, thumping on the table; "the story is just about to commence."