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Австралийский английский +SOURCE

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The Ghost upon the Rail. Chapter Two

About a month before the day of the sale, an old man, David Weir, who farmed a small piece of land in the Penrith Road, and who took butter, eggs and chickens to Sydney market every week, was returning to his home when he saw, seated on a rail of the fence along the roadside, the well-known form of Mr Fisher. It was very dark, but the figure and the face were as plainly visible as possible. The old man, who was not drunk although he had been drinking at Dean's peddling house, stopped and called out, "Hello, Mr Fisher! I thought you were at home in England!"

There was no reply, and the old man, who was impatient to get home, started off again. "Mother," said old Weir to his wife, while she was helping him off with his coat, "I've seen either Mr Fisher or his ghost!" "Nonsense!" said the old woman. "You couldn't have seen Mr Fisher, for he is in Old England. You must have imagined it. How long did you stay at Mr Dean's?"

"Do you mean to say I'm drunk, Mother?" "No, but you have been drinking." "Yes, but I can see, and hear, and understand, and I know what I'm doing." "Well, then, have your supper and go to bed; and take my advice and say nothing to anybody about this ghost, or you will only get laughed at." "But I tell you I saw him plain as plain could be; just as we used to see him sitting sometimes when the day was warm and he had been round looking at his fences to see that they were all right."

"Yes, very well, tell me about it tomorrow," said the old woman. "Since I was up before daylight, and it's now nearly midnight, I feel too tired to listen to a story about a ghost. Did you sell everything well?" "Yes, and brought back all the money safely. Here it is." The old man handed over the bag to his wife and went to his bed; not to rest, however, for the ghost had made a great impression on his mind. He lay awake until daylight, when he got up and went to find his wife.

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"I tell you I saw that ghost," said the old man, "and there's no need for you to laugh at me. If Mr Fisher has not gone away and I don't think he would have done so without coming to say goodbye to us - I'll talk about this. What would take Fisher to England? England would be no home to him after being so many years in this country. He has told me that many a time."

"Well, and so he has told me, David. But then, you know, people will change their minds, and you heard what Mr Smith said about that woman?" "Yes, but I don't believe Smith. I never had a good opinion of that man, for he could never look me straight in the face, and he is too oily a character to please me. If, as I tell you, Mr Fisher is not alive in this country, then that was his ghost that I saw, and someone has murdered him."

"Be careful what you say, David; and whatever you do, don't offend Mr Smith. Remember, he's a rich man and you're a poor one; and if you say one word against him he may make you pay for it, and that would be a pretty business for people like us who are trying to save just enough to keep themselves when they're no longer able to work."

"Well, perhaps you're right. But when I tell you that I saw either Mr Fisher or his ghost sitting on that rail, don't laugh at me, because you'll make me angry." "Well, I won't laugh at you, although it must have been your imagination, old man. Where was it you saw, or thought you saw, him?" "You know that cross fence that divides Fisher's land from Smith's?"

"Yes." "Well, it was there. I'll tell you what he was dressed in. You know that old brown coat with the big buttons, and that red handkerchief he used to tie round his neck?" "Yes." "Well, that's how he was dressed. He held his hat in his left hand. I was about ten or eleven yards away from him, for the road is broad just there and the fence stands well back."

The old woman held her tongue and let old David talk all that day and the next about the ghost, without making any remark whatever.

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