Novel Notes by Jerome K. Jerome


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Novel Notes, by Jerome K. Jerome

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Novel Notes

Author: Jerome K. Jerome

Release Date: March 24, 2005 [eBook #2037]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1893 Leadenhall Press Ltd. edition by David Price,


To Big-Hearted, Big-Souled, Big-Bodied friend Conan Doyle


Years ago, when I was very small, we lived in a great house in a long,
straight, brown-coloured street, in the east end of London. It was a
noisy, crowded street in the daytime; but a silent, lonesome street at
night, when the gas-lights, few and far between, partook of the character
of lighthouses rather than of illuminants, and the tramp, tramp of the
policeman on his long beat seemed to be ever drawing nearer, or fading
away, except for brief moments when the footsteps ceased, as he paused to
rattle a door or window, or to flash his lantern into some dark passage
leading down towards the river.

The house had many advantages, so my father would explain to friends who
expressed surprise at his choosing such a residence, and among these was
included in my own small morbid mind the circumstance that its back
windows commanded an uninterrupted view of an ancient and much-peopled
churchyard. Often of a night would I steal from between the sheets, and
climbing upon the high oak chest that stood before my bedroom window, sit
peering down fearfully upon the aged gray tombstones far below, wondering
whether the shadows that crept among them might not be ghosts--soiled
ghosts that had lost their natural whiteness by long exposure to the
city's smoke, and had grown dingy, like the snow that sometimes lay

I persuaded myself that they were ghosts, and came, at length, to have
quite a friendly feeling for them. I wondered what they thought when
they saw the fading letters of their own names upon the stones, whether
they remembered themselves and wished they were alive again, or whether
they were happier as they were. But that seemed a still sadder idea.

One night, as I sat there watching, I felt a hand upon my shoulder. I
was not frightened, because it was a soft, gentle hand that I well knew,
so I merely laid my cheek against it.

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