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142                            A FEW MEMORIES
der its potent influence, he told me, that he invented the denouement of " The Moonstone." " I could find no amanuensis," he said, "to take down my dictation uninterruptedly, for at every paroxysm of pain they would invariably stop work to come to my assistance. Finally a young girl was found who wrote on steadily in spite of my cries. To her I dictated much of the book, the last part largely under the effects of opium. When it was finished I was not only pleased and astonished at the finale, but did not recognize it as my own." The effect of the drug, though it soothed the pain, excited him greatly, for he acknowledged that under its influence, when going up to his room at night, the staircase seemed to him crowded with ghosts trying to push him down. We soon grew to love him and to look forward to his visits. I once praised one of his books. " Ah," he answered, " I am only an old fellow who has a liking for storytelling, nothing more." All of his many letters in my possession are written in the simple way in which he spoke. I give several of them to illustrate his unaffected style. We had often discussed his writing a play for me. The scenario of Act i. was sent, but finding nothing congenial