Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories

By M. R. James; Michael Cox | Go to book overview

THE TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS

I

VERUM usque in praesentem diem multa garriunt inter se Canonici de abscondito quodam istius Abbatis Thomae thesauro, quern saepe, quanquam adhuc incassum, quaesiverunt Steinfeldenses. Ipsum enim Thomam adhuc florida in aetate existentem ingentem auri massam circa monasterium defodisse perhibent; de quo multoties interrogates ubi esset, cum risu respondere solitus erat: 'J°b> Johannes, et Zacharias* vel vobis vel posteris indica- bunt'; idemque aliquando adiicere se inventuris minime invisurum. Inter alia huius Abbatis opera, hoc memoria praecipue dignum iudico quod fenestram magnam in orientali parte alae australis in ecclesia sua imaginibus optime in vitro depictis impleverit: id quod et ipsius effigies et insignia ibidem posita demonstrant. Domum quoque Abbatialem fere totam restauravit: puteo in atrio ipsius effosso et lapidibus marmoreis pulchre caelatis exornato. Decessit autem, morte aliquantulum subitanea perculsus, aetatis suae anno lxxiido, incarnationis vero Dominicae mdxxix0.

'I suppose I shall have to translate this,' said the antiquary to himself as he finished copying the above lines from that rather rare and exceedingly diffuse book, the Sertum Stcln- fddense Norbertmum.1* 'Well, it may as well be done first as last,' and accordingly the following rendering was very quickly produced:

Up to the present day there is much gossip among the Canons about a certain hidden treasure of this Abbot Thomas, for which those of Steinfeld have often made search, though hitherto in vain. The story is that Thomas, while yet in the vigour of life, concealed a very large quantity of gold somewhere in the monastery. He was often asked where it was and always

____________________
1
An account of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Steinfeld in the Eiffel, with lives of the Abbots, published at Cologne in 1712 by Christian Albert Erhard, a resident in the district. The epithet Norbertinum is due to the fact that St Norbert was founder of the Premonstratensian Order.

-78-

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Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Note on the Text xxxi
  • Select Bibliography xxxiii
  • A Chronology of M. R. James xxxvi
  • 'Casting the Runes' and Other Ghost Stories xxxix
  • Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book 1
  • The Mezzotint 14
  • Number 13 26
  • Count Magnus 43
  • 'Oh, Whistle, and I'Ll Come to You, My Lad' 57
  • The Treasure of Abbot Thomas 78
  • A School Story 97
  • The Rose Garden 105
  • The Tractate Middoth 117
  • Casting the Runes 135
  • The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral 157
  • Mr Humphreys and His Inheritance 172
  • The Diary of Mr Poynter 199
  • An Episode of Cathedral History 210
  • The Uncommon Prayer-Book 228
  • A Neighbour's Landmark 244
  • A Warning to the Curious 257
  • Rats 275
  • The Experiment 281
  • The Malice of Inanimate Objects 288
  • A Vignette 293
  • Explanatory Notes 299
  • Appendix - M. R. James on Ghost Stories 337
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