This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
“Where could it be?” The question comes from his mouth in a whisper. “I don’t know.” She said.
She had been a volunteer at Marsh’s Library for over a week and that day she stayed after closing time to finish cataloguing. She liked that library.
It is close to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and it is not very well known, but in its interior, it hides rare, old books, which have an inestimable value.
Some of them seemed so fragile and old that she was afraid to ruin them just with a look. The keepers of this treasure were two different galleries, separated by a small and quiet reading room.
The temperature was constantly under control and the books were arranged exactly as they were three centuries ago: the heaviest on the lower shelves and the lighter ones in the higher ones.
The small reading room hosted Bram Stoker and just over 30 years later, James Joyce.
For her the magic of that place began before the first gallery, before the reading room and before the second gallery where you can see the Archbishop Narcissus Marsh’s personal collection of books.
For her the magic began from the entrance arch wrapped in green ivy. She had the feeling that something ancient was sleeping in peace. As she climbed the cold stone stairs that feeling grew and it became stronger at the sight of those old books that long since slept in the same position.
That night, that feeling became true.
A few minutes before midnight she decided to turn off the light, close the library and go home. She saw it with the corner of her eye. Someone just turned the corner of the first gallery.
Who could it be? The library was closed. She went into the reading room ready to drive the stranger away, but when she turned the corner, she didn’t see anyone.
Nobody in the second gallery, nobody in the “cages” which were designed at the end of ‘700 to prevent readers from stealing the books. She thought it was the fault of fatigue and she decided to go back.
“Where could it be?” It was the Archbishop Narcissus Marsh’s voice.
He was speaking to her. In the moment that she thought to check another time, she saw him: a man with a chubby face and a wig of long white curls was floating among the books. He seemed to be looking for something. When he realized that she could see him, he approached and asked her “where could it be?”.
“I don’t know.” She said. Then he floated back among the books and kept asking “where could it be?”
“What are you looking for?” She was surprised by herself… now talking to a ghost! But she was more curious than scared. The ghost approached to her again.
“A letter, I’m looking for a letter.”
“Yes… ” He seemed to be starting to cry.
“My lovely niece… Grace… she was nineteen years old…”
“Is she dead?”
“No! I mean… I guess so…it’s been a long time since the last time that I saw her… but what kind of question is this?” He was right. “My Grace… she fell in love with a sea man or a shepherd? I don’t remember. She wanted to marry him! I was completely against marriage! He would never have married her! And what did she do?”
The ghost disappeared again into one of the cages.
“She ran away! Someone told me that she wrote a note or a letter and that she hid it in one of the books in the library… I’ve never found it!” He shouted this from somewhere in the second gallery.
“I’m sorry but I’ve never heard about this note.” She was really sorry for Narcissus, but she was honest about it. He flew quickly over her head and he went into the first gallery, but when she followed him, he had already disappeared.
The next day, when she asked to her colleagues about the note or the letter, she got two different answer: one who said that it was just a fairy tale for the tourists and one who answered, quickly with an uncertain glance, that they knew nothing about it.