Ambrose Bierce

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Should Mr. Foley have revealed the truth to Mr. Convey in Ambrose Bierce's story?

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Under the circumstances, I think he had no choice. Mr. Foley had befriended Mr. Conway after receiving a letter of introduction from Mr. Barting and had no reason to be less than truthful towards him. Barting was a mutual friend and so, once it was known for sure that he'd passed away, it was only right and proper that Foley should've told Conway about it.

Besides, Conway expressed gratitude at Foley's civility towards him, and it so it would've been rather rude, to say the least, if Foley had repaid that gratitude by withholding evidence of their mutual friend's death. Conway would doubtless have found out about Barting's passing sooner or later, such as by reading an obituary in a newspaper, or perhaps overhearing strangers in the street talking about it. But as a man of honor, Foley would not have wanted Conway to find out about Barting's death in this way. It would've been so much better for him to have heard such sad news from someone he knew.

Besides, Foley's informing Conway of Barting's death means that Conway will remain in a blissful state of ignorance over the fact that he was recently greeted in the street by Barting's ghost rather than by the man himself. On the whole, it's better that Conway should not believe that he saw a ghost. It will save him from a lifetime of nightmares.

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