Afterward is a short story by Edith Wharton. It was first published in the 1910 edition of The Century Magazine and in her books, The Collected Short Stories of Edith Wharton and Tales of Men and Ghosts, 1910
This is a great story about a young American couple, Ned and Mary, who buys a fixer-upper home. They are looking for an old place that they can make their own. They also want a house with a ghost. The house they buy displays no ghost. They are told that it may have a ghost, but people don’t know it till much later.
The couple fix up the house and are quite comfortable financially due to Ned’s business successes. Their lives run very smoothly until one afternoon, they go for a hike and are high on a hill near their home when they spot a man walking up their driveway. Ned, thinking he recognizes him as one of the workmen he wants to talk to, rushes down to catch him. The man disappears before Ned gets there.
Later some business news seems to be disturbing Ned, but he won’t tell Mary what it’s all about. One day, a letter arrives, and Ned is suddenly relieved, telling Mary that something he was very concerned about has now worked itself out, and all is well again.
One day Mary is working in her garden and a stranger approaches her and ask about Ned so she tells him to go in the house and he will find Ned in the library. Later that day she learns that Ned left with the stranger. She becomes more and more concerned with each passing hour as Ned does not return. What follows is an excellent ghost story.