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ghostesses, I should like to know ?” toes, the huge double Gloucester retorted the old woman.
cheeses, which stood upon it. At the “ If you think this Mr. Withers upper end only there was a white will take me in,” said the pedestrian, cloth. “I should like to try him. I am not As they entered, a bell rang without, afraid of a ghost or two."
and in an instant the servants of the Fitzmaurice accordingly started for house and farm, male and female, the Grange, a queer, old, rambling were seated at the table. Farmer edifice, about a mile up the Avon, Withers led his guest to the upper which ran at the foot of one of its end, where a dainty young damsel of walls. The beauty of the river had seventeen or eighteen was shyly not tempted the architect to make a standing single window in this tall, black wall “That's my granddaughter, Nelly, -the only opening being a water-gate, Mr. Fitzmaurice. A good wench barred by à portcullis. The whole enough, but not much use in a house. building formed an irregular pentagon, Ah, you should have known her and was surrounded by a moat. It mother; she was a woman. When was of considerable extent; and Fitz- my poor boy Dick maurice, when admitted, which took The old gentleman might have gone some little time, found that the cen- on for a week, but the girl touched tral space was occupied by haystacks, him,
and said — barns, and straw-yard, and the other “Grandfather, grace !" appurtenances of a large farm. Ori- For the whole of his dependents, ginally a fortified house, the Grange hungrily eyeing the cold beef and had come a farmstead. The result steaming potatoes, were waiting for was describably picturesque. A this ceremony. Farmer Withers said. paint would bave delighted to ren- a grace of prodigious length, after der t ut strange interior. The house which the assembly set to with a will. itself was most irregular in all its de- Fitzmaurice found the cold sirloin velopinents. Along one side, looking delicious and the strong ale unsurdown upon the enclosures, was à passable. He thought himself in luck. quaint old wooden gallery, which Miss Nelly would hardly exchange a looked as if the lightest step must word with him, though she glanced bring it down.
at him furtively now and then. She Fitzmaurice soon found Mr. Withers, had probably never seen an English a fine old gentleman of between sixty gentleman before: Old Withers, and seventy, middle-sized, upright as however, talked enough for a whole a bolt, ruddy as a well-kept apple, family. garrulous as a magpie.
* You like the beef, do ye? Shows “You're just in time for supper," your taste. Loin out o' one o' the he said ; (it was then six o'clock). best shorthorn oxen lever killed-and "As for a bed, why you could have a that's saying something, as they'll dozen if you wanted them; but there tell you in Sarum. And the ale's none are some people that don't like sleep- so bad. Why, I've been brewing ale ing in my house."
this fifty year at the Oak at West“Why not?" asked Fitzmaurice. bury: kept the Oak till the old man
"Oh, they talk about ghosts. I died, vour years ago last Candleinas. never saw a ghost, and don't care He used to say he didn't want a whether I do or not. You don't look young vullow caddling about here all as if you cared much about 'em. day. Called me a young vullow: ha, Never saw one, I dare say. Come ha, ha! Why they do call me young along-let's have supper."
Mister Harry, down to Westbury, He led the way into a great hall, now.” the whole height of the building, And the old gentleman went off rafter-roofed. Though it was a warm into a roar of laughter, which his summer evening, a wood fire was servants heartily joined. It was a burning in the enormous hearth. A standing joke, doubtless, this about long wooden table ran up the centre “young Mister Harry.” of the hall; and a penny-a-liner Supper over, and the great hall would tell us that it groaned with cleared, Farmer Withers invited his the cold rounds and sirloins of beef, guest to the settle, which was placed the mighty bowls of steaming pota- within the hearth. You might have backed a loaled cart into that vast who, with yoke on shoulder, was apuiture. High above his head, carrying two buckets of wash to the Fitzmaurice could see suspended pigs Farmer Withers burst into a ham, and withio of bacon, getting that fit of laughter which had not termin. gradual smoking which gives to them ated when they sat down to break. å flavour unrivaled. Pipes were pro- fast. Nelly was laughing too : I dare duced, and glass; and then the old say her favourite Alderney was in the farmer said to his granddaughter-- habit of kicking her over occasionally,
* Get thee to brd, wench. The At breakfast the whole establishment gentleman and I 'ull have some toddy mustered, as at supper; and Fitzand a talk."
maurice thoroughly enjoyed the rich And this was at about half past cream, the yellow butter, the hot seven on a fine summer evening. cakes baked upon the hearth. Fitzmaurice was perfectly amazed at Then Withers and his guest turned a style of life so new to him. Here out to see the farm a large one, were people who actually went to bed much of it downland, devoted to just when he was wont to dine. sheep. The farmer used to boast
They had both toddy and a talk, that he could beat the Southdowns. during which Farmer Withers con- The two acquaintances trudged for trived to tell his guest all his family some hours over the undulating affairs, so that Fitzmaurice became ridges, classic ground for those who quahtied to write the lives of all the delight in King Alfred the TruthWitherses for several generations. teller. At twelve they were back to As the hall clock #truck nine, the old dinner; but meanwbile the farmer fariner got up, yawned tremendously, had induced Fitzmaurice (nothing and led the way towards the bed. Inth; to stay with him at least a week. room. In five minutes Fitzmaurice As for the dinner, it was colossal. had sunk deeply into a bed of down, The huge rounds and sirloins were fragrant of lavender; in five more he hot, now; here and there a leg of was fast asleep. He saw no "ghost. nutton intervened ; the great wooden esses ;" indeed he was unconscious bowls of potatoes were supplemented of all things till a bell rang clamor by similar masses of cabbage and ously from one of the turrets, and he turnips. Above the salt a couple of found it was four o'clock. Then he roast capons did honour to the guest
. remembered that the Grange break- That evening, after supper, the fast was at five.
farmer talked about the ghosts of The yard was alive in the grey the Grange. summer morning Gows were being “There be two or three," he said. milked, pige, paltry, and pigeons" There's one in the old loft that fed. The old farmer, in bis blue used to be best bedroom--a man cut with brass buttons, knee brerrhes, with his throat cut, standing at the and gaiters, was fuking after every- window. And a woman that walks body and every thing. “Oulus about this old ball of nights: they domini almuni ruum" was his say she starved one of her own daugh. mottıevidently. I:s granddaughter ters to death. And there's a foot. was ruilkıng a troub.que little Al. step walks up and down yon old gal. derney, as lithe and skittish as a lery outside where you sleep; but filly. Fitzmaurice found that his nobody ever saw nothing; and I room had a dour owning on the old think a ghost 'uud bring down the wolen balcony already described; potten old concern. But you know so he walked out and stool there, I don't believe a word of such stuff." much ainnsed at the bror before And, to change the subject, the him. When Withers saw him, he old man wound up the evening by exclaimed
singing right lustily a song with this "The old gallery's hardly safe, for chorus your weight. Petter not trust it."
* Ah! gie me, if I wer a suier, These wonis arıtel Nelly's atten.
The settle an' the girt wood vier *** tion, and be give a small krream; whereupush the Allerney, Wal of an Fitzmaurice fell asleep caaily opportunity,kt, kroorrr the mulk pail, enough, but woke to find the moon the stool
, the pretty mulkmaid herself, light flooding his room. The turret and gallery charged an old woman clock was striking twelve. Perfect silence followed; but suddenly he mendous knocking at the door, and fancied that he heard a footstep on old Withers exclaimedthe gallery. He laughed at the idea, “Let me in, will you ?”. as a trick of the imagination. But “Can't find the key," said Fitzthe sound continued ; and he saw, or maurice. thought he saw, a form pass his The noise woke Nelly, who, seeing window. Certainly some kind of a man in her room, burst into a passhadow crossed the curtain-a cloud sion of tears. The old farmer gave crossing the moon, perhaps. He rose, the door a kick, which broke its drew the curtains aside, and returned fastenings, and appeared before Fitzto his bed. Again the sound-again maurice, fiery and indignant, in shirtthe form--a woman, in her night sleeves and knee-breeches, with a huge dress. Fitzmaurice immediately sus- lantern in his hand. pected a practical joke.
“So, sir, here you are! I thought But, then, he reflected on the well- you were a gentleman. What are you known antiquity of the balcony. doing with my little girl ?" Would any of the maid-servants ven- Behind the fiery little farmer ture on that rieketty old gallery just Fitzmaurice could see a crowd of for the sake of frightening a stranger ? half-dressed girls and slouching laAll at once it occurred to him that it bourers, all in the highest state of might just possibly be a case of sleep- excitement. And Nelly was weeping walking. Upon this, with as little as if her heart would break. dressing as possible, he very quietly Now to be found locked into a opened the old door, and stood in the lady's room at midnight, in an unshade to watch for the apparition. dignified state of dishabille, is rather It came, slowly and demurely; the trying ; and it is awkward to have face was visible in the clear moon- nothing except a somewhat improlight, with unconscious eyes wide bable story to offer against a circumopen : it was Nelly Withers, taking stantial array of probabilities. But a stroll in her sleep, while the old Fitzmaurice was extremely cool; and gallery trembled under her trifling he made his statement in so straightweight.
forward and truthful a manner that What was he to do? The balcony old Withers could not help being conwas evidently in most perilous plight. vinced. Should he stop her as she passed, and “Well,” he said, “to think of the drag her into the room? Should be wench walking in her sleep. 'She try to take her to herown? He would got it from that flighty mother of have to guess at its position ; but he hers, I'll warrant. She was the ghost assumed that the door to the gallery on the gallery all the time, I'll be would probably be open. He decided bound.” on this as the best course, and when The next morning at breakfast Miss next she passed, caught her in his Nelly was hardly so composed as arms, strode rapidly along the creak when she had been upset by her Aling woodwork, and sprang with her derney. So Fitzmaurice set to work into the first open door he reached. to make her feel more at her ease; Hardly had his foot left the gallery, and the result was, that he found the when, with a mighty crash, the
rotten little girl, her shyness conquered, exstructure fell into the yard below. tremely interesting and naire. To But the girl did not wake.
him, accustomed to the belles of the Fitzinaurice placed her on her bed, ball-room, this unspoilt child of the and went to the other door. It was wild Wilts wold seemed perfectly locked, and the key gone. Here was charming. Thus it happened that, a position! The moonlight was not before he left the Grange, he fancied bright enough for him to search the himself a little in love with her. She, young lady's chamber for the key; poor child, was madly in love with and the whole establishment was als him. ready aroused by the tremendous But Fitzmaurice went away, finishcrash caused by the fallen gallery. ed his tour, returned to his old soFitzmaurice was looking downwards, ciety, his old pursuits, and thought to see if it were practicable to drop very little more about Nelly: She, into the yard, when there came a tre after a month or two's vain longing for some news of him, gave him up terview with Nelly alone. He had altogether, and tried to forget him. ascertained from a shrewd old lawyer The child had become a woman when that she was wholly unprovided for. love was born in her breast ; impos- The estate was entailed on the male sible to recross that fatal stresin which descendants ; and old Withers, always divides the fairyland of childhood intending to put something by for his from the world.
granddaughter, had never done it. About a year had passed when "She'll have to go to service," said Fitznaurice had one night a very a rugged old relation who stood by ; vivid dream. He fancied he was "she baint fit for nought else, that again traversing that wooden gallery, wench." with the pretty somnambulist in his "Well, Miss Withers, said Fitzarms. It recalled so strongly his maurice, as he entered a mouldy parWiltshire adventures that he said to lour in which she sat alone, I'am himself
truly sorry for your great loss. Is "I wonder how old Withers is get there anything I can do for you!" ting on, and that little weuch of his. She was seated on a huge chintz. I think I'll go down and sre." covered sofa, her elbows on her knees,
He went lig rail to Salisbury, bired her pretty head buried in her clasped a horse, and rode over. As he came hands. She sobbed, but made no to the Grange, a mournful procession reply. was leaving its ancient gateway. "Nelly," said Fitzmaurice, coming ** Young Mister Henry" was being nearer, *tell me- I cannot remain carried to the churchyard : and fore- here long - what can I do for you '" most among the mourners (it is a She fell suddenly at his feet, emrural custom; was poor Nelly, under bracing his knees, as Lycaon did the an immense black cloak, bitterly knees of Achilles, exclaimingweeping
"I thought you loved me! I There were various relations and thonght you loved me!" official persons in the house ; but That finished him. Fitzmaurice contrived to have an in.
Than are dreamt of in your philosoply." --Shakespeare.
The Girand Hotel was full. * Mr. Luttrel, M.P., is at Pegg's Lady Vivian did not much like Royal York Hotel, Brighton." Brighton. In her judgment there
Such were two of the early fashion- were very few ladies, in the highest able announcements where with the sense of the word, among the dashLondoner, during its bief and bright ing horsewomen of the King's-road. career, larerated the heart of the edi. She intensely disliked the crowded tor of the Morning Post.
afternoon promenade, in which everyFor it was October, and the body dress to death, and where Brighton suun approached its zen- yu elbow a mob of men and women ith The King's road was fuller of every conceivable class. But the than Regent-street. The loulging. Earl had taken a fancy for just one house keepers were making fortunek werk at Brighton, and so his dutiful The riding-masters could hardly find daughter allowed him to come. It enough eyjurstrian assistants to take would puzzle a pandit to say why charge of their laly popils. The Guy Lattrel was there : he certainly Rothschilde, and Guldamids, and Bar du not know himself. Being there, ings were all there. Gunn's turist henever, he was wont to take a boat and lobsters, and red mullet from the every morning, and go out for a dip-Arun estuary, re daily in price. the only man in Brighton, querh. p, Lint itt began to fear leat the South who worshipped Perridon in October. downs should be exhausted. Harry One aftrition, Lottrel was loiter. ing along the promenade, when a see. I am not at all responsible for garrulous acquaintance joined him. the results which follow. And those As he is a minor personage in this results are often peculiar; for a spirit, epos, let me call him Smith, though divested of its flesh and blood, utterly I firmly believe Guy would not have irresponsible, plays pranks which in condescended to know any man named its human form it would not dare to Smith, unless he were an elector of play. If a séance is full of foolish Riverdale.
manifestations--of silly tricks with “I wish you'd come to my rooms ropes and musical instruments--it this evening," said the pseudo Smith: simply shows that the acquaintances, “Professor Odysseus is to be there.” dead or alive, of the persons present,
“Who the deuce is Professor are chiefly fools.” Odysseus ? Man who wrote the “Very philosophical, Professor," "Odyssey ?!”
said Guy. "Do you work in the " He's a wonderful spiritualist-a dark ?" Greek, from Naxos.”
“ By no means. Spiridion, bring “Ariadne's island. Pshaw, my the lamp." dear fellow, you don't expect me to And the page placed on the table believe in such nonsense.'
an elegant bronze lamp, which, by "Well, I wish you'd come. I hold the uncoiling of a watch spring, was out at Mansion, you know, fed regularly with magnesium wire, and so does he. We are all of us whence a light almost equal to. going to meet this evening to see Phoebus Apollo's own. what he can do. He's going to dine "Fortunate," said the pseudo Smith, with me first. Come and dine." "for the gas in Brighton is abomin
“Can't, my boy. But who are able." 'all of us'?"
"Do any of your questionable visi"Oh, there's a lot of families living tors pretend to divine the future ?" in the house, and we're going to have asked Guy. a reunion.'
“ If you could call up Cassandra," “Well, it will be amusing,” said said Odysseus, “or Mademoiselle le Luttrel. “I tell you what. I'll Normand, you might get a reply. If come in and have a cup of coffee there is any question you want anwith you and the Greek about nine.” swered, dwell upon it with a strong
He came. Professor Odysseus was effort of will. An answer may, pera Lilliputian man, who might be any haps, be written.” age. His hair was very light and Séances differ widely in characvery long. He wore a black velvet ter you say?" suit, lace raffles, knee-breeches, white “Yes; they are sometimes foolish silk stockings, diamond-buckled shoes and frivolous, sometimes almost subBehind his chair stood his page, a lime. I was once asked by a lady, blooming beardless boy, dressed as if a collateral descendant of the poet he had just stepped out of a picture Milton, to come to her house. She by Watteau. As they sat over their has devoted herself to his memory; coffee and chasse, he lectured a little. has written out the whole of his
“All I can do," said the Professor, works on vellum, with superb illu"is to magnetize the atmosphere. minations. Of course, when the atThis enables any spirit which comes mosphere was magnetized, she eagerly into the circle to manifest itself. It and earnestly wished for his coming. is an error to suppose that only the He came. The vellum volume lay spirits of the dead may arise; per- open on the table; it was turned haps more frequently the spirits of back to the fly leaf, and a pen wrote the living visit us. It depends his name upon the white paper. chiefly on the will of the audience There was an organ in the room, on - especially of the female audience. which a soft sad voluntary was Men seldom concentrate their wishes; played. And when this was over, but there is scarcely a woman living the lady felt a hand passed slowly who has not some single wish which over her hair, and the pressure of she wishes intensely and always. lips upon her brow.” So, at what we call a séance, the ** Well," said Guy, inwardly increspirits summoned are generally those dulous, we shall see what happens whom the women present desire to to-night.”