|Chapter Number||I, II, III & IV.|
|Newspaper Title||South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1895)|
|Trove Title||From Shadow Land; or A Traveller Returned|
FROM SHADOW LAND; OR A TRAVELLER RETURNED.
By Mrs. Julia S. Harris, Author of " The Oakhurst Tragedy," &c.
"It harrows me with fear and wonder." — Hamlet. I had been engaged for some weeks, with another detective, in tracking a notorious criminal, the leader of a gang of coiners. He led us a long chase, disappearing from one hiding place to another in a most mar- vellous manner. However, at last we captured our man, and feeling that I re- quired a rest I obtained leave of absence for a fortnight, and on the same day I ran down by the Great Western to Chelten- ham, where my mother resided with my two
younger sisters. I had so often when on duty to travel by all sorts of conveyances at all hours of the day or night, that when off duty I usually spent my holidays quietly at home. My mother and sisters were always glad to see me, and the change from the dust and grime of the slums of the East-End, where I had spent the greater part of the last month, to the bright pure air of the Cotswold Hills was very refreshing. My days were generally spent in rambling about this delightful neighbor- hood, and in the evening I pleased my mother and perhaps a friend or two by narrating my experience in the detection of crime in other parts of England. On returning one evening from one of my excursions my mother put into my hand a note which on opening I found
was from my cousin Dr. Conway, who resided in Cambray. The note ran thus — "Dear Ralph — If not engaged elsewhere, will you dine with me to-morrow evening at 7. Something has occurred that I wish to consult you about. — Yours affectionately, Phil Conway." "'Something has occurred'", I mused ; "something important, too, or Phil would not require to consult me about it. One of those hare-brained nephews of his in a scrape, I sup- pose. Just like them, always up to some mis- chief or other. Quite time Cicely came home and looked after them herself." Having no other engagement I decided to dine with Phil, so sent a short note to him telling him to expect me at 7 o'clock. The next evening, a few minutes before 7, I sauntered down High-street and turned into Cambray. On reaching the house I was sur- prised to see Phil watching for me. He let me in himself. "The truth is," he remarked, apologetically, as we entered the dining-room, "I have Cicely staying with me. She is very ill, suffering from a great shock to the nervous system. I am very anxious about her, and wish the house to be kept as quiet as possible." "Cicely," I exclaimed. "Where are the boys then ? I thought she had taken a house near Prestbury. She mentioned that she in- tended to do so last time I heard from her." "Yes; she did take a house, or rather I did for her, but a very unpleasant event occurred, and I thought it advisable to bring Cicely here till she found a suitable house. I have placed the boys for a term with one of the college masters, which I thought best under the cir- cumstances." " Unpleasant event !" I repeated. "Yes, a very unpleasant event," Phil reiterated with emphasis, "and that is what I wished to consult you about." Phil paused and looked keenly at me. I smiled at his earnestness. "Nothing very horrible, I suppose," I re- marked, lightly. "Not attempted murder or anything of that kind." Phil's face grew longer. "I really don't know," he stammered. " It might be even as serious as that ; so don't laugh, Ralph. It is the appearance of a ghost to Cicely that has caused her illness." "A ghost?" " Yes, a ghost; it must be a ghost," he re-
peated as if to convince himself. Knowing that till quite recently Phil had no belief in the supernatural my first impulse was to laugh ; but I controlled myself, as I was curious to know what had made such an im- pression on my usually matter-of-fact cousin. " Well, tell me all about it, old man; it is a subject I am rather interested in. What kind of a ghost is it, and where is it to be seen?" " I m glad you take it so seriously, Ralph, for it is rather a long story that I have to tell you." Phil paused as if in doubt where to begin. "You remember my telling you that I ex- pelted Cicely to return from Calcutta early
in August, and that she had commissioned me to take a house for her in one of the suburbs and to have it furnished ?" I nodded. "Well," he continued, "I met with a very prettily-situated house, with a large garden attached, near Prestbury. There was a small coachhouse with a stable at the back of the garden, which decided me in taking it, as Cicely had distinctly stated that should the house be any distance from town she intended keeping a pony phaeton. I gave the order to Sweeting for the furniture, choosing the greater part myself. When Cicely arrived she was very much pleased with the house and grounds, and the boys, as you may imagine, were well pleased, and would, had they been allowed, have turned the stable into a rabbit hutch and the coachhouse into an aviary." I smiled, as I had a lively recollection of Phil's experience the two years that the boys had lived with him during their parents' absence in India. Good easy Phil allowed them to do almost as they liked, the con- sequence being that the house was converted into a menagerie. "About three weeks after Cicely took possession I called to see her on my way to Prestbury. I did not think that she was look- ing very well, and told her so, when she pleaded a headache owing to the closeness of the weather. I was rather troubled about her, and intended calling the next day, but being very busy neglected to do so. A few days after my visit her eldest boy, Douglas, called on his way to school and told me that his mother had been very ill all night, and that old Martha wished me to come out at once. Questioning the boy, I learned that Martha had found their mother in an unconscious state on the drawing-room floor, and that they had much trouble in restoring her. I was greatly alarmed at the news, and drove out immediately to Gresham Lodge. I found Martha very anxious about her mistress, but she could give me no additional particulars, so I at once proceeded to Cicely's room. Her white frightened face alarmed me, and as soon as I spoke she burst into tears and begged me not to leave her. I saw at once that she was suffering from some great shock to the ner- vous system. She appeared totally unstrung,
and started nervously at the slightest sound. I questioned her as to the cause of her illness, but could obtain no reply beyond an entreaty not to leave her, so I suggested that she should return with me and stay for a few days till she became better. She caught eagerly at my offer and begged me to take them all in till she could meet with another house, and I at once consented, as I saw something serious was the matter. I did not question Cicely any further at the time, and it was some few days after, when she was more composed, that she told me the cause of her sudden illness. It seems that shortly after dark one evening she was stand- ing at the head of the stairs, about to come down, when, to her surprise, she saw stand- ing at the foot of the stairs, apparently about to ascend, a young lady wearing an evening dress of black lace, in which was fastened a bouquet of crimson roses. Her hair, which was black was coiled round her head and fastened with jewelled pins; handsome bracelets were on her arms, and her fingers sparkled with rings. The light from the hall lamp fell on her face, which was turned slightly upwards as if in the act of listening, and my sister was able to see that it was a very beautiful one. Her eyes, large and full, were fringed with long dark lashes, which gave a soft expression to her face, while her eye- brows were beautifully arched. Cicely was about to speak, but before she could do so the lady came swiftly up the stairs and entered the small room on the left of the landing which Cicely had used as a boxroom; she did not appear to see my sister, though she passed close to her. Cicely, supposing the visit to be the result of a mistake, waited a few minutes expecting to see
the young lady return, but to her astonish- ment she heard the soft voice of the young lady speaking in a tone of passionate entreaty ; the language was a foreign one, Cicely believes it to have been Spanish. The appeal, for appeal it appeared to be, continued for some minutes ; then followed a bitter cry, and the sound of a heavy fall. Terribly alarmed, Cicely rushed down the stairs and gave the alarm, 'Some one in the boxroom.' Dawson, her groom, and the boys ran up stairs and thoroughly examined the room, but could find no one. Poor Cicey was very much upset by this experience, but did not say a word to anyone of what she had seen, though the boys were curious to know 'how mother could have fancied anyone was in the boxroom.' One evening, exactly a week after this happened, Cicely was seated in the drawing-room reading, when she heard the door of the conservatory open. She looked up, expecting to see one of the boys, but instead the same young lady
entered the room whom she had met on the stairs. Cicely felt totally unable to speak or move. She says she would have given the world to have been able to call out, to break the horrible spell which seemed falling over her; but, dumb and speechless, she sat watching with beating heart the beau- tiful form of her visitor. The young lady did not appear to be aware of her pre- sence, but swept up the long room with a gliding, graceful movement; and looked in- tently at the clock, which stood on the mantel- shelf. Having apparently satisfied herself, she turned and walked to the opposite side of the room, to one of the mirrors hanging there, and gazed long and earnestly at her reflection. Cicely described it as a beautiful face ; the large lustrous eyes, shaded by their long dark lashes, were soft and sad. She had full pouting lips, a soft rounded chin, and a broad low forehead, with exquisitely arched eyebrows. As the lady gazed in the mirror the expression of her face changed, her eyes filled with tears, and she wrung her hands as if in passionate grief. Suddenly she raised her arms and un- bound her hair, which fell in heavy masses below her knees. Then gathering it together again, she wound it round her head, hiding in its thick masses a small dagger, which she drew from the folds of her dress. She still lingered in front of the mirror. When the clock struck 8, as the last stroke sounded through the room, she turned and walked towards the door. In doing so she had to pass close to Cicely, of whose presence she still appeared to be perfectly unconscious. Cicely declares that as she passed her she became aware of a peculiar sensation, which she describes as a breath of icy cold air blowing upon her. As the young lady left the room Cicely must have fainted. You recollect, Martha found her in that state some time after. On both oc- casions this happened on a Tuesday, so I determined to spend the following Tuesday evening at Gresham Lodge, in order to see the young lady myself, if it were not a mere illu- sion of Cicely's; and if she really appeared, to ascertain if she were a somnambulist or indeed a spirit, as Cicely believed. Accordingly the next Tuesday evening I drove to the Lodge shortly before 8 o'clock, but unfortunately just as I was stepping out of the carriage a
gentleman I am acquainted with passed, and I was delayed a few minutes speaking to him. Entering by the front gate I walked round to the back of the house, intending to enter by the conservatory door, of which I had the key. I was about to place the key in the lock when I experienced the cold chilly feeling de- scribed by Cicely, and involuntarily looking behind me saw coming towards the door, from the direction of the coachhouse, a young lady dressed in black with a bouquet of crimson roses fastened in her dress, and otherwise answering to Cicely's description. I stepped quickly on one side to allow her to pass, which she did, without appearing to see me, and then opening the door, which I knew to be locked, without any apparent difficulty she entered the house. I did not attempt to follow her into the house, but instead hurried back to the carriage and drove home. Now, Ralph, you have heard the story. What do you think of our experience; tell me candidly? Is this a spirit of a young lady who formerly resided at the Lodge, but who met with foul play, and now returns to haunt the house, or have you some other theory?" "Well, Phil," I replied, "to tell you the truth, I think that, on further investigation, it will prove to be a somnambulist." "But," objected Phil, "the door. I am sure that it was locked." "Perhaps the young lady had a key to fit it." Phil looked disconcerted. "But the fall, Ralph, and the strange feeling?" " My idea is, Phil, that the young lady is a somnambulist, probably an actress. The foreign language might have been Italian, and the lady rehearsing a tragic scene in her sleep ; as to the feeling, that would be simply ner- vousness." Phil still looked dubious. "I should like to ascertain the truth," he persisted. "Of course if the young lady is a somnambulist her visits to the house can be prevented, and Cicely can return in peace ; but I think we shall find it something more serious than that. I wish you would enquire into it, Ralph."
Phil's emotion as he had related the expe- riences of his sister had aroused my curiosity respecting the young lady, so in response to his request I readily promised to make a few en- quiries, which I thought was all that would be necessary to clear up the mystery. I first enquired for the name and address of the owner of Gresham Lodge, and learned from Phil that the owner was Mr. Gray, Halifax House. Pittville, whom I had met before. " All right," I said, making a note of the address, "I know Gray; he is a retired builder, a Yorkshire man, shrewd, and long headed. Am I at liberty to repeat to him what you have told me ?" "Certainly, Ralph; I think we may trust Mr. Gray. If he can give you the name and address of the last tenant you might obtain some information from him that would be of assistance; but I have put the case in your hands now, Ralph. I am sure you will be able to clear it up if any one can. And now to dinner, Ralph ; but say nothing of this to Cicely." Chapter II. Lo you, here she comes ! This is her very guise, . . . Observe her ; stand close. — Macbeth. At breakfast the next morning I was very absent-minded, passing the salt for the sugar, and making several other blunders, to the amusement of my sisters, who made me generous offers for my thoughts ; but I kept my own counsel, and shortly after 9 o'clock I made my way down Whinchcombe-street towards Pittville. As I knocked at Mr. Gray's door it struck me that he would probably not take as great an interest in this business as did Phil or myself ; indeed, would not unlikely look upon it as a hoax. However, I must risk his ridicule. I was shown into a handsomely furnished dining-room by the servant, and Mr. Gray was not long in making his appearance. I believe that the old gentle- man was genuinely pleased to see me, for he gave me a most cordial welcome. "Awm glad to see yo, lad, and how be yo gettin' on. Well, yo arn't wantin me for ony- thin, be yo?" he asked, laughing at his own joke. "No, Mr. Gray ; I don't want you for any- thing, but I wish you to give me a little in- formation about the last tenant of Gresham Lodge. What was his name and his occupa- tion?" "Aw doan't noa nowt aboot him, aw've only boart th' haase three months. I suppose my face showed my disappoint-
ment. "Wat ar it, lad?" he asked. Without further preface I told Mr. Gray of Dr. Conway's unpleasant experience, and the still more unpleasant experience of his sister at Gresham Lodge. At first he listened with a broad, incredulous smile on his face, but as I pictured each scene he grew more and more interested, till, when I had finished my tale, he blurted out — "Aw tell yo, yo an' aw an' th' doctor woll go an' meet th' lady an', see who her be, an' aw tell yo, Mister Clarke, Pittville-street, be 'th mon aw'boart th'haase fer; th' last owner wor a Mister Goldsborough." "All right," I replied, greatly relieved, at his taking my story so seriously, "we will go to-night. Be there at half -past 7, and I will see Mr. Clarke and perhaps will be able to
ascertain something about it. At any rate, I shall look over the house and grounds during the day." "Do; aw'v bin mooch taken wi' yo're stooary, an' aw'm curious to see th' endin'." I had no difficulty in finding Mr. Clarke and on putting the same questions to him elicited the reply that he had simply sold the house for a firm of solicitors, and knew nothing of the former tenant. Messrs. Pea- body & Sons, Montpelier, were the solicitors ; no doubt they would be able to give me the information I desired. Mr. Peabody, senior, was absent on my arrival at his office, but I was able to see his son, whom I asked to oblige me with the name and present address of the last tenant of Gresham Lodge. "The last tenant of Gresham Lodge?" he repeated, looking keenly, and I also thought suspiciously, at me. " May I ask the reason of your enquiring ?" "I am making the enquiry for the present tenant, who has special reasons for wishing to see the last occupant, and I am referred to you by Mr. Clarke, the house agent, who effected the sale of Gresham Lodge for you, as the gentleman most likely to have the information I require." " We have no information respecting the last tenant," replied Mr. Peabody. "The house was empty for two or three years, and we sold it for a gentleman who is now residing abroad." As I had no intention at this stage of the case of taking this gentleman into my confi- dence, and it was evident that he did not in- tend to give me the information I wanted, I thanked him and withdrew, and calling a cab proceeded at once to Gresham Lodge in order to make a thorough examination of the house and grounds. I found that the grounds were surrounded by a high stone wall thickly set at the top with sharp pointed pieces of glass ; the house, an old-fashioned comfortable, villa residence, stood well back from the road ; a tastefully laid out flower garden occupied the front ; at the rear was a small orchard and vegetable garden, while to the right of this were a stable, coachhouse, and the usual outbuild- ings. I entered the house by the front door, which opened into a spacious hall. On the left of the hall were two doors communicating with the servants' apartments, and facing me was a handsome staircase, which after rising about six steps turned sharply to the right. On the right of the hall was a wide passage, in which were two doors. The first, about half way down on the right, opened into the dining room. Here nothing attracted my attention, and I did not delay, as it was not mentioned in Phil's story. The second was situated at the end of the passage, facing me as I walked down. This opened into the drawing-room mentioned by my cousin, the room in which the young lady was said to appear. It was a long and rather narrow room, running the whole width of the house. At one end was a bow window overlooking the garden and com- manding a distant view of the Cotswold Hills ; at the other end of the room a stained glass door opened into a small conservatory. This was the door through which the young lady was said to enter. Passing through the con- servatory I made a careful examination of the grounds, coachhouse, stable, &c , but there also found nothing unusual or suspicious. The wall was apparently as firm as the day it was built, no loose stone or hole through which any person could enter in any part of it could I discover; so how a lady could enter the grounds and appear coming from the direction of the coachhouse; as Phil had averred, I could not understand. However, I hoped to
have the mystery cleared up shortly, and looked forward to the evening's meeting with increased curiosity. Returning through the conservatory I care- fully locked the door, and before leaving the drawing-room made a few preparations for our visit in the evening. I put the clock right by my watch, set it going, and placed the lamps where they would throw a full light on the clock and mirror. Retracing my steps along the passage and across the hall, I walked upstairs to inspect the boxroom, which the young lady had entered, and where she was heard to speak for several minutes, and after wards fall. This room was empty with the exception of a long row of bookshelves and a book- case, which occupied the whole of one side of the room. Leaning on the mantelshelf as I looked round the room I discovered that it was loose. I drew it carefully towards me, when, to my surprise, a small stiletto fell at my feet. As I picked it up my heart gave a bound — there were blood stains on it. It was a very small weapon, with a richly chased handle, such as Spanish ladies often wear in their hair or carry concealed in their dress, and which they have been known to use at times with deadly effect in self-defence or when excited by jealousy and passion. But how came it here, in this house, near to a quiet English village ? Whose blood had been spilt that now after the lapse of several years spoke so eloquently and more clearly than aught else of a tragedy that had been enacted ? Yes, surely Phil's theory was correct; but, if so, what part, if any, did the young lady play in the tragedy? Was she sinned against or sinning? Did she react again her part in the tragedy when she was heard to cry and fall? I shuddered at the thought of what that part might be. Finding nothing more in the room to attract my attention I now left the house and returned home to await our meeting in the evening. Punctually at half -past 7 o'clock we met at Gresham Lodge. I could see that Phil was a trifle nervous, probably owing to his former experience, and Mr. Gray looked serious, not to say awed. As for myself, after my find in the boxroom I began to doubt my somnambu- list theory, and felt, I know not why, vaguely oppressed. I lighted the lamps in the hall and drawing-room and then seated myself by my friends in the bow window and watched anxiously for our expected visitor. We were not disappointed. At a few minutes before 8 o'clock the door of the con- servatory opened noiselessly and there entered a tall beautiful girl with a lithe graceful figure. She advanced rapidly up the room and stood for some seconds intently regarding the clock. While doing so she was standing in the full glare of the lamps, and we were able to note her extreme beauty. Phil had described her accurately ; her large soft dark eyes were sad, almost melancholy ; the full pouting lips — a perfect Cupid's bow— were tremulous ; in truth it was a sweet face, but at present sad with some great sorrow. Her black lace dress, which set off her clear, delicate com- plexion, was adorned with a bouquet of crimson roses, the only touch of color which she wore. Leaving the clock she glided to one of the long mirrors on the opposite side of the room and gazed earnestly at her reflection there. As she looked sorrow gave way to despair, and she wrung her hands as if in the bitterest distress. Then suddenly raising her arms she drew the jewelled pins from her hair, letting it fall in heavy masses to her knees, and drawing from the folds of her dress a small stiletto she wound it in her hair, which she then recoiled round her head, and with one long lingering look in the mirror she turned with a deep sigh and gliding to the door left the room. With an almost superhuman effort I rose and attempted to follow her. As I reached the door the lady stood at the foot of the staircase in a listening attitude, as if in doubt. She then went swiftly up the stairs into the boxroom. As I followed a soft voice in passionate entreaty fell on my ear and held me spellbound. But what she said I was not able to distinguish. Then followed a bitter cry, a heavy fall, and all was still. I rushed up to the room, expecting to see I know not what, but found it empty, just as I had left it earlier in the day. My friends had not followed me, and when I returned to the drawing-room I found Phil administering a glass of brandy to Mr. Gray, who appeared quite unnerved ; and Phil himself was also greatly agitated. To relieve the depression I feigned a lightness I did not feel, and rallied them on being so easily frightened ; but they did not respond to my efforts, and we left the Lodge almost immediately to return home. As we neared Mr. Gray's house he broke the silence by exclaiming— "Eh, th' poor cheild, th' poor cheild, aw fear shoo hev bin cruelly traated. Aw wish aw had na boart th' haase." When we had parted with Mr. Gray, I showed Phil the stiletto, and informed him when and how I had found it. He was much impressed at this proof, as he considered it, of the correctness of his theory, and expressed himself as very confident that we should soon be able to discover why the young lady haunted the house.
Chapter III. How now, Horatio ! you tremble and look pale. Is not this something more than fantasy ? What think you on't ? —Hamlet. Our experience at the Lodge determined me to prosecute a vigorous enquiry into the strange mystery, and if possible find the last tenant, whom I felt convinced was in some way con- nected with the young lady's appearance. Before retiring for the night the thought occurred to me that perhaps the landlord of the village inn might be able to give me some information that would assist me in my search. I had lunched at the Pig and Whistle occasionally when walking in that direction, and found mine host a chatty, garrulous fellow, well acquainted with the business of his neighbors and of the people for miles around. I decided to pay him another visit. The next morning I walked out to the village of Prestbury, and having ordered lunch at the inn was soon engaged in a friendly chat with the landlord. I praised the neighborhood, and asked him if he knew of any house with eight or ten rooms with a good garden to let ? He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I don't know as I does. There were a house, an' it were empty a good three years. Folks used to ask aboot it, but none could find out who had the lettin' on it. Aboot six months ago it were advertissed, an' it weren't long afore it were took." " What house was that ?" "That ere Gresham Lodge, aboot half a mile up the road. I 'ave a rason for to remem- ber it, for I were a bit sweet on the 'ousemaid as lived there. A likely girl she were; she told me as she were agoin' away for a week to
see her mother as lived in Gloucester, but she never come back. I ain't seen her since, an' that must be a good three year, for I married my missis two year come Michaelmas, an' it were a goodish while afore I took up with her." " What was her master's name?" I asked. " I don't remember rightly ; but I remember hers ; it were Tilda Anne." "Oi," he answered, getting confidential, "her were just that; my missis ain't a patch on her. Yaller curley hair an blue eyes ; as yaller as gold," he added emphatically. "I suppose you don't know anything about the people of the house?" "Noa, we had somat else to tark aboot, had Tilda an' me." "Did you know the young woman's sur- name?" I enquired. "Did I noa?" he repeated with a chuckle. " Reather. It were Cook ; Tilda Anne Cook. I'd like to know why her never come back," he added reflectively. I found mine host ready enough to tell me all he knew about the residents of Gresham Lodge, but as he knew neither the name or occupation of Tilda's master his information was of little value, so after listening to a little more gossip I took my departure. "Tilda Cook," I repeated to myself as I walked home, " I will advertise for you and try if I can induce you to come back, for you are the very person I want." Accordingly I did advertise in both the local and the Gloucester papers that if Tilda Cook, who lived at Gres- ham Lodge, near Prestbury, three years ago would apply to Ralph Grantly, Rodney- terrace, Cheltenham, she would hear of some- thing to her advantage. Three days after wards I received a note purporting to come from Tilda's husband, she having changed her name during the last three years, telling me that he would call at Rodney-terrace that evening with his wife, whose present name was Appleby. The note was written most execrably and the spelling was equally bad, yet it was a long time since I had received a note that gave me as much pleasure. About 7 o'clock the couple made their appearance, and I saw at once it was the right Tilda, for Mrs. Appleby was as the landlord described her and a very pretty young woman. The husband was a frank, straight-forward looking man, a few years her senior. He was, she informed me, a coachman at Dr. Cleasy's at Gloucester. I opened the conversation by saying that I wished to see her late master on business of great importance, and did she know where he was residing now. She replied that she did not ; she had never seen or heard of him since Miss Carlotta had given her leave to visit her mother for a week. When she had been home three days Mr. Goldsborough, her master, had sent her a month's wages, and told her that she need not return. "Let me see," I queried, "Mr. Golds- borough's Christian name was Ferdinand, was it not?" "Yes, sir." "What relation was Miss Carlotta to him?" " Well, sir, I don't rightly know, but I think she was his cousin. He always called her Carlotta, and she called him Ferdinand ; but she was a foreign lady, and used to talk to him a deal in her own language." " Was she young ?" " Lor' bless you, yes, sir ; not more than a year or two older than me. Master was a good deal older than her ; nigh thirty he must have been, an' she may be twenty. She were awful fond of him." " And he of her ?" I queried. " No, not like she were of him. He always spoke to her like as if she were a child. He was always kind to her, but she just worshipped him. He was always atrying to get her to go home. I often heard him talking to her about it. She was married I found out. She had run away from her husband, but I did not find it out till the day afore she sent me home." " Married ?" I exclaimed. "Yes, sir ; but don't you think bad on her, sir. She was a dear young lady and dreadful unhappy, for she told me once as master was the only one of her relations as was kind to her, and they was like brother and sister." "How did you find out that she was married ?" "Well, sir ; it was like this. I was clearin' away the breakfast things and master was reading his letters. He got up an' gave one to Miss Carlotta, but she would not read it. She threw it in the fire. Master was vexed, and he said, 'You are wrong, Carlotta, to treat your husband so; you should go home. You will lose your good name if you stay longer. He is willing and anxious to receive you.' I was in the passage and heard her say, 'Never, I will die first ; better die than live with him, the man I hate.' And she threw herself on her knees and said something in her own language. I could tell she was begging him not to send her home." " What happened next ?" "I don't know. Master got up and shut the door." "Did they ever quarrel?" " Never, sir. She were too fond of him, and he was always kind to her. He seemed sorry for her." " What was her surname?" "Her what, sir?" " Her married name ?" " I don't know, sir, I never heard her called anything but Miss Carlotta. Her clothes were marked 'C.V.' '' "Should you recognise her if your were to see her?" " Yes, sir. She was a tall dark young lady, with black hair ; such hair you never saw, nigh down to her heels." "Would you object to go in company with, your husband and myself to morrow evening to Gresham Lodge to see a lady ? We are anxious to know if she is Miss Carlotta. If you will do so we will pay you well." "No, sir, I have no objection. I'd like to see Miss Carlotta again very much." " Very well, then, if your husband will call here tomorrow morning I will make further arrangements with him for our visit to Gresham Lodge." " All right, sir" Appleby answered. "We ain't agoin back for a couple of days, as we thought as we'd take a holiday. We'll call at 8 to-morrow morning." Mr. Appleby arrived punctually in the morning, and under promise of secrecy I gave him the outline of this strange affair. I told him, because I did not care to take the man's wife without his knowledge to a house that I believed to be haunted. I could see that the story made a painful impression on him, as he twisted his hat in his hands in a nervous frightened manner, but he could not resist the promised reward. At the time agreed upon we met at the Lodge. I lighted the lamps as before, and tried to give a cheerful air to the room, but in spite of my efforts there was something eerie about it.
At the usual time the tall dark figure of the young lady glided up the room. As she did so I looked at Mrs. Appleby. Her, lips were parted in a pleased smile of recognition, and she appeared as glad to see her former mistress as she had said she would be. The lady looked and acted precisely as she had done on the occasions when we had seen her before. As she gazed at her reflection in the mirror and wrung her hands in bitter despair, great tears welled from the eyes of her humble friend by my side, and the despair on one face was visibly reflected on the other. As the lady crossed the room to reach the door she appeared to glance in our direction, and to my surprise, instead of immediately leaving the room as before, she stood at the unopened door, gazing with a look of sad entreaty at the woman by my side. Mrs. Appleby had become much agitated, and as the lady approached us rose, and was about to speak to her, but was restrained by her husband, who was scarcely less agitated. Sitting down again she appeared to suddenly become aware that what she saw was not Miss Carlotta in the flesh, but her spirit, and as she realised this she turned deadly pale and fell in a swoon at out feet. The strokes of the clock vibrating through the room seemed to break the spell. The young lady glided into the passage and dis- appeared. I did not attempt to follow her or listen for the sounds that I knew would be heard— the dreadful ending to each of her visits — but followed Appleby, who had raised his wife in his arms, and rushed through the open door of the conservatory. He did not stop till he reached the front gates, which I unlocked, and hailing a cab drove to Phil's house at Cambray. Mrs. Appleby was some time before she re- covered consciousness, when she told us with a rush of tears that it was indeed Miss Carlotta whom we had seen. Appleby told me afterwards that " he would not go there again, not for a hundred pounds, it had so upset his missus." I pieced together the information I had re- ceived and came to the conclusion that the lady was a relative of Mr. Goldsborough, who was the last tenant as well as owner of Gresham Lodge. That she was a spirit I was also assured. Her look of piteous entreaty on my last visit filled me with a desire to learn her history. Could it be that a dreadful tragedy had been enacted here ? Mrs. Appleby was sure that she was married. Had she met her death by the hand of a re- vengeful husband ? The blood-stained stiletto pointed to that. The abrupt dismissal of Mrs. Appleby from their service, the family's removal from the neighborhood, the house standing so long untenanted, Mr. Pea- body's refusal to give me the last tenant's name ; these were all suspicious circum- stances, and pointed to Mr. Goldsborough being implicated. I determined to again visit Messrs. Peabody on the morrow, as I felt certain that when I produced the blood-stained stiletto, and told them the suspicions that had been aroused, Mr. Goldsborough's lawyers would see the propriety of satisfying my enquiries, if by doing so a scandal could be avoided. Chapter IV. Alas, poor ghost !—Hamlet. The next morning I called on Messrs. Peabody & Sons, and was fortunate enough on this occasion to find the senior partner within, and willing to grant me an interview. Con- sidering that nothing was to be gained by beating about the bush, I at once stated the nature of my business and our suspicions re- specting the former tenants of Gresham Lodge, watching Mr. Peabody narrowly as I did so. I related at length the particulars of the young lady's several appearances, dwelling on the strange action of her hiding the stiletto in her hair, and also pointed out to him how impossible it was for any person to reside in a house haunted by this most unhappy young lady. It seemed to me impossible to doubt that a terrible tragedy had occurred at the Lodge, and that his client, Mr. Goldsborough, had played some part in it. I had called on him, I said, believing that he was in a position to give me the information necessary to clear up the mystery. If he would do so, and could give me a satisfactory explanation of the appear - ances and behavior of the young lady, I could assure him I had no wish or intention to cause any annoyance to his client, but if as on the former occasion, when I had seen his son, he still declined to give me any information — well, I reminded him that I had obtained the information in my possession without their as- sistance, and being a detective by profession, would no doubt be able to follow up the clue I had found, and if any crime had been com- mitted, bring the offenders to justice. The appearance and behavior of the young lady had made such an impression on the several persons who had seen her that they were de- termined to sift the matter to the bottom, and ascertain if she had met with foul play, that she thus haunted the house exhibiting such distress. "Has this apparition been undoubtedly recognised by any person ? Do you suspect Mr. Goldsborough of foul play merely because a ghost appears in a house once owned by him.?" I told Mr. Peabody, that a former servant there, Tilda Anne Cook, but now Mrs. Appleby, had recognised the young lady as Miss Carlotta, a cousin of Mr. Goldsborough, who had lived at Gresham Lodge with him when she was a servant there, and I ended by laying the bloodstained stiletto on the table. At sight of the stiletto, Mr. Peabody gave an involuntary start, and his face underwent a great change; the assumed indifference rapidly gave place to sorrow, and he was deeply moved. Rising from his chair, he carefully locked the door of the room, and then turning to an iron safe which stood in a corner, he took from the top shelf a small brown tin box which had the letters 'F.C.G.' painted on it. "I have here," he said, unlocking the box and turning to me, "what I think will not only convince you of the innocence of Ferdi- nand Goldsborough, but also enlist your sym- pathy. But if when you have read this you are not satisfied. I will give you his present address ; then you will be able to see him your- self. I must first tell you that Ferdinand Goldsborough is the son of a very dear friend of my own. Ferdinand's father was a very un- fortunate man— unfortunate in everything, even in his marriage, for he married a Spanish lady, a native of Valparaiso; a proud, hand- some, domineering woman, who married poor Rupert for his money and position, for he had both when he married her, and led him such a life that the poor fellow looked upon it as a positive blessing when she left him and returned to her relatives at Valparaiso, which she did not do till she had almost ruined
him with her extravagance. Ferdinand's early life was spent in this town, but when as he neared manhood his father died insolvent, and it became necessary for Ferdinand to maintain himself, his mother, who resided with her cousin at Valparaiso, sent for him, having heard of her husband's death, offering him a post in her cousin's office. As it seemed a good offer I advised Ferdinand to accept it. Many times since I have regretted giving him that advice. But who can see into the future ? He was away ten years, when a bachelor brother of his father died and left him all his property, Gresham Lodge being part of it. On receiving news of the legacy he at once re- turned to England, intending to remain in this country, and after transacting some necessary business in London took up his residence at Gresham Lodge. What happened from that time to the date of that dreadful catastrophe is written down here, signed by Ferdinand Goldsborough and witnessed by me." He handed me as he spoke a closely-written manuscript. "Read it," he continued, "and you will understand what is now a mystery to you." I opened the document, which was written in a firm manly hand, and read as follows:— "I, Ferdinand Goldsborough, do hereby solemnly declare that what I am about to relate is the true version of that most un- happy event which happened at Gresham Lodge in the month of October, 186— . "To make the circumstances clear I must go back a few years in my history, to the time when I lived in my cousin's house at Val- paraiso. "Xavier Verco was the son of my mother's uncle, at whose house my mother had been brought up from her infancy, so that when she left England she returned there as a matter of course, and on my arrival at Val- paraiso after my father's death he received me with the greatest kindness and has in all ways proved himself my friend. "It was in the year 1865 that my cousin, then a man of 60, became deeply enamored of the young daughter of Joseph Perdita, his partner. She had just returned from a con- vent school and was a mere child in both feel- ings and ideas. I was at the time away at Santiago on business and was much surprised on hearing the news of the intended marriage from my mother, who was herself much annoyed at what she termed Xavier's folly. At her father's bidding, her tastes and wishes not being considered in the least, the beautiful Carlotta Perdita married the rich merchant, Xavier Verco, and became his wife. "After the wedding I still continued to reside with my mother at my cousin Verco's, as I could not persuade her to occupy a separate house with me. Carlotta was so young and inexperienced, she said, quite unable, to manage so large a house. Carlotta's sweetness and gentleness of disposition en- deared her to all who knew, her except my mother, who regarded Carlotta as an inter- loper, and taking advantage of her youth would have treated her unkindly, even harshly, had I not shielded her by my presence. "Under these circumstances we soon became much attached to each other. I regarded Carlotta as a very dear sister— I swear she was nothing more— but, as I learned after- wards, she regarded me with much warmer feelings, and this was the beginning of the trouble. " It was about two years after this marriage that a near relative of my father died and bequeathed to me considerable property, which rendered it necessary for me to proceed to England on a lengthy visit. I began to make preparation for my departure, and one day when I was alone with Carlotta I re- marked that I should soon have to say good- bye. She shrugged her shoulders petulantly and exclaimed, ' Do not speak of it. When do you return?' 'Perhaps never, Carlotta,' I replied. 'My mother thinks that I should marry now that I have ample means. Perhaps I may do so in England.' " To my surprise she became greatly ex- cited. 'Never, Ferdinand; you must not; you shall not be so cruel. What ! leave me, your poor Carlotta? I could not bear it ; I should die ; my heart would break. Say you do not mean it, Ferdinand; say you do but jest.' "She threw herself on her knees and clasped my hand. I tried to quiet and soothe her, for I was fearful lest some eavesdropper should hear her passionate unguarded language and work harm to the excited girl. ' Listen, Ferdinand ; take me with you; I will be your sister ; but do not leave me here.' "I reminded her of her husband and begged her to remember his honor, but she sprang to her feet, her eyes blazing with anger. 'Remember my husband?' she hissed, 'Yes, I will remember him. He bought me from my father for 20,000 dollars. My father sold me, I tell you ; I know it. My husband was angry one day and he said to my father, ' I gave you 20,000 dollars when I married your daughter ; I will not give you any more." They were quarrelling and did not hear me enter. I came between them and I said to my father, "Is it true? Did this man pay 20,000 dollars for me ? Is it true that you sold me? Lie not to me or I will kill you." He said, "Leave the room, Carlotta. This is no place for you." "This is my house," I said, "the house you sold me to. I will not leave the room. Tell me the truth." But he would not speak. Then I turned to my husband, "Will you tell me the truth?" I said. "Did you give my father 20,000 dollars for me?" and he said " Yes, it is true." Then I said to my father, "I give you as many curses as you received dollars for me. You shall never come to my house again ; never." I am a slave, I tell you, Ferdinand. I was bought — bought,' she exclaimed bitterly, 'just as they buy slaves. Ferdinand, pity me, I am only nine- teen and a slave for life. I cannot buy my freedom; I can only break my chains. Pity me, Ferdinand, and take me with you ; I ask no more.' "I was greatly shocked at Carlotta's pas- sionate outbreak, and if possible more so at the cause of it, though I knew how little the feelings of the daughter were considered in these marriages. 'Carlotta,' I said, 'when did this happen?" 'Last week,' she replied laconically, exhausted by her passion. "I talked long and earnestly with Carlotta, telling her that she would always be dear to me as a sister and that I would always pro- tect her, as I had done in the past. I promised her that I would return again as soon as I had transacted my business in England ; but all of no avail. ' If you will not take me with you I will go by myself,' she reiterated. "Three days after this scene I sailed alone, Carlotta was not visible when I left the house and I felt it would be cruel to ask for her. She told me afterwards that my mother had overheard our conversation and had locked her
in her room to prevent her accompanying me. However I knew nothing of this at the time. " About six weeks after I had taken up my residence at Gresham Lodge my housekeeper told me that a lady wished to see me. Judge of my consternation when I found Carlotta seated in the drawing-room. 'Ferdinand,' she exclaimed excitedly, ' I have come.' ' So I see, Carlotta,' I answered gravely. 'Do not be solemn, my dear, cousin ; I could not stay ; I have broken my chains.' 'Carlotta,' I said, 'listen to me. I shall at once write and acquaint your husband of your arrival here. I, at least, will take care of your good name, which you have perilled so rashly.' 'Good name? she said scornfully. 'You forget I have been bought, like a bale of merchandise, from Joseph Perdita. I do not care one pin for what you call my good name. I will not be the wife of Xavier Verco any more. I will be free. If you turn me out — well, I will live elsewhere, but I will never return. Your mother drives me mad, and I hate it all.' " I knew Carlotta was quite capable of doing as she threatened, and I did not dare to let so beautiful a girl go away to reside amongst strangers, so I reluctantly consented to her staying in my house ; but I told her that by the outgoing mail I should write to her husband and tell him of her arrival, as I con- sidered it would be unjust to him and to her not to do so. ' Do as you will, and tell him I will never return — never! I will never be his wife again ! I hate him, ! she answered passionately. "I did not attempt to argue with her, as I knew it was useless when she was in one of her wilful passionate moods, so let her have her own way. I called my housekeeper and informed her that the lady was my cousin and a foreigner; that as she could speak but very little English I wished her to look after her comfort. She was a worthy woman and she looked dubiously at Carlotta; her extreme beauty appeared to make her suspicious, but that soon wore off and she became very much attached to her young mistress. "As I had promised, by the next outgoing mail I wrote to my mother and Carlotta's hus- band informing them of Carlotta's arrival and that she was now staying at Gresham Lodge under the care of my housekeeper. As soon as it was possible for a reply to reach England we heard from both. My mother, as we expected, was furiously angry and used numberless threats to both of us. My cousin wrote to me, enclosing a letter to Carlotta. He informed me that he exonerated me from blame and still trusted to my honor. To Carlotta he wrote entreating her to return, promising if she would that he would forgive and forget all. I added my entreaty to that of her husband, but it was of no avail. Carlotta had decided to remain, and she did so. For several months we lived together. Carlotta made no allusion to our friendship in Chili, and with the exception of occasional fits of de- pression she appeared to be happy. One morn- ing about six months after Carlotta arrived I received a letter from my mother, in which she stated that she had determined to take the next steamer to England, accompanied by her servant Pedro, and that if necessary she would employ force to compel Carlotta to return home with her. When I showed this letter to Carlotta it roused her warm passionate nature to a furious heat. 'I will never return alive,' she exclaimed, 'your mother is a bad woman. Why does she interfere with me? And Pedro,' she shuddered. 'I hate and fear that man. I always feel as if he were a snake, he always watched me ; he is your brother's servant and he is her slave. If she said, 'Pedro, kill Carlotta,' he would do it.' "About a week after this Carlotta told me that she had given Mrs. Todd, the housekeeper, a week's holiday, and a few days later the housemaid was missing. I asked Carlotta where she was. 'Matilda will return this evening,' Carlotta answered. I told her she was foolish to give this servant a holiday till the housekeeper returned. " That evening about 8 I returned from town and letting myself in with a latch-key went straight to my study. A few minutes afterwards I heard a timid knock at the door and Carlotta entered. Before I could speak, she burst into a passionate fit of tears and begged me to defend her from my mother. ' Ferdinand, take me from the man I hate ; take me, let me be yours. There must be a law to free me from him. I am not his wife; I am his slave. I have been bought. You say slaves are free here; make me free. Ferdi- nand, let me be your wife. Do not turn from me. I have loved you always — always, though you did not know it. Ferdinand, have pity on me.' "She poured out such a flood of passionate en- treaty that I was utterly bewildered and knew not what to do or say ; indeed, I felt so keenly for her in her distress that I hardly dared look at her tearful face lest my resolution for her good would fail, 'Carlotta,' I begged, 'my poor ill-used girl, say no more. It cannot be. It is impossible.' " In my despair of convincing, her that I was powerless to free, her from her chains I feigned a love I did not feel for a young lady whom we had met several times since her arrival in Eng- land. 'Is it true, Ferdinand? Say it is not true.' ' It is true, Carlotta.' "O fatal falsehood ! Would that I had been dumb ; 'Then die,' she exclaimed, and drawing swiftly from her hair a glittering stiletto, she struck at my heart. When I saw what Car- lotta intended I threw myself back- ward in order to avoid the blow. This would not have saved me, but for- tunately I had my purse in my breast coat pocket, and as the point of the stiletto pierced this it was stopped by a florin. The force of the blow caused me to stumble and fall, and Carlotta seeing this and thinking she had killed me, with a cry of despair plunged the stiletto into her own breast and fell bleeding on the floor. As soon as I regained my footing I sprang to her assistance, but it was too late, she was beyond human help and in a few mo- ments she breathed her last in my arms. I be- lieve the stiletto had pierced her heart. " Picture my horror; my despair at that moment. I would have given all I had, even my life, could I have recalled the words that had caused this dreadful catastrophe, but it was too late ; the spirit of the beautiful Carlotta had fled and I was alone with the dead. " What was I to do ? What course should I take? What punishment would the law mete out to me if I were found in such a position, alone in the house with the dead body of this beautiful girl? A loud knock at the door startled me. I ran down stairs and opened it ex- pecting to see the housekeeper returned ; but it was a messenger with a telegram from my mother. She had landed at Southampton and would be with me to-morrow. The morrow came, and, with it my mother, Donna Golds- borough, as she persisted in calling herself.
My pale agitated face told her something was amiss. " ' Where is Carlotta ?' she enquired. " ' Come and see,' I replied. I took her to my study, where the poor girl lay, and stand- ing beside Carlotta's lifeless form told my mother all. No sorrow or compunction was visible on her hard handsome face. 'God,' she exclaimed; 'she could not have one better. It is well. Xavier is free, and so art thou. Leave thy Madre and Pedro. We will have no scandal. The church has no prayers for such as she. We will bury her this night in the garden and thou shalt return with me. I have said it. Go,' she added I'm- periously. " I had been so long accustomed to give way to my mother's haughty imperious will that I obeyed, and being worn out by the terrible anguish of the past night I threw myself on my bed dressed as I was. When I awoke it was past midnight and the moon was shining in at the open window, throwing strange shadows across the room. With an effort I recalled the events, of the past day, and seeing the open window rose to close it. As I did so my ears caught the sound of a muffled thud as of someone digging. My mother's words flashed through my mind. They were digging Carlotta's grave. I crept quietly downstairs and out of the back door, keeping well in the shade of the trees till I reached the coachhouse, under the shelter of which I stood. Standing there I watched Pedro's movements. How I loathed the man ; for, like Carlotta, I believed him capable of any villainy. He was digging a grave under the large lilac bush, the branches of which he had tied well back. A few minutes later I heard my mother's voice in a shrill whisper, 'Haste, Pedro; he will waken ; the day will soon break.' " A muttered 'Diable' was the only answer from Pedro, as he straightened himself and shook the earth from his clothes. Climbing up out of the grave he had dug he joined my mother, who stood under the shade of a large pear tree. 'Chut !' I heard her say contemp- tuously as Pedro raised in his arms a roughy- constructed coffin and staggered with it to the open grave. With a great effort I restrained myself from rushing out. For that wretch to touch poor Carlotta's remains seemed sacrilege to me. He placed the coffin on a board and slipped it to its last resting place. ' Ugh ' he grunted, 'I like not the work.' 'Be not a fool,' said my mother sharply. ' Hasten with thy work; quick, the time flies.' " Pedro had been too accustomed to obey his imperious mistress to rebel now, and he hastily filled in the grave, and untying the branches of the lilac bush allowed them to spring back into their accustomed place. The fragrant shrub well hid the dreadful secret. "I made my way quickly back to the house and threw myself on the bed, but not to sleep ; my brain was too excited and my heart too sore. I could not banish from my thoughts the scene I had witnessed. As the morning dawned my mother entered the room, bringing me a cup of coffee, looked very suspiciously at me when she observed I had not undressed. She had evidently desired to hide from me the exact place of Carlotta's burial. 'I like not this heathen land,' she remarked as I drank the coffee. 'We will return soon. Thou canst make the arrangements.' 'Carlotta? I asked. Her brow darkened. 'The dead is buried ; ask no more.' 'The next day I called on my father's old friend, Mr. Peabody, and told him the above facts, which he desired me to put into writing. I also left with him the purse with the florin. 'FERDINAND COSTELLO GOLDSBOROUGH. "Witness— H. C. Peabody." As I placed the manuscript on the table Mr. Peabody broke the silence. "This is the purse mentioned," he said; "examine it." On examining the purse I found it had been pierced on one side by some sharp instrument, and on trying the stiletto which I had found, it fitted it exactly, striking against the florin, which the purse still contained. "Now that you have read that statement," said Mr. Peabody, "do you consider that any good purpose would be served by exposing an honorable man before the eyes of a gaping, horror-loving public?" "No, Mr. Peabody," I replied, "I do not. I should be very reluctant to cause any addi- tional pain to Mr. Goldsborough, but I con- sider that he should repurchase the house from Mr. Gray. It is impossible for any one to occupy a house thus haunted by the spirit of this most unhappy young lady." " Mr. Goldsborough will do so at once, I am sure. We were not aware of this peculiarity when we sold it." "Did Mr. Goldsborough's mother return to Valparaiso?" I enquired. "Yes, and married Xavier Verco, whom she rules with a rod of iron." " And Mr. Goldsborough ?" Mr. Goldsborough did not return with his mother. The associations of the lodge were too unpleasant for him to continue to reside there, and for a short time he rented another house, but the climate of England did not suit him. After ten years' residence in the warm sunny clime of Chili he found our winter weather too bleak and cold, so he returned. He now resides at Santiago, but he refuses to hold any communication whatever with his mother. He regards her as morally responsible for Carlotta's death. About three months after my interview with. Mr. Peabody I received a letter from Mr. Goldsborough, dated from Santiago. He thanked us warmly for our consideration and kindness to him in not making our discovery at Gresham Lodge public, and informed us that if he had known of Carlotta's visits nothing would have induced him to sell the house, and that he should now close it up ; it should be sacred to her. So we feel assured that during the lifetime of Ferdinand Golds- borough that sad spirit from shadowland will never be again disturbed by mortal visitors. An old Scotchwoman of frugal habits, who had means and appliances superior to her neighbors, and who rejoiced in the possession of a servant, used to say to that domestic, as the shades of the evening began to descend — "Noo, Nannie, ye may pit the lamp on the table, an' if onybody o' consequence ca's ye can licht it." Johnnie, aged four, and Harry, aged five, had been left at home with their sister, mother having gone out. When bedtime came they wanted to stay up for mother, and it was hard work to get them to bed. Harry maintained a stolid indifference, but Johnnie cried lustily. Their sister listened at the bottom of the stairs, hoping that they would soon be good. At last Johnnie stopped, and the listener heard him say, '' You cry, Harry ; I'm tired."