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festly for some reason the native was disinclined to discuss the subject. This rather perplexed us, for on such matters the country folk, as a rule, love to talk and enlarge. As he left us, however, he made the somewhat enigmatical remark, “I wish as how we'd got a ghost at our house." Was he envious of his neighbour's fame? we wondered, or what did he mean? Could he possibly deem that a ghost was a profitable appendage to a house on the show principle, insomuch as it brought many people to see it? Or were his remarks intended to be sarcastic?
Having proceeded some way along the footpath we met a clergyman coming along. We at once jumped to the conclusion that he must be the rector, so we forthwith addressed him as such; but he smilingly replied, “No, I'm the Catholic priest,” and a very pleasant-looking priest he was, not to say jovial. We felt we must have our little joke with him, so exclaimed, “Well, never mind, you'll do just as well. We're ghost-hunting. We've heard that there's a genuine haunted house hereabouts, an accredited article, not a fraud. We first read about it in the Standard, and have come to inspect it. Now, can you give us any information on the point? Have you by any chance been called in to lay the ghost with candle, bell, and book ? But perhaps it is a Protestant ghost beyond Catholic control ?” Just when we should have been serious we felt in a bantering mood. Why, I hardly know, but smile on the world and it smiles back at you. Now the priest had smiled on us, and we retaliated.
Had he been austere, probably we should have been grave. Just then this ghost-hunting expedition struck us as being intensely comical. The priest smiled again, we smiled our best in reply. We intuitively felt that his smile was a smile of unbelief-in the ghost, I mean. “Well, I'm afraid,” he replied, “the worthy body is of a romantic temperament. I understand that the bones are not human bones after all, but belonged to a deceased pig. You know in the off-season gigantic gooseberries, sea - serpents, and ghosts flourish in the papers. You cannot possibly miss the house. When you come to the end of the next field, you will see it straight before you,” and so we parted. Somehow the priest's remarks damped our ardour ; either he did not or would not take the ghost seriously!
In a haunted house-A strange story-A ghost described !-An
offer declined— Market - day in a market-town-A picturesque crowd— Tombs of ancient warriors—An old tradition—Popular errors—A chat by the way—The modern Puritan—A forgotten battle-ground—At the sign of the “ Bull.”
REACHING the next field we saw the house before us, a small, plain, box-like structure of brick, roofed with slate, and having a tiny neglected garden in front divided from the farm lands by a low wall. An unpretentious, commonplace house it was, of the early Victorian small villa type, looking woefully out of place in the pleasant green country, like a tiny town villa that had gone astray and felt uncomfortable in its unsuitable surroundings. At least we had expected to find an old-fashioned and perhaps picturesque farmstead, weathered and gray, with casement windows and ivy-clad walls. Nothing could well have been farther from our ideal of a haunted dwelling than what we beheld; no high-spirited or properminded ghost, we felt, would have anything to do with such a place, and presuming that he existed, he at once fell in our estimation—we despised him! I frankly own that this was not the proper spirit in which to commence our investigations—we ought to have kept an open mind, free from prejudice. Who A SUCCESSFUL SEARCH
were we that we should judge what was a suitable house for a ghost to haunt? But it did look so prosaic, and looks count for so much in this world! The flat front of the house was pierced with five sash windows, three on the top story and two on the ground floor below, with the doorway between the sort of house that a child first draws.
We did not enter the little garden, nor approach the regulation front door, for both had the appearance of being seldom used, but, wandering around, we came upon a side entrance facing some farm outbuildings. We ventured to knock at the door here, which was opened by the farmer's wife herself, as it proved; the door led directly into the kitchen, where we observed the farmer seated by the fireplace, apparently awaiting his mid-day dinner. We at once apologised for our intrusion, and asked if it were the haunted house that we had read accounts of in the London papers, and, if so, might we be allowed just to take a glance at the haunted room ? “This is the haunted house," replied the farmer with emphasis, “and you can see over it with pleasure if you like; the wifie will show you over.” So far fortune favoured us. The "wifie" at the time was busily occupied in peeling potatoes " for the men's meal,” she explained, “ but when I've done I'll be very glad to show you over and tell you any. thing." Thereupon she politely offered us a chair to rest on whilst she completed her culinary operations. “I must get the potatoes in the pot first," she excused herself, “or they won't be done in time.'
“Pray don't hurry,” we replied ; “it's only too kind of you to show us the house at all.”
Then we opened a conversation with the farmer; he looked an honest, hard-working man; his face was sunburnt, and his hands showed signs of toil. I should say that there was no romance about him, nor suspicion of any such thing. The day was warm, and he was sitting at ease in his shirt sleeves. “I suppose you get a number of people here to see the place ?” we remarked by way of breaking the ice. “Yes, that we do; lots of folk come to see the house and hear about the ghost. We've had people come specially all the way from London since it's got into the papers ; two newspaper writers came down not long ago and made a lot of notes; they be coming down again to sleep in the house one night. We gets a quantity of letters too from folk asking to see the house. Have I ever seen the ghost ? No, I cannot rightly say as how I have, but I've heard him often. There's strange noises and bangings going on at nights, just like the moving about of heavy furniture on the floors, and knockings on the walls ; the noises used to keep me awake at first, but now I've got used to them and they don't trouble me. Sometimes, though, I wakes up when the noises are louder than usual, or my wife wakes me up when she gets nervous listening to them, but I only says, “The ghost is lively tonight,' and go to sleep again. I've got used to him, you see, but he upsets the missus a lot. You see she's seen the ghost several times, and I only hear him.” The wife meanwhile was intent on her work