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that does not describe it—but I became con- is distinct. The vision, or dream, if you scious suddenly; and what roused me was like, fades away, and the next thing that the sound of weeping-such weeping, so happens is that it is morning." despairing, so terrible, Joan, that it made “Then this has happened more than my heart stand still.”

“My poor little pet, it was Mrs. Brace- “ More than once ? Night after night! bridge had been telling us about those Joan"-she hesitated here-"you fancy terrible hysterical weepings - you were that my liking for Mr. Seymour Kennedy over-wrought by the story, that is all.” is strange. Do you know the reason of it?

“Let me go on: next I became con- He has power to lay the ghost." scious that I could see. There was some “What can you mean?” sort of light, but whether from window, “I mean that the night after his visit, fire, or candle, I cannot tell you, but I and sometimes the night before, I am never saw-yes, distinctly, a figure by my bed troubled. It is strange, is it not? I don't side; "I never can remember the dress, like him really; he is most unlike all that I I have only a vague impression of some have been used to make my type of excelloose wrapper, of a light colour; but the lence; but surely he must be destined in face! oh, Joan, believe me, I am not fancy. some way to rule my fate, or why has he ing things; it was the face of Miss Hilda's this strange influence over the curse that portrait, only older, far older, worn and pursues me ?” white, and bathed in tears—such a face of “A curse !--my dear, strong language ! despair, that if you really saw such a one, Those dreams show a bad state of health, you would be wretched for days after- and you ought to have mentioned them wards."

before.” “But, fortunately, it was only seen in a Lelgarde rose and stood before me, lookdream, my pretty one: a dream very easily ing like a ghost herself in her white accounted for. Come, is that all ?"

wrapper. “I wish it were. Now, Joan, all this “ Joan,” she said, “I have allowed you does not seem to me like a dream in look- to talk about dreams, but it will not do; it ing back upon it; but what came next, you is no dream, no fancy. Something does will say must have been. I had a vague really visit my room at night.” feeling of being carried—hurried along Her voice, her tone of conviction, the dark galleries, and down cold stairs. Oh, remembrance of the servants' gossip, all this I never can make you understand. I made my blood curdle. Unimaginative as can't get at my own idea, or put it into I am, little as I believe in ghosts, I could words. It was I who endured all this, it hardly command my voice in asking Lelwas I who felt the cold, and the wretched garde to explain her reasons for what she ness, and the sickening, overwhelming said. terror; and yet it was not I, but another “Every night I lock my door, and I creature: and I pitied that other creature always find it locked in the morning; but --that other, that was I, and yet not I.” my room is entered nevertheless. I always Nightmare.”

put my candle on this chair by the bed. I “ Call it so if you will. I grew more con- have repeatedly in the morning found the scious, but the scene was changed. I stood chair moved, the candle and match-box before that cabinet. Do you remember my put on the table. You know," and she saying I fancied it had a secret recess some smiled a little,“ how you used to fidget me where ?"

about putting my shoes side by side, and “I do."

that I have got into the fixed habit of doing · Well, that recess opened at a touch- Well, I have found them separated, as mine, or that other's—and something was if some foot, treading perhaps in doubtful found there, something was said to me. I light, had disarranged them. have tried for hours and hours to recollect “ A substantial spirit then, Lelgarde, by what, but I cannot—it is all a blank. Only your own showing.' one sentence I seem to have carried away “ Yon mean that

you

think some one is with me, wailed into my ears in a despair- playing me a trick? Who could be so ing moan,' Remember, when the day comes, fiendishly cruel ? Besides, how do you that wrong can never be right.'

account for the cabinet, the secret recess, “And was this all your dream?”

all those strange visions which, even in the “It ends always with some vague feeling daytime, haunt me? I vow to you, Joan, of cold and discomfort, but nothing more that I can never shake them off, except

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CHAPTER VIII.

ness ?

when Mr. Kennedy is here. He is so amusing and clever, and I get sometimes so much It was not till daylight was peeping in entertained, and sometimes so angry with through the chinks in the closed shutters him, that just for that time I forget my- that Lelgarde opened her eyes with a self.”

freshened, invigorated look which did nd then you do not dream ? Dearest, my heart good. does not that show that it is an effect of “ Yes,” she said, in answer to my imagination—the whole thing ?”

anxious questions, “I have slept soundly “I have told myself so ; I almost believed indeed. It seems only a minute ago that it. And then I began to observe the dis- I went to bed. Oh! dearest old Joan! arrangements in my room. Joan, it is use- what a blessing you are to me!" less to fight against it. I am doomed to “And this heavy-treading ghost has not be hunted down—that is what I feel, that been here to-night,” I said, pointing to and nothing else. Tell me, why could I the little slippers ; "everything is just as not live here as a child? What was it we left it; let us hope that it is exorcised that scared me nearly to death or mad- for good and all.”

Nevertheless, I was resolved to carry She was kneeling before me now, look- Lelgarde away for a little while. I must ing at me with her great woful eyes, full of a own that I felt almost as anxious as she dark terror which I felt almost powerless to could be to get away from Athelstanes, fight against.

the servants' talk tallying so uncomfortably “We will go away, Lelgarde,” I cried; with what she herself had told me, had “ you are rich, my darling; you shall not impressed on my mind a vague sense that stay here to be ill. Let us go to Italy: let everything was weird and uncanny, and I us go to Rome, and look up your old friend went about, feeling ready to jump and Harry.”

scream on the smallest provocation. But Things were come to a pass, indeed, when several days and nights passed, and nothing I was driven to this suggestion! I was happened to frighten either of us. Deterglad to see her cheeks colour up, and a more mined not to let Lelgarde pass another natural look return to her eyes.

solitary night as long as we were under “ Yes, I should like that,” she said. “I that roof, I had a mattress carried into should dearly like it—but I thought I ought her room every night, and I had the satisfacto stay here; it is my home, and my duties tion of seeing her look fresher and brighter lie here."

at every awakening. She had ceased to hang “Your first duty is to get well and restlessly about Miss Hilda's room, and I strong, my pet."

was quite sorry, when, one afternoon, only “ Perhaps so; as it is, I am getting two or three days before that fixed for weaker every day. I cannot tire myself our departure, Mrs. Bracebridge requested into sound sleeping, as I used to do; and her presence there to decide on oh! do you wonder that I dread death ? question of new chintz or dimity, which To become myself one of that fearful, might quite as well have waited till our shadowy world?”

return. “ Hush, Lelgarde, we will talk no more But Mrs. Bracebridge's requests were about it to-night. You shall sleep in not easy to refuse or shirk; and she was my arms, as you did in your baby days. anxious to set all her handmaidens to their Come, let us say our prayers and go to sewing while we were away; so she disbed; and let the ghosts think twice before coursed, pointing out the tattered state of they come and torment my child, now the garniture in question, and Lelgarde she has her old Joan to take care of her.” assented, her eyes all the time roving about

I succeeded in making Lelgarde smile, with the hunted look which I hoped bad but I must confess that I was feeling very entirely left them. I cut short the good old shaky, for all my bold speeches. Lelgarde, lady's speech as much as I could, and when thoroughly exhausted, and safe in my arms, she was gone I tried to hurry my sister off at was soon sleeping heavily with her head once to the drawing-room; but she lingered, pillowed on my shoulder; but I lay awake and, as if drawn by some irresistible attracall night long, listening to the wind, trem- tion to the ebony cabinet, opened it, and bling at the driving rain, and hearing in again began fingering it in every direction, every slamming door and creaking window with the perplexed look of a child over a ghostly footsteps coming to haunt my puzzle. darling

“I cannot make it out,” she murmured.

some

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room

“Sunday, to-morrow,” I said, as if I had as I had often seen with what more than not heard her; “I suppose Mr. Seymour waking caution she could guide her steps. Kennedy will be here; our sudden move Evenly and softly she moved down the will take him by surprise."

broad, shallow stairs; across the hall, “He has a fine evening for his journey,” and into Miss Hilda's room; I following. she said, closing the cabinet, and we went Straight to the cabinet she walked—the into the drawing-room.

moon filled the

with its pale That night I awoke suddenly, with the brightness, and I could see all her peculiar sensation of not waking naturally, actions distinctly. She opened the doors, with a tightening of the breath, and a vague she took out and laid aside, without an feeling of terror. My bed faced the door instant's hesitation, the third drawer on —and that door—that door which I had the right-hand side: she ran her fingers myself locked overnight-stood wide open, over some small ivory mouldings, which showing the black passage outside. It had formed a pattern round the pigeon-hole come then, whatever it was—this night- thus revealed; they were exactly alike, but walking horror—its haunting presence was I saw her select one, and then-not press to manifest itself also to me. We burned it, as she had always tried to do when awake a night-light, and I raised myself softly, and -but draw it towards her. It remained looked at Lelgarde's bed to see if she were in her hand, a long, ivory-headed peg,

and awake or not. The bed was empty! there dropped into the aperture from

Never shall I forget that moment of above a small square receptacle—a sort wild, perfectly unreasoning horror. Had of drawer, closely packed with papers. this dreadful thing the power to lure her She took them, unfolded them one by away to some fearful doom? Could such one, looking with her fixed, unseeing things be permitted in a world God go- eyes, straight before her all the while ; verned ?

folded them up and put them back, reThese thoughts went whirling through placing' one after the other, box, peg, my brain, while I threw myself out of and drawer, closed the cabinet, then rebed, and made one spring to the door; at peated, in the dull voice of a child saying the same moment the moonlight came a lesson which it does not understand : streaming through the long line of win- “If that day should ever come, I will dows along the gallery; and, a few yards look here, and remember that wrong can in front of me, full in the flood of light, never be right.” glided along a white-robed female figure. Then she left the room, mounted the On, on, on, with even footsteps—at the stairs, traversed the long gallery, finally, head of the stairs it paused for half a to my intense relief, entered her room, remoment, and I got a clearer view of it. locked the door, barely giving me time to Is it the spirit of Hilda Atheling ? No- slip in after her, and laid herself down in that desolate figure in Harry Goldie's pic- her bed. I took the precaution of extractture has surely stepped out of his canvas. ing the door-key, and putting it under my It is Lelgarde, Lelgarde herself! though pillow: and then, chilled to the bone, and the fixed, corpse-like features, the dead ex- a good deal perplexed, but wonderfully pression of the eyes are most unlike her. comforted, I composed myself to sleep. Thanks to stout nerves and common sense, Are you certain? Was it really so ?” in one minute I understood the whole- Lelgarde asked incredulously, when kneelLelgarde had resumed the naughty tricks ing by her bedside in the early morning I of her childhood, and was walking in her told her all the adventures of the night. sleep. All was explained now; the white Then, throwing her arm round my neck, and figure, the disarranged room, the unfas- drawing my ear down close to her lips, tened door. In the relief of that moment she whispered : I could have laughed aloud, but I checked “ Are you sure I was alone ?" And I every sound that could disturb her sleep. felt her quiver with superstitious dread. The doctor's assurances, long ago uttered, “My dearest, you must use your comrecurred to my mind, that to wake her mon sense,” I said, with all the authority hastily might cost her her reason or her life. I could muster; you know this is nothing

As I had often done in days gone by, new, only an old habit resumed." I crept after her, keeping down my breath, “A habit that grew out of my first visit holding myself ready to clasp and soothe here, Joan; and what natural power could her, should she suddenly awake, and toler- lead me to find out that secret drawer ably free from uneasiness about her safety, / which I can never have seen opened ?”

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“ Are you sure that you never saw it was that poor, weeping, terrible woman, opened? Do you remember our conversa- my cousin Hilda. Yes, that was when it tion the first evening that we met Mr. Sey-1-my vision, I mean-really happened, in mour Kennedy? I begin to think that some truth, not in fancy. It was she who used recollection of your first visit has all this to come, with her terrible weeping, and time been working in your brain without wake me up at night, and bring me down your own knowledge."

here, poor little, cold, scared thing, and “Are you certain that you did not dream show me the secret of the hiding-place, all this yourself?"

and repeat again and again those words “Well, that is a question we can soon about wrong never being right; and make settle; I will undertake to teach you the me promise to look here in case I should way to open the hidden drawer as you ever be mistress of Athelstanes.

What taught it to me last night.”

ever these papers contain, remember, Joan, The breakfast-bell sounded before we I said all this before I looked at them.were ready for it: and we would not keep “ Then Miss Hilda, not Miss Ethel. the servants loitering over their work on a dreda, was your tormentor after all. But Sunday morning: but, as soon as we had surely, Lelgarde, she was bed-ridden, or, despatched the meal, we bastened to search rather, sofa-ridden; had she not lost the the ebony cabinet. I must confess that I use of her limbs ?” felt a little doubtful of my own senses, “Of course she had; every one said so. when I saw its improbable aspect, and Oh! I see this room now just as it used to Lelgarde was inclined to laugh at me, per- be, and her waxen-looking face and hands, haps really to hide some little tremor. and draperies, all as white as snow, on this “ Is this the little ivory knob?

This red couch. That was the dreadful thing; third one on the right side ? I do not be seeing her lie motionless all day, and then lieve it, Joan; it is impossible to get a being visited by her in this stealthy, sufficient hold of it to pull it-ah!” fearful way at night; and then she wept.

She broke off suddenly; with unexpected Oh! how is it I ever forgot that weeping ?” force the little projection seemed almost to “She must have been a most persistent spring to meet her fingers, and, as she humbug, or else crazy,” I said, feeling angdrew out the peg, down fell the small un- thing but charitable towards Miss Hilda. covered box with its hoard of tightly com- “Let us see what she had had to turn pressed papers.

her brain. I almost begin to think I can "There was I dreaming ?" I ex- guess,” said Lelgarde, growing a shade claimed; but Lelgarde interrupted me paler. She opened the first paper, glanced with a shrill cry, half fright, hálf relief, over the few lines which it contained, did and clasped her fingers over her eyes.

the same with the next, and then placed “I see-I see it all. I remember the them in my hands with a strange sort of whole of it!" she cried, eagerly; "it all smile. “No wonder," was all she said. comes back to me. Oh, poor little crea- The first paper was a certificate of the ture, how I suffered! how scared and ter- marriage of Hilda Atheling with Henry rified I used to be."

Hamilton at some church in the City; the Are you crazy, my child ? What is it second, bearing date about a year later, you remember?

recorded the baptism of a second Henry “ This drawer—that opening—was not Hamilton, at a seaside town, far away in it just what a child would remember? | the West of England. And the way I was shown it—the fright!

The secret of Hilda Atheling's life was Oh, no wonder I had a nervous feverno out at last. wonder I ran away: this has reminded me of everything.”

On the 27th of April will be commence * Tell me what it is, quickly, dearest; but don't get so excited about it.”

A NEW SERIAL STORY, Gathering the papers ap in her hand, she said :

THE YELLOW FLAG. “I do not know what these are, I never did know; but, Joan, I know now who it

BY EDMUND YATES, was that frightened me at Athelstanes; it | Author of “BLACK SHEEP,""NOBODY's Fobitse,” &c.

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ENTITLED

The light of Translating Articles from ALL THE YEAR Round is reserved by the Authors.

Published at the Ofico, 26, Wellington St., Strand. Printed by O. WHITING, Beaufort House, Dake St, Lincoln's Ion Field

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0.176. NEW SERIES.

THE WICKED WOODS OF earth were more than enough to satisfy his

appetite. He ate but once a day, and the TOBEREEVIL.

fire was allowed to go out as soon as his

dinner had been cooked. This was a new BY THE AUTHOR OF "HESTER'S HISTORY."

plan of saving, for formerly he had been

used to have a fire, however small, at which CHAPTER XXXI. THE FALSE LOVE.

to warm his frail body in the winter SIMON was getting through the cold weather. So now he suffered sorely from eather badly. He missed Tibbie, and he the cold, though that was little to Simon hissed the fool. He had now to light his while he felt that he did his duty. He crap of fire with his own trembling fingers, missed the fool even more than Tibbie, for nd to cook his morsels of food himself. He Con would not now be coaxed within his ad no one to scold, no one on whom to vent doors; but would nevertheless come hovere passion the anxiety of his mind, which ing about the place, peering in at the keyeared that he must yet be robbed, and holes, and flattening his white face against ve to die a pauper. His soul, too, was the window-panes. Simon was often unacked by tortures of doubt as to his consciously an object of close observation tephew's fitness for the trust which had to the fool, who, with the strong fascination een reposed in him. In the business of of hatred, would watch him unseen through vringing money from the tenants he did some secret loophole; but if Simon chanced tot show that eagerness and ingenuity to espy him, this irregular visitor would at which Simon had hoped to find in him. once vanish off into the woods. He had proposed to grant a small piece Whilst Tibbie and Katherine were f mountain land to a certain old beggar making their way into the house, Simon voman, so that she might build herself a was sitting in state in his freezing den, exouse, and live in it free of rent. There pecting the arrival of the new agent upon was an audacity in this proposal which had business. His pistols were beside him on errified the miser. How was he safe in the table; for he never forgot that he was he hands of a person who could conceive subject to a danger from the presence of and give utterance to such an idea ? He his nephew. The fear of the fulfilment of ould only keep watch over the doings of the prophecy by Paul haunted him unbis nephew and agent, exerting himself ceasingly, and made him wary in his dealneanwhile to make amends, by personal ings with this young man, whom he had Economy, for any extravagance which the adınitted into his confidence. He never oung man might perpetrate. He had turned his back upon him for a moment, how reduced the cost of his living very and never, during their interviews, moved ow, powder and shot being the chief items from the table where the pistols lay near f his expenditure; and larks and thrushes, his hand. To-day he was sitting thus, rows and sparrows, were the dainties provided against danger, when Paul made which supplied the absence of more ordi- his appearance—a good deal changed from ary food. Since Tibbie's disappearance the Paul of a few months ago, looking pale he had not enjoyed the luxury of bread. and thin, with restless eyes and a nervous Che birds of the air and the roots of the land uneasy expression about the mouth.

VOL. VII.

176

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