$ LIBRARY OF $
VIRGIL I. HIXSON
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Duke University Libraries
SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
MRS. HENRY WOOD.
AUTHOR OF "SQUIRE TREVLYN'S HEIR," "THE CASTLE'S HEIR,"
•'verner's PRIDE," "THE CHANNINGS," "THE earl's HEIRS,"
"a life's secret," "the foggy night at offord,"
"east lynne," "the "mystery," "the lost bank
note," "the runaway match," etc.
Printed from 'the author's Manuscript and advance Proof-sheets, pur-
chased by us from Mrs. Henry "Wood, and issued here in
advance of the publication of the work in Europe.
T. B. PETERSON & BROTHERS;
306 CHESTNUT STREET.
Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1863, by
T. B. PETERSON & BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.
I.— The Meet of the Hounds 23
II— Lady Godolphin's Folly 30
III.— The Dark Plain in the Moonlight 37
IV.— All-Souls' Rectory 42
Y. — Thomas Godolphin's Love 50
VI.— Charlotte Pain 57
VII. — Broomhead 60
VIII.— A Snake in the Grass 67
IX.— Mr. Sandy's "Trade" 74
X.— The Shadow 79
XL — A Telegraphic Dispatch 86
XII.— Dead 92
XIII. — Unavailing Regrets 98
XIV.— Dust to Dust 104
XV.— A Midnight Walk 110
XVI. — The last Journey 115
XVIL— A Row on the Water 123
XVIII. — Straw in the Streets 130
XLX.^-One Stick Discarded 134
XX. — An Invitation to All-Souls' Rectory 141
XXI. — A Revelation to All-Souls' Rector 146
XXII. — Charlotte's Bargain 153
XXIII. — Dangerous Amusement 161
XXIY— Home 167
XXV.— Sixty Pounds to Old Jekyl 170
XXVL— Why did it Anger him ? 177
20 TABLE OF CONTENTS.
XXVII.— Cecil's Romance 181
XXVIIL— Charlotte Pain's "Turn Oat" 186
XXIX. — A Revelation in the Ash-tree Walk 191
XXX— Mr. Verrall's Chambers 201
XXXI.— Done 1 Beyond Recall 205
XXXII.— The Tradition of the Dark Plain 212
XXXIII.— The Dead Alive Again 221
XXXIV.— A Welcome Home 224
XXXV— Those Bonds Again! 230
XXXVI.—" I see it : But I cannot Explain it." 236
XXXVIL— The Loss Proclaimed 242
XXXVIIL— A Red-letter Day for Mrs. Bond 247
XXXIX.— Isaac Hastings Turns to Thinking 256
XL.— A Nightmare for the Rector of All-Souls' 260
XLL— Mr. Layton "Looked Up." 265
XLIL— Gone! 275
XLIII. — Murmurs and Curious Doubts :.... 278
XLIV.— Bobbing Joan 285
XLV.— Mrs. Bond's Visit 292
XLVL— A Dread Fear 295
XL VII.— Company to Breakfast 301
XLVIIL— Bearing the Brunt 307
XLIX.— A Fiery Trial 312
L.— "She's as Fine as a Queen."... 320
LI. — Margery's Tongue let Loose 326
LII. — Another Nail in the Coffin of Thomas Godolphin 332
LIIL— A Visit of Pain 338
LIV.— A Show in the Streets of Prior's Ash 342
LV. — Unavailing Regrets 346
LVI. — My Lady Washes her Hands 351
LVIL— A Broken Idol 355
LVIIL— Mrs. Pain Taking Leave 360
LIX. — Mr. Reginald makes a Morning Call 365
LX— A Shadow of the Future 372
LXI. — Nearer and Nearer for Thomas Godolphin 375
LXIL— A Peaceful Hour in the Porch of Ashlydyat 379
LXIIL— For the Last Time : Very Faint 384
TABLE OF CONTENTS. 21
LXIV. — The Bell that Rang out on the Evening Air 38T
LXV.— The Shutters Closed at Prior's Ash 393
LXVI. — Caught by Mr. Snow 396
LXVII. — A Bane, as was Predicted Years Before 400
LXVIII. — Commotion at Ashlydyat 40?
LXIX— News for All-Souls' Rectory 414
LXX. — A Crowd of Memories 419
LXXI. — Grace Akeman's Repentance 426
LXXIL— The Last 431
LXXIII.— Over the Dead 435
LXXIY.— A Sad Parting 441
LXXV.— A Safe Visit to Him 445
SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
THE MEET OP THE HOUNDS.
It was a bright day in autumn:
the scene one of those fair ones rarely
to be witnessed but in England. The
sun, warm, and glowing, almost befit-
ting a summer's day, shone on the
stubble of the corn-fields, whence the
golden grain had recently been gath-
ered, gilded the tops of the trees, —
so soon to pass into the " sere and
yellow leaf," — illumined the blue hills
in the distance, and brought out the
nearer features of the landscape in all
their light and shade. A fine land-
scape, as you gazed at it from this
high ground, where you may suppose
yourself to be standing : comprising
hill and dale, water and green pas-
tures, woods and open plains. Amidst
them rose the marks of busy life ;
mansions, cottages, hamlets, railways ;
and churches, whose steeples ascended
high, — pointing the way to a better
The town of Prior's Ash, lying in
a valley, was alive that gay morning
with excitement. It was the day ap-
pointed for the first meet of the hounds,
— the P. A. hounds, of some im-
portance in the county, — and people
from far and near were flocking to see
them throw off. Old and young, gen-
tle and simple, lords of the soil and
tradesmen, all were wending their
way to the place of meeting. The
master, Colonel Max, was wont, on
this, the inaugurating morning of the
season, to assemble at his house for
breakfast as many as his large dining-
room could by any species of crowding
contain ; and a fine sight it was, and
drew forth its numerous spectators, to
watch them come afterwards, in pro-
cession, to the meet. As many car-
riages-and-four, with their fair occu-
pants, would come to that first meet,
as you could have seen in the old days
on a county race-course. It was an
old-fashioned, local custom, this show ;
Col. Max was pleased to keep it up ;
and he lacked not supporters. The
opening, this year, was unusually
The gay crowd was arriving, thick
and threefold ; some from the break-
fast, some from their homes. The
rendezvous was a wide, open com-
mon ; no space lacking,
strained hounds snarled
short distance, and their attendants,
attired for the hunt, clashed their
whips among them.
Riding a noble horse, and advanc-
ing from the opposite direction to that
of Colonel Max and his guests, came
a tall, stately man, getting in years.
His features were regular as though
they had been chiselled from marble ;
his fine blue eyes could sparkle yet ;
and his snow-white hair, wavy as of
yore, was worn rather long behind,
giving to him somewhat the appear-
ance of a patriarch. But the healthy
bloom, which had once been charac-
teristic of his face, had left it now :
away at a
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
the paleness of ill-health sat there,
and he bent his body continually, as
if too weak to bear up on his horse.
His approach was discerned ; and
many started forward, as with one
impulse, to greet him. None stood
higher in the estimation of his fellow-
men than did Sir George Godolphin ;
no other name was more respected in
" This is good indeed, Sir George !
To see you out again !"
"I thought I might venture,"
said Sir George, essaying to meet a
dozen hands at once. " It has been
a long confinement ; a tedious illness.
Six months, and never out of the
house ; and, for the last fortnight out
but in a garden-chair. My lady
wanted to box me up in the carriage
this morning, — if I must come, she
said. But I would not have it : had
I been unable to sit my horse, I would
have remained at home."
" You feel weak still?" remarked
one, after most of the greeters had had
their say, and were moving away.
"Ay. Strength, for me, has finally
departed, I fear."
" But you must not think that, Sir
George. Now that you are so far
recovered as to go out, you will im-
" And get well all one way, Godol-
phin," joined in the heart} 7 voice of
Colonel Max. " Never lose heart,
Sir George turned his eyes upon
Colonel Max with a cheerful glance.
" Who told you I was losing heart?"
" Yourself. When a man begins
to talk of his strength having finally
departed, what's that but a proof of
his losing heart ? Low spirits never
cured anybody yet : but they have
" I shall be sixty-six years old to-
morrow, colonel : and if, at that age,
I can ' lose heart ' at the prospect of
the great change, my life has served
me to little purpose. The young may
faint at the near approach of death ;
the old should not."
" Sixty-six, old !" ejaculated Col-
onel Max. " I have never kept count
of my own age, but I know I am that,
if I am a day ; and I am young yet.
I may live these thirty years to come :
and shall try for it, too."
" I hope you will, colonel," was the
warm answer of Sir George Godol-
phin. " Prior's Ash could ill spare
" I don't know about that," laughed
the colonel. " But I do know that I
could ill spare life. I wish you could
take the run with us this morning !'"
" I wish I could. But that you
might accuse me again of — what was
it ? — losing heart, I would say that
my last run with the hounds has been
taken. It has cost me an effort to
come so far as this, walking my horse
at a snail's-pace. Do you see Lady
Godolphin ? She ought to be here."
Colonel Max, who was a short man,
raised himself in his stirrups, and
gazed from point to point of the
gradually-increasing crowd. " In her
carriage, I suppose ?"
" In her carriage, of course," an-
swered Sir George. " She is no Ama-
zon." But he did not avow his rea.son
for inquiring after his wife's carriage, —
that he felt a giddiness stealing over
him, and deemed he might be glad of
its support. Neither did he explain
that he was unable to look round for
it himself just then, under fear of
falling from his horse.
" I don't think she has come yet,*'
said Colonel Max. " I do not see the
livery. As to the ladies, they all look
so like one another now, with their
furbelows and feathers, that I'll be
shot if I should know my own wife —
if I had one — at a dozen paces' dis-
tance. Ilere is some one else, how-
" Biding up quietly, and reining-in
at the side of Sir George, was a gen-
tleman of middle height, with dark
hair, dark-gray eyes, and a quiet, pale
countenance. In age he may have
wanted some three or four years of
forty, and a casual observer might
have pronounced him " insignificant,"
and never have cast on him a second
glance. But there was a certain at-
traction in his face, for all that ; and
T II E SHADOW OF ASELLYDYAT.
his voice sounded wonderfully sweet
and kind as he grasped the hand of
" My dear father ! I am so glad
to see you here !"
" And surprised too, I conclude,
Thomas," returned Sir George, smiling
on his son. " Come close to me, will
you, and let me rest my arm upon
your shoulder for a minute. I feel
" Should you have ventured out on
horseback ?" inquired Thomas Go'dol-
phin, as he hastened to place himself
in proximity with his father.
" The air will do me good ; and the
exertion also. It is nothing to feel a
little weak after a confinement such
as mine has been. You don't follow
the hounds to-day, I see, Thomas,"
continued Sir George, noting his son's
A smile crossed Thomas Godol-
phin's lips. " No, sir. I rarely do
follow them. I leave amusement for
" Is he here, that graceless George ?"
demanded the knight, searching into
the crowd with fond and admiring
eyes. But the admiring eyes did not
see the object they thought to rest on.
" He is sure to be here, sir. I have
not seen him."
" And your sisters ? Are they
" No. They did not care to come."
" Speak for Janet and Cecil, if you
please, Thomas," interrupted a young
lady's voice at this juncture. The
knight looked down ; his son looked
down : there stood the second daugh-
ter of the family, Bessy Godolphin.
She was a dark, quick, active little
woman of thirty, with an ever-ready
tongue, and deep-gray eyes.
" Bessy !" uttered Sir George, in
astonishment. "Have you come here
on foot ?"
" Yes, papa. Thomas asked us
whether we wished to see the meet ;
and Janet — who must be master and
mistress always, you know— answered
that we did not. Cecil dutifully agreed
with her. I did care to see it ; so I
" But, Bessy, why did you not say
so ?" remonstrated Mr. Godolphin.
" You should have ordered the car-
riage ; you should not have come on
foot. What will people think ?"
" Think !" she echoed, holding up
her pleasant face to her brother, in its
saucy independence. " They can think
any thing they please : I am Bessy
Godolphin. I wonder how many scores
have come on foot ?"
" None, Bessy, in your degree, who
have carriages to sit in, or horses to
ride," said Sir George.
" Papa, I like to use my legs better
than to have them cramped under a
habit or in a carriage ; and you know
I never could bow to fashion and
form," she laughed. " Dear papa, I
am delighted to see you ! I was so
thankful when I heard you were here !
Janet will be fit to eat her own head
now, for not coming."
" Who told you I was here, Bessy ?"
" Old Jekyl. He was leaning on
his palings as I came by, and called
out the information to me almost be-
fore I could hear : ' The master's gone
to it, Miss Bessy ! he is out once
again ! But he had not got on his
scarlet,' the old fellow added ; and
his face lost its gladness. Papa, the
whole world is delighted that you
should have recovered, and be once
more amongst them. "
" Not quite recovered yet, Bessy.
Getting feetter, though ; getting bet-
ter. Thank you, Thomas ; the faint -
ness has passed."
" Is not Lady Godolphin here,
" She must be here by this time. I
wish I could see her carriage : you
must get into it. "
"I did not come for that, papa,"
returned quick Bessy, with a touch
of her warm temper.
" My dear, I wish you to> join her:.
I do not like to see you here on foot."
" I shall set the fashion, papa,"
laughed Bessy, again. " At the great
meet next year, you will see half the
stylish pretenders of the county toil-
ing here on their two feet. I say I
am Bessy Godolphin."'
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT
The knight ranged his eyes over
the motley group, but he could not
discern his wife. Sturdy, bluff old
fox-hunters were there in plenty, and
well got-up young gentlemen, all on
horseback, their white cords and their
scarlet coats gleaming in the sun.
Ladies were mostly in carriages ; a
few were mounted, who would ride
quietly home again when the hounds
had thrown off; a very few — they
might be counted by units — would
follow the field. Prior's Ash and its
neighborhood was supplied in a very
limited degree with what they were
pleased to call masculine women : for,
the term "fast" had not then come in.
Many a pretty woman, many a pretty
girl was present, and the sportsmen
lingered, and were well pleased to lin-
ger, in the sunshine of their charms,
ere the business, for which they had
come out, began, and they should throw
themselves, heart and energy, into it.
On the outskirts of the crowd, sit-
ting her horse well, was a handsome
girl of right regal features and black
flashing eyes. Above the ordinary
height of woman, she was finely
formed, her waist slender, her shoul-
ders beautifully modelled. She wore
a peculiar dress, and, from that cause
alone, many eyes were on her. A
well-fitting habit of bright grass-green,
ornamented on the corsage with but-
tons of silver-gilt ; similar buttons
were also on the sleeves at *he wrist,
but they were partially hidden by her
white gauntlets. A cap, grass-green,
rested on the upper part of her fore-
head, a green-and-gold feather on its
left side, which glittered as the sun's
rays played upon it It was a style
of dress which had not yet been seen
at Prior's Ash, and was regarded with
some doubt. But, as you are aware,
it is not a dress in itself which is con-
demned or extolled : it depends upon
who it is that wears it : and, as the
young lady, wearing this, was just
now the fashion at Prior's Ash, the
feather and habit were taken into fa-
vor forthwith. She could have worn
none more adapted to her peculiar
style of beauty.
Bending to his very saddle's bow,
as he talked to her, — for, though she
was tall, he was taller still, — was a
gentleman of courtly mien. In his
line upright figure, his fair complexion
and wavy hair, his good features and
dark blue eyes, might be traced a
strong resemblance to Sir George Go-
dolphin. But the lips had a more
ready smile upon them than Sir
George's had ever worn, for his had
always been somewhat of the sternest;
the blue eyes twinkled with a gayer
and more suspicious light, when ga-
zing into other eyes, than could ever
have been charged upon Sir George :
but the bright complexion had been
Sir George's once : imparting to his
face, as it now did to his son's, a deli-
cate beauty, almost as that of woman.
" Graceless George," old Sir George
was fond of calling him ; but it was
an appellation given in love, in pride,
in admiration. He bent to his saddle-
bow, and his gay blue eyes flashed
with unmistakable admiration into
those black ones as he talked to the
lady : and the black ones most cer-
tainly flashed the admiration back
again. Dangerous eyes, were those
of Charlotte Pain's ! And not alto-
gether lovable ones.
" Do you always keep your prom-
ises like you kept that one yester-
day ?" she was asking him.
" I did not make a promise yester-
day, — that I remember. Had I made
one to you, I should have kept it."
"Fickle and faithless !" she cried.
" Men's promises are lasting as words
traced upon the sea-sicle sand. When
you met me yesterday in the carriage
with Mrs. Yerrall, and she asked you
to take compassion on two forlorn
dames and come in to Ashlydyat in
the evening, and dissipate our ennui,
what was your answer ?"
" That I would, if it were possible."
" Was nothing more explicit im-
George Godolphin laughed. Per-
haps his conscience told him that he
had implied more, in a certain pres-
sure he remembered giving to that
fair hand, which was resting now,
THE SITADOW OF ASHLYDYAT,
gauntleted, upon her reins. Gay
George had meant to dissipate Ashly-
dyat's ennui, if nothing more tempt-
ing offered. But something more
tempting did offer : and he had spent
the evening in the company of one
who was more to him than was Char-
"An unavoidable engagement arose,
Miss Pain. Otherwise you may rely
upon it I should have been at Ashly-
" Unavoidable !" she replied, her
eyes gleaming with something very
like anger into those which smiled on
her. " I know what your engage-
ment was. You were at Lady Go-
" Right. Commanded to it by my
" Solicited, if not absolutely com-
manded," he continued. "And a wish
from Sir George now bears its weight :
we may not have him very long with
A smile of mockery, pretty and fas-
cinating to look upon, played upon
her rich red lips. " It is edifying to
hear these filial sentiments expressed
by Mr. George Godophin ! Take you
care, sir, to act up to them."
" Do you think I need the injunc-
tion ? How shall I make my peace
with you ?"
" By coming to Ashlydyat some
other evening while the present moon
lasts. I mean, while it illumines the
early part of the evening."
She dropped her voice to a low
key, and her tone had changed to se-
riousness. George Godolphin looked
at her in surpi'ise.
"What is the superstition?" she
continued to whisper, " that attaches
to Ashlydyat ?"
" Why do you ask me this ?" he
" Because, yesterday evening, when
I was sitting on that seat underneath
the ash-trees, watching the road from
Lady Godolphin's Folly, — well, watch-
ing for you, if you like it better : but
I can assure you there is nothing in
the avowal that need excite your
vanity, as I see it is doing. When a
gentleman makes a promise, I expect
him to keep it ; and, looking upon
your coming as a matter of course, I
did watch for you ; as I might watch
for one of Mrs. Verrall's servants, bad
I sent him on an errand and expected
" Thank you," laughed George Go-
dolphin. " But suffer my vanity to
rest in abeyance for a while, will you,
and go on with what you were saying ?"
" Are you a convert to the super-
stition ?" she inquired, disregarding
" N — o," replied George Godol-
phin. But his voice sounded strangely
indecisive. " Pray continue, Char-
It was the first time he had ever
called her by her Christian name : and
though she saw that it was but done
in the unconscious excitement of the
moment, her cheeks flushed with a
" Did you ever see the shadow ?"
He bowed his head.
" What form does it take ?"
George Godolphin did not answer.
He appeared lost in thought, as he
scored his horse's neck with his hunt-
" The form of a bier on which rests
something covered with a pall, that
may be supposed to be a coffin ; with
a mourner at the head and at the
foot ?" she wdiispered.
He bowed his head again : very
" Then I saw it last night. I did
indeed. I was sitting underneath the
ash-trees, and I saw a strange shadow
in the moonlight that I had never seen
before — "
" Where ?" he interrupted.
' " In that wild-looking part of the
grounds as you look across from the
ash-trees. Just in front of the arch-
way, where the ground is bare. It
was there. Mr. Verrall says he won-
ders Sir George does not have those
gorse-bushes cleared away, and the
ground converted into civilized land,
like the rest."
THE SHADOW OF ASHLYDYAT.
" It has been done, but the bushes
" Well, I was sitting there, and I
saw this unusual shadow. It arrested
ray eye at once. Where did it come
from ? I wondered : what cast it ? I
never thought of the Ashlydyat su-
perstition ; never for a moment. I
only thought what a strange appear-
ance the shadow wore. I thought of
a lying-in-state ; I thought of a state-
funeral, where the coffin rests on a
bier, and a mourner sits at the head
and a mourner at the foot. Shall I
tell you," she suddenly broke off, "what
the scene altogether looked like ?"
" Like a graveyard. They may
call it the Dark Plain ! The shadow
might be taken for a huge tomb, with
two images weeping over it, and the
bushes, around, assumed the form of
lesser ones. Some, square ; some,
Long ; some, high ; some, low ; but
all looking not unlike graves in the
" Moonlight shadows are apt to
bear fanciful forms to a vivid imagina-
tion, Miss Pain," he lightly said.
" Have not others indulged the
same fancy before me ? I remember
to have heard so."
" As they have said. They never
took the form to my sight," he ob-
served, with a half-smile of ridicule.
"When I know bushes to be bushes,
I cannot, by any stretch of imagina-
tion, magnify them into graves. You
must have had this Ashlydyat non-
sense in your head."
" I have assured you that I had not.
It was only after I had been regard-
ing it for some time, — and the longer
I looked the plainer the shadow seem-
ed to grow, — that I thought of the
Ashlydyat tale. All in an instant the
truth flashed upon me, — that it must
be the apparition — "
" The what, Miss Pain ?"
" Does the word offend you ? It is
a foolish one. The shadow, then. I
remembered that the shadow, so
dreaded by the Godolphins, did take
the form of a bier with mourners
weeping at it — "
"Was said to take it," he inter-
posed, in a tone of quiet reproof:
"that would, be the better phrase.
And, in speaking of the shadow being
dreaded by the Godolphins, you al-
lude, I presume, to the Godolphins of
the past ages. I know of none in the
present who dread it : save super-,
"How touchy you are upon the
point !" she laughed. " Do you know,
George Godolphin, that that very
touchiness betrays the fact that you,
for one, are not exempt from the
dread. "And," she added, changing
her tone again to one of serious sym-
pathy, " did not the dread help to kill
Mrs. Godolphin ?"
" No," he gravely answered. " If
you give ear to all the stories that
the old wives of the neighborhood
love to indulge in, you will collect a
valuable stock of fable-lore."
" Let it pass. If I repeated the