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SB Ebb






Mr. and Mrs. Earl

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Page 13









(Successors to Newbery & Harris,)


Kntlcr <5V Tanner,

The Sel-wood Printing Works t

Promt, and London.

{The rights of Translation and of Reproduction are reserved.^








THE TivEiiLY GHOST ........ 27


ADVENTURE is A CAYS ,,*. 125




" TOM, do you know what ' relics' are?"
asked little Edith Yorke of her brother, a
bright looking boy of about ten years old, to
whom she looked tip as a model of clever-
ness since he had begun Latin. Torn liked
her to go to him for information ; for it
must be owned he had rather a high opinion
of his own knowledge, the actual amount of
which, as far as Eaglish was concerned, had
better, perhaps, not be inquired into, for ho
was not a lad given to much reading.

"Helics relics," said he; "let me see.
Oh, I know. Helics are dead people's bones,
and widows."

" Oh, Tom, are you quite sure ?"


" Yes, quite sure ; it just means that, and
nothing else."

Edith shook her head in a disbelieving
manner, which rather irritated Tom, who
was not accustomed to have his word
doubted in this quarter at all events.

" I tell you, Edith, I know I'm right, for
I heard papa say Napoleon's relics were,
brought from St. Helena to Paris, to be
buried there, that meant his bones, of
course. And I read in church last Sunday,
on one of the monuments in the chancel,
that Dame Dorothy Burton, relic of Lionel
Burton, lies there. Now, do you believe

" Yes," said Edith ; " but I don't under-
stand, for grandmamma can't keep dead
bones and widows in her cabinet. Yet she
said to-day, when I asked her what she had
inside those drawers, ' Nothing you would
care to see, my dear. I have only old
relics there/ and then she gave a deep

Tom looked puzzled in his turn ; but at


length acknowledged there must be some
other meaning to the word, and that grand-
mamma must be asked to explain.

A few words to tell who grandmamma
was, where she lived, and how Tom and
Edith came to be staying with her.

The old lady was one of the most amiable
and attractive persons of her age. No one
would have supposed she had arrived at
nearly eighty : so brisk were her move-
ments, and so full of interest was she in all
that went on around her. She had a very
sweet temper, and little things did not put
her out, or tease her, as they often do old
people. Then she had a great deal of fan in
her, and could enjoy a good laugh as much
as ever. So it is not surprising that Tom
and Edith liked very much paying her a
long visit, as they were doing now during
the absence of their parents on the Conti-
nent. Their own house was in a busy town,
where their father was a lawyer, in large
practice ; but his health had obliged him to
go to some German baths. So Tom and


Edith were gladly despatched to grand-
mamma's pretty house in Kent, with many
injunctions to give as little trouble as
possible, and to try and be good little com-
panions for grandmamma.

Bray field, where she lived, was a village,
and a very quiet, retired place. The chil-
dren could scarcely get into any danger
there, so they were allowed to run about
the fields by themselves within certain
bounds. Sometimes they drove with their
grandmamma in her low four-wheeled
carriage. In short, they were happy as the
day was long, and enjoyed their country
freedom as, perhaps, only town children
could have done.

Mrs. Spencer's was an old-fashioned, red
brick house, with dark oak-panelled rooms,
that would have been gloomy had they not
chiefly faced the south and west, and so
caught all the sunshine. Her favourite
sitting-room was a rather small one, opening
out of a large drawing- room. The furniture
hero was very old-fashioned, and the sofa


and chairs were rather too high to be com-
fortable for little folks ; but as there were
some large square footstools, on which Tom
and Edith always perched themselves, they
did not care whether the other seats were
high or low. In this room, at one side,
stood a very handsome old ebony cabinet,
inlaid with brass. It had folding doors,
within which were drawers. Grandmamma
kept the key in her pocket, and was rarely
seen to open it. Everything else in her
house the children had been allowed to in-
spect, but this remained always shut ; which
fact had been the cause of Edith's question
as to its contents.

Tom's solution of the meaning of the
word relic had tended to raise Edith's
curiosity as to the contents of tho cabinet
drawers. At length she asked grandmamma
if she would mind letting her see her
"relics" at the same time telling her how
mystified she was about the word.

" You would not care to see my relics, my
dear," said she, " though they are neither


widows nor old bones. They are little
things put by in my youth, and hoarded up
all these long years, because they each and
all have some anecdote or tale connected
with them, which was the cause of my
putting them by. To me they are full of
interest, and will bo whilst life and memory
are spared me; but to you my little trea-
sures would seem meaningless, silly things."

"But, grandmamma, you say each relic
has some anecdote or tale belonging to it,"
said Edith, whose thirst for stories was
unsatiable. " I don't think Tom or I should
like anything so much as to see some of
your relics, and to hear you tell the tale
about them."

The old lady smiled; then rising, she
went to the cabinet, and taking a key from
her pocket she unlocked a drawer; but
before it was opened, Edith begged to be
allowed to fetch Tom, without whom her
pleasure was never complete.

He was not far off, and was as pleased as
herself with the prospect of any kind of


story from grandmamma, who was gifted
with peculiar powers in this respect.

It was with feelings almost of awe that
they stood by and watched her slowly open
the bottom drawer ; it displayed only a few
little paper parcels, some cotton wool, and a
bundle of letters and papers, and a momen-
tary feeling of disappointment succeeded to
the expectation that had been excited in
their minds, owing to their hazy ideas about
the w r ord relic.

The parcels were all dated; and grand-
mamma, as she took up first one, then
another, seemed puzzled which to select.
At last she paused at one which was rather
larger than the rest. And a smile broke out
on her cheery face, as she said,

" Some of my little packets bring sad
thoughts, some merry ones ; and this re-
minds me of something that will amuse you,
I think."

" What is in the parcel, grandmamma ?"

" I will not open it till I have told you
my little story, " she replied; "for then you


"will like to see its contents, which at present
would have no interest for you."

Mrs. Spencer shut up the drawer, and
returned to her arm chair. The little
parcel she placed on the table beside her;
and the children sat down on the square
footstools at her feet. Then she began :

"When I was about ten years old, my dear
father (who was your great grandfather,
you know) died very suddenly, leaving my
mother with several children. My brothers
were sent to school, and my sisters had a
governess ; but it happened that I was
rather a delicate child, and the part of the
country to which we removed, because my
mother had a house there, was somewhat
damp, and did not altogether agree with
me. Under these circumstances, my mother
thankfully accepted the offer made her by a
great friend of hers, a Mrs. Morton, to take
me into her family, to be educated with
her own children. She had a governess,
and a large house and garden, so the
arrangement was a very good one.


" But it was a great trial to me to have to
leave my own dear home to go amongst
strangers, for they were strangers to me,
although Mrs. Morton and my mother were
such friends, the former having lived in
India till lately, because her husband had
had an appointment out there as chaplain.
However, I went. Mr. Morton himself
fetched me, and very kind he was all the
long journey from Essex to Cotmore, in
Derbyshire, where he lived. I had got a
little over the terrible parting from my own
people by the time we arrived at Cotmore
Rectory, and was able to look into Mrs.
Morton's kind, motherly face, as it beamed
forth a welcome to her friend's child, and I
thought that I might perhaps be happy
there In time. The children were younger,
rather, than I was, Elsie, the eldest girl,
being only nine, and I was nearly ten years
of age. She and I were to share the same
bedroom, a pleasant, airy apartment, looking
out on a large kitchen garden. 1 thought
everything seemed very nice when Mrs.


Morton led me upstairs to take off my
things. There were two little beds, with
white muslin curtains, a pretty toilet-table,
a book-case, filled with children's books ; in
fact, everything to make it pleasant and
cheerful. My bed was just opposite a large,
cheerful window. Elise's was on the other
side of the room.

" I could not see her that evening, for she
had a cold, and sore throat, and Mrs. Morton
thought it safer for her to be kept apart for
a day or two in a little room near the
nursery. Consequently I was to sleep alone
till she was well, unless indeed I would like
to have a servant with me. Mrs. Morton
made mo the offer, but I rejected it, for I
preferred solitude to a total stranger. My
shyness got the better of my timidity, and,
moreover, I was perhaps ashamed to confess
I did not like being alone, when I found
that little Clara, who was only seven, always
slept by herself in a room near her mother's.
So I was put to bed after tea, and I believe
I soon fell asleep. Why I awoke again in a


few hours I do not know ; but wake I did
most completely, and very odd and un-
comfortable it seemed to be lying there in a
strange place. Every one was in bed, and
the house perfectly quiet.

" It was a moonlight night, for I could see
the reflection of a tree on the white window
blind, and I lay watching the gentle move-
ments of the leaves as they waved to and
fro. At last I was seized with a desire to
draw up the blind and let in more light.

"So I got out of bed, and stood for a
minute or two looking at the garden below s
as it lay bathed in the light of the moon.
I was brave enough up to that moment,
and felt as if I should like to stay at the
window till morning.

" Suddenly I heard a sound just below
the window as of a step, then a rustling
noise, and the tree seemed to shake quite
differently to the gentle way it had done
before. My heart beat furiously, and I made
one bound back into bed, as to a place of
refuge from something dreadful.


"Every robber story I had ever heard of
rushed into my poor little mind. I kept
my head under the clothes for a few
minutes, but curiosity made me uncover
my ears at length, though I dared not
look out of my nest. There was a con-
tinued rustling and shaking, and then camo
a distinct tap on the window, and its frame
was shaken as though some one was trying
to open it. In an agony of fear I looked
out at last, and saw what would have ap-
palled stouter nerves than those of a little
girl not ten years old. There, looking in
through one of the panes of glass, was
the most hideous, dreadful-looking face it
is possible to imagine. Its great eyes were
fixed on me, and when in my terror I
screamed aloud, it only grinned horribly,
and taking hold of the window pane shook
it violently. I dared not leave my bed-
room, house, people, all were new and
strange to me. There seemed a certain
amount of protection from the sheets and
blankets, which I should lose if I sprang


out on the floor. I could only utter scream
after scream, as the creature grinned and
rattled, rattled and grinned.

"Help arrived pretty quickly, though it
seemed ages to me. Nurse came running
in ; then Mrs. Morton, who had scrambled
into her dressing-gown anyhow.

"But the instant the handle of the door
was touched, the face had disappeared from
the window, and not a sound was to be
heard outside.

'I explained why I was terrified, and,
shaking in every limb, I described the face ;
but, to my mortification, I saw they thought
it was a dream. They said I had been
over tired with my journey, that I was not
strong, and that I had had a nightmare.
In vain I protested I was well and wide
awake. Mrs. Morton gently soothed and
tucked me up ; nurse promised to sleep
in my room the rest of the night, and I
had to say I would try and think no more
of what they assured me was but a fancy.
At last Mrs. Morton left the room, nurse


went to the window to draw down tho
blind, and then came such an exclamation
from her as brought her mistress running
back to inquire what was the matter.

"'The poor child is right, ma'am,' she
exclaimed; 'it was no fancy; look there/
and she pointed to the tree.

"Yes, it was all explained. There, 011
a bough, sat a great monkey which Mrs.
Morton had brought from India, and which
had broken its chain and escaped from its
house at the end of a long pole in the stable
yard. The creature had doubtless been in
the tree when I drew up the blind, and
attracted by curiosity, of which no monkey
ever had a larger share, it had leaped on
to the window-sill, and tried to open tho
casement, as it had often done that of the
kitchen window. It was a great comfort
to me to be believed at last, and terrified
as I had been by him, I almost forgave
Jacko, as he was called, in my delight at
finding he was a monkey and not a robber."

" Grandmamma, that is a first-rate story ! "


exclaimed Tom' and Edith in a breath.
" Can you tell us anything more about
Jacko ? Did you get to like him ? "

"He was at first the terror, and after-
wards the delight of my life," replied Mrs.
Spencer. " It was some time before I could
look at him without a shudder, or see his
ugly face as any other than that of a
' monster, come to rob and murder, as I
firmly believed he was that night; after a
time, however, his droll ways amused me so
much that I was never tired of watching
them. But he was a terribly busy, mis-
chievous fellow, and a sad thief. Anything
he could lay hold of, if he happened to
get loose, he would hide away in his house.
Once he stole a puppy of three days old,
and carried it up to his domain ; and when
the groom went to search for it, Jacko
nearly stifled the poor little animal by
sitting on it in order to hide it. Another
day he seized the cat, and tucking her under
his arm, ran with her up his pole ; but ho
got the worst of it then, for she struggled,


and yelled, and scratched, so that he tried
to let her go when halfway up. But puss
was not disposed to fall from such a height,
and clung on hard to him, digging her
claws into his flesh without mercy. She
made him cany her to the top, and when
arrived ther( she flew into his house, which
he consequently dared not enter himself.
Jacko had the tables completely turned
upon him. Puss kept possession for a
considerable time. If he so much as put
his nose inside the door, she spit and
slapped it with her paw. At length Jacko
came down, and left her mistress of the
mansion ; upon which she came out, sprang
upon the roof of the stable, and took her
departure. Jacko never ventured to touch
her again from that day, but alw?.ys looked
another way if she came near, pretending
not to see her : he evidently felt that sho
had conquered him. Poor Jacko's end was
a sad one. He was very fond of climbing
ap to the top of the chimneys, and sitting
on the edge, when there was no smoke to


inconvenience him. Sometimes, when in
this lofty position, he would amuse himself
by dropping down little bits of stone and
mortar, which used to startle the inmates
in the room below. Once, one of the
groom's boots came thundering down into
the schoolroom, frightening us terribly. At
length, one unlucky morning in summer,
poor Jacko overbalanced himself, and fell
down the wide dining-room chimney, alight-
ing with force upon the grate. His back
was broken, and he died almost directly,
Everybody grieved over his loss, and no
one more than myself, although he had
commenced our friendship by giving me
such a fright. I begged for his collar, and
placed it amongst my greatest treasures,
and here it is."

So saying, grannie unfolded the paper,
and produced a brass collar, with " JacJco "
engraved on it.

" There," she said, " there is my relic
of poor Jacko !"

And the said relic was examined and


handled by Tom and Edith with as much
interest as if it had been a bracelet
discovered in the tomb of an Egyptian


THE next day, at the children's request,
Mrs. Spencer paid another visit to the
cabinet, and again extracted a packet from
the drawer, which as before she laid upon
the table, to be examined when her tale
about it was finished. It had very much
the appearance of a small picture frame,
they thought ; but as it was wrapped in
paper this was only conjecture.

" I told you a sort of robber story yester-
day," she said, "though the alarm in that
case ended in smoke, as it is called. Sup-
pose to-day I tell you a ghost adventure,
which really happened in the village where
I lived when I was a child, though like
other ghost stories, it was at last all ex-
plained in a most unromantic and simple

"Ob, grandmamma, do begin," exclaimed
Tom ; " we are quite ready "


" The house where my mother lived af ter
she became a widow was very prettily
situated," said Mrs Spencer. " It was
surrounded with plantations and fields, and
was not far from the village church, whose
old grey tower, covered with ivy, formed
a pleasant object in tho view from the
windows 011 the west side. Our nearest
neighbour was the clergyman of the parish.
A very old vicar was there when she first
went, but he died soon after, and the living
was given to Mr. Stormont, a young man
who bore a high character as a clergyman.
One of the first things he did was to begin
and improve the state of the churchyard,
which was a very large one, with a fine
row of elm trees in. it. A path ran under
these elms from one side of the churchyard
to the other, and there was a stile at each
end, for it was a thoroughfare leading from
a hamlet, at a little distance, to the
village. The churchyard had long been in
a most neglected condition. Many of the
tombstones were broken or sunk low in the


ground, nettles and weeds of all sorts
flourished over the graves, and horses and
cows were unhesitatingly turned in to graze
at the will of their owners. This had gone
on for many years, and probably would
have continued for many more, had a less
active, energetic man been appointed as
vicar. But Mr. Stormont had a keen eye
for neatness and order; moreover, he pos-
sessed a great reverence for sacred places ;
and he had not been at Tiverly a week
before he resolved that a reformation should
take place in the churchyard. The cattle
were to be turned out, the nettles cut down,
and the tombstones put in order. The
villagers stared and wondered, and thought
he might have left things as they were;
but as he undertook to do it at his own
expense, no objections were raised, except
by those who had been in the habit of
turning in their cattle there. They thought
it hard to lose their privilege, and Bob
Grssty, the sexton, whose cow had always
grazed in peace, was highly indignant with


what he called the new vicar's interference.
It was true, that as Mr. Stormont said,
he could turn it out on the common ; but
then the grass was short and poor there,
he said, and worth nothing compared to
the fine rich pasturage in the churchyard.
All his grumbling, however, was of no
avail. Mr. Stormont was firm, and Bob,
having resisted as long as possible, at last,
with a very bad grace, turned his cow on
to the common, where, he declared, she
would grow a poor, lean, half-starved crea-
ture, thanks to the parson.

" The churchyard soon began to assume a
different appearance. Nettles vanished, the
tombstones were put in their proper posi-
tions, and the wall repaired in several places
where it was tumbling down. Tom Gresty's
cottage was close to the churchyard ; and
his wife was not well pleased at being re-
quested not to hang out her linen in it to
dry any longer. * She could not see what
harm it did to the dead folks,' she said,
'any more than that they could be hurt by


the poor cow grazing on the grass that
grew on their graves. 1 Mr. Stormont
tried to show .her that a feeling of rever-
ence and respect for the dead ought to
prevent their burial place being treated
as a common field, or drying ground, but it
was all in vain ; so she and her husband
were left to grumble on together at the
upsetting of their former arrangements.
Bob dared not show his annoyance too
plainly, for he was afraid he might lose
his post as sexton; though he could not
hide that he had no very friendly feeling
towards the new vicar, and once or twice
muttered something about l out-doing him
yet.' However, after a while the affair be-
gan to be forgotten. Bob Gresty fetched
home his cow of an evening from the com-
mon to be milked, and to spend her night
in the little cowshed near his cottage, with-
out grumbling to every neighbour that he
chanced to meet on the way. With all their
dislike to changes of any sort, the villagers
had to acknowledge that the churchyard


looked much tidier and more decent than
before, and would not have liked to see it
return to its former unsightly condition.

" But suddenly a new subject arose to dis-
turb the minds of the worthy people of
Tiverly. One which made the old men and
women shake their heads mysteriously, and
the young ones to be shy of being out after
dark, and caused the very hair of the chil-
dren to stand on end. It was whispered by
somebody, and the whisper passed rapidly
from one to another, that a ghost had been
seen one night flitting about the churchyard,
a real, true, undoubted ghost, without any
particular shape, of a white colour, and
cloudy-looking. It had first appeared to a
woman who had been nursing a sick sister
in the hamlet, and who had to cross the
churchyard, at three o'clock in the morning,
on her way home to the village. She de-
scribed it as being unlike anything she
had ever seen ; and said that although it
was not very near her, being at the other
end of the churchyard, yet she had dis-


Page 33.


tinctly remarked it move slowly about the
grave of one Timothy Skeggs, a man of
noted bad character, who had died some
years before. Farther particulars she could
not give ; for she said that after one glance
she took to her heels and ran till she reached
her own door.

" A boy, who had been sent in the middle
of the night to fetch the doctor, had, in spite
of the woman's story, ventured across the
churchyard, as being a short cut. But
sorely he repented, he said, having done
so ; for there was the ghost just about the
very place where Jenny Shaw had seen it,
only it appeared to bo coming towards him,
he thought ; and he had to fly like the wind
lest it should catch him before he could get
over the stile on to the common. * He
would rather/ he declared, 'have gone ten
miles round than have seen what he saw,

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