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THE Rev. Dr. Bretton, towards the close of his career appointed rector of Ludgate, early in life held a living in Hereford. He had married a daughter of Dr. Santer, a lady well known for her piety and virtue, but who died and left an infant to her husband's care. The child was entrusted to the charge of an old servant of Mrs. Bretton, who had since married, and who nursed it in her own cottage, near the doctor's residence. The story, which has often been related in various collections and in different ways, according to the original account, states that one day when the woman was nursing the infant, the door of her cottage was opened, and a lady entered so exactly resembling the late Mrs. Bretton in dress and appearance, that she exclaimed, “ If my mistress were not dead, I should think you were she !” Whereupon, the apparition told her she was so, and requested her to go with her, as she had business of importance to communicate. Alice objected, being very much frightened, and entreated her to address herself rather to Dr. Bretton; but Mrs. B. answered, that she had endeavoured to do so, and had been several times in his room for that purpose, but he was still asleep, and she had no power to do more towards awakening him than once uncover his feet. Alice then pleaded that she had nobody to leave with her child; but Mrs. B. promising that the child should sleep till her return, she at length obeyed the summons, and having accompanied the apparition into a large field, the latter bade her observe how much she measured off with her feet, and having taken a considerable compass, she made her go and tell her brother that all that portion had been wrongfully taken from the poor by their father, and that he must restore it to them, adding, that she was the more concerned about it, since her name had been used in the transaction. Alice then asking how she should satisfy the gentleman of the truth of her mission, Mrs. B. mentioned to her some circumstances known only to herself and this brother; she then entered into much discourse with the woman, and gave her a great deal of good advice, till, hearing the sound of horse-bells, she said, “ Alice, I must be seen by none but yourself," and then disappeared.
When the apparition had gone away the servant proceeded to the residence of her master, and acquainted him with what had occurred. Dr. Bretton admitted that he had actually heard someone walking about in his room in a way that he could not account for, as no one was visible. He then mentioned the matter to his brother, who laughed heartily at it, until Alice communicated to him the secret which she was commissioned to reveal to him: upon hearing it he changed his tone, and declared himself ready to make the restitution required. Dr. Bretton, it may be remarked, never made any secret of the affair, but discussed it freely with many persons.
An account of a haunted neighbourhood, as described in J. Sullivan's Cumberland and Westmoreland, illustrates either the long term of years apparitions are doomed to haunt the scenes of their former life, or the tenacity of tradition. Sullivan, referring to other previous cases of supernatural troubles it had been his lot to record, remarks, that if some incredulous individuals may consider the evidence already proffered unsatisfactory, they should investigate that of the Henhow spectre, “the truth of which they may ascertain by a little inquiry." This particular case, he remarks, happened about twenty-three years ago, and the man to whom the spectre appeared lived in Martindale, at a cottage called “Henhow.” His wife had heard some unaccountable noises in or around the house, and informed her husband, but no further notice was taken. One morning he had to go to his work at an early hour, and, having several miles to walk, he started soon after midnight. He had not got above two hundred yards from the house, when the dog by which he was accompanied gave signs of alarm. He looked round –at the other side of the wall that bounded the road, appeared a woman, keeping pace with him, and carrying a child in her arms. There was no means of escape; he spoke to the figure, and asked her what “was troubling her.” Then she told him her story. She had once lived at Henhow, and had been seduced. Her seducer, to cloak his guilt and her frailty, met her by appointment at a certain market town, and gave her a medicine, the purpose of which is obvious. It proved too potent, and killed both mother and child. Her doom was to wander thus for a hundred years, forty of which were already expired. On his return home at night, the man told what he had seen and heard, and when the extraordinary story spread through the dale, the “old wives” were enabled to recall some almost forgotten incidents precisely identical with those related by the apparition. The seducer was known to be a clergyman.“ The occurrence is believed to have made a lasting impression on the old man," says Sullivan, “who still lives, and was until very lately a shepherd on the fells. There can be no moral doubt that he both saw and spoke with the apparition ; but what share his imagination had therein, or how it had been excited, are mysteries, and so they are likely to remain."
FORMERLY the homes of nearly every Scottish, and of many English, families of importance were haunted by domestic spirits known as “Brownies.” Hilton Castle, once one of the most magnificent dwellings in the north of England, but now hastening to decay, among other weird inhabitants was a long while, perchance still is, frequented by a Brownie, popularly known as the “ Cauld Lad of Hilton." As a rule, these domestic spectres appear to have taken up their abode in any suitable dwelling, without the usual precedent of a crime, as is. the case with a ghost or apparition of the ordinary type, and to have generally employed themselves for the benefit of the household. The antiquary Surtees, in bis History of Durham, assumes the being that haunted Hilton Castle to have been one of these somewhat commonplace spirits, and although there are other more eerie stories of the Cold Lad, it will be as well to give the historian's account first.
The Cauld Lad, he says, was seldom seen, but was. heard nightly by the servants, who slept in the great hall. If the kitchen were left in perfect order, they heard him amusing himself by breaking plates and dishes, hurling the pewter in all directions, and throwing everything into confusion. If, on the contrary, the apartment had been left in disarray, a practice which the servants found it most prudent to adopt, the indefatigable goblin arranged everything with the greatest precision. This poor spirit, whose pranks were never of a dangerous or hurtful character, was at length banished from his haunts by the usual and universally known expedient of presenting him with a suit of clothes. A green cloak and hood were laid before the kitchen fire, and the domestics sat up watching at a prudent distance. At twelve o'clock the sprite glided gently in, stood by the glowing embers, and surveyed the garments provided for him very attentively, tried them