Изображения страниц

“Fourteen days after," runs the story, one Graeme, a fuller who lived about six miles from Lumley, had been engaged till past midnight in his mill; and on coming down-stairs to go home, in the middle of the ground floor he saw a woman, with dishevelled hair, covered with blood, and having five large wounds on her head. Graeme, on recovering a little from his first terror, demanded what the spectre wanted ; “I," said the apparition, “ am the spirit of Anne Walker," and then proceeded to tell Graeme the particulars which have already been related as to her removal from her aunt's abode. “When I was sent away with Mark Sharp,” it proceeded, “he slew me on such a moor,” naming one that Graeme knew,“ with a collier's pick, threw my body into a coal pit, and bid the pick under the bank; and his shoes and stockings, which were covered with blood, he left in a stream.” The apparition proceeded to tell Graeme that he must give information of this to the nearest Justice of the Peace, and that till this was done he must look to be continually haunted.

Graeme went home very sad ; he dared not bring such a charge against a man of so unimpeachable a character as Walker, and yet he as little dared to incur the anger of the spirit that had appeared to him. So, as all weak minds will do, he went on procrastinating, only he took care to leave his mill early, and while in it never to be alone. Notwithstanding this caution on his part, one night, just as it began to be dark, the apparition met him again, in a more terrible shape, and with every circumstance of indignation. Yet he did not even then

fulfil its injunction, till, on St. Thomas's Eve, as he was walking in his garden, just after sunset, it threatened him so effectually that in the morning he went to a magistrate, and revealed the whole thing.

The place was examined, the body and the pickaxe found, and a warrant was granted against Walker and Sharp. They were, however, admitted to bail, but in August, 1681, their trial came on before Judge Davenport, at Durham. Meanwhile the whole circumstances were known all over the north of England, and the greatest interest was excited by the case. Against Sharp the fact was strong that his shoes and stockings, covered with blood, were found in the place where the murder had been committed ; but against Walker, except the accounts received from the ghost, there seemed not a shadow of evidence. Nevertheless, the judge summed up strongly against the prisoners, the jury found them guilty, and the judge pronounced sentence upon them that night, a thing which was unknown in Durham, either before or after. The prisoners were executed, and both died professing their innocence to the last. Judge Davenport was much agitated during the trial, and it was believed,” says the historian, “ that the spirit had also appeared to him, as if to supply in his mind the want of legal evidence.”



WHETHER Lord Orford's Norfolk residence has the general reputation of being haunted, or whether the occasion of the much-talked-of spectral illusion to Dr. Augustus Jessop is the only known instance of an apparition having appeared there, we are not in a position to state. The remarkable story, as communicated by Dr. Jessop, the well-known antiquary, to the Atheneum of January 1880, is as follows.

On the 10th of October 1879, Dr. Jessop drove to Lord Orford's from Norwich. It was his intention to spend some time at the Hall in examining and making extracts from various scarce works, which he had long been seeking for, and which he now learnt were in Lord Orford's library.

He arrived at Mannington at four in the afternoon, and, after some agreeable conversation, dressed for dinner. Dinner took place at seven, and was partaken of by six persons, including Dr. Jessop and his host. The conversation is declared to have been of a pleasant character, to have been chiefly concerned with artistic questions, and the experiences of men of the world, and to have never trenched upon supernatural subjects. After dinner cards were introduced, and at half-past ten, two of the guests having to leave, the party broke up. Dr. Jessop now desired to be permitted to sit up for some hours, in order to make extracts from the works already referred

to. Lord Orford wished to leave a valet with his guest, but the doctor deeming that this might embarrass him, and cause him to go to bed earlier than he wished, requested to be left to his own devices. This was agreed to, the servants were dismissed, and the host and his other guests retired to their rooms, so that by eleven o'clock Dr. Jessop was the only person down-stairs.

The apartment in which he was preparing to set to work for a few hours is a large one, with a huge fireplace and a great old-fashioned chimney, and is furnished with every luxury. The library, whence Dr. Jessop had to bring such volumes as he needed, opens into this room, and in order to obtain the works he wanted he had not only to go into it, but when there to mount a chair to get down the books he required. In his very circumstantial account of the affair, the antiquary relates that he had altogether six small volumes, which he took down from their shelves and placed in a little pile on the table, at his right hand. In a little while he was busily at work, sometimes reading, sometimes writing, and thoroughly absorbed in his occupation. As he finished with a book he placed it in front of him, and then proceeded with the next, and so on until he had only one volume of his little pile of tomes left to deal with. The antiquary being, as he states, of a chilly temperament, sat himself at a corner of the table with the fire at his left. Occasionally he rose, knocked the fire together, and stood up to warm his feet. In this manner he went on until nearly one o'clock, when he appears to have congratulated himself upon the rapid progress he had made with his task, and that after all he should get to bed by two. He got up, and wound up his watch, opened a bottle of seltzer-water, and then, reseating himself at the table, upon which were four silver candlesticks containing lighted candles, he set to work upon the last little book of the heap. What now happened must be told in Dr. Jessop's own words :

"I had been engaged upon it about half an hour,” said he, referring to the little volume," and was just beginning to think that my work was drawing to a close, when, as I was actually writing, I saw a large white hand within a foot of my elbow. Turning my head, there sat a figure of a somewhat large man, with his back to the fire, bending slightly over the table, and apparently examining the pile of books that I had been at work upon. The man's face was turned away from me, but I saw his closely-cut reddish-brown hair, his ear, and shaved cheek, the eye-brow, the corner of the right eye, the side of the forehead, and the large high cheek-bone. He was dressed in what I can only describe as a kind of ecclesiastical habit of thick-corded silk, or some such material, close up to the throat, and a narrow rim or edging, of about an inch broad, of satin or velvet, serving as a stand-up collar, and fitting close to the chin. The right hand, which had first attracted my attention, was clasping, without any great pressure, the left hand ; both hands were in perfect repose, and the large blue veins of the right hand were conspicuous. I remember thinking that the hand was like the hand of Velasquez's magnificent 'Dead Knight,' in the National

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »