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the passage, was only on the latch ; and the house was, of course, closed for the night. She had read somewhat more than half an hour, when she perceived a noise issuing from this lower apartment, which sounded very much like the sawing of wood ; presently, other such noises as usually proceed from a carpenter's workshop were added, till, by-and-bye, there was a regular concert of knocking and hammering, and sawing and planing, &c.; the whole sounding like half a dozen busy men in full employment. Being a woman of considerable courage, Mrs. Hunn resolved, if possible, to penetrate the mystery; so, taking off her shoes, that her approach might not be heard, with her candle in her hand, she very softly opened her door and descended the stairs, the noise continuing as loud as ever, and evidently proceeding from the workshop, till she opened the door, when instantly all was silent—all was still—not a mouse was stirring; and the tools and the wood, and everything else, lay as they had been left by the workmen when they went away. Having examined every part of the place, and satisfied herself that there was nobody there, and that nobody could get into it, Mrs. Hum ascended to her room again, beginning almost to doubt her own senses, and question with herself whether she had really heard the noise or not, when it re-commenced, and continued, without intermission, for about half an hour. She however went to bed, and the next day told nobody what had occurred, having determined to watch another night before mentioning the affair to anyone. As, however, this strange scene was acted over again, without her being able to discover the cause of it, she now mentioned the circum- stance to the owner of the house and to her friend Mr. Bernard ; and the former, who would not believe it, agreed to watch with her, which he did. The noise began as before, and he was so horror-struck that, instead of entering the workshop as she wished him to do, he rushed into the street. Mrs. Hunn continued to inhabit the house the whole summer, and when referring afterwards to the adventure, she observed that use was second nature; and that she was sure, if any night these ghostly carpenters had not pursued their visionary labours, she should have been quite frightened lest they should pay her a visit up-stairs.
ACCORDING to Camden this ancient stronghold was formerly called “ Kasteth Koch,” or Red Castle, on account of the colour of the stone with which it was built. It stands on a rocky elevation in the midst of a well-wooded park, and despite the restoration which it has undergone at the hands of Sir Robert Smirke is not considered " a thing of beauty.” If the outside be irregular in style the interior is heavy and gloomy, and thoroughly appropriate for the localisation of ghostly legends. It possesses, among other interesting relics,
a state chamber, still maintained in the exact condition it was in when prepared for the reception of Charles I. Since the time of Queen Elizabeth, when the surrounding estate was purchased by the Heberts, Powis Castle has been the seat of the Earls Powis. There are naturally various legends connected with this timehonoured dwelling, one being that the lake in the Castle park, from which the adjacent town of Welshpool takes its name, “shall sometime overflow and deluge the town.” But there is also a well-authenticated and most circumstantial ghost story of Powis Castle, for the record of which we are indebted to the Autobiography of Thomas Wright, of Birkenshaw.
In 1780, it became known to the townsfolk of Welshpool, that there was living amongst them a certain poor unmarried woman who had conversed with the Castle ghost, and that it had confided a great secret to her. The woman thus selected for this alleged trust was a member of the Methodist Society, and “had become serious under their ministry.” Mr. John Hampson, a well-known preacher amongst the Wesleyan Methodists, being desirous of probing this strange story to the core, sent for the woman, and earnestly besought her to tell him the whole truth about the affair. She promised to give him as exact an account as she possibly could, and then proceeded with the following narration, to the correctness of which many persons could bear witness. She described herself as a poor woman who obtained a livelihood by spinning hemp and line, and stated that it was customary for the farmers and gentlemen of the district to grow enough hemp or line in their fields for their own home-consumption, and as she was a good hand at spinning, she was accustomed to go from house to house to inquire for work. It was the custom at houses where she stayed, to provide her with meat and drink, and if necessary with lodging, whilst she was thus employed, and when she left to make her some little present.
One day she chanced to call at Earl Powis's country residence, Red Castle as it was called, to inquire for work, according to custom. The “quality," as she termed the family, were at this time in London, but had, as usual, left the steward and his wife, with certain other servants, to take charge of the place during their absence. The steward's wife set her to work, and in the evening told her that she must stay all night with them, as they had more work for her to do next day. When it was time to go to bed, three of the servants, each carrying a lighted candle in her hand, conducted her to the room she was to sleep in. It was an apartment on the ground floor, with a boarded floor and two sash windows, and was grandly furnished, with a handsome bedstead in one corner of it. They had made up a good fire for her, and had placed a chair and table before it, with a large lighted candle upon the table. They informed her that that was to be her bed-room, and that she might go to bed whenever she pleased. They then wished her a good night, and all withdrew together, pulling the door quickly after them, so as to hasp the spring-sneck in the brass lock that was upon it. When the servants had thus hastily departed, the poor spinster gazed around at the grand furniture, and was in no slight astonishment that they should put such a person as she was in so fine a room and so comfortable a bed, with all the conveniences of fire, chair, table, and candle. After having made a survey of the place, she sat down, and took out of her pocket a small Welsh Bible which she always carried about with her, and in which she always read a chapter, chiefly in the New Testament, before she said her prayers and retired to rest.
Whilst the woman was reading she heard the door open, and turning her head, was astonished to see a gentleman enter the room ; he wore a gold-laced hat and waistcoat, with coat and the rest of his attire to correspond. He walked down by the sash window to the corner of the room, and then returned. When he came, as he returned to the first window, the bottom of which was nearly breast high, he rested his elbow on the bottom of the window and the side of his face upon the palm of his hand, and stood in that leaning posture for some time, with his side partly towards her. She looked at him earnestly to see if she knew him, but although, from her frequent intercourse with them, she had a personal knowledge of all the family and its retainers, he appeared to be a perfect stranger to her. She supposed, afterwards, that he stood in this manner to eucourage her to speak; but as she did not utter a word, after some little time he walked off, pulling the door to after him as the servants had done previously. She began now to be much