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THE HAUNTED HOMES
OF GREAT BRITAIN.
In North Britain haunted castles, and hereditary apparitions, appear to have lingered more persistently and to have had longer leases of existence, than they have had in the less romantically inclined southern portion of the island. One of the most noted Scotch spirits attendant upon a certain family is that known as “ Pearlin Jean,” so called from a species of lace made of thread with which this spectre is bedecked. “Pearlin Jean’s” continuous and demonstrative annoyances at Allanbank—a seat of the Stuarts, a family of Scotch baronets—are so thoroughly believed in and widely known, that it has been found difficult to obtain a tenant for the place.
Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, the antiquary, has furnished the following explanatory account of Pearlin Jean's hauntings at Allanbank, together with the cause of her doing so.
“In my youth,” says Mr. Sharpe, “Pearlin Jean was the most remarkable ghost in Scotland, and my terror when a child. Our old nurse, Jenny Blackadder, had been a servant at Allanbank, and often heard her rustling in silks up and down stairs, and along the passages. She never saw her; but her husband did.
“She was a French woman, whom the first baronet of Allanbank,* then Mr. Stuart, met with at Paris, during his tour to finish his education as a gentleman. Some people said she was a nun; in which case she must have been a sister of Charity, as she appears not to have been confined to a cloister. After some time, young Stuart either became faithless to the lady or was suddenly recalled to Scotland by his parents, and had got into his carriage at the door of the hotel, when his Dido unexpectedly made her appearance, and stepping on the fore-wheel of the coach to address her lover, he ordered the postilion to drive on; the consequence of which was that the lady fell, and one of the wheels going over her forehead, killed her.
“In a dusky autumnal evening, when Mr. Stuart drove under the arched gateway of Allanbank, he perceived Pearlin Jean sitting on the top, her head and shoulders covered with blood.
* Sir Robert Stuart was created a baronet in the year 1687.
“After this, for many years, the house was haunted; doors shut and opened with great noise at midnight; the rustling of silks and pattering of high-heeled shoes were heard in bed-rooms and passages. Nurse Jenny said there were seven ministers called in together at one time to lay the spirit ; 'but they did no mickle good, my dear.
“The picture of the ghost was hung between those of her lover and his lady, and kept her comparatively quiet; but when taken away, she became worse-natured than ever. This portrait was in the present Sir J. G.'s possession. I am unwilling to record its fate.
“The ghost was designated Pearlin, from always wearing a great quantity of that sort of lace.
“Nurse Jenny told me that wben Thomas Blackadder was her lover (I remember Thomas very well), they made an assignation to meet one moonlight night in the orchard at Allanbank. True Thomas, of course, was the first comer; and seeing a female figure in a light-coloured dress, at some distance, he ran forward with open arms to embrace his Jenny; when lo, and behold! as he neared the spot where the figure stood, it vanished; and presently he saw it again at the very end of the orchard, a considerable way off. Thomas went home in a fright; but Jenny, who came last, and saw nothing, forgave him, and they were married.
“Many years after this, about the year 1790, two ladies paid a visit at Allanbank-I think the house was then let—and passed the night there. They had never heard a word about the ghost; but they were disturbed