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The Phantom Coach: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Ghost Stories

The Phantom Coach: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Ghost Stories

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The Phantom Coach: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Ghost Stories

évaluations:
4/5 (7 évaluations)
Longueur:
365 pages
7 heures
Sortie:
Aug 26, 2014
ISBN:
9781620403242
Format:
Livre

Description

Ghost stories date back centuries, but those written in the Victorian era have a unique atmosphere and dark beauty. Michael Sims, whose previous Victorian collections Dracula's Guest (vampires) and The Dead Witness (detectives) have been widely praised, has gathered twelve of the best stories about humanity's oldest supernatural obsession. The Phantom Coach includes tales by a surprising, often legendary cast, from Charles Dickens and Margaret Oliphant to Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, and Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as well as lost gems by forgotten masters such as Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and W.F. Harvey. Amelia Edwards' chilling story gives the collection its title, while Ambrose Bierce (“The Moonlit Road”), Elizabeth Gaskell, (“The Old Nurse's Story”) and W. W. Jacobs (“The Monkey's Paw”) will turn you white as a sheet. With a skillful introduction to the genre and notes on each story by Michael Sims, The Phantom Coach is a spectacular collection of ghostly Victorian thrills.
Sortie:
Aug 26, 2014
ISBN:
9781620403242
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Michael Sims's six acclaimed non-fiction books include The Adventures of Henry Thoreau, The Story of Charlotte's Web, and Adam's Navel, and he edits the Connoisseur's Collection anthology series, which includes Dracula's Guest, The Dead Witness, The Phantom Coach, and the forthcoming Frankenstein Dreams. His writing has appeared in New Statesman, New York Times, Washington Post, and many other periodicals. He appears often on NPR, BBC, and other networks. He lives in Pennsylvania. michaelsimsbooks.com

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Aperçu du livre

The Phantom Coach - Michael Sims

To the memory of my mother,

Ruby Evelyn Norris Sims

(1927–2012)

who watches out a window for the yellow school bus coming over the hill

Contents

Introduction: The View from a Grave

Elizabeth Gaskell

The Old Nurse’s Story

Amelia B. Edwards

The Phantom Coach

Charles Dickens

The Trial for Murder

Arthur Conan Doyle

The Captain of the Pole-Star

Henry James

Sir Edmund Orme

Robert W. Chambers

The Yellow Sign

Margaret Oliphant

The Library Window

W. W. Jacobs

The Monkey’s Paw

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

The Southwest Chamber

Rudyard Kipling

They

Ambrose Bierce

The Moonlit Road

W. F. Harvey

August Heat

Acknowledgments

Bibliography and Suggested Further Reading

A Note on the Author

By the Same Author

The past is never dead. It’s not even past.

—William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

Introduction: The View from a Grave

Each of us must suffer his own demanding ghost.

—Virgil, Aeneid

I remember the view from a grave. Stars spiraled in front of my eyes when I hit the damp soil at the bottom. Up there on the faraway earth, past six feet of square muddy wall, a man and a boy stared down at me—my brothers, Gary and David, both laughing. Until I slipped and fell into the grave, we had been setting up the graveside for a funeral. Gary, eleven years older than I, worked for a funeral home; more than once in our childhood, David and I rode with him to pick up a corpse. Other than in the open-coffin funerals of our family in eastern Tennessee, my few glimpses of bodies after death came from trips with Gary to collect the mortal remains of people who had died in other towns.

I forgot most of these memories until Gary himself died, at the age of thirty-nine. I remembered them then because he soon returned. He haunted my dreams. In dark films playing inside my head while I slept, Gary showed up outside my window, at the dinner table, in downtown crowds. He merged with scenes from movies. In a scenario clearly borrowed from Terminator—which I had watched just before his death—he emerged from a smoking car wreck, dragging his mechanical metal leg but still limping toward me with one red electronic eye flashing. Gary came back from the dead angry and vengeful. He didn’t think it was fair that he had died and I had remained behind in the world of warm socks, morning coffee, and books innocently read before bed. He lay in the family’s hilltop country cemetery down the road, beside many other relatives, but he did not rest in peace. I saw him during waking hours, too. Late at night I glimpsed him in dark cars on a highway, just turning away as I drove up beside him, his face shadowed, his profile unmistakable—until the headlights of a passing car revealed that this other driver actually bore little resemblance to my brother, as if Gary’s ghost had vanished when the light came on. 

Again I let these memories slip away—until, a few years ago, in a hospital emergency room I was given an overdose of morphine for severe back pain. I flatlined. My consciousness rushed away like an outgoing tide, and everything went black. I had just enough time to think, Wow, dying is so easy. My wife recounts the next few minutes: a buzzer screaming, nurses racing in and calling to each other, giving me another injection. Quickly my EKG line got excited again. I returned to consciousness as if washing up on a beach. I shivered for days after that experience.

Something about that kind of shiver must be salutary. As I reread Victorian ghost stories for The Phantom Coach, I realized that my dreams fit in well with the usual phantom visitation in fiction, compounded of grief for a lost loved one, survivor guilt for still being alive, and fear of the tidal pull of that silent ocean of the dead that surrounds our fleeting lives onshore. I have always enjoyed ghost stories. Perhaps keeping death in cautionary view provides a frisson of mortality that helps us squeeze a more exquisite juice out of the ephemeral moment.

Ghost stories are as old as literature. Phantoms cavort through the works of Homer and Virgil. Shakespeare used spirits to great effect in Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and elsewhere. The ever-gullible Pliny the Elder enthusiastically brought the dead into his great natural history encyclopedia: In the deserts of Africa ghosts suddenly confront the traveller and vanish in a flash. These and similar kinds of human beings ingenious Nature has made to be playthings for herself and for us, creations at which to marvel.

In the eyes of many critics, however, this venerable genre came of age in the Victorian era. The Sturm und Drang of Gothic supernatural tales reveled in its own theatricality. Byronic young men dogged by a family curse dashed through ancient castles dark with festering memories. The Enlightenment’s rational daylight had been quickly followed by a moonlit Romantic pushing of such boundaries. Gone was the early-eighteenth-century skepticism that led Daniel Defoe to write his account of a notorious claim of spirit manifestation, True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs. Veal, with attention to the verifiable margins of the story—because he knew that his educated readers would scoff. By the early nineteenth century, skepticism had given way to a new thirst for the eerie and emotionally chaotic. Shelley tried to unchain his muse with laudanum, Byron and Coleridge with opium. Artists seeking to plumb the depths of their imagination ate raw meat to provoke inspirational nightmares. Many critics cite Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto as the progenitor of the Gothic period in literature, along with other melodramas such as Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho, three decades later. Jane Austen parodied the clanking neo-medieval conventions of both in her 1817 novel Northanger Abbey. The main character, seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland, sums up Austen’s satirical intent when another character supplies a list of Gothic novels for her to read, and Catherine replies, But are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid? Gothic excess had become laughable.

By the time of the mid-nineteenth century, when the Victorian ghost story began to mature with the work of Elizabeth Gaskell and Amelia Edwards and other writers you will encounter in The Phantom Coach, their goal was a seamless weave of reality and fantasy. Not that exotic settings were verboten in this period. Arthur Conan Doyle conjured the chilling atmosphere of his early story "The Captain of the Pole-Star" from his own adventures aboard an Arctic whaling ship.

Charles Dickens is rightly credited with helping to codify the ghost story as a distinct Victorian phenomenon. He loved these wild tales, which he first encountered through his childhood nurse. Spirits seldom appear in his novels, other than in interpolated diversions such as The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, his first novel. This early glimpse of supernatural holiday redemption seems a forerunner to that perennial masque, A Christmas Carol, Dickens’s most lasting contribution to the genre. Even cynical readers—or viewers of the many theatrical and cinematic adaptations—can’t forget the operatic scenes of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showing Ebenezer Scrooge the local poor people dickering over his stolen deathbed curtains and burial clothes. Naturally Christmas, rife with the supernatural since before its pagan origins were adapted to Christianity, was a holiday congenial to ghosts. Dickens helped link the two in popular culture. Probably he was inspired to celebrate Christmas so extravagantly by accounts of enduring English holiday rituals in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., by the American writer Washington Irving, whom he greatly admired. Dickens added phantoms and allegory. As The Trial for Murder in the present anthology demonstrates, however, he could write masterful ghost stories without a tinge of moralizing.

During Dickens’s time, one simple contributor to the popularity of ghost stories was the impressive growth in a market for short fiction. Like crime and detective stories, like romance and spy stories, tales of phantoms filled a growing niche in the burgeoning periodical press. For most of the eighteenth century in England, so-called taxes on knowledge raised the cost of newspapers and magazines. They began as a preemptive censoring of the press under Queen Anne, a way of preventing widespread fomenting of complaint against the crown. As late as the 1830s, a stamp tax on newspapers limited access to both news and entertainment. Publishers who flouted the stamp tax risked prison. The 1850s saw the repeal of the newspaper stamp, the excise duty on paper, and the advertisement duty. The environment was ripe for a new kind of popular press, supported by advertising and aimed at a variety of specialized markets, from Racing Times and Punch to Godey’s Lady’s Book and the children’s magazine St. Nicholas. Dickens’s own periodicals became hugely influential. He edited Household Words from 1850 to 1859 and All the Year Round from 1859 until his death in 1870.

Meanwhile new kinds of technology made it easier to produce and distribute periodicals. Printing on inexpensive wood-pulp paper reduced costs, and rotary printing presses sped up the creation of each issue. The telegraph provided near-instantaneous communication from scattered spots around the globe, making global journalism more than a dream, and steam power enabled more rapid distribution of the finished product. The available periodicals ranged from intellectual quarterlies such as the Edinburgh Review and monthlies along the lines of Harper’s in the United States and the Westminster Review in England to the lively but intelligent weekly Fun, launched as a retort to the more conservative Punch. To fans of the genre, the names of Victorian popular magazines possess a dusty glamour: Temple Bar and Belgravia, Macmillan’s and Cornhill. Many great novels of the era also appeared in weekly or monthly installments, from David Copperfield to North and South. Magazines dominated popular culture at the time, as would radio and television during much of the next century.

Probably we are drawn to the Victorian era’s ghost stories for one of the same reasons we still cherish the period in other kinds of literature. Writers conjured their spirits with affectionate attention to the texture and customs of everyday life, so that reading them now evokes a vanished era’s streets, clothing, food, vehicles, firesides, and customs. The Victorian period—with its instantaneous telegraph, its burgeoning popular culture, its ever-expanding journalism, its civil unrest—seems close enough to our own era to hold the charm of the familiar, yet far enough away to offer the lure of the exotic. Perhaps we also feel safer there than in our time, knowing that just around the Edwardian corner these people would find mustard gas, the blitzkrieg, and nuclear weapons.

An important similarity between the Victorian era and the twenty-first century is the crucial role played by female writers. As described in greater detail in introductions to their stories, Elizabeth Gaskell, Amelia B. Edwards, Margaret Oliphant, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, and other women dominated the Victorian ghost story at its height. They shook off the last Gothic cobwebs and raised the genre’s level of sophistication and emotional maturity. To make room for some of these beautiful, lesser-known stories, I omit a few frequently reprinted and well-established authors, such as the undeniably great but widely reprinted M. R. James.

The Victorian period lasted officially from the young queen’s accession to the throne in 1837 to her death in January 1901, three weeks into a very different century. Victoria’s sixty-three years was the longest reign of any British monarch, the longest of any female ruler, and these years witnessed astonishing changes in the world and in literature. Like most people, however, I don’t limit my image of the Victorian era to the queen’s precise reign or even to England alone. Thus four of the stories in this volume are by Americans, and the last three were published after Victoria’s death. We will explore their origins and commonalities in the stories’ individual introductions.

Despite the commonalities of Victorian ghost stories, even a modest sampling—such as the dozen in this volume—presents a great variety. Henry James conjures an elegant ghost from a fashionable woman’s past, while Robert W. Chambers horrifyingly opens the gates of hell. As readers we travel on board a ship, in the titular phantom coach, and even, by the time of Rudyard Kipling’s heartbreaking story They, in a roadster. A couple of the tales in this collection portray double hauntings—two people whose visions of each other draw them inexorably toward death. Whether yearning for the return of a lost child or foreseeing their own demise, the protagonists face the great chilling fact of human life: that it’s brief, linear, and moves toward the grave as swiftly as an arrow. Ghost stories permit us to peek behind the shroud.

In The Odyssey, Odysseus journeys to the underworld to seek insight from the blind prophet Tiresias. He digs a trench and fills it with the blood of sacrificial sheep, invoking the gods, promising further sacrifice, inviting the nations of the dead to drink once Tiresias has spoken to him. The phantoms who answer his summons remind us of how much our world would teem with spirits if ghosts were real. Parading before Odysseus come broken old men and unwed young men, innocent girls wounded by their first sorrow, legions of soldiers still in armor. Already in Homer’s time, the dead outnumbered the living. Then Odysseus sees the spirit of his own mother, who does not recognize him until after she drinks the blood that permits communication between the living and the dead. She had been alive when her son departed for Troy, and this is his first intimation that she died while he was gone. She explains that she died of sorrow when he failed to return. Overcome with his own grief, Odysseus rushes to embrace his mother. Three times he tries and three times she proves as elusive as smoke or shadow. He will never be able to touch her again.

While I worked on this introduction, my mother finally appeared in a dream, a year and a half after her death at the age of eighty-five. This was not a dream about our past together. My mother appeared as a ghost, her dead self resurrected. I was not horrified by her impossible physical presence, but naturally I was dumbfounded. She herself was matter-of-fact. In the dream, I was aware that she happened to be dead and I happened not to be dead—yet. When I woke up, I felt no fear, only gratitude for the visitation.

This dream made me recall my grandfather’s death when I was seven—how my memory of him merged with a late-night horror movie I had seen, how he kept coming back in my nightmares. In one dream, which was clearly influenced by one of the stories I have now included in The Phantom Coach (although it would be unfair to tell you which one), he limped up the gravel road from our family cemetery and tapped on my bedroom window. He wanted me to join him.

Of course he did. The dead always want us to join them. They frighten us because we know that someday we will see the view from a grave.

Ghost: The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.

—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Elizabeth Gaskell

1810–1865

Elizabeth Gaskell was born Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson but began writing after her marriage, and during her career she was often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell. In 1845 she began writing her first novel, Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life, in part to distract herself after her son died of scarlet fever before his first birthday. A year after its publication in 1848, Gaskell wrote to a friend that she took refuge in the invention to exclude the memory of painful scenes which would force themselves upon my remembrance. It appeared anonymously. (Her earlier stories had been published under the odd pseudonym Cotton Mather Mills.) The varied critical response to the book, however, kept alive the question of the author’s identity until it was revealed.

Prior to launching his weekly periodical Household Words in the spring of 1850, Charles Dickens sought contributors whose talent might enhance his stable of authors. He had read Mary Barton and admired Gaskell’s sympathetic portrayal of the working poor in industrial Manchester. This was one of her recurring themes; previously she had published a volume of poems entitled Sketches Among the Poor. To get Gaskell aboard, Dickens wrote to her, "I do honestly know that there is no living English writer whose aid I would desire to enlist in preference to the authoress of Mary Barton (a book that most profoundly affected and impressed me). Gaskell’s story Lizzie Leigh" appeared in the first issue of Household Words, to be followed by many other contributions, including her novels Cranford, which began as a story in the magazine, and North and South—alongside stories and novels by other important female writers such as Rosa Mulholland and Amelia B. Edwards. Like other contributors, Gaskell complained about Dickens’s high-handed and intrusive editing but kept submitting material.

Many critics examine Dickens and Gaskell together when studying the Victorian portrayal of the urban lower class. Today Gaskell is remembered mostly for the novels Wives and Daughters and Cranford. In her time, however, she was considered scandalous and influential for exploring, in the 1853 novel Ruth, the hypocritical and unjust treatment of women who gave birth out of wedlock and were thus almost doomed to prostitution. Her biography of Charlotte Brontë is still considered a masterpiece, despite controversy at the time regarding her portrayal of still-living participants.

Gaskell fiercely resisted the press’s attempts to learn about her private life, once replying to an inquiry, I do not see why the public have any more to do with me than buy or reject the ware I supply to them. Her resistance to publicity does not seem to have hurt her career. When she died in 1865, only fifty-five years old, the Athenaeum eulogized her as if not the most popular, with small question, the most powerful and finished female novelist of an epoch singularly rich in female novelists.

The Old Nurse’s Story was first published in the December 1852 issue of Household Words. It appeared anonymously, as did most magazine contributions at the time, as part of the thematic Christmas number titled A Round of Christmas Stories by the Fire. Dickens himself wrote the frame for these so-called portmanteau tales. In 1859, after Dickens had replaced Household Words with All the Year Round, Gaskell contributed a story to a similar portmanteau structure, The Haunted House, for the Christmas number. Unfortunately The Old Nurse’s Story is her only completed ghost story.

The Old Nurse’s Story

You know, my dears, that your mother was an orphan, and an only child; and I dare say you have heard that your grandfather was a clergyman up in Westmoreland, where I come from. I was just a girl in the village school, when, one day, your grandmother came in to ask the mistress if there was any scholar there who would do for a nurse-maid; and mighty proud I was, I can tell ye, when the mistress called me up, and spoke to my being a good girl at my needle, and a steady, honest girl, and one whose parents were very respectable, though they might be poor. I thought I should like nothing better than to serve the pretty young lady, who was blushing as deep as I was, as she spoke of the coming baby, and what I should have to do with it. However, I see you don’t care so much for this part of my story, as for what you think is to come, so I’ll tell you at once. I was engaged and settled at the parsonage before Miss Rosamond (that was the baby, who is now your mother) was born. To be sure, I had little enough to do with her when she came, for she was never out of her mother’s arms, and slept by her all night long; and proud enough was I sometimes when missis trusted her to me. There never was such a baby before or since, though you’ve all of you been fine enough in your turns; but for sweet, winning ways, you’ve none of you come up to your mother. She took after her mother, who was a real lady born; a Miss Furnivall, a granddaughter of Lord Furnivall’s, in Northumberland. I believe she had neither brother nor sister, and had been brought up in my lord’s family till she had married your grandfather, who was just a curate, son to a shopkeeper in Carlisle—but a clever, fine gentleman as ever was—and one who was a right-down hard worker in his parish, which was very wide, and scattered all abroad over the Westmoreland Fells. When your mother, little Miss Rosamond, was about four or five years old, both her parents died in a fortnight—one after the other. Ah! that was a sad time. My pretty young mistress and me was looking for another baby, when my master came home from one of his long rides, wet, and tired, and took the fever he died of; and then she never held up her head again, but lived just to see her dead baby, and have it laid on her breast before she sighed away her life. My mistress had asked me, on her death-bed, never to leave Miss Rosamond; but if she had never spoken a word, I would have gone with the little child to the end of the world.

The next thing, and before we had well stilled our sobs, the executors and guardians came to settle the affairs. They were my poor young mistress’s own cousin, Lord Furnivall, and Mr. Esthwaite, my master’s brother, a shopkeeper in Manchester; not so well to do then, as he was afterwards, and with a large family rising about him. Well! I don’t know if it were their settling, or because of a letter my mistress wrote on her death-bed to her cousin, my lord; but somehow it was settled that Miss Rosamond and me were to go to Furnivall Manor House, in Northumberland, and my lord spoke as if it had been her mother’s wish that she should live with his family, and as if he had no objections, for that one or two more or less could make no difference in so grand a household. So, though that was not the way in which I should have wished the coming of my bright and pretty pet to have been looked at—who was like a sunbeam in any family, be it never so grand—I was well pleased that all the folks in the Dale should stare and admire, when they heard I was going to be young lady’s maid at my Lord Furnivall’s at Furnivall Manor.

But I made a mistake in thinking we were to go and live where my lord did. It turned out that the family had left Furnivall Manor House fifty years or more. I could not hear that my poor young mistress had ever been there, though she had been brought up in the family; and I was sorry for that, for I should have liked Miss Rosamond’s youth to have passed where her mother’s had been.

My lord’s gentleman, from whom I asked as many questions as I durst, said that the Manor House was at the foot of the Cumberland Fells, and a very grand place; that an old Miss Furnivall, a great-aunt of my lord’s, lived there, with only a few servants; but that it was a very healthy place, and my lord had thought that it would suit Miss Rosamond very well for a few years, and that her being there might perhaps amuse his old aunt.

I was bidden by my lord to have Miss Rosamond’s things ready by a certain day. He was a stern proud man, as they say all the Lords Furnivall were; and he never spoke a word more than was necessary. Folk did say he had loved my young mistress; but that, because she knew that his father would object, she would never listen to him, and married Esthwaite; but I don’t know. He never married at any rate. But he never took much notice of Miss Rosamond; which I thought he might have done if he had cared for her dead mother. He sent his gentleman with us to the Manor House, telling him to join him at Newcastle that same evening; so there was no great length of time for him to make us known to all the strangers before he, too, shook us off; and we were left, two lonely young things (I was not eighteen), in the great old Manor House. It seems like yesterday that we drove there. We had left our own dear parsonage very early, and we had both cried as if our hearts would break, though we were travelling in my lord’s carriage, which I thought so much of once. And now it was long past noon on a September day, and we stopped to change horses for the last time at a little, smoky town, all full of colliers and miners. Miss Rosamond had fallen asleep, but Mr. Henry told me to waken her, that she might see the park and the Manor House as we drove up. I thought it rather a pity; but I did what he bade me, for fear he should complain of me to my lord. We had left all signs of a town, or even a village, and were then inside the gates of a large, wild park—not like the parks here in the south, but with rocks, and the noise of running water, and gnarled thorn-trees, and old oaks, all white and peeled with age.

The road went up about two miles, and then we saw a great and stately house, with many trees close around it, so close that in some places their branches dragged against the walls when the wind blew; and some hung broken down; for no one seemed to take much charge of the place;—to lop the wood, or to keep the moss-covered carriage-way in order. Only in front of the house all was clear. The great oval drive was without a weed; and neither tree nor creeper was allowed to grow over the long, many-windowed front; at both sides of which a wing projected, which were each the ends of other side fronts; for the house, although it was so desolate, was even grander than I expected. Behind it rose the Fells, which seemed unenclosed and bare enough; and on the left hand of the house, as you stood facing it, was a little, old-fashioned flower-garden, as I found out afterwards. A door opened out upon it from the west front; it had been scooped out of the thick dark wood for some old Lady Furnivall; but the branches of the great forest trees had grown and overshadowed it again, and there were very few flowers that would live there at that time. When we drove up to the great front entrance, and went into the hall I thought we should be lost—it was so large, and vast, and grand. There was a chandelier all of bronze, hung down from the middle of the ceiling; and I had never seen one before, and looked at it all in amaze. Then, at one end of the hall, was a great fireplace, as large as the sides of the houses in my country, with massy andirons and dogs to hold the wood; and by it were heavy, old-fashioned sofas. At the opposite end of the hall, to the left as you went in—on the western side—was an organ built into the wall, and so large that it filled up the best part of that end. Beyond it, on the same side, was a door; and opposite, on each side of the fireplace, were also doors leading to the east front; but those I never went through as long as I stayed in the house, so I can’t tell you what lay beyond.

The afternoon was closing in and the hall, which had no fire lighted in it, looked dark and gloomy, but we did not stay there a moment. The old servant, who had opened the door for us bowed to Mr. Henry, and took us in through the door at the further side of the great organ, and led us through several smaller halls and passages into the west drawing-room, where he said that Miss Furnivall was sitting. Poor little Miss Rosamond held very tight to me, as if she were scared and lost in that great place, and as for myself, I was not much better. The west drawing-room was very cheerful-looking, with a warm fire in it, and plenty of good, comfortable furniture about. Miss Furnivall was an old lady not far from eighty, I should think, but I do not know. She was thin and tall, and had a face as full of fine wrinkles as if they had been drawn all over it with a needle’s point. Her eyes were very watchful to make up, I suppose, for her being so deaf as to be obliged to use a trumpet. Sitting with her, working at the same great piece of tapestry, was Mrs. Stark, her maid and companion, and almost as old as she was. She had lived with Miss Furnivall ever since they both were young, and now she seemed more like a friend than a servant; she looked so cold, and grey, and stony, as if she had never loved or cared for any one; and I don’t suppose she did care for any one, except her mistress; and, owing to the great deafness of the latter, Mrs. Stark treated her very much as if she were a child. Mr. Henry gave some message from my lord, and then he bowed good-bye to us all,—taking no notice of my sweet little Miss Rosamond’s outstretched hand—and left us standing there, being looked at by the two old ladies through their spectacles.

I was right glad when they rung for the old footman who had shown us in at first, and told him to take us to our rooms. So we went out of that great drawing-room, and into another sitting-room, and out of that, and then up a great flight of stairs, and along a broad gallery—which was something like a library, having books all down one side, and windows and writing-tables all down the other—till we came to our rooms, which I was not sorry to hear were just over the kitchens; for I began to think I should be lost in that wilderness of a house. There was an old nursery, that had been used for all the little lords and ladies long ago, with a pleasant fire burning in

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