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been, and a silver sixpence would occasion- curiosity, in her voice as she dispatched a ally be dropt into the shoe of the careful second
message by Annette, her favourite housemaid. Then too her dress, however maid, who was specially employed about it might vary in the fashion of its shape, her own person. This renewed summons was invariably green, the traditional colour was full of authority, and dignified resentof the fairies. But the most decided proof, ment, proportioned to the confidential chaand there were more than one who could racter of the person bearing it.—“Tell the swear to it, was that her figure threw no young woman,” she said, “ that Dame shadow in the sunlight, and received no re- Margaret Trevor, the lady of this mansion, flection from any mirror. This strange requires the immediate presence of her tale, which she did not fail to encourage, nameless guest. If she have no respect for at last reached the ears of Dame Margaret, the hostess, who affords her an unwilling who, with mingled feelings of horror and asylum, she at least owes the duty of curiosity, determined to put the truth of it youth to my grey
hairs.” to the test. For this purpose she summoned Annette had no great fancy for this misthe Pale Lady to a meeting in her private sion, which, as it implied offence to the chamber, where stood the only mirror in object of it, might not be altogether withthe house, looking-glass not being so com- out peril to herself. But there was no mon a thing in those days, as it has since choice, and besides she had naturally more grown to be with us. But to no mandate courage, though not less superstition, than of the kind could the little damsel be her companions. Down, therefore, she brought to lend an ear, word it as the mes- went, when, if she found nothing to try sengers would, either in the way of threat, her boldness of spirit, she saw quite enough or of gentle invitation. She was, it seemed to astonish her, with all her previous exin one of her most dogged moods, or else perience of the little damsels vagaries. suspected the cause of the summons, and Was the Pale Lady sad for the past, or had no mind to submit herself to the doubtful of the future? neither the one nor ordeal.
the other; she was dancing away as if the “My lady begs you will come directly,” spirit of some frantic marabout had possessed said the abigail, repeating her unnoticed her, at every bound almost touching the message for the third time.
ceiling, and whirling round like the little Emmeline gave no reply, but opened her motes that dance in the sun-beams. Nolarge black eyes to their utmost extent, thing, that Annette could say, availed to and stared at the embassadress in a way stop her even for a moment; and when, as that made her feel any thing but comfort- a last resource, she seized the hand of the able.
emphatic dancer, so far from being able to “ Heaven bl us!” muttered the stay her flight, she was herself borne along alarmed abigail, “ I have often heard of in the same giddy round, much after the the Evil Eye, and, if ever there was such manner of a straw caught up and tossed a thing, it is upon me now.
I wish I were
about by a whirlwind. In the midst of all safely out of the room-Miss Emmeline !” this hurly-burly, entered Dame Margaret, —this was in a louder key—“Miss Emme- whose impatience could no longer endure line, will it please you to come? my mis- the delay opposed to her curiosity. Her tress loves contradiction as little as any presence gave a new turn to the scene.
A lady in Christendom.”
stranger would have fancied that he saw a Hereat the elfin damsel burst into a long, merry school-girl detected in some forbidunearthly laugh, that with every moment den game of romps by the unexpected apgrew wilder and wilder, till it well nigh pearance of her mistress, so suddenly did reached a shriek. There was no standing the Pale Lady break off the dance, and so this. The soubrette uttered as loud motionless did she stand, after having dropt scream as her lungs would admit of, and a profound courtesy to Dame Margaret. fairly fled, banging the door to, as a sort In the meanwhile, the unlucky Annette, of barrier between herself and the laugh- released from the supporting hold of her ing goblin.
companion, plumped down at once upon It may be easily imagined with what the floor, where she sat with her clothes feelings Dame Margaret received this ac- carefully drawn over her feet, the very count. There was something of fear, and image of comical despair. more of irritation mingled with excited 66 What is the meaning of these witch'
And the mirror is broken.
Saturnalia !” said the old lady, her angry on the nerves of Dame Margaret. And glances wandering from the one to the now it would have been naturally supposed other of the delinquents. Are we all that the old lady, bigotted and fearful as mad, I ask ?”
she was, would have taken measures with“ It is the full of the moon,” replied the out delay for ridding the house of so ambilittle damsel, with malicious gravity ; “yet guous a being. And such, indeed, for a while I would fain hope for the best. You feel seemed to be her purpose. The servants not giddier than you are wont, dear lady ?” were ordered to quit the room, and, as
“ I sent to request your presence,” said their curiosity still kept them listners at Dame Margaret, not perceiving, or not the door, they could hear her voice loud in choosing to notice, the lurking malice of anger, though the thick oak would not this tender inquiry. Perhaps, now that allow them to distinguish the precise imthe dancing mood is over, you will be port of every word. Then, as usual, came pleased to follow me to my chamber, where the sound of the lute, the little damsel's we may have some private conference on weapon of defence against all assaults, and matters that touch your repute as a Chris- which by half the household was supposed tian maiden.”
to be a talisman, no less powerful in “ It is too late," said the Pale Lady, charming men's ears than the Syren's voice laughing.
of old. In a very few minutes its melody 6 Too late ?” exclaimed the elder dame. had so effectually lulled the storm, that,
“ Too late," repeated the Pale Lady- on peeping through the keyhole, they saw and then sang, or rather chanted, with a her seated on a low stool, her head in look of peculiar archness,
the lap of dame Margaret, who looked The word has been spoken,
down upon her with a smile of unwonted The magical token !
benevolence, while the withered hands
played tremblingly with her dark ringlets, Hoo! har, har !-hoo!
and smoothed their cluster from a brow The repetition of this familiar witch- and temples that shone more dazzlingly burthen sounded to the orthodox ears of white than ever. Lady Margaret little better than actual “ Now the saints defend us !” exclaimed blasphemy. She was perfectly confounded, the peeping abigail ; “if ever fairy danced and, before she could find either breath or by moonlight, there 's one hid in the body sense to reply, in rushed the abigail who of that lute this blessed moment." had been left in the chamber of the mirror, “ I ever said so," replied the other. wringing her hands and exclaiming in a And away they both hurried, partly in voice of terror, “Oh, my lady! my lady! the fear lest a longer stay might betray -it's not my fault-pray be not angry them as listeners, and not less, it
be with me it's not my fault.”
presumed, from a liberal spirit of commu“What is not your fault?” said Dame nication, that could not remain satisfied Margaret. “ Speak out plainly, child-or till the rest of the household were as well has the madness seized you too, who used acquainted with the whole story as themto be so reasonable?”
selves. “ The mirror, my lady !-the mirror! It will be asked what had become of Sir it is broken-dashed into thousand Hugh while Ivy Hall was thus being turned pieces, and not a piece so large as a silver topsy turvy by the frolics of his nameless groat.”
protégé. At first he had treated her as a How strange !” exclaimed the little child, seeming to take no little delight in damsel in a tone of earnestness, by no her wild pranks; but it was
soon evimeans usual with her. “I did but play dent that the child had grown a woman upon you when I hinted that the glass was to his imagination, and in his altered manbroken, and, lo you now!-Cassandra ners towards her a shrewd spectator might herself could not have prophesied to better have inferred that the Hall was likely ere purpose. Rightly says the proverb, Many long to have a new mistress. This pasa true word is spoken in jest.”
sion, as sudden as it was vehement, was There was something in the glance of attributed to the magic influence of the her eye strangely at variance with her lute, though it seemed that Sir Hugh had words and with the tone in which they been equally able to captivate the Pale Lady were uttered. It jarred most unpleasantly without any such advantage. She loved
him with no less ardour; and, what might potency of which had been made apparent not have been so easily anticipated, made to every one of the household ? To destroy little scruple of showing it after her own the instrument then was to take the fang wayward fashion, teazing and pleasing him from the adder, and accordingly it was in in about an equal measure. Often it would her own mind doomed to destruction with happen that she exceeded even the endur- the first opportunity. When this would ance of a lover, and his wrath would settle offer itself was another question, for the down into a sullen mood that boded a de- lute was the little maiden's constant comtermined rupture. On such occasions she panion, at home and abroad, on foot and on always had recourse to her lute, which horseback, nor was she ever observed to never failed to do its work, the shadows put it from her except on one particular flying from his brow like mists before the occasion, that recurred but once a month. sun when it breaks out from the clouds of This was on the full of the moon, when April.
she never failed to find some pretence for It will hardly be supposed that so keen- walking alone in the neighbouring forest. sighted a personage as Dame Margaret was At such times it was always remarked that all this time ignorant of a love-affair passing she grew sadder and sadder as the day dethus immediately under her eyes. How clined; her eyes would fill with tears, and indeed should she be, when one of the she would gaze on Sir Hugh, when she parties at least took so little pains to con- thought herself unnoticed, with the anxious ceal it? But her wrath smouldered looks of one who was about to part from a quietly enough among the embers while near and dear friend for ever. The motives there was a chance that it might end, like for these nightly wanderings none could half the affairs of this kind, in vapour, for discover, though there was no want of she was too prudent to provoke a different curiosity on the part of the inmates of Ivy catastrophe by unseasonable opposition. Hall, who, to do them justice, had to the
Say nothing,"—thus would she argue it utmost extent of their courage exerted in her own mind,“ say nothing, and this themselves to learn the secret. little spark will go out of itself, when a two of the boldest went so far, more than puff of breath from me would kindle it once, as to visit her supposed haunts on the into a flame. I must be silent ?” Silent following morning, when they found, or she was accordingly, refraining from words said they found, the print of feet, exactly good or evil, though, as might be expected, corresponding to hers, in a certain planansuch an excess of discretion cost her much guare, or round as it is sometimes called, a heart-burning, 'till one day Sir Hugh gave relique from the times of the Druids ; here, her notice in due form that it was his inten- they had no doubt, she had been to meet tion to marry the little damsel; then indeed the queen of the fairies, and obtain leave she made herself ample amends for all her of absence for another month to dwell past forbearance, and poured forth such a amongst the human mortals. In confirmastorm of wrath on the devoted head of Sir tion of this opinion, they remarked the Hugh that might well have excused him wild joy she always evinced on her rehad he deviated from his purpose. But all turn, and the liberality with which she in vain. It is so easy to maintain a reso- scattered silver,-fairy silver no doubt, lution when it happens to be in perfect -amongst the servants.
But the more consonance with our own desires. Women, popular belief was, that she went thither however, do not so lightly give up any to worship the moon, from whom she rescheme it may once please them to take ceived her power; and a cromlech, standing into their heads, even when it does not in an open part of the forest, was pointed come recommended, as in the present in- out as the altar whereon she laid her stance, by the semblance at least of sound monthly oblations. These offerings were policy. Finding her son inflexible, to a supposed to be of an innocent nature, from degree that baffled all her powers of per- the fashion of the altar; it consisted, acsuasion, she could only attribute an obsti- cording to the usual form
such monunacy so unusual with him, to the influencements, of an upright stone, and a second of magical practices. It was clear that the mass placed upon it horizontally, the latter Pale Lady had cast a spell over him, and having a cross rudely cut into it; and hence where could the secret source of the charm it was inferred that sylph, or fairy, or be better sought for than in the lute, the whatever else the little maiden might be, she could not belong to the evil spirits, gling for the mastery with fear. Again since she was so familiar with the holy she paused, apparently to muster up resosymbol.
lution for the fated task, and then slowly The moon had now come to the full for resumed her onward march towards the the twelfth time since the eventful night cromlech. Annette, who saw every thing that opened our tale, when Dame Margaret from her hiding-place behind a clump of finally set about breaking the spell, as she trees, always vowed, in telling the tale, that deemed it, which had enthralled her son. she neither ran nor walked, but skimmed By a coincidence, not perhaps very won- over the grass that waved beneath her derful, seeing that kindred wits will jump feet as if it had been swept by the passing together, Annette, the waiting-maid already wind—“It was a strange sight,” she would mentioned, had her own plans of discovery say, “to see the grass rippling in one reserved for this same evening. Having narrow stripe, just like the sea when a been more than once baffled by her fears, squall walks over it, darkening and agitating when attempting to follow the Pale Lady its surface while all beyond the immediate into the forest, she magnanimously re- influence of the fitful breeze remains unsolved, while yet the daylight lasted, to ruffled.” take up a secret position near the cromlech, No sooner had the Pale Lady reached thus flinging herself at once upon the peril the cromlech than she became sensible of that she was afraid to meet coolly.
a branch of misletoe lying on the horizontal, It was a close autumnal evening, and or upper stone. If not a subject of surthe thick sultry air hung heavily on the prize, it was evidently unwelcome to her, leaves and flowers, that seemed to droop for in the moment of perceiving it she despondingly beneath its weight, the gnats uttered a faint scream, and sank against and water-flies swarmed upon the still face the monument, trembling and exhausted, of the pools, and there was uneasiness as like one who has received a sudden shock. well as listlessness in the motions of the With reluctant hand, after a brief pause, cattle. At times a pale flash of lightning she took up the branch, her tears dropping would show itself far off in the horizon, fast upon it, hesitated awhile, then broke and the thunder would mutter at distant the stem in two and flung it from her as if intervals, but not a drop of rain fell, and it had been a serpent to sting and poison. not a blade of grass stirred. It would It would seem that the storm, which had seem that even the Pale Lady, goblin or been so long gathering, had reserved itself fairy as she was supposed to be, yet felt to this particular moment; a loud peal of the influence of the hour, for, as she thunder, rolling from one end of the threaded the dingles and green alleys of heavens to the other, gave the signal, when the forest, there was none of the usual down it came in all its fury, the rain wild gaiety either in her subdued step pouring, the blast howling, and the lightor saddened features. The smile, that so ning wrapping the earth for many seconds seldom left her lips, was now absent ; her together in one continued blaze. Then wonted song was hushed, her looks ex- followed a longer, sharper crash, like the pressed extreme anxiety, and ever and groan of convulsed nature, and in the next anon she would stop and lean against a instant a thunder-bolt flew hurtling through broad-trunked oak, evidently not from the air, and shivered the cromlech into a weariness, but from reluctance to meet thousand pieces. Annette stopt to see no some dreaded object, to which she was With a speed proportioned to her of necessity advancing. But linger as she terror, she ran back to Ivy Hall, dashed by might, she at length reached the open the astonished household, and hurried into glade, in the middle of which stood the the presence of her mistress for protection. cromlech, with a flood of yellow light But Dame Margaret had in the mean time poured down upon it, as if the Druid stone met with her own proper causes of alarm, had some secret power of attraction, that and to all appearance was as much in need drew the moonbeams to itself, while the of comfort as her terrified dependent. She sward about it lay in shadow. The heart stood gazing on the broken lute, her usually of the fairy-wanderer, if fairy she was, pale face yet paler from the workings of beat fast as she neared the rugged pile, and fear, her eyes dilated, and her aged limbs her colourless cheek was tinted with that shaking in every joint. The ejaculations of passing flush which hope lends when strug- Annette, neither low nor few, failed for a
time to withdraw her attention from the This last exclamation was provoked by ruins of the supposed talisman, and, when the loud yell of many voices from the she did become sensible of the handmaiden's rooms below, announcing some general presence, it was only to give way to those cause of terror. feelings which had hitherto held her Run, girl," continued the old lady ; speechless.
s learn what new mischance has happened “ Dreadful!” was her first exclamation; to excite this fearful outcry.” “surely it was the going out of the fiend But Annette had no occasion to leave himself! Beata Maria, ora pro nobis— the room to gain this knowledge. A single ora pro nobis !”-And she crossed herself glance through the window, which opened repeatedly and fervently.
on the fields between the house and the Now, all the saints be good unto us!” Severn, was sufficient to show the cause of re-echoed Annette, her own previous terror visibly augmented by the fears of her mis- “Merciful powers !” she said, or rather tress, though she was unable to guess the shrieked. See! see !-how the sparkles precise cause of them.—“The saints be fly from his hoofs ! how the flames stream good unto us!”
from the creature's red nostrils !” “ They have been,” cried Dame Mar- " Who? What?” exclaimed the old garet ; “they have been. But reach me a lady. chair; this shock has rudely shaken my “How they fly!-and the lightning flies old limbs, and I can stand no longer. The after them, flash upon flash—it's aimed at holy Virgin-blessed be her name !- was them—only at them—and passes over the with me, or I must have died on the spot. trees without scorching a single leaf.” Awful times, Annette—awful times. The " Who? What?” reiterated Dame Marworld grows worse as it grows older, and garet in the very agony of fear. Speak heaven alone knows what it all will end out, girl ; tell me all—tell me at once, for in ; but whatever it may be, thank God I feel my senses are fast leaving me.” I shall not live to see it. I shall be safe
Apollyon ! the great fiend !-he rides in that home where the wicked cease to off with the Pale Lady—there's not a trouble.”
speck of white on the black horse that “ In the name of all that's terrible, what carries them.” has happened ?” exclaimed Annette.
With that irresistible impulse, which " What indeed, girl! Oh, it was an often compels our attention to objects of awful moment when I dashed the accursed dread or loathing, Dame Margaret tottered lute to pieces, and, with uplifted cross and forward to the window, and beheld the counted beads, adjured him to fly-him, Pale Lady flying, or carried off, her clothes the unholy one, who had so long housed drenched with rain, and her loose hair within it. Wot you, child, who it was streaming to the tempest. The speed of that lent the strings their melody, witching the coal-black horse outstripped the wind, all ears and hearts, that we none of us and the rider, who bestrode him, appeared were the masters of our
own will ?
in the uncertain light to be of colossal Apollyon, child-Apollyon! Ah! it is a
stature. Their course lay for a few seconds wonder that my brain and sight still hold, along the banks of the Severn, but suddenly, and that my tongue can tell it to you.” amidst the renewed rattling of thunder
Dame Margaret placed her hands to her and the howling of wind, one long conforehead, as if she thought to still the tinued flash of the broadest and reddest inward pain by their pressure. The sym- lightning blazed about them, and in the pathizing Annette, forgetting at the mo- next moment the horse was seen with his ment her own immediate cause of terror riders in the midst of the boiling waters. in anxiety for her mistress, burst into Then came a loud shriek of
the maiden, followed by a yell so fierce "My dear lady!" she cried ; “ my dear and unearthly, that both the watchers inlady, you are ill. Let me go for help. stinctively closed their eyes in terror. It Shall I call the servants ?—shall I call was an instant-only an instant-and, when Sir Hugh ?”
they again looked out, nothing was visible “Heed it not, my good Annette. It is on the river but the white foam of the a passing pang only, and, with the blessing angry billows. of the ints, will soon be over. - Mother in heaven! what now?”