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First published in The London Journal, 13 January, 1849

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2024
Version Date: 2024-04-08

Produced by Matthias Kaether and Roy Glashan

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BUSINESS having taken me within ten miles of the residence of my friend S——, as I had long promised him a visit, my propinquity induced me to waive the ceremony of a formal notification, and risk the chance of finding him at home. Accordingly, on leaving the inn where I had passed the night, I turned my horse's head in the direction of my friend's dwelling, and after a pleasant ride found myself before his door, and soon received from him a hearty shake of the hand by way of welcome.

The family of my friend were preparing to pay a Christmas visit to a neighbour who lived about three miles from them; they had no difficulty in prevailing on me to accompany them. Mr. Clayton was one of those opulent farmers who are often to be met with an Dorsetshire; he rented an estate of £1000 a year, and occupied what had once been the family mansion of the owners of the manor, now reduced to a capacious but comfortless farm-house. A stone porch admitted us into a passage stolen from the great hall, from which a small low door opened into a parlour, which was tolerably comfortable, and evidently more modern than some other parts of the edifice, though the stone window-frames and narrow casements seemed to indicate that even this apartment might boast an antiquity coeval with the reign of Elizabeth. Here we warmed ourselves before a cheering fire, while the ladies retired to adjust their dress.

The company assembled consisted of the vicar, an attorney and his wife, with two or three of the neighbouring farmers and their families. When dinner was announced, we were ushered into the great hall, where a table was spread, with all the substantial fare consecrated to this season of mirth. It would be a thousand pities if Christmas should ever go out of fashion!

A blazing wood fire in a roomy corner gave a glow of comfort to the cold naked walls and chilly stone floor of the apartment. The hall reached to the roof of the house itself, and each window, or rather each tier of windows—for it had the appearance of three or four piled one on the other, the highest finishing with a Gothic arch—was nearly the height of the hall, defying alike the aid of drapery or shutters to keep out the cold light of the moon, and the stars twinkling in their frosty splendour.

The dinner passed with the usual country conversation, such as the price of corn, fox-hunting, coursing, and their concomitants. The evening went off pleasantly enough, with the help of whist and "wood-notes wild," warbled with more power of voice and delicacy of taste by the pretty daughters of our hospitable entertainer. After all the well-cloaked company had departed, who were to return to the shelter of their own roofs, we, who from the greater distance were to have our domiciles in the old manor house, began to think of retiring to our separate apartments: an apology was made for placing me, being a single man, in a room that was very seldom used; but I was assured that every care had been taken to obviate any danger that might arise from damp or cold, with fires and warming-pans. When the room was first mentioned I observed a great eagerness to speak in the son of our host, who was stopped by a significant bend of the head from his sister, while she desired him to "light Mr. —'s candle, and show him the way to his bed-room." My young friend brought the candles accordingly, and escorted me to my chamber; first up a narrow spiral stone staircase, then through a variety of long intricate passages—now we stumbled up a step or two that crossed our path, and now nearly tumbled down a few others; for my guide would not risk the mysterious silence imposed on him, even to warn me of these little inequalities that lay in our way, and the flickering light of the candles he carried only served to make the ground we were traversing appear still more uncertain. At length we arrived at a low, narrow, arched door, studded thickly with nails, and opened by a sort of iron ring and latch. We then entered into a large irregular bed-room, the dreariness of which was somewhat relieved by a cheering wood fire, that blazed in the old-fashioned chimney beneath a large heavy mantelpiece, where the arms of the original proprietor of the mansion had been rudely carved, and embellished with such strange supporters and appendages as the sculptor's very fanciful imagination suggested:

"That might be worshipped on the bended knee,
And still the second dread command be free."

Whitewash was the cold covering of the walls, and in many parts it had peeled off from the covered oak mouldings that finished the door-joints and window-frames. The hangings of the large square bed were of yellow merino, a chilling colour, with plain, moth-eaten valences, cut into many a curve and scallop, from which the line of beauty was continued with great exactness in the worsted lace that was turned off from its business of binding into the elegant bend of the tulip, or the round of the rose.

An old-fashioned toilet hung round with point lace, a more modern washing-stand, and some carved oak chairs with high upright cane backs, completed the furniture of the room. My young conductor placed my candle on the toilet, wished me a hasty good night, and hurried away without shutting the door; I could hear him stumbling his way back again, as if he were in too great a hurry to regard the inequalities of the way.

There are times and situations in which the mind that at another time would scorn the idea of any thing bordering on superstition might yet feel its influence in spite of reason and religion; shall I confess that I felt something very like it the moment I was left alone in my dreary apartment?

The flickering light of the fire, or the more steady one of the single candle, failed to discover what might lie in the deep recess beyond the bed; and I looked towards it with an undefined apprehension of seeing spectral and appalling forms start forth from the gloom: in a moment I smiled at my folly, and took the candle to examine the far side of the room, well knowing the imagination has no limit when left to itself. The first thing I discovered was a small arched doorway, similar to the one through which I had entered, excepting that this was elevated three steps from the floor. After a few efforts I succeeded in unfastening the door, when a sudden rush of wind extinguished my candle; this was soon re-lit and, screening it with my hand, I again approached the door. It was some time before I could make my candle burn steadily enough to examine the place I was now in: it seemed to be a small turret chamber, greatly dilapidated, with a narrow arched window, through the broken panes of which the clustering ivy had intruded, and now crept along the interior wall, giving it an air of strange desolation. On looking through the broken window I could discover beneath it the roof of a ruined porch, or what might perhaps once have been the principal entrance; and beside it stood a very aged yew tree, the touch wood of whose decayed branches, shining with a phosphoric light in the midst of the dark green foliage, gave it a very grotesque appearance in the yellow moonshine. My survey was soon ended, and I was glad to close the door again on this neglected apartment, and return to my own room, certainly less dreary from the contrast; yet I could not entirely divest myself of that mysterious feeling which the novelty and Gothic gloom of my lodging-room inspired me with; and I felt a sort of safety when I sank into a soft featherbed, and wrapped my head in the coverlet. I soon sank into a sound slumber, so deep and dreamless, that it must have been a loud noise which awaked me to that state of nervous agitation often felt by one just recovering from a fever. I listened: the noise, regular in its recurrence, continued, and seemed to resemble that made by a chair on which a nurse is rocking a baby to sleep.

Surprised at such an unaccountable occurrence, for it was in my very room, I hastily drew back the curtain, and, to my great amazement, saw before the fire, which at that instant flashed into a bright blaze, a woman of a very singular appearance, with an infant on her lap: every now and then she stopped her rocking, and seemed, by the motion of her elbows, to be performing some offices of a careful nurse—first holding her hands to the fire, and then rubbing the feet and legs of the child, her stiff robe rustling as she moved. I spoke, but received no answer; I spoke again—the rocking of the old high-backed oak chair was the only sound I heard, when that of my own voice had died away to a fearful silence. I stepped out of bed, and walked cautiously round, to have a more perfect view of this mysterious being; its face was that of a young, and would have been that of a handsome woman, but for the livid hue of the lips, and the deadly whiteness of the cheeks; the eyes were lustreless, and the lips appeared to be quivering with extreme cold; the infant's face, hands, and feet were of the same icy hue, and seemed stiffened with cold, as its little body was with swathing bands.

Though it was but for a moment that they were given to my view, yet I have a distinct remembrance of their appearance and dress: the mother was clothed in black. made high about the neck, surmounted by a ruff, the stiff quiltings of which looked like carved-work; a single row of closely-set studs confined it close to the chest till it met the stomacher, which was terminated by a bow of red and black ribbon, while lesser ones ornamented the sides; the sleeves, excepting the full, slashed tops, were made tight to the arm, and finished at the wrist by cuffs of point lace turned back on the dark sleeve in the mitre form; her hair was tightly strained back from her forehead, and on it she wore a black coif bordered with large pearls. The infant, though it did not seem to be more than six weeks old, had likewise its tiny form made shapely by a stomacher; its plain, border less cap, bib, and culls were of stiffened lawn, crimped and pinched into a kind of miniature fretwork. Every particular was too deeply impressed on my mind to be easily forgotten, though, as I said before, it was but for a moment that I saw them; for the rayless eyes were fixed on me, and kindled to a look of terror; the chill babe was firmly pressed to the breast of the phantom mother as she uttered a strange discordant shriek, melted into indistinctness, and was seen no more. The fire, which had before blazed brightly, flickered and died away as the forms became obliterated and lost in their vapour. With the appearance of the spectres my superstitious terrors died away; and, when the apparition had melted from my sight, I no longer felt that indescribable awe and subdued terror which had pervaded my mind when I first took possession of my gloomy chamber. I can only account for it on the principle that apprehension, having no limits, is more unbearable than the certainty of the greatest calamity; be that as it may, I now returned to my bed quite free from tenor, though not from awe and wonder, which kept me wakeful for the remainder of the night.

I arose as soon as the darkness of the morning would allow me, and made my way to the parlour, where a coal fire just ignited gleamed cold and comfortless from the modernised chimney. When the eldest daughter made her appearance, "on household cares intent," I detained her from her more useful occupation, first by the commonplace of the morning, and then by turning the conversation on the antiquity of the house, and expressing, in a seemingly careless manner, my pleasure in legendary stories and "old wives' fables," asking her if there were any of the kind belonging to this mansion. She smilingly told me it was well that I had not inquired for such stories the night before, as the gratification of my curiosity might have spoiled my repose; for the part of the house where I had slept was said to be the scene of unearthly visitings, of which she would tell me more after breakfast. Accordingly after breakfast I was treated with the following story:—

The lord of Hazlewood manor had broad acres, spacious parks, and a splendid mansion; he had besides, a fair and amiable partner; one thing alone was wanting to complete his happiness; it was at length given to him but in part; he became the father of a little girl. Can there be a more powerful appeal to the affections of the heart than the helplessness of infancy? In a very few months the happy parents discovered so much beauty, grace, and vivacity in their little Mabel, that they firmly believed no other child could ever be half so amiable; her smile was so sweet, her little countenance so intelligent; and then she would make such odd mutterings, and look so archly when playing bo-peep behind the lappet of her mother's coif, that they would hang over her in such mute rapture as defied expression; her joyous shout would vibrate on their hearts, till the tremor of delight became pain by its excess. At ten months old one of those diseases which all must undergo seized on the child; what anxious moments were endured by the father and mother during the crisis of the disorder!

The cradle was removed with the greatest care to the quietest part of the house; bells were muffled, and rushes strewn on the floors and corridors: the anxious father, as he returned to the sick room, would lift the iron latch with the greatest caution, and close the heavy door as though the slightest sound would frighten the spirit from the angel form which enshrined it. He would then advance with steady steps, and whisper his inquiries to the tender mother, who sat with the sweet baby on her lap, pressing its dry and burning lips from time to time, and watching for one slight glance of meaning from its now dimmer eyes;—that ray of promise at length beamed on the joyous parent, after a short but still repose: the hope it held forth was not lost; the little girl recovered: her limbs regained their roundness and their vigour, and she soon learnt to totter between the extended arms of her doting parents. Her little mimicries of all she saw were exquisite; but though her acuteness was unparalleled in the eyes of her father and mother, yet they were somewhat surprised to find that she did not appear to know her own name at an age when children in general are familiarised to the sound. A trial was prepared for them which their hearts were little schooled to meet. On the green sward, at the termination of the avenue, the little Mabel was seated, gathering all the daisies and golden cups within her reach, and holding them in her little grasp for her nurse to smell them; her father had seen from the window a party of Savoyards, with pipes and tabors, advancing towards the house; he went out to mark the effect the music had on his darling;—they came behind her unperceived and struck up a lively air. She remained unmoved, gathering her flowers as before! The dreadful conviction struck at once on the father's heart that his child was deprived of the organ of hearing; an agonised shout, uttered close to her ear, confirmed his fears; it was as unnoted as the pipe and tabor; his little Mabel was insensible to every sound, and consequently would never be able to articulate an intelligible one.

It seemed as if her calamity had only endeared her the more to her parents; they were never blessed with another child, and all the affections of their hearts were concentrated in their poor dumb girl. She grew tall and lovely, and such was the soul that sparkled in her dark hazel eye, it almost seemed to show that speech to her would have been an unnecessary gift; at least to her parents it would have been nearly useless, so well had they learnt to understand every look and gesture of their exquisitely sensible child: she seemed to have a double power in her other faculties, to make up for the deficiency of those she had lost. Her sensibility, her beauty, and her wealth, qualities and circumstances which render guardian care so necessary to any young female, made it doubly needful to this interesting girl, from her having no medium of communication with the world in general; yet it was the will of the Father of all to deprive this poor helpless child of both her natural guardians, one soon after the other. The father was the first that died, leaving the guardianship of his child's fortune to his brother, and of her person to his wife. She survived him but a twelvemonth, and bequeathed her sacred trust to a friend, who had been bred up with her from her childhood, and had made part of her family when she married; one who had never been made to taste at the liberal board that fed her the bitterness of the bread of charity. Next to her father and mother, little Mabel certainly loved dame Suky Colthurst better than any one else in the world, and the fond mother thought that she could not better provide for the care and comfort of her helpless child, than by entrusting them to one whom she had known from her infancy—one who was bound to her by every tie of gratitude, and, above all, one for whom her child had the warmest affection, and who appeared to have for her a fondness second only to a mother's.

The uncle of Mabel lived at a guest distance; he was, besides, a man of the world, and it was not likely that his care would extend to all the little wants and usages of the poor dumb girl, to ensure her every comfort to which she, had been habituated. Dame Suky was enjoined by the anxious mother to remain in the manor house, and retain all the appendages of wealth which her child had been accustomed to, and which her fortune could so well afford. Her household saw with concern the sorrow of the affectionate child for the loss of her last-left parent: she would remain for hours together on a low stool, in the corner of the room, clasping her knees, with her eyes fixed on the chair in which her mother used to sit; and when, by dame Suky's orders, it was removed front her sight, she threw herself into such an agony of passion and tears that the chair was obliged to be restored to its wonted place. But fifteen is not an age on which sorrow can take a lasting hold; Mabel, in time, began to caress her pet lamb, to take her hawk upon her finger, and suffer it to pick its food from her lips. A sudden spring made all nature appear joyful; her long forgotten haunts were again frequented—again she might be seen holding by the pendant branch of the beech-tree, as she let herself down by its fantastic roots to the edge of the deeply channelled stream that wound its mazy way among alders and birch, and the roots of many a stately tree that it had half undermined; where the trout found shelter in its shade, till disturbed by the sudden plunge of the water-rat, in its way to the opposite bank. Here she would wander for hours alone, and return more cheerful and happy to her evening meal.

A stranger came to the manor-house, whom dame Suky announced as her nephew; he appeared to be about thirty, of the middle size, with a sallow complexion, short black hair, and dark projecting brows, which an habitual frown had depressed towards the middle of his forehead, and formed perpendicular lines that gave an air of anxiety to his determined and rather sinister-looking eyes, which were long and dark; and though he was certainly handsome, yet the expression of his eyes, and a slight curvature in his full upper lip, gave his face an expression that was far from agreeable. The stranger remained for some time a guest at the house, and had evidently business of importance to settle with his aunt, as was guessed by their long and frequent conferences and their evident anxiety to avoid being overheard. The servants who waited on them at their refections had remarked very significant glances pass between them, when Mabel, with a sincerity perhaps belonging to her malady, showed her evident dislike to the attentions of Dugdale, though they were not very obtrusive. She gave a very strong proof of her feelings towards him one day when he presumed to refix the rose of her shoe which had got loose; her colour deepened to crimson, her eyes darted fire, and a moment after she threw herself on dame Suky's neck, and burst into a passion of tears; but dame Suky angrily withdrew herself from the energetic embrace of the passionate girl, and menaced her with her look and finger. The spirit-wounded Mabel drew herself up with the dignity of an empress, and, darting a look of anger and contempt on her guardian, she left the room.

It has been remarked that those who suffer under the privation of hearing and speech much oftener give way to violent passion than those who can give their emotions vent in words; certainly the offence committed by Dugdale did not call for such a violent display of resentful feeling as that shown by Mabel; but it was very evident that she disliked him, which became still more apparent in the joy and satisfaction her countenance expressed when, a few days after, he took his departure. Mabel's spirits soon regained their wonted buoyancy, and dame Suky's attentions were as affectionate and unremitting to her dumb ward as they used to be in the lifetime of her mother. Dugdale seemed to be quite forgotten. The summer, with all its usual pleasures, passed away, and winter, with its more domestic ones, brought another spring, when dame Suky announced her intention of taking Mabel to pay her uncle and guardian a visit.

It was many, many months before she came back; her servants were each, with eagerness, expecting her return, when the post-boy's horn announced the unusual event of a letter to the manor-house; it was delivered with all due ceremony into the hands of the old butler, who only read over slowly, "To the worthy Mister Andrew Thornburgh, at the house of the worshipful lady of Hazelwood-manor, near the post town of —," before he paid the carriage of the letter, and ordered a cup of October for the post-boy. He then very deliberately seated himself at the long oak-table, broke the seal of the letter, and, unfolding it, laid it open before him, while he took out his spectacles and carefully wiped them with his handkerchief; then placing them on his nose, began to read, at first with a smiling countenance, then with a look of perplexity; till, to the great amazement of his fellow-servants, who had been always used to his quiet steady habits, he started up, dashed his spectacles on the stones, and crumpling the letter is his hand with a sudden grasp, exclaimed, "God's Wounds!"—the first and last oath that ever he had been heard to utter. The servants, all amazed, crowded round him for an explanation; he could only throw the letter from him with a look of indignation; they picked it up, and amongst them contrived to make out that it came from dame Suky Colthurst to order the house to be set to rights for the reception of her young mistress and her husband, Mr. Richard Dugdale, who was now to be considered as the master of Hazelwood-manor.

The next day brought the new master and his youthful bride; but instead of the light-hearted girl that had so gaily loosened her broidered rein the back of her bounding steed a few months before, Andrew received into his arms a pale, thin, tearful, nervous female, lovely still, though so much subdued, that the heart-stricken old man could scarcely believe that it was his own fair Mabel that he lifted from her horse. The husband, with an air of authority, gave his orders to those about him, and then led his trembling wife, followed by her treacherous guardian, to the hall.

The next day a letter was dispatched to Mabel's uncle, demanding, in the name of her husband, the writings belonging to his niece's estates. The uncle soon arrived. He came to examine into the legality of the claim; it was substantiated; Mabel was now a wife, and likely soon to become a mother. The poor girl had always been enabled, by her expressive countenance and gestures, to make herself well understood by those who would pay attention to her signs. Though no attempt was made to prevent the uncle and niece from being alone together, it was in vain that he tried to draw from her any indications of her having been harshly used; she maintained a dogged, unaltered countenance, until her uncle explained to her that by her father's will she had it in her power still to retain a large portion of her property for the benefit of her expected child; her eyes then, for a moment, gleamed with animation; and, when he produced the parchment that would ensure to her this right, she seized it with avidity, and hastily concealed it in her bosom, casting an alarmed look round the room at the same time, which told a dismal story to the heart of her uncle. He soon after left the manor house, and Mabel was seldom seen by the domestics, except at meal times. Her face always wore a cast of the deepest dejection, except when her husband or his aunt interfered in what more particularly concerned herself; she would then give way to those sudden bursts of anger and resentment which since the death of her parents she had often indulged in; a disposition that had appeared in her childhood, but it was then always checked with such gentleness when it did occur, and such care was taken to avoid awakening it, that it had seldom been roused until after the period mentioned. As she had always been kind and affectionate to those about her, her domestics could not help thinking that she must still be undergoing some secret persecution from her husband and his aunt; but she seemed as careful in avoiding any communication with them as those two worthies were to exclude her from it; sad, though they effectually succeeded in their endeavours here, there was evidently something in which they had been baffled and disconcerted; close conferences, mysterious whisperings, and anxious looks had often been observed between them.

Mabel at length became a mother. It was curious to observe the rapture of nature that beamed in her face as she pressed her infant to her bosom, and yielded to it its natural nourishment; the solicitude with which she watched every movement of the nurse as she bore her precious burden about the room; the troubled anxiety of her look when any other person attempted to touch it; her own delicate and fearful handling of the little innocent, as though she were apprehensive that the fragile fabric would crumble beneath her touch. Never were maternal love and solicitude more strongly shown than in this poor dumb mother; her child seemed her whole life; and, as soon as her strength would allow of it, she would permit no other person to perform the small but never ceasing offices which infancy requires. It appeared that she was now left, free from persecution to the quiet, the blissful enjoyment of her new sensations. She never seemed to take any notice of her husband or his kinswoman, except when they attempted to come near her child; she would then utter those harsh and indistinct, but angry sounds, which are peculiar to the deaf and dumb; and while she held her infant tight with one arm, would extend the other in a semi-circle round it, as if to ward off some noxious touch or meditated blow.

In the dead of the night, the domestics were once alarmed by horrid shrieks from the apartment of their young mistress. They rushed towards the sound, and were met in the narrow passage by Dugdale, who informed them that it had been thought proper to remove the infant from its mother for a short time, as it had shown symptoms of the measles, and their mistress never having had that alarming disorder, her safety depended on a temporary separation; and though it was difficult to make her comprehend the necessity, yet she would, no doubt, be calmer in a little time.

With this account they were obliged to be satisfied, or at least to appear so; but many a mysterious hint and dark innuendo passed between them, that sufficiently showed the state of their thoughts. They were prohibited, nay prevented, from approaching that part of the house where their mistress was now confined; yet they could get near enough to hear the shrieks of maternal agony, unlike any thing human, that came from her apartment. At length they ceased altogether, and her household hoped that complete exhaustion had at length brought her repose. They stole anxiously to listen during the day, and often through the following night, but all seemed still as death in her apartments. They looked horrid surmises at each other. In spite of the new fallen snow which would betray his footsteps, when there was sufficient light for observation, old Andrew stole round to the quadrangular court; and, climbing the yew tree that grew beside the porch, got as far as he could on one of its sturdy arms, till he was enabled, by bending forwards, to look into the window of the turret-chamber, which communicated with Mabel's bed-room, and was used by her as an oratory and sitting apartment. The broad-leaded diamond window-panes and the dark foliage of the yew completely concealed the old man from view. To his infinite satisfaction he discovered his young mistress pacing up and down the room; but she was wringing her hands, and looking up in so pitiful a manner, that it made his heart ache. All at once she darted towards the window, tried the fastenings, then shook the casement impetuously. Andrew was just going to discover himself, when he perceived her husband come behind her, and seize her arm. She shrieked dreadfully on seeing him, and made desperate efforts to disengage herself from his grasp; but he held her fast while he made use of many menacing and significant signs. At length her child was brought before her in the arms of dame Suky Colthurst. At the sight of her infant she struggled more violently than ever; but Dugdale still held her back with an iron grasp, and pointed to the child with a threatening gesture. Mabel, with the hand that was disengaged, drew a parchment from her bosom, to which was attached a pendent seal of lead; and, throwing it with vehemence on the ground, was immediately released from the strong hold of her husband, who eagerly stooped to pick up the deed, while the freed mother rushed towards her child, and, snatching it from the arms of her unworthy guardian, darted out of the room with her recovered treasure.

The brands were blazing brightly in the chimney of the great hall, and the servants were assembled round it just before the close of day, emptying their flagons after supper, and talking of the persecutions their unfortunate mistress was undergoing, when they agreed amongst themselves that the best thing they could do would be to let her uncle know what was going on at the manor house. The snow had been softly falling all the day, and the flaky heaps, lodged on the window sill, covered the first two tiers of panes, showing, as they looked towards them, the hazard, if not utter impossibility, of travelling for some time. It was, however, agreed that, as soon as the snow was hard enough to bear him, Will Jenkins should take Jenny, the dapple mare, and ride to—and tell his story; for all allowed that Will was the best band for telling a story in all the hamlet; and they agreed to say, if he should be inquired for, that he was gone to fetch two young hounds from Squire Wellford's, which, to save their consciences, he agreed to do on his return. They had scarcely settled this point, when Mistress Jones ran into the hall with a perplexed look to inform them that their mistress and her infant were nowhere to be found; all started up in alarm, every part of the house was searched in vain. It was with great difficulty that a way was found from the outer door, as the snow had drifted into the porch, and formed a deep barrier against it: in spite of the inclemency of the weather, every search was made in the vicinity. When the morning dawned, the hapless mother and her infant were discovered about a mile from their home, lying quite dead, and half covered by a drift of snow. The baby, closely muffled in its mother's gown, appeared with open mouth, as if just fallen in sleep from the breast, where drops of milk congealed to icicles were still hanging. The countenances of both mother and child wore the gentlest repose; their last moments must have been free from suffering.

* * * * *

Tradition states that the infamous guardian, and her detestable nephew, never knew a moment's peace in Hazlewood manor after the death of its mistress; mysterious visitings by night, and awful retrospection by day, made their lives a burden. The estates were soon disposed of; they quarrelled, and parted. One of the tenants had a relation who was valet to a nobleman that lived in London; this man, in one of his visits to his kinsfolk, told them that a person named Dugdale was often seen and talked about in the gambling houses in town; and, some years after, this same man sent them a news-letter, in which was mentioned the execution of several of those detestable wretches who by false plots had sworn away so much innocent blood some time before, and amongst them appeared the name of Richard Dugdale. Many years had passed away. The tragedy acted at Hazlewood manor had ceased to occupy the minds of the quiet neighbours, and was only occasionally referred to as circumstances brought it to mind.

One bright summer morning, about the time of Monmouth's rebellion, as Job Trump, the old sexton, went to dig a grave in the little quiet churchyard of the hamlet, he saw under the yew-tree, which was glittering with dewdrops is the rising sun, something lying on the grave of the dumb mother and her infant, which he could not well make out; but, on going nearer, he found that it was a woman, quite dead, old, squalid, and poverty-stricken. The corpse was removed to the church, and amongst the throng of villagers, old and young, who came to look at it, there were several that recognised, by a scar on the left cheek, the mortal remains of dame Suky Colthurst.


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