The Baldwin Lbrary
THROUGH THE WOOD.
THE GHOST OF
i- ---- "-----.
THE CONVERSATION IN THE VERANDA.
Ubomas 1Relson ano Sons,
LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
Whe A'Fap to wrin jSerize.
THE GHOST OF
Robina R-. Marbv,
Author of Trust in God and Do the Rzght Series of Penny Books.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW.
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
SI. PATTY MORRIS AT HOME, ... ... ... ... 9
II. PATTY IN SERVICE, ... ... ... ... 18
III. OLD NURSE'S STORY, ... ... ... ... 26
IV. LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL, ... ... ... 38
V. "TAP! TAP! TAP !" ... ... ... ... 49
VI. FOUND OUT, .... ... 57
THE GHOST OF
PATTY MORRIS AT HOME.
IT was a fine, old-fashioned, capacious
mansion-house, planted deep among wav-
ing forests and wild moorland, far away
from all the noise and bustle of any great
city. Greythorn Manor had more odd
nooks and corners, more crow-stepped
gables and tall chimney-stacks, than any
other house in Leicestershire. Also it
had a history of its own, reaching so far
back into antiquity as to be more like a
10 PATTY MORRIS AT HOME.
fairy tale than anything else; and, as a
matter of course, it had a "real live
ghost "--always on the premises. Not
that this remarkable personage was in-
variably to be met with by any casual
visitor or inquisitive stranger. Certainly
not. What "ghost" of any respectable
standing was likely to submit to such
drudgery ? But if you were to believe
the oft-told stories of cook or butler or
housekeeper at the Manor, you would
know quite well where and when to look
for this particular gentleman-it was a
gentleman-ghost, allow me to remark-
whether in the blue bedroom or the
green one, the unused attic or the long
picture-gallery; whether at midnight, or
early morning, or in the gloaming. For
these functionaries, being by no means
oppressed by overwork, found time to
study this interesting subject closely, and
PATTY MORRIS AT HOME. 11
were quite up to all the ins and outs of it,
as was but natural in the circumstances.
And though none of them could boast of
ever having had a personal introduction
to this distinguished inmate, still they all
talked about him as confidently as if they
were quite "hand and glove" with the
ancient ex-squire of Greythorn Manor,
Sir Wilfred Greythorn of that ilk.
But to return to the Manor-house.
Deep winter snows had carpeted thickly
all the country round for weeks, though it
was only November as yet. And in the
wide forests that waved for miles and
miles all about the Manor, there were
weird shadows cast from the great boles
of oak and elm athwart the cold snowy
pathways. They were not inviting places
for anybody to walk just then, especially
in the long dark evenings which fell so
soon at that time of year. Still the
12 PATTY MORRIS AT HOME.
people about did not mind them very
much, being used to such things all their
lives. And you would have been quite
surprised at little Patty Morris, a slight,
fragile creature of fifteen or so, had you
seen her cheerily threading those dark
mazes on her way home from market,
swinging her basket lightly on her arm
and singing some blithe ballad to herself
for want of other company.
No, Patty did not fear the dark woods
in the least. She knew everybody in the
country for miles around, and everybody
knew her. No one would wish to do her
a bit of harm, she felt sure of that.
You think Patty was a very brave
girl, don't you--that nothing at all
would frighten her, perhaps ? Well, we
shall see as the story goes on.
"Patty," cried her grandmother, as the
girl came bounding up the little path
PATTY MORRIS AT HOME. 13
leading to their cottage, "I have some
grand news for thee, child. What wilt
thou give me for them, I wonder ?"
"Here's a fine bundle of fagots, gran-
nie !" answered Patty merrily. Won't
that be worth all the fine news ? If not,
I'll go back to the woods for some more
before supper-time. But oh, tell me what
it is, gran !"
"Well," said old Dame Morris, "it's
no less than this, Patty. The lady of the
Manor has been here herself, and says she
has heard a deal of thee, child, from
parson and schoolmaster--how thou'rt a
good lass and willing to work, honest and
true as were all t' folk afore thee; and, to
make a long story short, Patty, she is
willing to try thee in the nursery for a
while to see how thee'd get on with the
children-taking them out walks and such
like, and mending their bits of frocks and
14 PATTY MORRIS AT HOME.
pinafores,-just such work as a lady might
envy. My only fear is, Patty, that thee'll
think thyself too grand ever to come near
the old grandfather's cottage again."
Patty Morris was a pretty enough pic-
ture as she stood in the little cottage
kitchen, her eyes opened to their very
widest, her cheeks glowing with excite-
ment, and her lapful of nice dry twigs
and fir-cones falling in confusion on the
floor, unnoticed in this moment of rapture.
Yes; it was good news to the orphan
girl, for she liked ill the feeling of being
dependent on an aged and infirm couple,
who had already stinted themselves of
many comforts to help her and her
brothers on with schooling and other ad-
vantages. If the day ever came when
she could repay all this by making grand-
father and grandmother a bit more com-
fortable in their old age, Patty Morris
PATTY MORRIS AT HOME. 15
felt that she might call herself a very
happy girl. And yet-poor Patty!-there
was a lurking shadow of fear mingling
with her joy; for many a time had she
heard of the old family ghost who some-
times "walked" in one old wing of the
Manor-house, and the thought was by
no means a cheerful one that she might
some night soon listen to that awful visi-
tant, perhaps even see him.
"Grandmother," she began timidly,
after they had thoroughly discussed all
the rest of the prospect-" grandmother,
do you know I'm just a little bit fright-
ened about-about--the-the ghost!"
For Patty thought it might be as well
to learn at least her guardian's views on
this important matter. But the old dame
proved exceedingly deaf on the present
occasion, more so than Patty had ever
16 PATTY MORRIS AT HOME.
"A post?" she said; "ay, indeed a
very good post too And what are you
frightened for, I'd like to know? You're
a handy girl, Patty, though I say it that
maybe shouldn't, and you'll do well
enough if you do your best. So cheer
up, lass, and let me hear no more of fears
Closing the conversation thus abruptly,
the good dame went off upon her own
household concerns, leaving Patty to think
over her future arrangements alone by the
light of a nice blazing fire, the result of
those fagots that she had gathered in the
wood. Patty thought a great deal, and
one conclusion she came to was this,-to
say no more, and if possible to think no
more, about that foolish old ghost-story,
since it would only vex her kind old
grandparents if she showed any unwilling-
ness to go to this fine new situation.
i 7'; '''' ''ii
"-- -,,- '-
iHOPES AND FEARS.
PATTY IN SERVICE.
"You are Patty Morris, I suppose ?"
These were the words of a venerable
lady who confronted Patty in the great
corridor the very next morning after she
had entered on her new situation. Patty,
still very far from feeling at home among
all her splendid surroundings, and natu-
rally shy of speaking to strangers, could
hardly summon up courage to reply. But
she bobbed her best "curtsey" and mur-
mured an inarticulate assent. She knew
well that the haughty-looking old lady,
leaning on an ebony and gold-headed cane,
whose hair was white as silver, and whose
PATTY IN SERVICE. 19
dress showed the richest folds of velvet and
brocade, was no other than Lady Grey-
thorn herself, the mistress of the fine old
Manor-house, and the centre of respectful
admiration to all the surrounding country.
It might well have been doubted at that
moment whether little Patty Morris would
consider the family ghost himself a more
formidable object to meet thus early in
"Yes, yes! you will do very well, I
think," said the old lady as she trotted on
without apparently troubling herself about
the girl's reply. She left Patty much
relieved at finding the conversation was
to be so short.
A few kind words from Lady Ashburn,
however, touched her heart much more.
She was the old lady's daughter, married
to Sir Charles Ashburn, who was at pre-
sent in India, having left his wife and
20 PATTY IN SERVICE.
children to enliven meanwhile the gloom
of the old Manor-house, and cheer the
solitude df the widowed mother and grand-
mother. Lady Ashburn was to be Patty's
own particular mistress, and they were
her children on whom she was to wait.
Lady Ashburn's countenance was sweet
and beautiful; her dress, though both rich
and elegant, had yet a refined simplicity
about it that would have made it appear
suitable in almost any scene.
Come with me, Patty," she said gently,
" and be introduced to your little charges.
They have heard already what a nice
good-natured girl is coming to walk and
to play with them, and they are all im-
patience to see you." *
So saying, she led the way upstairs to
a large day-nursery, full of nice furniture
and handsome toys, where four little
children were playing about merrily to-
....... i ..............
I.,- ) .
ii. j. 1
i I It
I "' I ,
PATTY'S INTRODUCTION TO THE NURSERY.
22 PATTY IN SERVICE.
gether. HIow lovely Patty thought them
with their bright eyes and sunny tresses,
their dainty frocks and sashes, and, above
all, their loving, winning ways. They came
frankly to her at their mamma's desire,
holding out their little hands; and "baby,"
as a chubby four-year-old was still called,
pursed up her rosy lips to be kissed.
Patty had never expected such a flattering
reception, and felt as happy as a queen,
while she tried by every means in her
power to please and interest the children
I shall leave you all to make acquaint-
ance together for a little," said Lady Ash-
burn smiling; "and, nurse, do you come
with me downstairs. I want to consult
you about Wilfred's new suit."
The grave, demure nurse, quite an
elderly woman, followed her mistress
from the room, and the children took
PATTY IN SERVICE. 23
Patty by the hand to introduce her to all
their dolls in succession, and thereafter to
the other toys, of which there seemed an
endless variety. It was Master Wilfred,
the only boy and the eldest of the group,
who acted as showman in this last part of
the programme. There was something
singularly taking about this boy, Patty
thought. He was only ten years old, and
yet a thoughtful gravity far beyond his
age softened and tempered all his merri-
ment. The face was his mother's face,
only more pure and spiritual even than
hers, while in his deep blue eyes an ex-
pression of wistful sadness seemed to alter-
nate with brighter gleams of childish fun
and frolic. Patty could not have explained
all this in words, but she felt that there
was something in this young soul hitherto
quite unknown to her. She was used to
rough, strong young urchins, ready to
24 PATTY IN SERVICE.
hold their own against every rival, and
caring little for any world beyond that of
their own immediate surroundings. In
Wilfred Ashburn, as the time of her
service wore on, she learned to distinguish
a nature strung to highest endeavour, and
yet ever checked by a weak, timorous
distrust of its own powers; a mind eager
to penetrate into mysteries far beyond its
ken, yet ever shrinking back almost in
terror from the phantoms raised by its
Fortunately for Patty, as well as for
themselves, the other children were of a
much more ordinary type. They were
easy to understand, and easy to control.
Geraldine, the eldest girl, was a lively,
romping tomboy of eight, hating nothing
in the world but lessons; Laura was a
soft round butter-ball of a creature, de-
voted to her big wax doll; and Emmeline
PATTY IN SERVICE. 25
or baby, had not quite made up her mind
yet which course to pursue. One way or
other things looked very promising in
Patty Morris's eyes, and she quite made
up her mind to be happy among them.
OLD NURSE'S STORY.
NURSE EVERETT had been for many years
head nurse in the family, first at the
Manor-house, and then passed on to the
succeeding generation in Lady Ashburn's
new home. She was much thought of
and respected in both places; but she was
getting frail and no longer so acute in
her faculties as formerly, while younger
servants under her would often take
advantage of these infirmities to elude
her vigilance and neglect or disobey her
orders. Patty Morris was far too honour-
able a girl to pursue such a course herself
or to encourage it in others. Indeed, she
OLD NURSE'S STORY. 27
loved Nurse Everett so much that she
rather tried by all means to please her
and to save her from extra trouble and
anxiety. The good old nurse was not
slow to discover this, and she took many
occasions of commending her young as-
sistant both to her mistress and in the
presence of the other servants.
Thus it chanced, perhaps, that while
Patty grew in the favour of her superiors,
and was even a favourite with the majority
of her fellow-servants, she was not with-
out some enemies. Two or three girls, par-
ticularly the maid immediately above her
in the nursery, grew jealous of her prefer-
ment, and believed her to be a spy upon
their own conduct, which they were sensible
was not quite what Lady Ashburn believed
it to be.
"I can't bear that low-bred creature,"
said Fanny Blake, one of the housemaids,
28 OLD NURSE'S STORY.
to Christine, the nursemaid just referred
to. I'm sure she watches both me and
you. But I'll serve her out for that be-
fore long. Just come down the avenue a
bit, Christine, and I'll tell you a good plan
as I've hit on."
Christine obeyed the summons, nothing
loath. It was a pleasant evening in June,
and she had reason to suppose they might
meet some of the gamekeepers going about
at that hour, among whom Christine and
Fanny both had their admirers.
Leaving the two conspirators to their
private conversation, however, we must
look back into the nursery, where Patty
Morris was sitting in the window-seat
knitting socks for Master Wilfred, while
Nurse Everett looked over the little girls'
white frocks with a view to having them
My lady likes them all best in blue
_ I s
it 1 -
30 OLD NURSE'S STORY.
sashes and shoes," said nurse in a tone of
great seriousness, as if discussing some
grave theme; "but my own impression
is that Geraldine would come out better
with a touch of crimson on this white em-
broidery. She promises to be a brunette
beauty. The rest are as fair as fair can
be. Lovely children all of them, to be
sure, are they not, Patty ?"
This was a favourite topic with Nurse
Everett; and Patty, being not yet wearied
of it, readily indulged the gentle old nurse
in a discussion regarding the respective
charms of these little ladies and their only
But I do admire Master Wilfred most
of all, nurse," Patty concluded by saying.
" There is something about him so differ-
ent, you know, from any of the little boys
I've ever seen."
"Ah," said nurse solemnly, shaking her
OLD NURSE'S STORY. 31
head, I'm almost frightened to hear you
say that, my child. So many others have
said the very same words before you, and
there being but too good reason to sup-
pose that he should look different, poor
Patty was quite alarmed at the effect
her thoughtless words had produced, and
was at a loss to understand the reason.
"Oh, dear me !" she exclaimed, letting
fall her work. "What is likely to be
wrong with little master? And why do
you look so sad ? I only meant that he
was a deal prettier and gentler than most
other little fellows of his years."
Nurse Everett only shook her head more
mournfully than before, and sighed deeply.
After a pause, however, during which
Patty hardly ventured to breathe, she
I don't mind telling you in confidence,
32 OLD NURSE'S STORY.
Patty, as you seem a sensible and trust-
worthy girl, that there is a strange tradi-
tion regarding this house and its heirs.
Will you keep it to yourself, and never
name it to Master Wilfred, if I tell
Patty promised the deepest secrecy.
Well," said the old nurse, laying down
her work and preparing for a talk, which,
to say truth, was rather a weakness of
hers,-" well, you must know, Patty, that
Sir Wilbraham Greythorn of that ilk was
the very first founder of this house of whom
we have any authentic record. Not much
is known about him, but it is said that he
was a violent and bloodthirsty man, de-
lighting in wars and feuds, revenge and
rapine. Perhaps, poor man, he was not
so bad as he is called. That's the way
with many a one in this wicked world,
Patty; but so the story goes."
OLD NURSE'S STORY. 33
"Dear me," said Patty in an interested
tone; "how very sad !"
Sir Wilbraham was mortally wounded
by Sir Hubert of the Lake, a rival of his,"
continued nurse; "and in his dying mo-
ments a monk was sent for to shrive him
-that is, to hear his confession, and pre-
pare him for his solemn change. But it's
little indeed, Patty, that any man, monk,
priest, or what not, can do for you at such
a time if your own mind isn't turned to
Patty meekly assented. She had in-
deed been' often taught the same truth by
her good grandparents.
Well, Sir Wilbraham, having his mind
apparently set on worldly things still, said
to the monk that, though he had been a
wild and lawless man, and repented him
of many deeds, still he had no wish that
any descendant of his should ever show
84 OLD NURSE'S STORY.
a less bold and warlike spirit than his
"' Blessed are the peacemakers,' began
the monk in Latin; but Sir Wilbraham
silenced him with a torrent of angry words.
"' I tell thee, monk, that if ever, while
Greythorn Manor stands one stone upon
another, son of mine shows soft and gentle
womanish looks and ways about him, I
will come back-back from the grave-to
rid the land of such a weakling. I will
ask leave from him whom I serve' (here, it
is said, the good monk crossed himself, for
he feared Sir Wilbraham spoke of the Evil
One) 'to smite him with plague or fire or
sword, so that he may speedily leave his
room to a man better and braver than he.'
And having said this the knight fell back
dead, and the monk fled in haste, leaving
his servants to bury their master in the
greenwood where he had fallen."
OLD NURSE'S STORY. 35
Nurse Everett paused, and Patty, deeply
interested in this story, let her thoughts
wander back to all the strange ghost-stories
she had heard concerning the old Manor-
"Oh, is his the ghost that walks some-
times?" she asked in an awe-struck whisper.
"What a dreadful man he must have been!"
"I'm coming to that bit presently,
Patty," said Nurse Everett in rather an
injured tone. "Don't you be in too great
a hurry. You see, ever since that day, at
least so the story goes, every Greythorn
that has been quiet and peaceable in his
disposition has died before his time-died
either infant, boy, or stripling-while every
noisy, rackety, quarrelsome one has lived
to be old. There was my old master,
Patty, Sir Lionel, who died only a year
after he was married, and left our old lady
that you see now, his widow, with a new-
36 OLD NURSE'S STORY.
born baby., That is my Lady Ashburn
now, you know. Well, he was as gentle
and mild as a lamb. Then before him
there was Sir Roger, his father, who was
a regular thunder-storm, it is well known,
and would keep all the bells in the Manor-
house ringing like mad if dinner wasn't up
in time; and he lived to ninety-six. So it
does look as if there was some truth in the
Patty sighed. Was it indeed true, she
wondered, that the gentle, sweet boy who
had attracted her so much was doomed to
die in his early youth, and just because he
was so good and mild ? It seemed hardly
right to believe such legends; yet surely
Nurse Everett was a good and sensible
But Master Wilfred seems pretty
strong as yet," she ventured to say.
Nurse Everett shook her head.
OLD NURSE'S STORY. 37
He is not strong, Patty, I can tell you
that. And more than that: since he came
to Greythorn Manor some of the servants
say the ghost has been heard walking."
Nurse lowered her tone as she said these
awful words, and poor Patty shuddered.
Oh, you don't mean to say you have
heard him," she whispered.
My hearing is very dull nowadays,
child. I don't say I've heard it; but I've
been told of it by younger and sharper
folks, and I almost believe it, You see,
the old saying always was that when a
Greythorn was about to die young then
the ghost walked. 'Tap, tap, tap,' they
always heard him, just as my lady herself
goes tapping the ground with her gold-
headed cane. Heaven forbid that I should
ever hear it! And if you ever do, Patty,
be sure he has come to call Master Wil-
LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL.
NURSE EVERETT'S strange story sank deep
into the heart of Patty Morris. She could
scarcely believe it true, and yet the un-
comfortable feeling that there might be
some foundation for it weighed on her
mind -more than she wished, it to do. She
often found herself listening for that im-
aginary footfall overhead, and even start-
ing at some chance creaking of door or
window-sash. Many a time, of course, it
would be all forgotten while she romped
merrily with little Geraldine and Laura
among the tall buttercups and white daisies
in the park, or in the day-nursery with its
LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL. 39
stud of rocking-horses and its wonderful
dolls' house. And she would even forget
it while Wilfred recited his various pieces
to her, which he was very fond of doing,
or got her to tell him fairy tales and coun-
try traditions. He was a very intelligent
boy, thoughtful beyond his years, and
always made the conversation round the
nursery-table and fireside as interesting as
was possible for any one so young. These
times were all very happy times for Patty;
but there were other solitary hours, when
the children were in bed, perhaps, or out
driving with their grandmother, during
which she was left to think over the
darker legend while her fingers kept busy
at fine stitching or knitted sock.
One such quiet hour Patty was spend-
ing in wandering alone all round the old
Manor-house-counting its many windows
-wondering at its odd nooks and angles.
40 LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL.
It was a soft, quiet sunset, bright with
golden gleams falling on the tinted autumn
leaves and on the ivy-covered turrets-on
the long green meadows and the distant
You are looking at our queer old house,
I see, Patty," said a pleasant voice from a
low French window looking out on the
It was Lady Ashburn who spoke.
Patty started, but answered at once
that the children were with their grand-
mamma, and she had just taken a stroll to
enjoy the fine evening and see some other
parts of the great house.
Lady Ashburn liked the girl's simple,
natural manner, and her evident refinement
of feeling and character. The window at
which the lady sat was, in fact, one of
those glass doors which open directly on
to the ground outside. In this case it
LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL. 41
opened on to a little veranda with stone
steps leading to it from the lawn. Lady
Ashburn left her place in the window, and
stepped out to the veranda. She told
Patty to seat herself on the steps for a
few minutes, while she herself took a low
garden chair nestled among drooping
clematis and fragrant jasmine. It was a
favourite seat of Lady Ashburn's.
"And now, Patty," she said kindly,
"tell me what you think of the old house,
and how you like it."
"I like it very much, my lady, and am
much happier than I ever thought I could
be away from -home. Everybody is so
kind here, and the children are such dear
"I am very glad you think so, Patty;
and I hope my children will always be
kind and nice to you, and that you will
remain with them a long time. And now
42 LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL.
tell me do you think it is so much nicer
to live in a great house like this than in
that pretty little cottage of your good old
grandmother's; for, you know, I think I.
could be happier in such a cottage, though,
like you, I am very content where I am."
I would rather have my home in a
cottage like grandmother's," said Patty
after thinking awhile. "There is nothing
to be frightened about in a cottage, you
know." The words had slipped out almost
before she knew what she was saying;
and Patty was rather taken aback when
she saw Lady Ashburn give a quick in-
quiring look, and then laugh in rather a
forced manner. She coloured deeply at
"I think I know what you mean, Patty,
for you looked up at the old knight's tower
as you spoke," said Lady Ashburn gently.
"I fear some of the servants have been
LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL. 43
telling you that foolish story about my
ancestor Sir Wilbraham. Is it not so ?"
Patty blushed more deeply, but also
smiled brightly, for she felt thankful that
Lady Ashburn had herself mentioned the
thing. Like all dark objects of terror, it
already began to lose its power now that
it was brought into the light.
Which of the servants told you, Patty?
I am always so afraid of them putting
foolish fears into my children's minds that
I am indeed very strict regarding this
Poor Patty felt in an ugly scrape this
time. She had not the heart to accuse
her good, kind friend Nurse Everett.
Fortunately the legend of the ghost of
Greythorn Manor was one so far familiar
to her from childhood.
It is quite a common story, my lady,
with all the folks about the place. I have
44 LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL.
often heard about it from one and another,
and I have so wished to ask you if it is
true, for I can't help feeling a sort of fear
about it sometimes, though I try very hard
Patty," said Lady Ashburn gravely,
"you have lost dear friends. Your father
and mother, I think, are both dead ?"
Patty bent her head in answer.
"And do you think that if you could
meet their spirits some day here on earth
they would wish to harm you ? Would
you fear to meet them ? "
Oh no, no !" sobbed Patty, to whom
the memory of her parents was very dear;
"they would not wish to harm any one.
I should feel strange, I think, but.not
Quite right. And do you think that
the good heavenly Father who has us all
in his holy keeping, alike the living and
LADY ASHBURN S COUNSEL. 45
the dead, would suffer them or the souls
of any of his servants to come back to
their earthly abode merely to walk about
in an aimless, foolish manner, and to make
strange noises-tapping with a stick, for
instance-just that they might terrify a
few weak women and children? Can you
suppose they would leave their happy
places in heaven for such a poor amuse-
"No, no, indeed! I never thought of
that," said Patty, with a long sigh of
Lady Ashburn continued,-
"It is said, however, that my poor
ancestor was of an angry and vindictive
nature. It may have been so, though I
do think there is no clear evidence of it.
He was merely a warlike man, living in
fierce and troublous times, with probably
enough to do to keep his own life and
46 LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL.
lands safe from surrounding enemies. I
am quite sure he never thought of de-
scendants so far down the family tree as
we are. However, we shall suppose all the
legends about his ferocity perfectly true.
What then ? Is he not still a spirit obed-
ient to God's will, kept by his hand some-
where in his wide universe ? And do you
think he would be suffered to come and
tease any one in the childish way he has
been accused of doing it? No; I feel
sure that even a wicked spirit, once really
alive to the greatness of eternity and its
solemn realities, would for ever soorn any
such miserable folly. Don't you think
with me, Patty, on this question ?"
Patty raised her eyes to Lady Ash-
burn's face, bright with some happy
Oh, I am so glad you have said all
this," she exclaimed. I feel as if I never
LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL. 47
could be frightened about it again-never
"Then I am glad I spoke," said Lady
Ashburn; "and I will tell you why. I was
resolved to do so some day, Patty, because
you, who will be so much with my children,
must have a great deal of influence over
their thoughts and feelings; and I cannot
tell you how anxious I am that it should
be an influence for good, both as regards
this foolish legend and everything else. I
am not much afraid of Geraldine and
Laura. They are merry-hearted, thought-
less little creatures, and would tell in a
minute whatever happened to trouble
them in mind or body. But Wilfred, my
delicate, nervous, sensitive boy, you see
how highly strung and enthusiastic, how
fanciful and impressionable he is. Any
such idea once implanted in his mind
would, I am certain, be brooded over by
48 LADY ASHBURN'S COUNSEL.
him in secret, would be cherished even to
the danger of his health; never told to
any of us ,probably till it was too late to
banish the thought from his fancy. Patty,
I entreat you, as you value my regard,
never to encourage any such fear among
my children, especially in Wilfred. May
I trust you ?"
"Oh yes, yes, dear lady," said Patty
earnestly; "indeed you may! I will be
brave for their sakes. I promise to do all
I can to put this foolish fear out of my
own head, and out of everybody's whom I
have any say with."
Good-night then, Patty; I hear nurse
calling you," said Lady Ashburn.
"TAP' TAP! TAP!"
ONLY a few days later there was a con-
siderable stir going on in Greythorn
Manor. Letters and telegrams from India
had informed Lady Ashburn that if she
would be at Southampton by a certain
date she would have the joy of meeting
once more that dear husband from whom
she had been separated nearly two years.
The delight of the whole family circle was
great at this unexpected and pleasing in-
telligence. Old Lady Greythorn at once
decided to go up to London herself, so as
to enjoy her son's company a little longer
than she could otherwise expect to do, for
50 TAP, TAP, TAP.
duty would compel him to remain in the
metropolis most of the summer. A few
days at the old Manor-house, and then he
would be off to headquarters.
Therefore it was decreed to open their
town mansion at once, and some of the
servants were despatched to Hyde Park
Lane without further delay to make ready
for the reception of the family. Among
these were Patty's two enemies, Fanny
Blake and Christine. They were quite
in a flutter at the brilliant prospect be-
fore them, and yet for some unexplained
reason they seemed sometimes to regret
I could have wished for a week longer
here," said Fanny Blake.
"Oh, well, you know, we've made our
arrangements," answered the other. "Dick
won't forget what I've told him, though
he is such a stupid, and we can just fancy
TAP, TAP, TAP. 51
how our little trick is succeeding. I do
wish I could have seen it though."
Lady Ashburn determined to take with
her only little Emmeline, or baby, with
Christine to wait on her, while the other
children were left in the meantime under
the charge of Nurse Everett, assisted by
When the carriages had rolled off, and
the bustle of departure had died away,
Greythorn Manor looked quieter and more
gloomy than it had ever been known to
do. The few remaining servants felt as
if life had suddenly come to a standstill;
while even Geraldine and Laura, bereft of
mamma and baby, had not heart for any-
thing more noisy than a doll or a story-
book. But when a week had passed
things were worse still. Nurse Everett
was shaking her head more dolefully than
ever one evening when Patty re-entered
52 TAP, TAP, TAP.
the day-nqrsery after seeing the children
safely in bed.
"Patty,'" said Nurse Everett solemnly,
"have you heard it ?"
"No," said Patty, smiling cheerfully.
"You don't mean the ghost, do you ?"
"Hush !" said the old woman angrily;
"don't be silly. Listen! there it is again."
Patty listened, and sure enough, from
the direction of the attic just above them
which communicated with the old apart-
ments of the Manor-house, a distinct sound
as of tapping was heard.
Tap tap tap !" said Nurse Everett.
"That's it, that's his stick his gold-
headed cane that he always carries. Re-
member what I told you, Patty, and what
he has come for."
Patty Morris could hardly refrain from
laughing, for she felt strong in the recol-
lection of all that Lady Ashburn had said
TAP, TAP, TAP. 53
on this subject, but she tried not to wound
the feelings of the kind old nurse.
I think it is more like click, click,
click !" she said cheerily; "just like some
clock or sewing-machine or something.
Perhaps a bat or an owl may have got
in at the window. Shall I go and see,
But Nurse Everett would not hear of so
rash a proceeding, and indeed at that
moment they were both startled by a
very real apparition. It was nothing less
than the white scared face of Master Wil-
fred himself, the supposed object of old
Sir Wilbraham's visit.
0 nurse-Patty !" said the child in a
low frightened whisper, "do you hear
that strange noise again ? I have heard
it twice. I think-I think-it must be-
what they said!"
The child's hands were blue and trem-
54 TAP, TAP, TAP.
bling, his eyes were dilated with nervous
terror. Even Nurse Everett roused her-
self to put an end to this dangerous
"What is all this, Master Wilfred'?
Who told you anything about noises in
the garret ? Why, that is nothing to be
afraid of-just-just the wind-or some-
"Sit down here, Master Wilfred," said
Patty, drawing a chair near the fire for
him, "and tell us what frightens you.
We are all quite safe and happy, I am
sure; and just think how your papa will
be home this evening, and be coming
down to Greythorn in another day or two.
How we shall all be running to the win-
dow to see him arrive !"
Wilfred seemed comforted by these
brighter reflections. Still he was troubled
in mind and ill at ease. By-and-by he
TAP, TAP, TAP. 55
let out that he had overheard Fanny and
Christine talking together about a ghost,
saying that he would be heard walking
some day soon, and that that would mean
somethingabout himself; butWilfred either
would not or could not tell what. Patty
felt pretty sure that the poor nervous boy
had heard the whole foolish tale.
It was "eerie enough sitting there in
the deepening twilight, while the old house
grew ever more sombre, and Nurse Ever-
ett looked almost like a ghost herself. But
Patty set herself bravely to combat these
fears-her own and nurse's and little Wil-
fred's. She talked cheerily and brightly
on everything she could think of to in-
terest them, and in her own heart she
remembered with thankfulness her dear
lady's counsel. Tap, tap, tap," or click,
click, click"-on it went, however, now and
again stopping, now and again beginning.
56 TAP, TAP, TAP.
"I shall ask John the coachman to go
up and see if the windows are shut in the
garret," said Patty briskly, jumping to
her feet. "You know we can't sleep if
that old rickety-tick thing is to go on."
But Nurse Everett would hear of no
such rude interruption of old Sir Wilbra-
ham's performances. She gave no reasons,
but positively forbade Patty to move, and
as soon as possible got Wilfred back to
bed, and put things in order for the night.
PATTY MORRIS could not sleep that night.
She was not afraid, only anxious, chiefly
on little Wilfred's account. About mid-
night she heard him moving restlessly and
moaning to himself. She rose and went
to him at once.
Patty," he said in a whisper, "he
is there again! I have heard him over
and over again. Are you not afraid of
"No, indeed, I am not," said. Patty
stoutly; "and it is not any he or him at
all. You mustn't think that, Master
58 FOUND OUT.
Wilfred hid his white face among the
pillows and moaned bitterly.
You are a girl, and not frightened," he
said; and I-I am the son of brave men,
and I-I am frightened-I am a coward.
It is hateful-I can't bear it."
"It is only because you are not strong
yet, Master Wilfred. When you grow
big and strong you will be brave, I am
quite sure. And even now you will try
to be, won't you ?"
"I would like to-oh, so much," said
the poor boy, bitterly humiliated in his
own eyes. "But-but, you know, he has
come to call me away," he added in a
"I don't believe a word of it," said
Patty quietly. "We are all in God's
good keeping, you know, and so safe. He
won't let anybody or anything hurt us,
Master Wilfred, if we trust in Him."
FOUND OUT. 59
"Yes-but then-that strange noise,
Patty," said Wilfred doubtfully.
I'll tell you what, Master Wilfred,"
said Patty with sudden determination,
fearing that the child would work himself
into a fever or injure his mind by this
unwholesome fear, I'm going right away
up now to the garrets to see whatever
that thing is. I'll take this lantern with
me. Now, do you want to be a brave
boy, like the son of so many brave men ?
Will you take my hand and come with
me ? Do; you will feel so much happier
after it, I know."
The boy sprang up joyfully. Patty
carefully wrapped him in some warm
clothing, and lighting her lantern, took his
still trembling hand. They had reached
the long winding stone stair leading to
the turrets overhead when he drew back,
saying in a whisper, If-if he is there."
60 FOUND OUT.
Our heavenly Father is there, dear,"
answered Patty. "He is there and here
and everywhere. We are quite safe.
Will you be brave and come ?"
Again Wilfred mustered courage and
went on. Patty's heart beat quickly as
she thought of the silent house and the
midnight hour; but she stilled its throb-
bing by a mighty effort, and with some
words of prayer in her heart, and some
words of cheer on her lips for the boy,
stepped boldly on.
It was an empty garret they entered.
All was silent, dark, deserted. The lan-
tern threw its gleam here and there in all
directions. Only some odd bits of lumber
were to be seen. Suddenly as they stood
and listened they heard, not without
alarm, that strange "tap, tap, tap," or
"click, click, click," more like the latter
this time certainly. It came from one
S i i I
THE GHOST DISCOVERED.
62 FOUND OUT.
dark corner. For a moment both stood
speechless, but neither thought of flight.
Wilfred had found his courage at last.
Presently Patty darted to the corner in
question and seized a chain that was sus-
pended between the window and some
unknown object below it.
I have it! I have it!" she cried; "it's
the old jack "
The noise stopped the moment she
touched the chain, and Patty dragged for-
ward into the light an old battered brass
roasting-jack, one of the old-fashioned kind
that went clockwise, being wound up from
time to time, and continuing to go with a
clicking sound for some hours without
Patty clapped her hands and laughed
"Why, here's the ghost of Greythorn
Manor !" she cried. To think of it being
FOUND OUT. 63
only the old jack after all-the jack I've
heard my grandmother tell of. When she
was a girl she used to watch it down in
the kitchen here."
In time all was discovered. Dick the
stable-boy had been bribed by Fanny and
Christine to wind up the old Jack as a
means of terrifying Patty, not considering
how much evil they might do by such a
A bright breezy morning had just scat.
tered away all the shadows of that miser-
able night at Greythorn Manor, when a
carriage drove to the door with Sir Charles
Ashburn and his lady, who had travelled
most of the night, that the father might
see his children with as little delay as
It was a joyful meeting. And how
thankful Wilfred was that, though he had
his story of fear and cowardice to confess,
64 FOUND OUT.
he could also tell his mother how, with
Patty's aid, he had so far overcome his
foolish terror as to turn and face this
Lady Ashburn was deeply thankful for
this. And never again did Wilfred show
the white feather" in any respect. He
grew up in time a brave and strong man,
and never forgot his early friend and
guide, Patty Morris.
Fanny and Christine were dismissed at
once. They lived to regret the cruelty
and folly of which they had been guilty,
and from Patty at least they readily
"Indeed," said Patty to them, "I do
think God has brought good out of evil,
for neither Master Wilfred nor I would
ever have overcome our cowardice if we
had not tried to face THE GHOST OF GREY-
a3 h 9 "51