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less on that account. Whatever be the reason, the current superstition was, that the originals of some of the portraits which adorned the walls of this large hall continued to inhabit the castle, to the exclusion of its present lawful possessors; and an extremely savage-looking Sclavonian warrior, with a battle-axe in his hand, and what seemed to be some sort of drum at his feet, was the most generally acknowledged spectre. Why he was chosen, I know not, except that the favourite sound of the ghostly occupant was said to be the rattle of a drum, or rather a thing like a tom-tom, which in those early days was one of the musical instruments of these barbarians. I confess, at the moment I was thinking very little about my husband's restless ancestors; my thoughts were back in my own dear little room at home-that room in which I am now writing this; and I would have embraced the knees of the most disreputable of spectres who should at that moment have pounced upon me from any of the surrounding pictures, and in the twinkling of an eye have landed me on the door-steps of the paternal mansion. So I turned a deaf ear to Olga's patter about goblins, and gazed vacantly at the gaunt figures in armour, and the gloomy groined roof overhead, and the faded tapestry and ill-drawn portraits. I saw that a massive staircase led to regions overhead, as yet unexplored, and I perceived that it was really true that we were not going to sleep in the castle. Still we seemed to be going partially to inhabit it, for a rather dark passage led from the hall into a really charming drawing-room, where the air had been warmed, and the temperature was agreeable. It was furnished in the most modern Parisian style, and from one window a view was obtained of a straggling cottage or two of the village, the greater part of which was concealed by the wood. That window was quite a consolation to me for the moment, and altogether the room looked habit

able and light, and I felt my spirits rising again. A small dining-room opened off the drawing-room, but on festive occasions the large hall I have already described was used. Beyond the small dining-room there was a billiard-room. A passage led from the drawing-room to a glass door, upon opening which we emerged upon a bridge which crossed the moat, but which was covered in partly with glass and partly with planking. This led into a detached cottage, consisting of nothing but bedrooms. The fact that the castle itself was of immense dimensions, and contained any amount of accommodation, and that the family had nevertheless been positively driven out of it by ghosts, and obliged to build a cottage to sleep in, was the most practical evidence I could have desired that, whatever might be the foundation of the belief, it existed pretty strongly. I have been obliged, for reasons which will presently appear, to be thus particular in describing the plan of the castle, and of the principal rooms in it.

The cottage was decidedly an improvement on the gloomy structure we had left. Whereas the castle was surrounded on three sides by dense black pine forest, the trees of which overhung the moat, and almost shot their branches into the upper windows, the view from the cottage windows presented the strangest contrast from my bedroom window: not a tree bigger than a rose-bush was visible anywhere; a neglected flower-garden was bounded by a sunk fence, to which it descended in a gentle slope, and beyond that nothing but grass, with here and there a field of Indian-corn or wheat stubble; still, with the bright sun setting upon it, there was something comforting in its very grandeur and expanse. I seemed to breathe again after having been nearly stifled in the castle. The dungeon-feeling was going off, and a momentary sensation of butterfly seemed to thrill through me. Two peasant women

were returning from work to the village, and as I opened the window I heard them sing. Decidedly I should visit the poor of the parish to-morrow. I would find out an old serf "bad with the rheumatiz, my lady," and take him "Rhus." Then I looked at the women as they walked away, and wondered if I wanted to sell them how I should have to set about it-whether they were fixtures on the land, or if I could let them; and then I thought it would be more philanthropic to hire anybody I saw belonging to a neighbour that seemed unhappy, and that led me to think of neighbours, and I asked Olga who our neighbours were, and how far off they lived. She told me the nearest lived seventeen miles off, but that he was a horrid man, who had illtreated his wife till she died, and he now lived there alone; and the next nearest was a lady, who had been married and divorced a great many times, and finally got tired of going through the ceremony, but who did not the less prefer the society of gentlemen to that of ladies. Then there was an old lady who lived by herself, twenty-four miles off; and a charming family thirty miles off, whose acquaintance I made some years after. All this was discouraging, and I ceased to be a butterfly again. The growling and grumbling of my English maid, who ever since her arrival in Russia had, for some reason known only to herself, pertinaciously refused to have her tea made in a samovar, and who now said that when I engaged her to accompany me to Russia I should have mentioned that "the family was inhabited with ghosts," did not improve my frame of mind; and when she gave me warning, and announced her intention to go, and I thought how difficult it had been to come, I told her with a malicious satisfaction that I should be the least obstacle she would have to encounter in carrying out her design of returning to her native land; on which, feeling the impossibility of putting her threat into execu

tion, she retorted that it was my fault if I had made her " an Elisabeth, or Exile in Siberia," and burst into a violent paroxysm of tears.

Fortunately the ills of life do not assume large dimensions at eighteen, and in a few days I had quite recovered my wonted spirits. I had explored every nook and corner of the old castle in the boldest and most sacrilegious way. I had opened rooms supposed to be exclusively inhabited by ghosts. I had been stifled with clouds of dust in the course of my investigations. I had taken the skin off my fingers trying to turn gigantic keys in impossible locks, and Olga had kept at a respectable distance behind me, and uttered a little scream every time I had broken into a new room. As to the old steward, he was as much scandalised at the exploratory tendencies of the mistress as at the fine airs of the maid: while I was scrambling up rickety_ladders in spite of all warning about the dangers of their breaking, she was insisting upon hot-water bottles for her feet. To my intense delight, I discovered two very sociable greyhounds at the bailiff's; and as horse-breeding was part of the farm operations, I had no difficulty in getting a new mount every day until I was satisfied; and then how Olga and I used to fly across the country after hares, and how fond the dogs and the horses and the riders all got of each other at last! Then I made acquaintance with the whole population of the village, and though I could not exchange an idea with one of them, I found plenty to do; and I was beginning to forget all about the ghosts, when one night, just as I was going to sleep, in flounces " Elisabeth, or the Exile," gives two violent gasps, and faints dead away by the side of my bed. Not being at all of a nervous temperament myself, I don't generally make allowances for persons addicted to hysteria ; but there was not the slightest doubt about the genuineness of Elisabeth's present condition, and


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at least half an hour elapsed before, by dint of violent remedies, I succeeded in restoring consciousness. Not that I gained much, for no sooner did she "come to"-to use her own expression-than she shut her eyes and "went off" again. This she did three times, and then her anxiety to tell me the story overcame every other consideration, and she sat up, took rather a long sip of sal-volatile and commenced. I should premise that I had allowed Elisabeth-who, by the way, never permitted either me or anybody else to call her anything but Phillips, and whose Christian name was Jane-to sit and work in a sort of little boudoir that opened off the billiard-room, in order that she might not mix with the other servants, who, she said, were not sympatica" to her she had spent a winter in Rome with a lady before coming to me. "So," says Phillips, "knowing, my lady, that you would want your riding-'abit the first thing in the morning, and that I should have to let a whole new bit in, in consequence of your ladyship's always tearing, your abit exactly in the same place-leastways three mornings running-I hanticipated rather a long job, and so I determined to set about it at once; and your ladyship may imagine the 'orror I conceived when I found, on reaching my apartment after undressing of your ladyship, that I had left my needle-book and thimble, and hother working materials, in my morning boodwar. Well, my lady, I was in a great many minds before I could summing up courage to go into that dreadful castle at this time of night; and it was not without awful trembling - and I may say even haspen-like shakings-that I 'urried along the glass passage across the moat, a-shading of the candle with my 'and. When I opened the door into the billiardroom there come a gust of wind that almost extinguished my light; and I got so frightened that I turned back again as far as the

passage, and there I stopped to take breath, and that gave me time to think of your ladyship's displeasure if I did not get the 'abit ready, and so I gently opened the door again and listened,-but, as Mr Munckting Mills beautifully observes, 'the beating of my own 'art was the honly sound I 'eard,' leastways at that moment, my lady. A moment after, I tripped over a billiard-cue which was prostrated, -and, oh! what another start that give me. I felt as if I was made up of electrical wires and was keeping on having shocks from everything I touched-being continually and perpetually expecting of ghosts made me almost feel as if I was somebody else, especially when the light made my own 'orrid shadow stand up on the wall all of a sudding, right opposite to me. Well, my lady, I was shaking so when Í got 'old of my working materials that I run the needles into my fingers without caring, and was running away, feeling always that somebody might be close behind me in the dark for all I knew to the contrairy, when of a sudden, as I got into the passage leading from the great hall to the billiardroom-oh, my lady!Phillips began again to tremble so violently that I poured out some more sal-volatile; and, in order to encourage her, as I administered it, said, "Well, my good Phillips, what did you see?" "Oh, nothing, my lady; nothing visible could ever make such awful sounds; and it was right in my ear, not an inch off, as I am a living woman. Just as I come out of the billiard-room off it went with a bang, exactly like the militia."


"Well, but off what went? could you see nothing?'


Why, first, I never looked; and, second, it was too dark if I had; it was just at the corner where the passage turns to the glass door; but, oh, it was SO loud, I wonder you did not hear it here; it were like a number of little pistols going off quick as


light, one after the other. Coming on me of a sudding, and me feeling as I was, and being wound up to the 'ighest pitch at any rate, I gave a scream and a jump, my lady, as I shall never know how many feet in the air; and I never stopped screaming and running with occasional jumps, and once I fell down, till I came to your ladyship's bedside, where here I shall remain and never again to move. O dear, O dear!" and Phillips went off into a fit of incoherent lamentation and much sobbing, in the course of which I induced her to get upon the couch, where she finally cried herself to sleep. I was excessively annoyed. In the first place, Phillips was full enough of fancies without silly practical jokes being played upon her to increase them; and, in the second, she was sufficiently difficult to please without making Russia more intolerable to her than it already was. spake the sensible, practical Englishwoman; but in so speaking I am bound to say she was not telling the real truth. I felt I was deceiving myself. I knew well enough it was no trick of the servants to frighten my maid. There was not a servant in the place who would venture into the castle after we had left the drawing-room. Moreover, had not the very owner, to say nothing of the bailiff, been frightened out of the place years ago, and gone to the expense of building bedrooms? Again, what Phillips said about the nature of the sounds was consistent with general report; it was said they were so loud sometimes that there was not a servant in the place who had not heard them. So much so, that on certain nights of the week the villagers used timidly to approach the castle, and listen; and then, the moment the noises broke out, would run away terrified. The day most patronised by the ghosts, I had heard, was Saturday; but whether our presence had kept them unusually quiet, or whether I was always too sound asleep at the

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interesting moment to hear them, I know not; but my curiosity was at last violently excited, and my temper somewhat roused: so I determined, coute qui coute, to get to the bottom of the mystery, and having arrived at this decision irrevocably in my own mind, I turned round, and went peaceably to sleep. My first injunction to Phillips on the following morning was, that she should not breathe a word of her experience which I affected to treat lighty-to the Countess Olga or any other soul; my second, that she should bring my riding-habit torn as it was, as I thought a day with the greyhounds would not be a bad preparation for a night with the ghosts. Fortune favoured my plans, for it so happened that Olga went to bed early with a headache, and left me reading alone in the drawing - room. When the servants came to take away the tea, I told them they might go to bed; and, putting a small reading-lamp by my side, I determined to meet the ghost single-handed. Although I attempted to read while awaiting his arrival, I must confess that I found it impossible to fix my attention-my hearing seemed to have become preternaturally acute, and I had strung my nerves up to a pitch which was perhaps a little beyond what they could bear. It must be admitted, that for a girl to sit quite alone in a castle so notoriously haunted that no man had ventured into it at night, either alone or in company, for years, for the express purpose of waiting for the ghosts to appear, was a very fair test of courage; and I do not think that I incur the charge of timidity because my heart did beat more rapidly than usual on this occasion, and I was aware of a dampness on the forehead, accompanied by that description of chill known as gooseskin, although the room was uncomfortably warm. At last, after a silence of two hours, so oppressive that I almost longed for the ghost, I thought I had done enough for one night, and had fairly earned

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my bed. It was not to be expected by the most exigeant spectre that I should sit up for him till daylight; and I took up the lamp to go. At the very last moment, however, I was irresistibly impelled to take a look into the Great Hall. I felt I was shrinking from a conscientious discharge of my duty if I left this part of it unfulfilled. So, very much in the same frame of mind as Phillips when she went to her "boodwar, I marched towards the door of the hall. I opened it very silently, partly because I was afraid of the sounds I made myself, and partly because I wanted, if there was a ghost, to see him without his seeing me, though, as I had the light, a moment's reflection would have shown me that would be impossible. I walked straight into the middle of the hall, and turned the light boldly upon all the pictures and tapestry. Everything was still and silent as the grave. I then kept the light fixed upon the other entrance, so that nobody should come in without my seeing it, and walked towards some of the figures in armour to look if anybody was concealed behind them. I had just satisfactorily settled this point when I suddenly heard a deep sigh. My heart seemed to jump at once into my mouth, and I felt as if I should choke; but I put my back against the wall, so as not to be taken unawares, and listened, but not for long. In another moment a long, deep, heavy sigh-so long, so deep, so full of misery, that it almost amounted to a moan; but there was no intonation in it. It was like a stage whisper-so clear, and yet without any other kind of sound than that made by wind.

It seemed very near me, almost at my ear; so near that I turned suddenly round. I found myself actually leaning against the Sclavonian warrior with the battle-axe and the drum. My flesh was now beginning to creep, I felt my hair positively rising, and I wanted to run away, but was afraid to leave

the wall against which I had placed my back, for it seemed a sort of protection. Again a long deep sigh, then another. There is something abominable in sighs. They seem a sort of sound that it does not require a regular body to make. A pair of lungs is all that is necessary to sigh with; a mouth is quite superfluous. One might sigh through a hole in one's throat, or without a head at all for the matter of that. Then there was a sort of catch in one of the sighs that was particularly disagreeable, as if the ghost had been interrupted in his misery, and then it had been suddenly very much increased. I was still hesitating what to do, when the stillness which had succeeded the last sigh was followed by a muffled sound of beating or thumping, very low and regular, and seeming to echo all round the room, but to come from no particular part of it. As it grew louder my fears rose to such a pitch that all my resolution vanished. I rushed at the door leading to the drawing-room, which I banged after me, but failed to shut out the sound which seemed to pursue me through the drawing-room and along the glass passage, with its increasing volume still ringing in my ears. Into bed, dressed, and just as I was, and with my head under the bed-clothes, I was still unable to shut it out. A pressure on my shoulder made me start with a scream of terror-overtaken at last, my bed not even a refuge! it was too horrible!

The thought had hardly flashed across me when Olga's gentle voice reassured me. She was shaking from head to foot; the sounds from the castle had been loud enough to wake her up, and now as we tremblingly clasped each other we could hear them dying away. The loud drum roll was subsiding into the muffled murmur I had heard at first, and by degrees it ceased altogether.

The next morning Phillips came to me with the triumphant intelligence that all the servants had been

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