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SCO T T I SH

G H O ST ST O R I E S

E L L I O TT O DO N N E LL

A U TH O R OF

S OM E H A N T E D H O S E S
U U OF ND ND
E NG L A WA E SA L

H A N TE D H O S E S
U U OF ON DON
L

H O S T Y H E NO M E N A
G L P

D EAM S M EAN NGS



T U E G H OS T S T O E S
R RI

R ND T H E A IR I

E T C. E T C.

LON DON

KE GA N P A U L, T RE N CH TR UB N E R c o LTD . .
CO NTENTS
CAS E PA G E
I TH E D E A TH B O G LE O F TH E C R O SS R O A D S
.
,

A ND TH E I NEX T IN G U I S H A B L E C A ND L E O F
TH E O L D W H I T E H O U S E P I T L O C H RY ,

II . TH E TO P A TT I C I N PR IN G LE S M A N S I O N

,
EDIN
B UR G H
III . TH E B O U N DIN G F I G UR E O F H O U SE ,

N E AR B U C K IN G H A M T E RRA C E EDINB UR GH ,

IV .
'A NE O F GE O GER S T R EE T EDINB UR GH ,

v . TH E S A LL O W F A CED W O M A N O N o
-
FO RR ES TF .

R O A D E DINB UR G H
,

VI TH E P H A N TO M R E G I ME N T O F K I LL I E C RA N K I E

PE AR L IN 'E A N OF L A N B A N K

A L

V II I . TH E D RU MM E R O F C O R T A C H Y

IX . TH E R O O M BE Y O ND A N A CC O U N T O F TH E
.

H AU N T IN G S O F H N N ES L Y NE AR A Y R
ER E ,

H O U SE NE AR
,
Y TH S W O O D S 'UAR E
BL ,

G LAS G O W T H E H AU N T ED B A TH
.

XI . TH E C H O K IN G G H O S T OF H O U SE
N E AR ,

S A ND YF O R D P L A CE G L A S GO W,

X II . TH E G R E Y P I P E R A ND TH E H E A V Y C O A C H OF
D O N L D G O WE
A H O U S E P E R TH
RI E ,

X III . TH E F L O A T I N G H E A D O F TH B E N R CH E TT E A

I N N N E AR TH E P E R T H R O A D D U N DE E
, ,
vi CO N TE N TS
CAS E P AGE
XI V . TH E AU N T IN G S OF
H H O U S E I N TH E
NEI G HB O UR H O O D OFT H E G RE A T WE S T E R N
R O AD A BE RDEEN
,

XV . TH EW H I T E L A D Y O F R O WN M A V EN U E NE AR
A ,

STI RLI N G
XVI . TH E G H OS T OF T H E H IND O OC H I L D O R TH E
,

H AU N T IN G S O F T H E W H I T E D O V E H OT E L NE AR
,

S T SW I T H IN S S T REE T A BE R DEEN
.

,

XVII . GL A M I S C A S T LE
CA SE I

TH E D EA TH B O GLE OF TH E C R O SS
R OA D S, A ND TH E IN E XT IN GU I S H A B L E
C A N DL E O F TH E O LD W H IT E H OU S E ,

P I T LOC H RY
CA S E I
TH E D EA T H B O GL E O F TH E C RO SS R O A D S,
A ND TH E I N E XT I NG U I S H A B L E CA N D L E OF TH E
O LD W H ITE H O U S E P ITLO C H RY
,

S E VE R A L y ears ago bent on re vi siting


,

Per t hshi r e a local i ty whi ch had great


,

a t tract i ons for me as a boy I answered ,



an adverti s emen t in a popular ladi es
weekly As far a s I c a n recollec t i t was
. .

somewhat to thi s e ffec t Co mfortable


home o ffered to a gentleman ' a bachelor '
at moderate t erms in an elderly H ighland
lady s house at Pitlochry M ust be a

.

strict teetotalle r and non smoker F M -


. . .
,

Box so and so- -
.

T he naive t e and ori gi nali ty of the a d


v er tisem ent pleased me T he i dea o f
.

obtainin g as a boa r de r a youn g m an


combining su ch vi rtue s as ab sti nence from
alcohol and tobacco amused me v astly .

And then a bachelor t oo D i d she mean


,

to make lo v e to him he rs el f ' Th e sly


4 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
old thing ' S he took care to inser t the

epithet elderly in order to a v oid
,

suspicion ; and there was no doubt about



it sh e thirsted for matrimony B eing .

tabooed by all the men who had even


as much as caught a passing glimpse o f

her this w a s her last resource sh e would
,

entrap some unwary stranger a man with ,

money of cours e and in v eigle him into


,

marrying her And there rose up b efore


.

me visions of a tall angular forty year old


, ,
- -

S cottish spinster with high cheek bones


,
-
,

virulent sandy h air and brawny arms


, ,

the sort of woman that ought not to have



been a woman at all the sort that sets
all my teeth on edge Yet it was Pit .

lo c h r y hea venly Pitlochry and there


, ,

was no o n e else advertising in that town .

That I should suit her in every respect


but the matrimonial I did not doubt , .

I can pass muster in any company as


a teetotalle r I abominate tobacco ' least
ways it abominates me which amounts to ,

much about the same thing' and I am , ,

or rather I can be tolerably amenable if


, ,

my surroundings are not positively in


fe rn a l and there are n o C ounty C ouncil
,

children Within shooting distance .


TH E D E ATH B OG LE 5

But for once my instincts were all wrong .


T he advertise r a Miss Flora Macdonald
of D onald Murray H ouse di d not
rese mble my p r econception of her i n any
respect S he w a s of me dium height and
.
,


dai nty build a fairy like crea t ure clad -

in rustling silks with wavy white h air


, , ,

bright blue eyes s t raight delicate fea t ures


, , , ,

and hands the shape and slenderness o f


,

whi ch at once pronounced her a psychic .

S he greeted me with all the stately courtesy


o f the O ld S chool my portmanteau was
taken upst airs by a solemn eyed lad i n -

the Macdonald tartan ; and the t ea bell


rang me down to a most appet i s i ng r epa s t
of strawberries and c r e a m s c o ne s and , ,

deli ci ous buttered t oast I fell i n love



.

with my hoste s s it would be S hee r s acri


lege to desi gnate such a divine creature
by the vulgar term o f
landlady
at

once W hen o ne s impres s ions o f a place


.

are at rst exalted they are often later , ,

o n apt to become equally abased


,
In this .

case however it was otherwise M y a p


, ,
.

preciation both o f M iss Flora Macdonald


and o f her house daily increased T he food .

was all that could be desired and my ,

bedroom sweet with the perfume o f j a s mine


,
6 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR IE S
and rose s presented such a picture o f
,

dainty cleanliness as awakened in me ,

feelings of shame that it should be de le d


,

by all my dusty travel worn accoutre ,


-

ments I atter myself that Miss M a c


.

donald liked me also That sh e did not .

regard me altogether as one o f the common


herd was doubtless in some degree due , ,

to the fact that sh e was a J acobite and


in a discussion o n the associations o f her

romantic namesake Flora Macdonald , ,

with Perthshire it leaked out that o ur


,

respective ancestors had commanded bat


talions in Louis XI V S far famed S cottish .

-

and Irish Brigades That discovery bridged.

gulfs We were no longer payer and paid


we were friends
.

friends for life .

A lump comes into my throat as I pen


these words for it is only a S hort time
,

since I heard of her death .

A week o r s o after I had settled in her


home I took at her suggestion a rest
, , ,

'and,
I quite agree with her it was a ,

very necessary rest ' from my writing ,

and spent the day on L och T ay leaving ,

again for D onald Murray H ouse at



s even o clock in the evening It was a .

brilliant moonlight night Not a cloud


,
.
TH E D E ATH B OG LE
in the s ky ,
and the landscape stood out
almost as clearly as in the daytime I .

cycled and after a hard but thoroughly


,

enj oyable spell o f pedalling eventually ,

came to a standst i ll o n the high road a ,

mile or two from the rst light s of P i t


lo c h r y I halted n ot through fatigue
.
, ,

for I was almost as fresh a s when I started ,

but because I was entranced w i th the


delightful atmosphere and wanted to ,

draw in a few really deep dr aughts o f it


before turnin g into bed M y halting .

place was on a tri angular plot o f grass at


the j unction o f fou r roads I propped .

my machine a g ainst a hedge and stood ,

wi th my back leani ng against a sign post -


,

and my face in the direction whence I


had come I remained in this attitude
.

for s om e m i nutes probably ten and was


, ,

about to remount my bicycle when I ,

suddenly became icy cold and a frightful , ,

hideous terror seized and gripped me s o


hard that the machine S lipping from
, ,

my palsied hands fell to the ground with


,

a crash T he next instant s o mething


.

for the life of me I knew not what it s ,

ou tline was so blurred and in d e nit e


alighted on the open space i n front of me
8 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
with a soft thud and remained standing ,

as bolt upright as a cyl i ndr ical pillar .

From afar o ff there then came the low


,

rumble o f wheels which mom entarily grew ,

in intensity until there thundered into


,

V iew a waggon weighed down beneath a


,

monstrous stack o f hay o n the top of ,

which sat a man in a wide brimmed straw -

hat engaged in a deep confabulation


,

with a boy in corduroys who sprawled


beside him The horse catching sight
.
,

o f the motionless thing opposite me ,

at once stood still and snorted violently .

The man cried o u t H ey hey What s ,



the matter with ye beast ' And then ,

in an hysterical kind o f screech G reat ,

Go d ' W hat s yon gure that I s ee '



What s yon gure T ammas P ,

The boy immediately raised himsel f into


a kneeling position and clutching hold , ,

o f the man s arm screamed I dinna


, ,

ken I dinna ken Matthew but take h eed


, , ,

mon it does na touch me I t s me it s


, .

come after na ye ,
.

T he moonlight was s o strong that the


faces o f the spea kers were reveale d to me
with extraordi n ary vividness and their ,

horri ed expressions were even more


TH E D E ATH B O G LE 9

s t artling than was the silen t ghastly ,

gure o f t he U nknown The scene comes .

back to me here i n my little room in , ,

Norwoo d with its e v ery detail as clearly


,

marked as on the nigh t it was rst enacted .

T he long ran g e o f cone shaped mountains -


,

darkly silhouet t ed against the silvery sky ,

and seemi ngly hushed i n gapin g expect


ancy ; the shi ni ng scaly surface o f some ,

far off tarn o r river perceptible only at


-
,

intervals owi ng to the thick clusters o f


,

gently nodding pines ; the white washed -

walls o f cottages glistening amid the dark


,

gree n denseness o f the thickly leaved b o x


trees and the light feathery fol i age o f
, ,

t he golden laburnum ; the undulating


meadows besprinkled with gorse and grot
,

e s qu ely moulded crags o f gran i te ; the


whi te the dazzling white roads saturated

, ,

w i th moonbeams ; all all were over



whelmed wi th st i llness the st illness that
belongs and belongs only t o the mountains

, , ,

and trees and plains the stillness o f


,

shadowland I even counted the buttons


.
,

the horn buttons o n the rustics c oats ,

o n e was missing from the man s two from


the boy s ; and I even note d the sweat


stains under t h e armp its of Matthew s


I O SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
shirt and the den t s and tears in Ta mm a s s
,

soft wideawake I observed all these .

trivialities and more besides I s a w the .


abrupt rising and falling o f the man s chest '

as his breath came in sharp j erks ; the


stream of dirty saliva that oo z ed from
between his blackberry stained lips and -

dribbled down his chin I s a w their hands



the man s square ng er e d black nailed

,
-
,
-
,

big veined shining with perspiration and


-
,

clutching grimly at the reins ; the boy s

smaller and if anything rather more grimy


, ,

-
the o ne pressed at down on the hay ,

the othe r extended in front o f him the ,

palm stretched outwards and all the ngers


widely apart .

And while these minute particular s were


b eing driven into my soul the cause of it
all the in de n a ble esoteric columnstood
,

silent and motionless over against the -

hedge a baleful glow emanating from it


,
.

T he horse sudd e nly broke the spell .

D ashing its head forward it broke o ff at ,

a gallop and tearing frantically past the


, ,

phantasm went helter skelter down the


,
-

road to my left I then saw Ta mmas .

turning a somersault miraculously saved ,

from falling head rst on to the road ,


TH E D EATH B O GLE II

by rebounding from the pitchfork which


had been wedged upright in the hay whilst ,

the gure which followed in thei r wake


,

wi th p r odigi ous bounds was apparently ,

tryi ng to get at him wi th its spidery arms .

But whethe r it succeeded or n o t I cannot


s a y for I was s o uncontrollably fearful lest
,

it should return t o me that I mounted ,

my b i cycle and ro de as I had ne v er ridden


before and have ne v er r i dden since .

I descr i bed the i nci dent to Mi ss Mac


donald on m y re t u r n S he looked very.

ser i ous .

It was stup i d o f me not t o ha v e warned


y o u she s a i d T h a t th a t part i cula r s pot

,
.

in the road has al wa y s a t least ever since



I ca n r emember borne the rep u tat i on of
being haun t ed None of the peasants
.

r ound he r e w ill venture wi thin a mile of


i t afte r twi light s o the carters you saw
,

must have been strangers No on e has e v er .

seen the ghost except i n the misty form


in which it appeared to you I t doe s not
.

frequent the place every night ; it only


appears peri odically ; and it s metho d never
varies I t leaps ove r a wall or hedge re
.
,

ma i ns s t at io nary t i ll some one approaches ,

and then pur s ue s t hem wi th monstrous


12 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
S prings The person it touches i nvariably
.

dies within a year I well recollect when .

I was in my teens on j ust such a night as


,

this driving home wi th my father from


,

Lady C olin F er n er s croquet party at

Blair Atholl When we got to the spot


.

you name the horse shied and before


, ,

I could realise what had happened we ,

were racing home at a terric pace My .

father and I s a t in front and the groom , ,

a H ighland b oy from the valley of Ben


y
-
gloe behind
,
Never havi ng
. seen my
father frightene d his agitation now ,

alarmed me horribly and the more s o ,

a s my instinct told me it was caused by

something other than the mere bolting


o f the horse I w a s soon enlightened A
. .

gigantic gure with leaps and bounds


, ,

suddenly overtook us and thrusting o u t , ,

its long thin arms touched my father


, ,

lightly on the hand and then with a harsh ,

c ry more like that o f some strange animal


,

than that of a human being disappeared ,


.

Neither of us spoke till we reached home ,

I did n ot live here then but in a house


o n the other side o f Pitlochry when my
,

father who was still as white as a sheet


, ,

took me aside and whispered Whatever ,


I 4 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

After my father s death I told my ,

mother abou t our adventure the night


we dro v e home from Lady C olin Ferner s

party and asked he r i f she remember ed


,

ever having heard anything that could


possibly account for the phenomenon .


After a few moments reection this is ,

the story s he t old m e '

TH E I N E XTI N GU I S HA B LE CA N DLE

O F TH E O L D W H I TE HOU SE

There was once a house known as T he ,



O ld White H ouse that used to stand by
,

the S ide of the road close to where you ,

say the horse rst took fright S ome .

people of the name of H olkit t relations ,

o f dear old S ir Arthur H olk itt and great ,

friends of ours used to live there The


,
.

house it was popularly believed had been


, ,

built on the site of an ancient burial


ground E very one used to say it was
.

haunted and the H olkit t s had gr eat


,

trouble in getting servants The appear .

ance o f the haunted house did not belie


its reputation for its grey walls sombre
, ,

garden gloomy hall dark passages and


, ,

staircase and sinister looking attics could


,
-

n o t have been more thoroughly suggestive


TH E I N E XT I N GU I SH A BL E C A N D LE 15

of all kinds of gho stly phenomena More .

over the whole atmosphere o f the place


, ,

no matte r how h ot and bright the sun ,

was cold and dr ear y and i t was a con st ant


,

source of wonde r to every one h o w Lady


H olkitt could li v e there S he wa s how .
,

ever always cheerful and used to tell me


, ,

that nothin g would induce her to l ea v e a


spot dear to s o man y genera t ions of her
fami ly and as so ci ated wit h t he happ i es t
,

recollec t ions i n her l i fe S he wa s v ery .

fond of company and there wa s s ca r cely


,

a week in t he year in which she had not


s ome one s t a yi n g wi th her I c a n onl y .

remember he r as w i dow her hu s band a , ,

maj or i n the Gordon Hig hl an ders ha ving ,

died i n I ndia before I was b or n S he had .

two daughter s Margar e t and Alice both


, ,

consider ed v ery handsome but s ome years ,

older than I This di ffe r ence in age


.
,

howev er did not pre v ent our bein g o n


,

v ery friendly terms and I was cons t antly


invited t o thei r h o use in the summer to
,

croquet and arc hery in the winter to ,

balls Like most elderl y ladies o f that


.

period L ady H olkitt was very fond o f


,

cards and sh e and my mothe r used fr e


,

quently to play bezique and cribbage ,


I 6 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
whilst the girls and I indulged in some
thing rather more frivolous O n those .

occasions the car riage always came for


us at ten since my mother for some

, ,

reason or other I had a shrewd suspicion


i t was on account of the alleged haunting
would never return home after that
time When she accep t ed an invitation
.

to a ball it wa s always c o nditionally that


,

Lady H olkitt would put us both up for


the night and t he carri age used then t o
, , ,

come for us the following d ay after one ,



o cloc k luncheon I s hall never forget
.

the last time I went to a dance at The


O ld White H ou s e though i t i s n ow ,

rather more than fty years ag o My .

mother had n o t been very well for some


weeks having s o sh e thought taken cold
, , ,

internall y S he had not had a docto r


.
,

partly because sh e did not feel ill enough ,

and partly because the only medical man


near us was an apothecary o f whose ,

skill s h e had a very poor opinion My .

mother had qui te made u p her mind to


accompany me to the ball but at the last ,

moment the weather being appalling she


, ,

yielded to advice and my aunt Norah , ,

who happened t o be staying with us at


TH E I N E XT I N GU I SH A BL E C A N D LE 17

the time chaperoned me instead It was


,
.

snowing when we set o ut and as it snowed ,

all through the night and m os t o f the


next day the roads were c ompletely
,

blocked and we had to remai n at T he


,

O ld White H ouse fr om Monday even


ing till the followi ng T hursday Aunt .

N or a h and I occupied separate bed


roo ms and mine was at the end o f a long
,

passage away fr om everybody else s Pr i or


.

t o this my mother and I had always shared



a room the only really pleasant o n e s o ,


I thought i n the house overlooking
,

the front lawn B ut on this occasion .

there being a number o f vi sitors belated ,

like ourselves we had to squeeze in,

wherever we c o uld and as my aunt and I


were to have separate rooms ' my aunt
liking a r oom t o herself' i t was natura l ,

that sh e should be allotted the largest


and most comfo r table C onsequently sh e .
,

was domiciled in the wing where all the


other vis i to rs slept whilst I was forced ,

to retreat to a passage o n the other S ide


o f the house where with the exception
, ,

o f my apartment there were none other


,

but lumber room s All wen t sm oothly


-
.

and happ i ly and n o thi ng i n t err upted the


,
I 8 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
harmony of our visit till the night before ,

we returned home W e had had supper .

o ur meals were di fferently arranged in



those days and M argaret and I were
ascending the staircase on our way to bed ,

when Alice who had run upstairs ahead


,

o f us met us with a scared face


,
.

O h do come to my room ' s h e


cried . S omething has happened to
Mary 'Mary
. was o n e o f the house
maids ' .

W e both accompanied her and o n , ,

entering her room found Mary seated ,

o n a chair sobbing hyster i cally


,
O ne only .

had t o glance at the girl to s ee that S he


was suffering from some very severe shock .

Though normally red cheeked and placid -


,

in short a very healthy stolid creature


, , ,

and the last person to be easily perturbed ,

s h e was now without a vestige of colour ,

whilst the pupils o f her eyes were dilated


with terror and her entire body from the
, ,

crown o f her head to the soles Of her feet ,

shook as if with ague I was imm ea sur .

ably shocked to s e e her .


Why M ary ,
Margaret exclaimed
, ,

whatever is the matter ' What has


happened P
TH E I N E XT I N GU I SH A BLE C A N D LE 19

It

the candle miss the girl gasped
s , , ,

the candl e in Miss Tre v or s room I


.


can t put i t out .

Yo u can t put it out wh y what non


,

sen s e ' Margar et said Are you mad P .


It i s as true as I sit here miss Mary , ,

panted I put the candle o n the mantel


.

piece while I s e t the room to rights and ,

when I had nished and came to blow it


out ,
I couldn t I blew and blew and
.
, ,

blew but it hadn t any e ffect and then I
, ,

grew afraid miss horr i bly afrai d


,
and , ,

here sh e buried her face in her hands ,

I v e ne v er been fright

and shuddered .


ened like this before miss sh e returned , ,

slowly ,
and I v e c ome away and left

the candl e burning


H ow absurd o f you Margaret scolded ,
.

W e must go and put it o ut at once .

I have a good mind to make you come



with us Mary but there ' S tay where
,

you are and fo r goodne s s sake stop cry i ng


,

,

or every on e in the house will hear you .

S o saying Margaret hurried o ff Alice -


, ,

and I accompanying her and o n arr i ving ,

outside my room the door o f which was ,

W ide open we perce iv ed the l i ghted candl e


,

standi ng in the posit i on Mar y had de


20 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
scribed I looked at the girls and per
.
,

c e iv e d,
in spite o f my endeavours not
to percei ve it the unmistakable signs o f

,

a great fear fear o f something they


suspected but dared not name lurking
in the corners o f their eyes .

Who will go rst P Margar e t de


ma n ded No o ne spoke
. .


Well then sh e continued I will
, , ,

and suiting the action t o the word s h e


, ,

stepped over the threshold The moment .

s h e did so the door began to close


,
This .

is curious s h e cried Push .

W e did ; we all three pushed ; but ,

despite o ur e fforts the door came resolutely ,

to and we were shut o ut Then before we


,
.

had time to r ecover from our astonishment ,

it ew open but before we could cross the


threshold it came violently to in the
,

same manner as before S ome unseen .

force held it against us .

Let us make o n e more e ffort Margaret ,



said ,
a n d if we don t succeed we will ,

call for help .

O beying her instructions we once again ,

pushed I was nearest the handle and


.
,


in some manner how none o f us could

, ,

ever e xplai n j ust a s the door opened o f


,
22 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
with the energy born o f desperation I t .

had no e ffect I repeated my e fforts ;


.

I blew frantically madly but all t o no



, ,

purpose ; the candle still burned burned


softly and mockingly Then a fearful .

terror seized me and ying t o the , ,

opposite side o f the room I buried ,

my face against the wall and waited ,

for what the sickly beatings of my heart


warned me was coming C onstrained to .

look I slightly only very very slightly


, , , ,

moved round and there there oating


, , ,

stealthily towards me through the air ,

came the candle the vibrating glowing


, , ,

baleful candle I hid my face ag a in and


.
,

prayed G od t o let me faint Nearer and .

nearer drew the light ; wilder and wilder


the wrenches at the door Closer and .

closer I pressed myself t o the wall And .

then then when the nal throes of agony


,

were more than human heart and brain


could stand there came the suspicion

, ,

the suggestion o f a touch of a touch so


horrid that my prayers were at last a n
s w e r e d and I fainted
,
When I reco v ered .
,

I was in Margaret s room and half a ,

do z en well known forms were gathered


-

round me It appears that with t h e


.
TH E I N E XT I NG U I SH A BLE C AN D L E 23

col l ap s e o f m y body on the oor the door , ,

that had so e ffectually resisted e v er y


e ffo rt to tu rn the handle immediatel y ,

ew open and I was discovered lying



,

on the ground wi th the can dle still



alight on the ground beside me My .

aunt experienced no difculty i n blowi ng


out the refr actory can dle and I was ,

carri ed wi th the grea t e s t t endernes s i nto


the ot her wing o f the house where I slept ,

that nigh t Li t tle was said about the


.

incident next day but all who knew of it


,

expressed in t heir faces the utmost an xiet y


a n anxiety which now that I had r e
,

co v ered greatly pu zz led me O n o ur


,
.

return home another shock awaited me ;


,

we found to o ur dismay that my mother


was seriously ill and that the doctor who
, ,

had been sent for from Perth the previous


evening j ust about the time o f my a dve n
,

ture with the candle had stated that sh e ,

might not survive the day H is warning



.

was fullle d sh e di ed at sunset H e r .

death of course ma y have had n ot hin g


, ,

at all t o d o w it h the can dl e epi s ode y e t ,

it struck me t hen as an o dd coincidence ,

and seems all the mo r e s t range to me


after hearin g yo ur acc o unt o f the bo gle
24 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
that touched your dear father in the road
so near the spot where the Holkit t s
house once stood I could ne ver di scover.

whether Lady H olkitt or her daughters


ever s aw anything of a superphysical
nature in their house after my experience
they were always very reticent on that
su bj ect and naturally I did not like
,

to press it O n Lady H olkit t s death


.

Margaret and Alice sold the house which ,

was e v entually pulled down as no o n e ,

would li v e in it and I believe the ground


,

o n which it stood is n o w a turnip eld .

That my de ar is all I can tell y ou


, ,
.

Now Mr O Donn e ll Miss Macdonald


.

added ,
having heard o ur experiences ,

my mother s and mine what is your


O pinion ' D o you think the phenomenon

o f the candle was in any way connected

with the bogle both yo u and I have seen ,

o r are the hauntings o f The O ld White


H ouse entirely separate from those o f the
road P
CA SE II

TH E A TT I C IN P R IN GL E S M A N SI O N

,

E D IN B U RG H
CA S E II
TH E TO P A TT I C I N P R I NGL E

S M A N S I O N,

E D I N BU R G H

A CHA R MI N G lady Miss S outh info rms


, ,

me that no house in t erested her m ore as ,



a child than Pringle s Mansion E dinburgh
, ,
.


Pringle s Mansion by the bye is n o t the
, ,

real name o f the house nor is the ori ginal



,

building still standing the fact is my friend ,

has been obliged to disguise the locality


fo r fear o f an action fo r slander o f title ,

such as happened in the E gham Case o f



1 90 4 7 .


Miss S outh never saw sa v e in a picture
the house that so fascinated her ; but
through repeatedly hearing about it from
her old nurse sh e felt that sh e knew it by
,

hea r t and used to amu s e her s elf hour after


,

hou r in the nu r sery drawing diagrams o f


,

the rooms and passages which to make , ,

quite re a listic she named and numbered


,
.

T h e r e was the Adm i ral s r oo m Ma

,
28 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

dame s room Miss O phelia s room Master
, ,

G regory s room Letty s '



the nurse s'room
,

,


the cook s room the butler s room the , ,

housemaid s room and the Ha unted
R oom

.

The house was very old probably the



sixteenth century and was concealed from
the thoroughfare by a high wall that e n
closed it o n all sides I t had no garden ,

only a large yard covered with faded ,

yellow pa ving stones and contai ning a well


-
,

with an o ld fashioned rolle r and bucket


-
.

When the well was cleaned ou t an e v ent '


,

which took place periodic a lly o n a certain


date every utensil in the house was called
,

into requisition fo r ladling o ut the water ,

and the A dmiral himself s upervising made , ,

every servant in the establishment take


an act ive part in the proceedings O n o n e .

o f these occasions the Admiral announced ,

his intention of going down the well in


the bucket That was a rare moment
.


in Letty s life for when the Admiral ,

had been let down in the bucket the r o pe ,

broke
I ndeed the th o ught of what the La ird
,

would sa y when he ca m e up almost re ,

s ulte d in hi s not co ming up at all H ow .


3 0 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
When Letty entered the Admiral s

service sh e was but a bairn and had never ,

even heard o f ghosts ; nor did the other


servants app rise her o f the hauntings ,

having r eceived strict inj unctions not to do


so from the L aird .


But Letty s home humble though it
,

was had been very bright and cheerful


, ,

and the dark precincts o f the m ansion


lled her with dismay Without exactly .

knowin g why she was afraid sh e shrank in ,

terror from descending into the cellars and ,

felt anything but pleased at the prospect


o f sleeping alone in an attic S till nothing .

occurred t o really alarm her till about a


month after her arrival It was early in .

the evening soon after twilight and she


, ,

had gone down into o ne of the cella rs


to look for a boot j ack which the Admiral
-
,

swore by all that was holy must be found


before supper Placing the light s h e had
.

brought with her on a packing case sh e -


,

was groping about among the bo x es when ,

s h e perceived to her astonishment that


, ,

the ame o f the candle had suddenly


turned blue S he then f elt icy cold and
.
,

was much startled o n hearing a loud clatter


as o f some metal instrument o n the stone
TH E TOP A TT I C 31

oor in the far off corner o f the cellar


-
.

G lancing in the direction o f the noise sh e



,

s a w looking at her two e e s


t t w o obliquely
, y ,

set,
lurid light eyes ful l o f the utmost
, ,

devilr y . S ick with terror and utterly


unable to account for wha t sh e beheld ,

s h e stood stock still her limbs refusing


-
,

to move her throat pa r ched her tongue


, ,

tied The clanging was repeated and a


.
,

shadowy form began slowly to crawl to


wards her S he dared not afterwards s ur
.

mise what would have happened to her ,

had not the La ird himself come down


at this moment At the sound of his .

stentorian voice the phan t asm vanished .

But the shock had been t o o much for


Letty ; sh e fainted and the A dm iral carry , ,

1ng her upstairs as carefully as if she had

been his own daughter g a ve peremptory ,

orders that sh e should never again be


allowed to go into the cellar alone .

But now that Letty her s elf had wi tnessed


a manifestation the other servants no
,

longer felt bound to secrecy and soon ,

poured into h er ears endl ess acc o unts o f


the hauntings .

E very o n e the y I nforme d her except


, ,

Master G r egory and Perkins ' the butler '


32 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
had seen o ne o r other of the ghosts and ,

the cellar apparition was quite familiar


to them all T hey also declared that there
.

were other parts of the house quite as


badly haunted as the cellar and it might
,

have been par tly owing to these gruesome


stories that poor Letty always felt scared ,

when crossing the passages leading to the


attics. As she was hastening down o n e
o f them early o n e mornin g s h e heard
, ,

some o ne running after her Thinking .

it was o ne o f the other servants s h e turned ,

round pleased to think that some o n e else


,

was up early too and saw to her horror a


,

dreadful looking obj ect that seemed to be


-
,

partly human and partly animal T he .

body was quite small and its face bloated


, ,

and covered with yellow spots It had .

an enormous animal mouth the lips o f ,

which moving furiously without emitting


,

any sound showed that the creature w a s


,

endeavouring to speak but could not The


moment Letty screamed for help the
phantasm vanished .

But her worst experience was yet to come .

T he spare attic which s h e was told was so


badly haunted that no on e would sleep in
it was the r o o m next to hers It was a
,
.
TH E TO P ATT I C 33

r oom Le t ty c o uld well belie v e was haun t ed ,

for sh e had neve r seen an o t h e r equally


gloomy T he cei ling wa s low and sloping
.
,

the wi ndow t i ny and the walls e xhi b i ted


,

a ll sorts of o d d noo ks a n d cr ann i es A .

bed antique and worm eaten stoo d i n one


,
-
,

r eces s a blac k o a k ches t i n another and


, ,

at ; r ight angles wit h th e do or i n an o the r ,

r ec e ss stoo d a w ar drobe th a t us ed to creak


,

and gro an a l armi ngl y e v e ry ti me Letty


walked a lo n g t he passage O nce she .

hear d a c hu c kle a l o w di ab ol i c al chuckle


, , ,

which s he fanc i ed ca m e from the chest ;


and once w h en the d o o r of t he r o om was
,

open s he c a u g h t th e gl it te r of a pair of eye s



,

t he s am e pale m ale vol en t e y e s t ha t had


,

s o fri g h t ene d h er i n t he cellar From he r .

earl i est childh oo d Le tty h ad been per iodi c


ally gi v en to s omnamb ulism and o n e night , ,

j ust about a year after sh e went into ser vice ,

s h e got ou t o f bed and wal k ed in he r sleep


, , ,

into t he H au nted R oo m S he awoke to .

nd her s elf st an din g c old and shiv ermg , ,

i n the mid dle o f the oor and i t was s ome ,

s econds bef o re sh e r eal is ed where she was .

H er h o rro r when she di d di s c ov e r where


,

she was is n o t easil y described T he ro o m


,
.

was ba t hed in mo o n li ght and t he be a m s , ,


34 SCOTT I SH GHOST STO R I E S
falling with noticeable brilliancy o n ea ch
piece o f furniture the r oom contained ,

at once r iv eted Letty s at t ention and ,

so fascinated her that she found her


self utte rly unable to move A t errible .

and most unusual silence predominated


everywhere and although Letty s senses
,

were wonderfully and painfully on the alert ,

sh e could n o t catch the slightest sound

from any of the rooms on the landing .

Th e n i ght was absolu t ely still no ,

breath o f wi nd n o rustle of lea v es no


, ,

apping of ivy against the window ; yet


the door suddenly swung back on its hinges
and sl a mmed furiously Letty felt that
.

this was the work of some supernatural


agency and fully expecting that the noise
, ,

had a wakened the cook who was a light


,

sleeper ' or pretended sh e was' listened in ,

a fe ver o f e x citement to hear he r get o u t o f


bed and call out T he slightest noise and
.

the spell that held her prisoner would ,

Letty felt sure be bro k en But the same


,
.

unbroken silence prevailed A sudden .

rustling made Letty glance fearfully at


the b e d ; and sh e percei v ed to her terror
, ,

the v alance swaying violently to and fro , .

S ick with fear S he was now constrained


,
TH E TOP ATT I C 35

t o s t ar e i n abj ect helplessness Presently .

there was a slight very slight movemen t ,

o n the mat t ress the white dus t cover rose , ,

and under it Letty s a w the outlines o f


, ,

what s h e took t o be a human gure gradu ,

ally take shape H oping praying that .


, ,

s h e was mistaken and that what appeared ,

t o be o n the bed was but a trick o f her


imagi nation s h e continued staring in an
,

agony o f anticipation But the gur e



.

remained extended at full length like


a corpse T he minutes slowly passed a
.
,

church clock boomed two and the body ,



moved Letty s j aw fe ll her eyes almost
.
,

bulged from her head whilst her ngers ,

closed con vulsively on the folds of her


night dress T he unmistakable sound o f
-
.

breathing n ow issued from the r e gion o f

the bed and the dust co v er commenced


,
-

slowly to slip aside I nch by inch it moved .


,

until rst o f all Letty s a w a few wisps o f


dark h a ir then a few m ore then a thick
, ,

cluste r then something white and shining


a protr uding forehead ; then dark v ery ,

dark brows ; then two eyelids yellow , ,

swollen and fortunately tightly closed ;


,


then a purple conglomeration o f Letty

knew not what of anything but what w a s
36 SCO TT I SH GHOST ST O R I E S
human The sight was s o mon st rous it
.

appalled her ; and sh e was overcome with


a species o f awe and repulsion fo r whi ch the ,

l anguage of mortality has no suf ciently


energetic expression S he momen t arily
.

forgot that what sh e looked o n was merely


superphysical but regarded it as something
,

alive something that ought to have been


,

a child comely and heal thy as herself


,

and sh e h a t ed it It was an outrage


.

o n matern i ty a blot o n nature a lthy


, ,

di scredit to the house a blight a s ore a , , ,

gang rene I t turned over in its sleep


.
,

the cover was hurled aside and a ,

grotesque obj ect round pulpy webbed



, , , ,

and o f lep ro us whiteness a n obj ect which


Letty could hardly associate with a hand

came grovelling o ut Letty s stomach.

heaved ; the thing was beastly indecent , ,

vile it ought not t o live ' And the idea


,

o f killing ashed through her mind Boil .

ing over with indignation and absurdly


forgetful o f her surroundings sh e turned ,

round and g roped for a stone to smash it .

Th e moonlight o n her naked toes brought



her to her senses the thing in the bed
was a devil Though brought up a member
o f the Free Church with an abhorrence o f
,
3 8 SCO TT I SH G HOST STOR I ES
door slyly open and the eyes of the cellar
,

inexpressibly baleful and glittering like ,

burnished steel in the strong phosphor


e sc e n t glow o f the moon peep ou t not at

, ,

he r but through her a t the obj ect lying ,

o n the bed There were not only eyes



.
,

this time but a form vague misty and


, , , ,

irregular but still with su fcient shape


,

to enable Letty to identify it as that of


a woman tall and thin and with a total
, ,

absence o f hair which was emphasised in ,

the most lurid and ghastly fashion With a .

snakelike mo vement the evil thing slithered ,

o u t o f the wardrobe and gliding past , ,

Letty approached the bed


,
Letty was .

obliged to follow every proceeding S he .

s a w the thing deftly snatch the bolster


from under the sleeping head ; n o ted the
gleam o f hellish satisfaction in its eyes
as it pressed the b o lster down and watched
the murdered creature s contortions grow

fainter and fainter until they nally


, ,

ceased The eyes then left the room ; and


.

from afar o ff away below in the abysmal


, ,

cellars o f the house came the sound o f ,


digging faint very faint but unquestion
, ,

ably digging This terminated the grim


.
,

phantasmal drama for that night at least ,


THE TO P ATT I C 39

and Letty chilled to the bone but tho


, ,

roughly alert escaped to he r room S he


,
.

spent her few remainin g hou rs of rest wide


awake determi ning ne v e r t o g o to bed
,

again w i tho u t fasteni n g one o f he r a rms to


t he I ro n staples .

With regard the h ist o ry o f t he h o u s e ,

Letty never learned anythin g mo r e r emark


able than that long ago a n idiot child
, ,

was suppo s ed to have been murdered in



the haun t ed attic by whom tradition did ,

not sa y The Admiral and his fa mily left


.


Pringle s Mansion the year Letty became

Miss S outh s nur s e and as no o ne would ,

stay in the house presumably on account,

of the hauntings it was pulled down and


, ,

an inexcusably inar t i s tic edice wa s e r ec t ed


in its place .
CA SE III

TH E B O U N D IN G F I GUR E OF H OUS E ,

B U C KIN G H A M T E RR A C E , E DIN
B U RG H
CA SE III

TH E B O U N D IN G F I GUR E OF H OUS E ,

N EA R B U C KIN G H A M T ERR A C E
, E DIN
B U RG H
44 SCOTT I SH G H O ST STO R I ES
but as I have given my word of honour
to disclose it to no one I feel sure you ,

will excuse me I ndeed my friends the.


,

Gordons who extracted the promise from


,

me have go t into sa d trouble with their


,

landlord for leaving the house under the


pretext that it was haunted and he has ,

threatened to prosecute them for s lander


of title .

The h o us e i n question has n o cla im to


antiquity It may be eighty years old

.

perhaps a little older and was at the ,

time of which I spe a k let o ut in a ts ,


.

The G o r dons occupied the second storey ;


the one above them was un t enanted and ,

used as a storage place for furniture the


rst oor and ground oor were divi ded
into chambers and o fces They had not .

been in their new quarte r s more than a


week when Mrs Gordon asked the night
, .

porter who it was that m ade such a noise ,

racing up their stairs between two and three


in the morning It had awakened her .

every night she told him and sh e would


, ,

be glad if the disturbance were discon


t inu e d I am sorry Madam but I
.
, ,

cannot imagine who it c a n be the man ,

replied O f course it may be some one
.
,
TH E B O U N D I NG F I G UR E 45

n e xt do or so und s a r e so often decep tiv e


,

no o ne inhab i ts the r ooms above you .

But Mrs G or do n wa s n ot a t all convinced


.
,

and made up he r mind to complain t o


the land lord sh o ul d it occu r again Th a t .

night nothing happened but the ni gh t ,

afte r sh e was r oused f r om he r sleep at


two o clock by a feelin g tha t something

d readful so m e di r e ca t a stro phe was about


, ,

t o ta k e p l ace Th e hous e wa s ve ry s t ill


.
,

a nd bey o nd t he fa r away ec h oe s o f a po l ice


-


man s pat r ol on the ha r d pavement o u t si de ,

nothin g abs ol utely no thing b ro ke the


, ,

un iv ersal and as it seem ed t o her u m


, ,

natural si lence G enerally a t night t ime


.
-

there are so und s one likes to assu r e o neself


are too trivial to be heard du ring the day
the creaking o f boards stairs ' nearly always
,

stairs' and the tapping o f s o me leaf '


,
of

course some leaf'at the windows W ho .

has not heard such sounds and who in ,

his heart o f hearts has no t been only too


well aware that they a r e noc t urnal e x ,

c lu s iv e l nocturnal T he shad o ws o f e v en
y .

ing bri ng wi th them visito r s ; prying ,

curious visi to rs g rim and ghastl y vi sitors


grey esote ric v isito rs ; v isi tors from a world
,

s eemin g ly inc o nseq u ent wholl y inco mpre ,


4 6 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
h ensible Mrs G ordon did not belie v e
. .

in ghosts S he sco ffed at the idea o f


.

ghosts a nd like s o many would b e wits


, ,
-
,

unreasonably brave by day and the r e ,

verse by night had hitherto attributed ,

banshees and the like to cats and other


animals But no w now when all was
.
,
-

dark pitch dark and hush ed and sh e for


,
-
, ,

aught sh e knew to the contrary the only ,

o ne in that great rambling building awake


, , ,

sh e r eviewed again and again in her mind , ,

that r ushing up the stairs The wind ' It .

could not have been the wind The Wind .

shuts doors and rattles windo w s and , ,

moans and sighs and howls and screeches


, , ,

but it does not walk the house in boots .

Neither do rats ' And i f sh e had im


a gin e d the noises why did s h e not imagine ,

other things ; why for example did sh e , ,

n o t s ee tables dance and tea urns walk '


,
-

All that would be fancy unblushing , ,

genuine fancy and if s h e conj ured up one ,

absurdity why no t another ' T hat was a


,

conundrum for any sceptic Thus did sh e .

argue naturally and logically in the quite


, ,

sensible fashion o f a lawyer o r a scientist ,


y i
e t a ll the while her senses told her that ,

the atmosphere o f the house had under


TH E B OU N D I N G F I G UR E 47

go ne som e profoundly s ubt l e and una cco unt



able change a change that brought with
,

it a presence at once sinister and hostile


,
.

S he longed t o strike a light and awake


o n e of her daughters D iana by prefer ,

ence ; since D iana was the least likely


to mind bei ng disturbed and had the ,

strongest nerv es S he made a sta r t a nd


.
, ,

loosening the bedclothes that sh e always


liked tightly tucked round he r thrust o ut ,

a quivering t o e T he ne x t instant she


.

drew it back with a tiny gasp of t err o r .

The cold da rkne s s without had suggested


to her mind a great horny hand mal , ,

shaped and murder o us that was lyi ng in ,

wait to seize her A deadly sicknes s over


.

c a me her and sh e la y back o n the pillow


, ,

her heart beating with outrageou s irre g u


la r ity and loudness Very slowly sh e re
.

co v ered a nd holding her breath S idled t o


, , ,

the far edge o f the bed and w i th a dexter ,

o u s movement engendered by the despera


,

tion o f fear made a lightnin g like dab in


,
-

the direction of the electric bell H er soft .


,

pink nge r missed the m ark and coming ,

in vi olent contact w i th the wall bent the ,

carefully polished nail S he bit her lips .

to stop a c ry of pain and shrinking back ,


4 8 SC O TT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
wi thin the fold s o f her dain ty lace em
b roidered nightdres s abandoned herself ,

to despair H er consci ousness o f th e U n


.

known P r esence i ncreased and sh e in ,

s t in c tiv e ly felt the thing pass th r ough the

closed door down on t o the landin g outside


, ,

when it dashed upsta ir s with a loud clatter ,

a nd enteri ng the lumbe r r o om i mmediately


,
-

overhe a d began b o unding as i f i ts feet


,

were ti ed togethe r b a ckwa r ds and for


,

wards ac r oss t h e oor Afte r conti nuin g


for fully half an hour the noises abruptly ,

ceased and the house re s umed its accus


t o m e d quiet At b r eakfast Mrs G ordon
.
, .

asked her da u gh t e rs if they had heard


anything in the nigh t and they laughingly ,

said No no t e ven a mouse


,

T here was now an intermission o f the


disturbances and no further demonstration
,

occurred for about a month D iana was .

then sleeping in her mother s room Mrs

,
.

G ordon being away on a visit to L ady Voss ,

who was enter t aining a party o f friends


at her shooting box in Argyle O ne even
-
.

ing a s D iana was going into her bedroom


,

to prepare for dinner s h e s a w the door ,

suddenly swing open and something sh e , ,


could not tell what it was s o blurred and
TH E B OU N D I N G F I GUR E 49


indis tinct come o ut with a bound T ear .

ing past her on to the landing it rushed up ,

the stair s with s o much clatter that D iana


imagined though s h e could s ee nothing
, ,

that it must have on its feet heavy lumber ,

ing boots Filled with an irresistible


curiosity in spit e o f he r alarm D iana
, ,

ran after it and o n reaching the U pper


, ,

storey heard it making a terric racket


,

in the room above the o n e in which s h e


n ow slept N othing daunted however
.
, ,

s h e boldly approached a nd inging open , ,

the door perceived its lmy outline stand


,

ing before a S hadowy and very antique


e i ght day clock which apparently it was
-
,

in the habit of winding A great fear .

now fell on D iana What was the thi ng P .

And supposing it should t urn round and


face h er what should sh e se e P S he was
,

entirely isolated from her sister s and the



,


servant s alone the light fading in a big ,

gloomy room full o f strange o ld furniture


which suggested hiding places for all sorts -

o f grim possibilities S he was assured n o w


that the thing s h e had followed was nothing


human neither wa s it a delus i on for when
, ,

s h e shut her eyes and O pened them i t was

still there and od dly enough it wa s now


,

, ,
5 0 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
more distinct than it was when sh e had
seen it downstairs A curious feeling of
.

helplessness stole over D iana the power o f


speech forsook her ; and her limbs grew
rigid S he wa s so fearful too o f attracting
.
, ,

the notice o f the mysterious thing that


s h e hardly dare b r e athe and each pulsa ,

tion o f her heart s ent cold chills of a ppr e


h e n sion down her spine O nce sh e endured
.

agonies through a mad desire to sneez e ,

and once her lips opened to scream as some


thing suspiciously like the antenn ae o f a
huge beetle and which sh e subsequently
,

discovered was a devil s coach horse -
,

tickled the calf o f her leg S he fancied .


,

too that all sorts o f queer shapes lurked in


,

the passage behind her and that innum er ,

able unseen eyes were malignantly r e


j o ic in g in her terror At last the. climax ,

to her suspense seemed at hand T he .

unknown thing until now too busy with


,

the clock to take heed o f her paused ,

for a moment o r s o as if undecided what


,

to do next and then slowly began to veer


,

round But the faint echo of a v oice below


.
,

calling her by name broke the hypnotic ,

spell that bound D iana to the oor and with ,

a frantic spring sh e cleared the threshold


52 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
two obj ects he carried in his hands o n e ,

o f which looked like a very bi z arre bundle

o f red and white rags and the other a small ,

bladder o f lard Whilst she was staring


.

at them in dumb awe he swung round , ,

and hitching them savagely under his


,

armpits rushed across the landing a nd


, , ,

with a series of apish bounds sprang ,

up the staircase and disappeared in the


gloom .

This was the climax ; Mrs G ordon felt .

another such encounter would kill her .

S o in spite o f the fact that s h e had taken


,

the at for a year and had only j ust c om


,

m en c ed her tenancy s h e packed up her ,

goods and l eft the very next day T he .

report that the building was haunted


spread rapi dly and Mrs G ordon had
,
.

many indignant letters from the landlord .

S he naturally made inquiries as t o the


early history o f the house but o f the many ,

tales S he listened t o only o n e the a uth e n


, ,

t ic it y o f which she could not guarantee ,

seemed to suggest any clue to the haunting .

It was said that a retired C aptain in the


Merchant S ervice many years previously
, ,

had rented the rooms she had occupied .

H e was a n extraordinary individual and


'

, ,
TH E B OU N D I N G F I GUR E 53

despite the fact that he had li v ed so far in


land would ne v er Wear an y but nautical
,


clothes blue j er s ey and trouser s r eefer ,

coat and j ack boots But this was n o t


-
.

his only peculiarity H is love o f grog .

eventually brought on delirium tremens ,

and his excessi ve irritability in the interval


between each attack was a source of
anxiety to all who came in con t act with him .

At that t i me there happened to be a baby


i n the rooms o v er h ead whose crying so ,

annoyed the C ap t ain that he sa v agely in


formed it s mother that if sh e did not keep
it quiet he would not be answerable for
,

the consequences H is warnings having


.

n o e ffect he ew upstairs o n e day when


, ,

s h e was temporarily absent and snatching , ,

up the bread knife from the table de ,

cap i tated the infant H e then stu ffed .

both its head and body into a grandfather s

cloc k which stood in o n e corner of the room ,

and retiring to his own qua rt er s drank


, ,

till he was insensible .

H e w as of course ar r ested on a charge


-

, ,

o f murder but being found in s ane he


,

was committed during Hi s Maj esty s

pleasure to a lunatic asylum .

H e ev entuall y c omm it t ed sui c i de b y


54 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
O pening an artery in his leg with one o f
hi s nger nails
-
.

A s the details of this t r agedy lled


in so well with the phenomena they had
witnessed the G ordons could n o t help
,

regarding the story as a very probable ex


planation o f the hauntings . B ut r e ,

member its authenticity is dubious


,
.
CA SE I V
'A N E OF G EO RG E ST R E ET, E DIN B U RG H
CA S E IV

'A N E O F G EO R G E S TR E E T , E D I N BU R G H

THE news that for se v e r al yea rs at any


,

rate G eorg e S treet


,
E dinburgh was , ,

haunted w r ote a correspondent of mine
,

some S hor t time a go might cause no little


,

surprise to many of its inhabitants A nd .

my friend pr o ceeded to relate his experience


o f the haun t ing which I will rep r oduce
,

a s nearly as possible I n his own words .

I quote from memory ha ving foolishly ,

destroyed the letter .

I was walking in a leisurely way along


G eorge S t r eet the othe r day towards ,

S tr un a lls where I get my ci g ars an d had


, ,

arrived opposi te No when I suddenly


.

noticed j ust ahead o f me a tall lady of


, ,

r emarkably g r aceful g ure clad in a ,

co st ume which even to an ignoramus in


,

fashions like m yself seemed e xtr a o rd in,

a rily out of date In my untechnical


5 8 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
lang uage it consisted o f a dark blue coat
and skirt trimmed with black braid
,
.

The coat had a v e r y high collar turned ,

ove r to sh o w a facing o f blue velv et its ,

sleeves we r e ve r y full at the shoul ders ,

and a band o f blue v elvet d r ew it t ightly


in at the waist Moreover unlike every
.
,

o ther lady I sa w s h e wore a small hat


, ,

which I subsequent ly learned was a toque ,

with one whi t e and one blue plume placed


modera t ely high at the side The only .

other conspicuous items of her dress ,

the effect o f which was on the whole



, ,

quiet were white glac gloves over which


, ,

dangled gold curb bracelets with in



numerable pendants shoes which were, ,

of patent leather with silve r buckle s and


rather high Louis heels and ne blue , ,

silk openwork stockings S o much fo r .

her dress Now for her herself


. S he .

was a strikingly fair woman with very


pale yellow hair and a startlingly white
complexion ; and this latter peculiarity
so impressed me that I hastened my steps ,

determining t o get a full view o f her .

Passing he r with rapid strides I looked ,

back and as I did s o a cold chill ran through



,

me what I looked at was the face o f the


,
60 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
was certainly not more than s1x feet ahead
o f me when sh e passed through t he door ,

and I was even nearer than that to her


when she suddenly disappeared as she
stood before the counter I asked the .

chemist if he could tell me anything about


the lady who had j ust entered his shop ,

but he merely t urned away and laughed .


Lady ' he said ; what are you

talking about ' You re a bit out o f your

reckoning This isn t the r st of April
. .

Co m e what do you want '


,

I bought a bottle o f forma mints and ,

reluctantly and regretfully turned away .

That night I dreamed I again sa w the


ghost I followed her up G eorge S treet
.

j ust as I had d one in reality ; but when


she came t o the Chemist s shop She turned


swiftly round . I m J ane ' sh e said

in a hollow voice . J ane ' O nly J ane '
and with that name ringin g in my ears I
awoke .

S ome days elap s ed before I was in


G eor g e S treet again The weather had
.

in the meanwhile unde rgone one o f those


sudden and violent changes so C haracter ,

istic of the S cottish climate The lock .

g ates of hea v en h a d been opened and


J ANE OF G E ORGE STR E E T 61

the rain was descendi ng in cataracts .

T he few pedestrians I encountered were


enveloped in mackinto she s and carried ,

hu g e umbrellas throug h which the rain


,

was soakin g and pourin g o ff from every


,

.

point E verything was wet everywhere .

was mud The wa t er splashing up


.
,

wards saturated the tops of my boots


,

and converted my trousers into sodden


sac ks S ome weathe r isn t t for dogs
.

,

but this weather wasn t good enough for

tadpoles even sh would ha v e kicked
at it and kept in their holes I magine .
,

then the anomaly ' Amidst all this


,

aqueous inferno this slippery sloppery ,


-
,

lth bespattering inferno a spotlessly clean


-
,

apparition in blue wi thout either water


proof o r umbrella I refer to J ane S he . .

suddenly appeared as I was passing The ,

Ladies Tea Association R oo m s walkin g


in front o f me S he l ooked j ust the



.

same as when I last s a w he r spick and



span and dry I repeat the word dry
for that is what attracted my attention
.
,

most D espi t e the deluge not a single



.
,

raindrop touched her the plumes o n her


toque were splendidly erect and curly her ,

shoe buckle s sparkl ed her patent leathers


-
,
62 SCOTT I SH GHOST STO R I E S
were spotless whilst the cloth o f her coat
,

and skirt looked as sheeny as if they had


but j ust come from Keeley s
.

Anxious to get another look at her face ,

I quickened my p a ce a nd darting past , ,

her gazed s traight into her countenance


,
.

The result was a severe shock T he



.

terr or o f what I s a w the ghastly horror



of her dead white face sent me reeling
across the pavement I let her pass me .
,

and impelled by a sickly fascination


, ,

followed in her wake .


O utside a j eweller s stood a hansom
quite a curiosity in these days o f motors
-
and as J ane glided past the horse
, ,

shied I have never seen an animal so


.

terried W e went o n and at the next


.
,

crossing halted A policeman had his .

hand up checking the trafc H is glance



.

fell on J ane the e ffect was electrical .

H is eyes bulged his cheeks whitened , ,

his chest heaved his hand dropped and , ,

he would undoubtedly have fallen had


not a good S amaritan in the guise o f a ,

n o n psychical public house loafer


-
held -
,

him up J ane was now close to the


.


Chemist s and it was with a sigh o f r el i ef
,

that I s a w her glide in and disappear .


J ANE OF G E ORG E STREE T 63

H ad there been any doubt a t all after ,

my rst encounter with J ane as t o her ,

being superphysi cal there wa s cer t ainly ,



none n ow The policeman s paroxysm
.


o f fear and the ho r se s t of s hy i ng were

facts . What had produced them P I



alone knew and I knew fo r certain it
was J ane B oth man and animal s a w what
.

I s a w H ence the phan to m was no t sub


.

j ec t iv e i t was not illus i onary it was a



bon a de sp i rit man i festation a vi sitant

from the other world the world o f ear t h
bound souls J ane fascinated me I made
. .

endless r esearches in connect i on wi th her ,

and in answer to o n e o f my inquiries I


, ,

w a s i nformed that ei ghteen years ago that



is t o s a y about the time J ane s dress was
,


in fashion the Chemist s shop had been

O ccupied by a dressmaker o f the name

of Bosworth I hunted up Miss Bos.


worth s address and called o n her S he .

had retired from business and was living



in S t Michael s R oad Bournemouth I
.
,
.

came to the po i nt straight .

C an y ou give me an y informat i on ,

I a s ked ,
about a lady whose C hri st i an
name was J ane P
T hat sounds v a g ue ' Miss B o sw o rth
64 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

said . I v e met a good many J anes in
my time .

But not J anes with pale yellow hair ,

and white eyebrows and eyelashes And


I described her in detail .

H ow do you come to know about



her ' Miss Bo s worth said after a long ,

p ause .

B ecau se I replied with a certain


,

slowness and deliberation characteristic


o f me because I ve seen her ghost '

O f course I knew Miss Bosworth was



no sceptic the moment my eyes rested
o n her I saw she was psychic and that ,

the superphysical was often at her elbow .

Accordingly I was n o t in the least s ur


,

prised a t her look o f horror .


What ' sh e exclaimed is sh e still
,

there ' I thought sh e would surely be


at rest now '
Who was she P I inquired Come .

y o u need not be afraid o f me I have .

come here solely because the occult has


always interested me Who was J ane
.
,

and why should her ghost haunt G eorge


S treet P
It happened a good many years ago ,
6
'

Miss Bosworth replied In ,


1 892 In
J ANE OF GE O R G E STR E E T 5

an s wer to an adverti s ement I sa w in o n e


o f the daily papers I called o n a Miss J ane

,

Ver n elt Mademoiselle Vern elt sh e called



herself who r an a co s tu mi er s business

in G eor g e S t r eet i n the very bu i lding in


, ,

fact now occup i ed b y the chemist y ou


,

ha v e ment i oned T he busi ness was for


.

sale and Mi ss Vern elt wan t e d a big sum


,

fo r it . H owe v e r as her books showed a


,

ver y sat is factor y annual i ncrease i n receipts


and her cli en t ele i ncluded a duchess and
o ther soc i et y leaders I considered the ,

bargain a tolerably safe on e and we came ,

to terms Within a week I w a s running


.

the busines s and exac t l y a month after I


, ,

had taken it o v er I was greatly as t onished


,

t o receive a v isit from Miss Ve r n elt S he .

came into the shop quite beside herself



with agitation I t s all a mistake '

.


s h e screamed I didn t want to sell it
. .

I can t do anything with my capital Let



.


me buy it back I listened t o her
.

politely and then i nformed her that as I


,

h a d gone to all the trouble of takin g o v er


the business and had already succeeded
in ext ending it I most certainly had no
,


intent i on of selling it a t least not for
some time W ell S he beha v ed like a
.
,
66 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
lunatic and in the end created such a
,

disturbance that I had to summon my


assistants and actually turn her out After .

that I had no peace for six weeks S he .

came every day at any and all times and


, ,

I was at last obliged to take legal p r o


c e e din g s I then discovered that her mind
.

was really unhinged and that sh e had ,

been suffering from softening o f the brain


for many months H er medical advisers.

had it appeared warned her to give up


, ,

busine s s and place herself in the hands


o f trustworthy friends o r relations who ,

would see that her money was properly


invested but sh e had delayed doing s o ;
,

and when at last s h e did make up her


, ,

mind to retire the excitement resulting


, ,

from s o great a change in her mode o f


living accelerated the disease and exactly
, , ,

three weeks after the sale o f her business ,

s h e became a victim to the delusion that

s h e was ruined This delusion grew more


.

and more pronounced as her malady in


creased and amidst her wildest ravings
,

s h e clamoured to be taken back to G eorge

S treet T he hauntings indeed began b e


.
, ,

fore sh e died and I frequently saw her


when I knew her material body t o be under
CA SE V
T H E SA LL O W FA C E D W O M A N O F
-

NO . F O RR E ST R OA D E D IN B URG H
,
CA S E V

TH E S A LL O W FA C E D W O M A N O F
-

NO F OR R E S T R O A D E D I N BU R G H
,

TH E Public unfortunately includes a c er


tain s e t o f people o f the middle class
,

very mid dlish who are e v er o n the


,

look out for some O pportunity however


-
,

slight and s eemingly remote o f bettering ,

themselves socially ; and lea r ning that ,

tho s e in a highe r strata o f society are


interested in the supern a tu ral they think ,

that they may possibly get in touch wi th


them by working up a little local r eputa
tion fo r psychical research I have often .

had letters from this type o f pusher


'letters from genuine believers in t h e O ccult
I alway s welcome'stating that they have
been greatly interested in my books
would I be s o very kind as to grant them
a brief interview o r permit them to a ccom
,

pany me to a haunted house o r give them ,

certain information with regard to Lady


7 2 SCOTT I SH G H O ST STOR I E S
So and s o whom they have long wanted
- -
,

to know P O ccasionally I have been s o ,

taken in as to give permission to the writer


t o call o n me and almost always I have

,

bitterly repented The wi ly o ne no



.

matter how wily cannot c o nceal the


cloven hoof for long and he has either ,

tried to thrust himself into the bosom of


my family o r has written to my neighbours
,

declaring himself to be my dearest friend ;


and when in desperation I have shown
, ,

him the cold shoulder he has attacked ,

me virulently in some rag o f a local


paper the proprietor editor o r of c e boy
, , ,
-

o f which happens to be o n e of his o w n

clique I have even known an instance


.

where this type o f person has thro u gh ,

trickery actually gained access to some


,

notoriously haunted house and from it s



,

owners the family he has long had his


eyes o n from a motive anything but
,


psychic has ferreted out the secret and
private history of the haunting Then .
,

when he has been found out and forced


t o s e e that his friendship is n o t wanted ,

he h a s in revenge for the slight unblush


, ,

ingly revealed the facts that were only e n


trusted to him in the strictest condence ;
TH E S ALLOW F A C E D W O M A N
-
73

and through i nuence with the lowe r


,

stratum o f the Press caused a most glaring


,

and sensational account of t he ghost to


be published .

With such a ca s e in vi ew I canno t be ,

surprised that possesso rs of family gh o sts


and ha unted house s S h o uld show the
greatest r eluc t ance to be app r oached o n
the subj ec t sa v e by th o se they feel assur ed
,

will t r eat i t wi th the utm o st delicac y .

Bu t I ha v e qu o ted the abo v e breach of


condence merely to give anothe r reason
fo r my c o ns t ant u s e o f ct i ti o us names with
regard to people and places and having ,

done so ' I hope to s o me purpose ' I will ,

proceed wi th the foll o wi n g story


Mis s D ulci e Vincent s o me o f whose ,

reminiscenc es appeared in my book o f


Ghos tly P hen omen a last year is nearly ,

connec t ed wi th Lady Adela Mink o n who ,

owns a considerable am o unt o f house pro


perty including No
,
Forrest R oad in
.
,

E dinburgh and whose yacht at C owes is


,

the envy o f all who have cruised in her


Th r ee years ago Lady Adela stayed at
,

No . Forrest R oad S he had heard that .

the house was haunted and was anxious to ,

put it t o the test Lady Adela was perfectly


.
74 SCOTT I S H G H O ST STO R I E S
open minded S he had ne v er experienced
-
.

any occult phenomena herself but very , ,

rationa lly sh e did not consider that her


,

non acquaintance with the superphysical


-

in any way negatived the evidence of


those who declare that they have wit
n e s s e d manifestations their statements sh e ,

reasoned were j ust as worthy of credence as


,

hers S he thus commenced her occupation


.

o f the house wi t h a perfectly unbiased


mind resolved to stay there fo r at least
,

a year s o as to give it a fair trial The


,
.

h a untings sh e was told were at their


, ,

height in the late summer and early


autumn It is I think unnecessary to
.
, ,

enter into any detailed description o f


her house In appearance it di ffered very

.
,

little if at all from those adj oining it ;


, ,

in construction it was if anything a trie ,

larger The basement which included the


.
,

usual kitchen o f ces and cellars was very ,


dark and the atmosphere after sunset
,

o n Fridays
only o n Fridays was tainted
,

with a smell o f damp earth shockingly ,

damp earth and o f a sweet and n a us ea t


,

ing something that greatly puz zled Lady


Adela All the rooms in the house were
.

of fair dimensions and C heerful excepting , ,


7 6 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
of self respect could risk coming in contact
-

with such inane c r eatures s o sh e sent


,

them all o ut for a motor drive and for , ,

once rej oiced in the house t o herself A


,
.

curious proceeding for a lady ' True '


but then Lady Adel a w a s a lady and
, , ,

being a lady was no t afr aid o f being


,

thought anything else ; and so acted j ust


as unconventionally as she chose But .

stay a moment she was not alone in the


house for sh e had three of her dogs with

,

her three beautiful boarhounds trophies ,

o f her last trip to the Baltic With such .

colossal and perfectly trained companions


Lady Adel a felt absolutely safe and

,

ready as sh e acknowledged afte r wa r ds


to face a whole army of spooks S he did .

not even shiver when the f ront d o or of the


basement closed and sh e heard the sonorous
,

birring o f the motor drowning the giddy


,

voices o f the servants grow fainter and


,

fainter until it nally ceased altogether .

When the last echoes o f the vehicle had


died away in the distance Lady Adela ,

made a tour of the premises The house .


keeper s room pleased her immensely a t
least she persuaded herself it did Why .
,

it is quite as nice as a ny o f the rooms


TH E S ALLO W -
F A C E D WO M A N 77

upstairs sh e said aloud as sh e stood with


, ,

her face to the failing sunbeams and rested


her st ro ng whi te hand o n the edge o f the
table .
'uite as nice K arl and M. a x ,

come here
But the boarhounds for once in t hei r
li v es did not obey her with a good grace .

There was something in the room they did


not like and they showed how s t rong was
,

thei r resent m ent by slink i ng unwillingly


t hrough the doo rway .

I wonder why tha t is P Lady Adel a


mused ; I have never known them do
it before Then her eyes wandered
.

round the walls and s t ru g gled in vain to


,

reach the r emoter an gles o f the roo m ,

which had suddenly g rown da r k S he .

tried to assure herself that this was but


the natural e ffect o f the departing day
light and that had sh e watched in other
, ,

houses at this particular time sh e would ,

have noticed the same thing T o show .

h o w little she minded the gloom sh e ,

went u p to the darkest corne r and prodded


-

the walls with her ridin g whip S he -

l aughed t here was nothing the r e nothing ,

whatsoe v er to be afr aid o f only shadows , .

Wi th a carele ss sh r u g o f her shoulders ,


7 8 SCOTT I SH GHO ST STOR I ES
sh e strutted into the passage and whis t , ,

ling to Karl and Max who contrary to ,

their custom wo uld no t keep t o heel made


, ,

another inspection o f the kitche ns At the .

t o p o f the cellar steps s h e halted Th e


darkness had now s e t in everywhere and ,

s h e argued that it would be foolish to

venture into s i1ch dungeon like places -

without a light S he soon found o n e and


.
, ,

armed with candle and matches began her ,

descent There were several cellars and


.
,

they presented such a dismal dark appear ,

ance that sh e instinctively drew her skirts


,

tightly r ound her and exchanged the


,

slender riding whip for a poker


- S he .

whistled again t o her dogs They did not .

answer s o s h e called them both by name


,

angrily But for some reason '


. some quite
unaccountable reason She told herself'they
,

would not come .

S he ransacked her mind to recall some


popular operatic air and although s h e,

knew scores sh e could not remember o ne .

I ndeed the only air that ltered back to



,

her was o ne sh e detested a Vaudeville


tune s h e had heard three nights in succes
sion when sh e was staying with a student
,

friend in the Latin 'uarter in Paris S he .


THE S A LL OW F A C E D WO M A N -
79

hummed it loudly howe v er and holding , , ,

the lighted candle high above her head ,

walked down the step s At the bottom .

S he stood still and listened F rom high .

above her came noises which sounded like


the rumbling of distant thunder but which , ,

o n analysis proved to be the rattlin g o f


,

window frames R eassured that sh e had


-
.

no cause for alarm Lady Adela a d ,

v a nc e d
. S omethin g blac k scudded across
the red tiled o o r and sh e made a dash
-
,

as it with he r p o ker T he c o ncussion .

awoke countless echoe s in t he cellars ,

and called into existence l egions o f other


black thin g s that darted hither and thither
in all directions S he burst out laughing
.

they were only beetles ' Facin g her


she now perceived an inne r cellar which ,

was far gloomier than the o n e in which


she stood The ceiling w a s very low and
.
,

appeared to be crushed down beneath the


burden o f a stupendous weight ; and as
she advanced beneath it sh e half expected
that it would cave in and bury her .

A few feet from the centre o f this cellar


she stopped ; and bendi ng down examined
, ,

the oor carefully T he tiles were u n .

mistakably newer here than elsewhere ,


80 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
and p r es ent ed the appearance of ha vi n g
been put i n a t n o v ery distan t date The .

dampn ess of the at mosp h er e was i ntense


a fact whi ch st r uck Lady A dela as
somewhat o d d since the oor and walls
,

looked si ngularly dr y To nd ou t i f this .

were the case s he r an h er nge r s o v er the


,

walls and on r e m o vi n g them found t hey


, , ,

showe d n o s ig ns o f moist ur e Th en she .

r apped t he oor a nd w alls and c o uld ,

discover no i ndi catio ns of hollowness S he .

sni ffed t he ai r and a gr eat wave o f some


,

thing sweet and si ckly half choked her .

S he dr ew out her handker chi ef and beat


the air vi go ro u sl y wi th it ; but t he s mell
remained and sh e c o uld not in any way
,

account for it S he turned to leave the


.

cellar and the ame o f her can dle burned


,

blue Then for the rst t i me that evening


.

-
almost indeed for the rst time in her
, ,


life sh e felt afraid so afraid that s h e,

made no attempt to diagnose her fear ;



s h e understood the dogs feeling s n o w and ,

caught herself wondering h ow much they


knew .

S he whistled to them again not because ,

s h e thought they would respond she knew



,

only too well they would not but because ,


TH E S A LL O W F A C E D W O M A N-
81

sh e wanted company even the company ,

o f her own voice ; and s h e had some faint

hope too that whatever might be with


, ,

her in the cellar would not s o readily ,

disclose itself i f s h e made a noise T he .

o n e cellar was passed a n d s h e was nearly ,

across the oor of the other when she


heard a crash T he candle dropped from
.

her hand and all the blood in her body


,

rushed to her heart S he could never .

have imagined it was s o terrible to be


frightened S he tried to pull herse lf to
.

gether and be calm but she was no longer ,

mistress o f her limbs H er knees knocked .

togethe r and her hands shook It was .


only the dogs s h e feebly told herself
, ,

I will call them but when sh e opened


her mouth s h e found her throat wa s

,

paralysed not a syllable would come .

S he knew t o o that s h e had li ed and


, , ,

that the hounds could no t have been


responsible for the noise It was like .

nothing s h e had ever heard nothing s h e ,

could i magine ; and although s h e struggled


hard against the idea s h e co ul d not help ,

associating the sound with the cause o f


the candle burning blue and the sweet , ,

sickly smell Incapable of mo vi ng a step


.
,

6
82 SCOTT I SH G HOST STO R I E S
S he was forced to listen in breathless
expectancy for a recurrence o f the crash .

H er thoughts become ghastly T he inky


.

s e a o f darkness that hemmed her in o n

every side suggested every sort o f ghoulish


possibility and with each pulsation o f her
,

overstrained heart her esh crawled A n .


other sound this time n o t a crash nothing ,


half s o loud or de nit e drew her eyes
in the direction o f the steps An obj ect.

was now standing at the t o p o f them ,

and something lurid like the faint phos


, ,

p h or es c e n t glow o f decay emanated


,
from
all over it ; but wha t it was s h e could ,

n o t for the life o f her tell It might have


.

been the gure o f a man or a woman or a


, ,

beast or of anything that was inexpressibly


,

antagonistic and nasty S he would have


.

given her soul to have looked elsewhere ,


but her eyes were x e d s h e could neither
turn n or shut them . For some seconds
the shape remained motionless and then ,

with a s ly subtle motion it lowered its


,

head and came stealing stealthily down


,

the stairs towards her S he followed its


.

approach like o n e in a hideous dream


her heart ready to burst her brain o n the
,

v erge o f madness Another step another


.
,
,
84 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
appalling roar Lady Adela thinks that
.

she must then have fainted for sh e dis



,

t in c t ly remember s falling falling into what


seemed to her a black interminable abyss ,
.

When sh e recovered consciousness sh e was ,

lying on the t iles and all around was still


,

and normal S he got up found and


.
,

lighted her can dle and spent the rest o f


,

the evening without further adv enture


, ,

in the drawing room -


.

All the week Lady Adela struggled


hard to master a disinclination to spend
another evening alone in the house and ,

when Friday came sh e succumbed to her


fears The servants were poor foolish
.
,

things but it was nice to feel that there


,

was something in the house besides ghosts .

S he sa t reading in the drawing room till -

late that night and when sh e lolled out


,

of the window to take a farewell look at


the s ky and stars before retiring to rest ,

the sounds o f tra fc had completely ceased


and the whole city lay bathed in a re
freshing silence It was very heavenly to
.

stand there and feel the cool soft air ,

unaccompanied for the rst time during


,

the day by the rattling rumbling sounds


,

of l ocomotion and the j a rri ng discordant


THE S LL O W F A C E D W O M A N
A -
85

murmurs o f
unmusical voices fanni ng he r
neck and face .

Lady Adela used as sh e was to the


,

p ri vacy of h er yacht and the freedom ,

o f her big country mansion where all ,

sounds were regulated at her will chafed ,

at the near proximity of her p r esent


habitation t o the noisy tho r oughfare and ,

vaguely looked forwa r d to the hou r s when


shops and theatres we r e closed and all ,

screeching harsh v o iced p r odu ct s o f the


,
-

g u t te r we r e in bed To her the nights


.

in W a t erloo P l ace we r e a ll t oo sho r t ; the


days too lon g t o o l ong fo r anythin g The
,
.

heavy lumberi n g st ep s of a policeman


,

at last b r oke he r reveri e S he had no .

desire to arouse his curiosity ; besides he r ,

costume had become somewhat disordered ,

and sh e had the stric t e s t sense o f propriety ,

at least in the presence of the lower orders .

R eti ring therefore wi t h a sigh of v e x ation


, , ,

she s ought her bedroom and afte r the most , ,

s crupulou s at t en t ion to he r toilet put out ,

the lights and got into bed I t was j ust .

o ne when S h e fell asleep and th r ee when ,

sh e awoke w i th a v iolent start W hy she


started pu z zled he r S he did n o t r ecollect
expe ri enc i n g any very dreadful dream ,
86 SCO TT I SH GHOST STO R I E S
in fact no dream at all and there seemed

,

nothing in the hush the apparently un



broken hush that could in any way
account for her action Why then had
.
, ,

she started ' S he lay still and wondered .

S urely eve rything was j ust as it was when


she went to sleep And yet When sh e
ven t ured o n a diagnosis there was some
,

thing di fferent something new sh e did not


,

think it was actually in the atmosphere ,

nor in the silence sh e did not know where


it was until sh e opened her eyes and
then s h e kn ew Bending over her within
.
,

a few inches o f her face was another face


, ,

the ghastly caricature o f a human face .

It was o n a larger scale than that o f any


mortal Lady Adela had ever seen ; it was
'


long in propo rtion to its width indeed ,

she could n o t make o u t where the cranium


terminated at the back as the hinder ,

portion o f it was lost in a mist The .

forehead which was very receding was


, ,

partly covered with a mass o f lank black ,

hair that fell straight down into space ;


,

there were no neck nor shoulders at least ,

none had m aterialised ; the s kin was


leaden hued and the emaciation so extreme
-
,

that the raw cheek bones had burst through


-
TH E SALLo w F A C E D W O M A N
-
87

i n place s ; the S i z e of the eye sockets


whi ch appea r ed monstrous was emphasised ,

by t he fact that the eyes were conside r ably


sunken ; the lips were curled downwards
and tightly S hu t and the whole expression
,

of the withered mouth as i ndeed that ,


*

of the en tire face was o ne o f bestial


, ,

diabolical malignity Lady Adela s heart
.

momentarily stopped her blood ran cold, ,

sh e was petried ; and as S he stared


helplessly at the dark eyes pressed close
t o hers sh e sa w them suddenly su ffuse
,

with endish glee The most frightful


.

change then took place ' the upper lip


w rithed away from a few greenish yellow
stumps the lower j aw fell with a metallic
click leaving the mouth widely open
, ,


and disclosing t o Lady Adela s shocked
vision a black and bloated tongue ; the
eyeballs rolled up and entirely disappeared ,

whilst their places were immediately lled


with the foulest and most loathsome
indications o f advanced decay A strong .
,

vibrator y movement suddenly made all the


bones in the head rattle and the tongue
wag whilst from the j aws as if belched
, ,

up from some deep down well came a gust


-
,

o f wind putrescent with the rava g es o f


,
88 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
t he tomb and yet at the same time
, , ,

tainted with the same sweet sickly odour ,

wi th which Lady Adela had latterly


become so familiar This was the c ul
.

min a t in g act ; the head then receded and , ,

growing fainter and fainter gradually ,

disappeared altogether Lady Adela was


.


now more than sa tis e d there was not a
house more horribly haunted in S cotland ,

and nothing o n earth would induce her


to remain in it another night .

H owe v er being anxious naturally to


, , ,

discover something that might in some ,

degree account for the apparitions Lady


, ,

Adela made endless inquiries concerning


the history o f former occupants o f the
house ; but failing to nd o u t anything
,

remarkable in this direction sh e was ,

eventually obliged to content herself with


the following tradition ' It was said that
o n the site o f No Forrest R oad there
.

had once stood a cottage occupied by two


sisters ' both nurses' and that o ne was
,

suspected o f poisoning the other ; and


that the cottage moreover ha ving th rough
, ,

their pa r simonious habits got into a v ery


bad state o f repair was blown down ,

during a violent storm the s u rviving siste r


,
TH E S A LLO W -
F A C E D WO M A N 89

pe rishing in the ruins G ranted that this


.

story is correct it wa s in all probability


,

the ghos t of thi s lat t e r si s te r tha t appea r ed


to Lady Ade l a .H er ladyship is o f ,

course anxiou s to let No


,
. Fo rr est R o a d ,

and as only about o ne i n a thousand


people seem t o posse s s the facul ty of
seeing psychic phenomena sh e h o pes s he
,

m ay o ne day succeed in getting a per


manent tenant I n t he meanwh i le she
.
,

is doing her le v el best t o suppres s the


rumour that the house is haunted .
CA S E VI
TH E P H A N TO M R EG I M E N T O F KI LL I E C R A N KI E

MA N Y are the stories that have from time


to time been ci r culated with regard to
the haunting o f the Pass of Killiecrankie
by phantom soldiers but I do not think
,

there is any stranger story than that


related to me some years ago by a lady
, ,

who declared sh e had actually witnessed


the phenomena H er account of it I shall
.

reproduce as far a s poss i ble i n her o wn


wo r ds

Let me commence by statin g that I


am n o t a s prit ua lis t and that I have
,

the greatest possible aversion to co n


v o k in g the earthbound souls o f the dead .

Neither d o I lay any claim to medium


is t ic powers 'indeed I have always r egarded
the term medium with the gravest
suspici o n' I am on the con tr a r y a plain
.
, , ,

p r act i cal ma tt e r o f fact woman and with


,
- -
,

93
94 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
the exception o f this o ne occasion never ,

witnessed any psychic phenomena .

The incident I am about to relate took


place the autumn before last I was o n .

a cycle tour in S cotland and making , ,

Pitlochry my temporary headquarters ,

rode over o ne evening to view the historic


Pass of Killiecrankie It was late when I
.

arrived there and the western sky was


,

o n e great splash o f crimson and gold

such vivid colouring I had never seen


before and never have seen since I ndeed .
,

I was s o entranced at the sublimity o f the


specta c le that I perched myself o n a rock
,

at the foot of o n e o f the great cli ffs that


form the walls of the Pass and throwing , ,

my head back imagined myself in fairy


,

land Lost thus in a delicious luxury


.
, , ,

I paid no heed to the time nor did I ,

think o f stirring until the dark shadows


,

o f the night fell across my face I then .

started up in a panic and was about to ,

pedal o ff in hot haste when a strange ,

notion suddenly sei z ed me I had a latch


key plenty o f sandwiches a warm cape
, , ,

why should I not camp o u t there till



early morning I had long yearned to
spend a night in the open now was my ,
9 6 SCOTT I SH GH O ST STOR I E S

p eering at me fro m behind them T his .

feeling at length became so acute that



, ,

in a panic o f fear ridiculous puerile fear , ,

I forcibly withdrew my ga z e and c o n


c e n t r a t e d it abstractedly o n the ground

at my feet I then listened and in the


.
,

rustling o f a leaf the humming of some ,

night insect the whi zz ing o f a bat the


, ,

whispering of the wind as it moaned


softly past me I fancied nay I felt, ,

sure I detected something that was not


ordinary I blew my nose and had barely
.
,

ceased marvelling at the loudness o f its


reverberations before the piercing ghoulish
, ,

shriek o f an o wl sent the blood in torrents


to my heart I then laughed and my
.
,

blood fro z e as I heard a chorus o f what ,

I tried to persuade myself could only be


echoes proceed from every crag and rock
,

in the valley Fo r some seconds after


.

this I sat still hardly daring to breathe


, ,

an d pretending to be extremely angry


with myself for being such a fool With .

a stupendous e ffort I turned my attention


to the most mate rial o f things O ne o f .


the ski r t buttons o n my hip they were

much in v ogue then being loose I e n ,

d e a v oure d to occupy myself in tightening


TH E P H A N TO M RE G I M E N T 97

i t and when I could no longer de rive any


,

employment from that I s et to work on ,

my shoes and tied knots in the laces


, ,

merely to enj oy the task o f untying them .

But this too ceasing at last to attract


, ,

me I was desperately racking my mind


,

for some other device when there came ,

again the quee r booming noise I had ,

heard before but which I could now no


,

longer doubt was the repo r t o f rearms .

I looked in the direction of the sound



and my heart almost stopped R acing

.

towards me as i f not merely for his life



,

but his soul came the gure o f a H igh


lander The wind rustling thro u gh his
.

long dishevelled hair blew it completely ,

over his forehead narrowly missing his ,

eyes which were xed ahead o f him in a


,

ghastly agonised stare H e had not a


,
.

vestige of colour and in the powerful , ,

glow of the moonbeams his skin shone ,

livid H e ran wi t h huge bounds and


.
, ,

what added to my t error and made me


double aware he wa s nothing m ortal ,

was that each t ime his feet struck the


hard smooth road upon which I could
, ,

well se e the r e was no sign of a stone ,

there came the sound the unmistakab l e ,


98 SC O TT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
s ound of the scat t ering o f gravel O n .
,

on he came with cyclonic svvift ne ss ; his


,

bare sweating elbows pressed into his


p anting sides ; his great dirty coarse , , ,

hairy sts screwed up in bony bunches in


front o f him ; the foam a k e s thick o n -

his clenched grinning lips ; the blood


,

drops oozing down his sweating thighs .

I t was all real infernally hideously real


, , ,

e ven to the most minute details ' the


ying up and down o f his kilt spora n , ,

and swordless scabbard ; the bursting


of the seam of his coat near the shoulder ;,

and the absence o f one o f his clumsy


shoe buckles I tried hard to shut my
-
.

eyes but was compelled t o keep them


,

open and follow his every movement as


, ,

darting past me he left the roadway, ,

and leaping several of the smaller obstacles


,

that barred his way nally disappeared ,

behind some o f the bigger boulders I .

then heard the loud rat tat o f drums -


,

accompanied by the shrill voices o f fe s


and utes and at the farther end o f the
,

Pass their arms glittering brightly in


,

the silvery moonbeams appeared a regi ,

ment o f scarlet clad soldiers At the head


-
.

rode a mounted o fcer after him came , ,


1 00 SC O TT I SH GHOST STO R I E S
peculia r whi t eness which rende r ed the ,

whole aspect of my surr o undi ngs inde


s c rib a bly dreary and ghostly Feeling .

cold and hungry I se t to work o n m y beef


,

sandwiches and was religiously separating


,

the fat from the lean for I am o ne o f ,

those foolish people who detest fat when a ,

loud rustling made me look up Co nfront .

ing m e o n the O pposite side of the road


, ,

was a tree an ash and to my surprise


, , ,

despite the fact that the b r eeze had fallen


and there was scarcely a breath o f wind ,

the t ree swayed violently to and fro ,

whilst there p roceeded from it the most


dreadful moanings and groanings I was .

so terried that I caugh t hold o f my


bicycle and tried to mount but I was ,

obliged to desist as I had not a particle


o f strength in my limbs Then to assure .

myself the m oving o f the tree was not an


illusion I rubbed my eyes pinched my
, ,

self called aloud ; but it made no di ffer



,

ence the rustli ng bending and tossing , ,

still con t inued S um ming up courage I


.
,

step ped into the road to get a closer


view when to my horror my feet kicked

against something and o n looking do wn


, , ,

I percei ved the body o f an E nglish soldier

,
TH E P H A N TO M RE G I M E N T 101

with a ghastly wound in his chest I '

gazed a r ound and there o n all sides of me


, , ,

from o ne end o f the valley to the other ,


lay do z ens of bodies bodies o f men and ,


horses H ighlanders and E nglish white
, ,

cheeked lu rid eyes and bloody browed -


, , ,

e a hotch potch of livid go r y awfulness


-
.
,

H e r e was the writhing wriggling gure ,

o f an o fficer with half his face shot away ;

and there a ho r se wi th no head ; and



,

there but I c annot dwell on such horror s ,

the v er y memory o f which make s me feel


sick and faint T he a ir that beautiful .
, ,

fresh mountain air resounded wi th their


-
4

moani ngs and groanings and reeked wi th ,

t he s mell o f their blood A s I stoo d .

rooted to the gro und with hor r o r n o t ,

knowing which way to look o r t urn I ,

suddenly s aw drop from the ash the form ,

o f a w o man , a H ighland l with bold


.

g I r , ,

handsome features r a ven black hair and , ,

the whitest of arms and feet I n o n e .

hand S he carried a wi cker basket in the ,

ot h er a knife a broad bladed sharp ,


-
,

edged h orn han dled knife A gleam of


,
-
.

avarice and cruelt y came i nto he r large


dar k eyes as wandering a r o u nd her they
, , ,

rested o n the rich facings o f the E nglish


10 2 SCOTTI SH GH O ST S TOR I ES
o f ce r suniforms I knew what was in

.


her mind and forgetting S h e was but a

,


ghost that they were all ghosts I moved
heaven and earth to stop her I could .

not . Making straight for a wounded


o fcer that lay moaning piteously o n
the ground some ten feet awa y from me
, ,

sh e spurned with her slender graceful ,

feet the bodies of the dead and dying


,

E nglish that came in her way T hen .


,

snatching the o fcer s sword and pistol
from him s h e knelt down and wi th a
, , ,

look of devilish glee in her glorious eyes ,

calmly plunged her knife into his heart ,

working the blade backwards and forwards


to assure herself sh e had made a thorough
j ob o f it Anything more hellish I could
.

not have imagined and yet it fascinated ,


me the girl was so fair s o wickedly fair ,

and shapely H er act of cruelt y over


.
,

s h e spoiled her victim of his rings epaulets , ,

buttons and gold lacing and having placed , ,

them in her basket proceeded elsewhere ,


.

In some cases unable t o remove the rings


,

easily sh e chopped o ff the ngers and


, ,

popped them j ust as they were into her


, ,

basket Neither was her mode of dispatch


.

always the same for while sh e put some ,


CA S E VII
P EA RL IN N O F A LLA NB A NK

'EA
108 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
to leave no stone unturned to discover
his whereabouts At last her perseverance
.

was rewarded and Fortune favouring her


, , ,

she arrived without mishap at A lla nb a nk .

The truth was th en revealed to he r


her cruel and faithless lover was about
to be wedded to another But despair gave .

her energy and burning with indignation


, , ,

s h e hastened to his house to upbraid him .

S he reached the S pot j ust as he was


driving out with his a nc e With a .

cry o f anguish J ean rushed forward and


, ,

swi nging herself nimbly o n to the fore


wheel of the coach turned her white a nd
,

passionate face towards its occupants .

For a moment Mr S tuart was too dumb


.

, .

founded to do anything he could scarcely


believe his senses Who o n earth was
.

this frantic female ' Good H eavens '


J ean ' Impossible ' H ow o n earth had
s he got there ' And the tumultuous beat

ing o f his guilty heart turned him sick


and faint .

Then he glanced fearfully and covertly


at his a n c e S he must not know the
.

t r uth at any cost Possibly he lost his


.

h ead ' At all events that is the kindest


construction to put on his subsequent
P EA R L I N J EA N OF A LLA NB ANK

1 09

action for dasta r dly a s hi s behavi ou r had


, ,

been to J ean in the past o ne c a n hardly ,

i magine him capab l e o f deliberately mu r der


ing her and in s o ho r rible a fashion There
,
.

was not a second t o lose ; an instant more ,

and the secr et that he had so assi duously


,

hidden from the lady beside him would ,


be revealed J ean s m outh was already
.

open to speak H e waved he r aside .

S he adhe r ed to he r post H e shou t ed to .

the postilion and the hug e lumbering


, ,

vehicle was set in motion A t the rst .

turn o f the wheels J ean slipped fr om he r


,

perch he r dress caught in the spokes


, ,

and she was crushed to death .

H er fa t e does not appear to ha v e made


any deep impression either o n Mr S tuart .

o r his lady love for they c o ntinued their


-
,

drive .

The hauntings began tha t autumn Mr . .

S tuart as was only t and proper being


, ,

the rst to witness the phenomenon .

R eturning home from a drive one evening ,

he perceived to his surprise the dark o u t


line s o f a human gure perched o n the
arched gateway o f his house exactly ,

opposite the spot where J ean had perished .

W ondering who it could be he le aned ,


1 10 SC O TT I SH GH O ST ST O R I ES
fo rward to inspect i t closer The gur e .

moved an icy current of air ran through


,

him and he sa w to his horror the livid


,

countenance o f the dead J ean There .

s h e was staring down at him with lurid


, ,

glassy eyes her cheeks startlingly white ,

her hair uttering in the wind her neck ,

and forehead bathed in blood .

Paralysed w ith terror Mr S tuart could


, .

not remove his ga z e and it was not until


,

o n e o f the menials opened the carriage

door to assist him down that the spell ,

was broken and he was able to speak


and move H e then ew into the house
.
,

and spent the rest o f the night in the most


abj ect fear .


After this he had no peace A lla nb a nk
was constantly haunted The great o a k .

doors O pened and Shut o f their ow n accord


at night with loud clanging and bangs ,

and the rustling o f S ilks and pattering


o f high heeled-
shoes were heard in the
o a k panelled bedrooms and along the many
-

dark and winding passages .

From her attire which was a piece o f


,

lace made o f thread the apparition became


,


known as Pearlin J ean and a portrait ,

o f her was actually painted It is recorded .


1 12 S C O TT I SH GHOST ST O R I E S
made an assi g nation o n e night to mee t
J enny i n the orc h ard at Alla nb a n k .

It was early when he arrived at the


-
trysting place for T homas l ik e all true , '

lovers was ever rather more than punctual


and h e fully contemplated a long wait
,

J udge then o f his astoni shment when he


, , ,

perceived in t h e mo onlight what he took


to be the well known and adored gure -

o f h i s lady love With a cry of delight


-
,

Thom a s rushed fo r ward and sw i nging , ,

his arms widely open to embrace her ,

b eheld her vanish and found hi mself ,

hugging space ' An ic y curr ent o f air


thri lled thr o ugh him and the whole

,

place trees no o ks moonbeams and


, , ,

shadows underwent a hideou s me t a m or


,

phosis The very ai r bristled with u n


.

known horr o rs til l esh and blood could


stand no m ore and even at the risk o f, ,

displeasing his beloved J enny T h om a s ,

ed ' S ome few minutes later at the ,

appointed hour J enn y arri v e d on the ,

scene and no on e was the r e S he dallied


,
.

fo r some time wonderin g whatever c o uld


,

have happened to T homas and then ,

returned full of grave apprehensions to


, ,

the house .
P EA R LI N J E AN O F A LLA NB A NK

1 13

It w a s not until the next morning that the


t ruth leaked o ut and J enny after indulgi ng
, ,

i n a hearty lau g h at her lo v er who felt ,

ver y shamefaced now tha t it was daylight ,

sensibl y f orga v e him and raised no obstacle


,

when asked to x a day for thei r marr i age .

In after years J enny u sed to r etail the


,

story with many har r o wing allusi o ns to



Pearl in J ean who m s h e s o m ewha t fool

ishly made us e o f as a boge y to frighten


children into be i n g good A Mr S h arpe . .
,

who when he was a little boy was once p laced


i n her charge confesses that he was dread
,

fully scared at her stories and t hat he never ,

ventu r ed down a passage in tho s e days



without think i ng Pearlin J ean wi th her ,

ghostly blood stained face clawli ke hand s


,
-
, ,

and ru s tli ng lace dr es s was afte r h i m , .

Nurse J enny u s ed to tell him t hat the


S tuarts tried i n v ain to lay J ean s sp i rit

actually goin g to the length o f calli ng in


seven ministers to exorcise it But all to .

no purpose ; it still continued its noc t urna l


peregrinations .

In the year 1 790 the S tuarts let the


house to stran g e r s who when they took it
, , ,

had not the least i dea that i t was haun t ed .

H owever they di d n ot l o ng remai n in


,

8
1 14 SC O TT I SH G HO ST STOR I E S
ignorance for two ladies who Occupied
, ,

the same bedroom were awakened in the


,

night by hearing some o n e walking across



the oor T he presence did not suggest
.

burglars for the intruder beh aved in the


,

most noisy manner pacing restlessly and


,

apparently aimlessly backwards and for


wards across the room swishing the oor ,

' with what sounded like a long lace train '


and breathing heavily They were both .

terried and s o cold that they could


,

hear o n e another s teeth chatter T hey .

were too frightened to call for help ; they


could only lie still hopin g and prayi ng
,

it would not come nearer t o them T he .

su fferings o f these t w o ladies were inde


scribable for the ghost remained in thei r
,

room all night moving restlessly about


,

until daybreak I t was not unti l some


.

days late r when other peo ple in the


,

house had experi enced the phenomenon ,

that they were told the story of the



notorious Pearlin J ean .


But was the s o called Pearlin J ean
-

really the apparition o f the murdered


French woman P T o my mind her identity ,

with that o f the beautiful S ister o f Charity


has n o t been satisfac t orily established ,
CA S E VI I I

TH E D R U MM E R O F CO R TACH Y
CA S E V I I I

TH E D R U M M E R OF CO RT A C H Y

W HAT anc i ent S cottish o r Irish fami ly has


n o t its Family G host ' A banshee the
he r itage of Niall of the Nine H ostages
i s still the unenviable possession o f his
descendants the O Donn ells and I wh o
,

, ,

am a member o f the clan have b o th seen ,

and heard it seve r al times As i t appears .

to me it resembles the decapitated head


,

of a prehistoric woman and I shall never


,

forget my feelings o n e night when aroused , ,

from slumber by its ghastly wailing I ,

stumbled frantically o u t o f bed and , ,

groping my way upstairs in the dark ,

without venturing to look to the left o r


right lest I should s e e something horrible ,

found e very inmate o f the house huddled


together on the landing paralysed with,

fea r
. I did not see it o n that occa
sion but on the following mo rning
, ,

as I had antici pated I recei ved the


,
1 20 SCO TT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
news that a near and dear relative had
died .

Possessing such an heirloom myself I ,

c a n therefore readily sympathise wi th those



who own a similar treasure such for ,

example as the famous o r rather infamous


, , ,

D rummer o f C ortachy C astle who is in ,

variably heard beating a tattoo before the


death of a m ember of the clan o f O gilvie .

Mrs C rowe in her Night S ide of N a ture


.
, ,

re ferring to the haunting says ,

Miss D a relative o f the present Lady


.
,

C who had been staying some time with


.
,

the E arl and C ountess at their seat near ,

Dundee was invited to spend a few days


,

at C ortachy C astle with the E a rl and ,

C ountess of Airlie S he went and whilst .


,

sh e was dressing fo r dinner the rst


evening o f her arrival s h e heard a strain ,

o f music under her window which nally ,

resolved itself into a well d e ne d sound -

of a drum When her maid came up


.

stairs sh e made some inquiries about the


,

drummer that was playing near the house


but the maid knew nothing o n the subj ect .

For the moment the circumstance passed


from Miss D s mind but recurring to her
.

, ,

again during the dinner sh e said address , ,


1 22 SCOTT I SH GHO ST STOR I E S
following day s he took her depa rture,

from C ortachy C astle and returned to ,



Lord C s where she related this strange
.
,

circumstance to the family thr ough whom ,

the information reached me .

This affair was very g ene r ally known


in the north and we awaited the event
,

with interest The melancholy death of


.

the C ountess about ve o r six m onths


afterwards at Brighton sadly veried the
, ,

prognostications I have heard that a .

paper was found in he r desk after her


death decla ring her conviction that the
,

drum was for her .

Mrs C rowe goes o n to explain the origin


.

o f the phenomenon Acco r ding to legend .


,

s h e says there was once at C ortachy a


,

drummer who incurring the j ealousy o f


, ,

the then Lord Airlie was thrust into his ,

o w n drum and ung from a window o f the

tower ' in which by the way Miss D slept' , ,


. .

Before being put to death thus the drummer ,

is stated to have said he would fo r ever



after haunt the Airlie family a threat he
has obviously been permitted to full .

D uri ng o n e o f my vi sits to S cotland ,

I stayed some days in Forfarshire n ot far


from C ortachy Among the visi tor s at my
.
TH E DRU MM E R OF CO RT A CH Y 1 23

ho t el wa s a v er y old gentleman of the


name of Porter who i nformed me that , ,

when a boy he u sed to vi si t some relati v es


,

who at that time l i ved wi thin easy walk


, ,

in g di st ance of C o rt achy O ne of these .

r ela tiv e s wa s a lad of about f o ur teen ,

named Alec with whom he had always


,

been the closest o f friends T he r ecol .

lection of thei r many adventures e vi den t ly


a ffo r ded Mr Porter inni t e amusement
.
,

and o ne of t hese adv entures i n part i cular , ,

he told me was a s fresh i n his m i nd a s if


, .

it had happened yesterday .

Looking back upon it n ow he sai d with , ,



a far away loo k in his ey es
-
it certainly ,

was a strange coinci dence and if yo u are ,

interested i n the hauntings o f C ortachy ,

Mr O Donn ell you may perhaps like to


.

, , ,

hear the account o f my ghostly e xp eri



e n c e s in that nei ghbourhood .

O f course I replied that nothin g would


gi v e me greate r pleasure and M r Porter ,
.

for t hwith be g an hi s story .

O ne misty night in O c t ober my fri end ,

Alec and I both being keen o n rabbiting


, ,

determined to visit a S p i nney adj o i ning


the C ortachy estat e i n pursui t of o ur ,

qua rry Alec had cho s en this par ticula r


.
1 24 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
night thinking under cover of the mist
, , ,

to escape the vigilance of the keepers ,

who had more than once threatened to


take him before the laird for trespassing .

T o gain access to the S pinney we had


to climb a granite wall and drop o n the

other side the drop in addition to being ,

steep being rendered all the more pre


,

carious by reason o f the man traps the -

keeper s were i n the habit of setting When .

I got astride the wall and peered into the


well like darkness at our feet and heard
-
,

the grim rustling o f the wind through


the giant pines ahead o f me I would have ,

given all I possessed to have found my self


snug and warm in bed ; but Alec was o f a
di fferent kidney
h e had come prepared
for excitement and he meant to have it
,
.

For some seconds we both waited o n the ,

wall in breathless silence and then Alec , ,

with a reckless disregard o f what mi ght


be in store for him gently let himself ,

drop and I fearing more if anything


, , , ,

than the present danger to be for ever ,

after branded as a coward if I held back ,

timidly followed s uit By a great stroke .

of luck we alighted in safety on a soft


carpeting o f moss No t a word was .
1 26 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
was not a keeper gradually stole over me ,

and in a paroxysm o f ungovernable terror


I caught hold o f Alec who was trembling ,

from head to foot as if he had the ague .

T he gure remained absolutely still for


about a minute during which time neither
,

'

Alec nor I could move a muscle and then , ,

turning round with an abrupt movement ,

came towards us .


H alf dead with fright but only too
-
,

thankful to nd that we had now regained


the use of our limbs we left o ur spoil and ,

ran for our l i ve s in the di r ect i on of the


wall .


W e dared not look back but we knew ,

the gure followed us for we heard its ,

footsteps close at o ur heel s ; and never


to my dying day shall I forget the sound
- -
,

rat tat tat rat tat tat for a ll the
,
-
,

world like the beat of a m u fed dr um .

H ow we ever managed to reach the wall


I could never tell but as we scrambled ,

over it regardless o f man traps and bruises


,
-
,

and plunged into the heather o n the other


side we heard the weird footsteps receding
,

in the direction o f the castle and ere we , ,

had reached home the rat tat tat rat ,


-
, ,

tat tat had completely died away


, ,
.
TH E DRU MM E R OF C O RT ACH Y 1 27

We told no o ne a Word o f what had


happened and a few days after sim
, ,

u lt a ne ou sly with the d e ath o f o n e o f the

Air lie s we learned fo r the rst time the


, , ,

story of the Phantom D rummer .


I ha v e little doubt Mr Porter a dded ,
.
,

in conclusion that the gure we took to


,

be a keeper was the p r ophetic D rummer ,

fo r I c a n assu r e y o u there was no possi


b ility o f hoaxe rs especially in such i ll
,

omened guise anywhere nea r the C ortachy


,

estate .

Poo r old Mr Porte r ' H e di d not lon g


.

survive o ur ren contre When I next .

visited the hotel some months later I was


, ,

genuinely grieved to hea r o f his decease .

H is s t ory h a d g r eatly fasci nated me for I


'

love the soli t ude o f the pines and have ,

myself fr om time to time witnessed many


r emarkable occult phenomena under the
shadow o f their lofty summits One night .
,

during this second visit o f mine to the hotel ,

the mood to ramble came upon me and , ,

unable to resist the s eductive thought o f


a midnight stroll across the bracken
covered hi l ls I borrowed a latchkey and
, , ,

armed with a ask o f whisky and a thick


s tick plunged i n t o the moonli t night
, .
1 28 S COTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
T he keen heather scented air acted like
-

a tonic I felt younger and stronger than


I had felt for years and I congratulated ,

myself that my friends would hardly know


me if they s a w me now as I swung along ,

with the resuscitated stride Of twenty


years ago The landscape for miles
.

around stood o u t with startling clearness


in the moonshine and I stopped every
,

now and then to drink in the beauties o f


the glittering mountain ranges and silent -
,

glimme ring tarns Not a soul was about


.
,

and I found myself as I loved to be the, ,

only human element in the midst o f nature .

E very now and then a dark patch uttere d


across the shining road and with a weird ,

and plaintive c ry a night bird dashed


,

abruptly fro m hedge to hedge and seem ,

in gly melted into nothingness I quitted .

the main road o n the brow o f a low hill ,

and embarked upon a wild expanse o f


moor lavishly covered with bracken and
,

white heather intermingled with whi ch


,

wer e the silvery surfaces o f many a pool


o f water Fo r some seconds I st o od still

.
,

lost i n contemplating the scenery its ,

utter abandonment and grand sense o f


isolati o n ; and inhaling at the same time
1 30 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
the soft and mystic radiance o f the moon .

An owl hooted and the rustling o f brush


,

wood told me o f the near proximity of


some fur coated burrower in the ground
-
.

H igh above this animal life remoter even ,

than the tops of my beloved trees o r t h e


mountain ranges etched o n the dark rma
-
,

ment shone multitudinous stars even the


, ,

rings round S at urn being plainly discernible .

From the Milky Way my eyes at length


wandered to the pines and a puff o f air ,

laden with the odour o f their resin and


decaying brushwood decided me I took .

a few preliminary sips o f whisky stretched ,

my rusty limbs and placing o n e foot in a


, ,

j agged crevice of the wall swarmed pain ,

fully up H ow slow and how ha z ardous


.

was the process ' I scratched my ngers ,

inur ed to the pen but a stranger to any


rougher substance ; I ruined my box calf -

boots I split my trousers at the knees


, ,

and I felt that my hat had parted with its


shape for ever ; and yet I continued the
ascent The end came all too suddenly
. .

When within an ace o f victory I yielded ,

to impulse and with an energy the desperate


,

condition o f my skin and clothes alone


could account for I swung up and the
,
,
TH E DRU MM E R OF CO RTA CH Y 13 1

outer edge of the wall melted beneath me ,

my hands frantically c l utched at nothing


ness a hideous sensation of falling surged
,

through m y brain my ea r s and eyes lled


,

to burstin g and wi t h a ter ric crash


,

that seemed t o drive my head and spine


right through my stomach I met the ,

black upri sing ea rth and lost c o n s c i ou s


, ,

ness.

Provi denti ally for me I had p i tched ,

head rst i nto a furz e bush which broke


the fall otherwise I must have met wi th
,

se rious inj u ry As it was when I recovered


.
,

my momentary loss o f consciousnes s I ,

found that I had sustained no worse harm


than a severe shaking scratche s galore , ,

and the utter demolition o f my clothes '


I picked myself up with di fculty and ,

spent some time searching for my hat and



stick which I at le ng th disc o vere d lodged

, ,

o f course where o ne would least have


,

thought o f looking for them I then .

took close stock o f my surroundings ,

and found them even grimmer than I


had anticipated T hough the trees were
.

packed closely together and there w a s ,

much undergrowth the mo o nbeams we r e


,

s o p o we r ful and s o fully concent r ated


132 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
on the S pinney that I could see no in
,

considerable distance ahead o f me O ver .

everything hung a solemn and preter


natural hush I saw shadows everywhere

.

shadows that deed analysis and had no


material counterparts A sudden crashing .

o f brushwood brought me to a standstill ,

and sent the blood in columns to my heart



.

Then I laughed loudly it was only a


hare the prettiest and pertest thing im
,

a gin a ble I went on S omething whiz z ed


. .

past my face I drew back in horror


.

it was a bat merely a bat ,


My nerves .

were out o f order the fall had unsteadied


,

them ; I must pull myself together I did .

s o and continued to advance


,
A shadow .
,

long narrow and grotesque fell across


, , ,

my path and sent a thousand and o n e icy


,

shivers down my back I n an agony o f .

terror I shut my eyes and plunged madly


on . S omething struck me in the face
and hurled me back My eyes opened .

involuntarily and I s a w a tree that either


, ,

out of pique o r sheer obstinacy had ,

planted itself half way across the path -


.

I examined its branches t o make sure


they were branches and continued my ,

m arch A sc o re mo r e paces a sudden


.
,
1 34 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
long and gloomy aisles and reverberated
,

like thunder rat tat tat rat tat tat and


-
, ,
-
,

with this sound beating in my ears reaction ,

s e t in
,
and I never ceased running till I
had reached my hotel .
CA SE I X

TH E R OO M B EY O N D . A CCOU N T O F
H E NNE R S LEY,
N EA R
1 38 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
red white and yellow roses ; golden
,

honeysuckle bright hued marigolds


purple pansies ; pale forget me nots wall - -

ow e r s ; sweet peas ; many tinted a z aleas -

showy hydrangeas ; giant rhododendrons ;


foxgloves butte r cups daisies hollyhocks
, , , ,

and heliotropes a oral host too varied


to enumerate .

Overc o me wi th admiration bewildered ,

with happiness I kneel o n the soft carpet ,

of grass and burying my face e xtra va


, ,

n t l in alternate laps of lu x urious


g a y , ,

downy scent laden petals ll my lungs with


,
-
,

soul inspiring nectar


-
.

My intoxication has barely worn off


before my eyes are dimly conscious that
the soil all around me is generously b e
sprinkled with the remains o f my o ral
friends I spring hurriedly to my feet
.
,

and ga z ing anxiously about me suddenly


, ,

perceive the gaily nodding heads o f new


arrivals dahlias sunowers anemones , , ,

C hrysanthemums As I continue ga z ing .


,

the aromatic odour o f mellow apples


fr om the H e nn e rsley orchards reaches my
nost rils ; I turn round and there there , ,

in front of me I see row upon row o f ,

richly laden fruit t rees the ir leaves a


-
,
TH E ROO M B E Y O N D 1 39

brilliant copper in the s cintilla tin g r ays


of the r u ddy autumn sun I g asp for

.

b r eath the beau t y of t int and tone sur


passes all that I ha v e hithe r to seen it is
sublime the grand climax o f t ra n s rm a
,

tion As the cur t ain falls with the app r oach


.

of wi nte r I hurry t o my E dinburgh home


,

and pray for the p rom pt r e t u r n o f ea rly


S prin g .

F or many yea r s m y a g ed relati v es ,

the M i sses Amelia and D ebo r ah Ha r


b o r de e ns li v ed at H e nn e r sle y
,
R a r est and .

kindest o f o ld ladies they were the human ,

prototypes o f the ower s both they and I


loved Miss Amelia with her beautiful
.
,

comple xion r ounded fo r m and regal mien


, ,

suggested to my chil dish mind more ,

much more than the mere sem blance o f a


,

ros e whilst Miss D eborah with her sprightly


, ,

grace and golden hair was only masquer



,

ading as a woman s he was in rea lity a


da ffodil .

U nlike so many of the fai r se x who go


in for g ardenin g my aunts we r e essentially
,

dai nty Thei r gures we r e shapely and


.

elegant thei r hands sli m and soft I


, .

never s a w them wor ki ng w i thout gloves ,

a n d I ha v e g ood reason to believe they


1 40 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
anointed their ngers eve ry night with a
special preparation to keep them smooth
and white They were not decidedly
.

not brainy neither were they a ccom
,

p lis h e d,
never having made any special
study o f the higher arts ; but they evinced
nevertheless the keenest appreciation o f
painting mu sic and literature Their

.
, ,

library a large o ne boasted a delightful


harbourage o f such writers as J ane Austen ,

Miss Mitford and Ma ria E dgewo rth And


,
.

in their drawing r oom on the walls o f


-
,

which art was represented by the O ld


as well as modern masters might be seen ,

and sometimes heard for the Misses



H a rb o r d ee n s often entertained a well
tuned Broadwood and a B u ck sen h a rp si
,

chord I will desc ribe th I s O ld world abode


.
-
,

not as I rst sa w it for when I rst visited


,

m y aunts Amelia and D eborah I was ,

only o ne year old but as I rst remember


,


it a house with the glamour o f a many
gabled roof and diamond window panes -
.

The house stood by the side o f the



turnpike road that broad white inter , ,

minable road originating from goodness


,

knows where in the nor th and passing



,

th rough Ay r the nea r es t town of any


1 42 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
that class o f people unhappily rare who , ,

possess a p ow e r of generating in others


'

an instinctive knowledge of dangerous


ground a power which enabled them
t o avert both from themselves and the
,

might b e o ffender many a painful situa


-

tion T o proceed the nakedness of the


.

n r l
walls of H e ne s ey was veiled who shall
s a y it was not
designedly veiled by a
thick covering o f clematis and ivy and in ,

the latter innumerable specimens o f the


feathered tribe found a sure and safe
retr eat .

O n entering the house o n e stepped at ,

once into a large hall A gallery ran .

round it and from the centre rose a broad


,

oak staircase The rooms with o ne o r


.
,

t w o exceptions O pened into o n e another , ,

and were large and low and long in S hape


,

the walls and oors were of oak and the


ceilings were crossed by ponderous o a k
beams .

T he replaces too were o f the oldest , ,

fashion ; and in their comfortable ingle



nook my aunts in the winter loved to
.
-

read or knit .

When the warm weather c ame they ,

made similar use of the deep set window -


TH E ROO M B E Y O N D 1 43

sill s ,
over which they indulgently per
mitt e d me to scramble on to the lawn .

T he sunlight was a speci al feature o f


H enn ersley Forcing i t s way t h rough the
.

trellis ed pane s i t illumi nated the house


,

with a radi ancy a soft golden r adiancy I


,

have neve r seen elsewhere .

My relat i ve s s eemed to possess some


phenomenal attraction for the sunlight ,

for no matter where they s a t a beam


, ,

brighter than the rest always shone o n


them ; and when they g ot up I noticed
, ,

that i t always followed them accompan y ,

ing them from room to room and along


the corridors .

But this was only on e o f the many


pleasant mysteries that added to the j oy
o f my visits to H e n n e r s le I felt sure
y .

that the house w a s enchanted that it


was under the control o f some benevolent
being who took a ki ndly i nterest in t he
welfare O f my relatives .

I remember once on the occasi on o f m y


,

customary good morning t o Miss Amelia


-
,

who invariably breakfasted i n bed I ,

i nh aled the most del i cious o dour o f helio


trope I t wa s wafted towards me i n a
.

cool curr en t of ai r as I app ro ached her


,
1 44 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
bed and seemed t o my childish fancy to
, , ,

be the friendly greeting of a sparkling sun


beam that rested on M iss Amelia s pillow
.

I was s o charmed with the sc ent that , ,

alas ' forgetful o f my manners I gav e a ,

loud sni ff and with a rapturous smile


,

ej aculated ,
O h Auntie Cherry pie
Miss Amelia started D ear me Child '
.
,

s h e exclaimed how quietly you entered


,
.

I had n o idea you were in the room H elio .

trope is the name of the scent my dear but , ,

please do n ot allude to it again Your .

Aunt D eborah and I ar e very fond of it


here she sighed but for certain reasons
reasons you would n ot understand w e
do not like to hear the word heliotrope
mentioned Kiss me dear and r un away
.
, ,

to your breakfast .

F o r the rst time in my life perhaps , ,

I was greatly puz zled I could not s e e .

why I should be forbidden to refer to


such a pleasant and harmless subj ect a
subj ect that looked at from no matter
,

what point o f view did not appear to me


,

to be in the slightest degree indelicate .

T he more I thought over it the more con ,

vin c e d I became that there was some


associat i on between the scent and the
1 46 SC O TT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
and you in di fferent parts o f the room
, .

And it has settled o n your lace collar


now .

Miss D eb o rah looked at me very seri


o us ly ; but the moistening of her eyes I

attributed to the strong light E sther.


,

s h e said laying o ne o f her soft hands on my


,


forehead there are things G od does not

,

want little girls to understand question


me no more .

I obeyed but henceforth I felt m ore


,

than ever ass ur ed that my aunts co n ,

s cio u sly or unconsciously shared their


,

charming abode with some cap ricious genii ,

o f whose presence in their midst I had

become accidentally aware ; and to nd


o ut the enchanted neighbourhood o f its

mysterious retreat was to me now a matter


o f all absorbing importance
-
I spent hour
.

after hour roa ming through the corridors ,

the copses and my beloved ower gardens


, ,

in eager search o f some spot I could u n


hesitatingly a frm was the home of the
genii Most ardently I then hoped that
.

the sunbeams would follow me and that ,

the bree z e Charged with cool heliotrope


would greet me as it did Aunt D eborah .

In the daytime all Henne rsle y was


,
TH E ROO M B E Y O N D 1 47

sunshine and owers and stray where I , ,

would I never felt lonely or afraid ; but


,

as the ligh t waned I sa w and felt a subtle


chan g e creep over everything The long .

aisles o f trees that in the morning only


struck me as enchantingly peaceful and
shady gradually lled with strangely
,

terrifying shadows ; the hue o f the broad


swards deepened into a darkness I did n ot
dare in t erpret whilst in the house in it s
, ,

every passa g e nook and c o rner a gloom


, , ,

a r ose t hat seeming t o come fr o m the very


,

bowels of the earth brought wi th it every


,

possible sugg es t i o n o f bogey .

I never spoke o f these th i ngs to my


r elatives partly because I was ashamed
,

o f my cowardice and partly because I


,

dreaded a fresh rebuke H ow I suffered ' .

and h ow I ridiculed my sufferings in the


mornings when every trace o f darknes s
,

was obliterated and amid the radiant


,

bloom o f the trees I thoug ht only o f


heliotrope and sunbeams .

O ne afternoon my sea r ch fo r the abode


o f the genii led me t o the Win g less side

o f the house a side I rarely visited At


, .

the f o ot o f the ivy covered walls and -

straight in thei r cen t re was laid a wide bed


1 48 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
of owers every one of which was white
, .

But why white Again and again I asked


myself thi s questi o n but I dared not broach
,

it t o my r elatives A garden all white



.

was assuredly an enigma and to every


enigma there is undoubtedly a key Was .

this garden which was all white in any


, ,

way connected with the sunbeams and


heliotrope ' Was it another o f the
myste ries G od concealed fr om little girls '
C ould this be the home o f the genii '
This latte r idea had no sooner entered
my head than it became a conviction Of .

course ' There was no doubt whatever


it was the home o f the genii .

The white petals were now a source O f


peculia r interest to me I was fascinated
.

the minutes sped by and still I was there .

I t was n o t until the sun had disappeared


in the far distant horizon and the grim
-
,

shad ows o f twilight were creeping o u t


upon me from the neighbouring trees and
bushes that I aw o ke from my reverie
,

and ed

That night unable to sleep through t he
excitement caused by my discovery of the

home o f the genii I lay awake my whole
,

thoughts concentrated in o ne soul absorb -


1 50 S C O TT I S H G H O ST ST O R I E S
great s o utterly and wholly irresistible
, ,

that I succumbed and getting quietly o u t


, ,

o f bed made my way noiselessly into the


,

corridor

.

All was dark and still stille r than I had


ever known it before Without any hesita .

tion I plunged forward in the direction o f ,

the wingless side o f the house where ther e ,

was a long narrow stained window that


, ,

commanded an immediat e prospect o f the


white garden .

I had seldom looked o ut o f it as up to ,

the present this side o f the house had little


attraction for me ; but all was Changed
now ; and as I felt my way cautiously
,

along the corridor a thous and and o n e ,

fanciful notions o f what I mi gh t s ee surged


thr o u gh my brain .

I came to the end o f the corridor I ,

descended half a dozen stairs I got to the ,

middle o f the gallery overlookin g the



large entrance hall below me above me , ,

o n all sides o f me was S tygian darkness ,


.

I stopped and there suddenly rang o u t


, ,

apparently from close at hand a loud , ,

clear most appallingly clear blood curd


, ,
-

1ing c ry which b e ginning in a low key


, , ,

ended in a sh riek so hor ri d harsh and , ,


TH E RO O M B E Y O N D 1 31

piercin g that I felt my hea r t shrivel up


,

within me and in shee r de sperati o n I


,

buried my n g ers i n my ea rs to deaden


'

the sound .

I was now t oo fri ghtened to mov e o ne


way o r the o the r All the str en g th de
.

pa r ted from my limbs and when I e n ,

dea v o ure d to move my feet I coul d not ,

th e y appea r ed to be fas t ened to t he gr ound


with lead wei ghts .

I felt I intuitively felt t ha t t he auth or


,

of the disturbance wa s r e g ardin g my


ter r or with grim satisfactio n a nd that i t ,

was merely pos t ponin g furthe r ac ti on i n


orde r t o enj o y my s uspen s e T o block .

out the sight o f this dreadful c r eature I ,

clenched my eyelids tightly t o gethe r a t ,

the s ame time earne st ly i mplo ri n g G o d t o


help me .

S uddenly I hea r d the l ow wai l be gi n


again and t hen the echo o f a fa r off sil very
,
-

voice came softly to m e throu g h the gl o o m



I t s an o wl only an o wl

With lightnin g like rapidity the t r uth


-

then dawned o n me and as I w i thdrew ,

my clammy nge r tips fro m m y ears the-


,

faint uttering o f wi ngs reached me ,

th r ough an open skyli gh t O nce a g ain .


1 32 SCO TT I SH G HOST STOR I E S
I moved on the gallery was left behind ,

and I was well o n my way down the


tortuous passage leadin g to my goal when ,

a luminous obj ect of vast height and ,

cylindrical shape suddenly barr ed my ,

progress .

O ve r come by a deadly sickness I sank ,

o n the oo r and buryi ng my face in my


, ,

hands quite made up my mind that my


,

last moments had come .

H ow long I remained in this position


I cannot sa y to me it seemed eternity
, .

I was eventually freed from it by the echo


o f a gentle laugh so kind and gay and
, , ,

girlish that my terror at once dep a r ted


, ,

and o n raising my head I perceived


, ,

that the cause of my panic was nothing


more than a broad beam of moonlight
o n a particularly prominen t angle o f the

wall .

H eartily ashamed at my cowardice I ,

got up and stepping briskly forward soon


, , ,

reached the stained glass window -


.

Pressing my face against the pane I ,

peered through it and there immediately


,

beneath me lay the owers gloried into ,

da zz ling gold by the yellow colour o f the


glass The sight thrilled me with j oy
.
1 54 SCO TT I SH G H O ST STO R I E S
hair waved artist i ca lly aside fr om a low
,

forehead o f snowy white ; nely pencilled -

b r ows and long eyes o f the most lust r ous


,

violet a straight delicately moulded nose


,
-
,

a rm beautifully proportioned chin and


,
-
,

a bewitching mouth At her bosom was .

a bunch o f heliotrope which deftly u n , ,

doing she raised to her nose and then


,

laughingly held out to me I was charmed .

I took a step forward towards her The .

instant I did s o a wild look o f terror


,

distorted her face sh e waved me back , ,

something j arred against my knee and , ,

in the place o f the room I sa w only the ,

blur r ed o utline o f t r ees through the y ellow


window pane s -
.

Bitterly disappointed but absolutely ,

sure that what I had seen was obj ective ,

I retraced my steps to my bedroom and


passed the remainder o f the night in sound
S leep .

After breakfast howe ver unable to , ,

restrain my curiosity longer I sought ,

Miss Amelia w h o was easier to approach


,

than her S ister and managing after , ,

several e fforts to s crew up courage ,

blurted o ut the story of my nocturnal


escapade .
TH E R OO M B E Y O N D 1 33

My aun t lis t ened in silence S he was


always g entle but o n this occasi on sh e
,

surpassed h erself .

I a m not g oin g t o sc o ld you E sther , ,

she said smoothing o ut my curl s


,
After .

what you have s een it is us eless to conceal


the t ruth from you G od perhaps intends .

you to know all Yea r s a go E sther .


, ,

this house was not as you s ee it now .

It had tw o wings and in the o ne that, ,

no long e r e xists was the bed r oo m you


s a w in y o u r vi si on W e called it the
.

Gree n R oom because eve r ythi n g in it


was green y o u r Aunt Alici a a n aunt

,

you have ne v e r heard of wh o slept


the r e havi n g a peculi ar fancy f or that
,

c o lou r .

Alici a was o ur y o un g est s is t e r and we ,

all l o ved he r dearly S he wa s j ust as .

y o u describe he r beautiful as a fai r y w i th ,

golden hair and violet eyes and sh e


, ,

always wore a bunch Of heliotrope in her

dress .

O ne night E sther one lovely calm


, , , ,

midsummer night forty years ago this , ,

house was broken into by burglars T hey .

g o t in t hrough the Green R oom window ,

whi ch was alway s lef t open during the


1 56 SCOTT I S H GHO ST STOR I E S
warm weather
We my mothe r your

.
,

Aunt D eborah and I we r e awakened ,

by a loud shriek fo r help R ecognising .


Alicia s voice we instantly ew o u t ,

of bed and summoning the servants


, , ,

tore to the Green Room as fast as we


could .

T o our horror E sthe r the door was , ,

locked and before we could break the lock


,

the r u fa ns had murdered her ' They


escaped th r ough the wi ndow and were
n eve r caugh t My mother your g r eat
.
,

grandm o ther had that part o f the house


,

pulled down and on the site o f it she


,

planted the white garden .


Though Alicia s ea r thly body died ,

and was taken from us he r beautiful ,

spirit remains with us he r e It follows .

us about in the daytime in the form of a


sunbeam whilst occasionally at night
, , ,

it assumes her earthly shape The house .

is what is generally termed haunted and , ,

no doubt some people would be afraid


,

to live in it But that E sth er is because



, ,

they do not understand spirits your Aunt



D eborah and I do .

D o you think auntie I asked wi th , ,

a th rill o f j oy do you think it at all


,
CA SE X

H OU S E N EA R B LYT H S WOOD S 'U A R E,



,

GL A SG O W . HAU N T E D
1 62 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
a grimness that made him feel he should
not like t o be alone there in the dead of
night It was a nuisance because the rest
.
,

o f the house pleased him ; mo r eover the ,

locality was convenient and the r ent ,

moderate very moderate for such a neigh


,

bo u rh o o d H e thought the matter well


.

over as he leaned in the doorway o f the


bathroom H e could of course have the

.
, ,

room c o mpletely r enova t ed new paper ,

new paint and a fresh bath H ot water


,
.
-

pipe s ' The geyser should be done away


with G eysers were hideous dangerous

.
, ,

and pshaw what nonsense ,


G hostly '
G hostly ' What absurd rot ' H ow his
wi fe would laugh ' That decided the
questi o n H is wife ' S he had exp r essed
.

a very ardent wish that he should take a


house in o r near B ly th sw oo d S quare if he ,

could get o ne o n anything like reasonable


terms and here was his chance H e would
,
.

accompany the a g ent o f the property to


the latter s ofce and the preliminari es

,

should be forthwith settled .

S ix weeks later he and his family were


,

installed in the house which still reeked ,

with the smell of fresh paint and paper .

The rst thing the C aptain did when he got


TH E H A U N TE D B ATH 63

there was to steal away slyly to the bath


room and as soon as he O pened the door
,

h is heart sank D espite the many altera


.

tions the room had undergone the grim ,


ness was still there there everywhere , .

In the ne new six foot bath with its -


,

glistenin g gle a min g wooden framework ;


, ,

in the newly papered newly painted c up ,

board in the walls w i th their bright fresh, ,

paper in the sno wy surface o f the white



washed ceiling ; in the air t he v e r y ai r ,

itself was full o f it The C ap t ain was as.


,

a rule very fond o f his bath but in his new


, ,

quarters he rmly resolved that some o n e


else should use the bath befo r e he made
the experiment In a very few days the.

family had all settled down and every o ne , ,

with the e xception of the C aptain had had ,

a bath but n o matter h ow many and how


,

bitter were his wife s complaints try h o w ,

he would he could not he positively could


, ,

n o t bring himself to wash in the bath r oom


,

a lon e. It was all right s o long as the door


was open but his wife resolutely refused to
,

allow him to keep it open and the moment ,

it was shut his abj ect terror returned a


terror produced by nothing that he could
in any way analyse or dene At last .
,
1 64 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
ashamed o f his cowardice he screwed up ,

courage and w ith a look o f determined


, ,

desperation in his eyes and mouth a n


expression which sent his wife into ts o f

laughter s e t o u t o ne night from his bed
room candle in hand and entered the
, ,

bathroom S hutting and locking the door


.
,

he lighted another candle and after placing , ,

them both o n the mantelshelf turned on ,

the bath water and began to undress, .

I may as well have a peep in the c up



board he said
,
j ust to satisfy myself n o
,

o n e is hiding there for every o n e in the


house knows how I hate this beastly bath

room with the i ntention o f playing me a
practical j oke S upposing o ne o f the maids
Polly fo r example I m sure she d be quite
.

, ,


capable took it into her pretty head t o
but here the C aptain was obliged to stop
he really was not equal to facing even ,

in his mind s eye the situation such a


supposition involved and at the b a I e idea ,

o f such a thing his countenance assumed



a deeper hue and I am loth to admit
,

an amused grin The grin however died.


, ,

o u t as he cautiously opened the door and



peered furtively in ; no o ne nothing was
there ' With a breath o f relief he closed
1 66 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
tickling his bare esh in the most immodest
fashion he roused himself from this leth
,

argy and was about to raise himself from


,

the oor when the lights went out


,

went o u t without a moment s warning ,

and he found himself engulfed in the most


funereal darkness To sa y he was startled
.


is to put it very mildly h e was absolutely
-
terror stricken far too terror stricken to -

think of moving now and least o f all o f ,

getting up and groping for the matches .

I ndeed when he came to think o f it he


, ,

had not seen any matches in the room ,

and he had not brought any with him ,

his wife had u rrie d him so much The .

moment the candles were extinguished


the grimness sensibly increased and he ,

could feel all around him thickly amal ,

g a m a t e d with the ether a superphysical ,

presence at once hostile and horrible


,
.

Then to bring his terror to a climax there


, ,

issued from the bath a loud rubbing and


splashing as if some o ne some very heavy
, ,

person was vigorously washing


,
The .

water rose and fell squished and bubbled,

as it does when o n e is lying at full length


in it raising and lowering oneself kicking
, ,

and plunging rst o n one side and then


TH E H AUN TE D B ATH 1 67

on the other Whilst to add to the realism


.
, ,

C aptain S mythe distinctly heard g asping


and pufng ; and the soft greasy sound ,

of a well soaped annel H e could indeed


-
.

follow every movement o f the occupant


o f the bath as graphically as if he had seen

him from the brisk scrubbing o f body and
legs to the nicky process o f cleanin g the
ears and toes .

It was whilst the ba t he r was occupied


thus that the cupboard door began to O pen
very qui etly and stealthily and C aptain ,

de S mythe hea r d the chair he had so care


fully placed against it being gradually
propelled across the oor .

Then something he would have g i ven


,

anythin g to tell what came out and began


,

to steal towards him H e tried to crawl .

o u t of its way but could not ; his l imbs no


,

lon g er acted conj ointly with hi s brain and ,

when he opened his mouth to shout at it ,

his voice withered away in his throat It .

came up to him and directly it touched his



,

naked skin he knew it was a woman a


woman with a much b e ounce d si lk ski r t
-


and silk petticoats a woman wh o se per so n
was perfumed with violets ' a scent fo r which
the C ap t ain had a particular weakness'and ,
1 68 SCOTT I SH GHOST ST O R I E S
without do ubt loaded with j ewellery H er
,
.

behaviour did not betray any symptoms o f


embarrassment when s h e encountered the
C aptain lying o n the oor but planting , ,

one icy cold high heeled shoe on his chest


- -

and the other o n his cheek sh e stepped o n ,

him as if he had been an orthodox cushion


or footstool purposely placed there for
,

her convenience A hollow exclamation .


,

which died away in a gasp issued from the ,

bath as the woman with a swift movement


, ,

of her arms threw something over it


,
.

What followed the C aptain could only


,

surmise but from the muttered imprecations


,

and splashes in the water it se emed to him ,

that nothing short o f murder was taking


place After a while the noises in the bath
'

grew feebler a nd feebler and when they ,

n ally ceased the woman with a sigh of


, ,

relief shook the water from her arms


, ,

and stepping o ff the C aptain moved


, ,

towards the replace The spell which .

had up to the present enthralled the


, ,

unfortunate Captain was now broken and , , ,

thinking that his ghostly visito r had b e


taken herself right away he s a t up H e ,
.

had hardly done s o before the darkness


was rudely dis sipated and to his horror , , ,
1 76 S COTT I SH GH O ST ST O R I E S
and shone with the most damnable e x pres
sion o f satanical hatred and glee The .

whole thing the face and the light that


,

emanated from it was s o entirely awful and ,

devilish that Captain S mythe s a t like one


,

turned to stone and it was not until long ,

after it had vanished that he groped his


way to the door and in Adam s costume ,

,

for he dared not stay to put on his clothes ,

ed down the passa g e t o his bedroom .

From his wife he got little sympathy ;


her sarcasm was too deep fo r words and ,

s h e merely ordered her husband o n no

account to breathe a word of his silliness


before either the children or the se r vants .

The inj unction however which was natur, ,

ally carried out to the letter was futile as a ,

precaution for o n running into the bathroom


, ,

o n e morning when every o ne else was down

stairs the eldest boy R onald saw oating


, , , ,

in the bath the body o f a hoary headed


,
-

o ld man It was bloated and purplish


.

blue and had big glassy eyes that stared


, ,

at him in such a hideous meaningless ,

manner that he utte r ed a sc r eam of terror


and ed Alarmed at the noise most
.
,

o f the household ran to see what had


happened O nly the C aptain remained
.
TH E H AU N T E D B ATH 7 1

behind H e knew only t oo well and he


.
,

hid letting his wife and the servants go


,

upstairs alone They entered the bath



.

room there was nothing in the bath n o t ,

even water but as they were lea ving they


, , ,

ran into a dark handsome evil eyed , ,


-

woman clad in the most costly o f dresses


, ,

and sparkling with j eweller y S he glided .

past them with sly silent fo o t steps and , ,

vanished b y the cupboard Cu r ed o f .

scepticism and throwing dignity to the


,

wind the C aptain s wife raced downstairs
, ,

and burstin g into the drawing room ung


,
-
,

herself on the sofa in hyste rics .

W ithin a week the house was once a g ain


empty and the rumour getting about that
,

it was haunted the landlord threatened ,

the S mythes with an action for slander o f


title But I do not think the case was
.

taken to court the S mythes agreeing t o


,

cont r adict the report they had originated .

Astute inquiries however eventually led , ,

them t o discover that a lady answering ,

t o the description o f the ghost they had


seen had once lived at
, H ouse O f .

S panish descent S he was young beautiful , , ,

and gay ; and was married to a man an ,

extremely wealthy man ' people remembered


1 72 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
how rich he was after he died' O ld enough ,

t o be her grandfather They had nothing


.

in common the husband only wanting t o


,

be quiet the wife to irt and be admired


,
.

Their neighbours O ften heard them quarrel ,

and it was declared that the wife possessed


the temper of a end The man was event
.

u a lly found dead in his bath and there ,

being no indications o f violence it was ,

generally supposed that he had fainted ,

'his wife having been previously heard


to declare that he often had fainting ts' ,

and had thus been accidentally drowned .

The beautiful young widow who inherited ,

all his money left the house immediately


,

and went abroad and the neighbours when


, ,

questioned by the S mythes as to whether


anything had been seen o f her since shook ,

their heads dubiously but refused to,

commit themselves .
CA S E XI
TH E C H O KI NG G H O S T O F H O U SE , N EA R
S A N D Y FO R D P L A C E GL A S G O W ,

TH E last time I wa s pa s si n g t hrough


G l as g ow I pu t up fo r the ni g h t a t an
,

hote l nea r S andyford Place and met ,

there an old theatrical acquaintance named


Browne H ely Browne No t having seen
,
.

him since I gave up acting which is ,

now alas ' a good many years we had


, ,


much to discuss touring days lodgings , ,

managers crowds and a dozen other


, ,

subj ects all included in the vulgar term


,


shop We spent the whole o f o ne
.

evening debating thus in the smoke ,

room ; whilst the following night we went


to an entertainment given by that charm
ing r eciter and raconteur Miss Lilian ,

No r th who apart fr o m her t alent which


, , , ,

in my O pinion places her in the rst rank


,

o f her profession is the possessor O f extra


,

ordinary personal attractions not the ,


I 7S
1 76 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
least remarkable of which are her hands .

I ndeed ,
it was through my attention
being called to the latter that I am ,

indirectly indebted for this story Miss



.

North has typically psychic hands ex


q u is it e ly white and narrow and her long , ,

tapering ngers and lbe r t nails ' which ,

by the way are always trimly manicured'


,

are the most perfect I have ever seen .

I was alluding to them on o ur way back ,

to the hotel after her performance when ,

H ely Browne interrupted me .

Talking about psychic things O Don ,


nell he said
,
do you know there is a
,

haunted house near where we are staying P



You don t Very well then if I tell y o u
, ,

what I know and y ou write about it will ,

you promise not to allude t o the house by


its right number P If you do there will

.
,

be the dickens to pay simply call it


H ouse near S andyford Place Yo u
,

.

promise P
. G ood ' Let us take a little
stroll before we turn in I feel I want a -


breath o f fresh air and I will tell you the
experience I once had there It is exactly
two years ago and I was o n tour here
,

in The Gr een a kes All the usual


.

theatrical diggings had been snapped up


1 78 SC O TT I SH GH O ST STOR I E S
was the cheese I said to myself when
,

I got o u t o f bed the rst morning ; I will


take very good care I don t touch Cheese

to night
-
. I kept this resolution but I

had the nightmare again and even if , ,

anything worse than before


,
Then I .


fancied it must be coco a I was at that

time a teetotaller s o I took hot milk
instead ; but I had nightmare all the same ,

and my dreams terried me to such an


extent that I did not dare get o u t o f bed
in the morning ' it was then winter'till
it was broad daylight It was now be .

coming a serious matter with me As .

you know an actor more than most people


,

needs sleep and it soon became as much


,

as I could do to maintain my usual


standard o f acting O n the fourth night
.
,

determining to get rest at all costs I ,

took a sti ff glass of hot b r andy j ust before



getting into bed I slept I could scarcely

.
,

help sleepin g but no t fo r long for I was ,

rudely awakened fr om my slumbers by


a loud crash I sa t up in bed thinking
.
,

the whole house wa s falling about my


ears The sound was not repeated and
.
,

all was profoundly s ilent Wondering .

what o n earth the noise co uld have been ,


TH E CH O KI NG GHOST 1 79

and feeling very thirsty I got out of bed ,

to get a drink o f lime j uice To my -


.

annoyance howeve r though I groped


, ,

about everywhere knocking an a sh tray ,

O ff the mantelpiece and smashing the lid

o f the s oap di sh I could nd neither the


-
,

lime j uice nor matches At length giving


-
.
,

it up as a bad j ob I decided to get into ,

bed again Wi th that end i n vi ew I


.
,

groped my way through the darkness ,

steering myself by the furniture the posi ,

tion o f which was o f course quite familiar


, ,


t o me a t least I imagined it was J udge .
,

then o f my astonishment when I could


,

n o t nd the bed ' At rst I regarded it

a s a huge j oke
and laughed how rich '
,

H a ' ha ' ha ' Fancy not being able to



nd one s way back t o bed in a room o f
thi s dimension Goo d enough fo r P nn ch
T oo good perhaps now H a ' ha ' ha '
, ,
.

But it soon grew past a j oke I had been .

round the room completely round the ,

room twice and still no bed ' I became


, ,

seriously alarmed ' C ould I be ill P Was


I going mad P But no my forehead was ,

cool my pulse normal F or some seco nds


,
.

I s t ood still not knowi ng what else to do


,

then to make one more d e sperate attempt


, ,
1 80 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

I stuck straight in front o f me and ran

into something something that recoiled
and hit me Thrille d with amaz ement
.
,

I put up my hand to feel what it was and ,



touched a noose .


A noose ' I ej aculated interrupting ,

H ely Browne for the rst time since he


began .


Ye s a noose ' he repeated
,
s us ,

pended in mid air As you c a n imagine -


.
,

I w a s greatly astonished for I knew there ,

had been nothing that I could be n ow


mistaking for a noose in the room over
night I stretched o ut my arms to feel
.

to what it was fastened but to add t o , ,

my surprise the cord terminated in thin


,

air T hen I grew frightened and dropping


.
, ,

my arms tried to move away from the



,

spot ; I could not my feet were glued to


the oor With a gentle purring sound
.
,

the noose commenced fawning I use


that word because the action was s o in
tensely bestial so like that of a c a t o r
,


snake round my neck and face It then
'

rose above me and after circling furiously


, ,

round and round and creating a miniature


maelstrom in the air descended gradually ,

over my head Lower and lower it stole


.
,
1 82 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
fo rany human being t o endure My head .

became ten times its natural si z e blood



foaming boiling blood pou red into it from
,

G od knows where and under its pressure,

my eyes bulged in their sockets and the ,

veins in my nose cracked T erric thunder .

ings echoed and r e echoed in my ears ; -

my tongue huge as a mountain shot


, ,

against my teeth ; a sea o f re raged through



my brain and then blackness black
,

ness inconceivable When I recovere d . ,

consciousness O Donn ell I found myself


,

standing cold and shivering but other


, ,

wise sound and whole on the chilly oil ,

cloth I had n ow no di fculty in nding


.
, ,

my way back to bed and in about an ,

hour s time succeeded in falling asleep I



.

slept till late and o n getting up tried to


, , ,

persuade myself that my horrible e x p eri


ence was but the result o f another night
mare .

A s you may guess after all this , ,

I did not look forward t o bedtime and ,

counted the minutes as they ew by with


the utmost regret Never had I been s o .

sorry when my performance at the theatre


was over and the lights o f my hotel once
,

again hove in sight I entered my bed .


TH E CHO KI N G GHOST 1 83

room i n fear and trembling and w a s so ,


,

apprehensive lest I should be again c om


elle d to undergo the sen s a ti ons o f hang
p
ing tha t I decided to keep a light burning
,

all night and for that reason had bought


, , ,

half a pound of wax can dles At last .

I grew s o sleep y that I could keep awake


no longer and placin g the candlestic k o n
, ,

a chair by the bed I scrambled in between


,

the sheets Without as much as a sip


.

o f spirits I slept like a top When I


,
.

awoke the room was in p i tch darkness .

A curious smell at once attracted my


notice I thought at rst it might be
.
, ,

but t h e p a ssin g illusion of a dream But


'


no I sni ffed again it w a s there there

,

close t o me under my very nose the


strong pungent O dour of drugs ; but n o t
,

being a professor o f smells nor e v en a ,

humble student of physics I was c ons e ,

quently unable to diagnose it and could ,

only arrive at the general conclusion that


it was a smell that brought with it v ery

vivid recollections of a C hemist s shop and
of my old school laboratory Wondering .

whence it originated I thrust my face ,

forward with the intention o f trying to


locate it when to m y horror my lips
, , ,
1 84 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
t ouched against something cold a n d abb y .

In an agony of fear I reeled away from it ,

and the bed being narrow I slipped over


, ,

the edge and bumped on to the oor .

Now I think it is quite possible tha t


up to this point you may have attributed
my unhappy experience to nothing more
nor less than a bad dream but your ,

dr eam theory ca n no longer hold good ,

for o n coming in such sudden contact


,

with the oor I gave my funny bone a


,
-

knock which I c a n assure yo u made me


, , ,

thoroughly awake and the rst thing


,

I noticed on recovering m y scattered



s enses was the smell I s a t up and saw
.
,

to my terror my bed was occupied but ,

occupied in the most alarming manner .

O n the middle o f the pillow was a face ,

the face o f I looked closer ; I w ould


have given every penny I possessed not to
have done so but I could n ot help myself

,

I looked closer and it w a s the face o f


,

my brothe r ; my brother R alph y ou


may recollect my mentioning him to
y o u for he was the only o n e of us who

,

was at that time making money whom


I belie v ed to be in New York H e had .

always been rather sallow but apart ,


1 86 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
the nauseating smell o f the grave and ,

the face on the pillow vanished H ow .

I got through the remainder of the night


I cann o t s a y I dare not think I dare .

only remember that I did not sleep I .

was devoted to R alph and the tho ught ,

that he had perished in the miserable


manner suggested by the apparition com ,

p le t e ly prostrated me In the morning .

I received a black edged letter from my -

mother stating that sh e had j ust he a rd


,

from D olly my brother s wife saying
, ,

R alph had died from cancer in the throat .

D olly added in a postscript that her dearly


beloved R alph had been very good t o
her and left her well provided for O f
,
.

course we might have had the body ex


,

h u m e d but we were poor and R alph s


, ,

widow was rich ; and in Ame rica you ,

know everything goes in favour of the


,

dollars H ence we were obliged t o let


.

the matter drop sincerely trusting D olly


,

would never take it into her head to


visit us S he never did My mother died
. .

last year I felt her death terribly ,


O Don n ell ; and as I no longer ha v e any

xed abode but am always touring the


,

British provinces there is not much fear


,
TH E CHO KI N G GHOST 1 87

of R alph s murder ess and I meeting It



.

is rather o dd howeve r that after my o w n


, ,

experience at the hotel I heard that it ,

had borne the reputation for being haunted


for many years and that a goo d many,

visitors who had passed the night in on e


of the rooms ' presumably mine ' had
complained of hearing strange noises and
having dreadful dreams H ow c a n on e .

explain it all P

O ne can t I responded as we turned
, ,

i n for the night .


CA S E XII
TH E G R EY TH E H EAVY C O A C H O F
P I P E R A ND

D ONAL DGO WER I E H O U S E P E RT H ,

until comp a ra t
DO N AL D GO WE RI E H O U S E ,

iv e ly recent times stood on the outskirts


,

of Perth It was a long low rambling


.
, ,

o ld place dating back to the beginning


,

o f the seventeenth century At the time .

o f the nar r ative it was in t h e possession

o f a Mr . William Whit tinge n w h o bought ,

it at a ve ry low price from some people


named Tyler It is true that it would cost
.

a small fortune to repair but no twith , ,

standing this disadvanta g e Mr Whittinge n , .

considered his purchase a bargain and was ,

more than satised with it I ndeed he .


,

knew o f no other house of a similar si z e ,

o f such an imposing appearance and s o ,

pleasantly situated that he could have


,

bought fo r less than twice the amount he


had paid for this ; and he was really very
sorry for the Tylers who explained to ,
1 92 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
him in condence that had they n o t been
, ,

in such urgent need o f money they would ,

never have sold Do na ldgow e rie H ouse


at such a ridiculously low gure H ow .

eve r with them it was a question of cash


,

C ash down and Mr Whit tin ge n had only


, .

to write out a cheque for the modest s um


they asked and the house was his It
, .

was J une when Mr Whit tin ge n took



.

possession o f the house J une when ,

the summer sun was brightest and the


gardens looked their best The Whit t inge n .

family consisting o f Mr and Mrs Whit


,
. .

tingen two sons E rnest and H arvey and


, , ,

three daughters R uth Martha and Mary , , , ,

were as o ne might gather from their


,

names alone plain practical genteel and


, , , ,

in fact very superior people who were by ,

no means lacking in that exceedingly useful


quality o f canniness so characte ristic o f ,

the Lowland S cot to which race they


be longed Mr Whit t inge n had for years
. .
, ,

conducted a grocery business in J edburgh ,

twice lling the honoured and coveted


post o f mayor and when he at length ,

retired into private life his friends ' and ,

it was a stonishing h ow many friends he


had'shrewdly suspected that his pockets
1 94 SC O TT I SH GHOST ST O R I E S
of title They were delighted with their
.

new home ' which R uth had persuaded her



father to Christen Do na ldgow e rie after ,

the house in a romantic novel she had j ust


been reading' and proud O f their gilded
,

premises and magnicent tennis lawns ;


they had placed a gigantic and costly tray
in the hall in condent assurance that it
,

would speedily groan beneath the weight of


cards from all the gentry in Perthshire .

But please be it understood that my ,

o n e and only obj ect in alluding to these

triing details is t o point o u t that the Whit


tingens being entirely engrossed in matters
,

mundane were the very last people in the


,

world to be termed superstitious and a l ,

though imaginative where future husbands

calls and cards were concerned prior to ,

the events about to be narrated had not


an ounce o f superstition in their natures .

I ndeed until then they had always smiled


,

in a very S upercilious m anner at even the


smallest mention o f a ghost .

S eptember came their rst S eptember in


,

Do na ldgow e rie and t h e family welcomed


,

with j o y E rnest and his youthful bride .

The latter was not as they had fondly


,

h oped ' and r oundly announced in Perth' ,


TH E GRE Y P I PE R 1 95

t he daughter o f a P eer but o f a wealthy ,

Bristol draper the owner o f a house near


,

the D owns whose s o n had been o ne o f


,

E rnest s many friends at O xford The



.

coming o f the newly marri ed pair t o D onald


-

w r i brought with it a burst o f bird


g o e e

like gaiety All sorts o f entertainments


.

mu sical at homes
dinners dances , , ,

tennis and garden parties in fa c t every ,


.

,

va riety that acco r ded with the family s

idea o f good taste were given ; and with

praiseworthy push for which the Whit ,

tingens had fast become noted all the ,

C ounty was invited This splendid display .

o f wealth and hospi t ality was not d is in

t e r e s t e d ; I fear it might be not only


,

accounted a send off fo r the im m a c u


lately clad curate and h i s wife but also
-
,

a determined e ffort o n the part of Mr .

and Mrs Whit tinge n t o attract the right


.

sort o f lover fo r t heir gi rls It was .

during the pro g ress of o n e o f their a l


fresco entertainments that the scepticism
o f certain o f the Wh itt in g e n s with regard

t o the supernatural received a rude blow .

Martha Mary and two eligible young


, ,

men friends o f H arvey s having nished a


,

somewhat spiri t ed game o f croquet were ,


1 96 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
refreshing themselves wi th lemonade whilst ,

they continued their irtation Presently .

Mary whose partner declared h ow much he


,

should lik e to s ee some photographs s h e


had recently had taken of herself with a ,

well affected giggle o f embarrassment se t


-

O ff to the house to fetch her album The .

minutes passed and as s h e did not return


, , ,

Martha went in search of he r The album .


,

S he knew was in their boudoir which


, ,

was situated at the end o f the long and


rather gloomy corridor of the upper storey .


H ighly incensed at her sister s slowness
s h e was hastening along the corridor when , ,

t o her supreme astonishment she suddenly ,

s a w the gure o f a man in kilts with a bag ,

pipe under his arm emerge through the half


,

open door o f the boudoir and with a ,

peculiar gliding motion advance towards


her A curious feeling with which sh e was
.
,

totally unfamiliar compelled her to r e ,

main mute and motionless ; and in this


condition S he awaited the app r oach of
th e stranger Who was he s h e asked her
.

self and how on earth had he got there and


, ,

what was he doing ' A S he drew nearer ,

sh e perceived that his face was all o ne hue



,

a ghas t ly li v i d g r ey
,
and tha t his eyes
, ,
1 98 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
pened indignantly demanded why such a
,


horrible looking creature as that piper
had been allowed n o t merely to enter the
house but to come up to her room and ,

half frighten her to death I had j ust .


got my album sh e added,
when feeling , ,

some one was in the room I turned round ,

and there ' s h e indicated a spot o n the

carpet'was the piper not ten paces away


,

from me regarding me with the most awful


,

look imaginable I was t oo taken aback


.

with surprise t o s a y anything nor fo r ,


some unaccountable reason could I escape ,

before he touched me o n the shoulder with


o n e o f his my cold hands and then c o m ,

m e n ce d playing U p and down the oor


.

he paced backwards and forwards never


, ,

taking his hateful glance o ff my face and


ever piping the same dismal dirge At last .
,

unable to stand the strain o f it any longer ,

and convinced he was a madman bent on ,


murdering me for who but a lunatic would

behave in such a way P I gave way to a
violent t o f hyste rics and fainted Now
,
.

tell me who he was and why he w a s per


,

m itt e d to frighten me in this manner P
And Mary stamped her feet and grew
viciou s as only her class will when they are
,
THE GRE Y P I PE R 1 99

at all v e x ed H er speech was followed


.

by a silence that exasperated her S he r e .

p e a t e d her inquiries with crimson cheeks ,

and then as again no o n e responded sh e


, ,

signalled out the head footman and r av ed at


him U p to this point M r Wh it tin g en had
. .

been dumb with amazement T he idea of a .

strange piper ha ving the twofold e ffrontery


i

to enter his house and proc eed t o the pr


vate and chaste sanctuary o f his highly r e
s p e c t a ble daughters almost deprived him o f
,

breath H e could scarcely believe his ears



. .

What what in the name Of what does


it all mean P he at length stammered ,

addressing the unfortunate footman A .

piper and without any invitation from


me h ow dare you let him in P
,

I did n ot sir the luckless footman
, ,

replied ; no such person came to the door



when I was in the hall .

NO more he did when I was there ,

chimed in the second footman and all the ,

other servants vociferated in a body ,

W e never s a w any piper sir nor heard , ,



o n e either and they looked a t Mary r e
,

r o a ch fully
p .

At this Mr Whit t in gen looked exceed


.

in gly embarrassed I n the face of such a .


2 00 SCO TT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
unanimous denial what could he s a y P H e
knew if he suggested the servants were
untruthful they would all give notice to
leave o n the spot and knowi ng good
,

servants are scarce in Perth as elsewhere ,

he felt rather in a x At length turning .


,

t o M ary he asked if s h e was sure it was


,

a piper S ure
. Mary screamed why , ,

of course I am did I not tell you he


,

marched up and down here playi ng on his


disgusting bagpipes which nearly broke
,

the drum of my ear .

And I s a w him too pa Martha put , ,

in . I met him in the corridor he had ,

his pipes under his arm and the most ,

dreadful expression in his face I don t .



wonder M ary was frightened .


But where did he go P Mr Whit .

tingen cried .

You would not believe me if I told


y o u M
,
artha said her cheeks
,
ushing .

H e seemed to pass right through me ,

and then to vanish through the staircase


wi ndow I have never been s o terribly
.


upset in my life and sinking on to the
, ,

sofa she began to laugh hysterically


,
.

D ear me dear me it is very O dd


Mr Whittingen e xclaimed as Mary handed
.
,
202 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
eyes portended mi sc hief and sh e could not ,

but suspect that in some way or another


, ,

he had brought about the catastrophe .

The autumn waned and Christmas was well ,

within sigh t w h e n another mysterious occur


,

rence took place It was early on e S unday


.

evening tea was j ust over and the Whit


, ,

tingen family were sitting round the re


engaged in a somewhat melancholy c on
vers ation for the loss of Mary had affected
'

them all very deeply when they heard ,

the far away rumble o f a heavy coach o n


-

the high road Nearer and nearer it came


-
.
,

till it seemed to be about o n a level With


the front Iodge gate then t o their surprise
there was a loud crunching o f gravel and ,

they heard it careering at a breakneck


speed up the carriage drive T hey looked -
.

at o n e another in the utmost consternation .


A coach a n d driven in this mad fashion
,

Whose w a s it P What did it mean P Not


visitors surely
,

It pulled up at the front door and the ,

champing and stamping of the horse s


vibrated loudly through the still night air .

S ounds as of on e o r more people descending


were next heard and then there came a ,

s eries of the most terric knockings at the


TH E GRE Y P I PE R 26 3

door T he Whitt in g en family stared at one


.

another aghast ; there was something in


those knockings s omething they could not

explain that struck terror in their souls
and made their blood run cold T hey .

waited in breathless anxiety for the door to


be O pened but no servant went to open it .

T he knocks were repeated if anything louder ,

than before the door swung back o n it s


,

hinges and the tread o f heavy footsteps were


,

heard slowly approaching the drawing room -


.

Mrs Whitt in ge n ga v e a low gasp o f horror


.
,

R uth screamed H arvey buried his face ,

in his hands Mr Whitt in g en rose to his


,
.

feet and made desperate e fforts t o get t o


,

the bell but could n ot stir whilst Martha


, ,

rushed to the drawing room door and -

locked it T hey then with o n e accord


.

began t o pray T he steps halted outside.

the room the door slowly opened and the


, ,

blurred outlines o f a group o f ghastly


looking gures supporting a grotesquely ,

shaped O bj ect in their midst appeared o n ,

the threshold For some seconds there.

was a grim silence It was abruptly



.

broken by a thud R uth had slipped from


her chair to the oor in a dead faint ;
whereupon the s hadowy fo rms solemnl y
204 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
veered round and made their way back
again t o the front door T he latter swung .

violently open there was a rush of icy wind


,

which swept like a hurricane across the


hall and into the drawi ng room the front -
,

door t hen slammed t o wi th a crash and ,

the coach drove away .


E very one s attention was now directed to
R uth A t rst s al v olat i le and cold water
.
-

produced no e ffect but after a time she ,

slowly v ery slowly regained consciousness


,
.

A s soon as sh e had rec o vered sufciently to


speak sh e expressed an earnest desire that
,

no reference should ever be made in her


presence t o what had j ust happened It .

was for me she said in such an emphatic


tone as lled her audience with the direst
forebodings I know it was for me they
.

all looked in my direction G od help me .


I shall die like Mary .

T hough greatly perplexed as to what s h e


meant for no on e excepting herself had
,

been able t o make out the phenomena with


any degree o f dist i nctness they yielded ,

to her entreaties and asked her no ques


,

tions The servants had neither heard nor


.

seen an ything A fortnight later R uth


.
,

was taken i ll wi th appendi c i tis peri ton i t i s


206 SCOTT I SH GHOST ST O R I E S
W as articled' on business whilst Mrs ,
.

Whit tin g en had taken her son and daughter


in law fo r a drive
-
T he weather was
.

glorious and Martha though as little


, ,

appreciative o f the beauties o f natu re as


most commercial minded young women
-
,

could not but admire the colouring o f the


s k y as s h e looked o u t o f the nursery window .

The sun had disappeared but the e ffect ,

o f its rays was still apparent o n the western

hori z on where the heavens were washed


,

with alternate streaks o f gold and red


a n d p ink the colour o f each streak e xc e s
s iv e ly brilliant in the centre but paling ,

towards the edges H ere and there were


.

golden pink tipped clouds and crimson


,
-

islets surrounded with seas o f softest blue .

And outside the limits o f this s un kissed -

pale the blue o f the s ky gradually grew


,

darker and darker until its line was alto


,

g ether lost in the black shadows o f night

that creeping Over the lone mountain


,

tops in the far east slowly swept forward


,
.

Wafted by the gentle bree z e came the dull


moaning and whispering o f the pine trees ,

the humming o f the wind through the tele


phone wires and the discordant cawing
,

o f the cr ows And it seemed to Martha


.
,
TH E GR E Y P I PE R 26 7

as sh e sa t there and peered o u t into the


garden that over the whole atmosphere
,

of the place had come a subtle and hostile



change a change in the noises o f the
trees the birds the wind ; a change in
, ,

the ow e r scented ether ; a change a


-
,

most marked and emphatic change in the ,

shadows What was it ' What was this


.

change ' Whence did it originate ' What


did it portend ' A slight noise a most ,

trivial noise attracted Martha s attention
,

to the room sh e looked round and was


quite startled to se e h o w dark it had
grown In the old days when s h e had
.
,

sco ffed at ghosts S he would as soon have


,

been in the dark as in the light the night ,


had no terrors for her ; but now n o w since
those awful occurrences last year all was ,

di fferent and as she peered apprehensively


,

about her her esh crawled What was


,
.

there in that corner O pposite that corner ,

hemmed in on the o n e side by the c up


'

board how s h e h a te d cupboards p a rtic u ,

la r ly when they had shiny surfaces o n which


were reected all sorts o f curious things
and the chest o f drawers o n the other .

It was a shadow only a shadow but o f , ,

what ' S he sea r ched the room e very


20 8 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
where to nd its mate rial counterpart and ,

at last discovered it in the nurse s shawl

which hun g over the back o f a chair Then .

s h e laughed and would have gone o n laugh


,

ing for sh e tried to persuade herself th a t


,

laughte r banished ghosts when s uddenly ,

something else caught her eyes What .

was it ' An obj ect that glittered evilly


like two eyes S he got up in a state of the
.

most hideous fascination and walked to



wards i t Then sh e laughed again it Wa s
.

a pair o f sc i sso r s The nurse s s cissors .


clean bright and sharp Why did she


, , .

pick them up and feel the blades s o caress


ingly with her thumb Why did s h e glance
from them to the baby ' Why ' In the
name of Go d why ' Frightful ideas laid
,

hold o f he r mind S he t ried to chase them


.

away but they quickly returned The .

scisso r s why were they in her ngers


,
'

Why could not sh e put them down P For


what we r e they intended P C utting 'cut
ting thread and tape ,
and throats ' ,

Throats ' And sh e giggled hysterically at


the bare notion But what was this round.


her waist this shadowy arm like obj ect ' -

S he looked fearfully r ound and her soul ,

died wi thin her as she encount ered the


210 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
sh e s t r etched forth o ne o f her stubby in ,

artistic ngers and played with its esh .

Then she glanced furtively at the scissors ,

and smiled .

It was soon done soon o v er and sh e and


, ,

the grey faced piper danced a minuet in


-

the moonbeams afterwards he piped a fare



well dirge a wild weird funereal dirge
, , , ,

and marching slowly backwards his dark


, , ,

gleaming eye s x ed gl o a tingly o n hers dis ,

a ppeared th ro ugh the window Then the .

reaction se t in and Martha r aved and


,

shrieked till every o ne in the house ew to


the rescue

.

O f course no o ne saving her father



,

and mother belie v ed her E rnest his .


,

wife and the ser vant s attributed her bloody


,


act to j e a lousy ; the law to madness ; and
sh e subsequently j ourneyed from D onald

w e rie to a crim inal lunatic asylum where


g o ,

the rec o llectio n of all she had done soo n k ille d


her This w a s the climax Mr Whit tinge n
. . .

sold Do na ldgowerie and a new house was ,

shortly afterwards erected in its stead .


CA S E XIII
TH E FLOAT IN G H EA D OF TH E B EN

R A CH ETT I NN, N EA R TH E P E R TH

R OA D ,
D U N D EE
2 14 SCOTT I SH GH O ST STO R I E S
O ne summer evening early in the eighties

, ,

Mr Murphy the name by which I will


.

designate the originator o f this story


and his wife arrived in D undee The town .

w a s utterly unknown to them and they ,

were touring S cotland for the rst time .

Not knowing where to put up for the night ,

and knowing no o ne to whom they could


apply for information they consulted a ,

local paper and from the long list o f hotels


,

and boarding houses advertised therein


-

selected the B e nra ch e tt I nn near the Perth


,

R oad as b eing th e o ne most likely to meet


,

their modest requirements They were cer .

t a inly not disappointed with the exterior


o f the hotel they had chosen fo r as soon as ,

they s a w it they exclaimed simultaneously ,



What a delightful O ld place ' And old it
certainly was for the many gabled oaken
,
-
,

structure and proj ecting windows un q ue s


t io na b ly indicated the sixteenth century ,

whilst to enhance the e ffect and give it a


,

true touch in detail o f ye ancient times ,

a huge antique lantern was hung over the


entrance No r did the interior impress
.

them less favourably The rooms were.

large and low the ceilings walls oors


, , , , ,

and staircase all o f o a k The diamond .


TH E F LO AT I N G H EAD 21 3
lattice windows and narr ow tortuous , ,

passages and innumerable nooks and


,

crannies and cupboa r ds created an atmo ,

sphere o f combined quai ntness and


comfort that irresistibly appealed to the
Murphys Viewed under the searching
.

rays o f the s un and cheered by the voices


,

of the visitors the interior o f the house


, ,

for artistic taste and cheerfulness would ,



indeed be hard to beat ; but as Mrs Murphy s ,
.

eyes wandered up the stairs and down the


corridors she was lled with misgivings as
,

to how the place would strike her at night .

T ho u gh not ner vous naturally and by ,

no means superstitious at night when the , ,

house was dark and S ilent and the moon ,

called forth the shadows sh e was not ,

without that feeling o f uneasiness which



most people even avowed sceptics e xp eri ,

ence when passing the night in strang e and


novel quarters

.

The room they engaged I cannot sa y


selected as the h o tel being full they had
, , ,

H obson s choice was at the end o f a
very long passage at the back of the house , ,

and overlooking the yard I t was a larg e .

apartment and in one o f it s se v eral recesses


,

stood the bed a gi g ant i c eb o ny fou r poste r


, ,
-
,
216 SCO TT I SH G HO ST STOR I E S
with spotlessly clean valance and what , ,

was o f even greater importance well aired ,


-

sheets The other furniture in the room


.
,

being o f the same sort as that in the


maj ority o f old fashioned hostels needs no
-
,

description but a xture in the shape o f a


cupboard a deep dark cupboard let into
, , ,

the wall facing the bed instantly attracted ,

Mrs Murphy s attention There is always


.

.

something interesting in cupboards parti ,

c ula rly o ld and roomy cupboards when ,

it is night time and o ne is about to get


-

into bed It is then that they suggest all


.

manner of fascinating possibilities .

It w a s to this cupboard then that Mrs , ,


.

Murphy paid the greatest attention before ,

co mmencing to undress prior to getting


into bed S he poked about in it for some
.

moments and then apparently satised


, ,

that no o ne was hidden there continued her ,

investigation o f the room Mr Murphy



. .

did n o t assist h e pleaded fatigue and ,

s a t on the corner of the bed munching

a gingerbread and reading the Dun dee


A dvertis er till the O peration was over .

H e then helped Mrs Murphy unpack .

their portmanteau and during t he process , , ,

whiled away so much time in conversation ,


218 S C O TT I SH G H O ST STO R I E S
some long legged creature o n the wall
-

and window blind Mrs Murphy co ul d-


. .

never remember if sh e actually went to


sleep but she is sure her husband did

, ,

h
as s distinctly heard him snore and the
e

so u nd so detestable t o her as a rule was


, ,

s o welcome to her then S he wa s lying .

listening to it and wishing with all her soul


,

s h e could get to sleep when sh e suddenly ,


became aware of a smell a most o ffensive ,

pungent odour that blew across the room ,

and crept up her nostrils The cold per .

spiration of fear at once broke out o n


her forehead Nasty as the smell was it
.
,

suggested something more horrible some ,

thing she dared n ot attempt to analyse .

S he thought several times of rousing her


husband but remembering how tired he had
, ,

been she desisted and with all her faculties


, , ,

abnormally on the alert s h e lay awake ,

and listened A deathlike hush hung over


.

the house interrupted at intervals by the


,

surreptitious noises peculiar to the night


enigmatical creaks and footsteps rustlings ,

as of drapery sighs and whisperings all ,

very faint all very subtle and all possibly


, , ,

j ust possibly attributable to natural ,

causes Mrs Murphy caught herself why


. .
,
TH E FL O ATI NG H EAD 2 19

s h e could not say waiting for some denite


auditory manifestation o f what she instinct
iv ely fel t was near at hand At present .
,

however S he could no t locate it Sh e could


, ,

only speculate on its whereabouts it was


somewhe r e in the direction o f the cupboard .

And each time the stench came to he r the ,

conviction that i ts origi n was in the c up


board grew At last unable to sustain the
.
,

suspense any longe r and u r ged on by an


,

irresistible fascination sh e got softly out ,

o f bed ,
and c r eeping stealthily forward
, ,

found he r way with surprisingly little


di fculty ' con s ide rin g it was pitch dark and
the room was unfamilia r to her' to the
cupb oard .

With every step she took the s tink


increased and by the time she had reached
,

the cupboard sh e w a s almost su ffocated .

F or some seconds sh e toyed i rresolutely


with the door handle longin g to be back ,

again in bed but unable to tear herself


,

away from the cupboard At last yielding .


,

t o the demands of some pitilessly exacting


unknown inuence sh e held her breath
,

and swung O pen t he door The moment .

s h e did so the room lled with the faint ,

phospho r e s cent glow of decay and sh e s a w , ,


2 20 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

exactly O pposite her a head a human

,

head oa ting in Petried with mid air -


.

terror She lost every atom o f strength


, ,

and entirely bereft of the power to move o r


,

articulate a sound sh e stood stock still ,


-

staring at it That it was the head o f a


.

man sh e could only guess from the matted


,

crop o f short red hair that fell in a dis


ordered entanglement ove r the upper part
o f the forehead and ears All else was lost .

in a loathsome disgusting mass o f detest


,

able decomposition t o o utterly vile and ,

foul to describe O n the abnormal thing


.

beginning to move forwa r d the spell that ,

bound Mrs Murphy t o the oor was broken


.
,

and with a cry o f horror sh e ed to the


, ,

bed and awoke her husband .

The head was by this time close to them ,

and had not Mrs Murphy dragged her .

husband forcibly o ut o f its way it would ,

have touched him .

H is terror was even greater than hers ; but


fo r t h e moment neither could speak They .

stood clutching o ne another in an awful


silence Mrs Murphy at length gasped
. .

out,
Pray J ohn pray ' C ommand the
, ,


thing in the name o f Go d to depart Mr . .

Murphy made a desperate e ffort to do s o ,


SCO TT I S H GHOST STOR I E S
such a theory by vehemently attesting they
had both simultaneously experienced the
phenomena They were about t o take
.

their departure when the landlord retract


, ,

ing all he had said o ffered them another


,

room and any terms they liked if ,

only they would stay and hold their



tongues .

I know e v ery word o f what you s a y is


true,
he said in such submissive tones
,

that the tender hea r ts of Mr and Mrs . .

Murphy instantly relented and they pro


,

mise d to remain . But what am I to


do P I cannot shut up a house which I '


have taken o n a twenty years lease because

,

o n e room in it is haunted and after all


, ,

there is only o ne visitor in twenty wh o is


disturbed by the apparition What is .

the history of the head ' Why it is said


,

to be that o f a pedlar who was murdered


here over a hundred years ago The body
.

was hidden behind the wainscoting and ,

his head under the cupboard oor The .

miscreants were never caught ; they are


supposed to have gone down in a ship that
sailed from this port j ust about that time

and was never heard o f again .

This is the gist of the story the clergyman


TH E F L O A T I N G H EAD
told me and believing it
, ,
as I undoubtedly
do to be true there is ,
every reason t o
suppose that the inn t o ,
which I have o f
,

course given a ctitious


,
name if still in
,

existence is still haunted


,
.
CA S E XIV
TH E H A U N T I NG S O F H O U S E I N TH E N E I G H
,

B OU R H O O D O F TH E G R E A T W ES T E RN R O A D ,

A B E R D EE N

TH E followin g e x per i ence of a haunt i ng


is that o f Mr S carfe who told it me so me
.
,

few summers a go expressing at the same


,

time great ea g erness t o accompan y me on


some of m y i nvestigations .

I append it as nearly as possible in his


'

o w n words

I was spending E aster he began , ,

with some friends o f mine in Aberdeen ,

and learning from them that there was a


,

haunted house in t he I mmediate vi cinity


of the G reat Western R o a d I begged them ,

to try an d get me permission to spend a


night in it A s good luck would ha v e it
.
,

the landlord happened to be a connec ti on


o f theirs ,
and although at rst rather r e
lu c t a n t t o give me leave les t by doing s o
,
228 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
he should create a precedent and co n se , ,

quen tly be pestered to death by people


,

whom he knew t o be as anxious as I was


to see the ghost he eventually yielded ;
,

and the followi ng evening at 8 p m a c


,
. .
,

companied only by my dog S cott I entered , ,

the premises .

I cannot s a y I felt very comfortable when


the door slammed behind me and I found ,

myself stan ding alone in a cold dark ,

passage out o f which rose a gloomy stair


case suggestive Of all sorts o f uncanny
,

possibilities H owe v er overcoming these


.
,

ner v ous apprehensi ons as best I could I ,

began a thorough search o f the premises ,

to make sure that no o n e was hiding there .

D escendi ng rst of all into the basement ,

I explored the kitchen scullery larder, , ,

and other domestic o f ces T he place .

fairly reeked with damp but this was n o t


,

t o be wondered at taking in consideration


,

the fact that the soil was clay the oor


, ,

o f the very poorest quality of cement ,

cracked and broken in a dozen and on e


places and that there had been no res
,

in any o f the rooms for many months .

H ere and there in the darkest corners were


clusters of ugly cockroaches whilst more ,
TH E H AU N T I N GS OF HOUS E 2 29

than o n e monstrous rat scamper ed away


o n my approach My dog o r rather the
.
,

dog that w a s lent me and which went by,

the name of S cott kept close at my heel


, ,

showing no very great enthusi asm i n his


mission and gi vi ng e v en t he rodent s a s
,

wi de a berth as possible .

I i n v ariably trust t o my psychi c facul t y


' D

as you know Mr
,
O o
. nn e ll some people ,

are born with the faculty't o enable me to


detect the presence of the superphysical .

I generally feel the latter i ncorporated i n


some i nexplicable manner i n t he ethe r or ,

s ee i t i nex t ricably in t e r w ov en w i th the


shadows .

H ere in the basement it was every


where the air was simply sa t urated with
it and as the fading sunlight called
, ,

S hadow after shadow into existence it c o n ,

fronted me enigmatically whicheve r way


I turned .

I went upstairs and t he pre s ence fo l


,

lowed me In on e o r two o f the top bed


.

rooms more particularly in a tiny garret


overlooking the back yard the Presence -

seemed inclined to ho v er For some


seconds I waited there in order to see if ,

there w o uld be any fur t her de v elopment


230 SCOTT I SH GH O ST STOR I E S
there being none I obeyed the mandates
o f a sudden impulse and made my way

once more to the basement O n arriving at .

the top of the kitchen stairs S cott showed ,

a decided disinclination to descend farther .

C rouching down he whined piteously and


, ,

when I attempted to grasp him by the


collar snarled in a most savage manner
,
.

C onsequently thinking it better to have


,

no companion at all than on e so unwi lling ,

I descended without him .

The s tairs terminated in a very dark and


narrow passage into which the doors o f
,

the kitchen larder store room etc opened


, , ,
.
,

respectively and at the farther extremity


,

o f which was a do o rway leadin g t o the back

yard T he superphysical Presence seeming


.

to be more pronounced in this passage


than anywhere else I decided to spend the ,

night in it and selecting a S pot O pposite


, ,

the entrance to the scullery I constructed ,

a seat ou t of two o f the drawe rs of the


kitchen dresser by placing them o n e o n
, ,

the other bottom uppermost o n the oor


,
.

It was now half past nine ; the tra fc -

in the street overhead w a s b eginning to



diminish the rumbling of drays or heavy

four wheelers had almost ceased whilst the ,
232 SCOTT I SH G HOST STOR I E S
swiftly by I began to fear that perhaps , ,

a fter all the haunt i ngs were only of a


negative nature As the clock struck two
.
,

however S cott gave an extra savage snarl


, ,

and the next moment came racing down


stairs D arting alon g the passage and
.

teari ng towards me he scrambled U p the ,

o v erturned dr awers and burying his , ,

face in my lap s et up the most piteo u s


,

whinings A sensation o f icy coldne s s


.
,

such as could not have been due to any


physical cause now surged through me ;
,

and as I got o ut my p o cket ashlight


,

r eady for emergencies I heard an um ,

mistak able rustling in the cellar opposite .

At once my whole attention became ri veted


in the direct i on of this sound and as I , ,

s at gazing xedly in front o f me the ,

darkness was suddenly dissipated and the


whole passage from o n e end t o the other
, ,

was illuminated by a phosphorescent glow


which glow I c a n best describe as bearing
a close resemblance in kind though not in
,

d e gre e e to the glow o f a glow worm


,
I -
.

then s a w the s cullery door slowly begin


to ope n A hideous fear sei z ed me What
. .

what in the name o f H e aven should I


see ' Tr a ns xe d with terror unable t o ,
TH E H AU N T I NG S OF HOUS E 23 3

move or utter a sound I crouched agains t ,

the wall paralysed helpless whilst the door


,

opened wider and wider .

At last at last after an inter v al which t o


,

me was eternity S omething an as yet


, ,

i ndenite shadowy S omething loomed in ,

the background o f the enlargening space .

My suspen s e was n o w sublime and I felt ,

that anothe r second or so o f such tension


would assuredly s e e me swoon .

T he shadowy S omething however , ,

quickly developed and in less time than


, ,

it takes to write it assumed the form of


,


a woman a middle aged woman with a -

startlingly white face straight nose and , ,

curiously lined mouth the t w o front upper ,

teeth of which proj ected considerably and


were very long H er hair was black her
.
,

hands coarse and red and sh e was clad


, ,

in the orthodox shabby pri nt of a general


servant in some middle class family T he -
.

expression in her wide O pen glassy blue -


,

eyes a s they glared into mine was o n e o f


such intense mental and physical agony
that I felt every atom of blood in my veins
congeal C reeping stealthily forward her
.
,

gaze still on me s h e emerged from the


,

doorway and motioning to me t o follow


, ,
23 4 S COTT I SH GH O ST STOR I E S
glided U p the staircase U p Up we went
.
, , ,

the cold grey dawn greeting us on our


,

way E ntering the garret to which I ha v e


.

already alluded the phantasm noiselessly


,

approached the hearth and pointing down


, ,

ward with a vi olent motion of the index


nger of its right hand suddenly vanished
,
.

A great feeling of relief now came o v er me ,

and yielding to a reaction whi ch was the


,

inevitable consequence o f such a severe


nervous strain I reeled agai nst the wi nd o w
,

sill and sh oc k wi th laughter .

E quanimity at length reasserting itself ,

I carefully marked the S pot on the oor ,

indi cated by the appari t i on and descendi ng


,

into the basement t o fetch S cott made ,



hur ried tracks to my friends house where ,

I was allowed to sleep on till late in the


day I then returned to the haunted
.

house wi th the lan dlord and my fri end , ,

and o n raising the boar ding in the garret


, ,

we discovered a stamped and addressed


envelope .

As the result o f our combined inquiries ,

we learned that a few years previ ously the


house had been occupied by some trades
people o f the name o f P ibling t on who some , ,

six or seven months before they left the


236 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
the letter I found w a s the missing one ,

and although appar ently hi dden with in


tent the fact o f its never having been
,

O pened seemed t o suggest that Anna was


innocent and that the envelope h ad by


, ,

some extraordinary accident fallen u n


,

noticed by Anna through the crack between


the boards Anyhow i ts discovery put
.
,

an end to the disturbances and the appari


tion of the unfortunate suicide whether
guilty o r innocent and the J udgment D ay
,

c a n alone determine that has never been

seen since .
CA SE XV
TH E W H IT E L A D Y O F R OWNA M A V E N U E,

N EA R STI RL IN G
CA S E XV
TH E W H ITE L A D Y O F R OWNA M A VE N U E ,

N E A R S T I R L I NG

LI KE mos t E u r opean coun tr ies S cotland ,

c laims its S hare o f phantasms in the form o f



White Ladies Accordin g to Mr I ngram
. .
,

in his H a nnted H ons es a n d F a mily L egen ds ,

the ruins of the mansion of Woodhouselee


are haunted by a woman in white p resu m ,

ably ' though per s onally I think otherwise'


, ,

the ghost o f Lady H amilton o f Bothwell


hau gh This unfo rtunate lady together
.
,


with her baby was during the temporary
,


absenc e of he r husband stripped naked
and turned out of doors o n a bitte rly cold
night by a favourite o f the R egent Murray
,

A S a r esult o f this inhuman conduct the


child died and it s mother with the corpse
, ,

in her arms was discovered in the morning


,

ra ving mad Anothe r instance o f this


.

partic ular form of apparition is to be found



in S ir Walte r S cott s
White Lady'o f
23
9
2 40 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
Avenel and there are endless others both
, ,

in re a lity and ction .

S ome years ago when I was putting U p


,

at a friend s ho use in E dinburgh I was ,

introduced to a m an who had had severa l


experiences with ghosts and had therefore , , ,

been especially asked to meet me After .

we had talked together for some time he ,

related the following adventure which had


befallen him in his childhood in R ow na m
, ,

avenue ' the seat of S ir E near S tirling .

I was always a lover of nature he began , ,

and my earliest r eminiscences are associated


with solitary rambles through the elds dells , ,

and copses surrounding my home I lived .


within a stone s throw o f the property o f o ld
-

S ir E C who has long gone t o rest Go d


. .
,

bless his soul ' And I think it needs blessing ,

fo r if there was any truth in local gossip


'and it is said I think truly,
that T here is ,

never any smoke without re 'he had lived
a very queer life I ndeed he was held in such
.
,

universal awe and abhorrence that we used


to y at his approach and never spoke o f ,

him amongst ourselves saving in such terms



as Auld dour crab or The laird deil , .

R ow n a m Manor H ouse where he lived , ,


242 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
able though it be never lost an Oppor ,

t u nity o f insulting one another My father .


,

a strong R adical was opposed to all ,

big landed proprietors and consequently ,

winked his eye at my t resp a ssings ; but I


think nothing would really have pleased
him better than to have seen me brought
to book by S ir E G Since in my defence
.
,

he would have had an O pportunity o f


appealing to the passions of the local
people who were all R adicals and o f in
, ,

censing them still further against the


principles o f feudalism .

But to continue I had often heard it .

rumoured in the village that R ow na m


avenue was haunted and that the appari ,

tion was a lady in white and no other than ,

S ir E C s wife whose death at a very


. .

,

early age had been hastened if no t entirely ,

accounted for by her husband s harsh treat


,

ment Whether S ir E C was really as


. . .

black as he was painted I have never been


able to ascertain ; the intense animosity with
which we all r egarded him made us believe ,

anything ill o f him and we were quit e ,

r eady to attribute all the alleged hauntings

in the neighbourhood to his past misdeeds .

I believe m v family with scarcely an e xcep ,


TH E W H I T E LAD Y 243

tion be lieved in ghosts ; anyhow the subj ect


, ,

o f ghosts was s o O ften discu s sed in my hear

ing that I became pos s essed of an ungovern



able curiosi ty to s e e o ne If only The .

White Lady would appear I n the daytime ,

I thought I should have no difculty in


,

satisfying this curiosity but unfortunately,

s h e did not appear till night in fact not ,

until long after boys o f my age had been


ruthlessly ordered Off to bed I did n o t qui t e .

like the idea o f stealing out o f the house at


dead o f night and going alone to s e e the
ghost s o I suggested to my schoolfellow
,

that he should also break loose o ne night


and accompany me to R own a m t o s ee T he

White Lady I t was howeve r of no
.
, ,

use Much as he would have liked to have


.

seen a ghost in broad daylight it w a s quite ,

another matter at night to s a y nothi n g ,

o f running the risk o f being caught t r es

passing by that inveterate enemy S ir E C , . .

At length nding that neither persuasion


, ,

bribery nor taunts o f cowardice had any


,

effect on my schoolfellow who could not ,

decide which appearance wo uld be the more


appalling for h e assured me I should be
, ,
-

certain to encounter eithe r o ne or the othe r


the Whi t e Lady or the La i rd Deil I
, ,
-
2 44 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
gave U p all furthe r e ffort to induce him t o
acc o mpany me and made up my mind to
,

go t o R ow na m avenue alone .

Biding my opportunity and wa i ting till



,

my father was safely o u t of the way on ,

a visit to G reenock where some business ,

transaction would oblige him to r emain


for some days I climbed o ut of my
,

bedroom window when I deemed the rest,

o f the household to be sound asleep scudded ,

swiftly ac r oss the elds and making short , ,

work o f the lofty wall that formed the


southe r nmost boundary o f the R ow na m
estates quickly made my way to the
,

avenue It was an ideal S unday ni ght in


.

August and it seemed as if all nature


,

participated in the S abbath abst raction


from noise and work H ardly a sound .

broke the exquisite silence o f the woods .

At times overcome with the delightful


,

se nsation o f freedom I paused and raising , , ,

my eyes to the starry heavens drank in ,

huge draughts o f the pure country air ,

tainted only with the sweet smell o f newly


mown hay and the sce nt o f s ummer owers
, .

I became intoxicated delirious and i n , ,

t ransports of j oy threw myself o n the soft


mossy gro und and baring my thr o at and
, ,
246 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
in view I emerged fr om my retreat and ,

was preparing to y through the wood ,

when from afar o ff there suddenly came


, ,

the s ound of a voice the harsh grating voice


, ,

o f a man C onvinced this time that I had


.

been discovered by a keeper I j umped back ,

into the tree and swarming up the inside


, ,

o f the trunk peeped cautiously o u t


,
What .

I sa w nearly made me j ump out of my skin .

Advancing along the avenue was the thing


I had always longed to see and for which I ,

had risked s o much ' the mysterious far ,

famed Lady in Whit e a ghost an actual , , ,

bon a de ghost ' H ow every nerve in my


body thrilled with excitement and my heart

,

thumped till it seemed o n the verge o f


bursting through my ribs ' The Lady in
White ' Why it would be the talk o f
,

the whole countryside ' S ome o ne had


r ea lly no hearsay evidence seen th e
notorious apparition at last H ow all my .

schoolfellows would en vy me and h o w ,

bitterly they would chide themsel v es f or

being t o o cowardly to accompany me '


I looked at her closely and noticed that she ,

was entirely luminous emi t ting a s trong ,

phosphorescent glow like the glow of a


glow worm s a vi ng that it wa s in a perpetual
-
,
TH E W H I T E L AD Y 2 47

s t a t e of m o tion S he wore a quantity


.

of whi t e dr apery s wathed round her in a


manner t hat perplexed me s orel y until I ,

suddenl y r ealised wi t h a c r eep i ng o f m y


esh t hat it must b e a wi ndi ng sheet that -
,

burial accessary so O ft en minutely described


t o me by the s on O f t he v illage undertaker .

T hough in t eresting I did not think i t at all


,

becoming and would have preferred t o s ee


,

any other style o f garment S treaming .

o v er her neck and shoulders were thick


masses of long wavy golden hair which
, , ,

was ru fed but only slightly ru fed by the


, ,

gentle summer bree z e H er face though .


,

terrifying by r e a s on of i ts unearthly pallor ,

wa s s o beautiful that had not some restrain


, ,

ing inuence compelled me to remain in


hiding I would ha v e descended from my
,

perch to obtain a nearer view of it I ndeed .


,

I only once caught a glimpse of her full


face for with a persistence that was most
, ,

annoying sh e kept it turned from me but


,

in that brief second the lustre of her long


blue eyes w on my very soul and boy as I ,

was I felt like the her o in song that I would


, , ,


for m y bonnie gh ost in v ery deed lay me , ,

doon and dee .

H er e y es are still rmly impre ss ed on m y


24 8 SCOTTI SH GHOST STOR I E S
mem ory ; I S hall ne ver forget them any ,

more than I sh all forget the dai nty curves


o f her full r ed lips and the sno wy whitenes s

o f her perfect teeth Nothing I thought


.
, ,

either o n earth o r in heaven could hav e


been half so lovely and I was so enraptured
,

tha t it was not until sh e was dir ectly


beneath me that I perceived sh e was not
alone that walking b y her side with one arm
, ,

round her waist his face and gu r e illum


,

in a t e d with the ligh t from her body was S ir ,

E C
. . But how changed G one were the
deep black scowl the savage tightening o f
,

the j aws and the intensely disagreeable


,

expression that had earned for him the


nickname o f The laird deil and in their

,

stead I s a w love nothing but blind



,

infatuated soul de vouring love love for


,
-

which no words c a n nd an adequ ate


description .

Throwing discretion t o the windfor my


excitement and curiosity had risen to the
highest pitch I now thrust mo re than
half my body ou t of the hole in the trunk .

T he ne xt instant with a cry o f dismay


, ,

I pi t ched head rst on to the ground .

It would seem t h a t b oys like cats cannot


'

, ,

in ordinary circumstances be killed and , ,


2 50 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
experiences I was toldtold with a roar
,

and shout that alm o st broke the drum of


my ears that the auld laird deil was
,

dead H is body had been found st r e t ched


o n the ground a few feet from the hollow
,

oak in the a v enue shortly after sunrise


,
.

H e had died from syncope s o the doctor ,

said that had probably been caused by


,


a shock some severe mental shock .

I did not tell my companions of my



night s adventure after all My eagerness.

to do s o had departed when I heard of



the auld laird s death .
CA SE X VI

TH E G H O ST O F TH E H IN D OO C H I LD , OR
TH E H A U N T IN G S OF TH E W H IT E

D OV E H OT E L , N EA R ST . S W I TH IN S

S T R E ET, A B E R D EE N
2 34 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
It happened s h e b e ga n s h ortly after I had
, ,

nished my term as probationer at S t K s . .


H ospital E dinburgh A letter was received


,
.

at the hospital o n e morning with the u rgent


request that two nurses should be sent to

a serious case near S t S within s S treet . .

As the letter was signed by a well known -

physi cian in the town it received imm e di ,

ate attention and Nurse E mmett and I


,

were dispatched as day and night nurses ,

respectively t o the scene o f action My


,
.

hours o n duty were from 9 p m till 9 a m . .

The house in which the patient was located


was the White D o v e H otel a thoroughly ,

respectable and well managed establish -

m ent . T he proprietor knew nothing about


the in v alid except that her name was
,

Vining and that s he had at o ne period


, ,

o f her career been an actress H e had


,
.

noticed that sh e had looked ill o n her


arrival the previous week Two days after .

her arrival s h e had complained of feeling


,

very ill and the doctor who had been


, ,

summoned to attend her said that s h e was ,


.

su ffering from a v ery loathsome O riental


disease which fortunately is in this
, , ,

country rare The hotel though newly


,
.
,

decorated and equipped throughout with


TH E H I N DOO CH I L D 2 55

every up to date convenience was in reality


- -
,

very old I t w as on e o f those delightfully


.

roomy erecti ons that s eem built for etern i ty


rather than time and for comfo r t rather
,

than economy of space T he interi or with .


,

i ts o ak panelled walls polished oak oors


-
, ,

and low ceilin g s tra v ersed wi th ponderous


,

oaken beams also impressed me pleasantly


, ,

whilst a ight of broad o a k stairs fenced , ,

with balustrades a foot thick brought me ,

to a seemingly interminable corr i dor i nto ,

which the door of Miss Vining s room

opened It was a low wainscoted apart


.
,

ment and its deep set window revealing


,
-
,

the thickness o f the wall looked o ut upon ,

a dismal yard littered with brooms and


buckets O pposite the foot of the bed
.

a modern French bedstead by the bye , ,

whose brass ttings and somewhat imsy


hangi ngs were strangely incongruous with

their venerable surroundings was an ingle ,

containing the smouldering relics o f what


had doubtless been intended for a re but ,

which needed considerable coaxing before


i t could be conver ted from a pretence t o a
reality There was no exit save by the
.

doorway I had entered and no furniture ,

save a couple of rush bott o med chai rs and


-
256 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
a table strewn with an untidy me dley o f
writing materi als and medicine bottles .

A feeling of dep r ession contrasting ,

strangely with the e ffect produced on me


by the cheerfulness of the hotel i n general ,

sei z ed me directly I entered the room .

D espite the brilliancy of the electric light


and the new and gaudy bed hangings the -
,


air was full of gloom a gloom which for ,

the very reason that it was unaccountable ,

was the more alarming I felt it hangin g .

around me like the undeveloped shadow


o f something singularly hideous and r e

pulsive and on my approaching the sick


, ,

woman it see med to thrust itself in my


,

way and force me back .

Miss Vining was decidedly good looking ; -

s h e had the typically theatrical features

neatly moulded nose and chin curly yellow ,

hair and big dreamy blue eyes that


, ,

especially appeal to a certain Class o f men


like most women however I prefer some
, ,

thing more solid both physically and



,

intellectually I cannot stand the pretty ,



pretty . S he w a s o f course far too ill to
, ,

con v erse and beyond a few desultory


, ,

and spasmodic ej aculations maintained a ,

rigid silence As there was no occasion


.
258 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
s ea t I was prepari ng to address her a nd
bid he r go when sh e lifted a wee white
,

hand and motioned me back I obeyed



.

becau s e I co ul d not help myself her action



was a cc omp a ine d by a peculiar a n u n ,

pleasantly peculiar expression that held me


,

spellbound ; and without exactly knowing


why I stood staring at her t ongue tied
, ,
-

and t r emblin g As her face was turned


.

towa r ds the patient and she wo r e more


, ,

over a v ery wide brimmed ha t I could


,
-
,

s ee nothing of he r featur es ; but from her


graceful little gure and dainty limbs I ,

gathered that sh e was probably both beauti


ful and ar istocratic H e r dress though
.
,

not perhaps o f the richest quality was ,

certainly far from shoddy and there was ,

something in its style and make that



suggested foreign nationality I taly O r

,

S pain o r S ou th America or even the


O rient the probabili ty of the latter being
,

strengthened by her po s e which was full o f


,

the serpen t like ease which is characteristic


-

o f the E ast I was so taken up with


.

watching her that I fo r got all about my


patient until a prolonged sigh from the
,

bed reminded me o f her existence With .

an effort I then advanced and was about to,


TH E H I N D OO CH I L D 2 39

app r oach the bed when t he child wi thou t


, ,

movin g her head motioned me back and


a g ain I was h elpless The vi sion I had
, ,

obtained o f the sick woman b rief though ,

it was lled me with alarm


,
S he was .

tossing to and fro on the blanke t s and ,

breathing in the most agonised manner


as if in delirium o r enthralled by some
,

particularly dreadful nightmare H er .

conditio n so fr ightened me that I made ,

the most frantic e fforts to ov e r come my


inertia I did not succeed howe v er and
.
, ,

at last utterly overc o me by my e x e r tion


, ,

I closed my eyes When I O pened them .

again the chair by the bed was vacant


,

the child had gone A t remendous feeling .

o f relief surged th r ough me and j umping , ,

o u t o f my seat I hastened to the bedside


,

m y patient was worse the fever had in ,

creased and she was deli rious I took her


, .

temperatur e It was 1 0 4 I now s a t close


. .

beside her and my presence apparently


,

had a s oothing e ffect S he speedily grew


calmer and after taking her medicine
,

gradually sank into a g entle sleep which


lasted until late in the mo r nin g When I .

left her sh e had altogethe r reco ve r ed from


the relapse I o f course told the doctor
.
, ,
2 60 S C O TT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
of

the child s visit and he was very ,

angry .

Whatever happens Nurse he said , , ,

take care that no o n e enters the room



t o night ; the patient s condition is far too
critical fo r her to see any o n e even her own ,


daughter You must keep the door locked
. .

Armed with this mandate I went on duty ,

the following night with a somewhat lighter


heart and after locking the door once again
, , ,

s a t by the re D uring the day there had


.

been a heavy fall o f snow ; the wind had


abated and the streets were now as S ilent
,

as the grave .


Ten eleven and twelve O clock s t ruck
, , ,

and my patient slept tranquilly At a .

quarter to one however I was abruptly , ,

roused from a reverie by a s ob a s ob o f ,

fear and agony that proceeded from the bed .

,

I looked and there there seated in the ,

same posture as o n the previous evening ,

was the child I sprang t o my feet with .

an exclamation o f ama z ement S he r aised .

her hand and as before I collapsed


spellboundparalysed No words O f mine
, , ,

can convey all the sensations I experienced


as I sat there forced t o listen t o the moan
,

ing and groaning o f the woman whose fate


2 62 SCOTT I SH GH O ST STOR I E S
her hands was thrown across her eyes as ,

if to shut o u t some obj ect on which sh e


feared to look whilst the other grasped the
,

counterpane convulsi v ely .

It fell to my duty to help pack up


her belongings and among her letters was
,

a large envelope bearing the postmark



' uetta As
. we were o n the look out -

fo r some clue as to the address o f her


relatives I opened it It was merely the
, .

cabinet size photograph o f a H indoo child


-
,

but I recognised the dress immediately


it was that o f my ghostly visitor O n the .

back o f it were these words ' Natalie .


May G od forgive us both .

Though we made careful inquiries for


any information as to Natalie and Miss
Vining in 'uetta and adve r tised freely i n
,

the leading London papers we learned ,

nothing and in time we were forced to


,

let the matter drop As far as I know the


.
,

ghost o f the H indoo child has never been


seen again but I have heard that the hotel
,


i s still haunted haunted by a woman .
CA SE X VII
GLA M I S C AST L E
2 66 S COTT I SH G H O ST STOR I E S

are fteen feet thick the r e a room is ,

hidden in some unsuspected quarter that ,

contains a secret ' the keynote to o ne at ,

least of the hauntings'which is known only


,

to the E arl his heir ' o n the attainment of


,

his twenty rst birthday'and the factor o f


-
,

the estate .

In all p robability the mys t ery a t tached ,

to this room would challenge but little


attention were it not for the fact that un
,

earthly noises which a t the time were s up


,

posed to proceed from this chamber have ,

been heard by va rious visi t ors sleeping in


the S quare T ower .

The following e xperience is s ai d t o have


happened to a lady named Bond I append .

it more or less in her own words .

I t is a g ood many years since I s t ayed


at G lamis I was in fact but little more
.
, ,

than a Child and had only j ust gone


,

through my rs t season in town But .

though young I was neither nervous nor


,

imaginative ; I was inclined to be what is


termed stolid that is to sa y extremely
, ,

matter Of fact and practical I ndeed when


- -
.
,

Yo u don t mean

my friends exclaimed ,

to say you are going to stay at G lamis '


G LAMI S C AST LE 2 67


D on t you know it s haunted ' I burst

o u t laughing .


H aunted ' I said h ow ri diculous '
,

There are no such thing s as ghosts O ne .

might as well belie v e in fairies .

O f cou r se I did not go to G lamis al o ne


my mother and S ister were with me but
whe r eas t hey slept in the m o re modern
pa rt of the ca s tle I was at my own r e
, ,

que s t appo r tio ned a r o om in the S quare


,

T owe r .

I canno t s ay tha t my cho i ce had any


thin g t o do wi th the sec r et chambe r That .
,

and the alle g ed mys t ery had been di nned ,

int o my ears s o often tha t I had gr own


tho r oughly sick of the whole thing NO .
,

I wanted to sleep in the S qua r e Towe r fo r


quite a di fferent r eason a r eason Of my own
, .

I kep t an aviary ; the towe r was old ;


and I naturally hoped i ts walls would be
covered with i v y and teeming with birds

nests some o f which I might be able t o



,

reach and I am ashamed to sa y plunder


from my window
, ,

Alas for my expec t a t i o ns ' Although


,

the S quare T ower was so ancient that in


some places it was actually crumbling

away no t the Sign of a leaf no t the vestige ,
2 68 SC O TT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

of a bird s nest could I s ee anywhere ;
the walls were abominably brutally bare , .

H owever it was not long before my d is a p


,

pointment gave way to delight ; for the


air that blew in through the O pen window
was s o Sweet s o richly scented with heather
,

and honeysuckle and the V iew o f the ,

broad sweeping thickly wooded grounds


, ,

s o indesc ribably charming that despite , ,

my inartistic and unpoetical nature I ,


was entranced entranced as I had never
been before and never have been since
, .


G hosts ' I said to myself ghosts ' ,

how absurd 'how preposterously absurd '


such an adorable spot as this can only

harbour sunshine and owers

.

I well remember t o o for as I have , ,


already said I was not poetical how much
,

I enj oyed my rst dinner at G lamis The .

long j o u rney and keen mountain air had


made me hungry and I thought I had ,

never tasted such delicious food such


ideal salmon ' from the E sk' and such
heavenly fruit But I must tell y o u that
.
,

although I ate heartily as a healthy girl ,

Should by the time I went to bed I had


,

thoroughly digested my meal and was , ,

in fact quite ready t o partake o f a few


,
2 76 SC O TT I SH GH O ST STOR I E S
thei r way through the narrow panes ,

and served to render dis tinct the more


prominent Obj ects around ; bu t my eye s
struggled in vain to reach the remoter
angles o f the wall o ne o f which inspired ,

me with terror such as I had never felt


before The walls were covered with heavy
.

draperies that were sufcient in themselves


to preclude the possibility o f any save the
loudest of sounds pene tr ating without .

The furniture if such one co uld call it


, ,

puz z led me It seemed mo r e t ted for the


.

cell o f a prison o r lunatic asylum or even ,

for a kennel than for an ordinary dwelling


,

room I could see no chair only a coarse


.
,

deal table a straw mattress and a kind o f


, ,

trough .An air o f irredeemable gloom


and horror hung over and pervaded every
thing As I stood there I felt I was

.
,

waiting for something something that was


concealed in the corner o f the room I
dreaded I tried to reason with myself to
.
,

assure myself that there was nothing there


that could hurt me nothing that could even ,

terrify me but my e ffor t s were in vain


,

my fears grew H ad I had some denite


.

knowledge as to the cause of my alarm


I should not have suffered s o much but it ,
GLAM I S C AST LE 2 71

was m y ig n or ance o f wha t wa s there o f ,

what I feared t hat made my t err o r so


,

poignan t E a ch second s aw the agony of


.

my suspense i nc r ease I dared not m o ve


. .

I hardly dare breathe and I dreaded ,

lest the violent pulsa t ion of my heart


should at t rac t the a tt ention of the U m
known Pre s ence and p r ecipita t e i t s coming
o ut. Yet despite the pe r turbation o f my
mind I caught myself analysing my feelings
, .

I t was not dange r I abhorred so much as



,

its ab so lute e ffec t fri ght I s huddered


.

at the bare t h ou ght of wha t resul t t he most



trivi al i ncide nt t he c r eaki ng o f a board ,

t icking of a beetle or h o o t in g o f an ow l

,

migh t ha v e on the into le r able a g itation


o f my s oul .

In this unne r ved and p iti able condition


I felt that the period was bound to come ,

sooner o r later when I should ha v e to


,

abandon life and reason to g ether i n the


most desperate of strug gles with fear .

At length s o mething moved An icy .

chill ran th ro u g h my frame and the horror


,

o f my anticipations immediately reached

its culminating poin t T he P r esence was


.

abo u t to reveal itself .

The gentle rubbing of a S o ft body on the


2 72 SCO TT I SH GH O ST STOR I E S
o o r the crack of a bony j oin t b r ea t h

, ,

i ng another crack and then was it my



, ,

own excited imagination or the dis t urb


ing inuence of the atmosphere or the
uncertain twilight o f the chamber that
produced before me in the stygian darkness ,

o f the recess the vacillating and indistinct


,

ou t line o f somethi ng luminous and horrid P ,

I would gladly ha ve risked fut ur ity to



ha ve looked el s ewhere I could not My

.

eyes we r e xe d I was c o mpe lled to gaze


stead ily i n fron t of me .

S lowly very slowly the thing wha t eve r



, , ,

it was took shape Leg s c r ooked mis



.
, ,

shapen human l egs A body tawny and



.
,

hunched Arms long and spidery with



.
,

crooked knotted ngers A head large


,
.

and bestial and covered with a tangled


,

mass o f grey hair that hung around its


protruding forehead and pointed ears in
ghastly mockery o f c urls
A face and .

herein was the realisation o f all my direst



expectations a face white and staring ,

piglike in formation malevole nt i n ex ,

pressi o n a hellish combination o f all things


foul and animal and yet withal not without ,

a touch o f pathos .

As I stared at it aghast it reared itself ,


2 74 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
Miss Ma c gin ney I append her experience
.

as nearly as possible as she is stated to


have told it .

I seldom talk about my adventure ,

Miss Ma ginn ey announced because so ,

many people ridicule the superphysical ,

and laugh at the mere mention of ghosts .

I ow n I did the same myself till I stayed


at G lamis ; but a week there quite cured
me o f scepticism and I came away a con
,

rmed believer .

The incident occurred nearly twenty



years ago shortly after my return from
I n dia where my father was then stationed
, .

It was years since I had been to S cotland ,

indeed I had only once crossed th e b or d e r and -

that when I was a babe ; consequently I was


delighted to receive an invitation to spend a
few weeks in the land of my birth I went .


to E dinburgh rs t I was born in D rum

she ugh G ardens and thence t o Glamis .

It was late in the autumn the weather was ,


intensely cold a n d I arrived at the castle


,

in a blizzard I ndeed I do n o t recollect


.
,

ever having been o u t in such a fright


ful storm It was as much as the horses
.

could do t o make headway and when we ,


G LA M I S C AST LE 2 73

reached the castle we found a crowd o f


anxious faces eagerly awaiting us in the hall .

C hilled I was chilled to the bone and,

thought I never should thaw But the.

huge re s and bright and cosy atmosphere


o f the rooms for the interior o f G lamis

was modernised throughout soon s e t me
right and by tea time I felt nicely wa r m
,

and comfo r table .

My bedroom was in t he oldest part o f



the castle the S quare T ower but a l
though I had been warned by some o f the
guests that it might be haunted I c a n,

assure yo u that when I went to bed no


subj ect was farther from my thoughts
than the subj ect o f ghosts I returned to
.

my room at about half past eleven The


-


storm was then at its height all was babel
and confusion impenetrable darkness
mingled with the wildest roaring and shriek
ing ; and when I peeped through my case
ment window I could s ee nothing the

panes we r e shrouded in snow sno w which
was incessantly dashed against them with
cyclonic fury I xed a comb in the
.

window frame so as not to be kept awake


-

by the constant j arring ; and with the


caution characte ri stic o f my s e x looked
2 76 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
into the wardrobe and under the bed for

burglars though H eaven knows what I
should have done had I found one there
placed a candlestick and matchbox o n the
table by my bedside lest the roof o r ,

window should be blown in during the


night or any other catastrophe happen ,

and after all these preparations got into


bed At this period o f my life I was a
.

sound sleeper and being somewhat un, ,

usually tired after my j ourney I was soon ,

in a dreamless slumber What awoke me .

I cannot sa y but I c ame to myself with


,

a V iolent start such as might have been


,

occasioned by a loud noise I ndeed that .


,

was at rst my impression and I strained


, , ,

my ears to try and ascertain the cause


o f it All was howe ver silent The storm
.
, ,
.

had abated and the castle and grounds


,

were wrapped in an almost preternatural


hush Th e sky had clear ed and the room
.
,

w a s partially illuminated by a broad


stream o f S ilvery light that ltered softly
in through the white and tightly drawn
blinds A feeling that there was some
.

thing unnatural in the air that the still ,

ness was but the prelude to some strange


and startling eve nt gradually came over ,
SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
I could at length distinguish with a clear ,

ness that petried my very soul the ,

banging and clanging o f sword scabbards ,

and the panting and gasping o f men sore ,

pressed in a wild and desperate race And .

then the meaning of it all came to me



with hideous abruptness it was a case o f

pursued and pursuing the race was for
LI F E O utside my door the fugitiv e
halted and from the noise he made in
.

trying to draw his breath I knew he was ,

dead beat H is antagonist however gave


.
, ,

him but scant time for recovery Bounding .

at him with prodigious leaps he struck ,

him a blow that sent him reeling with such


tremendous force against the door that ,

the panels although composed o f the stout


,

e s t o a k quivered and strained like imsy


,

matchboard .

Th e blow was repeated ; the cry that



rose in the victim s throat was converted
into an abortive gurgling groan ; and I
heard the ponderous battle axe carve its -

way through helmet bone and brain A , , .

moment later Came the sound o f slither


ing armour ; and the corpse slipping side ,

ways toppled to the ground with a


,

sonorous clang .
GLAM I S C AST LE 2 79

A si lence too awfu l for words n o w ensued .

H aving nished his hideous handiwork ,

the murderer was quietly deliberating what


t o do next ; whilst my dread o f attracting
his attention was so great that I scarcely
dare breathe This intolerable state of
.

things had already lasted fo r what seemed


t o me a lifetime when glancing invo lu n
, ,

t a rily at the oor I saw a stream o f dark


,

looking uid la z ily lapping its way to me


from the direction o f the door Another
moment and it would reach my shoes .

In my dismay I shrieked aloud T here .

was a sudden stir without a signicant ,

clatter o f steel and the next moment


,

despite the fact that it was locked


the door slowly opened The limits o f
.

my endurance had now happily been


reached the over taxed valves o f my
,
-


heart could stand no more I fainted O n .

my awakening to consciousness it was


morning and the welco me su n rays revealed
,

no evidences o f the distressing drama I .

o w n I had a hard tussle before I could

make up my mind to spend another night


in that room ; and my feelings as I shut
the door o n my retreating maid and pre
pared to g et into bed were not the m
,

,
ost
2 80 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
enviable But nothing happened nor did
.
,

I again expe rience anything o f the sort till


the evening before I left I had lain down

.

all the afternoon for I was tired after a


long mo rning s tramp o n the moors a thing

I dearly love and I was thinking it was


about time to get up when a dark shadow ,

suddenly fell across my face .

I looked up hastily and there s t anding , ,

by my bedside and bending over me wa s ,

a gigantic gure in bright armour .

Its visor w a s up and what I s a w within


,

the casque is stamped for ever on my


memory It was the face o f the dead

.

the long since dead with the expression


the subtly hellish expressiono f the
living As I ga z ed helplessly at it it
.
,

bent lower I threw up my hands to


.

ward it o ff There was a loud rap at the


.

door And as my maid softly entered to



.

tell me tea was ready it vanished .

The third account o f the Glamis haunt


ings was told me as long ago as the summer
of 1 8 93 I was travelling b y rail from
.

Perth to G lasgow and the only other ,

occupant o f my compartment was an


elderly gentleman who from hi s general
, ,
2 82 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
Woman without H and s or T ongue Yo u .

can read about them in scores o f books

and maga z ines But what b e fe l my


.


mother s friend whom I will call Mrs

.
,

Gibbons for I have forgotten her proper



name was apparently o f a novel nature .

The a ffair happened shortly before Mrs .

G ibbons died a n d I always thought that


,

what took place might have been in some ,

way connected with her death


, .

S he had driven over t o the castle o ne day


during the absence of the owner to -

se e her cousin who was in the employ


,

o f the E arl and C ountess Never having .

been at Glamis before but having heard ,

s o much about it Mrs G ibbons was not a


,
.

little curious t o s ee that part o f the build


ing called the S quare Tower that bore the
, ,

reput ation o f being haunted .

Tactfully biding an opportunity she ,

sounded her relative o n the subj ect and ,

was laughingly informed that sh e might


g o anywhere about the place s h e pleased ,


savin g to o n e spot namely Bluebeard s
, ,

Chamber and there s h e could certainly


never suc c eed in poking her nose as its ,

locality was known only to three people all ,

o f whom were pledged never to reveal it At .


G LA M I S C A ST LE 2 83

the commencement o f her tou r of inspection ,


Mr s Gibbons was disappointed she was dis
.

appointed in the Tower S he had expected .

t o see a gaunt grim place crumbling t o , ,

pieces with age full of blood curdling spiral


,
-
,

staircases and deep dark dungeons ; whereas


, ,

everything Wa s the reverse The walls were



.

in an excellent state o f preservation a bso


lu t e ly intact ; the rooms bright and cheer
ful and equipped in the most modern style
there were no dungeons at least none o n ,

V iew and the passages and staircases were


,

suggestive o f nothing more alarming than


bats ' S he was accompanied for some time
by her relative but o n the latter being , ,

called away Mr s G ibbon s continued her


,
.

rambles alone S he had explored the


.

lower premises and was leisurely e x a m in


,

ing a handsomely furnished apartment on


the t o p oor when in crossing from o n e
, ,

side o f the room t o the other s h e ran into ,


something S he looked down nothing was
.

to be seen Ama z ed beyond description


.
,

s h e thrust out her hands and they alighted ,

o n an obj ect which she had little di f culty


,

in identifying It was an enormous cask


.

o r barrel lying in a hori z ontal position .

S he bent d o wn close to where sh e fe lt


28 4 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
it bu t sh e could se e
,

nothing nothing but
the well polished boards o f the oor To
-

make sure again that the barrel was there ,

s h e gave a little kick and drew back her


foot with a c r y of pain S he was not .


afraid the sunshine in the room forbade

fear only exasperated S he was certain

.

a barrel was there that it was obj ective


and she was angry with herself for not
seeing it S he wondered if she were going
.

blind ; but the fact that othe r o bj ects in


the room were plainly visible to her dis ,

countenanced such an idea For some .

minutes she poked and j abbed at the Thing ,

and then sei z ed with a sudden and u n


,

controllable panic she turned round and


,

ed And as sh e tore out O f the room


.
,

along the passage and down the seemingly


interminable ight o f stairs sh e heard ,

the barrel behind her in close pursuit



bump bump bump
At the foot of the staircase Mrs Gibbons .

met her cousin and a s sh e clutched the


, ,

latter fo r support the barrel shot past her



, ,


still contin uing its descent bump bump
bump ' ' though the steps as far as she

could see had ended' till the sounds
g radually dwindled away in the far distance .
2 86 SCOTT I SH GH O ST ST O R I E S
roaming abroad one afternoon in a t o f

,

absent mindedness entered the castle



grounds It s o happened fortunately for

.

him that the family were away and he ,

encountered no one more formidable than


a man he took to be a gardener an uncouth ,

looking fellow with a huge head covered


,

with a mass o f red hair hawk like features ,


-
,

and high cheek bones high eve n for a S cot


-
,
.

S truck with the appearance of the in


dividu al Mr Vance spoke and ndi ng him
,
.
, ,

wonderfully civil asked whether by any , ,

chance he ever came across any fossils


, ,

when digging in the gardens .

I dinna ken the meaning o f fossils ,

the man replied What are they P


.

Mr Vance explained and a look o f c un


.
,

ning gradually pervaded the fello w s


No

features . he said I v e never foun d ,

any o f those things but if you ll give me ,



your wo rd to s a y n othing about it I ll ,

S how y o u something I once d ug up O ver - -


yonder by the S quare T ower .

D o y ou mean the H aunted T ower P


the T ower that is supposed to contain the

secret room P M r Vance exclaimed . .

An ex traordinary expression an ex
pression such as Mr Vance found it im .
G LA M I S C AST LE 2 87

possible t o
analyse came into the man s


eyes Yes ' that s it
. he nodded .


What people call and rightly call
the H aunted T ower I got it from there . .

But don t you s a y naught about i t


Mr Vance whose curiosity was roused


.
, ,

promised and the man politely requesting


, ,

him to follow led the way t o a cottage ,

that stood near by i n the heart o f a gloomy ,



wood To Mr Vance s astonishment the
. .

treasure proved t o be the skeleton o f a


hand a hand with abnormally large
knuckles and the rst j oint ,
of both

ngers and thumb much shorter than the
others It was the most extraor dinarily
.

shaped hand M r Vance had ever seen and .


,

he did not know in the least how to classify


it It repelled yet interested him and he
.
, ,

eventually o ffered the man a good s um


to a llow him to keep i t To his astonish .

ment the money was refused Yo u may .

have the thing and welcome the fellow , ,

said O nly I advise you n o t t o look at it


.
,

late at night o r j ust before getting into bed .


If you do you may have bad dreams , .

I will take my chance o f that


Mr Vance laughed
. Yo u s e e being .
,

a hard headed cockney I am not super


-
,
2 88 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S
s tit iou s It is only you H ighlanders
.
,

and your rst cousins the Irish who b e ,

lieve nowadays in bogles omens and , ,



such like ; and packing the hand care
-
,

fully in his knapsack Mr Vance bid the ,


.

strange looking creature good morning


-
,

and went on his way .

F o r the rest o f the day the hand was


U ppermost in his thoughts nothing had
ever fascinated him s o much H e sat .

pondering over it the whole evening and ,

bedtime found him still examining it


examining it upstairs in his room by
candlelight H e had a ha z y recollection
.

that some clock had struck twelve and he ,

was beginning t o feel that i t was about


time to retire when in the mirror opposite
, ,

him he caught sight of the door it was


,

open .


By J ove ' that s odd ' he said t o
himself .I could have sworn I S hut a n d
bolted it To make sure
. he turned

round the door was closed An O ptical .


delusion he murmured ; I will try again
,
.


H e looked into the mirror the door r e

e ct e d in it was open U tterly at a loss .

to know how to explain the phenomenon ,

he leaned forward in his seat to examine


2 96 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

call to mind somethin g he feared some
thing that was sinister P H e s truggled
against the idea he dismissed it as absurd
,


but it returned returned and took deeper
,

root as the shadow drew nearer H e wished



.

the house w s not quite


a s o silent that he

could hear some indication o f life anything
-
anything for companionship and to rid ,

him o f the O ppressive the very oppressive


, ,

sense of loneliness and isolation .

Again a t hr ill o f terror ran through him .


Look here ' he exclaimed aloud glad ,

to hear the sound of his o w n voice Look .

here ' if this goes on much longer I S hall



begin to think I m going mad I have .

had enough and more than enough of


, ,


magic mirrors for o n e night it s high time


I got into bed . H e strove to rise from

his chair to move ; he w a s unable to do
either ; some strange tyrannical force held
,

him a prisoner .

A change now took place in the shadow ;


the blurr dissipated and the clearly de
,


ned outlines o f an obj ect a n obj ect that
made Mr Vance perfectly sick with a ppr e
.


h e n sio n slowly disclosed themselves H is .


suspicions were v e i e d it w as the H A N D '
r

-
the hand no longer skeleton but covered ,
G LA M I S C A ST LE 2 91


with green mouldering esh feeling its way
,


slyly and stealthily towards him towards
the back o f his chair ' H e noted the mur
dero ns twitching o f it s short at n g er tips ,
-
,

the monstrous muscles of its hideous thumb ,

and the great clumsy hollows o f its,

clammy palm It closed in upon him ; it s


.

cold slimy detestable skin touched his coat


his shoulderhis neckhis head It
, ,

pressed him down squashed su ffocated , ,


him ' H e s a w it all in the glass and then
an extra o rdinary thing happened Mr . .

Vance suddenly became animated H e .

got up and peeped furtively round C hairs .


,

bed wardrobe had all disappeared s o


, ,
-


had the bedroom and he found himself
in a small b are comfortless queerly c on
, , ,

structed apartment without a door an d ,

with only a narrow slit o f a window some


where near the ceiling .

H e had in o n e of his hands a knife with


a long keen blade and his whole mind was
, ,

bent on murder C reeping stealthily fo r .

ward he approached a corner o f the room



, ,

where he n ow s a w for the rst time a



,

mattress a mattress on which lay a


huddled up form What the Thing was
-

whether human or animal Mr Vance


.

.
2 92 SCOTT I SH GHOST STOR I E S

did n ot know di d n o t care all he felt was

that it w a s there for him to kill that he

loathed and hated it hated it with a
hatred such as nothing else could have p ro
duce d Tiptoeing gently up to it he bent
.
,

down and lifting his knife high abov e his


, ,

head plunged it into the Thing s body


,

with all the force he could command .

H e recrossed the room and found himself ,

once more in his apartment at the inn H e



.

looked for the skeleton hand it wa s n ot



where he had left it it had vanished Then .

he glanced at the mirror and on its brilliantly


,


polished s urface s a w not his own face
but the face o f the gardener the man ,

who had given him the hand ' Features



,

colour hair all all were identical



,

wonderfully hideously identical and as


,

i ,

the eyes met h s they smiled devilishly .

E arly the next day Mr Vance s et out for


,
.

the Spinney and cottage ; they were n ot to



be found nobody had ever heard of them .

H e continued his travels and some months ,

later at a loan collection o f pictures in a


,

gallery in E dinbu rgh h e came to an abr upt



,

a very abrupt halt before the portrait of a


,