Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

4 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Through strange Wags.I


Through strange Wags. BY THE REV. H. ELWYN THOMAS, NEWPORT MON. Author of" I Fyny," Miss Unique," etc., &c. CHAPTER II. Twelve months passed away and I heard nothing whatever to throw any light on the remarkable incident chronicled in the previous chapter. It was about the middle of October, and I felt fagged and worn out, so I arranged to spend a fortnight in the country. A dear chum of mine had lately paid a visit to the pretty village of St. Morlans in Bedfordshire, and he waxed so eloquent in describing its quaint people and charming scenery, that I made up my mind to try its effect upon my somewhat overwrought nerves. The nearest station to it was the one at which my strange travelling companion descended a year ago. As I stood on the platform, the whole scene,- the beautiful girl, the tall young fellow, the kissing, the phaeton waiting outside,-flashed upon my mind again with strange clearness. Four days of my short holiday had passed and I had seen enough of the neighbourhood of St. Morlans to feel convinced my friend had not exaggerated in his eulogistic description of it. I was specially charmed with the ruins of an old castle about half a mile outside the village, which I had visited daily. I hardly ever visit an old ruin but I find great delight in trying to imagine the scenes which had taken place between its walls when it was in- habited in the days of its glory. So far had my fancy carried me on the present occasion, that I had conceived a most thrilling romance, in which warriors and noblemen, princesses and fine ladies had played a part, as having taken place within and around the once stately walls and frowning battlements of the famous old castle. The idea possessed me of shaping my conception into a story, and sending it to my publisher. I had proceeded as far as the tragedy, which took place when the romance had run about half the course. This'tragedy I described as having been perpetrated by the moonlight, and in order to work myself into spirit of the occasion, so as to make my story real and powerful, I went one evening about ten o'clock, furnished with a lamp and writing materials, right into the heart of the once far- famed fortress. I was sitting on a camp-stool. The moon shone brightly above. Perfect stillness reigned around; I gave rein to my imagination and began to think. I made several attempts to write, but somehow I couldn't get myself into the required mood. I had no sooner written a sentence than I -irritably crossed it out again. At last, after many attempts, the inspiration came. The weird silence, and the quiet moonlight had worked me up into something of a tragedian, ideas came, words arranged themselves, and sentences grew into shape at my command. I had been writing for twenty minutes when I noticed that the moon was no longer visible, the sky was black and frowning, and a low moaning wind, such as one hears occasionally before a short, sharp winter thunderstorm, made such an attack on my lamp that I was unceremoniously leff in darkness. Two or three large drops of rain fell on my blotting Pad. I hastened to arrange my things as well as I could under the circumstances. When bending to pick up my campstool, a terrible flash oif lightning illumined the ruin with a grand and startling effect, which frightened me for a moment. Another second and a deafening crash of thunder seemed to shake the very foundations of the place. It seemed as if the spirits of the old warriors I had been writing about had awakened to wreak their vengeance upon my devoted head. The shower became so heavy that I thought it was time to run over into the castle cave for shelter. had been under cover for about three minutes, when my hair stood on end, and the marrow coiled within my bones with a horrible fear As my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness of the cave, I thought I traced the outlines of a human form between me and the inside, then I laughed at myself and teased myself as a light headed old fool, and I looked out into the night trying to whistle in order to keep my courage up: feeling all the time afraid that something or someone from the darkness be- hind would presently jump on my back and throttle me. After a brave attempt at whistling through Rule Britannia, I cautiously looked over my shoulder again. Yes, it was there, and it was moving-towards me I There was no time to lose, I flung down my campstool, &c., and went at it with a wild desperation born of indefinable fear. The next instant a piercing shriek rent the air, and a light female form fell fainting into my arms! I regained my self-possession immediately, and managed to light my lamp with the first match I struck, holding up the fainting form as well as I could. You can imagine my excitement when the light revealed to my astonished gaze the fea- tures of the beautiful girl who as my travelling companion from London a year ago I regarded as an interesting murderess Why I did it, I can't explain (nor could any one else to whom I related the incident) but it is among the strangest of my experience that the first thing I did was to steal a kiss from those ruby lips. Then feeling ashamed of myself, I did all in my power to rouse her and "bring her to," which at last I succeeded in accomplishing. When she regained consciousness, and found herself in the arms of a strange young man, instead of being strangled to death by a ruf- fian, as she feared, a look of relief came into her eyes, and she hastily struggled to her feet, -too hastily I then thought. I apologised for frightening her, saying as little as possible about how she frightened me, but adding that I was there by mere accident, having been caught in a thunder shower while visiting the castle by moonlight for artistic purposes. "Dear me, how very strange," she ex- claimed. But she volunteered no explanation of her own presence, which I thought very mysterious. The sight of a long parcel wrap- ped in dark cloth lying on the floor vividly brought to my mind the dagger incident, and a strange feeling of suspicion took hold of me again. But other and better feelings pre- dominated. I took up the suspicious parcel and asked her for the privilege of seeing her home. To my surprise she made no objection. After getting clear of the ruins, we walked over a well-trodden path across the fields until we came to a fine mansion. She went in through the front gate and right on towards the front door, before which I handed her the suspicious looking parcel. She very cour- teously asked me to come inside, but I declined with the apology that I was not in a present- able condition. Since you think so, I wish you good night," she said, extending her hand, which I grasped hard and kept rather too long, I then lifted my hat and departed. When once more outside the gate I looked back, and to my great surprise, saw my com- panion picking up the black parcel and deliber- ately walking round to the far end of the house and disappearing among the green bushes. This was my second meeting with this extra- ordinary being. (To be continued).

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