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And, mocking, we were mocked again,
So playful was the spite she bore us;
"Ho, boat ahoy ! ahoy! ahoy!"
Again that call of“ Boat ahoy!"
Of some to share our golden leisure. “O boat ahoy!"_“ahoy! ahoy! ahoy! ahoy!"
Again came Echo's gleeful measure.
“ You've waked the maid," we cried in glee,
“The coy, sweet Echo of the mountain;
You still may linger by the fountain."
But still they cried, now loud, now low,
“Ho, boat ahoy ! ahoy! ahoy!”
EMMA SOPHIE STILWELL.
SISTER AGATHA'S GHOST.
Adapted from Nestleton Magna
shire, England, is a picturesque pile of ruins, at one time reputed to have been haunted.
On a certain evening Adam Olliver, a good old Yorkshire Methodist, astride his faithful steed Balaam, which was generally made his confidant on such occasions, was on his way homeward from a missionary meeting which had been held in an adjoining village. It was a bright moonlight night, and Balaam’s hoofs were pattering along the frosty road, when the big bell of Cowley Priory boomed out the hour of eleven.
“Balaam, aud friend, this is a bonny tahme o' neet for thoo an' me te be wanderin' throo' t' coontry, when a’most ivvery honest body's gone to bed. Besides, thoo knoas it's dangerous travelin' noo-a-days, for there's robbers, an'hoosebrekkers, an' 'ighwaymen aboot. They'll hae sum trubble to rob me, hooivver, for that man frae York ’ticed ivvery copper oot o' my pocket, an's left ma' as poor as a chotch moose. What'll Judy think on us, gallivantin' aboot at midneet i' this oathers ? She'll think thoo's run away wi' ma', Balaam.” The idea of Balaam being guilty of any such absurd indiscretion, tickled the old man's risible faculties so finely, that he broke out into a hearty fit of laughter, loud and long. Scarcely had the sound subsided than there rose upon the air a scream so wild and piercing, that for a moment both Balaam and his rider were astonished. Rising up in his stirrups, Adam Olliver looked across the adjoining hedge. The hoary gables of the old Abbey stood out bold and clear, and the crumbling walls and shapeless heaps of stones, and the all-pervading ivy were to be seen almost as clearly as by day. But there was one sight that never could be seen by day which now displayed itself to Adam's wondering gaze.
This was nothing less than the veritable apparition of the ancient
Robed in flowing white, with white folds across the brow, and that awful crimson stain upon the breast. there it stood, or slowly walked with measured pace around the ruined pile. One death-white hand was
the bosom, the other one was lifted heavenward, as if in deprecation or in prayer.
“ Balaam,” said Adam, as he settled himself again in his saddle, “ there is a boggle, hooivver! But all right, Balaam. Ah telled tha''at if thoo didn't tonn tayl if we sud see it, ah wadn't. What diz tho' say? will tho’ feeace it ?''
By this time they had arrived at the gate of the paddock in which the haunted ruins stood. Now Balaam had for many years enjoyed the free run of that pasturage whenever he was off duty, and this familiarity with the haunts of Sister Agatha perhaps accounted for Balaam's belief in spiritualism. But be this as it may, Balaam, altogether unaccustomed to such unconscionably late hours, promptly came to the conclusion that his master would now turn him into the paddock for the night, and so he trotted boldly up to the gate, and inserting his nose between the bars, looked with wistful eye, into the green and restful Paradise within.
“ Well dun, Balaam ! That's a challenge, at ony rayte," said Adam, "an' ah weean't refuse it. Ah nivver was freetened o' nowt bud the divvil, an' noo, thenk the Lord, ah deean't care a button for ’im. Nut 'at ah think it is 'im. It's sum Tom Feeal, ah fancy, at's deein' it for a joak; bud he hez neea business to, flay fooaks oot o' the'r wits, an'ah'll see whea it is.”
He opened the gate, and, nothing loth, Balaam boldly trotted over the grass, and again the apparition showed itself, just as it had appeared several nights previous to some of the neighbors.
“Woy," said Adam to his reckless steed, and the ghost, observing the daring intruder, stretched out its bands in menace, and advanced until it stood beneath the arch, on the spot it usually selected for its subter. ranean evanishment. Here another woeful, wailing shriek arose ; Adam for the first time felt an odd tingling sensation, and a sort of creepy-crawly feeling that would be difficult to analyze. Balaam, however, showed not the least surprise, so Adam stood up again in his stirrups, though he was “a goodish bit dumfoonder'd," as he afterward confessed, and repeated in a loud voice a verse of a favorite hymn,
“ Theere is a neeame 'igh ower all,
l' hell or 'arth or sky; Aingels an' men afoore it fall,
An' divvils fear an' fly !" Hereupon the ghost itself was “a goodish bit dum. foonder'd” too; however, the last act of the drama was accomplished as usual, for instantly a pale blue flash surrounded the figure, which sank at once among the briars and brambles that grew in unchecked profusion on that uncanny ground.
“Cum oop! Balaam,” said Adam, and that unflinching steed trotted under the broken arch! Adam's observant eye had noticed that as the figure sank the brambles bent and waved to and fro, as if set in motion by some living thing. He was not greatly learned in ghost lore, still he had the idea that a real, genuine ghost, with no nonsense about it, ought to have gone through the briars with no more commotion than the moonbeams made.
“ That'll deea for te-neet, Balaam,” said Adam; “t' ghaust's run te ’arth like a fox, an' we mun dig 'im oot.”
Balaam obeyed the bridle, turned his steps homeward, and in a few minutes the anxiety of Judy was allayed by the appearance of her good man, all safe and sound.
“Adam !” said she, "wherivver hae yo’ been, te be so late ?"
Why, me an' Balaam's been te see t boggle !"
Sister Agatha's gran'mother,” said Adam, contemptuously. “It's my opinion 'at it isn't a sister at all, but a bruther, an'a precious rascal at that, wiv 'is white smock, an' 'is bloody breest, an' 'is blue bleeazes. If he dizn't mind, he'll get mair o' them last sooat o' things then he'll care for; bud we'll dig 'im oot.”
The next day Adam related his midnight encounter to two of his friends, and they with him resolved to go and explore the haunted spot. They were ultimately rewarded by the discovery of an underground cave, which penetrated far into the earth. Candles were provided to prosecute the search, and there they found much thievish booty. The astonished discoverers kept their secret, and quickly arranged to set a secret watch on the bramble-covered entrance to the burglar's den. Two or three nights afterward they were successful in capturing a man just as he was in the act of descending to his lair. He was seized by strong hands and placed under guard, and eventually the entire gang, which had long been a terror to the country side, was captured, and speedily “left their country for their country's good," and Sister Agatha's ghost disappeared from the old Abbey forever, and the village rested in peace.
J. J. WRAY.