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A VERY quiet and secluded little hamlet is Bolton Percy, even in these days, and at the end of the last century it was even more so. A tiny village-a mere handful of houses, in fact-but rejoicing in a high-sounding name, and lying in the midst of a lovely landscape.

It is true there is nothing majestic or wildly picturesque in the scenery around. Nature here appears in her softest and gentlest mood, and Bolton Percy lies, like a gem, set round with corn fields and meadows.

About the end of the last century there stood, within a mile of Bolton Percy, an ancient red brick mansion, called Harborough Hall, the seat of Squire Fairfax, descended from the famous Fairfax, of Commonwealth renown; and over the large, dusky old pew in the north aisle of the Church at Bolton Percy, in which the Fairfax family worshipped, there was a mural monument in memory of the father of the Parliamentarian General.

Harborough Hall was a quaint old mansion, looking ghost-like in the moonbeams on winter nights, when its many mullioned windows shone out, like so many gleaming eyes, from the dusky red brick walls, and the wind tossed about the bare branches of the giant oaks and elms, till they waved to and fro like the arms of grisly spectres.

When the family were away, and the Hall was shut up, belated pedestrians would quicken their steps if they passed under the shadow of the north wing, though they would cast a scared glance, lured on by a species of horrible fascination, at a broad mullioned window under the roof; the window, in short, of the ghost-rooma chamber which, like some other mansions, Harborough Hall had possessed from time immemorial.

Just now, however, we have nothing to do with the ghost-room, and, besides, the mansion was not closed, but full of gay company from kitchen to garret; and the time of year was November-the first of the month also-and early in the evening.

The sun had set, but a lurid red light yet lingered in the west,

though grey mists were creeping up from the fields and meadows towards the darkening sky.

Many leaves, flaming with yellow and scarlet, still remained on the branches of the grand old oaks, and elms, and sycamores, and the flower-beds, in the green, velvet-like lawa beneath the mulioned windows of the old Hall, were not yet shorn of all their floral beauty.

The Hill was composed of a centre and two wings. In the upper storey of the foremost portion there was a large room, extending from front to back; a memorabie room, though at this time it was but scantily and poorly furnished for its size, and had chiefly one solitary occupant-a poor young French emigrant priest, in a threadbare suit; one of the old noblesse, who had barely escaped with his life from blood-stained France, and now filled the not very enviable post of tutor to the only son and heir of Squire Fairfax.

Now, it might have been supposed that the poor French priest would have been very happy at Harborough, for the Squire was a kind-hearted, bluff English gentleman; his boy was a docile, affectionate little lad; and his two daughters, who learnt French from Monsieur de Lessart, would have done anything to serve him. But there was the Squire's lady-the mistress of the Hall, the mistress of everybody and everything in it, from the master downwards to the little stable-boy, who shook in his shoes when he heard her dreaded step in the stable-yard.

Now, from the moment this poor Monsieur de Lessart set foot in the house, Mrs. Fairfax disliked him. His being a Popish priest was a crime of the first magnitude in her eyes, and if she had detested Mr. Leonard Foljambe, the portly and jovial rector of Bolton Percy, she detested him still more intensely now for his kind attentions to the poor emigrant. The manner, indeed, in which Mrs. Fairfax treated the French priest might certainly have justified the not very flattering judgment which some people passed on her, when they affirmed that she was a very overbearing and coarse-minded woman. She persistently snubbed Monsieur de Lessart, and tried every means to mortify and annoy him, never inviting him from the solitude of the bare, ill-furnished room she had allotted to him, when, as was sometimes the case, her husband was from home, and ordering for his table, on these occasions, the veriest scraps from her own.

A sore trial it was to her that her children could positively love this penniless man, with his napless beaver and his threadbare coat. Herself the daughter of a lowborn Hull blubber merchant, as the whale oil merchants are termed, Mrs. Fairfax had but small reverence for birth or talent when unsupported by wealth. However, the children, in their dispo

sitions, took after Richard Fairfax, and not after the daughter of Simon Hobbs.


'Poverty-stricken as he now looked, there was a romance in the life of this poor emigrant priest, who sat in the waning light of the November day by the broad old mullioned window, praying for the dead, in accordance with the custom of his church, on Hallow-e'en.

The first flow of the remorseless tide of the Revolution had swept from him, for ever, his affianced bride. The Duperres, though noble, joined the Republic, and Mary Duperre renounced the devoted Royalist, and gave her hand finally to a violent and bloodthirsty Republican, Edouard Duchastel.

Then De Lessart conquered his earthly love, and turned his thoughts to holier aims. He had finished his studies and been ordained priest before the fatal Reign of Terror fairly set in; but ere he could make his escape, along with two aged relatives, from his devoted country, he had witnessed sights and scenes of horror that never faded from his memory to the last day of his life. He bad seen the gutters run red with blood, and had heard the ceaseless fall of the fatal axe of the guillotine. He had seen the loved royal mistress of his youth, worn and haggard, with premature white hair and furrowed brow, borne along in the tumbril, pursued by the howls of a mob thirsting for her blood; yet, through all these scenes of horror he was saved, and he marvelled each morning that he still lived. All he had in the world to care for were his two aunts. His chateau had been given to the flames; his estate had passed into the hands of Duchastel, the husband of his old love, and the fierce Republican tried to hunt down and capture the poor proscribed priest and his two aged relatives; but it was whispered that the wife of Citizen Duchastel marred his sanguinary efforts, and, for the sake of old times, Louis de Lessart hoped that this might be true, and that all Christian charity was not dead in the heart of the woman he had once loved.

Strangely enough, thoughts of her came mingling in his mind with those of the departed souls for whom he was praying. He strove to put away the distraction, but could not; yet what connection was there between the fair-haired wife of Citizen Duchastel, the powerful Republican, and the souls of the poor departed?

The good priest asked himself this question as he looked away from the darkening sky, from whence the red light in the west had died out, to the further end of the large room, now growing full of shadows, and he rose from his seat and paced softly up and down the bare, uncarpeted apartment-very softly, for the costly bouloir of the lady of the Hall was just beneath him, and her nervous organisation was so delicate that she could not endure the slightest


noise, and on the walls of the corridors and staircases were suspended little glazed placards, with an injunction written on them to tread softly, as every sound was heard."

The priest paused before an old painting at the further end of the room. He could just see it dimly in the waning light, the reddish hair, the bright blue eyes, and the Roman nose; it was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, who had once honoured Harborough Hall with her presence, and had slept in that very room. Something in the face of that imperious queen always reminded him of Marie Duchastel, that unhappy woman whom he could never forget to pray for, who had been as false to her religious faith and her early principles as she had been to him. For a few brief moments the priest's thoughts went back to those far-away days, those days of the so-called "good Queen Bess," the idol before whom all England prostrated itself; the fierce virago who talked so glibly of unfrocking a bishop; who swore at her nobles, and cuffed them; and buffeted her unfortunate maids of honour; and, greatest and foulest blot on her memory, brought the head of a sister Queen to the block.

Monsieur de Lessart was standing absorbed in these reflections, when the door suddenly opened, and two girls, of the ages of twelve and thirteen, rushed into the room. They were pretty, fair-haired girls, tall for their age, with blue eyes and a healthy colour in their cheeks. As they bounded across the room to the spot where the priest stood, they each exclaimed breathlessly

"Oh, Monsieur, we were so frightened!"

"Winifred Fairfax frightened!" replied the priest, with a smile; for Winifred was a bold and slightly hoydenish young lady, who usually feared nothing.

"I don't mind things that I understand," replied Winifred, as she seated herself with her sister in the deep recess under the mullioned window.

"I don't understand you, ma petite," answered the priest.

"You know there's a ghost-room here," interposed Charlotte. "Well, mamma--'

"Hold your tongue!" exclaimed Winifred, frowning darkly at her sister as she spoke." Look, here, what I've brought you, Monsieur !" she added, producing two or three little seed cakes from a paper; "these are soul cakes. An old woman at Bolton Percy, who used to be cook here, made them: everybody eats soul cakes on Hallowe'en. And do you know, Monsieur," said Charlotte, eagerly, "Jane, our maid, means to eat an apple to-night before the glass when she goes to bed, and look over her shoulder, and then she'll see her husband that's to be; and Betty, the under Lousemaid, is going to sow a handful of hemp-seed in the garden?

I wouldn't be her for anything. I should be too frightened to go out in the dark."

"How can you tease Monsieur with such nonsense!" said Winifred, sharply; "and what a little goose you are! You are startled at your shadow."

"Well, but you were frightened too, Winifred, when you came rushing in here," said the priest, gaily, as he took the little soul cakes in his hand, a relic of old times and old customs.

"I had a real reason," replied Winifred, in a mysterious tone. Then she said: "I dare say you never ate soul cakes before, Monsieur. The poor people here go from house to house begging for them. Do you have them in France on Hallow-e'en? Mamma says they are Popish, and Mr. Foljambe said directly, 'I wonder, theu, you should eat them, ma'am,' and that made mamma so mad; but she is in one of her tempers to-day-isn't she, Charlotte?"

Charlotte nodded her head eagerly, in confirmation of this not very dutiful remark; whilst the priest looked grave and shook his head reprovingly, and administered a lecture on the duties of children towards their parents; at the end of which Miss Winifred, a young lady of great candour and bluntness of speech, tossed her head, and said, in a very determined tone

The fact is, mamma does go on in such a way that it's no wonder I am not good. You need not shake your head, Monsieur. Papa said the other day, before mamma, that she set us a very bad example; and I am sure she is very cruel and unkind to him."


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'And he is such a dear, fat, good-natured being!" sighed Charlotte, who was accustomed to speak in this manner of the jovial fox-hunting squire, her father.

"You should have heard mamma to-day, when Mr. Foljambe called," continued Miss Winifred, imitating the tones of her mother's voice, "Oh, my dear Rector, how rejoiced I am to see you!-it is a pleasure I enjoy so seldom; your visits always give me such exquisite delight!' and so she went on; and then, as soon as ever his back was turned, it was, 'The rude, disagreeable man!' so unworthy of his calling,'- so worldly and unlike what a clergyman should be '-' so offensive to me in his manners



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Come, ma petite," said the priest, gravely, "let us talk of something else. What are those lights moving youder in the darkness?" and, as he spoke, he pointed with his finger to the opposite side of the road facing the Hall, where beyond the beautiful park-like grounds, and through the not yet leafless branches of the grand old oaks and elms, broad flashes of light shot up, here and there, breaking in upon the darkness, which had fallen suddenly on all around.

"Oh, those? they are tindles," replied Winifred.

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