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From out the Vasty Deep   By: (1868-1947)

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FROM OUT THE VASTY DEEP

BY

MRS. BELLOC LOWNDES

1921

TO

A.H. FASS

The owner of the real "Wyndfell Hall"

in memory of many happy hours spent there by his friend the writer

Glendower:

" I can call spirits from the vasty deep ."

Hotspur:

" Why, so can I; or so can any man: But will they come, when you do call for them ?"

Henry IV.

FROM OUT THE VASTY DEEP

CHAPTER I

"I always thought that you, Pegler, were such a very sensible woman."

The words were said in a good natured, though slightly vexed tone; and a curious kind of smile flitted over the rather grim face of the person to whom they were addressed.

"I've never troubled you before in this exact way, have I, ma'am?"

"No, Pegler. That you certainly have not."

Miss Farrow looked up from the very comfortable armchair where she was sitting leaning back, with her neatly shod, beautifully shaped feet stretched out to the log fire. Her maid was standing a little to the right, her spare figure and sallow face lit up by the flickering, shooting flames, for the reading lamp at Miss Farrow's elbow was heavily shaded.

"D'you really mean that you won't sleep next door to night, Pegler?"

"I wouldn't be fit to do my work to morrow if I did, ma'am." And Miss Farrow quite understood that that was Pegler's polite way of saying that she most definitely did refuse to sleep in the room next door.

"I wish the ghost had come in here, instead of worrying you!" As the maid made no answer to this observation, her mistress went on, turning round so that she could look up into the woman's face: "What was it exactly you did see, Pegler?" And as the other still remained silent, Miss Farrow added: "I really do want to know! You see, Pegler well, I need hardly tell you that I have a very great opinion of you."

And then, to the speaker's extreme surprise, there came a sudden change over Pegler's face. Her pale countenance flushed, it became discomposed, and she turned her head away to hide the springing tears.

Miss Farrow was touched; as much touched as her rather hard nature would allow her to be. This woman had been her good and faithful friend, as well as servant, for over twelve years.

She sprang up from her deep chair with the lightness of a girl, though she was over forty; and went and took the other's hand. "Pegler!" she exclaimed. "What's the matter, you dear old thing?"

But Pegler wrenched away her hand, rather ungraciously. "After two such nights as I've had," she muttered, "it's no wonder I'm a bit upset."

Excellent maid though she was Miss Farrow had never known anyone who could do hair as Pegler could the woman was in some ways very unconventional, very unlike an ordinary lady's maid.

"Now do tell me exactly what happened?" Miss Farrow spoke with a mixture of coaxing and kindly authority. "What do you think you saw? I need hardly tell you that I don't believe in ghosts." As the maid well knew, the speaker might have finished the sentence with "or in anything else." But that fact, Pegler being the manner of woman she was, did not detract from the affection and esteem in which she held her lady. You can't have everything such was her simple philosophy and religious people do not always act up to their profession. Miss Farrow, at any rate in her dealings with Pegler, was always better than her word. She was a kind, a considerate, and an intelligent mistress.

So it was that, reluctantly, Pegler made up her mind to speak. "I'd like to say, ma'am," she began, "that no one said nothing to me about that room being haunted. You was the first that mentioned it to me, after I'd spoken to you yesterday. As you know, ma'am, the servants here are a job lot; they don't know nothing about the house. 'Twasn't till to day that one of the village people, the woman at the general shop and post office, let on that Wyndfell Hall was well known to be a ghosty place."

There was a pause, and then Pegler added: "Still, as you and I well know, ma'am, tales don't lose nothing in the telling... Continue reading book >>




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