The Squire's Ghost
The Squire's Ghost
Perhaps the truth is better left untold, it could haunt you for the rest of your life...but I shall tell it anyway!
A young man has been seen to wander around these parts. He keeps himself to himself and never seems to bother anyone. His favourite haunt, (if haunt be the word most appropriate), seems to be by the pond at the south end of the estate. People have heard splashing there when the water has been calm and no one else is around. Many say it's the ghost of Jenny, a girl of about 16 years who drowned there at the turn of the 20th century. The young man, who goes by the name of Thomas, is well known to the locals. He is the son of one of the more regarded parishioners. His father is none other than the Reverened James Morris, minister to the parish
for some 30 odd years. James is a well respected figurehead, but Thomas seems to be guarded with something akin to suspicion. It's hard to explain, but for some reason, most of the locals avoid him whenever possible. (Some say he has the look of the Death in his eye).
I am one of the few people who has had the pleasure to talk to Thomas, and I must say, I find him to be an honest and trustworthy young man. He has been known, from time to time, to seek my acquaintance in matters of a nature that he can't quite indulge in with his father, the usual teenage anguish that affects most boys his age - we have discussed the facts of life on numerous occasions.
One night, during one of our little soirees, he told me that he had feelings for a girl he had met in the wooded area on the south side of the estate. He said he had mixed feelings about her as she seemed to be quite young, and that their rendezvous would be frowned upon should it become knowledge to the locals. He then added that they only ever talked and that he hadn't dared so much as to even touch her hand. I nodded my approval and told him that if she was as young as he said, he'd maybe be better to put some distance between them. He then went on to tell me about the sad remorse he seemed to feel when in her company, that the guilt that he felt seemed overwhelming. He couldn't explain why he felt this way, but did go on to say that it was as if he was in some kind of vortex when she was around, that quite often, he felt nauseous and dizzy in her company, as if caught in some kind of spell. He said that each time they parted he felt a sorrow, as if it would be the last time he would see her, and that he always went away with a profound longing to see her again. More than that, he did not elaborate.
Anyhow, a few years ago, I had the requisite to visit the south end of the estate on a business trip. I took the pathway through wooded area finding it rather odd that the path looked narrower than usual. As I walked, the grass and the bracken seemed to brush my legs and I had to duck beneath several branches along my journey. (I remember thinking that I must bring it up at the next community meeting, that the pathway was so overgrown as to be dangerous to anyone taking that route at night). When I was about halfway through my
journey, I saw Thomas a little bit ahead, talking to someone, although I couldn't see who this was. I did, however, hear the sound of a girl's laughter. I called his name and waved, but he ran off towards the pond. I was then overwhelmed by a strong urge to follow them. I picked up my pace and headed after them, following the sound of their laughter. When I reached the clearing that bordered the pond, they were nowhere to be seen. I could, however, hear the merriment of splashing. Suddenly, I heard a rather gruff roar, a shout to cease the merrymaking at once! I looked all around me, but could see no one! Then Thomas emerged from the pond, dripping wet and somewhat rather pained and frightened looking. He seemed to go down on one knee and raise his right arm above his head, as if to protect himself, but I didn't
see an assailant. I did, however, hear the crack of bone as his arm was broken by the invisible blow. He was crying out for leniency, but it didn't seem to be forthcoming as I heard thud after thud of an invisible weapon strike him with great force. I wanted to move forward and stop the onslaught, but found myself to be rooted to the spot. I could move not an inch and was assigned to watch the whole debacle unfold before my very eyes. Thomas was very soon comatose on the ground, so much so that I feared he was dead!
I heard the girl scream then, although I could see nothing more than Thomas lying on the ground. I heard splashing, but not the joyful splashing of before, but a more desperate splashing, as if someone fighting to break the surface. Somewhere among the noise and turmoil, I thought I heard a girl cry out in a pleading voice, "No, Papa, no!" I tried to tend to Thomas, but it was too late. Realizing that I was not only the only witness, but that I had seen no one else around and had no description of the assailant to give to the police, I decided it would be best if I were to go home and say nothing of the incident to anyone.
Thomas's murderer has never been found. He is still seen to wander by the pond!
A few days ago, I came across an artical in the local paper. It was a story from the turn of the 20th century, a tragedy that involved the local squire, his daughter and a local lad who acted as handyman to the household. It goes on that this lad of 19 had fallen in love with the squires 16 year old daughter and that rumor abounded in the area as to the nature of their friendship. The squire became enraged when rumor of the girl being pregnant circulated in the neighborhood, so much so, that he determined to end the affair once and for all. He followed
the lovers through the woods and challenged the lad by the edge of the pond, repeatedly hitting him on the head and body with his walking staff, bludgeoning him to death. He then turned his attention to his daughter, whom he felt had sullied the family name. During their brief but tragic struggle, the girl drowned in the pond. The father was tried and found guilty of the murder of the boy. He was hanged for his crime. Beside the article were photographs of the three involved in these tragic events. I looked upon the face of the girl for the first time, but the boy, the boy had an uncanny resemblance to Thomas!
The strangest thing was though, the more I looked at the picture of the squire, the more I seen myself!