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we drew nearer the fire to hear the story
about Sir John.

Sir John Morton had lived some time about
the restoration. The Mortons had taken the
right side, so when Oliver Cromwell came
into power he gave away their lands to one
of his Puritan followersa man who had
been but a praying, canting, Scotch pedlar,
till the war broke out; and Sir John had to
go and live with his royal master at Bruges.
The upstart's name was Carr who came to
live at Morton Hall; and, I'm proud to say,
weI mean our ancestorsled him a pretty
life. He had hard work to get any rent at
all from the tenantry, who knew their duty
better than to pay it to a Roundhead. If he
took the law to them, the law officers fared
so badly, that they were shy of coming out to
Mortonall along that lonely road I told
you ofagain. Strange noises were heard
about the Hall, which got the credit of being
haunted; but as those noises were never
heard before or since that Richard Carr lived
there, I leave you to guess if the evil spirits
did not know well over whom they had
powerover schismatic rebels, and no one
else. They durst not trouble the Mortons,
who were true and loyal, and were faithful
followers of King Charles in word and deed.
At last old Oliver died, and folks did say
that on that wild and stormy night his voice
was heard high up in the air, where you hear
the flocks of wild geese skirl, crying out for
his true follower Richard Carr to accompany
him in the terrible chase the fiends were
giving him before carrying him down to hell.
Anyway Richard Carr died within a week
summoned by the dead or not, he went his
way down to his master, and his master's

Then his daughter Alice came into possession.
Her mother was somehow related to
General Monk, who was beginning to come
into power about that time. So when Charles
the Second came back to his throne, and
many of the sneaking Puritans had to quit
their ill-gotten land, and turn to the right
about, Alice Carr was still left at Morton
Hall to queen it there. She was taller than
most women, and a great beauty I have heard.
But for all her beauty, she was a stern, hard
woman. The tenants had known her to be
hard in her father's lifetime, but now that
she was the owner and had the power, she
was worse than ever. She hated the Stuarts
worse than ever her father had done; had
calves' head for dinner every thirtieth of
January; and when the first twenty-ninth of
May came round, and every mother's son in
the village gilded his oak leaves, and wore
them in his hat, she closed the windows of the
great hall with her own hands, and sate
throughout the day in darkness and mourning.
People did not like to go against her
by force, because she was a young and beautiful
woman. It was said the king got her
cousin, the Duke of Albemarle, to ask her to
court, just as courteously as if she had been
the Queen of Sheba, and King Charles, Solomon,
praying her to visit him in Jerusalem.
But she would not go; not she! She lived
a very lonely life, for now the King had got
his own again, no servant but her nurse
would stay with her in the Hall; and none
of the tenants would pay her any money, for
all that her father had purchased the lands
from the Parliament, and paid the price down
in good red gold.

All this time, Sir John was somewhere in
the Virginian plantations; and the ships
sailed from thence only twice a year; but his
royal master had sent for him home; and
home he came that second summer after the
restoration. No one knew if Mistress Alice
had heard of his landing in England or not;
all the villagers and tenantry knew and
were not surprised, and turned out in their
best dresses and with great branches of oak
to welcome him as he rode into the village
one July morning, with many gay-looking
gentlemen by his side, laughing and talking
and making merry, and speaking gaily and
pleasantly to the village people. They came
in on the opposite side to the Drumble Road;
indeed Drumble was nothing of a place then,
as I have told you. Between the last cottage
in the village and the gates to the old Hall,
there was a shady part of the road, where
the branches nearly met overhead, and made
a green gloom. If you'll notice, when many
people are talking merrily out of doors in
sunlight, they will stop talking for an instant,
when they come into the cool green shade,
and either be silent for some little time,
or else speak graver and slower and softer.
And so old people say those gay gentlemen
did; for several people followed to see Alice
Carr's pride taken down. They used to tell
how the cavaliers had to bow their plumed hats
in passing under the unlopped and drooping
boughs. I fancy Sir John expected that the
lady would have rallied her friends, and got
ready for a sort of battle to defend the
entrance to the house; but she had no friends.
She had no nearer relations than the Duke
of Albemarle, and he was mad with her for
having refused to come to court, and so save
her estate according to his advice.

Well, Sir John rode on, in silence; the
tramp of the many horses' feet, and the
clumping sound of the clogs of the village
people were all that was heard. Heavy as the
great gate was, they swung it wide on its
hinges, and up they rode to the Hall steps,
where the lady stood, in her close plain
Puritan dress, her cheeks one crimson flush,
her great eyes flashing fire, and no one behind
her, or with her, or near her, or to be seen,
but the old trembling nurse catching at her
gown in pleading terror. Sir John was taken
aback; he could not go out with swords and
warlike weapons against a woman; his very
preparations for forcing an entrance made
him ridiculous in his own eyes, and he well