Another Good Book to Read!(But not strictly Regency)
Posted by Lesley on September 28, 1997 at 14:37:35:
Hi! I've really been missing this board since the fall semester started. Lots of papers to grade and a really hectic schedule. Anyway, Elissa's question about the young African pageboys made the wheels start spinning. There is a visual reference to this practise in Persuasion when Anne et.al. are presented to her aristocratic cousins, the Dalrymples. Aren't there some black footmen in the background?
Also, I am a big fan of "true" ghost stories and I have come across the "screaming skull" ghost story in Simon Marsden's book, The Haunted Realm . The gist of the story goes something like this: A young African pageboy is brought to an estate to live (I can't remember the name of it) and he is promised to be able to return to his native land at some point...however he dies before this is accomplished and on his deathbed makes the statement that his bones must never be removed from the estate and his skull must always be kept in the house or all sorts of dire consequences will follow. Of course at some point, someone does take the skull outside and the house starts to rumble, things crash to the ground, etc. until the skull is placed back inside the house.
I can highly recommend Marsden's book because of the beautiful photographs that are taken with infrared film. They are beautiful and literally haunting. He includes a short history of each house or ruin. (All of the houses are in England or Ireland.)
I have a couple of questions for Caroline and/or any other native English people here. first of all there is a wonderful write up about the most famous haunted rectory in England. The last clergyman to live there (in the early part of the century) had a young and beautiful wife who tried to communicate with the unhappy revenants via automatic writing but the situation got out of hand and they had to move. Eventually one of the most famous ghost hunters in England lived there for a while until the rectory finally burnt to the ground. Of course I can't remember the name of the house-arrgghh! but has anyone heard of this house?
Also, Marsden makes a reference to a house in Dorset and goes on to comment that this is probably the most haunted shire in England, espacially one village whose name I also can't remember. Is Dorset sonsidered the most haunted shire in England?
I am sorry I am so very vague about the names of these places. My library books are due back this week and I will try to check out Marsden's book and supply the names to you as soon as possible if there is still some interest.
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