Last February 7th, as I was on my way down to the stables to feed the mare, I passed the old derelict house. My eyes wandered to the figure of a rather odd, young girl who moved, ever so quietly, around to the side of the house. Her clothes did not look right. They appeared to those of a servant, back when young girls were hired to work in 18th century gentry's houses. I asked myself if maybe she a ghost or one of the children from the gypsy camp up the road who had just stopped to rest for a couple of days. As far back as I could remember, the house was empty and it was a charming, old, Georgian style house.
by Mai Venn
When I arrived at the stables, I got a strange feeling there. Just as I had turned, I saw the same young girl straight in front of me pointing to some part of the floor. I went to the spot and pushed the straw that lay upon it to the side. There I found an old hidden door to a down stairs which led to an underground secret passageway that ran towards the inside the old manner. It had never crossed my mind before then that there was a cellar beneath. The corridor ended at the door of a room thought which the young girl passed.
I followed her through the opened door. As if unaffected by time, there before me, was a bedroom and on a little table, a diary. I did not know what to do but the girls eyes were as sad as she beckoned me to open the little book and read it that I did. It was her story and now I knew her name; it was Nelly.
Nelly's short life unfolded with ever page I turned. Her life began in the house when she was fourteen. She began as a scullery maid and her friend, Millie was a parlour maid. At first, they were very happy where they worked. Though the head housekeeper could be cross at times, she was not the worse. My heart broke as Nelly's saga of woe reach my very soul. The master's son had taken advantage of Millie first and then, when Millie was sent from the house in disgrace and pregnant with his baby he turned to Nelly. Having become Millie's replacement. If Nellie dared to tell anyone, her life would be at risk.
One night while Nellie was in her bedroom, the master's son made his way to her. She begged him to let her alone and vowed to tell the head housekeeper if he did not. He got extremely angry with her and dragged her by her lovely head of black hair to a room at the top floor. There, he pushed her from a bay window to her death.
When found in the early hours of the following morning, her hair was toss and scraggy and unlike the way she had always kept it. Nelly had been an honest good living hard working catholic girl and on realising her life was coming to an early closure, she prayed for her story to be known.
It was then I realised my part in this narrative. My first task was to call in a priest to pray for the soul of Nelly so as she could rest in peace. I then called a friend of mine a journalist and a writer to tell her story so as her short life would go on record.
The Story Comes To Light
Fragile, as if she could float on air.
Her face was sad beneath her jet-black hair.
I first say her here, then there,
Then, unexpectedly, she would disappear.
The twilight sky played tricks on me,
I queried my brain on what I did see,
Suddenly, there before me stood she,
Her ghostly figure comes to haunt me.
The mare observed the phantom, yet saw nay
Animals identify in their own strange way
And as the mare bolted out the open door,
The fragile maiden pointed to the floor.
I reached down to that part of the ground.
And, on that spot, a door I found
She sent a signal to unveil
And, behind, I followed on her trail.
Under the stable, there is a corridor
That led us to the old house's basement floor
Then, she halted at the old, green door
And summoned me on more and more.
I entered the room she had reached before me.
There, on a table in front, I did see -
A diary, as old, as old could be,
On this journal was the name, ‘Nelly'.
A story as old as time, by quill she did report
Of cruel deeds done, purely for the sport,
How the Master's son had took her by force,
Then murdered poor Nelly and he had no remorse.