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The House of the Lost Court by Alice Muriel Williamson

The House of the Lost Court by Alice Muriel Williamson
The House of the Lost Court by Alice Muriel Williamson

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 Lost Court” repeated Frances. “What is that?” The wizened face of the old man suddenly changed, and lost its little polite, three-cornered smile. “Oh, well, madam,” he answered reluctantly, “it’s a nickname we have in the countryside for Queen’s Quadrangles; but it slipped my tongue, madam, I assure you, as I would not wish to fail in respect to her ladyship.” “But why are you failing in respect to her ladyship by giving the place that name?” Frances persisted. “On account of the story, madam. Sir Digby in his life pooh-poohed it, so I’ve heard and as for her ladyship, she can’t bear it, folks say.” “What is the story?” asked Frances, though her daughter’s eyes were disapproving. Dolores could not have told why, but vaguely it seemed to her there was a kind of treachery to the sad lady of Queen’s Quadrangles in asking these questions of a gossiping old man at a village inn. “Strange you’ve never heard it, madam, knowing something of the place, as you do,” said the landlord. “It’s not come to your ears, then, Queen’s Quadrangles is sometimes called the House of the Lost Court?” Frances shook her head. “That’s a strange name,” she commented. “What can it mean?” “Why, only there was supposed to be, in the old days, three courts instead of two. The house was built in that fashion with three quadrangles, so to speak, one with a fountain, one with four cypresses, and one with…nobody knows what. But, of course, it’s only a tale, madam, and a scandalous tale in some ways. Folks say the Spaniards brought over by the grand don who made the house, in Queen Mary’s and her Consort Philip’s day, babbled about that third court, and the grandee’s real reason for having it. And they say, too, it was known to exist, for several generations at least. Afterwards but then it seemed to disappear in some miraculous manner, or else the house was altered before the memory of those who write histories of big houses, and so the court was finally done away with. Only the name and the story of it has never been forgotten.”


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The House of the Lost Court by Alice Muriel Williamson