The Lovers of Reading Abbey - part 2
The next day, Charlotte proposed to seat outside in front of the garden. She wanted to know if everything was alright for Anne and how she had found her first day at the Abbey. Anne thought it was really delicate from Charlotte to take care of her like that. During their exchange, Charlotte’s friend asked her some questions about the allusions that her father had made about the “old wing”:
“Do not worry about me, honestly I am very happy to be here! I just didn’t know what to say about what your father told me yesterday evening during the dinner…What is this “old wing”?”
“Oh yes, I’m sorry my dear, I forgot that my father didn’t explain to you what it is. The “old wing” is, as you can tell by its name, the oldest part of the Abbey. My father doesn’t let us go there because it’s where my mother died. She fell in the stairs because one of the steps was broken; therefore it’s too dangerous for us to go there. My father used to sleep there and after the accident, he changed his bedroom and now he sleeps on the modern wing.”
“I’m sorry for you! I imagine it was a shock for you to go to funeral.”
“Oh actually I never really had precise memories of my mother. I was too young, it happened twelve years ago.”
“I understand now, but I’m sure your father would be happy to tell you something about your mother!”
“Unfortunately, the rare moments when I want to know her a bit more, my father doesn’t seem to pay intention to me, I’m sure he loved her but I think her death hurt him so bad that he can’t speak about her.”
“I’m very sorry for you Charlotte.” Anne thought that the behaviour of the General was weird. “Why doesn’t he want to talk about it?” She thought. “Perhaps something terrible happened. Perhaps he’s hiding a secret!”
Anne knew that it wasn’t polite to insist on this topic but she was a curious girl and wanted to visit the Abbey by herself. Obviously she wanted to go to the “old wing”. Because she was very fond of gothic novels, she was really attracted to this type of places. She made sure nobody followed her and during the next night, she woke up at three am to visit it. When she got near, she heard some strange sounds and muffled noises coming from the back of the wing. She was really scared and rushed to her bedroom where she hid herself under the blanket. She thought:
“This place is not a good one. Oh my god, there is a ghost or a spirit which haunts the Abbey!” Suddenly, she remembered her dream about the woman who was pushed in the stairs. What if it was the General’s wife? What if he had killed her?… The ghost! Sure! It must be her spirit that she had heard in the old wing. She must have sent her this dream in order to get revenge.
The next morning she woke up very tired, she had never ever had such a night. She did horrific nightmares where she dreamt again that there was a murder in the Abbey and so the spirit of this person was coming back to haunt the place.
After the breakfast, Anne had a walk in the garden with Frederick and Charlotte. Emma wasn’t there because she was with her governess. Anne spent all of her time thinking about what had happened the night before. This feeling continued to fill her brain and soul, the rest of the week.
One day, all the family had to go to Reading because they had to do something really important. Anne had to stay at the Abbey. Therefore she decided to investigate a little bit about the old wing. She was really curious and spoke to Emma’s governess, Mary Mc Cormick.
Mary was really sweet and patient. She was from Scotland and was twenty-five years old. Together, they spent a lot of time discussing about themselves. They became good friends and when Anne thought it was the right moment to speak about the history of the Abbey she asked her questions about it:
“My dear friend, I don’t want to be indiscreet but do you like the life you live in this place? I mean, the General doesn’t seem to be someone charming and helpful.”
“Indeed he isn’t. This job was recommended by one of my good friends who lives in London. She told me that it wasn’t the best job ever but that it was well-paid. The first time I saw the Abbey, I thought it was haunted by some spirits or something. Sometimes during the night I just thought I heard some noises which were coming from the old wing. However I think it was because I was a little bit immature. Obviously ghosts are not real!” said Mary, laughing.
“To be totally honest with you, I had the same feelings as you. Do you know what exactly happened this night twelve years ago in the old wing?”
“Unfortunately, I can’t help you sweetie, I wasn’t there when it happened. But I agree with you, there is something wrong about this place.”
“Do you think the general loved his wife?”
“I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I didn’t really notice any kind of love or sweet feelings in him when he speaks about her. I mean it’s very rare when he does it. And I also have never seen a portrait or a painting of his wife. Emma asked me one day if I could describe her mom because she was a little baby when she passed away. And apparently her father has never ever shown her a portrait of her mother…”
“Oh, really? It’s a bit strange.”
“But I recommend you to speak with Mrs. Murphy. She was here when the accident happened.”
“Thank you for helping me!”
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