The Grey Lady

I arise from my bed with a sense of dread.  Something troubles me, but I know not what.  A shaft of silver moonlight crosses the woven mat on my wooden floor boards, gives me enough light to find my shawl and I walk out the door.  My two little ones are sleeping soundly, and I pass unheard and unseen over the landing.


My bare feet take me to the narrow wooden stairs and I descend into the oak beamed hallway.  My way is clear and I feel drawn to the garden door, trying to remember what it is that alarms me.  I sense that there is danger nearby, and go in search of my husband, James, the Inn Keeper at this place, the Maybush in Newbridge.  I pass through the barred door into an enclosed garden and hear the distant sound of men fighting.  The Roundheads have come to take the bridge.


I am drawn towards the sound.  Clashing of swords, cries and curses assail my ears.  We live in dangerous times, in this Year of Our Lord, 1644.  I hear my husband’s voice.  I must go to him.  I close my eyes and feel the cool night breeze play with my hair, a tickling sensation on my neck.  I curse Cromwell’s thugs, tearing at the heart and soul of merry England, as I go in search of my husband.


A shiver runs through me as I pass through the solid wall and find myself outside above the river.  I see my husband on the bridge – he is fighting desperately but is overwhelmed by greater numbers.  He falls, and two men are upon him, cutting and slashing with their swords.  Through his dying eye he sees me, and a look of sorrow, regret, helplessness is conveyed to me in that briefest of moments.


Then he is still.  I cry out.  The two men are upon me.  I am too terrified to move.  They seize me roughly by the arms and drag me past the blood-soaked body of my dearly beloved, onto the bridge over the river.  One of the villainous Roundheads, stinking of sour ale, tells me: “You and your husband have harboured Cavaliers in your Inn and plotted against our leader, Master Cromwell.  Now you will pay with your life – a death to all Papists!”


With that, he drew his knife across my throat and I swooned, feeling my warm blood spill down the front of my night dress.  “Oh God, dear Jesus, receive me” I mutter as I fall down, down spinning silently into the dark murky waters of the Thames.


My last thought is for my children.  What will happen to my beloved Geoffrey and sweet Annabelle?  I must search for them.  The cold waters envelope me and a silver ribbon lights the way to my watery grave.  I cannot rest until I have found my children, and must return to this wretched place to search for them.

Leave a Reply