Chepstow

The Ghost

THE GHOST OF CLANNA GARDENS by Ingrid Artzman

I was born 14th Feb 1835, as the 4th child to Mr & Mrs William Middleton Noel. I died 17th March 1852, just 17 years old, 2 days after my daughter was born. I named her Georgina after her father. She was alive when I died but I do not know what happened to her. They had arranged for her to be taken away, but because she was born earlier than expected, she was with me for those 2 days. Those were the 2 happiest, still the 2 most miserable days in my life.

I was deprived a burial in consecrated grounds. The vicar’s wife would not have any such immoral remains tainting the pureness of the church. Although my physical body is at rest, my soul has relentlessly been searching for forgiveness and peace.

My sin was to become pregnant out of wedlock. The father, George, was the son of the head gardener. We grew up together, we had great fun together as children and with the changes taking place in maturing teenagers, we discovered the physical attraction between us and nothing was more natural than bringing our feelings to its conclusion.

Since my death I have been floating around in the big house and once they pulled that down, I moved into the big oak tree in the walled garden. You probably don’t realise that it is hollow, but it gives me protection from the wind and rain, both of which cause havoc with the waves of my soul.

I have been waiting for my case to be discussed, for people to acknowledge the problem of the irresistible forces working in the young adults, to understand that the lack of experience in life makes it a forgivable act of passion. After all, it has been happening for years, from the very beginning of Adam and Eve. By the way, who married them?

Then, in the beginning of July 2013, 13 seats were set out in a circle on the round lawn and a group of ladies arrived. I thought this could be my opportunity; my action would be defended by these sympathetic, knowledgeable and mellow ladies. I would be absolved from my guilt and I could rest in peace. However, two men and a couple of dogs appeared; that could influence the discussions. Women show solidarity and stick together, but there will be a limit to the subjects deliberated when the men are present. I was not at all sure how this would work out.

It was promising though. The conditions were ideal: the sun was shining, it was nice and warm with a slight breeze of the freshest air and the birds were singing their hearts out. The group settled in their chairs chatting and laughing, the spirits were high. They went off to other parts of the garden in search of inspiration and came back with amazing stories showing their understanding of life and nature and describing the ambiance of the lovely gardens.

I was very excited when one of the men, the one with a beard, talked about the bones under the tennis court. I thought he knew about me, but he talked about my remains as if they were of the much loved dogs they always kept at the manor. In fact, I was treated just as a dog during my pregnancy or even worse. I was locked up in the attic and my meals were served in a bowl, all cold by the time the others had finished eating, the washing up was done and the left overs could be brought up to me.

My precious subject was never brought up at the garden party. They talked about ghosts and other macabre happenings, but I was not mentioned. Maybe people don’t know about me? I have been forgotten.

The wrinkly old lot disappeared off to the new house, stuffed their mouths and lined up ready to fall backwards into the fountain; maybe a modern ritual, although nothing happened. The circle of chairs was taken away and my hopes were dashed, once again.