The Lady Ursula





In 1690 a stately house stood in Kittery, Maine, a strongly guarded place

with moat and drawbridge (which was raised at night) and a moated grange

adjacent where were cattle, sheep, and horses. Here, in lonely dignity,

lived Lady Ursula, daughter of the lord of Grondale Abbey, across the

water, whose distant grandeurs were in some sort reflected in this manor

of the wilderness. Silver, mahogany, paintings, tapestries, waxed floors,

and carven chests of linen represented wealth; prayers were said by a

chaplain every morning and evening in the chapel, and, though the main

hall would accommodate five hundred people, the lady usually sat at meat

there with her thirty servants, her part of the table being raised two

feet above theirs.



It was her happiness to believe that Captain Fowler, now absent in

conflict with the French, would return and wed her according to his

promise, but one day came a tattered messenger with bitter news of the

captain's death. She made no talk of her grief, and, while her face was

pale and step no longer light, she continued in the work that custom

exacted from women of that time: help for the sick, alms for the poor,

teaching for the ignorant, religion for the savage. Great was her joy,

then, when a ship came from England bringing a letter from Captain Fowler

himself, refuting the rumor of defeat and telling of his coming. Now the

hall took on new life, reflecting the pleasure of its mistress; color

came back to her cheek and sparkle to her eye, and she could only control

her impatience by more active work and more aggressive charities. The day

was near at hand for the arrival of her lover, when Ursula and her

servants were set upon by Indians, while away from the protection of the

manor, and slain. They were buried where they fell, and Captain Fowler



found none to whom his love or sorrow could be told.





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