Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/69

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ON Thursday evening, 3 April, 1817, the overseer of the parish of Almondsbury, in Gloucestershire, called at Knole Park, the residence of Samuel Worall, Esq., to inform him that a young female had entered a cottage in the village, and had made signs to express her desire to sleep there; but not understanding her language, the good folk of the cottage communicated with the overseer, and he, as perplexed as the cottagers, went for counsel to the magistrate. Mr. Worall ordered that she should be brought to Knole, and presently the overseer returned with a slim damsel, dressed poorly but quaintly, with a sort of turban about her head, not precisely beautiful, but with very intelligent speaking eyes.

Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Worall could make heads or tails of what she said. He had a Greek valet who knew or could recognize most of the languages spoken in the Levant, but he also was at fault; he could not catch a single word of her speech that was familiar to him. By signs she was questioned as to whether she had any papers, and she produced from her pocket a bad sixpence and a few halfpence. Under her arm she carried a small bundle containing some necessaries, and a piece of soap wound up in a bit of linen. Her dress consisted of a black stuff gown with a muslin