'What's this about 'the Boy'?' Stewart asked.
'Forgive me, Captain, I would rather not go into particulars. Let us say that you saw the
Stewart burst out laughing. 'Come, sir, this really will not do,' he said. 'He was the
prettiest ghost I am sure anyone ever saw.'
'So others have disposed, sir,' said his host. 'When he took to haunting us, the family
must have been on better days, for I am told that his golden suit...'
'Last night he was completely naked,' Stewart interrupted him.
'Naked? That I have never heard before.'
'Who is he?'
'He was the son of an ancestor, sir,' his host explained. 'Unhappily, his mother lost her
reason, and in one of her most violent moods strangled the Boy, who was her youngest and
favorite child, while he was asleep in the room where you passed the night. He was only nine or
ten years old.'
'And now he haunts the room. Does he trouble you?' Stewart asked, interested.
'He troubles us only if someone see him,' his host replied.
'Why only then?'
Once more his host seemed reluctant to answer him, and only when Stewart said that he
would be offended if he would not satisfy his curiosity did the man acquiesce.
'Please remember that you have insisted. The tradition is that the Boy portends good and
bad news. Whoever the Boy shows himself to experiences a period of the greatest prosperity. He
will rise to the summit of power, but at the very climax of his rise he will meet a violent death.'
This reply seemed to sober Stewart. He was silent for some minutes, then he smiled, and
said, 'Well, sir, we've all to die sooner or later, and it does not seem to me to matter how death
comes. If my period of prosperity makes life pleasant for me, than the end should be worth it.
you must know, sir, that I am only my father's second son, and my prospects are no better than
any second son's. Indeed, at the moment it would appear that I shall spend the rest of my active
career as a soldier. I am no great shakes at soldiering. A colonelcy in the most I can hope for.'
Within a few years of the Boy's appearance, however, Captain Stewart's fortunes
suddenly and spectacularly changed. His elder brother, the heir to the Marquisate of
Londonderry, was drowned in a boating accident, and Stewart succeeded him, taking the courtesy
title of Viscount Castlereagh.
The change in status brought a change in responsibilities, too, and soon the new Lord
Castlereagh found himself occupying a prominent position in Irish affairs. The part he played in
the political maneuvers which resulted in 1800 in the Act of Union between England and Ireland
was merely the opening of a brilliant career.
He now discovered that he possess abilities of which he had been previously ignorant.
There led him onward until he won a commanding position in successive English administrations.
In 1805 he was appointed Secretary of War, and again in 1807; while from 1812 onwards, as
Foreign Secretary, he conducted the country's foreign policy during one of the most important
periods of its history.
Unfortunately, he developed into a man of cold, even actively antagonistic, manner, which
caused him to be not merely unpopular, but cordially hated, even by members of his own party.
Yet he was not merely a strong man, such as the times demanded, but also successful in most of
his schemes as a Minister for the welfare of the nation.
In 1821, on the death of his father, he became Marquess of Londonderry, through he
remains best known as Castlereagh. There are two accounts as to the cause of his death. One
states that towards the end of his life he suffered greatly from gout, and the continued anxieties of
a long and trying public career began noticeably to tell upon him. His manner grew strange, and,
on the suggestion of the Duke of Wellington, he sought medical advice, which did nothing to
relieve his condition.
It was then seen that he appeared to be in imminent danger of losing his reason, and so
serious did his condition become that he had to be confined to his country house, North Cray
Place. As a precautionary measure, his razors were removed. This proved unavailing, however,
and on 12 August, 1822, he cut his throat with a pen-knife.
The other version is less kind. It is purported by some social historians that he was a
homosexual, and that he committed suicide as the result of blackmail. If this is true, the fact that
the Radiant Boy appeared to him, alone of all its victims, naked adds a footnote which the
psychiatrists will no doubt find interesting.
The third most famous manifestation of a Radiant Boy is recounted in connection with
Thomas, second Baron Lyttleton, known even during his lifetime as The Bad Lord Lyttleton, on
account of his dissipation, which he made no attempt to conceal. His affairs and his gambling
were a scandal of the times, and the times-the latter half of the eighteenth century-were
After an extremely colorful period on the continent-where his family had more or less
banished him in an attempt to protect the good name of the Lyttletons-he returned to England and
married a wealthy widow, named Apphia Peach, who possessed a fortune of 20,000. He refused
to let her see her solicitor so that her money might be 'tied up' in her favor, and under the laws of
the times the 20,000 became legally his the moment he put the ring on Mrs. Peach's finger.
Within three months he had got through it all, and had so outraged his wife that she died shortly
The final curtain came down on this dissolute man in November, 1779. He had staying
with him at his London home, Hill House, a Mrs. Amphlett and her three young daughters,
Elizabeth, who was nineteen, Christina, seventeen, and Margaret, fifteen.
Mrs. Amphlett was more likely than not unhappy at the close proximity of her three pretty
girls to the Wicked Lord. At all events, she cast such a wet blanket over the party that while she
was lying down in her room, Lyttleton summoned his carriage, bundled in the three girls and
hurried them down to his country house, Pit Place, not far from Epsom.
Just before midnight Lyttleton retired to bed. What happened next has been recounted by
a friend, who was also staying in the house.