The Princess motored over with Mrs. Adams, and as they approached it she experienced
that not-unknown sensation that she had been there before. Littlecote and its surroundings were
quite new to her, or should have been, yet they were strikingly, disturbingly familiar. In some
strange way she felt that she knew the place.
Luncheon was served in the great hall, in honor of the royal guest, who confessed both
then and afterwards that every detail of the place was known to her.
Naturally talk reverted to the story of Wild Will Darrell and the tale told by the gamp of
Great Shefford on her deathbed, and after lunch Sir Ernest offered to show the Princess over the
house, an offer which the Princess eagerly accepted in view of her strange feeling of having been
Finally they came to the long gallery where the ghost of the wretched Miss Bonham walks
in search of her child. Lady Wills pointed to a door at the far end of the gallery and said that that
was where Mrs. Barnes came up.
'On no, you are quite mistaken,' contradicted the Princess. 'This is where she was
brought up.' She pointed to another door.
She now closed her eyes and walked along the gallery, warning Mrs. Adams that there
were two steps ahead of them, and that she must take care not to fall. Eyes still closed, the
Princess opened a door and stepped into a small room.
'Here is the fireplace where Wild Will Darrell burnt the child,' she exclaimed. Then she
crossed the room, still with her eyes closed, and took hold of the chintz bed-curtains, pointing to
the hole made in it by Mrs. Barnes nearly four hundred years previously.
Then she opened her eyes. She was quite unable to explain how she could have known
these things. She could only assume that she must have been Mrs. Barnes in a previous
existence-perhaps because of her being able to go there with her eyes closed, as Mrs. Barnes had
been taken there blindfolded.
Princess Marie Louise is now dead herself and may or may not know the answer to
questions which arise out of her story.
It will be remembered that Mrs. Barnes never saw the interior of Littlecote, being
blindfolded, and there is no reason to suppose that she ever saw the interior of it during her
lifetime, so she could not have known what it looked like.
Yet it was familiar to the Princess. Her assumption that she must have been the gamp in a
previous existence was probably a false one.
It is more likely-if we are to believe in previous existences-that she had once been Miss.
Bonham, for Miss. Bonham would know the things the princess claimed to know about Littlecote,
and the gamp would not. Miss. Bonham would certainly know the interior of Littlecote, which
Mrs. Barnes had never seen.
If this was so, then perhaps some recompense was made to the tragic Miss. Bonham by
becoming a Princess in another life. But if this was the case, would her troubled spirit continue to
haunt Littlecote? We shall never know the answer to such questions.