'While he was with me I was perfectly calm and collected, but the moment he was gone I
felt chilled with horror and dismay. A cold sweat came over me, and again I tried to wake your
father; but he would not stir. For a time I lay awake, weeping, and at last fell asleep.
'In the morning your father awoke and dressed himself without waking me-he apparently
found nothing unusual about the bed-curtains. When I awoke they were still as Lord Tyrone had
left them. I went into the gallery adjoining our bedroom, and found there a large cornice-broom,
with the help of which I unhooked the curtains, fearing that their position might cause inquiry.
Then I found a length of black velvet ribbon, and tied up my wrist with it before going down to
'You, Marcus, came into the world exactly as Lord Tyrone told me you would, and your
father died, as he had prophesied. Remembering his other warning, I tried to avoid society and
not mingle again with the world, hoping to avoid the dreadful fate a second marriage would
involve. But alas! At the house of my only real friends I met a man I found deeply attractive, and
in a fatal moment-for my own peace-I married him. Then his conduct drove me to demand a
separation, and again I hoped to escape the prophecy. I thought today that I had escaped it. But
Mr. Jackson has just told me that I am only fifty today, not fifty-one-all this time I have been
mistaken about my age. I know, therefore, that I am about to die.'
Sir Marcus and Lady Riverston wept, and protested that their mother must be mistaken.
But she held to her story, and seemed now quite calm and resigned. One thing only she asked
'When I am dead, my dears, I want you, and you alone, to unbind this black ribbon from
my wrist, and see what it covers.'
Sadly they promised, and left her alone to rest, as she requested; but at Lady Riverston's
earnest plea she agreed to let a maidservant with her in case she should need anything.
An hour after they left her, the bell in her room rang violently. The brother and sister ran
upstairs, to meet the frantic maid standing outside the door of Mrs. Gorges's room and crying:
'Oh, she is dead! My mistress is dead!'
Before Mrs. Gorges's body was committed to the grave, Sir Marcus and Lady Riverston
knelt alone beside it, and, as she had wished, unwound the black ribbon. There, in proof of her
story, were the shrunken and withered sinews.
The last of Lord Tyrone's ghostly prophecies came true-his daughter married young Sir
Marcus, and their daughter, Lady Betty-Cobbe, allowed her grandmother's strange story to be
known in 1806. It aroused widespread interest, and impressed Sir Walter Scott sufficiently for
him to base a poem on it, in which the verses occur:
He laid his left palm on an oaken beam,
His right upon her hand-
The lady shrunk, and fainting sunk,
For it scorched like a fiery brand.
The sable score of fingers four
Remains on that board impressed;
And for evermore that lady wore
A covering on her wrist.