That day Lady Court with her children and domestics left the house for the more
comfortable and certainly less sinister home of the nobleman who had gone to Italy.
Then followed the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, but by this time the Court
family were safely back in England, and these 'disturbances,' as they termed those momentous
events, made them forget their revenant at Lille, and it was not until some years later that the
story was recalled, and was told in various forms, garbled and otherwise, during the ghost conscious nineteenth century. A form of the story was told by the author S. Baring-Gould in a
long-forgotten number of the Cornhill Magazine.
But in Lille, it was impossible to ignore the ghost. It will be recalled that in the case of a
similar haunting at Hinton Ampner (q.v.) the owner pulled the place down when its spectral
residents made the place uninhabitable for human beings. The French, however, are more
practical people. They turned the haunted house in the Place du Lion d'Or at Lille into a hotel,
and it remained so for many years during the nineteenth century. Of course the ghost still walked,
although the sinister iron cage was removed. Doubtless a number of guests were throughly
frightened by the spectral goings-on, but a haunted hotel is not necessarily bad for business.
Many have thrived upon such a reputation.
The scene of the Court family's revenant now became the Hotel du Lion d'Or, and a small
party of English people stayed there in the 1880s and described it as old-fashioned, unpretentious
hostelry. In those days the landlord was reticent about the ghost and kept the haunted room
locked. The English guests noticed that it was approached by a recess, now full of the brooms
and pails used by the housemaids.
In the night they were disturbed by the footsteps, slow and dragging. They had been
assured that they were the only guests in that part of the hotel, and each of the men thought it was
the other restlessly pacing in his room unable to sleep. When they consulted each other in the
middle of the night, they found that it was not so, and came to the conclusion that the footsteps
were in the room above.
They went to sleep, lulled by that 'stealthy dragging step' above them, not knowing until
they later heard the story of the Court family, that their sleep had been troubled by the ghost of
the man in the iron cage.