"And what became of her afterward?"
"She lived to be ninety-six, and died in my time. I think she had money left her. But she never married; and when she was old she wandered about the lanes, muttering, and frightening little boys, myself among the number. But now my little story follows another actor of the tale."
"Oh, I'm so glad it is not over."
"No. The parson took the candle away, and it was never seen again. But, somehow, it got wind that he had built it into the wall of the church; perhaps he didn't say so, but was only understood to say so. However, people used to look round the church for the place. And now comes the most remarkable thing of all; three years ago the present rector repaired the floor of the chancel, intending to put down encaustic tiles. Much to his surprise, the workmen found plenty of old encaustic tiles; they had been interred as rubbish at some period, when antiquity and beauty were less respected than they are now, I suppose."
Mr. Raby broke in, "The Puritans. Barbarians! beasts! It was just like them. Well, sir--?"
"When the rector found that, he excavated more than was absolutely necessary for his purpose, and the deeper he went the more encaustic tiles. In one place they got down to the foundation, and they found an oak chest fast in the rock--a sort of channel had been cut in the rock for this chest, or rather box (for it was only about eighteen inches long), to lie in. The master mason was there luckily, and would not move it till the rector had seen it. He was sent for, but half the parish was there before him; and he tells me there were three theories firmly established and proved, before he could finish his breakfast and get to the spot. Theory of Wilder, the village grocer: 'It is treasure hidden by them there sly old monks.' Mr. Wilder is a miser, and is known to lay up money. He is, I believe, the only man left in the North Country who can show you a hundred spade guineas."
Mr. Raby replied, energetically, "I respect him. Wilder forever! What was the next theory?"
"The skeleton of a child. I forget who propounded this; but I believe it carried the majority. But the old sexton gave it a blow. 'Nay, nay,' said he; 'them's the notions of strangers. I was born here, and my father afore me. It will be Molly Slater's candle, and naught else.' Then poor Molly's whole story came up again over the suspected box. But I am very tedious."