The ladies are assembled around the fire at Ashby De La Zouch. In attendance are Lady Betty, Lady Ann and Lady Frances Hastings and Miss Hotham with Lady Selina, Countess of Huntingdon holding court. Lady Selina speaks of the life hereafter and the joys that one can expect in heaven. Lady Betty and Miss Hotham are not so sure about the certainty of a future state but they hold their tongues and do not interrupt the matriarch during her monologue.
After retiring to their rooms the girls agree; who ever passes to the next life first should appear to the other and reveal the truth of what Lady Huntingdon had described.
They believed they would have to wait a lifetime to discover the answers to their questions but only a year later Miss Hotham passed away.
Six weeks later, as the church clock struck twelve and Lady Betty settled in to bed at Ashby De La Zouch, a vision of Miss Hotham appeared before her! The apparition, glowing in the light of the candle it held its ghostly hands, moved towards Lady Betty and seated herself by the beside.
Eyes wide with fright Lady Betty took in all that this vision of Miss Hotham had to tell her of the afterlife; what Lady Huntingdon had said was true and a great deal more to the same!
The ghost also had a warning to impart; Lady Frances Hastings would die very soon and Lady Betty would be in grave danger should she ‘cross the water.’ For three nights the vision appeared and made the same ghostly pronouncements leaving Lady Betty greatly alarmed to the point of spending the nights with her mother.
Some months later when Lady Betty had a difficult journey crossing the Bay of Biscay to Ireland she vowed to never travel across the sea again believing this to be the danger the ghost spoke of. A cabinet from Lady Betty’s bedroom on which the ghost set down it’s candle was given away to a Mrs Bedhurst and caused anyone who looked upon it to shudder.
This story comes from a letter in the Mount Stuart archive from a Rev. John Dalby vicar of Castle Donington. He relates the events as told to him by a Mrs Paynter and Mrs Willis.