Martin’s lake

Martin’s Lake

I was staying with a good friend of mine in the West Country. I
Arrived on the Friday night and my friend was keen to show me
The village on the Saturday morning. ‘I’ll take you around and
Show you everything. Then 1 want you to meet a friend of mine,
John Hill. He’s about seventy years old and knows all the history
Of the village. Oh. and make sure you ask him about Martin’s

‘Why? Is it a good place for fishing?’ I asked.

He laughed. ‘Well. no. There’s no water in it now. . . but let
Old John tell you the story. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it,’ said my

The next day, after a tour of the village, we went to old John
Hill’s house for tea. We persuaded the old man to tell us the story
Of the lake:

‘It was the Christmas of 1683 and a young gentleman,
George Martin, returned from Cambridge University to the
Village. He was a popular young man and used to ride his horse
Long distances to visit his friends in the neighbourhood. One
Night it was snowing hard, so, instead of riding all the way to his
House outside the village, he decided to stay at the small hotel
Here. As it was Christmas, there was music and dancing in the
Hotel and all the young men and women were dancing
Together, except one. Her name was Ann Clark, and she worked
At the hotel. She was an innocent young girl, not very
Intelligent. In fact, people used to laugh at her behind her back
And. of course, none of the young men wanted to dance with
Her. But George Martin, the young gentleman, took pity on her
And asked her to dance. T h e band were playing an old song
Called ‘Lady, will you walk, will you talk with me?’ Everyone
Saw how happy the poor girl was to have someone to dance
With. Her face

lit up with a smile.

After that night, the young gentleman came to the hotel every
Week. When he arrived on his horse, he used to sing that song
And Ann Clark used to rush out to meet him as soon as she heard
It. The two often went for walks together by the lake and some
People say they saw them kiss.

This went on for a few months until George Martin’s parents
Found a wife for him. She was a beautiful, rich young woman,
And from a very good family. Everyone said how lucky George
Martin was, but then it all went wrong. The young woman
Heard about Ann Clark and was angry that a gentleman like him
Went about with an ordinary country girl. She refused to marry

He, of course, regretted ever meeting Ann and was very angry
To lose such a beautiful young wife. People say that the next time
He saw Ann, they argued and he hit her. A week later, they were
Seen together again. He said a few words to her and then rode
Off. They say she looked very happy all that day but. not long
After, she disappeared completely. No one could find her

Some weeks later, George Martin came into the hotel again,
Went into the bar and asked for a drink. A young woman called
Sarah, a friend of Ann Clark’s, served him. ‘Are you looking for
Ann. sir?’ she asked. ‘Because no one has seen her for weeks.’
He answered angrily that, no, he was not looking for her and
He sat alone, drinking his beer. Sarah started to wash some
Glasses and, without thinking, began to sing the song, ‘Lady,
Will you walk, will you talk with me?’ The young gentleman’s
Face turned pale and he told her to stop singing immediately.
She stopped immediately, of course, but then suddenly, she
Heard Ann’s voice outside the door, continuing the song. ‘It’s
Ann! She’s back!’ Sarah cried and ran towards the door.


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Martin’s lake