Rhys, Ernest, ed. (18591946). The Haunters and the Haunted. 1921.
LVI. Sarah Polgrain
By WILLIAM HUNT
A WOMAN, who had lived in Ludgvan, was executed at Bodmin for the murder of her husband. There was but little doubt that she had been urged on to the diabolical deed by a horse-dealer, known as Yorkshire Jack, with whom, for a long period, she was generally supposed to have been criminally acquainted.
Now, it will be remembered that this really happened within the present century. One morning, during my residence in Penzance, an old woman from Ludgvan called on me with some trifling message. While she was waiting for my answer, I made some ordinary remark about the weather.
Sarah had begged that Yorkshire Jack might accompany her to the scaffold when she was led forth to execution. This was granted; and on the dreadful morning there stood this unholy pair, the fatal beam on which the womans body was in a few minutes to swing, before them.
Years passed on, Yorkshire Jack was never the same man as before, his whole bearing was altered. His bold, his dashing air deserted him. He walked, or rather wandered, slowly about the streets of the town, or the lanes of the country. He constantly moved his head from side to side, looking first over one, and then over the other shoulder, as though dreading that someone was following him.
At length he disappeared, and it was discoveredfor Yorkshire Jack had made a confidant of some Ludgvan manthat he had pledged himself, living or dead, to become the husband of Sarah Polgrain, after the lapse of years.
Well, the period had arrived when this unholy promise was to be fulfilled. Yorkshire Jack was returning from the Mediterranean in a fruit-ship. He was met by the devil and Sarah Polgrain far out at sea, off the Lands End. Jack would not accompany them willingly, so they followed the ship for days, during all which time she was involved in a storm. Eventually Jack was washed from the deck by such a wave as the oldest sailor had never seen; and presently, amidst loud thunders and flashing lightnings, riding as it were in a black cloud, three figures were seen passing onward.