When I was a child, I always had a nurse or a governess until I went away to a private school for high school. I don’t remember all their names, because they seemed to change often. I do remember Rosalinda.
Rosalinda was my governess when I was about seven or eight. She came shortly after we moved into the hacienda on the hill that my father had purchased. It was very old, but he had it restored. Now it is a lovely house with tile floors, high ceilings, arched verandas and private courtyards. It has several buildings, including a chapel.
Rosalinda was very nervous. She would go to morning Mass at the chapel almost every morning her first year, and then suddenly she stopped. From then on, whenever we walked past the chapel, she would hurry and glance over her shoulder. I knew something had happened, but I didn’t know what. I wondered if she’d had a humidifying experience or something.
And then one day I found out. I was hiding under a table in the kitchens behind a pile of baskets where I liked to listen to the stories and gossip of the house. That is where I was when I heard her tell the other women.
There is a bell tower on the front of the chapel. It is very tight, but a ladder leads up to where the bell is. Many years ago, a daughter of the house had climbed up to the tower to see over the wall and watch for her lover, the son of her father’s cousin, to return from the war.
When the young soldier was far off, a scout came riding in with the news that the cousin was returning unharmed. The head servant ordered the bell to be rung to sound the good news. The scout went immediately into the chapel and grabbed the rope from the wall and began to swing on it.
The poor daughter in the small tower was hit by the swinging bell and knocked through the window to the stone court below. She hit her head on a well and died.
The kitchen became very quiet, and then Rosalinda whispered, “And they say she haunts the bell tower still. On clear nights, with a full moon, she can be seen in a white gown gliding across the bell, and on stormy nights she rings the bell so he will find his way to her!”
I jumped and knocked my head on the table, because I knew I’d seen a white reflection in the bell tower before, and I had heard it ring on stormy nights. Well I was discovered then and chased from the kitchens.
After that I knew that Rosalinda would be leaving soon. I never told anyone about her story until later, but sure enough one morning she was gone, and at breakfast my mother said she had over simulated my imagination.