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he got up the companion-ladder, he heard a splash (overtaken by a tempest so sudden, and accompanied in the water, and looking over the ship's side, saw with such vivid lightning, and thunder so dreadfully that the captain had thrown himself into the sea loud, that the obdurate conscience of the old sinner from the quarter-gallery, and was running astern at began to be awakened. He expressed more terror the rate of six knots an hour. When just about to than seemed natural for one who was familiar with
ink, he seemed to make a last exertion, sprung half the war of elements, and began to look and talk so out of the water, and clasped his hands towards the wildly, that his companion became aware that somemate, calling, By Bill is with me now !" and thing more than usual was the matter. At length, then sunk to be seen no more.
Matcham complained to his companion that the After hearing this singular story, Mr. Clerk asked stones rose from the road and flew after him. He some questions about the captain, and whether his desired the man to walk on the other side of the companion considered him as at all times rational. highway, to see if they would follow him when he The sailor seemed struck with the question, and an- was alone. The sailor complied, and Jarvis Matswered, after a moment's delay, that in general he cham complained that the stones still flew after him, conversationed well enough.
and did not pursue the other. “But what is worse It would have been desirable to have been able to he added, coming up to his companion, and whis. ascertain how far this extraordinary tale was found- pering, with a tone of mystery and fear, who is that ed on fact; but want of time, and other circumstan- little drummer boy, and what business has he to fol. ces, prevented Mr. Clerk from learning the names low us so closely ?"- "I can see no one," answered and dates, that might, to a certain degree, have veri- the seaman, infected by the superstition of his assofied the events. Granting the murder to have taken ciate. "What! not see that little boy with the place, and the tale to have been truly told, there was bloody pantaloons ?" exclaimed the secret murdernothing more likely to arise among the ship's com- er, so much to the terror of his comrade, that he pany than the belief in the apparition; as the captain conjured him, if he had any thing on his mind, to was a man of a passionate and irritable disposition, make a clear conscience as far as confession could it was nowise improbable that he, the victim of re- do it. The criminal fetched a deep groan, and demorse, should participate in the horrible visions of clared that he was unable longer to endure the life those less concerned, especially as he was compelled which he had led for years. He then confessed the to avoid communicating his sentiments with any one murder of the drummer, and added, that as a conselse; and the catastrophe would in such a case be derable reward had been offered, he wished his combut the natural consequence of that superstitious re- rade to deliver him up to the magistrates of Salisbury, morse which has conducted so many criminals to as he would desire a shipmate to profit by his fate, suicide or the gallows. If the fellow-traveller of Mr. which he was now convinced was inevitable. Having Clerk be not allowed this degree of credit, he must overcome his friend's objections to this mode of proat least be admitted to have displayed a singular ceeding, Jarvis Matcham was surrendered to justice talent for the composition of the horrible in fiction. accordingly, and made a full confession of his guilt. The tale, properly detailed, might have made the But before the trial the love of life returned. The fortune of a romancer.
prisoner denied his confession, and pleaded No: I cannot forbear giving you, as congenial to this Guilty. By this time, however, full evidence had story, another instance of a guilt-formed phantom, been procured from other quarters. Witnesses &pwhich made considerable noise about twenty years peared from his former regiment to prove his identity ago or more. I am, I think, tolerably correct in the with the murderer and deserter, and the waiter details, though I have lost the account of the trial. membered the ominous words which he had spoken Jarvis Matcham-such, if I am not mistaken, was when he awoke him to join the Portsmouth coach. the name of my hero-was pay-sergeant in a regi- Jarvis Matcham was found Guilty, and executed. ment, where he was so highly esteemed as a steady When his last chance of life was over, he returned and accurate man, that he was permitied opportuni- to his confession, and with his dying breath averted, ty to embezzle a considerable part of the money and truly, as he thought, the truth of the vision on lodged in his hands for pay of soldiers, bounty of re- Salisbury plain. Similar stories might be produced, cruits, then a large sum, and other charges which showing plainly that, under the direction of Heaven, fell within his duty. He was summoned to join his the influence of superstitious fear may be the apregiment from a town where he had been on the re- pointed means of bringing the criminal io repentance cruiting service, and this perhaps under some shade for his own sake, and to punishment for the advan of suspicion. Matcham perceived discovery was at tage of society: hand, and would have deserted, had it not been for Cases of this kind are numerous, and easily inathe presence of a little drummer lad, who was the gined, so I shall dwell on them no farther; but rather only one of his party appointed to attend him. In advert to at least an equally abundant class of ghost the desperation of his crime, he resolved to murder stories, in which the apparition is pleased not to torthe poor boy, and avail himself of some balance of ment ihe actual murderer, but proceeds in a very money to make his escape. He meditated this wick-circuitous manner, acquainting some siranger urig edness the more readily, that the drummer, he norant old woman with the particulars of his sale, thought, had been put as a spy on him. He perpe- who, though perhaps unacquainted with all the par. trated his crime, and, changing his dress after the ties, is directed by the phantom to lay the facts bedeed was done, made a long walk across the coun- fore a magistrate. In this respect we must certainly try to an inn on the Portsmouth road, where he halt allow that ghosts have, as we are informed by the ed, and went to bed, desiring to be called when the facetious Captain Grosé, forms and customs pecufirst Portsmouth coach came. The waitor summon- liar to themscives. ed him accordingly; but long after remembered, that There would be no edification and liule amuse when he shook the guest by the shoulder, his first ment in treating of clumsy deceptions of this kind, words as he awoke were, "My God! I did not kill where the grossness of the imposture detects itself him."
But occasionally cases occur like the following, with Matcham went to the seaport by the coach, and respect to which it is more difficuit, to use James instantly entered as an able-bodied landsman or ina- Boswell's phrase," to know what to think." rine, I know not which. His sobriety and attention Upon the 10th of June, 1754, Duncan Terig, alias to duty gained him the same good opinion of the offi- Clark, and Alexander Baid MacDonald, two Highcers in his new service which he had enjoyed in the landers, were tried before the Court of Justiciary, army. He was afloat
for several years, and behaved Edinburgh, for the murder of Arthur Davis, sergeant remarkably well in some actions. At length, the in Guise's regiment, on the 28th of September, 1749. vessel came into Plymouth, was paid off, and some The accident bappened not long after the civil war, of the crew, among whom was Jarvis Matcham, the embers of which were still reeking, so there eswere dismissed as too old for service. He and ano- isted 100 many reasons on account of which an Eng. ther seaman resolved to walk to town, and took the lish soldier, siraggling far from assistance, might route by Salisbury. It was when within two or be privately cut oil by the inhabitants of these wilds three miles of this celebrated city that they were It appears that Sergeant Davis was amissing for years, without any certainty as to his fate. At It is therefore of the last consequence, in consilength, an account of the murder appeared from the dering the truth of stories of ghosts and apparitions, evidence of one Alexander MacPherson (a Highlan to consider the possibility of wiltul deception, wheder, speaking no language but Gaelic, and sworn by ther on the part of those who are agents in the supan interpreter,) who gave the following extraordina- posed disturbances, or the author of the legend. We ry account of his cause of knowledge :-He was, le shall separately notice an instance or two of either said, in bed in his cottage, when an apparition came kind. to his bedside, and cominanded him to rise and fol. The most celebrated instance in which human low him out of doors. Believing this visiter to be agency was used to copy the disturbances imputed one Farquharson, a neighbour and friend, the wit- to supernaiural beings, refers to the ancient palace ness did as he was bid; and when they were without of Woodstock, when the Commissioners of the the cottage, the appearance told the witness he was Long Parliament came down to dispark what had the ghost of Sergeant Davis, and requested him to been lately a royal residence. The Commissioners go and bury his mortal remainis, which lay concealed arrived at Woodstock 13th October, 1619, determined in a place he pointed oui, in a moorland tract called to wipe away the memory of all chat connected itthe Hill of Christie. He desired him to take Farqu- self with the recollection of inonarchy in England. harson with him as an assistant. Next day the wit- But, in the course of their progress, they were enness went to the place specified, and there found the countered by obstacles which apparently came from bones of a human body much decayed. The witness the next world. Their bedchambers were infested did not at that time bury the bones so found, in con- with visits of a thing resembling a dog, but which sequence of which negligence the sergeant's ghost came and passed as mere earthly dogs cannot do. again appeared to him, upbraiding him with his Logs of wood, the remains of a very large tree callbreach of promise. On this occasion, the witness ed the King's Oak, winch they had splintered into asked the ghost who were the murderers, and receiv. billets for burning, were tossed through the house, ed for answer that he had been slain by the prison and the chairs displaced and shuffled about. While ers at the bar. The witness, after this second visit they were in bed, the feet of their couches were ation, called the assisiance of Farquharson, and lifted higber than their heads, and then dropped with buried the body.
violence. Trenchers" without a wish” flew at their Farquharson was brought in evidence, to prove heads, of free will. Thunder and lightning came that the preceding witness, MacPherson, had called next, which were set down to the same cause. him to ihe burial of the bones, and told him the Spectres made their appearance, as they thought, in same story which he repeated in court. Isabel Mac- different shapes; and one of the party saw the appa: Hardje, a person who slept in one of the beds which rition of a hoof, which kicked a candlestick and run along the wall in an ordinary Highland hut, de- lighted candle into the iniddle of the room, and clared, that upon the night when MacPherson said then politely scratched on the red snufi' to extinguish he saw the ghost, she saw a naked man enter the it. Other and worse tricks were pracused on the ashouse, and go towards MacPherson's bed.
tonished Commissioners, who, considering that all Yet, though the supernatural incident was thus the fiends of hell were let loose upon them, retreated fortified, and although there were other strong pre- from Woodstock without completing an errand sumptions against the prisoners, the story of the ap- which was, in their opinion, impeded by infernal parition threw an air of ridicule on the whole evi- powers, though the opposition offered was rather of dence for the prosecution. It was followed up by a playful and malicious, than of a dangerous cast. the counsel for the prisoners asking, in the cross- The whole inatter was, after the Restoration, disexamination of MacPherson, What language did covered to be the trick of one of their own party, the ghost speak in ?". The witness, who was him- who had attended the Commissioners as a clerk, self ignorant of English, replied, As good Gaelic under the name of Giles Sharp. This man, whose as I ever heard in Lochaber. 'Pretty well for the real name was Joseph Collins of Oxford, called ghost of an English sergeant," answered the coun- Funny Joe, was a concealed loyalist, and well acsel. The inference was rather smart and plausible quainted with the old mansion of Woodstock, where than sound, for, the apparition of the ghost being he had been broughi up before the civil war. Being admitted, we know too little of the other world to a bold, active, spirited man, Joe availed himself of judge whether all languages may not be alike fa- his local knowledge of trap-doors and private pas. miliar to those who belong to it. "It imposed, how. sages, so as to lavour the tricks which he played off ever, on the jury, who found the accused parties Not unon his masters by aid of his fellow-domestics. Guilty; although their counsel and solicitor, and The Commissioners' personal reliance on him made most of the court, were satisfied of their having his task the more easy, and it was all along remarkcommitted the murder. In this case, the interference ed, that trusty Giles Sharp saw the most extraordiof the ghost seems to have rather impeded the ven- nary sights and visions among the whole party. geance which it was doubtless the murdered ser. The unearthiy terrors experienced by the Comunisgeant's desire to obtain. Yet there may be various sioners are detailed with due gravity by Sinclair, modes of explaining this mysterious story, of which and also, I think, by Dr. Plott. But although the the following conjecture may pass for one.
detection, or explanation of the real history of the The reader may suppose that MacPherson was Woodstock demons, has also been published, and I privy to the fact of the murder, perhaps as an accom- have myself seen it, I have at this time forgotten plice, or otherwise; and may also suppose, that whether it exists in a separate collection, or where from motives of remorse for the action, or of enmity it is to be looked for. to those who had cominitted it, he entertained a wish Similar disturbances have been often experienced, to bring them to justice. But through the whole while it was the custom to believe in and dread such Highlands there is no character more detestable frolics of the invisible world, and under circumthan that of an informer, or one who takes what is stances which induce us to wonder, both at the excalled Tascal-money, or reward for the discovery of treme trouble taken by the agents in these imposcrines. To have informed against Terig and Mac tures, and the slight motives from which they have Donald might have cost MacPherson his life; and been induced to do much wanton mischief. Still it is far from being impossible, that he had re- greater is our modern surprise at the apparently course to the story of the ghost, knowing well that simple means by which terror has been excited to his superstitious countrymen would pardon his com- so general an exterit, that even the wisest and municating the commission intrusted to him by a most prudent have not escaped its contagious inbeing from the other world, although he might pro- fluence. bably have been murdered, if his delation of the On the first point, I am afraid there can be no crime had been supposed voluntary. This explana- better reason assigned than the conscious pride of tion, in exact conformity with the sentiments of the superiority, which induces the human being in all Highlanders on such subjects, would reduce the cases to enjoy and practice every means of employwhole story to a stroke of address on the part of ing an influence over his fellow-mortals; to which the witness.
we may safely add, that general love of tormenting. VOL. 1.-6 E
as common to our race, as to that noble mimic of experiment upon the credulity of the public. But it humanity, the monkey. To this is owing the delight was certainly published bona fide, and Mr. Hone, with which every schoolboy anticipates the effects on the authority of Mr. Brayfield, has since fully exof throwing a stone into a glass shop; and to this plained the wonder. * we must also ascribe the otherwise unaccountable Many such impositions have been detected, and pleasure which individuals have taken in practising many others have been successfully concealed; but the tricksy pranks of a goblin, and filling a house to know what has been discovered in many in. hold, or neighbourhood, with anxiety and dismay, stances, gives us the assurance of the ruling cause with little gratification to themselves besides the in all. I remember a scene of the kind attempted to consciousness of dexterity if they remain undisco- be got up near Edinburgh, but detected at once by a vered, and with the risk of loss of character, and sherif's officer, a sort of persons whose habits of punishment, should the imposture be found out. incredulity and suspicious observation render them
In the year 1772, a train of transactions commenc- very dangerous spectators on such occasions. The ing upon Twelfth Day, threw the utmost consterna- late excellent Mr. Walker, minister at Dunottar, in tion into the village of Stockwell, near London, and the Mearns, gave me a curious account of an imimpressed upon some of its inhabitants the inevita posture of this kind, practised by a young country ble belief that they were produced by invisible girl, who was surprisingly quick at throwing stones, agents. The plates, dishes, china, and glass-ware, turf, and other missiles, with such dexterity, that it and small moveables of every kind, contained in the was for a long time impossible to ascertain her house of Mrs. Golding, an elderly lady, seemed sud-agency in the disturbances of which she was the denly to become animated, shifted their places, flew sole cause. through the room, and were broken to pieces. The The belief of the spectators that such scenes of particulars of this commotion were as curious, as disturbance arise from invisible beings, will appear the loss and damage occasioned in this extraodinary less surprising, if we consider the common feats of manner were alarming and intolerable. Amid this jugglers, or professors of legerdemain, and recollect combustion, a young woman, Mrs. Golding's maid, that it is only the frequent exhibition of such powers named Anne Robinson, was walking, backwards which reconciles us to them as matters of course, and forwards, nor could she be prevailed on to sit although they are wonders at which in our fathers' down for a moment, excepting while the family were time, men would have cried out either sorcery or at prayers, during which time no disturbance hap- miracles. The spectator also, who has been himpened. This Anne Robinson had been but a few self duped, makes no very respectable appearance days in the old lady's service, and it was remarkable when convicted of his error; and thence, if too canthat she endured with great composure the extraor- did to add to the evidence of supernatural agency, is dinary display which others beheld with terror, and yet unwilling to stand convicted, by cross-examina. cooly' advised her mistress not to be alarmed or un- tion, of having been imposed on, and unconsciously easy, as these things could not be helped. This ex- becomes disposed rather to colour more highly than cited an idea that she had some reason for being so the truth, than acquiesce in an explanation resting on composed, not inconsistent with a degree of con; his having been too hasty a believer. Very often, nexion with what was going forward. The afflicted too, the detection depends upon the combination of Mrs. Golding, as she might be well termed, con- certain circumstances, which, apprehended, necessidering such a commotion and demolition among sarily explain the whole story. her goods and chattels, invited neighbours to stay For example, I once heard a sensible and intelliin her house, but they soon became unable to bear gent friend in company, express himself convinced the sight of these supernatural proceedings, which of the truth of a wonderful story told him by an inwent so far, that not above two cups and saucers telligent and bold man, about an apparition. The remained out of a valuable set of china. She next scene lay in an ancient castle on the coast of Morabandoned her dwelling, and took refuge with a ven, or the Isle of Mull, where the ghost-seer neighbour, but, finding his moveables were seized chanced to be resident. He was given to underwith the same sort of St. Vitus's dance, her land- stand by the family, when betaking himself to rest, lord reluctantly refused to shelter any longer a wow that the chamber in which he slept was occasionally man who seemed to be persecuted by so strange a disquieted by supernatural appearances. Being at subject of vexation. Mrs. Golding's suspicions that time no believer in such stories, he attended against Anne Robinson now gained ground, she dis- little to this hint, until the witching hour of night, missed her maid, and the hubbub among her move when he was awakened from a dead sleep by the ables ceased at once and for ever.
pressure of a human hand on his body. He looked This circumstance of itself indicates that Anne up at the figure of a tall Highlander in the antique Robinson was the cause of these extraordinary dis- and picturesque dress of his country, only that his turbances, as has been since more completely ascer- brows were bound with a bloody bandage. Siruck tained by a Mr. Brayfield, who persuaded Anne, long with sudden and extreme fear, he was willing to after the events had happened, to make him her con- have sprung from bed, but the spectre stood before fidant. There was a love-story connected with the him in the bright moonlight, its one orm extended, case, in which the only magic was the dexterity of so as to master him if he attempted to rise; the Anne Robinson, and the simplicity of the spectators. other hand held up in a warning and grave posture, She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the as menacing the Lowlander if he should attempt to crockery, and placed wires under others, by which quit his recumbent posture. Thus he lay in mortal she could throw them down without touching them. agony for more than an hour, aster which it pleased Other things she dexterously threw about, which the spectre of ancient days to leave him to more the spectators, who did not watch her motions, im- sound repose. So singular a story had on its side puted to invisible agency. At times, when the family the usual number of votes from the company, will, were absent, she loosened the hold of the strings by upon cross-examination, it was explained that the which the hams, bacon, and similar articles were principal person concerned was an excisemen; after suspended, so that they fell on the slightest motion. which eclaircissement, the same explanation struck She employed some simple chymical secrets; and, all present, viz., that the Highlanders of the mandelighted with the success of her pranks, pushed sion had chosen to detain
the exciseman by the apthem farther than she at first intended. Such was parition of an ancient heroic ghost, in order to dis. the solution of the whole mystery, which, known by guise from his vigilance the removal of certain the name of the Stockwell ghost, terrified many modern enough spirits, which his duty might have well-meaning persons, and had been nearly as fa- called upon him to seize. Here a single circumstance mous as that of Cock-lane, which may be hinted explained the whole ghost story. at as another imposture of the same kind. So many At other times it happens that the meanness and and wonderful are the appearances described, that, trifling nature of a cause not very obvious to obserwhen I first met with the original publication, I was vation, has occasioned it to be entirely overlooked, strongly impressed with the belief that the narrative even on account of that very meanness, since no was, like some of Swift's advertisements, a jocular
* Soe Hone's Every Day Book, p. 62.
one is willing to acknowledge that he has been out of the room as silent as he had entered it. The alarmed by a cause of little consequence, and which company remained deeply appalled ; at length, after he would be ashamed of mentioning. An incident many observations on the strangeness of what they of this sort happened to a gentleman of birth and had seen, they resolved to despatch two of their distinction, who is well known in the political world, number as ambassadors, to see how it fared with the and was detected by the precision of his observa- president, who had thus strangely appeared among tion. Shortly after he succeeded to his estate and them. They went, and returned with the frightful title, there was a rumour among his servants con- intelligence, that the friend, after whom they had cerning a strange noise heard in the family-mansion inquired, was that evening deceased. at night, the cause of which they had found it im- The astonished party then resolved that they possible to trace. The gentleman resolved to watch would remain absolutely silent respecting the wonhimself, with a domestic who had grown old in the derful sight which they had seen. Their habits were family, and who had begun to murmur strange too philosophical to permit them to believe that they things concerning the knocking having followed so had actually seen the ghost of their deceased broclose upon the death of his old master. They watch ther, and at the same time they were too wise men, ed until the noise was heard, which they listened to to wish to confirm the superstition of the vulgar, by with that strange uncertainty attending midnight what might seem indubitable evidence of a ghost. sounds, which prevents the hearers from immedi- The affair was therefore kept a strict secret, although, ately tracing them to the spot where they arise, as usual, some dubious rumours of the tale found while the silence of the night generally occasions their way to the public. Several years afterward, the imputing to them more than the due importance an old woman, who had long filled the place of a which they would receive, if mingled with the usual sick-nurse, was taken very ill, and on her deathnoises of daylight. At length the gentleman and bed was attended by a medical member of the phihis servant iraced the sounds which they had re- losophical club. To him, with many expressions of peatedly heard, to a small store-room, used as a regret, she acknowledged that she had long before place for keeping provisions of various kinds for the attended Mr. —, naming the president, whose apfamily, of which the old butler had the key. They pearance had surprised the club so strangely, and entered this place, and remained there for some time, that she felt distress of conscience on account of without hearing the noises which they had traced the manner in which he died. She said, that as his thither; at length the sound was heard, but much malady was attended by light-headedness, she had lower than it had formerly seemed to be, while acted been directed to keep a close watch upon him during upon at a distance by the imagination of the hear- bis illness. Unhappily she slept, and during her ers. The cause was immediately discovered. A rat sleep the patient had awakened, and left the apartcaught in an old-fashioned trap had occasioned this ment. When on her own waking, she found the tumult, by its efforts to escape, in which it was able bed empty and the patient gone, she forthwith hurto raise the trap-door of its prison to a certain ried out of the house to seek him, and met him in height, but was then obliged to drop it. The noise the act of returning. She got him, she said, reof the fall resounding through the house, had occa- placed in the bed, but it was only to die there. She sioned the disturbance which, but for the cool inves- added, to convince her hearer of the truth of what tigation of the proprietor, might easily have esta- she said, that immediately after the poor gentleman blished an accredited ghost story. The circum- expired, a deputation of two members from the club stance was told me by the gentleman to whom it came to inquire after their president's health, and happened.
received for answer that he was already dead. This There are other occasions in which the ghost story confession explained the whole matter. The deis rendered credible by some remarkable combina- lirious patient had very naturally taken the road to tion of circumstances very unlikely to have happen the club, from some recollections of his duty of the ed, and which no one could have supposed, unless night. In approaching and retiring from the apartsome particular fortune occasioned a discovery. ment, he had used one of the pass-keys already
An apparition which took place at Plymouth is mentioned, which made his way shorter. On the well known, but it has been differently related; and other hand, the gentlemen sent to inquire after his having some reason to think the following edition health had reached his lodging by a more circuitous correct, it is an incident so much to my purpose, road; and thus there had been time for him to return that you must pardon its insertion.
to what proved his death-bed, long before they A club of persons connected with science and reached his chamber. The philosophical witnesses literature, was formed at the great sea-town we have of this strange scene were now as anxious to spread named. During the summer months, the society the story as they had formerly been to conceal it, met in a cave by the sea-shore; during those of au- since it showed in what a remarkable manner men's turn and winter, they convened within the premises eyes might turn traitors to them, and impress them of a tavern, but, for the sake of privacy, had their with ideas far different from the truth. incetings in a summer-house situated in the garden, Another occurrence of the same kind, although at a distance from the main building. Some of the scarcely so striking in its circumstances, was yet members to whom the position of their own dwell- one which, had it remained unexplained, might have ings rendered this convenient, had a pass key to the passed as an indubitable instance of a supernatural garden-door, by which they could enter the garden apparition. and reach the summer-house without the publicity A Teviotdale farmer was riding from a fair, at or trouble of passing through the open tavern. It which he had indulged himself with John Barleywas the rule of this club that its members presided corn, but not to that extent of defying goblins which alternately. On one occasion, in the winter, the it inspired into the gallant Tam O'Shanter. He president of the evening chanced to be very ill; in- was pondering with some anxiety upon the dangers deed, was reported to be on his death-bed. The club of travelling alone on a solitary road, which passed niet as usual, and, from a sentiment of respect, left the corner of a churchyard, now near at hand, when vacant the chair which ought to have been occupied he saw before him, in the moonlight, a pale female by him, if in his usual health; for the same reason, form standing upon the very wall which surrounded the conversation turned upon the absent gentle- the cemetery. The road was very narrow, with no man's talents, and the loss expected to the society opportunity of giving the apparent phantom what by his death. While they were upon this melan- seamen call a wide birth. It was, however, the choly theme, the door suddenly opened, and the ap- only path which led to the rider's home, who therepearance of the president entered the room. He fore resolved, at all risks, to pass the apparition. wore a white wrapper, a nightcap round his brow, He accordingly approached, as slowly as possible, the appearance of which was that of death itself. the spot where the spectre stood, while the figure He stalked into the room with unusual gravity, took remained, now perfectly still and silent, now branthe vacant place of ceremony, lifted the empty glass disbing its arms, and gibbering to the moon. When which stood before him, bowed around, and put it to the farmer came close to the spot, he dashed in the his lips; then replaced it on the table, and stalked spurs, and set the horse off upon a gallop; but the spectre did not miss its opportunity. As he passed | cordingly; but on approaching the end of the numthe corner where she was perched, she contrived to ber, and repeating more than once his determination drop behind the horseman, and seize him round the to fire, the last numbers seventeen-uighteen-ninewalet; a manapuvre which greaily increased the teen, were pronounced with considerable pauses be speed of the horse, and the terror of the rider; for tween, and an assurance that the pistols were the hand of her who sat behind him, when pressed cocked. The ladies sung on. As he pronounced upon his, felt as cold as that of a corpse. At his the word twenty he fired both pistols against the own house at length he arrived, and bid the servants musical dainsels:--but the ladies sung on! The wbo came to attend him, "Tak afi the ghaist!", Major was overcome by the unexpected inefficacy They took off accordingly a female in white, and of his violence, and had an illne-s which lasted more the poor farmer himself was conveyed to bed, where than three weeks. The trick put upon him may be he lay struggling for weeks with a strong nervous shortly described by the fact that the female chofever. The female was found to be a maniac, who risters were placed in an adjoining room, and that had been left a widow very suddenly by an affee- he only fired at their reficection thrown forward into tionate husband, and the nature and cause of her that in which he slept by the effeci of a concave malady induced her, when she could make her es- mirror. cape, to wander to the churchyard, where she some- Other stories of the same kind are numerous and times wildly wept over his grave, and sometimes well known. The apparition of the Brocken moun. standing on the corner of the churchyard, wall, tain after having occasioned great admiration and looked out, and mistook every stranger on horse- some fear, is now ascertained by philosophers to be back for the husband she had lost. Ithis womall, a gigantic reflection, which makes the traveller's which was very possible, bad dropped from the shadow, represented upon the misty clouds, appear horse unobserved by him whom she had made her a colossal figure of almost immeasurable size. By involuntary companion, it would have been very a similar deception, men have been induced, in hard to have convinced the honest farmer that he Westmoreland and other mountainous countries, to had not actually performed part of his journey with imagine they saw troops of horse and armies marcha ghost behind him.
ing and countermarching, which were in fact only There is also a large class of stories of this sort, he retlection of horses pasturing upon an opposite where various secrets of chymistry, of acoustics, height, or of the forms of peaceful travellers. ventriloquism, or other arts, have beon either em- A very curious case of this kind was communi. ployed to dupe the spectators, or have tended to do cated to me by the son of the lady principally conso through mere accident and coincidence. Of these cerned, and tends to show out of what mean maleit is scarce necessary to quote instances; but the rials a venerable apparition may be sometimes following may be told as a tale recounted by a fo- formed. In youth, this lady resided with her father, reign nobleinan, known to me nearly thirty years a man of sense and resolution. Their house was ago, whose life, lost in the service of his sovereign, situated in the principal etreet of a 10wn of some proved too shori for his friends and his native land size. The back part of the hruse ran at righi angles
At a certain old castle on the confines of Hun to an Ariabaptist chupel, divided from it by a small gary, the lord to whom it belonged had determined cabbage-garden. The young lady used sometimes upon giving an entertainment worthy of his own to indulge the romantic love of solitude by siturg rank, and of the magnificence of the antique man- in her own apartment in the evening till i wilishi, sion which he inhabited. The guests of course and even darkness was approaching." One evening were numerous, and among them was a veteran of while she was thus placed, she was surprised to see ficer of hussars, remarkable for his bravery. When a gleanny figure, as of some aerial being hovering, as the arrangements for the pizht were made, this of it were, against the arched window in the end of ficer was informed that there would be ditliculty in the Anabapust chapel. lis head was surrounded by accommodating the company in the casile, large as that halo which painters give to the Catholic sain s; it was, unless some one would take the risk of and, while the young lady's atention was fixed on sleeping in a room supposed to be haunted; and an object so extraordinary, i he figure bent gracefully that as he was known to be above such prejudices, towards her more than once, as ii intimating a sense the apartment was, in the first place, proposed for of her presence, and then disappeared. The scer of his occupation, as the person least likely to suffer a this striking vision descended to her family, so bad night's rest from such a cause. The Major much discomposed as to call her father's attention. thankfully accepted the preference, and having He obtained an account of the cause of her disturbshared the festivity of the evening, retired after ind- ance, and expressed bis intention to watch in the night, having denounced vengeance against any apartment next night. He sat, accordingly, in his one who should presume by any trick to disturb his daughter's chamber, where she also aitended hun. repose ; a threat which his habits would, it was sup- Twilight came, and nothing appeared; but as the posed, render him sufficiently ready to execute. gray light faded into darkness, the same female Somewhat contrary to the custom in these cas=s, Ggure was seen hovering on the window; the sone the Major went to bed, having left his candle buri- shadowy form ; the same pale light around the ing, and laid his trusty pistols carefully loaded on head; the same inclinations, as the evening before. the table by his bedside.
" What do you think of this ?" said the dangiiter 10 He had not slept an hour when he was awakened the astonished father.--"Anything, my dear," said by a solemn strain of music-he looked out. Threet the father, “rather than allow that we look upon ladies, fantastically dressed in green, were seen in what is supernatural." --A strict research establi-hthe lower end of the apartment, who sung a solemned a natural cause for the appearance on the winrequiem. The Major listened for some time with dow. It was the custom of an old woman. 10 delight; at length be tired-“Ladies," he said, whom the garden beneath was rented, to go out at "this is very well, but somewhat monotonous-will night lo gaiher cabbages. The lantern she carred you be so kind as to change the tune?” The ladies in her hand threw up the refracted reflection of het continued singing; he expostulated, but the music form on the chapel window. As she slooped to ta was not interrupted. The Major began to grow an- ther her cabbages, the reliection appeared to bend
Ladies," he said, “I must consider this as a forward; and that was the whole matter. trick for the purpose of terrifying me, and as I re- Another species of deception affecting the credit gard it as an impertinence, I shall iake a rough of such supernatural communications, arises from mode of stopping 11.". With that he beyan to handle the dexterity and skill of the authors who have made his pistols. The ladies sung on. He then goi se- it their business to present such stories in the share riously angry-"I will but wait five minutes,” he most likely to attracı belief. Defoe-whose power said, 'and inen fire withont hesitatien." The song in rendering credible that which was in itself very was uninterrupted-- the five minutes were expired much the reverse was so peculiarly distinguished "I still give you law, ladies," he said, " while I has not failed to show his superiority in this species count twenty." This produced as little effect as his of composition. A bookseller of his acquaintance former threats. He counted one, two, three, ac- l had, in the trade phrase, raiher overprinted an edi