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the anecdote from a member of the lady's family chiefly concerned, tells the story in these words :
“It is now about fifteen months ago that Miss M— , a connection of my family, went with a party of friends to a concert at the Argyle Rooms. She appeared there to be suddenly seized with indisposition, and, though she persisted for some time to struggle against what seemed a violent nervous affection, it became at last so oppressive that they were obliged to send for their carriage and conduct her home. She was for a long time unwilling to say what was the cause of her indisposition ; but, on being more earnestly questioned, she at length confessed that she had, immediately on arriving in the concert-room, been terrified by a horrible vision, which unceasingly presented itself to her sight. It seemed to her as though a naked corpse was lying on the floor at her feet; the features of the face were partly covered by a cloth mantle, but enough was apparent to convince her that the body was that of Sir J- Y- Every effort was made by her friends at the time to tranquillize her mind by representing the folly of allowing such delusions to prey upon her spirits, and she thus retired to bed ; but on the following day the family received the tidings of Sir J— Y- having been drowned in Southampton river that very night by the oversetting of his boat ; and the body was afterwards found entangled in a boat-cloak. Here,” remarks Raikes, “is an authenticated case of second sight, and of very recent date."
LONDON: BROAD STREET.
ONE of those stories of apparitions which are so frequently alluded to, but of which the facts are apparently, chiefly or entirely unknown to most authors of supernatural works, is that related by the Rev. Dr. Scott, an eminent divine in his days. The narrative of this most marvellous affair originally appeared in The History and Reality of Apparitions, from which curious little work we shall transcribe it. The editor of that book, which was published in 1770, and who was, apparently, de Foe, asserts that this story had never appeared in print before, and adds of the Rev. Dr. Scott, that he was not only a man whose learning and piety were eminent, but one whose judgment was known to be good, and who could not be easily imposed upon.
According to the story, Dr. Scott was sitting alone by his fireside in the library of his house in Broad Street; he had shut himself in the room to study and, so it is alleged, had locked the door. In the midst of his reading, happening to look up, he was much astounded to see, sitting in an elbow-chair on the other side of the fire-place, a grave, elderly gentleman, in a black velvet gown and a long wig, looking at him with a pleased countenance, and as if about to speak. Knowing that he had locked the door, Dr. Scott was quite confounded at seeing this uninvited visitor sitting in the elbowchair, and from the first appears to have suspected its supernatural character. Indeed, so disturbed was be at the sight of the apparition, for such it was, that he was unable to speak, as he himself acknowledged in telling the story. The spectre, however, began the discourse by telling the doctor not to be frightened, for it would do him no harm, but came to see him upon a matter of great importance to an injured family, which was in danger of being ruined. Although the doctor was a stranger to this family, the apparition stated that knowing him to be a man of integrity it had selected him to perform an act of great charity as well as justice.
At first Dr. Scott was not sufficiently composed to pay proper attention to what the apparition propounded; but was rather more inclined to escape from the room if he could, and made one or two futile attempts to knock for some of his household to come up; at which his visitor appeared to be somewhat displeased. But, as the doctor afterwards stated, he had no power to go out of the room, even if he had been next the door, nor to knock for help, even if any had been close at hand.
Then the apparition, seeing the doctor still so confused, again desired him to compose himself, assuring him that he would not do him the slightest injury, nor do anything to cause him the least uneasiness, but desired that he would permit him to deliver the business he came about, which, when he had heard, he said, he would probably see less cause to be surprised or apprehensive than he did now.
By this time Dr. Scott had somewhat recovered him. self, and encouraged by the calm manner in which the apparition addressed him, contrived to falter out:
“In the name of God, what art thou ? "
“I desire you will not be frightened,” responded the apparition. “I am a stranger to you, and if I tell you my name you will not know it. But you may do the business without inquiring further.” The doctor could not compose himself, but still remained very uneasy, and for some time said nothing. Again the apparition attempted to reassure him, but could only elicit from him a repetition of the ejaculation, “In the name of God, what art thou ? "
Upon this, says the narration, the spectre appeared to be displeased, and expostulated with Dr. Scott, telling him that it could have terrified him into compliance, but that it chose to come quietly and calmly to him ; and, indeed, made use of such civil and natural discourse that the doctor began to grow a little more familiar, and at last ventured to ask what it wanted of him. Upon this the apparition appeared to be very gratified, and began its story. It related that it had once owned a very good estate, which at that time was enjoyed by its grandson; two nephews, however, the sons of its younger brother, were then suing for possession of the property and, owing to certain family reasons which the doctor could not or would not specify, . were likely to oust the young man from his property. A deed of settlement, being the conveyance of the inheritance, could not be found and without it the
owner of the estate had every reason to fear he would be ejected.
“Well,” said Dr. Scott, "what can I do in the case ?"
“Go to my grandson," said the apparition, “and direct him where to find the missing deed, which is concealed in a place where I put it myself.” And then it gave the doctor minute particulars of the chest wherein the needed document was hidden stowed away in an old lumberroom. When the apparition had impressed the matter thoroughly upon the doctor's mind, Dr. Scott not unnaturally asked his visitor why it could not direct the grandson himself to recover the missing deed. “ Ask me not about that,” said the apparition; “ there are divers reasons, which you may know hereafter. I can depend upon your honesty in it in the meantime.”
Still Dr. Scott did not like to take upon himself the strange mission, whereupon the apparition seemed to grow angry, and even begin to threaten him, so that he was at last compelled to promise compliance. The apparition then assumed a pleasant aspect, thanked him, and disappeared.
The strangest part of this strange story yet remains to be told. At the earliest opportunity Dr. Scott posted away to the address given him by the apparition, or dream as some persons deemed it. He asked for and was at once introduced to the gentleman the apparition bad sent him to, and to his surprise was received most cordially by him. Dr. Scott's surprise was, indeed, quickened when the stranger entered most unreservedly