« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
was, she informed him, after a few introductory words, that she would very soon pass from this world into that eternity which she once doubted, but was now assured of. She then proceeded to declare that she had seen the Duchess of Mazarine. “I perceived not how she entered,” was her statement, “but, turning my eyes towards yonder corner of the room, I saw her stand in the same form and habit she was accustomed to appear in when living : fain would I have spoken, but had not the power of utterance. She took a little circuit round the chamber, seeming rather to swim than walk, then stopped by the side of that Indian chest, and, looking on me with her usual sweetness, said, 'Beauclair, between the hours of twelve and ope this night you will be with me. The surprise I was in at first being a little abated, I began to ask some questions concerning that future world I was so soon to visit ; but, on the opening of my lips for that purpose, she vanished from my sight.”
It was now nearly twelve, and Madame de Beauclair not appearing to be suffering from any ailment, they endeavoured to revive her spirits ; but, says the narrator, “we scarce began to speak, when suddenly her countenance changed, and she cried out, 'O! I am sick at heart.' Mrs. Wood applied some restoratives, but to no effect. She grew still worse, and in about half an hour expired, it being exactly the time the apparition had foretold.”
LONDON : ST. JAMES STREET.
It is a curious circumstance that more buildings having a reputation for being haunted are discoverable in towns and cities than in sparsely populated places. The British metropolis, despite its gas-lamps and guardian police, contains many residences that even now are left to the mercies of those spectral tenants who alone inhabit them. It must be confessed, however, that instead of increasing, the number of these disturbed residences, for reasons obvious to all, is rapidly decreasing. It is not many years since a house in St. James Street, the number of which it is as well to omit, acquired considerable notoriety on account of the unpleasant noises which took place in it. It had stood empty for a long time, in consequence of the annoyances to which the various tenants who had tried it had been subjected. There was one apartment in particular which nobody was able to occupy without being disturbed.
On one occasion a youth who, having been abroad for a considerable time, had not any knowledge of the evil reputation this chamber had acquired, was put there to sleep on his arrival, as it was hoped his rest might not be disturbed. In the morning, however, he complained sadly of the terrible time he had had in the night, with people looking in at him between the curtains of his bed, and he avowed his determination to terminate his visit at once, as he could not possibly sleep there any more.
After this period the house was again vacant for a considerable time, but was at length taken and workmen were sent in to put it in habitable repair. One day, when the men were away at their dinner, says our
lower rooms, he was ascending the stairs, when he heard a man's foot behind him. He looked round, but there was nobody there, and he moved on again ; still there was somebody following, and he stopped and looked over the rails, but there was no one to be seen. So, though feeling rather queer, he advanced into the drawing-room, where a fire had been lighted, and wishing to combat the uncomfortable sensation that was creeping over him, he took hold of a chair, and drawing it resolutely along the floor, he slammed it down upon the hearth with some force, and seated himself in it; when, to his amazement, the action, in all its particulars of sound, was immediately repeated by his unseen companion, who seemed to seat himself beside him on a chair as invisible as himself. Horror-stricken, the worthy builder started up and rushed out of the house."
LONDON: THE TOWER.
THERE is no place in the kingdom one would deem more likely to be haunted than that strange conglomeration of rooms, castles, and dungeons, known as the Tower of London. For many centuries it has been the scene of numberless deaths by violence, some by public execution and others by private murder, until it is scarcely metaphorical language to declare that its walls have been built out of human bones and cemented by human blood. That ghosts and spectres have haunted its weird precincts no believer in the supernatural can doubt; and, if we may credit all that has been told of it of late years, its apparitions are not yet quite beings of the past. In Notes and Queries for 1860, the late Edmund Lenthal Swifte, Keeper of the Crown Jewels, published a remarkable account of a spectral illusion witnessed by himself in the time-honoured fortress; and his account, together with such additions and explanations as a subsequent correspondence invoked, shall now be presented to the reader :
“I have often purposed to leave behind me a faithful record of all that I personally know of this strange story," writes Mr. Swifte, in response to an inquiry as to particulars of the ghost in the Tower of London. “Forty-three years have passed, and its impression is as vividly before me as on the moment of its occurrence ... but there are yet survivors who can testify
that I have not at any time either amplified or abridged my ghostly experiences.
"In 1814 I was appointed Keeper of the Crown Jewels in the Tower, where I resided with my family till my retirement in 1852. One Saturday night in October, 1817, about 'the witching hour,' I was at supper with my wife, her sister, and our little boy, in the sittingroom of the Jewel House, which—then comparatively modernised-is said to have been the doleful prison' of Anne Boleyn, and of the ten bishops whom Oliver Cromwell piously accommodated therein. ...
“The room was—as it still is irregularly shaped, having three doors and two windows, which last are cut nearly nine feet deep into the outer wall; between these is a chimney-piece, projecting far into the room, and (then) surmounted with a large oil-painting. On the night in question the doors were all closed, heavy and dark cloth curtains were let down over the windows, and the only light in the room was that of two candles on the table ; I sate at the foot of the table, my son on my right hand, his mother fronting the chimney-piece, and her sister on the opposite side. I had offered a glass of wine and water to my wife, when, on putting it to her lips, she paused, and exclaimed, 'Good God! what is that ?' I looked up, and saw a cylindrical figure, like a glass-tube, seemingly about the thickness of my arm, and hovering between the ceiling and the table; its contents appeared to be a dense fluid, white and pale azure, like to the gathering of a summer-cloud, and incessantly mingling within the cylinder. This lasted