Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Gallery. I looked at my visitor for some seconds, and was perfectly sure that he was not a reality. A thousand thoughts came crowding upon me, but not the least feeling of alarm, or even uneasiness; curiosity and a strong interest were uppermost. For an instant I felt eager to make a sketch of my friend, and I looked at a tray on my right for a pencil ; then I thought, • Up-stairs I have a sketch-book—shall I fetch it?' There he sat, and I was fascinated ; afraid not of his staying, but lest he should go.

“Stopping in my writing, I lifted my left hand from the paper, stretched it out to the pile of books, and moved the top one. I cannot explain why I did thismy arm passed in front of the figure, and it vanished. I was simply disappointed and nothing more. I went on with my writing as if nothing had happened, perhaps for another five minutes, and had actually got to the last few words of what I had determined to extract, when the figure appeared again, exactly in the same place and attitude as before. I saw the hands close to my own; I turned my head again to examine him more closely, and I was framing a sentence to address him when I discovered that I did not dare to speak. I was afraid of the sound of my own voice. There he sat, and there sat I. I turned my head again to my work, and finished writing the two or three words I still had to write. The paper and my notes are at this moment before me, and exhibit not the slightest tremor or nervousness. I could point out the words I was writing when the phantom came, and when he disappeared. Having finished my task, I shut the book, and threw it on the table ; it. made a slight noise as it fell—the figure vanished.

“Throwing myself back in my chair, I sat for some seconds looking at the fire with a curious mixture of feeling, and I remember wondering whether my friend would come again, and if he did whether he would hide the fire from me. Then first there stole upon me a dread and a suspicion that I was beginning to lose my nerve. I remember yawning; then I rose, lit my bed-room candle, took my books into the inner library, mounted the chair as before, and replaced five of the volumes ; the sixth I brought back and laid upon the table where I had been writing when the phantom did me the honour to appear to me. By this time I had lost all sense of uneasiness. I blew out the four candles and marched off to bed, where I slept the sleep of the just or the guilty—I know not which—but I slept very soundly.”

And that is the conclusion of the story, so far as Dr. Jessop's published account goes. Numerous elucidations have been attempted by the wise, and theotherwise; but whether hallucination, spectral illusion, or trickery, no one has been enabled to prove, and as the hero of the tale declines to proffer “explanation, theory, or inference,” the affair continues to be a mystery.

MILFORD HAVEN.

In July 1858, Mr. John Pavin Phillips, a well-known contributor to Notes and Queries, furnished that valuable publication with some instances of " Second Sight and Supernatural Warnings,” which had occurred either to himself, or to his most immediate relatives. The whole country of Pembroke, Mr. Pavin Phillips states, is rife with tales of this class, and, indeed, he might have added, every county of the three kingdoms as well, so universal and deeply-defined is the belief in them. From the stories, for the authenticity of which this gentleman vouches, may be cited the following.

“Many years ago, seven or eight members of the family of my paternal grandfather, were seated at the door of his house on a fine summer evening, between the hours of eight and nine o'clock. The parish church and its yard are only separated from the spot by a brook and a couple of meadows. The family happened to be looking in the direction of the churchyard, when they were amazed by witnessing the advent of a funeral procession. They saw the crowd, and the coffin borne on men's shoulders come down the pathway towards the church, but the distance was too great to enable them to recognise the faces of any of the actors in the scene. As the funeral cortége neared the church porch, they distinctly saw the clergyman, with whom they were personally acquainted, come out in his surplice to meet the mourners, and saw him precede them into the church. In a short time they came out, and my relatives saw them go to a particular part of the yard, where they remained for a time long enough to allow the remainder of the supposed funeral rites to be performed. Greatly amazed at what he beheld, my grandfather sent over to the church to inquire who had been buried at that unusual hour. The messenger returned with the intelligence that no person had been buried during that day, nor for several days before. A short time after this a neighbour died, and was buried in the precise spot where the phantom interment was seen.”

The whole of Mr. Pavin Phillips's family would appear to have possessed the faculty of ghost-seeing, or rather to have been endowed with the capability, so well known among the Scotch, of Second Sight. In another instance of this power of foreseeing events his mother was the medium. Her father, says our authority, “ lived on the banks of one of the many creeks or pills with which the beautiful harbour of Milford Haven is indented. In front of the house is a large court, built on a quay wall to protect it from the rising tide. In this court my mother was walking one fine evening, rather more than sixty years ago " (this was written in 1858), “ enjoying the moonlight and the balmy summer breeze. The tide was out, so that the creek was empty. Suddenly my mother's attention was aroused by hearing the sound of a boat coming up the pill; the measured dip of the oars in the water, and the noise of their revolution in the rowlocks, were distinctly audible. Presently she heard the keel of the boat grate on the gravelly beach by the side of the quay wall. Greatly alarmed, as nothing was visible, she ran into the house, and related what she had heard. A few days afterwards, the mate of an East Indiaman, which had put into Milford Haven for the purpose of undergoing repair, died on board, and his coffined corpse was brought up the pill, and landed at the very spot where my mother heard the phantom boat touch the ground."

In the next incident of supernatural foresight related by Mr. Pavin Phillips, it is in a servant of the family that the power is manifested, so that it would appear as if the locality, rather than the dwellers in it, were haunted. He relates that in the year 1838 he was on a visit to his parents, “who, at that time, resided on the spot on which my mother was born, and where she passed the latter years of her life. Within a short distance of the house stood a large walled garden, which was approached through a gate leading into a stable-yard. From underneath the garden wall bubbled a well of delicious spring water, whence the domestic offices were supplied. It was a custom of the family, in the summer time, that the water for the use of the house should be brought in late in the evening, in order that it might be cool, and it was the duty of a servant to go out with a yoke and a couple of pails to fetch the water just before the time of closing up the house for the night. One evening the girl had gone out for this purpose ; the night was beautifully fine, the moon shining so brightly that the smallest object was distinctly

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »