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In the Life and Times of Lord Brougham, written by Himself, and published in 1871, is given the following strange story, which shall be repeated in the autobiographer's own words. “A most remarkable thing happened to me,” records Brougham, “so remarkable, that I
the High School (in Edinburgh), I went with GM , my most intimate friend, to attend the classes in the University. There was no divinity class, but we frequently in our walks discussed and speculated upon many grave subjects, among others, on the immortality of the soul, and on a future state. This question and the possibility, I will not say of ghosts walking, but of the dead appearing to the living, were subjects of much speculation; and we actually committed the folly of drawing up an agreement, written with our blood, to the effect that whichever of us died first should appear to the other, and thus solve any doubts we had entertained of the Life after Death.'
“After we had finished classes at the College, Gwent to India, having got an appointment there in the Civil Service. He seldom wrote to me, and after the lapse of a few years, I had almost forgotten him ; moreover, his family having little connection with Edinburgh, I seldom saw or heard anything of them, or of him through them, so that all the old schoolboy intimacy had died out, and I had nearly forgotten his existence. I had taken, as I have said, a warm bath ; and while in it and enjoying the comfort of the heat after the late freezing I had undergone, I turned my head round towards the chair on which I had deposited my clothes, as I was about to get out of the bath. On the chair sat G- , looking calmly at me. How I got out of the bath I know not, but on recovering my senses I found myself sprawling on the floor. The apparition, or whatever it was that had taken the likeness of G- , had disappeared. The vision produced such a shock, that I had no inclination to talk about it, or to speak about it even to Stuart; but the impression it made upon me was too vivid to be easily forgotten; and so strongly was I affected by it, that I have here written down the whole history with the date 19th December, and all the particulars as they are now fresh before me. No doubt I had fallen usleep; and that the appearance presented to my eyes was a dream, I cannot for a moment doubt, yet for years I had had no communication with G- , nor had there been anything to recall him to my recollection; nothing had taken place during our Swedish travels, either connected with G- or with India, or with anything relating to him or to any member of his family. I recollected quickly enough our old discussion, and the bargain we had made. I could not discharge from my mind the impression that G— must have died, and that his appearance to me was to be received by me as a proof of a future state.”
This was on December 19, 1799. In October 1862, Lord Brougham added as a postscript :
"I have just been copying out from my journal the account of this strange dream : certissima mortis imago. And now to finish the story begun about sixty years since. Soon after my return to Edinburgh, there arrived a letter from India, announcing G 's death! and stating that he had died on the 19th of December.”
THE REV. T. A. BUCKLEY.
LITERATURE, ghostly literature especially, is replete with stories of the fulfilment by the dead of ante mortem promises. Abroad, the recorded instances of this mysterious completion of the compact with the survivor are, apparently, more numerous than in the British Isles ; but we know of none described more circumstantially, and yet with more conventionality, than a case mentioned in Newton Crosland's new Theory of Apparitions.
died the Rev. Theodore Alois Buckley, author of The Dawnings of Genius, a work on the early lives of eminent men, and formerly one of the chaplains of
Christ Church, Oxford. He was a man of extraordinary ability, but, says Mr. Crosland, “his life was unfortunate, and his death sad.” When he was alive and well at Oxford, about the year 1850, conversing on the subject of ghosts one day with a mutual friend, Mr. Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, a gentleman who contributed the chapter on “ Chatterton” to the above-mentioned work, the two friends entered into a compact that, whoever departed this life first, should, if permitted, visit the other as an apparition ; and the signal of communication was arranged to be the placing of a ghostly hand on the brow of the survivor. On the night of the 2nd of February, about twelve or half-past twelve o'clock, Mr. Mackenzie was lying in bed, watching the candle expiring, preparing his mind for sleep, and not thinking of his departed friend, when he felt placed over one eye and his forehead a cool damp hand. On looking up he saw Buckley in his ordinary apparel, and with his portfolio under his arm, as in life, standing at the bedside. The figure, as soon as it was recognised, retreated to the window; and after remaining plainly in sight for about a minute, disappeared. A few nights afterwards, the spectral Buckley again made his appearance, bearing in his hand the exact image of a letter, which Mr. Mackenzie at once identified as an old one that he had casually picked up from his letter-box in the course of the day. The letter was one that had been formerly written by Mr. Buckley to his friend Mr. Mackenzie.