« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
In his account of “ Apparitions,” Aubrey relates some curious particulars of one that was believed to haunt Caisho Burroughs, eldest son of Sir John Burroughs ; and if the antiquary's record, derived from his friend Monson, might be credited, it is one of the best authenticated stories of its class now extant. Sir John Burroughs, a high-spirited gentleman, who subsequently perished in the ill-fated siege of Rochelle, being sent by Charles I. as envoy to the Emperor of Germany, took with him his son Caisho. Subsequently Sir John made a tour through Italy, leaving Caisho at Florence to learn the language.
Whilst residing in the Tuscan capital, young Burroughs fell passionately in love with a beautiful courtesan, a mistress of the Grand Duke. At last their intimacy became so notorious that it came to the Grand Duke's ears, and he, it is alleged, grew so jealous that he formed the design of having Caisho assassinated. Warned by some of the English residents in Florence of the fate awaiting him, the young man hastily left the city, without even acquainting his mistress of his intended departure. When the Grand Duke found himself baulked of his anticipated vengeance on his rival, he vented his spite on his mistress, “in most reproachful language," and she, on her side, “resenting
the sudden departure of her gallant, of whom she was most passionately enamoured, killed herself.”
At the very moment that the unfortunate woman expired in Florence, her apparition, so it is alleged, appeared to her lover at his residence in London. Colonel Remeo, a Member of Parliament, and afterward's an officer of Charles II.'s household, was sleeping with young Burroughs, and he, also, is said to have seen the apparition. This ghost, it is averred, reproached her lover for his conduct in flying from her so suddenly, and leaving her exposed to the fury of the Grand Duke. She informed him of her tragical fate, and warned him that he should be slain in a duel.
Henceforth this spectre frequently appeared to Caisho, even when his younger brother, after Sir John Burrough's death, was sleeping with him. As often as the apparition came, the unfortunate man, unable to restrain his mental anguish, “would cry out with great shrieking and trembling of his body, saying, "O God! here she comes—she comes !"" These visitations continued from time to time until Caisho's death. He was killed in a duel, and the morning before his death the apparition appeared to him for the last time. “Some of my acquaintances have told me," says Aubrey, “ that he was one of the most beautiful men in England, and very valiant, but proud and bloodthirsty."
The rumour of this haunting of Caisho Burroughs had spread so widely that it reached the King's ears. Charles I. was so interested in the account, Aubrey declares, that he cross-examined Sir John Burroughs, as also Colonel Remeo, as to the truth of the matter, and, in consequence of their report, thought it worth his while to send to Florence in order to make inquiries there. The result of the King's investigations in Tuscany was, the story states, that it was found that the unhappy woman had expired at the very time her apparition first appeared to her lover in London, when he was in bed with Colonel Remeo. Mr. Monson, Aubrey's authority for this marvellous account, was intimate with Sir John Burroughs and both his sons, and declared that whenever Caisho alluded to the affair he wept bitterly.
In Isaak Walton's life of the well-known Dean of St. Paul's is a very strange family legend, that is none the less worthy of quotation that it has been so often told. According to the old piscatorial biographer, Dr. Donne and his wife were living at one time in the house of Sir Robert Drury, in Drury Lane. The Lord Haye being about to depart to the Court of Henry IV. of France, on an Embassy from James I. of England, Sir Robert Drury resolved to accompany him to the French Court, and to be present at his audience there. No sooner had Şir Robert formed this resolution, than he determined Dr. Donne should be his companion on the journey. This desire having been made suddenly known to Mrs. Donne, who was not only in very bad health, but also expecting her speedy confinement, she was so distressed, and protested so earnestly against her husband's departure, saying that she had a presentiment that some ill would occur in his absence, that finally the doctor laid aside all thoughts of his projected journey, and determined to stay at home.
the utmost to alter Dr. Donne's determination; and the doctor, fearing that after all the many benefits he had received from his friend, he should be deemed unthankful if he so persistently declined to accompany him, told his wife so; who, therefore, with very great reluetance, at last gave way, and most unwillingly assented to her husband's departure. The visit was to last for two months, and was begun within a little while after Mrs. Donne's consent had been gained.
The party reached Paris safely. Two days after their arrival there, Donne was left alone in the room where Sir Robert and he, with some others, had dined. About half-an-hour after his departure, Sir Robert returned, and found Dr. Donne where he had left him, but in such a state of agitation, and so strangely altered in his looks, that he was perfectly amazed at him, and earnestly desired him to inform him what had happened during the short space of time in which he had
to reply, but after a long and perplexed pause, answered :
“I have seen a dreadful vision since I saw you. I
have seen my dear wife pass twice by me through this room, with her hair hanging about her shoulders, and a dead child in her arms; this I have seen since I saw
To this Sir Robert responded :
“Surely, Sir, you have slept since I saw you, and this is the result of some melancholy dream, which I desire you to forget, for you are now awake.”
Dr. Donne’s reply to this was :
"I cannot be surer that I now live, than that I have not slept since I saw you, and am sure that at her second appearing she stopped and looked me in the face and vanished.”
Nothing would alter Dr. Donne's opinion that he had had a vision, and the next day he was more than ever confirmed in his idea, affirming it with such a deliberate confidence that he finally persuaded Sir Robert that there must be some truth in the vision. Determined to learn the truth as speedily as possible, the knight sent a special messenger back to England, to learn how it fared with Mrs. Donne: whether still alive, and, if alive, in what state. On the twelfth day the messenger returned to Paris with the information that he had found and left Mrs. Donne very ill in bed, and that, after a long and dangerous confinement she had been delivered of a dead child; the date and hour of the child's birth having proved to have been, so it is alleged, identical with that at which Dr. Donne affirmed he had seen the apparition pass by him in the room.