Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

whole room. I looked under the bed, into the fireplace, up the chimney, and at both the doors, which were fastened just as I had left them. I then looked at my watch, and found it was a few minutes past twelve. As all was now perfectly quiet again, I put out the candle, got into bed, and soon fell asleep. I was again aroused. The noise was now louder than before. It appeared like the violent rustling of a stiff silk dress. A second time I sprang out of bed, darted to the spot where the noise was, and tried to grasp the intruder in my arms. My arms met together, but enclosed nothing. The noise passed to another part of the room, and I followed it, groping near the floor to prevent anything passing under my arms. It was in vain, I could do nothing. The sound died at the doorway to the crypt, and all again was still. I now left the candle burning, though I never sleep comfortably with a light in my room, and went to bed again, but certainly felt not a little perplexed at being unable to detect the cause of the noise, nor to account for its cessation when the candle was lighted.'"

DAINTREE. In the Rev. John Mastin's History of Naseby, is cited a story of an apparition that was supposed to have appeared to Charles the First at Daintree, near Naseby, previous to the famous battle of that name.

The army of Charles, says the historian, consisting of less than 5,000 foot, and about as many horse, was ordered to Daintree, whither the King went with a thorough resolution of fighting. The next day, however, to the surprise of Prince Rupert and all the rest of the army, this design was given up, and the former one of going to the north resumed. The reason of this alteration in his plans was alleged to be some presages of ill-fortune which the King had received, and which were related to me, says Mr. Mastin's authority, by a person of-Newark, at that time in His Majesty's horse. About two hours after the King had retired to rest, said the narrator, some of his attendants hearing an uncommon noise in his chamber, went into it, where they found His. Majesty sitting up in bed and much agitated, but nothing which could have produced the noise they fancied they had heard. The King, in a tremulous voice, inquired after the cause of their alarm, and told them how much he had been disturbed, apparently by a dream, by thinking he had seen an apparition of Lord Strafford, who, after upbraiding him for his cruelty, told him he was come to return him good for evil, and that he advised him by no means to fight the Parliament army that was at that time quartered at Northampton, for it was one which the King could never conquer by arms. Prince Rupert, in whom courage was the predominant quality, rated the King out of his apprehensions the next day, and a resolution was again taken to meet the enemy. The next night, however, the apparition appeared to him a second time, but with looks of anger assuring him that would be the last advice he should be permitted to give him, but that if he kept his resolution of fighting he was undone. If His Majesty had taken the advice of the friendly ghost, and marched northward the next day, where the Parliament had few English forces, and where the Scots were becoming very discontented, his affairs might, perhaps, still have had a prosperous issue, or if he had marched immediately into the west he might afterwards have fought on more equal terms. But the King, fluctuating between the apprehensions of his imagination and the reproaches of his courage, remained another whole day at Daintree in a state of inactivity. The battle of Naseby, fought 14th June, 1645, put a finishing stroke to the King's affairs. After this he could never get together an army fit to look the enemy in the face. He was often heard to say that he wished he had taken the warning, and not fought at Naseby; the meaning of which nobody knew but those to whom he had told of the apparition which he had seen at Daintree, and all of whom were, subsequently, charged to keep the affair secret.

DUNFERMLINE.

On the 31st May 1847, Sir Joseph Noel Paton, the celebrated artist, wrote a letter to Mrs. Crowe, which she subsequently published in her eerie work, The Night Side of Nature. This letter, although it only recites a dream, is of a marvellous character when it is considered how numerous were the coincidences required in order to accomplish its prophetic symbolism, if one may so term it. The vision is so clearly portrayed in Sir Joseph's own letter, and it is obviously, in citations of this kind, so far preferable to give the original words of an authority, that we print the letter intact.

“ That dream of my mother's was as follows,” says Sir Joseph. “She stood in a long, dark, empty gallery: on one side was my father, and on the other my eldest sister, Amelia ; then myself, and the rest of the family according to their ages. At the foot of the hall stood my younger sister, Alexes, and above her my sister Catherine-a creature, by the way, in person and mind more like an angel of heaven than an inhabitant of earth. We all stood silent and motionless. At last It entered - the unimagined something that, casting its grim shadow before, had enveloped all the trivialities of the preceding dream in the stifling atmosphere of terror. It entered, stealthily descending the three steps that led from the entrance down into the chamber of horror, and my mother felt It was Death. He was dwarfish, bent, and shrivelled. He carried on his shoulder a heavy axe; and had come, she thought, to destroy all her little ones at one fell swoop.' On the entrance of the shape my sister Alexes leapt out of the rank, interposing herself between him and my mother. He raised his axe and aimed a blow at Catherine, a blow which, to her horror, my mother could not intercept, though she had snatched up a three-legged stool, the sole furniture of the apartment, for that purpose. She could not, she felt, fling the stool at the figure without destroying Alexes, who kept shooting out and in between her and the ghastly thing. She tried in vain to scream; she besought my father, in agony, to avert the impending stroke; but he did not hear, or did not heed her, and stood motionless, as in a trance. Down came the axe, and poor Catherine fell in her blood, cloven to the white halse bane.' Again the axe was lifted by the inexorable shadow, over the head of my brother, who stood next in the line. Alexes had somewhere disappeared behind the ghastly visitant, and with a scream my mother flung the footstool at his head. He vanished, and she awoke.

This dream left on my mother's mind a fearful apprehension of impending misfortune, 'which would not pass away. It was murder she feared, and her suspicions were not allayed by the discovery that a man some time before discarded by my father for bad conduct, and with whom she had, somehow, associated the Death of her dream, had been lurking about the place, and sleeping in an adjoining outhouse on the night it occurred, and for some nights previous and subsequent to it. Her terror increased ; sleep forsook her, and every night, when the house was still, she arose and stole, sometimes with a candle, sometimes in the dark, from room to room, listening, in a sort of waking night-mare, for the breathing of the assassin, who, she

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »