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the phenomenon. It was a sound, no more, and quite harmless.
"Perhaps so, but of what strange horror," demands Mr. Westwood, “not ended with life, but perpetuated in the limbo of invisible things, was that sound the exponent ? "
EPSOM: PITT PLACE.
THE story of Lord Lyttleton's "warning," as it is termed, has been frequently told, and almost as frequently attempts have been made to explain it away. Up to the present time, however, it must be confessed that all the evidence, circumstantial though it be, is in favour of the original tellers of the tale. Well known though the story be, it must not be omitted from this collection.
Thomas, the second Lord Lyttleton, had long led a life of dissipation. As he lay in bed one night at Pitt Place, Epsom, he was awakened out of his sleep, according to his own account, by a noise like the fluttering of a bird about the curtains. On opening his eyes he saw the apparition of a woman, who was, it is generally supposed, Mrs. Amphlett, the mother of a lady he had seduced, and who had just died of a broken heart. Dreadfully shocked, he called out, “What do you want ? ”
"I have come to warn you of your death,” was the reply.
“Shall I not live two months ? ” he asked.
“No; you will die within three days," was the response.
The following day Lord Lyttleton was observed to be much agitated in his mind, and when questioned as to the cause, informed several persons of the apparition. By the third day, which was a Saturday, he was observed to have grown very thoughtful, but he attempted to carry it off by saying to those about him, “Why do you look so grave ? Are you thinking about the ghost ? I am as well as ever I was in my life.”
He invited company to dinner, doubtless expecting in the midst of society to get rid of unwelcome thoughts. In the evening he said to his guests, "A few hours more and I shall jockey the ghost.” At eleven o'clock he retired to his bed-room, and after a time began to undress himself. Meanwhile his servant was preparing a rhubarb draught for him, according to custom; but, having nothing to mix it with, went out of the room for a spoon. By the time he returned Lord Lyttleton was getting into bed, but before the man could give him the draught, he reclined his head back on the pillow, fell into convulsions, and died. The servant's cries aroused the household, they hastened to his assistance, but it was useless, for all was over.
The sequel to this story is as singular, but is less generally known, although quite as well testified to, as reference to the preface to Croker's edition of Boswell's
Life of Johnson will show. Mr. Miles Peter Andrews, the intimate friend of Lord Lyttleton, lived at Dartford, about thirty miles off. Mr. Andrews was entertaining a large company at his place, and expected a visit from Lord Lyttleton, whom he had just left, apparently in good health. Disturbed, however, by the impressive message he had received from the apparition, the nobleman, without giving Mr. Andrews any intimation of his. intention, had determined to postpone his visit.
On the evening of the Saturday, Mr. Andrews finding Lord Lyttleton did not arrive, and feeling somewhat indisposed, retired to bed somewhat early, leaving one of his guests to do the honours of the supper-table on his behalf. He went to bed in a somewhat feverish condition, but had not been lying down long when the curtains at the foot of his bed were drawn open, and he beheld his friend standing before him, in a largefigured bed-gown which was always kept in the house for Lord Lyttleton's exclusive use. Mr. Andrews at once imagined that his friend had arrived after he had retired to rest, as he had so positively promised to come that day, and knowing how fond the nobleman was of practical joking, cried out to him, “You are at some of your tricks; go to bed, or I will throw something at you.” The reply to which was “ It's all over with me, Andrews.”
Still deeming it was Lord Lyttleton joking with him, Mr. Andrews stretched his arm out of the bed, and, seizing one of his slippers, the nearest thing he could get hold of, he flung it at the figure, which then retreated
to the dressing-room, whence there was no means of egress. Upon this Mr. Andrews jumped out of bed, intending to follow and punish his friend for startling him, but could find nobody in that room, nor in his bed-room, the bolt of which was in its place. He rang his bell, and inquired of the servants where Lord Lyttleton was; but no one had seen him, and the nightgown, when sought for, was found in its usual place. Mr. Andrews, getting annoyed, and unable to solve the mystery, ordered that no bed was to be given to the nobleman, who might find one at the inn for serving him such a trick.
The next morning, Mrs. Pigou, the guest who had headed Mr. Andrew's table when he retired, departed early for London, and on arriving there heard of Lord Lyttleton's death ; she sent an express to Dartford to inform Mr. Andrews, who, when he received the news, was so shocked that he swooned away, and, to use his own words, “was not his own man again, for three years."
IN 1716, the Rev. Samuel Wesley, father of the famous John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was rector of Epworth, in Lincolnshire. During the months of December 1716, and January 1717, the parsonage was haunted in a most unpleasant fashion. The rector kept a diary in which the disturbances were recorded, and which eventually formed the basis of the narrative afterwards compiled by his well-known son, for the Arminian Magazine. This account, supplemented by personal inquiries, and carefully written statement of each member of the household, forms not only one of the most marvellous, but also one of the best authenticated cases of haunted houses on record. The famous Dr. Priestley, and the equally well-known Dr. Adam Clark, both furnish voluminous particulars of the affair, the latter devoting forty-six pages of his Memoirs of the Wesley Family to the narrative. In his Life of Wesley Southey, in reproducing the accounts of the mysterious disturbances, remarks that, “An author who, in this age, relates such a story and treats it as not utterly incredible and absurd, must expect to be ridiculed ; but the testimony upon which it rests is far too strong to be set aside because of the strangeness of the relation."
It is needless to reproduce anything like a complete account of the disturbances at Epworth Parsonage, so the reader must be content to have in a somewhat abridged form the narrative drawn up by John Wesley, supplemented by a few additional data gathered from other equally reliable sources.
“On December 2, 1716,” says John Wesley, “while Robert Brown, my father's servant, was sitting with one of the maids, a little before ten at night, in the diningroom which opened into the garden, they both heard someone knocking at the door. Robert rose and opened it, but could see nobody. Quickly it knocked again and groaned. “It is Mr. Turpine,' said Robert, ' he used to groan so.' He opened the door again twice or thrice,