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of Swift, but yet is one of those happy strokes that rival the felicity of that dash of the sponge which (as Pliny tell us) hit off so well the expression of the froth in Protogenes's dog. It is impossible not to envy the author the conception of a thought which we know not whether to call more comical or more pointedly satirical.
[The following singular account of an apparition is taken from a magazine of the last century: "As I was turning over a parcel of old papers some time ago, I discovered an original letter from Mr. Caswell, the mathematician, to the learned Dr. Bentley, when he was living in Bishop Stillingfleet's family, inclosing an account of an apparition taken from the mouth of a clergyman who saw it. In this account there are some curious particulars, and I shall therefore copy the whole narrative without any omission, except of the name of the deceased person who is supposed to have appeared, for reasons that will be obvious.
"To the Rev. Mr. Richard Bentley, at my Lord Bishop of Worcester's House in Park Street, in Westminster, London.
"Sir,-When I was in London, April last, I fully intended to have waited upon you again, as I said, but a cold and lameness seized me next day; the cold took away my voice, and the other my power of walking, so I presently took coach for Oxford. I am much your debtor, and in particular for your good intentions in relation to Mr. D., though that, as it has proved, would not have turned to my advantage. However, I am obliged to you upon that and other accounts, and if I had opportunity to shew it, you should find how much I am your faithful servant.
"I have sent you inclosed a relation of an apparition; the story I had from two persons, who each had it from the author, and yet their accounts somewhat varied, and passing through more mouths has varied much more; therefore I got a friend to bring me the author at a chamber, where I wrote it down from the author's mouth; after which I read it to him, and gave him another copy; he said he could swear to the truth of it, as far as he is concerned. He is the curate of Warblington, Batchelour of Arts of Trinity College, in Oxford, about six years standing in the University; I hear no ill report of his behaviour here. He is now gone to his curacy;
he has promised to send up the hands of the tenant and his man, who is a smith by trade, and the farmer's men, as far as they are concerned. Mr. Brereton, the rector, would have him say nothing of the story, for that he can get no tenant, though he has offered the house for ten pounds a year less. Mr. P. the former incumbent, whom the apparition represented, was a man of a very ill report, supposed to have got children of his maid, and to have murthered them; but I advised the curate to say nothing himself of this last part of P., but leave that to the parishioners, who knew him. Those who knew this P. say he had exactly such a gown, and that he used to whistle.
"Yours, J. CASWELL.'
"I desire you not to suffer any copy of this to be taken, lest some Mercury news-teller should print it, till the curate has sent up the testimony of others and self.
"H. H. Dec. 15, 1695.
"Narrative.-At Warblington, near Havant, in Hampshire, within six miles of Portsmouth, in the parsonage-house dwelt Thomas Perce the tenant, with his wife and a child, a manservant, Thomas —— and a maid-servant. About the beginning of August, anno 1695, on a Monday, about nine or ten at night, all being gone to bed, except the maid with the child, the maid being in the kitchen, and having raked up the fire, took a candle in one hand, and the child in the other arm, and turning about saw one in a black gown walking through the room, and thence out of the door into the orchard. Upon this the maid, hasting up stairs, having recovered but two steps, cried out; on which the master and mistress ran down, found the candle in her hand, she grasping the child about its neck with the other arm. She told them the reason of her crying out; she would not that night tarry in the house, but removed to another belonging to one Henry Salter, farmer; where she cried out all the night from the terror she was in, and she could not be persuaded to go any more to the house upon any terms.
"On the morrow (i. e. Tuesday), the tenant's wife came to me, lodging then at Havant, to desire my advice, and have consult with some friends about it; I told her I thought it was a flam, and that they had a mind to abuse Mr. Brereton the
rector, whose house it was; she desired me to come up; I told her I would come up and sit up or lie there, as she pleased; for then as to all stories of ghosts and apparitions I was an infidel. I went thither and sate up the Tuesday night with the tenant and his man-servant. About twelve or one o'clock I searched all the rooms in the house to see if any body were hid there to impose upon me. At last we came into a lumber room, there I smiling told the tenant that was with me, that I would call for the apparition, if there was any, and oblige him to come. The tenant then seemed to be afraid, but I told him I would defend him from harm! and then I repeated Barbara celarent Darii, &c., jestingly; on this the tenant's countenance changed, so that he was ready to drop down with fear. Then I told him I perceived he was afraid, and I would prevent its coming, and repeated Baralipton, &c., then he recovered his spirits pretty well, and we left the room and went down into the kitchen, where we were before, and sate up there the remaining part of the night, and had no manner of disturbance.
Thursday night the tenant and I lay together in one room and the man in another room, and he saw something walk along in a black gown and place itself against a window, and there stood for some time, and then walked off. Friday morning the man relating this, I asked him why he did not call me, and I told him I thought that was a trick or flam; he told me the reason why he did not call me was, that he was not able to speak or move. Friday night we lay as before, and Saturday night, and had no disturbance either of the nights.
Sunday night I lay by myself in one room (not that where the man saw the apparition), and the tenant and his man in one bed in another room; and betwixt twelve and two the man heard something walk in their room at the bed's foot, and whistling very well; at last it came to the bed's side, drew the curtain and looked on them; after some time it moved off; then the man called to me, desired me to come, for that there was something in the room went about whistling. I asked him whether he had any light or could strike one, he told me no; then I leapt out of bed, and, not staying to put on my clothes, went out of my room and along a gallery to the door, which I found locked or bolted; I desired him to unlock the door, for that I could not get in; then he got out of bed and opened the
door, which was near, and went immediately to bed again. I went in three or four steps, and, it being a moonshine night, I saw the apparition move from the bed side, and clap up against the wall that divided their room and mine. I went and stood directly against it within my arm's length of it, and asked it, in the name of God, what it was, that made it come disturbing of us? I stood some time expecting an answer, and receiving none, and thinking it might be some fellow hid in the room to fright me, I put out my arm to feel it, and my hand seemingly went through the body of it, and felt no manner of substance till it came to the wall; then I drew back my hand, and still it was in the same place. Till now I had not the least fear, and even now had very little; then I adjured it to tell me what it was. When I had said those words, it, keeping its back against the wall, moved gently along towards the door. I followed it, and it, going out at the door, turned its back toward me. It went a little along the gallery. I followed it a little into the gallery, and it disappeared, where there was no corner for it to turn, and before it came to the end of the gallery, where was the stairs. Then I found myself very cold from my feet as high as my middle, though I was not in great fear. I went into the bed betwixt the tenant and his man, and they complained of my being exceeding cold. The tenant's man leaned over his master in the bed, and saw me stretch out my hand towards the apparition, and heard me speak the words; the tenant also heard the words. The apparition seemed to have a morning gown of a darkish colour, no hat nor cap, short black hair, a thin meagre visage of a pale swarthy colour, seemed to be of about forty-five or fifty years old; the eyes half shut, the arms hanging down; the hands visible beneath the sleeve; of a middle stature. I related this description to Mr. John Lardner, rector of Havant, and to Major Battin of Langstone, in Havant parish; they both said the description agreed very well to Mr. P., a former rector of the place, who has been dead above twenty years. Upon this the tenant and his wife left the house, which has remained void since.
"The Monday after last Michaelmas-day, a man of Chodson, in Warwickshire, having been at Havant fair, passed by the foresaid parsonage-house about nine or ten at night, and saw a light in most of the rooms of the house; his
pathway being close by the house, he, wondering at the light, looked into the kitchen window, and saw only a light, but turning himself to go away, he saw the appearance of a man in a long gown; he made haste away; the apparition followed him over a piece of glebe land of several acres, to a lane, which he crossed, and over a little meadow, then over another lane to some pales, which belong to farmer Henry Salter my landlord, near a barn, in which were some of the farmer's men and some others. This man went into the barn, told them how he was frighted and followed from the parsonage-house by an apparition, which they might see standing against the pales, if they went out; they went out, and saw it scratch against the pales, and make a hideous noise; it stood there some time, and then disappeared; their description agreed with what I saw. This last account I had from the man himself, whom it followed, and also from the farmer's
"THO. WILKINS, Curate of W." "Dec. 11, 1695, Oxon."]
Gay, in imitation of the style of our old Ennius, Chaucer, gives us a fine description of one of these haunted houses:
"Now there spreaden a rumour that everich night
The learned Selden observes, on this occasion, that there was never a merry world since the fairies left dancing and the parson left conjuring. The opinion of the latter kept thieves' in awe, and did as much good in a country as a justice of
Bourne, chap. ii., has preserved the form of exorcising a
See several curious charms against thieves in Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, b. ii. c. 17, and particularly St. Adelbert's curse against them. That celebrated curse in Tristram Shandy, which is an original one, still remaining in Rochester Cathedral, is nothing to this, which is perhaps the most complete of its kind.