صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

bless her. He then took a kind leave of his son, and putting up a fervent prayer for his happiness, pressed him to his heart, and bade him adieu with an earnestness, which, under the commonplace circumstance of a temporary separation, was inexplicable to the young man.

When he reached his bedroom he spoke to his wife, and entreated her to prepare her mind for some great calamity.

“ What it is to be,” said Harding, “ where the hlow is to fall I know not; but it is impending over us this night!"

My life !” exclaimed Mrs. Harding, “ what fancy is this?"

Eliza, love!” answered her husband, in a tone of unspeakable agony,

6 I have seen her for the third and last time!"

66 Who!"
“ MARTHA, THE GIPSY."

Impossible!” said Mrs. Harding, “ you have not left the house to-day!”

“ True, my beloved,” replied the husband; " but I have seen her. When that tremendous noise was heard at supper, as the door was supernaturally opened, I saw her. She fixed those dreadful eyes of hers upon me; she proceeded to the fireplace, and stood in the midst of the children, and there she remained till the servant came in.”

5. My dearest husband," said Mrs. Harding, " this is but a disorder of the imagination !”

“ Be it what it may," said he, “ I have seen her. Human or superhuman—natural or supernatural-there she was. I shall not strive to argue upon a point where I am likely to meet with little credit: all I ask is, pray fervently, have faith, and we will hope the evil, whatever it is, may be averted.”

He kissed his wife's cheek tenderly, and after a fitful feverish hour or two fell into a slumber.

From that slumber never woke he more. He was found dead in his bed in the morning!

" Whether the force of imagination, coupled with the unexpected noise, produced such an alarm as to rob bim of life, I know not,” said my communicant; “ but he was dead."

This story was told me by my friend Ellis in walking from the city to Harley-street late in the evening; and when we came to this part of the history we were in Bedford-square, at the dark and dreary corner of it where Carolinestreet joins it.

" And, there!” said Ellis, pointing downwards, “ is the street where it all occurred !"

" Come, come,” said I,“ you tell the story 'well, but I suppose you do not expect it to be received as gospel.” Faith,"

,” said be, “I know so much of it, that I was one of the party, and heard the noise.”

“ But you did not see the spectre ?” cried I“ No,” said Ellis, “ I certainly did not.”

“ No," answered 1, “nor any body else, I'll be sworn.” A quick footstep was just then heard behind us—I turned half round to let the person pass, and saw a woman enveloped in a red cloak, whose sparkling black eyes, shone upon by the dim lustre of a lamp above her head, dazzled me. -I was startled--Pray remember old MARTHA, THE GIPSY," said the hag.

It was like a thunderstroke-I instantly slipped

[ocr errors]

my hand into my pocket, and hastily gave her therefrom a five-sbilling piece.

“ Thanks, my bonny one,” said the woman, and setting up a shout of contemptuous laughter, she bounded down Caroline-street, into Russellstreet, singing, or rather yelling a joyous song.

Ellis did not speak during this scene--he pressed my arm tightly, and we quickened our pace. We said nothing to each other till we turned into Bedford-street, and the lights and passengers of Tottenham-court-road reassured us.

“ What do you think of that?” said Ellis to me: " SEEING IS BELIEVING,” was my reply.

I have never passed that dark corner of Bed. ford-square in the evening since.

HOOK.

ADAM BELL. This tale, which may be depended on as in every part true, is singular, for the circumstance of its being insolvable either from the facts that have been discovered relating to it, or by reason : for though events sometimes occur among mankind, which at the time seem inexplicable, yet, there being always some individuals acquainted with the primary causes of those events, they seldom fail of being brought to light before all the actors in them, or their confidants, are removed from this state of existence. But the causes which produced the events here related, have never been accounted for in this world ; even conjecture is left to wander in a labyrinth, unable to get hold of the thread that leads to the catastrophe..

Mr. Bell was a gentleman of Annandale, in Dumfriesshire, in the south of Scotland, the proprietor of a considerable estate in that district, part of which he occupied himself. He lost his father when he was an infant, and his mother dying when he was about twenty years of age, left him the sole proprietor of the estate, besides a large sum of money at interest, for which he was indebted, in a great measure, to his mother's parsimony during his minority. His person was tall, comely, and athletic; and his whole delight was in warlike and violent exercises. He was the best horseman and marksman in the county, and valued himself particularly upon his skill in the broadsword exercise. Of this he often boasted aloud, and regretted that there was not one in the country whose prowess was in some degree equal to his own.

In the autumn 1745, after being for several days busily and silently employed in preparing for his journey, he left his own house, and went for Edinburgh, giving, at the same time, such directions to his servants, as indicated his intention of being absent for some time.

A few days after he had left his house, in the morning, while his housekeeper was putting the house in order for the day, her master, as she thought, entered by the kitchen-door, the other being bolted, and passed her in the middle of the floor. He was buttoned in his great coat, which was the same he had on when he went from home; he likewise had the same hat on his head, and tbe same whip in his hand, which he took with him. At sight of him she uttered a shriek ; buty recovering her surprise, instantly said to him, “ You have not staid so long from us, sir." He made no reply, but went sullenly into his own room, without throwing off his great coat. After a pause of about five minutes, she followed him into the room-he was standing at his desk, with his back towards her—she asked him if he wished to have a fire kindled ? and afterwards, if he was well enough? but he still made no reply to any of these questions. She was astonished, and returned into the kitchen. After tarrying about other five minutes, he went out at the front door, it being then open, and walked deliberately towards the bank of the river Kinnel, which was deep and wooded, and in that he vanished from her sight. The woman ran out in the utmost consternation to acquaint the men, who were servants belonging to the house; and coming to one of the ploughmen, she told him that their master was come home, and had certainly lost his reason, for that he was wandering about the house, and would not speak. The man loosed his horses from the plough and came home, listened to the woman's relation, made her repeat it again and again, and then assured her that she was raving, for their master's horse was not in the stable, and of course he could not be come home. However, as she persisted in her asseveration with every appearance of sincerity, he went into the linn to see what was become of his mysterious master. He was neither to be seen nor heard of in the whole country! It was then concluded that the housekeeper had seen an apparition, and that something had befallen their

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »