Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

exacted : on the contrary, he looked strong likeness between ghostly leforward to the grave as the only gends, and that it is quite possible bed where he could be at rest—the to be able to tell one without piratonly place where he could lay down ing from his archives. The gentlean intolerable burden of care. The man whose great-aunt followed a belief of his relatives is, that he did ghost into the woods, and came back not at all in his mind connect Pro- with her shoes and dress smeared bity Burdon with the spectre until with red clay, which gave the first months after its appearance. No intimation of the whereabouts of reason can be given for the figure one of the richest iron-mines in the not looking towards Robert, nor for country, has had no wrong done its bearing a lamp, which our cor- him. And we do not admit even respondents are probably right in resemblance to our story in the case supposing that it might have dis where a gentleman was commanded pensed with, it having, no doubt, by an apparition to marry a supother means of seeing its .way. posed poor girl, who turned out There was no attempt to seize the afterwards to be a great heiress. Dr mysterious lady, no thought of Smollett is more likely to have inclasping her tenderly in his arms, vaded the secrets of this last family which caused her to vanish: we than ourselves, for he does dishave not the least authority for say- tinctly make an apparition order ing that she would have remained Commodore Trunnion to “turn out and spoken if she had been more and be spliced, or lie still and be delicately dealt with, and if profane --;" on which occasion it was language had not been used. Mr the spirit, and not the ghost-seer, Lathom was brought up sharply by that was a little forcible in the his nose coming into contact with mode of expression. So far as we the wall, or something that stood can ascertain, there was no peculiar against the wall, and too discon- odour in the apartment, no noise as certed to say exactly how things of waving wings, and the ghost did happened about that minute. The not raise its arm with a warning Jew cannot possibly be alive now, gesture before disappearing. So far unless he writes wandering before was Lathom from feeling horror or his name. Whether he let fall his even a shudder, that he distinctly mantle on any one who could throw noted how much more calmly he light on the strange story, our con- bore the sight than he thought postributor does not know. It is not sible. In short, not one of the known who received the rent for additional incidents suggested to us the Jew's house after Lathom left belongs to our story. it, which he did soon after he heard And here our notice might end, of Probity's death : it has long been were it not that from among the pulled down, and a railway runs stories sent us as resembling ours, over the site.

we have been so much struck with Replying to inquirers of the third three, that we think our readers also kind, we say, once for all, that no might like to know the outlines of agent of ours has been grubbing in them. the muniment-room of any family. The first occurred about twenty old or new. If the writer of any years since to an officer of the army, particular letter insinuating a charge who is still alive. He had arrived of this kind could but see the letters at a station on the South American of other writers, he would be con continent, and taken possession of vinced that there is oftentimes a a one-storied house, his official residence. Soon he found it to be a drought in the Holy Land at that subject partly of perplexity and time—and turned over with the repartly of jesting at the mess, that solve of going to sleep again in spite the last occupant (indeed we believe of the deluge and its din. But as several former occupants) of the he formed this resolution, he was house had been troubled by the aware of a gentle light in the chamvisits of an apparition, supposed to ber, and, looking forth from his bed, be a young lady who died there he saw, much as Mr Lathom did, many years before. Of course he a female figure, shrouded and bearwas congratulated on the pleasure ing a lamp, passing across the room. that was in store for him; but the For a second or two he lay astonishprospect did not alarm him much; ed ; then, as the legend of the house and as time wore on, and he remain- occurred to him, he sprang from the ed unmolested, he was very indif- bed, exclaiming “- 's ghost by ferent about the matter, and had a --" The figure eluded him, and cheerful answer to make always to the light disappeared. He felt his them who bantered him about the way back to bed and calmly slept ghost. So far, good ; but his tribu again ; at which he was much surlation was coming. He retired to prised, as he never thought himself rest one night in the rainy season, able to bear such a sight without as serene as ever, and sank off to being strongly affected by it. The sleep as a young fellow with a clear thing told upon him afterwards, conscience would do. But a tropi, though, and he had to get leave of cal rain descending on the shingles absence and make a short excursion of his roof rudely disturbed his to get rid of the effects. slumber. He woke up, heard the The second narrative we give rain, wished it at— well, perhaps at entire as it reached us : Jericho, if there happened to be a

TO THE EDITOR OF “BLACKWOOD's Magazine.'

THURLESTONE RECTORY, KINGSBRIDGE,

DEVONSHIRE, 14th Vovember 1873. DEAR SIR,- A friend of mine has that he would certainly repay the objust sent me this month's number of ligation he had received-in some way. your Magazine,-and yesterday I read The young man, in course of business, in it an interesting little story called became involved in great difficulties, “The Missing Bills-an Unsolved Mys- and applied to a friend in Australia, tery." Had it not been prefaced by an whose daughter he was probably to assurance of its truth, and a hint that marry, for some money, which, if it what sometimes seems supernatural arrived in time, would save him from may not be so, I should have passed it bankruptcy. The money, in bills, was over as a pleasing fiction ; but while sent at once ; but, for safety's sake, awake during the dark hours of this these bills were made out in triplicate, morning, recalling it to my mind, its and each packet was directed in rather circumstances seemed rather to bring a singular manner, but all exactly the the story within the bounds of solution same. The bearer of the first packet, --at all events, of possibility-extra- named Karl Müller, was wrecked, ordinary as they were. An honest and and supposed to have been lost; yet, industrious young man, the son of a strange to say, the packet of which he surgeon, who in former days had con- was the bearer found its way in a mysferred a great obligation on a Jew, had terious manner to the floor of the bedthe loan of that Jew's house for a room in which the young man slept in period, accompanied with a promise the Jew's house, just in time to rescue him from his pecuniary difficulties. teriously found one was the very one he The young man that same night be- was intrusted with, owing to the number lieved, or dreamed, that he saw an ap- marked on it, there is no great diffiparition ; that he jumped out of bed, culty in supposing he was simply misand struck his foot against a packet on taken; and his mistake was not of such the floor. The idea was so vivid that a character as to have attracted his he could scarcely believe it was a attention, but that he really believed dream ; and to his surprise, on getting his packet was marked with the numout of bed in the morning, he saw the ber it should have been marked with. packet on the floor. Now, from what I should like much to know if the is said in the end of the story, it ap- writer of the story agrees with me. pears that this Karl Müller was an However, I don't know that I should acquaintance of the Jew, and that a have written this to you, were it not man of that very name had died in for the circumstance of the knowledge I that same town to which the Jew had possess, and for the truth of which I can gone (Frankfort, I think the name was, vouch, of another story perhaps as but your Magazine has left this house extraordinary-an episode in the life of now); that he had lived there many my father, and which I have often years, and had begun to reside there heard my mother relate-though, to be at the same time as a boat with three sure, I cannot sprinkle it judiciously men saved from a wreck had come with a ghost and a love story ; and yet in somewhere on the coast of Brit it is not absolutely without a little tany, one of whom he was supposed to touch of the latter. I have already have been. Now the Jew was quite scribbled so much, that I believe I aware of his young friend's difficulties, must take it for granted you will not and, a few days before, had written to publish it ; yet an old friend of mine assure him that he was greatly inter- told me the other day, when we were ested in his circumstances, and sol- conversing on the subject of Proviemnly promising him that all should dence, that I ought not to keep such a come right. Is it impossible that tale unknown. I will therefore jot it Karl Müller, supposed to have been down. In the year 1807, my father lost, may, for reasons of his own, have (Captain Courtenay Ilbert of the Artilgiven sanction to that supposition, and lery) was ordered to take troops to have gone to his friend at Frankfort ; Quebec; and in those days the Governbut feeling that juin might be the con- ment was not very particular sometimes sequence to an innocent person-a with regard to the seaworthiness—so I friend, too, of the Jew's—if the packet have been led to believe-and proper he was intrusted with missed its des- provisioning of troop-ships. My father tination at the time it should have was a young married man then, and reached it, is it not probable that he had his wife, with an infant, on board, consulted his friend as to what was so that the voyage was a matter of best to be done ; and that the Jew, anxiety. Just as they neared the Gulf perhaps knowing something about his of Newfoundland, a passing ship own house that others did not, and hailed the Thames transport, in which perhaps having an able confederate (I my father was; and the captain of think there was something said about the ship, in the few words that a clockmaker who repaired a clock in passed about their position, said that that room the day before), contrived ã of course they had with them a chart that the packet should be made to of the Gulf of St Lawrence ?” On the reach the floor in the middle of the captain of the Thames replying that night? I think. I could contrive such he had not, the observation of the a thing myself. We know what con. other captain was, “ Then if you get jurors do with horse-hair ;-and if any safe to Quebec your lives are given to movement of bedclothes detached a you !” The Thames soon got into packet from the top of the clock, the difficulties, owing to the fogs, and more noise of its fall might in a dream be than once narrowly escaped being connected with a great many extraor- wrecked. Provisions were falling very dinary ideas. As for the bearer of the short also. One day they observed, at second packet believing that the mys- a little distance from them, a dark ob

VOL. CXV.-30. DCXCIX.

Ti

98
The Story of the Missing Bills.

[Jan. ject, which, on nearing, they perceived read inside the cover the words, to be an abandoned vessel. My father “ Phelim O'Flinn, Percy, Gaspe Bar, and his subaltern (the late Major-Gen. Gulf of St Lawrence.” Of course my Hardinge), and a sergeant, took the boat father, the next morning, made every to examine her, and went on board. inquiry he could for any one of that They found that she had been scuttled; name, but for a great part of the day but going out of the cabin, one of the unsuccessfully ; but in the latter part party kicked the door of a sort of cup of it, in his search in the lower part board more open than it was, and saw of the city-Lower Town, as I believe some litter. There were three things it was called-looking in at a large sort an old wig, an old Bible, and a chart of cellar, there he saw Phelim © Flinn of the Gulf of St Lawrence. This was sitting on a cask—the picture of misery not supernatural, but it was what we and despondency. He went up to him, will term providential. This soon set and asked him how he could possibly the Thames right in its bearings. How- come to Quebec and not come and see ever, as the provisions were short, as, him, as he had promised. “Ah, sir!" soon after, they were passing an island, said the poor man, “ I am heartbroken. my father and others thought they Yesterday I arrived at Quebec from might as well take the boat and rectify home-for I had come up to get the their commissariat a little, if they things required for my daughter's could. The island was called Percy, in marriage-her furniture and other Gaspe Bay, and they found its popula things; and I had brought up all the tion was merely a few Irish people, the money we had saved. I met sonie chief of whom was named Phelim fellow - countrymen, who were very O'Flinn. They were living in rather a kind to me, and very hospitable. We primitive manner ; but on my father's were very merry last evening, and asking Phelin O'Flinn if he could we thought we would take a walk possibly render them any assistance round the garrison. In the walk I lost regarding food, he immediately col- my pocket-book that contained all my lected all he could, chiefly bread and money, and now I must go back, and such things as would be acceptable. my poor girl must remain unmarried." When my father asked him what he My father then produced the pocketshould pay him for them, his answer book, telling him he had found it. was, that “ he was not the man to take Phelim O'Flinn dropped on his knees, advantage ‘of his fellow-creatures in and thanked God. I believe I have distress;" and refused to accept any told you the story in the very words money at all. When he heard, how. used, or almost exactly the words-reever, that my father was going to be sta- membering so well the words in which tioned at Quebec, he said it was just I have so often heard my mother repossible he might have to go there late them; and I well remember, when some day, and if it should so happen I was a boy, the old sergeant's wife that my father was still at Quebec, he showing me the Bible that was found would make so bold as to come and in the deserted vessel, with the chart see him. Many months after this, one of the Gulf of St Lawrence. This dark night after a heavy fall of snow, story, then, may certainly be placed it was my father's turn, as captain of in the class termed providential; and I the guard, to go round the fortifica- believe apparent interpositions of ditions of Quebec with a sergeant and vine providence are often happening twenty men,--the sergeant, with a lan- in the world, especially to such as poor tern, marching first, my father rather Phelim O'Flinn, whose first ejaculabehind the others. He kicked some- tion was to thank God. Not that I thing with his foot, and as the ground think that the persons to whom they was even with snow he was surprised, happen have any very great reason to and desired the sergeant to step back congratulate themselves on account of with the lantern. It was a large them. They may be intended to pocket-book, and in it he perceived strengthen the faith of those whom there were many dollar-notes, and God sees to be rather inclined to weakto a large amount—more than a hun- ness; not for such as those whose lot dred pounds' worth, I believe. Look will be the most glorious in a future ing for the name of the owner, he state. For instance, the three who, in

ulliddi

the face of the fiery furnace, could say: serve thy gods ;”—and for a reward and "Our God whom we serve is able to de- testimony to their faith and trust so liver us from the burning fiery furnace, strong, and for the benefit of others and He will deliver us out of thine who had it not, God did then and there hand, 0 king. But if not, be it known interpose.-Yours faithfully, into thee, o king, that we will not

PEREGRINE A. ILBERT.

The third story (without the writ- was quite as peculiar. She stood er's address, though he asks for an an- on her head ; and now the meaning swer) has the Limerick post-mark; of this position became apparent. and although it has something in It was intended to show that the common with "The Missing Bills," as being on whom the lady in the bed exhibiting a spirit moving matter, looked was not material, nor clad in yet there is not sufficient similarity material drapery, for the natural to suggest to any candid mind that consequence of inverting her posithe one tale can be derived from the tion did not ensue. After remainother. It appears that our corre- ing inverted long enough to conspondent's great-grandmother, being vince the beholder that this could at the time in delicate health, in not be Biddy So-and-so in the flesh, which state she continued for a the apparition vanished ; and now month or two afterwards, woke up the lady, still intent on the butterone night out of a troubled sleep, milk, permitted her husband to get with an intense longing for a drink up, strike a light (for it had become of butter-milk. This desire had dark again), and examine the room. not long oppressed her, when she There he found, sure enough, a saw a girl named Biddy-(surname pitcher full of the most beautiful illegible)-enter the chamber bear butter-milk, with which he soon ing a pitcher which the invalid relieved his wife's intolerable cravlady felt assured contained the ing. After this they both enjoyed coveted butter-milk. So vehement a tranquil night. In the morning was her craving that she never they inquired after Biddy, and were thought for a moment of the singu- shocked to hear that she had been lar way in which it was to be grati- hysterical for some days, and that fied; for it was past midnight, the last night she was for several hours house was locked and barred, and in a trance, during which she carshe might have remembered that ried (as she declared) butter-milk to the girl who came in was supposed the lady who saw the apparition. to be in the country, seven or eight This was not all. The grandfather miles off. She heeded not the of the writer was born not long strangeness of these things, but after, and he was curiously marked aroused her husband, desiring him with a pitcher; so that when he to rise and fetch her the drink from stood on his head, as he used to do Biddy's pitcher. No sooner, how. when a little bit of a thing, the ever, had she given this order than mark could be distinctly seen. His she revoked it, and with frantic descendants (including, of course, haste (she was a woman of very our correspondent) have all the refined feeling) pulled the bed- same mark. clothes over her spouse's eyes. The We now leave the subject, only cause of this sudden action was, that regretting our inability to explain the girl was making sonic singular particulars, which, if they could be motions, and seemed inclined to made clear, would take the story of throw a somersault. She did not “The Missing Bills" out of the list exactly do this, but she did what of Unsolved Mysteries.

« ПредишнаНапред »