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story as it appears to me proper to re- “I spare you the recital of all occure late it. I am, for my own part, pere rences, expressions, sights, and sounds, fectly satisfied that I was in a condi- from the time when I was going to tion which has not impaired my me- say, we shook the city dust from our mory either of wbat I saw or what I feet, but this would imply harshness felt; and although I was very highly of feeling where no asperity is felt, and disturbed while actually witnessing I say merely-when we left the town, what I am now about to communicate, up to that moment when my narrative I was also keenly alive to every mic properly commences.
At that time, nute particular, and have treasured up we were stretched along a hill, at the most exact remembrance of it. about two miles' distance from Bray,
“ If it be any gratification to your and gazing on as calm and as beautivanity or your good- nature to know fully lighted a sea-view as it has ever that you were much desired by your been my good fortune to behold. It friends in their meetings and excur- is not easy to disengage yourself from sions, I have means ample to indulge the influence of such a scene; and I you. While you were roaming in pla. have often observed, that it imposes ces where, as I learn from your let- silence on even a gay party, and that ters, as well as from all other accounts, the most daring holds his peace, unthe moral sublime-if terror be a main til some change in the appearance of ingredient in the idea which that in- nature seems to break the spell, and definable term represents - abounds restore the power of speech and moeven by the way-side, the less enter. tion which had been previously susprising friends whom you had left be. pended. We were all silent, and were hind, were purposing to indulge in the watching the lessening light upon the quieter and customary pleasures so li- waters with as deep an interest as if berally offered to all who have strength the fortunes of some conscious being and leisure to walk through the beau- were connected with it; and I do not tiful country extending to the very believe that even a whispered word streets of our metropolis. Every thing was breathed, until the last dimifavoured our sallying forth-the fresh nished speck of the evening light had morning-the confident promise of be- flashed as from a gem its parting ranign skies-and, in short, all tho diance,
Then little kindly and cheerful greetings on we felt released, and were able to which, if I had not something of more speak and speculate on the surroundinterest to relate, I might think it noting objects. How pleasant we thought disagreeable idleness to linger. But it would be to spend some days in that we set out with no other regret than place, and have our eyes in the mornthat you were not of our party, and ing open as they closed at night on a many a time we endeavoured to imi. scene of so much tranquil beauty ! On tate, or imagine, what you would have the summit of the hill, on the side of said and felt when the lights shone out which we reclined, very little above more fairly on the hills, or, from some us, there was a house, preserving the height, or sudden winding in our way, traces of ancient respectability, but ocean unexpectedly saluted us. Do evidently uninhabited and neglected. not be apprehensive that I am about • How comes it,' said I, that this to give you a diary of our tour. I mansion has fallen into such decay ? mention our setting forth merely to Where could lovers of retirement find awaken in your mind the remem- a more suitable abode? What fairer brance of pleasant walks in which you spot could be chosen for a temporary have so often joined, et quorum sem- sojourn? Positively, I do not see, per pars magna fuisti.' Call up with- if we could procure admission, and in you recollections which may not gain some little appliances, where we assimilate with the terrible objects could be better lodged for our pur, now becoming familiar to you, but poses, than in this deserted mansion.' which will, I hope, weather even fiercer — Where,'cried out Godfrey, and all storms than are raging about you, and joined him— Where could we find live to give you comfort, and even any thing more to our taste ? and if counsel, many days hence ;-call up we can only manage to make good our these pleasant remembrances, and entrance, it is but a short distance to keep them with you as you read my Bray, and we could easily supply a story.
camp arrangement for the few days we
was seen no more.
may remain here. The next consi- this place-yet it is so well worth the deration was, whether our design was seeing, that when you return, I shali practicable. The house is not near not shrink from the task of accompathe high road-our arrival at its neigh- nying you to visit it. The house bourhood was owing to the accident of stands on an eminence, but, behind it, having chosen to continue our walk the ground rises so high, that when on along the shore more perseveringly the road you cannot even suspect that than in any former excursion; and such a dwelling should lie between when we became desirous of obtaining you and the strand. On the platform, shelter, we could see no cottage or ca. or little lawn before the principal enbin where we were likely to learn how trance, you feel yourself enclosed withwe might be gratified. With very lit- in hills which sweep in a semicircle tle expectation of success, we walked to the sea, on one side in forms abrupt, round the house, knocked at its doors, and presenting a rocky and precipitous but had no answer. Both doors and appearance; on the other, descending windows were firmly closed, and the gently towards you, and at the sumperfect stillness into which the echoes mit crowned with larger trees than of our loud knocking died away, con- you often meet with in such a place ; vinced us that we were unheard. Baf- the steeps on both sides become rocky fled in our projects, but not altogether as they descend to the water's edge, without hope of success upon some
and between the barriers thus guard. other occasion, we pursued our route ing the enclosure, a most verdant lawn to Bray, and found ourselves at Quin's slopes down to a little sandy beach of before the night had decidedly set in, not more than a few yards in width, and before we had half finished what which separates it from the sea. It is we had to say, or to propose, respect- not, however, of the beauty of this ing the sea-view and the solitary house sweet seclusion-(that I should apply which had so interested and engaged names like these to such a place !)-Í us. What we learned now still fare am to write; and I will accordingly ther excited our imaginations. The pass over all that we said and thought house was the place where that dread. on such subjects, as likewise all our ful murder was perpetrated of which occupations during the day, and come you must remember the harrowing re- at once to the time when our thoughts cital—that where a servant was sus- were turned to other matters than the pected, but in which it was afterwards beauties which surrounded us. known that a banditii were concerned. “ We had taken possession of the All the particulars were again brought first floor, as being, for all purposes before us, and it was added, that since defence or observation, the most conthe horrible event, the house had been venient. We had scrutinized, with deserted—that it had acquired the re the utmost carefulness, all parts of putation of being haunted—and that the house, and having, by bolt and the owner, who resided in Bray, had bar, made fast every entrance, posted not been able to procure the services ourselves in a spacious apartment of a watchman courageous enough to which looked out upon the sea, and encounter the terrors by which it was was within an ante-room of oblong nightly infested.
form, whose only window was above “Our resolution was instantly taken the entrance at the rear of the man-we would volunteer to watch. We sion. The door opening from our would go provided against gross, cor- apartment to this ante-room had been poreal visitants, and had not much removed, but that which admitted to to apprehend from the solemnity of the other parts of the building, and ghostly salutations. Accordingly, we through which alone we could be apsought an interview with Mr proached, (for in our chamber there proprietor of the evil-reputed man- was but one door-way that communision, obtained his full permission to cated with the ante-room,) was in good meet and lay the ghosts who haunted condition; and having very strongly it; and before noon, on the following secured it, and having command of day, were established in the peaceable the various passes through which the possession of house and offices, to hold house could be approached or entered, for such time as might suit our plea- we felt ourselves, so far at least as sure and convenience. I do not think mortals were concerned, safe from you have yet become acquainted with surprise. Being four in number, we
did not think it necessary, which, af- has disturbed it. However trivial the ter the fatigues of the day, would have cause or occasion by which you have been inconvenient, that all should been agitated, the disturbance is not keep watch together; and it was pro- the less real, and it continues, too, even posed to appoint a sentinel. But my after the cause has been removed; and amendinent was adopted, that two though the storm has ceased to blow, should keep guard at a time, and in the sea is still swelling. In my case, their turn have their sleep secured from you are aware that some peculiarities hostile invasion. The times of guard of opinion combine to increase the efwere decided by lot, and (you know I ficacy of these suggestions of fear. never have success in such decisions) You know my doubts as to whether I was, with Godfrey, to have the duty imagination is any thing more than an which was the least pleasant, that of unsuccessful effort to comprehend rebeing called from sleep to act the sen- alities. We have sometimes discusse tinel from midnight until morning. ed, 'Whether such a creature as man
I slept soundly for about three hours. can possibly imagine a species of exWe had an excellent guard-bed; Mristence which has not been realised ?
having sent in for our use a large whether the fecundity of the human pallet, (we had deprecated bedclothes,) mind is greater than that of nature ? and, with a good fire blazing in the and, in short, whether he who made hearth, we felt a covering more than me has not created whatsoever it is our clothes quite unnecessary. But possible for me to conceive?' I need not these are petty details. I was called remind you, that I have never decided to my office of sentinel in due course, this question in favour of my heart's and my companions succeeded to our superstitious yearnings, or that I can vacated couch, and were soon in hap- produce good and sufficient arguments py insensibility. My comrade God- against forming such a decision; but frey speedily betrayed symptoms of a it is certain, that the love of mystery, tendency to follow their example; co-operating with the perplexing nawhile for my part, I never was more ture of the subject, has, on many an thoroughly awake in all my life. The occasion, and on none more remarkably novelty of my situation would, of it- than this of which I am writing the self, have to some extent excited me, story, so confused and embarrassed but, I ain free to confess, I was not my reasonings, as to leave intellect lite altogether void of apprehension. It tle chance against imagination. Bewould seem that I had no cause, but sides, you will remember, how narrowyet the terms in which my predeces. ly imagination and belief are separasors on guard had announced to me ted,-how frequently the beings of the that during their watch all was quiet, one overpass their boundaries, and mix were especially calculated to disturb among the inhabitants of the other,my repose. To my question on wa- how, when reason for a space resigns king, how the past hours had gone, the office of keeping them apart, the Francesco's answer was returned,- two races become confounded; and Not a mouse stirring.' How do you you will admit, that he who, with me, think this answer affected me? It familiarizes his mental eye to an imabrought up the entire of those awful ginary presence, is nurturing within passages from Hamlet vividly before him what may become the persuasion me. The words seemed ominous of that he beholds an actual existence. what I was to expect on my watch; You will not wonder, therefore, if, and my mind was instantly set into a amidst the recollections suggested by frame which would render such mid- that unfortunate expression of my night encounter most terrible. I en friend, I found some food for the apdeavoured to satisfy myself that no petite, or love, for the marvellous, by answer could have been devised more which I acknowledge myself possesse pertinent to the occasion, and less a ed. subject of wonder, than that which I "A misfortune apparently trivial, and had received. I endeavoured to chase which, under other circumstances, had away the thick-coming fancies which been of no moment, increased my disinvaded my spirit; but, for a length quiet. This was the drowsiness of of time, to litile purpose. You can- poor Godfrey. I laboured, to the utnot reason back the mind into the most stretch of my abilities, to keep calmness out of wbich some accident him awake; but in vain. Many a time have I contended with my own repug- indeed Cardan and others acknow, nance, and set myself to resist the le- ledge,) immaterial beings are con. thargic influence of companions who strained to submit to it, I cannot prowould not converse ; but never did I nounce ; but this I can unhesitatingly labour with greater perseverance, or affirm, that, in my circumstances, there torment myself to so little purpose, as was nothing extravagant in imagining in my present trial of skill. I soon the existence and authority of some began to apprehend that some more such law, and supposing myself singled than ordinary power was upon both out to witness an example of it. You Godfrey and myself. He was certain- may smile at this, but even of you I ly as the deaf adder; but I, as cer- would scarcely fear to assert, that, tainly, had not the charmer's voice. were you in my condition, your smile I was conscious of more than wonted would be but sickly. There lay two deficiency. I never so strenuously of my companions stretched out on sought for thoughts and images, but their pallet, and sleeping so deeply I never sought so unsuccessfully. God, that even their breathing could not be frey is, in general, easily excited and heard ; Godfrey also, his head reeasily amused; but if ever I had any clined against the chimney-piece, in a ability to interest, it seemed to have most tranquil sleep, perfectly motiondeserted me. Memory, and fancy, and less-nothing, in fact, which had the power of speech, forsook me in my movement in the chamber, except ocneed ; and all my faculties appeared casionally the light of the fire, and the as if they had learned the black ser- shadows from the candles, quivering vant's most provoking rule of con- upon the walls or ceiling. To be so duct—the more Massa call me, the circumstanced, on such an occasion, more I won't come. Well, the strug- with my recollections, and with an gle was over; after various manifestas unusual vitality of feeling, was to be, tions of consciousness giving way,- I confess it, very closely bordering on after monosyllabic answers uttered at that state in which marvellous things random, and some sounds altogether may be imagined. I shall fully allow inarticulate, where the power to frame for this pre-disposition to fancy strange a reply would not second the desire matters, and you may make the proto intimate intelligence, Godfrey gave per drawback before you give your bimself up to sleep; and, with a vague assent. I had, at an earlier period of impression that I was set apart to be the night, acted the censor on my the witness of some strange appari- rashness in undertaking the part which tion-I felt myself alone.
I was performing. I had endeavour“ There is, you are aware, a belief ed to think that the matter was ridis very prevalent among ghost-seers, that culous, and sought thus to fortify my spectres do not appear to more than a mind against the thoughts of awe single spectator. This, according to which were coming upon it; but now, the philosophy of those from whom I all such efforts bad ceased. I had have derived all my visionary lore, become changed; the influence of the is a law of the unsubstantial, and hour—the silence—the solita: inessshould be as implicitly received as the the images of insensibility before me,
laws of matter' are accepted amongst and my own acute wakefulness-all us. Whether this law (as are those this, and perhaps something more which regulate the seemingly less mys- mysterious still, exercised much power terious portion of existence) be merely over me, and caused me to think that a maxim derived from experience, or the change which I felt taking place whether it arise from a knowledge of within me, was but preparatory to the powers and capacities with which something for which I was intended. spiritual beings are invested, and of I recollected that notices usually presome great difficulty to be overcome cede the coming of spiritual visitants, by the bodiless in conversing with and I began to fancy, that the altered more than one mortal at a time state of my mind should be regarded whether it should be received as law, as a warning. You will perhaps, bemerely because the varieties of appari- fore you read any farther, exclaim, tions almost uniformly observe it, or that in such a state of mind I was because, from the difficulty of contri- no more to be relied on than one in ving a medium of communication be- the delirium of fever. But attend ;-I tween the living and the dead, (which was not under such excitement when my singular adventure happened. The the difference between that state of current of my thoughts and fears was feeling in which I gazed on the silent changed ; and although something of heavens, and that in which I was fasmystery and superstitious awe may cinated by my terrors. To some the have still lingered about me and min- difficulty would be to discern resemgled with my sensations, they had not, blance, not to detect a difference, beI am perfectly confident, such power tween states of mind so seemingly unas they might have acquired had their like each other. You, however, are influence been uninterrupted.
not of this number. You know that “But to proceed: After a vain com- the influence of the night heavens is bat with the awe which was over- full of mystery-that he who yields mastering me, in a hope of obtaining himself to it, feels an indefinite ex. some relief by change of place, I rose pectation that some wonder is about and walked io the window, which to take place. I speak of nights when looked out upon the sea. The sound the moon shines brightly,- nature of my footsteps startled me, as if they then, in its quietness, seems as if it were not my own. The truth is awaited some great event. I was goand this, I believe, is a general truth, ing to say, the theatre is lighted up, for I have had experience of it under and the stillness is no more than the other circumstances--when you have suitable prelude and pause of expecsat alone and musing late into the tation with which the coming wonder night, you often forget the existence is looked for ; but I reject my illusof any other portion of your being tration, because, although it might than that which thinks, and, when assimilate with the principle on which you move, it seems to you for a mo- we are moved, it is very unsuitable to ment strange that you cannot move in the emotion thus originated. Withsilence. In other cases, the state of out simile or illustration, however, it feeling in which this phenomenon oc- is perfectly clear, that we never stand curs, is of a pleasing, as well as of a out alone in the silent moonlight, solemn character—in mine, the pre- without being conscious (if no other vious excitement was so great, that it sensations have pre-occupied us) of became painfully exasperated for the some vague imagination that all is not first instant, and then (I suppose I yet complete, and that what we becould bear no more) the intensity of hold, and what we feel, is no more my mysterious emotions began rapidly than due preparation for the voice or to subside ; and although the first sa- the vision which is to be revealed to lute I received, on reaching the win- us. But this imagination is altogether dow, was the flapping of wings from destitute of gloom and terror; our a large bird which flew heavily past, anticipations are benign, our feelings my returning composure was not sca- are wholesome, and our sensations red, and I looked forth over the shining differ as widely from such as I had sea with comparative tranquillity. I lately experienced, as they would on had now an opportunity, such as never our escaping from some fetid charnel before was so fully given me, of com- vault, and emerging into the lights paring the admiration in which the and airs of this upper world. nocturnal heavens are contemplated, “ How long I enjoyed the beautiful with that superstitious awe which Í prospect before me, and my relief from had just before experienced. Pardon shapeless terrors, I cannot say. I was me for dwelling thus at length on my recalled to a sense of the place and my observations and emotions. I have condition, by a shrill whistle which Í been so much in the habit of opening heard, faint, but perfectly distinct, at my entire soul to you, that I am very a considerable distance to my left, and desirous of laying before you every close to the shore. This was, I conthing which was presented to my mind cluded, a signal, for it was presently and my senses on a night which, I answered from seemingly a greater dissuppose, I never can forget. What I tance. I now deliberated whether I thought has to me its importance much ought not to awaken my companions, enhanced by what I saw and heard; but the occasion did not, I thought, and I should begin to think of you as justify apprehension, and í determined one who did not participate in all my to await something more decisive. secrets, were you to reinain unace Shortly after, a little boat appeared isquainted with it. I was speaking of suing from the direction in which the