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if it wasna allowable.”—“ I ken nae- gart him think mair unfavourably of thing about your Shakespeare, I tell their conduct. Na, na, Sandy, that's you; but to ca’ the true tales about nae novell. I'll answer for every word the Covenanters a novell, ye may as weel o't; ay, and the story oʻ Jock Porteous ca’ the Solemn League and Covenant to the bargain. od, man, our auld a ballant, and say at ance that Mr laird has tellid my ain father, that Peden's prophecies are no true. My that night he had on his leddy's claes, grandfather, and my wife's grandfa- and keepit sentry at the Wast Port ther, and auld uncle Thamas, that's yett a' the time.” buried in the neuk o the kirkyard, I had now reached the bottom of was among these persecuted people ; Leith-Walk, listening to the preceding and mony a tale did they tell my fa- dialogue, when it came on to rain ther o' that Satan's limb Claver’se, and violently; and not thinking the conthe bloody Dalyell. I've often heard versation, (which I perceived verging the haill story, and muckle mair; and to a point upon which a Scottish peaif the schoolmaster that put out the sant can speak for ever,) worthy of bebook had come to me, I aiblins wad ing ducked to the skin for, I passed on hae telld him something anent thae before, and was soon at home. bloody persecutors, that would hae
Hor. My lord, I did :
SHAKESPEARE.—Hamlet. The belief in a future state, and of appearance of the spirits of the departe the existence of disembodied spirits, ed, is not confirmed by human expeis one of the most universally received rienoe, or by human history. Though articles of faith among the human race. unwilling to believe in the majority of No nation, however civilized,
instances of apparitions which have ly any tribe, however savage,—but has been related ; yet as the thing is quite its joys or its fears increased by the possible, by the permission of that contemplation of the life to come,- Great Being, whom we are taught to when, after the frail tenement is laid consider as the “Father of our Spirits," in its earthy bel, the immaterial and as well as the “ Former of our Bodies," immortal part begins a new stage of I think it neither unchristian nor unexistence, either inconceivably happy, philosophical, to entertain a qualified or beyond conception miserable, ac belief in the occasional appearance of cording as, in their state of probation, beings from the invisible world. their lives have been virtuous, or the
“ Millions of spiritual creatures walk the reverse. With this belief, and these
earth, ideas, which mingle in every view we Unseen, both when we wake, and when we take of futurity; and with that know sleep." ledge of the uncertainty of life which daily experience is calculated to de The sylphs and genii of other counmonstrate, it is not wonderful that tries, and of other times, and the every fancied appearance of a being brownies and fairies of our own, are from the world of spirits should strike much too great favourites, to allow with alarm, and inspire with undis- them to be annihilated at the dictum guisable terror. It is possible that the of a sceptical and cold-blooded philogreater part of these appearances may sophy, even if that philosophy were be merely the delusions of the senses, true; but while men exist, the same or unreal images, conjured up by an feelings and the same belief will conexcited imagination ; but the sceptical tinue; and spectres will still hallow assertion of the non-existence and non- the repose of the dead ;-fairies still
dance by moonlight on the haunted ly (though at distance indescribable) knoll ;- and the unsophisticated sa- with the “ wonder-working Lord of vage, and unlearned peasant, will still All.” Whether, therefore, “Margaret's recognize in the appearances of nature, grimly ghost,” (the most interesting the agency of a Being inconceivably female spirit with which I am acpowerful and infinitely good. quainted,) appears to her lover with
But even allowing the existence countenance and appearance of ghosts, spirits, and
.“ like an April morn fairies of every description to be ques Clad in a wintry cloud ;" tionable, their use in Poetry and Romance, and their higher moral purpose whether the spirit of the waters howls in deterring from crime those who are the approaching storm ; or the ghost not to be restrained by other consi- of the murdered signs the murderer to derations, render a belief in their the bar of retribution ;-whether the agency a desirable part of the code of wraiths of acquaintance glide past in faith among civilized nations. Many immaterial shadow before my eyes, or a one to whom legal and corporal pu- my dreams are haunted by appearances nishment has no terrors, have, there of friends long since departed,- I reis no doubt, been prevented from add- joice in the connexion between this ing murder to robbery, by the ap- world and another, which is thus kept prehension of a bleeding spectre dis- up, and endeavour to act as becomes a turbing their midnight and solitary being who, when“ all this fair creahours with the horrors of crimes disa tion” sinks to insignificance, shall rise played, and of a world to come; and “ Unhurt amidst the war of elements, although the belief in an All-seeing The wreck of matter, and the crash of Being, to whom our every action is worlds.” exposed, even in its naked motives, should have the same effect, yet I
But I forget that I am yet a travelknow not how it is, but thousands ler on the earth's surface, and that my who disregard the one, would shrink
kind friends are all this while waiting at the most distant idea of the
for the continuance of
adventures. appearance of the other ;-—and those who
Well, then, as I was sitting in my daily brave the threatenings of the little parlour one evening, the children Most High, woul be thawed to im- all to bed, and the house perfectly becility, by the apparition of an inju- quiet, I heard a bell ring, and Betty red fellow creature from the world of appeared immediately after, and openspirits,
ed the door, saying, “ Sir! was you
ringing ?”—“ No, Betty, I was not * And each particular hair would stand on ringing now; perhaps it was the doorend,
bell.” Betty asserted it was not the Like quills upon the fretful porcupine."
door-bell, “ for she had been ower lang There is another consideration which in the house no to ken a' the bells may be mentioned as an analogical ar- in't.” However, it was possible it gument for the existence of classes of might be the door-bell, and she acintellectual beings different from man, cordingly went to see if any person was which may have some we at with those there: There was nobody.
« There's to whom the Scriptures are no autho- naebody at the door, sir! I was sure rity; and that is, that in Nature there it wasna the door-bell, for I looked up are no breaks, no saltus, no leaps from when it rang, and saw the parlourextreme to extreme,- but all is con- bell wagging -“I assure you, Betty, nected by the most wonderful and in- that I did not ring,” replied I ;“ but sensible gradations. Stones are found you have been sleeping, and dreamt of verging to the forms and qualities of bells, or it may have been from some plants ;-some vegetables appear to of the rooms up stairs.”—“ I was as possess habits almost animal ;-and, waking as I am just now, among the brute creation, Instinct and see,” said Betty; and up she went. often reaches to the intelligence of In a few moments she returned with Reason. May not there, then, be ex- theintelligence that all the family, ouristences superior to man; classes of selves excepted, were asleep. beings which unite him with intelli- is very strange," said I, “for I beard gences free from the stains of moral the ringing myself; and it must either errox, and connect him more near- be some person in the house, or å
but I'll gang
ghost."—“A ghaist!--Preserve us a'! light, and the candlestick dropt from I hope it's naething o' that kind ; but my hand. Darkness was now added I am sure it canna be for me, for I am to my other terturs-deep groans and nae waur than my neighbours, and moaning were heard, and a hissing that's a good deal to say.”—“ Never noise, like the rushing of water, soundmind,” said I to Betty; “ if it does no ed in my ears. more harm, it may e'en ring the bell Deprived for a few seconds of my as long as it pleases. You may go muscular strength, I attempted in vain away. -“Awa! 'deed, sir, to tell ye to move from the spot; a cold dew the truth, I'm fear’d to gang down the trickled down my forehead, and I felt stair my lane, in case it's something all the horrors of a premature conneeuncanny.”—“Go, you stupid fool, tion with the invisible world. Recoverthere is no such thing as ghosts,” re- ing my recollection, I rushed up stairs. plied I, in a tone of assurance—“all The groans now swelled louder on my nursery tales.” Betty went away, not ear, the hissing noise again began, and without apprehensions of something to escape from both, I bounded up like supernatural; but in place of going an antelope, taking the reach of two down to the kitchen, she went up steps at one. I had almost reached stairs.
the second floor, when my foot, striI now began to think of the cause king a soft substance violently, I lost of the bell ringing so unexpectedly, my balance, and tumbled over a huand at such an hour, for it was near man body.“ Gracious powers ! what twelve o'clock; and as I myself had is this !" I involuntarily exclaimed. heard it distinctly, I could not be per “ Lord have mercy upon me!" cried suaded it was altogether an illusion. out a voice in a stified tone of anguish, The sight of the bell-rope still vibra “ and preserve me from the Evil One! ting, to which I now turned my eyes, I'm gone now !—I'm murdered outalso shewed that there was something right. Luckily for us all, I had by in it more than the poor girl's appre- this time become so accustomed to fear, hensions. I trust I am not very defi- that it did not deprive me of the use cient in personal courage upon proper of my voice; and I cried out with occasions; but I thought at this mo- vehemence, “ Lights !-a light here! ment that the candle gave a fainter - there is a body in the stair." A light than usual, and another look chamber-lamp now peeped from the convinced me that the flame was ac
“ There it's again !" tually of a deeper blue than ordinary. said the voice; “see tillit coming To ascertain if any thing was wrong again !—the awfu' thing's coming !" with the bell, I applied my hand to The whole house was now alarmed, the cord, and pulled it once or twice. at least all the grown-up inmates; Mrs It rung violently, and a loud scream, Columbus appeared half-dressed and the sound as of a heavy body lights were procured, -and I found by falling on the floor above, instant- this means that one cause of my terror ly succeeded. Fear is sympathetic, was removed. The body upon which and I now began to feel that I was I had stumbled was that of poor Betnot insensible to terror. My stick also ty, who had fallen down in a fainting lost its balance, from some unknown fit at the second ringing of the bell ; cause, and fell from its situation in and the terror occasioned by my violent the corner ; and though at any other fall, and perhaps pain by the prostime this circumstance should not have tration so suddenly of my specific graalarmed me, yet I cannot say I was free vity, (I weigh ten stone, jockeyfrom apprehension. I looked round the weight,) made her think the Enemy of room to see if the other articles in it Mankind had clutched, and was going retained their quiescent posture, and in to fly away with her out at the windread that the poker and tongs might dow. take it into their heads to waltz,-my “ What a ridiculous business is pen and ink dance a saraband before this,” said Mrs Columbus; "and how my astonished eyes, -and the tables does it happen that you and your mas. and chairs arrange themselves for a ter are scrambling in the stair together country dance. After a moment's he- at this time of night?" and she eyed sitation, I snatched up the candle, and me, as if she had detected me in leserushed towards the door ; but, O hor- majesty to her highness.—“It's someror!-a gust of wind blew out the thing no canny in the house, mem,'
answered Betty, with great simplici- no persuasion could induce the girls to ty ; “for as I was sitting in the kit- move from my side. Here, in close chen all the bells rung at once; and conclave, it was resolved, in the first when I went up the stair and found place, that the house was certainly it was naebody ringing, I was gaun up haunted by some “perturbed spirit” to cry on Jenny, for I was feart, when or other; and, in the second place, they a' rung again ; a flash of fire upon the suggestion of Mrs Columbus, glanced in my een, and an unearthly it was unanimously agreed on, that, in cry, like a howlet's whusht, made me case the alarming sounds had proceedfa' down in a dwaum.”—The other girl ed from thieves, (though that was seemed to swallow the narration greed- scarcely possible, considering the care ily, and the expression of her counte- had in locking the doors,) it would be nance, and the trembling of her hand necessary to arm, and examine the diwhich held the candle, shewed that ning-room, from which apartment the she was prepared to be as terrified as noise seemed to have proceeded. The possible, did any thing occur to alarm order of march was the next considerher fears.
ation. I had the honour to be select“ I have broken my shins on your ed as the forlorn hope, and was armed account, Mrs Betty," said I; “ you with a poker, the only weapon which tripped me up so completely, as I was was at hand. The two girls followed, running up stairs.”_ Lordsake, sir, one of them carrying a light, linked was it you that fell aboon me! I'm arm in arm, like a Macedonian phaglad o that, for I thought it was the lanx ; and Mrs Columbus brought up ghaist, or that the ceiling o' the house the rear, protected by one of the chil. had fa'en down.". “Well, well,” said dren's school Bibles, which she was Mrs Columbus, “ I don't understand forced to take up, on the asseverations this story, but we will see about it of the lassies, that its possession would all to-morrow. Meantime, go you, keep us unhurt should the Enemy of Betty, and get the candle from the par- Mankind dare to shew his face. We lour, and go to bed."-"Me gang for descended the stair cautiously, and in the candle, mem!"answered Betty, "I silence, except the muttering of occawadna gang down the stair again the sional wishes for our preservation, by night, if ye war to gie me the haill the frightened maidens. The hissing house to mysell. I winna sleep anither noise had ceased ; no groans were night in't. I'm sure I wad gang out o' heard ; but at the bottom of the stair my judgment if I did.”—“Jenny, go lay the candlestick which I had dropyou ; Mr Columbus will go with you, ped. The dining-room door was parand take this light in your hand.” tially open ; I grasped the poker more “ Eh, mem, you manna ask me to firmly in my hand, and set my teeth gang, for if I war to see ony thing un- in firm defiance. Before entering, canny, I am sure it would drive me however, I listened for a moment, dementit.”—“Come, give me the light my left hand in the act of pushand I'll go myself,” said I;" we can- ing up the door. My female comnot stop here all night.” Just as I was panions, with eyes like saucers, stood about to take the light and descend, a two or three steps behind me, ready long-sounding “ hush” was heard, to scream at the sight of the terrible which was followed by a noise like the apparition. I pushed the door hastily report of a pistol, but which, increased open ; the hissing sound again was by the silence, resounded in our ears heard; a loud noise succeeded, minga like a peal of thunder. Mrs Columbus led with the crashing as of glass; the exclaimed in terror, seizing my arm, candle dropt from the hand that held “ Gracious, what's that ! Christopher, it, and was extinguished ; and the you must not go!” The two girls yell- screams of the females added to the ed in chorus, their eyes like to start horrors of a scene already almost overfrom their sockets, and likewise clung powering. Had the devil, or a robber, round me for protection, ejaculating now appeared, he would have been in such portions of Scripture as fear had perfect safety for me, for my arms and not totally banished from their me- coat were seized, and that so firmly, mory.
by the womankind, that I could not We now, by common consent, ad- move. By common consent, or rather journed to a 'bed-room, leaving the instinct, we again retreated up stairs, children to take care of themselves, as in hollow square, as well as three indi
viduals could form a square ; and, opening of the door. One thing alone after some further deliberations, in remained to be accounted for, and which I reassured myself it could not that was, the supernatural ringing of be thieves, I procured a light, and the bell. This was also, after some went down boldly, the candle in one experiments on the bell-rope, satisfachand, and the poker in the other. The torily ascertained to have proceeded females, as usual, persuaded me not to from some slight injury to the spring. venture; but, as I saw there was to be The family were now about to reno end to the business without a little tire, when the noise of a distant drum risk, I determined to persevere. At
" What can that be ?" the fatal door, I hesitated a moment, said Mrs Columbus; and new seriwhether or not I should enter, but at ousness, if not terror, again began to last I rushed in, and found -how overspread our countenances. “ It shall I tell it? --that the cause of sounds very like the fire-drum,” said our terror was — the bursting of two 1.—“You're right, sir, you're quite beer-bottles, under the side-board. right;, I'm sure it's just the fire
The extremes of passion are nearly drum," said Betty. “ Eh! it sounds allied, and laughing and crying often awfu' at this time o' night.” The conaccompany one another on any strong jecture was but too true. It was the excitement. I was almost ready to fire-drum; and a gleam of light to the drop the candle once more with down- northward, 'and a confused noise of right laughter; and all my alarm was voices, shewed that the fire was at no changed to mirth, by the appearance great distance. Fire is a dreadful caof the beerless and shattered bottles. lamity; and even excess of caution is The noise I made reached the apart- laudable to prevent or lessen its dement above, and I understood after- vastations. In a few minutes the parwards, before I had communicated tial appearance of the flames waving the true reason, it was conjectured beyond the chimney-tops pointed out that my laughter was hysterical, or the precise spot, and we were rivetted the sportive effusions of mirth-loving to the window looking at its incontrollfiends, enjoying the trepidation of me, able progress. I was on the eve of Christopher Columbus. But I soon putting on my hat, and going to see put an end to all apprehensions for if proper assistance had been promy safety, by calling out,~“Betty! cured; but was stopped by the perBetty !-come down, and wipe up the suasions of Mrs Columbus, who said heart's blood of the murdered beer- that on these occasions in Edinburgh bottles !"_“Eh ! what !” said Betty, there were always too many people as“ is a safe? - Is there naething to be sembled. “Besides,” said she, “ you fear'd for?”-“Nothing but your own will catch cold, not being accustomed foolish imaginations,” replied I. The to be out at night, and I should be party now descended. “Gude sake, is afraid to be left alone after what has that a'?” said Jenny. “Quite enough happened." I allowed myself to be at once,” said Mrs Columbus ; “but persuaded ; though we could not think you must never leave your beer there of going to bed, but stood fascinated at again all night, Betty.—It is mon- the window, gazing in hopeless concern strously teasing to have the house for the preservation of the little furturned upside down for such a silly niture of the inmates. thing."
The flames now ascended to a great Our fears were now at an end. The height, and illuminated the surroundhissing noise, which sounded in the ing streets to a distance. The chimmoment of alarm like the fall of a dis- neys rose in striking outline amidst tant cataract, was now easily traced to the general darkness. It was a subthe action of the fermenting liquid, lime sight; and could one have diand the noise that had alarmed us vested one's self of the apprehension of so much proceeded from the action of danger or ruin to those who occupied the samne agent, in expelling the un- the houses in flames, it might have willing corks. The groans I heard, furnished a desirable study for a painton first leaving my apartment, were er. It struck one o'clock in St Giles's. traced to the fear of Mrs Betty, which The noise increased, and the rattling made her fall in the stair ; and the gust of the fire-engines to the spot conveyof wind, which extinguished my candle, ed the idea of a city taken by storm. was found to be owing to the hurried The exertions to moderate the violence