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the door. It is found in unlikely corners. It has to be scrubbed, fitted, tested, till, freed from the rust of disbelief, it suddenly slips into the corresponding socket, and a vast new sphere lies enfranchised before the student's delighted eyes.
Seeing what have been the realised issues of modern inquiry, it is sometimes amazing to notice through what an atmosphere of coy hesitation, a new and reasonable theory has frequently to force its way, more especially if it partake of that character to which the much-dreaded charge of superstitious credulity' may by possibility attach. And yet it should not surprise ús. Few have the courage to defy ridicule, to despise the despisers, and hold on their steady course of investigation and experiment, comforted—if that be necessary—by the recollection that derision, while it has rooted up some worthless weeds, has been equally directed against flowers of knowledge, the most sacred and precious to the heart of man.
“We come to the point at issue. Can the spirits of the departed reveal themselves, under any conceivable conditions, to the outward senses ? To collate the mighty mass of testimony adducible in favour of such a possibility, would occupy an average lifetime; and then where is the Solomon who shall decide ? It is a question of veracity-of impression. Ghosts give no certificate, leave no mark, save on the mind and memory of the seer, and this mysterious countersign is lost to all but him. We are cast back, for confirmation that will wholly satisfy our reason, upon the consideration of the question that heads this paper—' Is it possible ?' Is it possible that pure spirit can communicate with spirit still incorporate, and that through the channels which are characteristic of this present state of being? If the freed can reach the captive spirit only through the latter's material eye or ear, it would seem to infer the necessity of a corresponding material presence or tongue. If spirit could act on spirit irrespective of the fleshly bar, the revelation might be as distinct as if every outward sense had been accessory to it. Yet in no instance that can be regarded as authentic, has it occurred that a mere mental impression has been the means of imparting those circumstantial details, which give to what are called ghost stories such solemn tone and dread reality.
" From hence arises a question which, in a paper intended to be suggestive, not argumentative, shall be dismissed in a few lines. Is it not possible that, in that convulsive moment which separates soul and body, there may be evolved a transient condition of being, which neither body nor spirit-semi-materialpossesses some of the attributes of both? It may be regarded as the veil of the disembodied spirit-a fluid vaporous essence,
invisible in its normal state--but, for the brief space of its new condition, exercising some of the properties of matter.
“If it be objected that this fluid substance, in a form so subtle, can in no wise act on matter-cannot influence eye or ear-how is it that, from the most subtle fluids-electricity, for example—are obtained the most powerful agents ? or why do mere changes of light exercise chemical action upon ponderable substances ?
“Granting the possibility of the existence of such a transition state, the supernatural features would be re erable to the circumstance that the spirit, as the surviving and superior essence, accomplishing what was impracticable while it was wholly clad in clay, might annihilate time and space, and, in the image and reflex of the form from which it has hardly departed, be itself the bearer of the tidings of dissolution. Who can say but that these mysterious visitations instead of being, as some allege, the suspension or supercession of natural laws, may prove to be rather the complete fulfilment of one of the most beautiful and interesting of the marvellous code?
“Let us see how far the theory thus hastily sketched out is applicable to known examples.
“ If we commence with an instance so familiar to many readers as the famous ' Lyttelton Ghost,' it is because that singular narrative supplies us with a double apparition-because, though related in many a mutilated form, it has never, to the writer's knowledge, been given entire—and because his—the writer's— mother, when a girl, heard it from the lips of an actor in the tale, Mr. Miles Peter Andrews-a frequent guest of her father, Sir G. P- of Theobald's Park, Herts. Sir G-suffered much from gout, and the hours of the establishment were usually early; but, on the occasion of Mr. Andrews's visits, no one stirred till midnight. It was five minutes before that hour that Lord Lyttelton's ghost had appeared to him; and though, at the time we speak of, fifteen years had elapsed, he was not wholly free from certain nervous emotions, which made him prefer to pass that never-forgotten moment in company.
" It was in or about the year 1775, that Lord Lyttelton, while resident at Hagley Park, made the acquaintance of a family living a short distance off, at Clent, and consisting of the father, mother, son, and four daughters, of whom the eldest was married to a Mr. Cameron, and had, it was said, demeaned herself in a manner to create some scandal.
Upon the death of the father of the family, which occurred in June, 1778, the intimacy increased, and the gay and agreeable lord was firmly established in the good graces of his “Clentiles," as he called them, to whom on New Year's Day, 1779—the last he was destined to see—he addressed an epistle burlesquing, with more wit than propriety, the language of apostolic writings.
“ Accepting this specious address in the spirit its author no doubt intended, the unsuspicious mother not only read it to her children, but encouraged the visits of the supposed moralist, until the young ladies, to the astonishment of all who knew Lord Lyttelton's real character, were seen actually residing at Hagley Park! The mother's eyes were now open, but too late. She had lost control of the girls, and when, in September of this fatal year, 1779, Miss Christian accompanied his lordship to Ireland, an Irish lady being of the party, the consciousness of her own indiscretion threw the unhappy lady into an illness from which she never recovered.
“Early in November the party returned from Ireland, and, being met by the two other sisters who had remained at Hagley Park, all went together to reside at Lord Lyttelton's town mansion, situated in Hill-street, Berkeley-square. Here, on the night of Thursday, the 26th of November, occurred the famous vision, which, whether or not it may be held to connect itself with the event it purported to foreshadow, certainly rests upon evidence too strong to admit of rational question.
“Lord Lyttelton's bedroom bell was heard to ring with unusual violence, and his servant, hastily obeying the summons, found him looking much disordered. He explained that he had been awakened by something resembling a fluttering white bird. Having, with some difficulty, driven this object away, he had been still more startled by the appearance of a figure in long white drapery-a woman of majestic presence—the image (as he afterwards averred) of the mother of his young guests.
• Prepare to die, my lord,' said the apparition ; 'you will quickly be called.'
"How soon-how soon ?' Lord Lyttelton had eagerly asked. In three years ?
“Three years !' was the stern rejoinder. , ' Three days. Within that time you will be in the state of the departed.'
“The figure vanished.
“ This incident made a deep impression on his lordship's mind. Making no secret of what had occurred, he related it not only to the party in his house, but to many friends—among others, to Lords Sandys and Westcote. The latter, who was a connexion, and, after Lord Lyttelton, the representative of the house, made light of the matter, and advised him to devote his thoughts, preferably, to a speech he was to make in Parliament a few days later.
“ Lord Sandys gave better counsel. My dear fellow, if you believe this strange occurrence, and would have us believe it, be
persuaded to make some change in your doings. Give up, by all means, that silly frolic you told us of-I mean, of going, next Sunday I think, to Woodcote. But I suppose it is only one of your fine devices to make us plain people stare. So drink a cup of chocolate, and talk of something else.'
“ The “frolic' alluded to by Lord Sandys was a projected visit, on the Sunday following; to Woodcote, or, as it has been more recently called, Pit Place-a country seat at Epsom, stated to have been won by Lord Lyttelton from Lord Foley at play.
“ That the apparition was discussed in the interval is further attested by Madame Piozzi.
“On Saturday, a lady from Wales dropped in, and told us she had been at Drury Lane last night. How were you entertained ?' said I. Very strangely indeed,' was the reply; not with the play, though, for I scarce knew what they acted, but with the discourse of a Captain Ascough, or Askew-so his companions called him—who averred that a friend of his, the profligate Lord Lyttelton, as I understood by them, had certainly seen a spirit, who has warned him that he is to die within the next three days, and I have thought of nothing else ever since.'
“No further accounts reached the Thrales until Monday morning, when the return of the scared party of guests from Epsom brought the first tidings of their entertainer's death.
“Not quite the first. On the Sunday night, Mr. M. P. Andrews, who had been invited to join the mad party to Woodcote, but had declined on account of an engagement to the Pigous, in Hertfordshire, had retired to bed at the mansion of the latter. At a few minutes before twelve - so he was accustomed to relate-Lord Lyttelton “thrust himself between the curtains, dressed in the yellow nightgown in which he used to read, and said in a mournful tone, Åh, Andrews, it's all over !'
Oh,' replied I quickly, ' are you there, you dog?' 'and, recollecting there was but one door to the room, rushed out at it, locked it, and held the key in my hand, calling to the housekeeper and butler, whose voices I could hear, to ask when Lord Lyttelton arrived, and what trick he was meditating. The servants made answer, with much amazement, that no such arrival had taken place; but I assured them I had seen and spoken to him, and could produce him; ' For here,' said I, he is, safe under lock and key. We opened the door, and found no one.'
“Let us see what at that precise moment was passing in Surrey. According to the testimony of Williams, Lord Lyttelton's valet, whose story never varied in the slightest degree, and was confirmed in every particular by Captain Ascough, the party had arrived from London in the highest
spirits, and, being joined by other young people of the county, prolonged their merriment until past eleven. Soon after that hour Lord Lyttelton, looking at his watch, observed :
“Well, now I must leave you, agreeable as you all are. I must meditate on next Wednesday's speech. I have actually brought some books with me !"
“ But the ghost-the ghost!” exclaimed one of the careless party, laughing
Oh, don't you see that we have bilked the -?' (a coarse expression,) returned his lordship. (Another of the party affirmed that he had said 'jockeyed the ghost.")
“ He escaped from them, rau up to his chamber-one of the smaller-still chosen at Pit Place as the carved chamber,' from the carved oaken facing to the doors. His servant had placed the rcading table, lamp, &c., and assisted his master to put on his yellow gown.
Lord Lyttelton then said: Make up my five grains of rhubarb and peppermint-water, and leave me. But did you remember to bring rolls enough from London ?'
" I brought none, my lord. I have found a baker here, at Epsom, who makes them just as your lordship likes.' He was stirring the mixture as he spoke.
"What's that you are using ? A toothpick? You lazy devil, go fetch a spoon directly.'
"Williams hastened away, but had hardly quitted the room when a loud noise recalled him. His master had fallen sideways across the table, bringing it, books, lamp, and all, to the ground. He raised him.
Speak to me, my lord. My dear lord, speak.' “The dying man gasped, and strove to answer, but ' Ah, Williams !' were the only intelligible words, and these were his last.
“ Williams, his watch in his hand, flew down to the revellers below.
6 "Not twelve o'clock yet' (it wanted five minutes), ' and dead-dead!!
" It remains to be added that, owing to circumstances never fully explained, tidings of the death of their mother, on the Thursday night preceding, only met the young ladies on their arrival in town on that dismal Monday.
“ The coincidence of the result with the previously-announced prophecy, suggested to the incredulous an idea that Lord Lyttelton had determined on self-destruction. A hundred circumstances united to negative this mode of explanation. Of a genial, easy temperament, immersed in the excitement of politics, a successful gambler and turfite, in a position of great prosperity, Lord