Page images

up stairs, and brings it down, Says Mrs Veal, “ Dear Mrs Bargrave, if the eyes of our faith were as open as the eyes of our body, we should see numbers of angels about us for our guard. The notions we have of Heaven now, are nothing like what it is, as Drelincourt says ; therefore be comforted under your afflictions, and believe that the Almighty has a particular regard to you, and that your afflictions are marks of God's favour ; and when they have done the business they are sent for, they shall be removed from you. And believe me, my dear friend, believe what I say to you, one minute of future happiness will infinitely reward you for all your sufferings. For I can never believe (and claps her hand upon her knee with great earnestness, which, indeed, ran through most of her discourse) that ever God will suffer you to spend all your days in this afflicted state. But be assured that your afflictions shall leave you, or you them, in a short time." She spake in that pathetical and heavenly manner, that Mrs Bargrave wept several times, she was so deeply affected with it.

Then Mrs Veal mentioned Dr Kenrick's Ascetick, at the end of which he gives an account of the lives of the primitive Christians. Their pattern she recommended to our imitation, and said, “ Their conversation was not like this of our age. For now," says she, “ there is nothing but vain frothy discourse, which is far different from theirs. Theirs was to edification, and to build one another

up in faith, so that they were not as we are, nor are we as they were. But,” said she, “ we ought to do as they did; there was an hearty friendship among them ; but where is it now to be found ?” Says Mrs Bargrave, “ It is hard indeed to find a true friend in these days.” Says Mrs Veal, “ Mr Norris has a fine copy of verses, called Friendship in Perfection, which I wonderfully admire. Have you seen the book ?" says Mrs Veal. “ No,” says Mrs Bargrave; “ but I have the verses of my own writing out.”—“Have you ?” says Mrs Veal;“ then fetch them;" which she did from above stairs, and offered them to Mrs Veal to read, who refused, and waved the thing, saying, “ holding down her head would make it ach ;" and then desiring Mrs Bargrave to read them to her, which she did. As they were ad

and say,

miring Friendship, Mrs Veal said, “Dear Mrs Bargrave, I shall love you for ever.” In these verses there is twice used the word “Elysian.”—“Ah!" says Mrs Veal, “these poets have such names for Heaven!” She would often draw her hand across her own eyes, “ Mrs Bargrave, do not you think I am mightily impaired by my fits ?” “No," says Mrs Bargrave, “I think you look as well as ever I knew you."

After this discourse, which the apparition put in much finer words than Mrs Bargrave said she could pretend to, and as much more than she can remember, (for it cannot be thought that an hour and three quarters' conversation could all be retained, though the main of it she thinks she does,) she said to Mrs Bargrave she would have her write a letter to her brother, and tell him she would have him give rings to such and such ; and that there was a purse of gold in her cabinet, and that she would have two broad pieces given to her cousin Watson.

Talking at this rate, Mrs Bargrave thought that a fit was coming upon her, and so placed herself on a chair just before her knees, to keep her from falling to the ground, if her fits should occasion it ; for the elbow chair, she thought, would keep her from falling on either side. And to divert Mrs Veal, as she thought, took hold of her gown sleeve several times, and commended it. Mrs Veal told her it was a scoured silk, and newly made up. But for all this, Mrs Veal persisted in her request, and told Mrs Bargrave she must not deny her. And she would have her tell her brother all their conversation when she had opportunity. “ Dear Mrs Veal," says Mrs Bargrave, “this seems so impertinent, that I cannot tell how to comply with it ; and what a mortifying story will our conversation be to a young gentleman! Why," says Mrs Bargrave, “it is much better, methinks, to do it yourself."“No," says Mrs Veal," though it seems impertinent to you now, you

will see more reasons for it hereafter.” Mrs Bargrave, then, to satisfy her importunity, was going to fetch a pen and ink, but Mrs Veal said, “ Let it alone now, but do it when I am gone ; but you must be sure to do it;” which was one of the last things she enjoined her at parting, and so she promised her.

Then Mrs Veal asked for Mrs Bargrave's daughter ; she said she was not at home ;“ but if you have a mind to see her,” says Mrs Bargrave, “ I'll send for her.”—“ Do,” says Mrs Veal; on which she left her, and went to a neighbour's to see her ; and by the time Mrs Bargrave was returning, Mrs Veal was got without the door, in the street, in the face of the beast-market, on a Saturday, (which is market day,) and stood ready to part as soon as Mrs Bargrave came to her. She asked her why she was in such haste. She said she must be going, though perhaps she might not go her journey till Monday; and told Mrs Bargrave she hoped she should see her again at her cousin Watson's, before she went whither she was going. Then she said, she would take her leave of her, and walked from Mrs Bargrave, in her view till a turning interrupted the sight of her, which was three quarters after one in the afternoon.

Mrs Veal died the 7th of September, at twelve o'clock at noon, of her fits, and had not above four hours' senses before her death, in which time she received the sacrament. The next day after Mrs Veal's appearance, being Sunday, Mrs Bargrave was mightily indisposed with a cold and a sore throat, that she could not go out that day ; but on Monday morning she sends a person 10 Captain Watson's, to know if Mrs Veal was there. They wondered at Mrs Bargrave's inquiry, and sent her word she was not there, nor was expected. At this answer, Mrs Bargrave told the maid she had certainly mistook the name, or made some blunder. And though she was ill, she put on her hood, and went herself to Captain Watson's, though she knew none of the family, to see if Mrs Veal was there or not. They said they wondered at her asking, for that she had not been in town ; they were sure, if she had, she would have been there. Says Mrs Bargrave, “I am sure she was with me on Saturday almost two hours." They said it was impossible, for they must have seen her if she had. In comes Captain Watson, while they were in dispute, and said that Mrs Veal was certainly dead, and the escutcheons were making. This strangely surprised Mrs Bargrave, when she sent to the person immediately who had the care of them, and found it true. Then she related the whole story to Captain Watson's family; and what gown she had on, and how striped ; and that Mrs Veal told her it was scoured. Then Mrs Watson cried out, “ You have seen her indeed, for none knew, but Mrs Veal and myself, that the gown was scoured.” And Mrs Watson owned that she described the gown exactly ; “ for,” said she, “ I helped her to make it up.” This Mrs Watson blazed all about the town, and avouched the demonstration of the truth of Mrs Bargrave's seeing Mrs Veal's apparition. And Captain Watson carried two gentlemen immediately to Mrs Bargrave's house, to hear the relation from her own mouth. And when it spread so fast, that gentlemen, and persons of quality, the judicious and sceptical part of the world, flocked in upon her, it at last became such a task, that she was forced to go out of the way; for they were in general extremely satisfied of the truth of the thing, and plainly saw that Mrs Bargrave was no hypochondriack, for she always appears with such a cheerful air, and pleasing mien, that she has gained the favonr and esteem of all the gentry: and it is thought a great favour if they can but get the relation from her own mouth. I should have told you before, that Mrs Veal told Mrs Bargrave that her sister and brother-in-law were just come down from London to see her. Says Mrs Bargrave, “ How came you to order matters so strangely?"_" It could not be helped,” said Mrs Veal. And her brother and sister did come to see her, and entered the town of Dover just as Mrs Veal was expiring. Mrs Bargrave asked her whether she would drink some tea. Says Mrs Veal, “ I do not care if I do ; but I'll warrant you this mad fellow (meaning Mrs Bargrave's husband) has broke all your trinkets.”—“ But,” says Mrs Bargrave, “ I'll get something to drink in for all that ;” but Mrs Veal waved it, and said, “ It is no matter ; let it alone:” and so it passed.

All the time I sate with Mrs Bargrave, which was some hours, she recollected fresh sayings of Mrs Veal. And one material thing more she told Mrs Bargrave, that old Mr Bretton allowed Mrs Veal ten pounds a-year, which was a secret, and unknown to Mrs Bargrave till Mrs Veal told her.

Mrs Bargrave never varies in her story, which puzzles those who doubt of the truth, or are unwilling to believe it. A servant in the neighbour's yard adjoining to Mrs Bargrave's house heard her talking to somebody an hour of the time Mrs Veal was with her. Mrs Bargrave went out to her next neighbour's the very moment she parted with Mrs Veal, and told her what ravishing conversation she had with an old friend, and told the whole of it. Drelincourt's Book of Death is, since this happened, bought up strangely. And it is to be observed, that, notwithstanding all the trouble and fatigue Mrs Bargrave has undergone upon this account, she never took the value of a farthing nor suffered her daughter to take anything, of anybody, and therefore can have no interest in telling the story.

But Mr Veal does what he can to stifle the matter, and said he would see Mrs Bargrave; but yet it is certain matter of fact that he has been at Captain Watson's since the death of his sister, and yet never went near Mrs Bargrave; and some of his friends

report her to be a liar, and that she knew of Mr Bretton's ten pounds a-year. But the person who pretends to say. so, has the reputation to be a notorious liar among persons whom I know to be of undoubted credit. Now, Mr Veal is more of a gentleman than to say she lies ; but says a bad husband has crazed her; but she needs only present herself, and it will effectually confute that pretence. Mr Veal says he asked his sister on her death-bed whether she had a mind to dispose of anything? And she said no. Now, the things which Mrs Veal's apparition would have disposed of, were so trifling, and nothing of justice aimed at in the disposal, that the design of it appears to me to be only in order to make Mrs Bargrave so to demonstrate the truth of her appearance, as to satisfy the world of the reality thereof, as to what she had seen and heard ; and to secure her reputation among the reasonable and understanding part of mankind. And then again, Mr Veal owns that there was a purse of gold; but it was not found in her cabinet, but in a comb-box. This looks improbable, for that Mrs Watson owned that Mrs Veal was so very careful of the key of her cabinet that she would trust nobody with it ; and if so, no doubt she would not trust her gold out of it. And Mrs Veal's often drawing her hands over her eyes, and asking Mrs Bargrave, whether her fits had not impaired her, looks to me, as if she did it on purpose to remind

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »