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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


The author responsible for this yarn is Dr. Gregory, F.R.S., Professor of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh. After studying for many years the real or alleged phenomena of what has been called mesmerism, or electro-biology, or hypnotism, Dr. Gregory published in 1851 his Letters to a Candid Inquirer on Animal Magnetism.

Though a F.R.S. and a Professor of Chemistry, the Doctor had no more idea of what constitutes evidence than a baby. He actually mixed up the Tyrone with the Lyttelton ghost story! His legend of Queen Mary's jewels is derived from (1) the note-book, _or_ (2) a letter containing, or professing to contain, extracts from the note-book, of a Major Buckley, an Anglo-Indian officer. This gentleman used to "magnetise" or hypnotise people, some of whom became clairvoyant, as if possessed of eyes acting as "double-patent-million magnifiers," permeated by X rays.

"What follows is transcribed," says the Doctor, "from Major Buckley's note-book." We abridge the narrative. Major Buckley hypnotised a young officer, who, on November 15, 1845, fell into "a deeper state" of trance. Thence he awoke into a "clairvoyant" condition and said:--


"I have had a strange dream about your ring" (a "medallion" of Anthony and Cleopatra); "it is very valuable."

Major Buckley said it was worth 60 pounds, and put the ring into his friend's hand.

"It belonged to royalty."

"In what country?"

"I see Mary, Queen of Scots. It was given to her by a man, a foreigner, with other things from Italy. It came from Naples. It is not in the old setting. She wore it only once. The person who gave it to her was a musician."

The seer then "saw" the donor's signature, "Rizzio". But Rizzio spelled his name Riccio! The seer now copied on paper a writing which in his trance he saw on vellum. The design here engraved (p. 32) is only from a rough copy of the seer's original drawing, which was made by Major Buckley.

[Picture of vellum as described in the text - images/rizzo.gif]

"Here" (pointing to the middle) "I see a diamond cross." The smallest stone was above the size of one of four carats. "It" (the cross) "was worn out of sight by Mary. The vellum has been shown in the House of Lords." {31}

" . . . The ring was taken off Mary's finger by a man in anger and jealousy: he threw it into the water. When he took it off, she was being carried in a kind of bed with curtains" (a litter).

Just before Rizzio's murder Mary was enceinte, and might well be carried in a litter, though she usually rode.

The seer then had a view of Sizzle's murder, which he had probably read about.

Three weeks later, in another trance, the seer finished his design of the vellum. The words


probably stand for a Marie, de la part de--

The thistle heads and leaves in gold at the corners were a usual decoration of the period; compare the ceiling of the room in Edinburgh Castle where James VI. was born, four months after Rizzio's murder. They also occur in documents. Dr. Gregory conjectures that so valuable a present as a diamond cross may have been made not by Rizzio, but through Rizzio by the Pope.

It did not seem good to the doctor to consult Mary's lists of jewels, nor, if he had done so, would he have been any the wiser. In 1566, just before the birth of James VI., Mary had an inventory drawn up, and added the names of the persons to whom she bequeathed her treasures in case she died in child-bed. But this inventory, hidden among a mass of law-papers in the Record Office, was not discovered till 1854, nine years after the vision of 1845, and three after its publication by Dr. Gregory in 1851. Not till 1863 was the inventory of 1566, discovered in 1854, published for the Bannatyne Club by Dr. Joseph Robertson.