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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


"When they told me that father was dead I felt very sick and bad; I did not know anything. Then father came to me. He had on a white shirt" (his own was grey), "and black clothes and slippers. When I came to, I told Pat I had seen father. I asked Pat if he had brought back father's old clothes. He said 'No,' and asked me why I wanted them. I told him father said he had sewed a roll of bills inside of his grey shirt, in a pocket made of a piece of my old red dress. I went to sleep, and father came to me again. When I awoke I told Pat he must go and get the clothes"--her father's old clothes.

Pat now telephoned to Mr. Hoffman, Coroner of Dubuque, who found the old clothes in the back yard of the local morgue. They were wrapped up in a bundle. Receiving this news, Pat went to Dubuque on February 9, where Mr. Hoffman opened the bundle in Pat's presence. Inside the old grey shirt was found a pocket of red stuff, sewn with a man's long, uneven stitches, and in the pocket notes for thirty-five dollars.

The girl did not see the body in the coffin, but asked about the _old_ clothes, because the figure of her father in her dream wore clothes which she did not recognise as his. To dream in a faint is nothing unusual. {50}


Swooning, or slight mental mistiness, is not very unusual in ghost seers. The brother of a friend of my own, a man of letters and wide erudition, was, as a boy, employed in a shop in a town, say Wexington. The overseer was a dark, rather hectic-looking man, who died. Some months afterwards the boy was sent on an errand. He did his business, but, like a boy, returned by a longer and more interesting route. He stopped as a bookseller's shop to stare at the books and pictures, and while doing so felt a kind of mental vagueness. It was just before his dinner hour, and he may have been hungry. On resuming his way, he looked up and found the dead overseer beside him. He had no sense of surprise, and walked for some distance, conversing on ordinary topics with the appearance. He happened to notice such a minute detail as that the spectre's boots were laced in an unusual way. At a crossing, something in the street attracted his attention; he looked away from his companion, and, on turning to resume their talk, saw no more of him. He then walked to the shop, where he mentioned the occurrence to a friend. He has never during a number of years had any such experience again, or suffered the preceding sensation of vagueness.

This, of course, is not a ghost story, but leads up to the old tale of the wraith of Valogne. In this case, two boys had made a covenant, the first who died was to appear to the other. He _did_ appear before news of his death arrived, but after a swoon of his friend's, whose health (like that of Elizabeth Conley) suffered in consequence.


"PERCEVAL MURDER." Times, 25th May, 1812.

"A Dumfries paper states that on the night of Sunday, the 10th instant, _twenty-four hours before the fatal deed was perpetrated_, a report was brought to Bude Kirk, two miles from Annan, that _Mr. Perceval was shot on his way to the House of Commons, at the door or in the lobby of that House_. This the whole inhabitants of the village are ready to attest, as the report quickly spread and became the topic of conversation. A clergyman investigated the rumour, with the view of tracing it to its source, but without success."

The Times of 2nd June says, "Report without foundation".

Perth Courier, 28th May, quoting from the Dumfries and Galloway Courier, repeats above almost verbatim. " . . . The clergyman to whom we have alluded, and who allows me to make use of his name, is Mr. Yorstoun, minister of Hoddam. This gentleman went to the spot and carefully investigated the rumour, but has not hitherto been successful, although he has obtained the most satisfactory proof of its having existed at the time we have mentioned. We forbear to make any comments on this wonderful circumstance, but should anything further transpire that may tend to throw light upon it, we shall not fail to give the public earliest information."

The Dumfries and Galloway Courier I cannot find! It is not in the British Museum.

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