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Chapter III. Aimless Doubles.
The following curious experience is sent me by a commercial traveller, who gives his name and address in support of his testimony. Writing from Nottingham, he says:--
"On Tuesday, the 6th October, I had a very singular experience. I am a commercial traveller, and represent a firm of cigar manufacturers. I left my hotel about four o'clock on the above date to call upon a customer, a Mr. Southam, Myton Gate, Hull. I met this gentleman in the street, nearly opposite his office; he shook hands, and said, 'How are you? I am waiting to see a friend; I don't think I shall want any cigars this journey, but look in before eight o'clock.' I called at 7.30, and spoke to the clerk in the office. He said, 'Mr. Southam has made out your cheque and there is also a small order.' I said, 'Thanks, I should have liked to have seen him; he made an appointment this afternoon for about eight.' The clerk said, 'Where?' I said, 'Just outside.' He said, 'That is impossible, as both Mr. and Mrs. Southam have been confined to their room for a fortnight and have never been out.' I said, 'How strange. I said to Mr. S----, "You look different to your usual; what's the matter with you?" Mr. S---- said, "Don't you see I am in my _deshabille_?"' The clerk remarked, 'You must have seen his second self, for he has not been up to-day.' I came away feeling very strange.
"J. P. Brooks.
"Sydney Villa, Ratcliffe Road, Bridgeford."
Mrs. Eliz. G. L----, of H---- House, sends me the following report of her experience of the double. She writes:--
"The only time I ever saw an apparition was on the evening of the last day of May, 1860. The impression then made is most vivid, and the day seldom recurs without my thinking of what happened then.
"It was a little after seven o'clock, the time for my husband's return from business. I was passing through the hall into the dining-room, where tea was laid, when (the front door being open) I saw my husband coming up the garden path, which was in a direct line with the hall. It was broad daylight, and nothing obstructed my view of him, and he was not more than nine or ten yards from me. Instead of going to him, I turned back, and said to the servant in the kitchen, 'Take tea in immediately, your master is come.' I then went into the dining-room, expecting him to be there. To my great surprise the room was empty, and there was no one in the garden. As my father was very ill in the next house but one to ours, I concluded that Mr. L---- had suddenly determined to turn back and enquire how he was before having tea. In half an hour he came into the room to me, and I asked how my father was, when, to my astonishment, he told me that he had not called, but had come home direct from the town. I said, '_You were in the garden half an hour ago_, I saw you as distinctly as I see you now; if you were not there _then_, you are not here _now_,' and I grasped his arm as I spoke to convince myself that it was really he. I thought that my husband was teasing me by his repeated denials, and that he would at last confess he was really there; and it was only when he assured me in the most positive and serious manner that he was a mile away at the time I saw him in the garden, that I could believe him. I have never been able to account for the appearance. There was no one I could possibly have mistaken for Mr. L----. I was in good health at the time, and had no illness for long afterwards. My mother is still living, and she can corroborate my statement, and bear witness to the deep impression the occurrence made upon me. I _saw_ my husband as plainly as I have ever seen him since during the many years we have lived together."