« PreviousContinue »
credulous at first; but the little girl affirmed it, and said she saw him rolling rocks, or picking up sticks : adding, that she saw a heap of people. Morgan then went to the place where she was, and calling out, said, that he saw a thousand or ten thousand things flying in the air. On which, Polly, daughter, of Mrs. Reaves, aged fourteen years, and a negro-woman, ran to the children, and called to Mrs. Reaves, to corne and see what a sight yonder was. Mrs. Reaves says, she went about five poles towards them; and, without any sensible alarm or fright, she turned toward the Chimney Mountain, and discovered a very numerous crowd of beings, resembling the human species; but could not discern any particular members of the human body, nor distinction of sexes; that they were of every size, from the tallest men down to the least infants ; that there were more of the small than of the full grown; that they were all clad with brilliant white raiment, but could not describe any form of their raiment; that they appeared to rise of the side of a mountain south of said rock, and about as high; that a considerable
of the mountain's top was visible above this shining host; that they moved in a northern direction, and collected about the Chimney Rock. When all but a few had reached said rock, two seemed to rise together; and bebind them, about
: two feet, a third rose. These three moved with great haste toward the crowd, and had the nearest resemblance to men, of any before seen. While beholdirg those three, her eyes were attracted by three more, rising nearly from the same place, and moving swiftly in the same order and direction. After these, several others rose, and went towards the rock.
During this view, which all the spectators thought lasted upwards of an hour, she sent for Mr. Robert Siercy, who did not come at first : on a second message, sent about fifteen minutes after the first, Mr. Siercy came; and, being now before us, he gives the following relation, to the substance of which Mrs.
Mr. Siercy says, when he was coming, he expected to see pothing extraordinary; and when come, being asked if he saw those people on the mountain, he answered, no; but, on looking a second time, he said, he saw more glittering white appearances, of human kind, than ever he had seci of men, at any general review; that they were of all sizes, from that of men to infants; that they moved in throngs around a rock not far from the Chimney Rock ; they were about the height of the Chinney Rock, and moved in a semi-circular course, between him and the mountain, to the place where Mrs. Reaves said they rose ; and that two, of a tull size, went before the general crowd, about the space of-twenty vards; and, as they respectively
ments are without doors; however, some rooms are still neat enough, and there are some old moveables.” “I don't want so niuch (says the count) it is at least a shelter, and there I'll have my bed made.” “I would have done it before, my lord, (said
“ the marshal) if I had not been told that you would have been in danger there, because this castle is possessed by spirits and hobgoblins, who make a horrid din there every night. They told me this very minute, that the witches held their last meeting there, and that the master of it, who is in some foreign country, has let his house to the devil.” “What, are you drunk?”. says the Count in anger: "You talk like a fool-have done with this stuff; I'll lie in the castle ; get my bed ready immediately, and in the mean time I'll sup with Monsieur the Curate.” They were forced to obey.
During this interval, the Count desired his company, and an account whence these foolish reports took their rise. The Curate was a good little man, but as ignorant as possible, and extremely credulous. He had every fabulous circumstance by heart, and recited tales of apparitions of every kind, in order to divert the Count from going to the castle. The valet too made his remonstrances in vain—they made no impression. He threw himself at his master's feet to beg him not to expose himself; but dissuasion only confirmed him in his resolves of going to the castle. He set out and his valet lighted bim with a link. The poor fellow, who was naturally credulons, had his head full of stories, which he had picked up in the town; for every one had his tale, and the whole village attested the truth of them : so that he went with his master as if it had been to an execution.
His fears increased as he approached the castle. It was an old building, moated round, adorned with several ruinous turrets, which made the place disagreeable enough in itself; and its appearance was adapted to inspire that secret horror which generally attends the view of magnificent ruins. Besides by the desertion of its master, this old pile was become the retreat of bats and screech owis. The cries and flutters of these nocturnal animals so terrified the poor fellow, that he thought he had a thousand spirits at his elbow already. But the Count encouraging him by his reasons and example, they came to the chamber where the bed was prepared. Though it was the peatest and noblest apartment, the door could not be shut on the inside. The Count undressed; but before he lay down, he tied his pistols to his belt, and hung his arms over the bolster. He ordered two lighted candles to be placed in the chimney, and kept two by his bed side. After these precautions, he went to bed, not quite undressed ; and his man lay on a mattrass brought thither on purpose,
The Count notwithstanding his bravery, could not sleep; a certain restlessness, consistent with the truest valour, threw him involuntarily into melancholy reflections on the hazards which he perhaps unnecessarily exposed himself to. He had passed two hours thus uneasily, and was going to compose himself, when, about mid-night, he fancied be heard a harsh and hollow noise in the further part of the castle, and it was too distant to be distinct. He conceived that this noise must be made by something alive, because, as well as he could tell by his ear, it went round the castle. He thought it at first to be some beast grazing thereabout, with a bell at his neck, but soon changed his opinion; the noise cleared it up as it came near. The Count heard distinctly the steps of one marching gravely, and the rattling of a chain pretty heavy, as he judged by the noise it made, on the pavements. This frightful noise entering the apartments seemed to send directly to the Count's chamber. He then thought be ought to stand upon bis guard, and slipping on his gown and slippers, he threw his belt over his shoulders, and returned into bed, ready for all events.
In the mean time, the noise redoubling upon the stair-case, awaked the valet, who, to drown his fears, had gorged himself with wine over night. The Count could scarce keep him from crying out; for, notwithstanding his drunkenness, he was still sensible of fear: but the Count threatening to break bis head with a pistol, if he cried out, he lay still.
The hobgoblin continued his walks, went through the neighbouring rooms; and having made his tour, groaning most lamentably he went up two pair of stairs, where the dragging of his chains made a terrible div. This horrible noise, far from intiinidating the Count, made him suspect some trick; for he was not at all credulous. Says he to himself, “If they want to murder me, these ceremonies are needless: to be sure, then, they want to frighten me; for I never shall believe that the devil, or any inhabitant of the other world, is come hither purposely to carry on this farce. Let us see then (continues he) the conclusion of this comedy."
The moment he made this reflection, the spirit pushed the door violently, and entered the chamber. Ilis figure was hideous; he seemed all hairy, like a bear, and loaded with chains, which he struck against the walls with horrible groans. He advanced solemnly, towards the mattrass where the servant lay. The fellow not daring to cry out, for fear of angering his master, had wrapped bimself in bis great coat, thinking death unavoidable, either from bis master or from the ghost: which last lifting up bis chains, rattled them at the poor wretcli's ear, and frightened him into a swoon. The Count having observed this procedure, through his curtains, and hearing bis man cry ouias though the spectre had offered violence to him. lle jumped out of bed with a pistol in kis hand, and seizing a candle; rau towards the spirit, crying murder! murder! as loud as he could. The ghost without surprise, turned himself gravely to look at the Count, and shaking his chains, said to him, "follow me, little mortal!” The undaunted Count, equally desirous of unravelling this business, and troubled at the loss of his servant, whom he thought dead, followed the spectre close, and went down stairs after him, keeping his pistol always in his hand; resolving, however, not to discharge it but iu extremity. The spectre came into the court, which he crossed with some precipitation. The Count still pursued him through the darkness and horrors of a dismal night. At last they came to the entrance of a very narrow vaulted gallery. There the Count entered too: but there the spirit disappeared, and seemed to bury itself in the bowels of the earth with a terrible cry. A violent wind, which came from under ground, put out the Count's candle, which had survived the open air of the court; and thus he remained in horrid darkness. The Count transported by his warmth, let off his pistol, advancing forward, and immediately felt himself sink into the region of spectres, to punish bis incredulity.
Dangerous as his fall was, he received no burt by it. The pit was not very deep, and though the manner of bis descent was frightful, he could not possibly be killed by it; it was a board so nicely poised, that a loot treading upon either end of it, sunk it immediately, and the person slid down with rapidity on a heap of straw and hay, so that the fall was broke.
As soon as the Count was in this subterraneous place, he saw himselí enclosed by a company of spirits in human shape, whom his fall had drawn around bim. He judged by their looks that they breathed, and was much surprized at his unsuspected visit, as he was too, to find himself so surrounded. They did not give him time to recollect himself, or to gaze upon them; they blindfolded and disarmed bim, and led him to a neighbouring cavern, where they shut him up.
The Count having his wits about him, and in spite of his trouble, he immediately conceived that they were chymists, in full pursuit of the Philosopher's stone, or perhaps clippers and coiners; or, it may be both, however he could not make the discovery: but the precautions they took to conceal their employment from him, their situations so near the frontiers, wbence they might easily quit the realm at the least alarm, and the frightful noise they made every night in the castle, to drive away the curious and impertinent, persuaded him that they pursued