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now had very little; then I adjured it to tell me what it was: when I had said those words, it, keeping its back against the wall, moved gently along towards the door : I followed it, and it, going out at the door, turned its back towards me: it went a little along the gallery; I followed it a little into the gallery, and it disappeared, where there was no corner for it to turn, and before it came to the end of the gallery, where was the stairs. Then I found myself very cold from my feet as high as my middle, though I was not in great fear; I went into the bed betwixt the tenant and his man, and they complained of my being exceeding cold. The tenant's man leaned over his master in the bed, and saw me stretch out my hand towards the apparition, and heard me speak the words; the tenant also heard the words. The apparition seemed to have a morning gown of a darkish colour, no hat nor cap, short black hair, a thin meagre visage of a pale swarthy colour, seemed to be of about forty-five or fifty years old; the eyes half shut, the arms hanging down; the hands visible beneath the sleeve; of a middle stature. I related this description to Mr. John Lardner, rector of Havant, and to Major Battin of Langstone in Havant parish; they both said the description agreed very well to Mr. P. a former rector of the place, who has been dead above twenty years: upon this the tenant and his wife left the house, which has remained void since.
The Monday after last Michaelmas-day, a man of Chodson in Warwickshire having been at Havant fair, passed by the aforesaid parsonage-house about nine or ten at night, and saw a light in most of the rooms of the house; his pathway being close by the house, he, wondering at the light, looked into the kitchen window, and saw only a light, but turning himself to go away, he saw the appearance of a
man in a long gown; he made haste away; the apparition followed him over a piece of glebe land of several acres, to a lane, which he crossed, and over a little meadow, then over another lane to some pales, which belong to farmer Henry Salter my landlord, near a barn, in which were some of the farmer's men and some others; this man went into the barn, told them how he was frighted and followed from the parsonage-house by an apparition, which they might see standing against the pales, if they went out; they went out, and saw it scratch against the pales, and make a hideous noise; it stood there some time and then disappeared; their description agreed with what I saw. This last account I had from the man himself, whom it followed, and also from the farmer's men.
'THO. WILKINS, Curate of W. Dec. 11, 1695, Oxon.
I shall make no remark upon this genuine account, except as to the passage which I have put in italics: if Mr. Wilkins was thoroughly possest of himself at that moment, as he deposes, and is strictly correct in his fact, the narrative is established.
I AM a plain man without pretensions, and lead a retired life in the country: the sports of the season, a small farm, which I hold in my own hands, and a pretty good kitchen garden, in which I take
amusement, with the help of a few English books, have hitherto made my life, though it is that of a bachelor, pass off with more than tolerable comfort. By this account of my time you will perceive that most of my enjoyments depend upon the weather and though the wear-and-tear of age may have made me more sensible to the seasons than I have been, yet I cannot help thinking that our climate in England is as much altered for the worse, as my constitution may be. I do not pretend to reason upon natural causes, but speak upon observation only; for by an exact journal of my time (which I keep more for a check upon my actions than for any importance which appertains to them), I can find that I am obliged to my books for helping me through more rainy hours in the course of years last past, than I have been accustomed to be, or indeed than I could wish; for you must know I never read, when I can amuse myself out of doors.
My studies are but trifling, for I am no scholar, but in bad weather and dark evenings they have served to fill up time; a very little discouragement however suffices to put me out of conceit with my books, and I have thoughts of laying them totally on the shelf, as soon as ever I can provide some harmless substitute in their place: this, you see, is not so easy for me to do, being a solitary man, and one that hates drinking, especially by myself; add to this, that I smoke no tobacco, and have more reasons than I chuse to explain against engaging in the nuptial state: my housekeeper, it is true, is a decent conversable woman, and plays a good game at all-fours; and I had begun to fill up an hour in her company, till I was surprized unawares by a neighbour, who is a wag, and has never ceased jeering me upon it ever since: I took next to making nets for my currant bushes, but alas! I have
worked myself out of all employ, and am got weary of the trade: I have thought of making fishing-rods; but I have a neighbour so tenacious of his trout, that I should only breed a quarrel, and fish in troubled waters, were I to attempt it. To make short of my story, Sir, I have been obliged, after many efforts to go back to my books, though I have lost all the little relish I had for them ever since I have been honoured with the visits of a learned gentleman, who is lately settled in my neighbourhood. He must be a prodigious scholar, for I believe in my conscience he knows every thing that ever was written, and every body that ever writes. He has taken a world of kind pains, I must confess, to set me right in a thousand things, that I was ignorant enough to be pleased with: he is a fine spoken man, and in spite of my stupidity has the patience to convince me of the faults and blunders of every author in his turn. When he
shews them to me, I see them as clear as day, and never take up the book again; he has now gone pretty nearly through my whole nest of shelves, pointing out as he proceeds, what I, like a fool, never saw before, nor ever should have seen but for him. I used to like a Spectator now and then, and generally sought out for Clio, which, I was told, were Mr. Addison's papers; but I have been in a gross mistake, to lose my time with a man that cannot write common English; for my friend has proved this to me out of a fine book, three times as big as the Spectator, and, which is more, this great book is made by a foreign gentleman, who writes and speaks clear another language from Mr. Addison; surely he must be a dunce indeed, who is to be taught his mother tongue by a stranger! I was apt to be tickled with some of our English poets, Dryden and Pope and Milton, and one Gray, that turns
out to be a very contemptible fellow truly, for he has shown me all their secret histories in print, written by a learned man greater than them all put together, and now I would not give a rush for one of them; I could find in my heart to send Bell and all his books to the devil. As for all the writers now living, my neighbour, who by the way has a hand in reviewing their works, assures me he can make nothing of them, and indeed I wonder that a man of his genius will have any thing to say to them. It was my custom to read a chapter or two in the Bible on a Sunday night; but there I am wrong again; I shall not enter upon the subject here, but it won't do, that I am convinced of, Sir; it positively will not do.
The reason of my writing to you at all is only to let you know, that I received a volume of your Observer by the coach; my friend has cast his eye over it, and I have returned it by the waggon, which he says is the fittest conveyance for waste paper. I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
I shall give no other answer to my correspondent but to lament his loss of so innocent a resource as reading, which I suspect his new acquirements will hardly compensate. I still think that half an hour passed with Mr. Addison over a Spectator, notwithstanding all his false grammar, or even with one of the poets, notwithstanding their infirmities, might be as well employed as in weaving nets for the currant bushes, or playing at all-fours with his housekeeper. No man has a right to complain of the critic, whose sagacity discovers inaccuracies in a favourite author, and some readers may probably be edified by such discoveries; but the bulk of