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was thrilled by the strange and wailful howl of my
perturbation; and, as my thoughts rallied, I endeavoured to persuade myself that I had been deluded by some conjuration of the mind, or some spectral deception of the visual organ. But, in either case, how account for the terror of the dog? He could neither be influenced by superstition, nor could his unerring sight betray him into groundless alarm, yet it was incontestable that we had both been appalled by the same object. Soon recovering my natural fortitude of spirit, I resolved, whatever might be the consequences, to return and address the apparition. I even began to fear it might have vanished; for Glanville, who has written largely on ghosts, expressly says" that it is a very hard and painful thing for them to force their thin and tenuous bodies into a visible consistence; that their bodies must needs be exceedingly compressed, and that there. fore they must be in haste to be delivered from their unnatural pressure.” I returned, therefore, with some rapidity towards the library; and although the
dog stood immovably still at some distance, in spite of my solicitations, and kept earnestly gazing upon me, as if in apprehension of an approaching castastrophe, I proceeded onward, and turned back the shutters which I had closed, determined not to be imposed upon by any dubiousness of the light. Thus fortified against deception, I re-entered the room with a firm step, and there, in the full glare of day, did I again clearly and vividly behold the identical apparition, sitting in the same posture as before, and having its eyes closed !!
My heart somewhat failed me under this sensible confirmation of the vision; but, summoning all my courage, I walked up to the chair, exclaiming with a desperate energy-" In the name of heaven and of all itsangels, what dost thou seek here?” when the figure, slowly rising up, opening its eyes, and stretching out its arms, replied “A leg of mutton and caper sauce, with a bottle of prime old port, for such is the dinner you promised me.” “Good God!” I ejaculated, “what can this mean? Are you not rcally dead?” “No more than you are,” replied the figure : “some open-mouthed fool told my clerk that I was,
and he instantly wrote to tell you of it; but it was my namesake, George Staples of Castle street, not me, nor even one of
relations--SO let us have dinner as soon as you please, for I am as hungry as a hunter.”
The promised dinner being soon upon the table, my friend informed me, in the intervals of his ever ready laughter, that as soon as he had undeceived his clerk,
he walked over to Star Cross to do me the same favour ; that he had fallen asleep in the arm chair while waiting my return from the grounds; and as to the dog, he reminded me that he had severely punished him at his last visit for killing a chicken, which explained his terror, and his crouching to me for protection, when he recognised his chastiser.
BOND STREET IN SEPTEMBER.
ROUSSEAU says, that all great cities are alike ; as far' as my own observation extends I can confirm the remark, and yet the portrait which they exhibit is one which our first parents could hardly have been brought to comprehend. Even if that primitive pair could have contemplated the many myriads that were to become their descendants, and to spread over the face of the earth, they could never have imagined, that in various parts of its surface a mil. lion of beings would be huddled together in one narrow voluntary prison of stone and brick, so confined that they were born and died, lived and fed, and slept, in successive layers or stories from the cellar to the garret, obtaining that accommodation for the functions of existence by mounting above one another's heads, which could never have been afforded by the superficial extent of the ground they occupied. Thousands of hecatombs of animals, brought weekly from the surrounding country for the support of this multitude, and the whole condensed population, with all the animal remains, plunged into the earth within the straitened enclosure of the walls, age upon age, generation upon generation, laid over one another until the entire mass upon which the city stands becomes a putrescent abyss of corruption and adipocire, like that extracted from the cemetery of the Innocents at Paris! Such are the prominent features in which all great cities resemble one another; and they are quite sufficient to make me thank Heaven that I live not immured within any such pestiferous enclosure, where the very complexion of the inhabitants seems a reflection from the pale flag of Death which is perpetually shaking before their eyes.
Notwithstanding the family likeness perceptible
in all those enormous mounds and accumulations of brick and bones, flesh and furniture, men and more tar, beasts and buildings, which constitute a city, and the similarity of habits and appearances generated by all such multitudinous congregations, there is a sufficient diversity in the appearance of each individual capital when viewed under different circumstances and seasons. Perhaps no place in the world offers so striking a contrast to itself as London in and out of the season. When I speak of London, I put entirely out of view those industrious and useful classes who, living in the terra incognita eastward of the Bar, labour unintermittingly for the gratification of the westward population, and of course present a monotonous activity all the year round: but who that has ever seen Bond street in all its gaiety and glitter, in its days of clattering hoofs and sparkling equipages, when its centre forms an endless line of inoving magnificence, and its gorgeous shops on either side reflect an ever changing galaxy of belles and exquisites, would recognise the same place in the latter end of September, deserted, silent, spiritless" so dull, so dead in look, so woe begone,” that it makes one lancholy as a gib cat, or a lugged bear,” to take the same walk for five minutes, which a few months before would in less space of time have evaporated the densest spleen, and possessed us with all bright, joyous, and spiritual fancies? The ghost looking house painters whom one encounters here and there with their poisoned visages; the scaffoldings under which one is so often obliged to pass at the risk of lime in your eyes, and the certainty of it upon your clothes, if you are so fortunate as to escape a brickbat upon the head ; the dismantled shops, and the hot, dusty, empty street, as if they were not sufficiently miserable objects in themselves, complete the prostration of our spirits by recalling their past cheerfulness, and so aggravate their present gloom.
Innumerable associations connected with Bond street lift it, in its time of glory, so completely out of its materiality that we never think of it as a mere street; and in the season of its thick throngs we have no time to compare the ideal with the real, by subjecting its buildings to the matter-of-fact judgment of the eye. One might, indeed, lose that useful organ in the process, for those members of the Pococurante society--the porters, reck not if with the sharp angles of their humeral freightage they reduce us all to a Cyclopean community : and, moreover, one's optics are kept in such perpetual activity in catching the salutations of the smiling beauties who whisk by in their vehicles, in nodding to Lord A-and Sir Harry B-, or in cutting old General C-, or any other established bore, that he who should be caught gazing upwards at the houses would infallibly be set down for a rustic stargazer, if he were not knocked down for a London somnambulist.
Last month, however, in the solitude and vacancy of the foot path, I thought I might safely venture to look upwards and contemplate the street in its architectural character, when, o Heavens ! what a bright web of association, what a tissue of Corinthian imaginations was instantly dissolved and frittered away! It was as if I gazed upon the corpse of one whom I had known in all the bloom and beauty of vitality. An ugly, irregular, desolate, dingy, beggarly, old fashioned succession of brown brick tenements stretched before me, like Falstaff's ragged regiment, forming a mean and pitiful contrast with the swaggering looks and undue pomposity of the shops. As there was at that moment no delusion of fashion to redeem the inconsistency, I amused myself in calculating how the real features of this celebrated street would affect the novel reading inisses and bonnet buying spinsters of the country, who, from the frequent reference to this