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That was the figure of a very old man, clad in a Quaker garb, with a rusty broad-brimmed hat upon his head; rusty and threadbare suit of grey clothes, as if they had been much wohn; large buttons upon his coat, a vest, with broad and wide flaps; small clothes upon his spindle legs, with large, old-fashioned buckles at the knees, which I could see just at the edge of the bed, below which his feet hung down out of sight.
I did not at first pay much attention to his face. Soon my eyes were attracted to that, when I perceived it was deeply wrinkled and ashy pale, with a beard of long, thin, white hair, which hung quite down to his bosom in straggling, snowy locks.
The eye was white, and lustreless, and immoveable, and was fixed upon me with a dead, stony gaze, but wholly devoid of vitality or expression. There was no movement of muscle, limb, or feature, but there seemed to be a fascination in that gaze, which riveted my own sight without the power of withdrawing it. Soon a sensation of fear began to creep over me, which by degrees amounted to terror and the very agony of horror. The blood absolutely froze in my veins, and I could feel my hair rising on end, while great drops of sweat stood on my forehead, and a sense of suffocation and dread pervaded my whole frame. The same stony gaze was riveted upon me, looking directly into my own eyes, which I could not remove from the revolting object.
I strove to breat he, speak, shout, raise my hand, or move my eyes. I seemed to struggle, but all in vain, while a breathless horror grew more and more oppressive. At length; in the violence of effort, I succeeded
in moving a limb, when the figure, without changing its position, without motion, and with the same look, posture, and attitude, gradually but rapidly grew thinner and more shadowy, until I could see the mere outline and the very stars through it, when it completely vanished - vanished into thin air, and nothing
was visible but the familiar furniture of the room. : The oppression and terror of feeling gradually disap
peared, also; but it was long before I could compose myself to reflect rationally upon what I had seen.
I soon, however, became satisfied I had evidently been laboring under the influence of nightmare, when I was either actually awake, or when my dream had supplieil all the well known objects, and imagination had conjured up this as one of the hideous visions of such disease. As soon as the paroxysm passed off, and the stagnant blood began again to flow, the terrible vision vanished. This is my ghost story, and it has satisfied me of the true theory of supernatural apparitions.
If I was a philosopher, I should urge that these visions were conjured up by physical disease, and that the disease itself accounts for the sensation of horror and dread attending the apparition. But I am no philosopher, and shall leave others to draw their own inferences. I have only related a simple and veritable fact which occurred to myself. I have seen no ghosts since, and fear none, except as they are harbingers or rather attendants upon a disease, which is at all times distressing, and doubtless sometimes fatal. I have related the tale to dispel, if possible, the idle terrors of supernatural apparitions, as unfounded in reason, philosophy, and religion.
ASTRONOMY. It was a pleasant evening in the month of May; and my sweet child and I had sauntered up to the castle's top to enjoy the breeze that played around it, and to admire the unclouded firmament, that glowed and sparkled with unusual lustre from pole to pole.
The atmosphere was in its purest and finest state for vision; the milky way was distinctly developed throughout its whole extent; every planet and every star above the horizon, however near and brilliant or distant and faint, lent its lambent light or twinkling ray to give variety and beauty to the hemisphere; while the round, bright moon seemed to hang off from the azure vault, suspended in midway air; or stooping forward from the firmament her fair and radient face, as if to court and return our gaze.
We amused ourselves for some time, in observing through a telescope the planet Jupiter, sailing in silent majesty with his squadron of satellites along the vast ocean of space between us and the fixed stars; and admired the felicity of that design, by which those distant bodies had been parceled out and arranged into constellations; so as to have served not only for beacons to the ancient navigators, but, as it were, for landmarks to astronomers at this day; enabling them, though in different countries, to indicate to each other with ease the place and motion of those planets, comets and magnificent meteors, which inhabit, revolve, and play in the intermediate space. .
We recalled and dwelt with delight on the rise and progress of the science of astronomy; on that series of astonishing discoveries through successive ages, which display, in so strong a light, the force and reach of the human mind; and on those bold conjectures and sublime reveries, which seem to tower even to the confines of divinity, and denote the high destiny to which mortals tend--that thought, for instance, which is said to have been first started by Pythagoras, and which modern astronomers approve; that the stars which we call fixed, although they appear to us to be nothing more than large spangles of various sizes glittering on the same concave surface, are, nevertheless, bodies as large as our sun, shining, like him, with original and not reflected light, placed at incalculable distances asunder, and each star the solar centre of a system of planets which revolve around it, as the planets belonging to our system do around the sun; that this is not only the case with all the stars which our eyes discern in the firmament, or which the telescope has brought within the sphere of our vision, but, according to the modern improvements of this thought, that there are probably other stars, whose light has not yet reached us, although light moves with a velocity a million times greater than that of a cannon ball; that those luminous appearances, which we observe in the firmament, like flakes of thin, white cloud, are windows, as it were, which open to other firmaments, far, far beyond the ken of human eye, or the power of optical instruments, lighted up, like ours, with hosts of stars or syns; that this scheme goes on through infinite space, which is filled with thousands upon thou
sands of those suns, attended by ten thousand times ten thousand worlds, all in rapid motion, yet calm, regular and harmonious, invariably keeping the paths prescribed to them; and these worlds peopled with myriads of intelligent beings.
One would think that this conception, thus extended, would be bold enough to satisfy the whole enterprise of the human imagination. But what an accession of . glory and magnificence does Dr. Herschell superadd to it, when, instead of supposing all those suns fixed, and the motion confined to their respective planets, he loosens those multitudinous suns themselves from their, stations, sets them all into motion with their splendid retinue of planets and satellites, and imagines them, thus attended, to perform a stupendous revolution, system above system, around some grander, unknown centre, somewhere in the boundless abyss of space!and when, carrying on the process, you suppose even that centre itself not stationary, but also counterpoised by other masses in the immensity of spaces, with which, attended by their accumulated trains of
" Planets, suns, and adamantine spheres
Wheeling unshaken through the void immense," it maintains harmonious concert, surrounding, in its vast career, some other centre still more remote and stupendous, which in its turn
“ You overwhelm me,” cried my daughter, as I was laboring to pursue the immense concatenation;-—“my mind is bewildered and lost in the effort to follow you, and finds no point on which to rest its weary wing."
“ Yet there is a point, my dear--the throne of the Most High. Imagine that the ultimate centre, to which