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but something may be gained even from a casual visit; and as the weather has cleared, we will drop in and take a peep at a rouge et noir table it is now high carnival, the very witching hour of day when gamesters congregate, and seeing that I have been regularly initiated, and have consequently that, which in court phraseology is termed the privilege of entré, there will be little or no difficulty in your introduction."
Accordingly we proceeded to a well known house in King Street, St. James's, and having duly undergone the scrutiny of the Cerberus who guarded the entrance, we were permitted to pass a ponderous door, which would have done honour to a bastile, and proceed up stairs, a bell, (whose sound had, as I have since learned, its peculiar signification above), announcing our arrival. The particulars of my visit to this Pandemonium shall be the subject of my next, and I cannot doubt but that the account, imperfect as it may be in the relation, will afford you much interest in the perusal.
Yours, my dear W.
It has frequently been a subject of enquiry amongst authors, as to what is the true cause of dreams. In this, as in most other subjects, many opinions have been advanced, and much dispute has taken place. At the present time, however, it is generally believed that they may be referred to a train of thought that has passed through the mind at some previous time, and left an impression on it, which is transferred into our slumbers. It must be allowed by every one that, in a very great degree, this opinion is correct; for it is utterly impossible that any man of the commonest observation should not have traced many of bis dreams to thoughts or incidents which have previously occupied his mind. In fact, in the generality of cases, dreams may be attributed to this source. Still it has been maintained by many, amongst whom may be ranked men of the most acknowledged talent, that this definition is not always the correct one; and numerous examples have been cited, which, if true, would lead to the belief that dreams are sent to us by an over-ruling Providence for our good.
But, on the other hand, in support of the opinion above given, numerous authors may likewise be named. Dr. Franklin has written an essay upon the subject, under the the title of “The art of procuring pleasing dreams,” and in which he states that dreams are pleasant or otherwise according to many circumstances which act upon the mind or body. Dr. Gregory, a celebrated modern physician, relates of himself that he dreamt he was on the top of Mount Etna, and that his feet were much burned by his near approach to the crater. This dream arose from his having a bottle of hot water at his feet, and he slumbered while it was there. He had been reading a short time before of a
journey to the top of that mountain. Here, then, we can evidently trace the true cause of this dream in the effect produced upon his mind by the book which he had been reading on the subject of Mount Etna. A French philosopher tried several experiments of this sort; he left his knees uncovered, and he dreamt he was on the outside of a diligence on a cold night. Having occasion to apply a blister to his head, he dreamt that he was scalped by a party of Indians. The Ettrick Shepherd, in one of his poems, has given us a dream of terrific misery arising from the effects of thirst. It is said that Mrs. Radcliffe, Dryden, and Fuseli ate indigestible suppers in order to dream horribly; surely no one will deny that they did not succeed, if we may judge from their works. Opium eaters, at first, have dreams of transcendant beauty, but when the stomach becomes disordered by a long continued use of this drug, nothing can exceed the horror and gloominess of their visions. In proof of this, we may mention the wonderfully fascinating and strange “ Confessions of an Opium Eater,"
"* from which we make the following quotation :
“And now came a tremendous change, which unfolding itself slowly like a scroll, through many months promised an abiding torment, and, in fact, it never left me. Hitherto the human face mixed often with my dreams, but not despotically, nor with any special power of tormenting. But now that which I have called the tyranny of the human face began to unfold itself. Now it was, that upon the rocking waters of the ocean the human face began to appear: the sea appeared paved with innumerable faces, upturned to the heavens: faces, imploring, wrathful, despairing, surged upwards by thousands, by myriads, by generations, by centuries ;-my agitation was infinite-my mind tossed and swayed with the ocean. Under the connecting feeling of tropical heat and vertical sunlights, I brought together all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles, all trees and plants, usages and appearances that are found in all tropical regions, and assembled them together in China or Hindoostan. From kindred feelings, I soon brought Egypt and her gods under the same law. I was stared at, hooted at, chattered at, by monkeys, paroquets, by cockatoos. I ran into secret pagodas, and was fixed for centuries at the summit; I was the idol ; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia ; Vishnu hated me; Seeva laid wait for me! I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris ; I had done a deed they said, at which the Ibis and the crocodile trembled. I was buried for a thousand years, in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles ; and laid confounded with all unutterably slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud. I seemed every night to descend, not metaphorically, but literally to descend, into chasms and sunless abysses, depths below depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I should ever reascend. Nor did I by waking feel that I had reascended.”
It is exceedingly
• A pamphlet under this tide was published a few years back. interesting, and will ainply repay a perusal.
In the ages of superstition, and as we have before had occasion to, remark, even in more modern times, dreams were supposed to be revelations from Providence, by which the secrets of futurity were disclosed to the eyes of mortals. Numerous authors, both sacred and profane, have cited examples in which dreams appeared to have been sent, either to warn men of impending danger, or as a medium for the disclosure of some important event that has, perhaps, baffled the most diligent investigation. It would be tedious to enumerate such examples ; it will be sufficient for our purpose to call attention to the well kņown dreams of Pharoah and Nebuchadnessar recorded in the sacred volume. In modern times such examples are equally numerous; and we do not think any apology necessary for introducing the following case, which is most remarkable, and, we believe, not generally known. It is as follows:
A manufacturer during his travels for country orders, arrived for the first time at an obscure town in Suffolk. It being late when he entered: the town, he put up at the Commercial Inn, and retired as quickly as, possible to rest. He soon fell into a profound slumber, but he was visited by a dream, which, although not extraordinary in itself, still from the events which followed, may be considered as a special interference of Providence for the purpose of revealing a crime which had remained for years hidden to all but the criminals themselves. He dreamt that he was in the main street of the town, and was amusing himself by examining with the curious eyes of a stranger every thing worthy of notice. He imagined that upon arriving at the head of the street, the parish church came in sight. He paused for a minute or two to ex-; amine its architecture, and then continued his walk till he reached a lane. Turning down this, he arrived opposite a cottage; and upon , entering the little garden which was attached to it, he could perceive, nothing but a well, in which however, to his great horror, he fancied that he could discover a human skeleton. When he awoke, he en-. deavoured as much as much as possible to shake off the unpleasant thoughts caused by the nature of his dreams. It being a fine summer's morning, he sallied out for a ramble previously to commencing the i business of the day. Upon walking up the high street, it struck him that he had some dim recollection of it, and yet he was perfectly convinced that he had never passed through the town before. He pressed forward and at length came to the church, which, to his utter astonishment, presented the same features as the one he had seen in his dream; and the recollection of it instantly flashed upon his memory. He still continued his walk, urged on as it were by some uncontrollable impulse, and passing down a lane, came to a cottage, both of which bore a strong resemblance to the objects of his vision. Struck by so extraordinary a coincidence, he entered the garden, fully expecting to find the well which had formed so prominent a part in his dream. For this, however, he searched in vain-he could no where discover the slightest trace of it—this, then, was the only circumstance which was wanting to complete his dream. During his walk to the inn, he revolved these strange things in his mind, and came to the determination to take
further measures for ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the whole affair. He was further confirmed in this resolution, when upon enquiry, he learnt that the inhabitants of the cottage, (an old man and his daughter), had completely secluded themselves from the world, and avoided as much as possible, all intercourse with their ghbours. In order then to execute his project, he called on the magistrate of the town, and informed him of the whole circumstance. This gentleman desired two constables to accompany him to the cottage, where they for some time made ineffectual search for the well. At length an old woman amongst the bystanders, (for several persons had been drawn round the spot, out of curiosity, to witness the proceedings), hearing that this was the object of their search, pointed out the spot where, she affirmed, there had formerly been a well, which she remembered to have been closed by the inmates of the cottage, and she added—I thought Giles” (such was the old man's name) "an old fool for blocking it up, because he now has a mile to go for every drop of water that he wants.” This confirmed their suspicions, and they soon discovered the well, with its mouth closed over with old boards and rubbish. Upon lowering the hook and chain they had brought for the purpose, they for some length of time could discover nothing. At length they brought up an old box, almost dropping asunder by decay, and tied round with a piece of cord. In this they found to their horror and astonishment the skeleton of a child. The inmates of the cottage were secured, after a desperate resistance from the old man; and the woman then confessed that it was her child by her own father; that as soon as it was born they had murdered it, and disposed of it as it had been found-and, she added, she was glad that it was discovered, as since the crime had been committed, her life had been a burden to her. Upon this confession, coupled with the circumstantial evidence which was brought against them, they were hanged. Thus was a stranger made the means, in the hands of a superior Being, of discovering a crime which had remained hidden for years. In this case the dream cannot be traced to any previous train of thought; and we can only attribute it to a direct interposition of Providence.
For the present we shall take leave of this interesting subject, but shall recur to it at the first opportunity.
A TALE OF THE ROAD.
Tbe road! the road!
Huzza for the road!-Sono.
It was in the calm twilight of a summer's evening, in the seventeenth century, that a single horseman was "seen cantering leisurely towards that part of London known by the name of Hyde Park Corner, with the intention of reaching the open country in the direction of Old Brent. ford. His age, from his appearance, might have been about twenty-six, or from that to thirty, though certainly he had not passed the last-mentioned number; his dress plainly told, that if not of rank and fortune, he aped not the possession of both in vain. It was in the height of the mode, consisting of a buff jerkin with silver trimmings and a slashed sleeve, with a puff of light green satin and point lace ruffles at the wrist; over this he wore a light cloak, trimmed as the jerkin, and round his neck was seen the much-admired and beautiful lace collar so generally worn at the period ; long love-locks reached down on his shoulders, over which he wore a slouched hat and feather; this, with large riding boots and bright silver spurs, completed his outward man. He was remarkably well mounted, and after he had once left the busy haunts of men behind him, he dashed along at a rate which showed he distrusted neither the powers of his steed nor the abilities of the person who bestrode him.
At the entrance of Old Brentford stood a small secluded road-side inn; not but the owner of the Tun and Punchbowl, though but a small house, had a pretty smart stroke of business, and if rumour lied not, was possessed of a good share of chinking jacobuses. Neither was he very scrupulous as to the manner in which he scraped them together; yet be that as it may, Tom Bottergill was a hearty old wag, and could by his merry jokes give a relish to the traveller's cup, which might be looked for in vain over many a weary mile. It was at this house that the horseman before-mentioned pulled up his foaming steed, and with a rattling cheerful holloa, summoned its inmates to attend to him. His call had been twice repeated ere the ostler made his appearance from the stable, scratching and torturing his elf locks, and making faces wonderously resembling the ancient architectural ornaments which are seen on some of our old monastic edifices. “Wounds, Zir William, but you be moughtily floustered this ere night; a poor feller has hardly layed down to have one snooze arter his day's work but you must come shouting and holiowing as though the fox was going over the hill at your feet.”—“Silence! you lout, silence ! and lead Rawbone into the stable, and look to him quickly, as I want him soon, and for hard service," and dismounting, Sir William, as he was called, entered the house. Dorothy,” said he, addressing the buxom landlady,' here I am once more; why, I suppose you thought you'd lost me, ha! ha! No, my lass, no, other game afoot that's not turned out so good as might be, so I've come to try the old road again. Aha, Botty, my boy," (going up to the host, who now entered). “a cup of your best and strongest, to cheer the cockles of our hearts--a bottle of good Canary, my buck,”