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although the light appeared to be of a different character, but said nothing. On entering the house, however, no one was in the room, which was in perfect darkness, nor had any one been in for some time.

Most persons have heard the story of the radiant Boy, seen by Lord Castlereagh, an apparition which the owner of the castle admitted to have been visible to many others. Dr. Kerner mentions a similar fact, wherein an advocate and his wife were awakened by a noise and a light, and saw a beautiful child enveloped by the sort of glory that is seen surrounding the heads of saints. There never was, says Mrs. Crowe, perhaps a more fearless human being than Madame Gottfried, the empoisonneuse of Bremen ; at least, she felt no remorse, she feared nothing but discovery ; and yet, when after years of successful crime she was at length arrested, she related, that soon after the death of her first husband, Miltenburg, whom she had poisoned, as she was standing, in the dusk of the evening, in her drawing-room, she suddenly saw a bright light hovering at no great distance above the floor, which advanced towards her bed-room door and then disappeared. This phenomenon occurred on three successive evenings.

On another occasion she saw a shadowy appearance hovering near her, “ Ach! denke ich, das ist Miltenburg, seine Erscheinung! Alas, thought I, that is the apparition of Miltenburg!" Yet this did not withhold her murderous hand.

That apparitions, which having to depend upon their being visible to a feeble light emitted by themselves, should not be visible in daylight, is consistent with all known natural laws ; that when visible they should be seen by not one person only, but by two or more, has been evidenced in several instances just given, and which might be almost infinitely multiplied. In the case which came under our own experience, the boy knew nothing about ghosts or apparitions, nor did he apprehend such. Yet still it is certain that the receptivity of persons, that is to say,

the susceptibility of their senses, to determine the presence of apparitions, varies very much, and varies even in the same individuals at different times. We particularly instanced this in the case related by Baron von Reichenbach, and recorded in an essay on the Evolution of Light from the Human Body, published in No. 75 of Ainsworth's Magazine, There are, it only remains for us to observe, in this well-attested fact of the evolution of light from living bodies, from bodies at the period of death and after death, as also in the facts of light playing over graves, so many circumstances that are explicable by natural laws ; so we have now also seen is the case to a great extent with the potency existing in nature to impress those lights with the form of the object itself; and although all the phenomena accorded to have accompanied the presence of luminous apparitions will not admit of a ready explanation in the present state of the inquiry, still surely it is wiser and more philosophical to grapple with such difficulties, and to endeavour to throw the light of science and of reason upon them, than to scoff and to ridicule at what one cannot understand. The world at large will never be prepared to treat of the subject of apparitions without prejudice, till it has learnt no longer to consider them as supernatural things. There is nothing supernatural to Him who gave life and who takes it away

from us.

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In the church of the Magdalen, in the Sicilian town of Girgenti, preparations were made for a great and solemn festival. As usual on such occasions, the inner walls of the edifice were draped with purple tapestry and adorned with beauteous flowers. It was the hour of noon; the workmen had temporarily abandoned their labours; silence, profound and imposing, reigned beneath the lofty roof of the Romish temple.

Up and down the long northern aisle two men slowly walked, having seemingly selected the cool, shady church as the most agreeable promenade at that sultry hour. One of these persons was about thirty years of age, tall, broad-shouldered, and strongly built, with a true Sicilian physiognomy, at once grave, passionate, and somewhat stern.

This was Don Antonio Carracioli

, Marquis of Arena. His companion was of a very different aspect. In the first bloom of manhood, of slender frame and delicate proportions, he turned his lively expressive face and large dark womanish eyes, from side to side of the church with the critical look of one who had a voice in its arrangement. And so he had. He was the architect charged with the preservation of the edifice and with its decoration for the approaching festival. He had lately returned from his studies at Rome, and his name was Giulio Balzetti.

In a pause of their familiar conversation, the young artist suddenly stood still.

“I will let you into a secret, Signor Marchese," he said; "a secret known, as I believe, to no mortal beside myself. You are doubtless aware,' he continued, in the confidential, familiar tone one uses to an intimate friend," that we architects are frequently startled and astonished by acoustic phenomena, occurring when least expected. By a mere chance, during one of my frequent visits to this church, I became aware that when one stands here,-here, upon this white marble flag. one hears every word, even the softest whisper, uttered yonder, in the last confessional but one, whilst to persons standing upon the line between those two points, not a syllable is audible. Place yourself here, while I go into the confessional, and you will wonder at this miracle of nature."

Balzetti hurried' away ; but before he had taken half-a-dozen paces, an extraordinary change occurred in the countenance of the marquis. As though smitten by the wand of a malevolent enchantress, his cheek grew ashy pale, and he stood motionless and petrified as a statue of stone, in the attitude of one shocked by some terrible and unexpected communication. He stirred not, he scarcely breathed, but his eyes rolled fearfully, the throbbings of his heart were perceptible through his silken vest, whilst his ears drank in sounds audible to himself alone. His suppressed but visible agitation had lasted but a few moments, when his young companion returned, a smile upon his handsome features.

“We cannot make the experiment now,” he said ; " there is somebody in the confessional, a veiled lady, as far as I could distinguish,-but, good heavens! what is the matter, Signor Marchese ?"

With a gesture familiar to the people of southern Europe, the marquis laid finger upon his lip, preserving his attentive immobility. After two or three minutes, during which the architect gazed at him in astonishment, he drew a deep sigh; the statue resumed vitality, and stepped out of the magic circle.

«'Tis nothing, dear Giulio,” he said, in a friendly tone; "you must not think me superstitious, if I confess to you that this singular phenomenon, and the reflections that forced themselves upon me concerning the mysterious and accountable ways of Nature, have strangely affected me. But come, let us go hence ! The open air will soon dissipate the vapours that cloud my brain.”

So saying, he took Balzetti's arm, led him out of the church and through the

city gate to a pleasant garden, used as a public walk. There the two men walked together for a brief space, talking upon indifferent subjects, until the marquis declared that the hour of an appointment called him to his villa at a short distance from the town.

“We shall see you to-morrow,” said he, “when the ceremonies of the day are over. I shall expect you as usual at the villa. Till then, fare. well.”

Upon the ensuing morning, at an unusually early hour, the marquis entered the ante-chamber leading to his wife's apartments. He was received by her maid, who, at his appearance, showed surprise mingled with some confusion.

“Has your lady rung ?" asked the marquis.

“Not yet, excellenza!” replied the girl, bowing low and colouring high.

"Wait here till you are called !" said the marquis, opening the door of the dressing-room, beyond which was the bedchamber. In an elegant morning gown, loosely wrapped around her, as if she had just started from her bed, his young and charming wife advanced to meet him. The marquis paused at her approach, seemingly rivetted to the spot by the grace and fascination of her loveliness, and apparently not in the least remarking the effects of some inward emotion which caused the fine muslin covering her bosom to rise and fall like the waves of the sea, whilst the restless blood rushed to and from her cheek.

“Already afoot, Antonio ?" said the marchioness, in a stifled voice, and with a forced and uneasy smile.

“ What is the motive of so early a visit?"

"Can you wonder, my charming Lauretta," replied the husband, in kind and tender tones, " if I love to visit you both early and late ? But, truth to tell, dearest, my visit to-day is not intended for you. I need not

that this is the festival of the blessed Mary Magdalen, demanding solemn observance. I desire, in order fitly to prepare myself for devotion, to pass a short time in the contemplation of the lovely Magdalen by Titian that hangs in your bed-room. Do

you grant permission ?” added he, with mingled courtesy and tenderness, as he strode slowly but firmly towards the door.

“ The room is in sad confusion,” said the marchioness, with a hasty troubled glance through the half-open door; “ but you can go in for a moment, whilst I dress myself here."

And the marquis entered the bed-room.

tell you

“Confusion like this," he said, “is more graceful than any order. These robes, so elegantly draped ; those little shoes, fit for a fairy's foot ; and the sweet and intoxicating perfume of the atmosphere ;--there is poetry in such disorder, and your apartment, dear Lauretta, is worthy an artist's pencil."

Flattering and affectionate as these words were, there was something in their tone that grated harshly upon the senses of the marchioness. A slight shudder passed over her frame, and she gazed anxiously at the marquis, who, after a glance round the apartment, fixed his eyes upon a large sofa at one of its extremities, over which a heavy coverlid of quilted silk was loosely thrown. Beneath its folds a suspicious eye might trace the outline of a human form, stretched at full length, as if to betray its presence as little as possible.

“ I will sit me down here,” said the marquis, in the same bland insidious tone as before. “It is a good place whence to contemplate yon beautiful and sacred master-piece.”

As he spoke he took from the ground a large cushion, stuffed with down and trimmed with the richest lace, which had apparently fallen from the bed, placed it gently upon the spot where the face of the concealed person might be supposed to be, and seated himself upon it with the whole weight of his large and heavy body, whilst his right hand planted itself forcibly upon the breast of the recumbent figure. Then the silken covering heaved violently with the convulsive efforts of the person it veiled ; the victim writhed and resisted with the desperation of a dying man. But the marquis took no notice ; he kept his place, and gazing steadfastly at the picture of the Magdalen, spoke in a calm, firm voice.

“ How perfect is yonder painting!” he exclaimed. “With what genuine chastity and exquisite grace the beautiful penitent veils her shoulders with her slender fingers and long golden hair, whilst her glance of piety and suffering, heavenwards directed, implores pardon and pity from Him who alone can grant

them. One might become painter or poet at sight of such an inspired work. Unhappily, the gift of improvisation is denied

But if I cannot extol in flowing verse the genius of Titian, I can at least tell you in plain prose an incident that occurred yesterday. Our young friend, Giulio Balzetti, accompanied me round the church of the Magdalen, and during our walk he directed my attention to a particular spot and bid me stand upon it, because there, he said, I might plainly hear each word whispered at a distant point. And he spoke truth. At that other point stood the confessional No. 6. Hardly had I placed myself in the place pointed out when I heard a soft and musical voice confiding to the priest a woman's perplexities and peccadillos. • She had a husband,' thus ran the confession, whom she loved, yes, she loved him, and he loved her in return ; he was very kind to her, and left her entire liberty;' in short, she allowed her husband all possible good qualities, but, nevertheless, she loved another. Unfortunately, she did not name this happy favourite, it would have amused me to have heard his name; doubtless, it is one of our handsome young nobles in the city. This other, then, she loved; she could not help it, the poor creature said, and thought, moreover, that her heart had room enough for two—for her husband, and for him besides. He was so noble and amiable, this other; his story


so handsome, and he adored her so passionately, it was impossible to refuse him any thing. In short, she had granted him a rendezvous for this very morning ; she knew it was sinful, but she could not help it, and she begged for absolution in advance. And the priest, like a kindhearted, amiable father-confessor, as he is, complied with her request, and gave her absolution for the meditated offence. How like you the tale, dearest? A strange one, is it not ?" With lingering deliberation and frequent pauses, the marquis had told

Before he concluded it, all motion ceased in the object upon which he rested. Now he arose from his horrible seat.

“Upon my word,” he continued, in a half-jesting tone,“ our good priests are somewhat too complaisant. I am sure old Don Gregorio would have taken you to task after a very different fashion, if you—"

Again he paused, slowly drew away the cushion from which he had just arisen, and pulled aside the silken counterpane. Beneath it lay the architect Giulio Balzetti; motionless, breathless—dead.

“Have you lately confessed, my Laura ?” asked the marquis.
No answer followed. The question was repeated in a louder tone.
“Is it long since you confessed ?"
"No," was the unhappy woman's faint reply.

Apropos,said the marquis, again drawing the coverlid over the blue and distorted features of Balzetti; “we go together to the procesşion, do we not? At noon, precisely, it commences. I have ordered the horses to be ready in good time. It will not do to be late on so solemn an occasion.”

The pitiless husband made a step into the dressing-room. wife had sunk into an arm-chair ; her abundant black tresses streamed in wild confusion over her shoulders, her hands lay powerless in her lap, the paleness of death was upon her brow and cheek.

“What ails thee, dearest ?" said the marquis, with the same lip-love and unchanging tenderness of tone; "you have risen too early to-day, my child, and have fatigued yourself by dressing unaided. Is not Pipetta there? I will ring for her.”

He pulled the bell, approached his wife, imprinted a kiss upon her brow, and left the room.

That same day, before noon had chimed, and whilst the bells of the whole city pealed in joyous unison, the marquis's richly-gilt state carriage, harnessed with four gaily-caparisoned and mettlesome horses, stood beneath the arched gateway of the palace, surrounded by a crowd of laced and embroidered pages and chasseurs. The equipage and attendants had not waited long, when the marquis, in brilliant court dress, a star upon his breast, his hat in his hand, conducted his young

and beautiful, but pallid wife, with affectionate gallantry down the broad marble steps. Whilst her countenance was cold and rigid as that of the statues Aanking the arch, his glance, upon the contrary, beamed with unusual fire and vivacity. The officious lacqueys crowded round their master, the carriage door was thrown open, the marquis and marchioness stepped in, and the gay equipage dashed out of the palace yard, through streets, and over squares, whilst pedestrians turned their heads in envious admiration, and extolled the good fortune of the happy pair.

The architect, Giulio Balzetti, had disappeared. None suspected that

His young

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