They wondered at Mrs. Bargrave's inquiry; and sent her word, that she was not there, nor was expected. At this answer Mrs. Bargrave told the maid she had certainly mistook the name, or made some blunder. And though
she was ill, she put on her hood, and went herself to Captain Watson's though she knew none of the family, to
see if Mrs. Veal was there or not. They said, they wondered at her asking, for that she had not been in town;
they were sure, if she had, she would have been there. Says Mrs. Bargrave, I am sure she was with me on
Saturday almost two hours. They said, it was impossible; for they must have seen her if she had. In comes
Captain Watson, while they were in dispute, and said, that Mrs. Veal was certainly dead, and her escutcheons
were making. This strangely surprised Mrs. Bargrave, when she sent to the person immediately who had the
care of them, and found it true. Then she related the whole story to Captain Watson's family, and what gown
she had on, and how striped; and that Mrs. Veal told her, it was scowered. Then Mrs. Watson cried out, You
have seen her indeed, for none knew, but Mrs. Veal and myself, that the gown was scowered. And Mrs.
Watson owned, that she described the gown exactly: For, said she, I helped her to make it up. This Mrs.
Watson blazed all about the town, and avouched the demonstration of the truth of Mrs. Bargrave's seeing Mrs.
Veal's apparition. And Captain Watson carried two gentlemen immediately to Mrs. Bargrave's house, to hear
the relation of her own mouth. And when it spread so fast, that gentlemen and persons of quality, the judicious
and skeptical part of the world, flocked in upon her, it at last became such a task, that she was forced to go out
of the way. For they were, in general, extremely satisfied of the truth of the thing, and plainly saw that Mrs.
Bargrave was no hypochondraic; for she always appears with such a cheerful air, and pleasing mien, that she
has gained the favor and esteem of all the gentry; and it is thought a great favor, if they can but get the relation
from her own mouth. I should have told you before, that Mrs. Veal told Mrs. Bargrave, that her sister and
brother-in-law were just come down from London to see her. Says Mrs. Bargrave, How came you to order
matters so strangely? It could not be helped, says Mrs. Veal. And her brother and sister did come to see her,
and entered the town of Dover just as Mrs. Veal was expiring. Mrs. Bargrave, asked her, whether she would
drink some tea. Says Mrs. Veal, I do not care if I do; but I'll warrant you, this mad fellow (meaning Mrs.
Bargrave's husband) has broke all your trinkets. But, says Mrs. Bargrave, I'll get something to drink in for all
that; but Mrs. Veal waived it, and said, It is no matter, let it alone; and so it passed.
All the time I sat with Mrs. Bargrave, which was some hours, she recollected fresh sayings of Mrs. Veal. And
one material thing more she told Mrs. Bargrave, that old Mr. Breton allowed Mrs. Veal ten pounds a year;
which was a secret, and unknown to Mrs. Bargrave, till Mrs. Veal told it her.
Mrs. Bargrave never varies in her story; which puzzles those who doubt of the truth, or are unwilling to
believe it. A servant in the neighbor's yard, adjoining to Mrs. Bargrave's house, heard her talking to somebody
an hour of the time Mrs. Veal was with her. Mrs. Bargrave went out to her next neighbor's the very moment
she parted with Mrs. Veal, and told her what ravishing conversation she had with an old friend, and told the
whole of it. Drelincourt's Book of Death is, since this happened, bought up strangely. And it is to be observed,
that notwithstanding all the trouble and fatigue Mrs. Bargrave has undergone upon this account, she never
took the value of a farthing, nor suffered her daughter to take anything of anybody, and therefore can have no
interest in telling the story.
But Mr. Veal does what he can to stifle the matter, and said, he would see Mrs. Bargrave; but yet it is certain
matter of fact that he has been at Captain Watson's since the death of his sister, and yet never went near Mrs.
Bargrave; and some of his friends report her to be a liar, and that she knew of Mr. Breton's ten pounds a year.
But the person who pretends to say so, has the reputation of a notorious liar, among persons whom I know to be of undoubted credit. Now Mr. Veal is more of a gentleman than to say she lies; but says, a bad husband has
crazed her. But she needs only present herself, and it will effectually confute that pretense. Mr. Veal says, he
asked his sister on her death-bed, whether she had a mind to dispose of anything? And she said, No. Now, the
things which Mrs. Veal's apparition would have disposed of, were so trifling, and nothing of justice aimed at
in their disposal, that the design of it appears to me to be only in order to make Mrs. Bargrave so to
demonstrate the truth of her appearance, as to satisfy the world of the reality thereof, as to what she had seen
and heard; and to secure her reputation among the reasonable and understanding part of mankind. And then
again, Mr. Veal owns, that there was a purse of gold; but it was not found in her cabinet, but in a comb-box.
This looks improbable; for that Mrs. Watson owned, that Mrs. Veal was so very careful of the key of the
cabinet, that she would trust nobody with it. And if so, no doubt she would not trust her gold out of it. And
Mrs. Veal's often drawing her hand over her eyes, and asking Mrs. Bargrave whether her fits had not impaired
her, looks to me as if she did it on purpose to remind Mrs. Bargrave of her fits, to prepare her not to think it
strange that she should put her upon writing to her brother to dispose of rings and gold, which looked so much
like a dying person's request; and it took accordingly with Mrs. Bargrave, as the effects of her fits coming
upon her; and was one of the many instances of her wonderful love to her, and care of her, that she should not
be affrighted; which indeed appears in her whole management, particularly in her coming to her in the
day-time, waiving the salutation, and when she was alone; and then the manner of her parting, to prevent a
second attempt to salute her.
Now, why Mr. Veal should think this relation a reflection, as it is plain he does, by his endeavoring to stifle it,
I cannot imagine; because the generality believe her to be a good spirit, her discourse was so heavenly. Her
two great errands were to comfort Mrs. Bargrave in her affliction, and to ask her forgiveness for the breach of
friendship, and with a pious discourse to encourage her. So that, after all, to suppose that Mrs. Bargrave could
hatch such an invention as this from Friday noon till Saturday noon, supposing that she knew of Mrs. Veal's
death the very first moment, without jumbling circumstances, and without any interest too; she must be more
witty, fortunate, and wicked too, than any indifferent person, I dare say, will allow. I asked Mrs. Bargrave
several times, if she was sure she felt the gown? She answered modestly, If my senses be to be relied on, I am
sure of it. I asked her, if she heard a sound when she clapped her hand upon her knee? She said, she did not
remember she did; but said she appeared to be as much a substance as I did, who talked with her. And I may,
said she, be as soon persuaded, that your apparition is talking to me now, as that I did not really see her: for I
was under no manner of fear, and received her as a friend, and parted with her as such. I would not, says she,
give one farthing to make any one believe it: I have no interest in it; nothing but trouble is entailed upon me
for a long time, for aught I know; and had it not come to light by accident, it would never have been made
public. But now, she says, she will make her own private use of it, and keep herself out of the way as much as
she can; and so she has done since. She says, She had a gentleman who came thirty miles to her to hear the
relation; and that she had told it to a room full of people at a time. Several particular gentlemen have had the
story from Mrs. Bargrave's own mouth.
This thing has very much affected me, and I am as well satisfied, as I am of the best-grounded matter of fact.
And why we should dispute matter of fact, because we cannot solve things of which we can have no certain or
demonstrative notions, seems strange to me. Mrs. Bargrave's authority and sincerity alone, would have been
undoubted in any other case.