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A Terrible Dream

Thursday, June 3.—I received a remarkable letter from a clergyman, whom I had been a day or two before. Part of it ran thus:

“I had the following account from the gentlewoman herself, a person of piety and veracity. She is now the wife of Mr. J--- B---, silversmith, in Cork.

“’About thirty years ago, I was addressed by way of marriage by Mr. Richard Mercier, then a volunteer in the army.  The young gentleman was quartered at that time in Charleville, where my father lived, who approved of his addresses and directed me to look upon him as my future husband. When the regiment left the town, he promised to return in two months and marry me. From Charleville he went to Dublin; thence to his father’s, and from thence to England; where, his father having bought him a Cornetcy of horse, he purchased many ornaments for the wedding; returning to Ireland, he let us know that he would be at our house in Charleville in a few days.

“’On this the family was busied to prepare for his reception and the ensuing marriage; when one night, my sister Molly and I being asleep in our bed, I was awakened by the sudden opening of the side-curtain and, starting up, saw Mr. Mercier standing by the bedside. He was wrapped up in a loose sheet, and had a napkin folded like a nightcap on his head. He looked at me very earnestly and, lifting up the napkin, which much shaded his face, showed me the left side of his head, all bloody and covered with his brains. The room meantime was quite light. My terror was excessive, which was still increased by his stooping over the bed and embracing me in his arms. My cries alarmed the whole family, who came crowding into the room.

“’Upon their entrance, he gently withdrew his arms, and ascended, as it were, through the ceiling. I continued for some time in strong fits. When I could speak, I told them what I had seen. One of them, a day or two after, going to the postmaster for letters, found him reading the newspapers, in which was an account that Cornet Mercier’s going into Christ Church belfry, in Dublin, just after the bells had been ringing; he was standing under the bells when one of them, which was turned bottom upwards, suddenly turned again, struck one side of his head, and killed him on the spot. On further inquiry, we found he was struck on the left side of his head.’”

Sunday, July 4.—In the morning we rode through Tuam, a neat little town, scarcely half so large as Islington; nor is the cathedral half so large as Islington church. The old church at Kilconnel, two miles from Aghrim, is abundantly larger. If one may judge by the vast ruins that remain (over all which we walked in the afternoon), it was a far more stately pile of building than any that is now standing in Ireland. Adjoining it are the ruins of a large monastery; many of the cells and apartments are pretty entire. At the west end of the church lie abundance of skulls, piled one upon another, with innumerable bones round about, scattered as dung upon the earth. O sin, what has thou done!

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