“Between one and two o’clock in the morning, she fell into a trance. One, widow Turner, who watched with her that night, says that her eyes were open and fixed and her jaw fallen. Mrs. Turner put her hand upon her mouth and nostrils, but could perceive no breath. She thought her to be in a fit; and doubted whether she were dead or alive.
“The next morning the dying woman told her mother that she had been at home with her children. . . . ’I was with them last night when I was asleep.’
“The nurse at Rochester, widow Alexander by name, affirms, and says she will take her oath on’t before a Magistrate and receive the sacrament upon it, that a little before two o’clock that morning she saw the likeness of the said Mary Goffe come out of the next chamber (where the elder child lay in a bed by itself) the door being left open, and stood by her bedside for about a quarter of an hour; the younger child was there lying by her. Her eyes moved and her mouth went, but she said nothing. The nurse, moreover, says that she was perfectly awake; it was then daylight, being one of the longest days in the year. She sat up in bed and looked steadfastly on the apparition. In that time she heard the bridge clock strike two, and a while after said, ’In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, what art thou?’ Thereupon the apparition removed and went away; she slipped on her clothes and followed, but what became on’t she cannot tell.
“Mrs. Alexander then walked out of doors till six, when she persuaded some neighbours to let her in. She told her adventure; they failed to persuade her that she had dreamed it. On the same day the neighbour’s wife, Mrs. Sweet, went to West Mulling, saw Mrs. Goffe before her death, and heard from Mrs. Goffe’s mother the story of the daughter’s dream of her children, Mrs. Sweet not having mentioned the nurse’s story of the apparition.” That poor Mrs. Goffe walked to Rochester and returned undetected, a distance of eighteen miles is difficult to believe.
Goethe has an obiter dictum on the possibility of intercommunion without the aid of the ordinary senses, between the souls of lovers. Something of the kind is indicated in anecdotes of dreams dreamed in common by husband and wife, but, in such cases, it may be urged that the same circumstance, or the same noise or other disturbing cause, may beget the same dream in both. A better instance is
THE VISION OF THE BRIDE
Colonel Meadows Taylor writes, in The Story of my Life (vol. ii., p. 32): “The determination (to live unmarried) was the result of a very curious and strange incident that befel me during one of my marches to Hyderabad. I have never forgotten it, and it returns to this day to my memory with a strangely vivid effect that I can neither repel nor explain. I purposely withhold the date of the year. In my very early life I had been deeply and devotedly attached to one in England, and only relinquished the hope of one day winning her when the terrible order came out that no furlough to Europe would be granted.