At this intelligence, all of which, as may be supposed, had been gathered by us, the poor girl was so frightened that she fell down in a swoon, and Timothy carried her off. When she was taken home to the inn, she was so ill that she was put into bed, and what she did say was so incoherent, that, added to Timothy’s narrative, the astonishment of the landlady and others was beyond all bounds. I tried very hard to bring the landlady, but she would not consent; and now Nattee was pestered by people of higher condition, who wished to hear what she would say. Here Nattee’s powers were brought into play. She would not refuse to see them, but would not give answers till she had asked questions, and, as from us she had gleaned much general information, so by making this knowledge appear in her questions to them, she made them believe she knew more. If a young person came to her, she would immediately ask the name—of that name she had all the references acquired from us, as to family and connections. Bearing upon them, she would ask a few more, and then give them an abrupt dismissal.
This behaviour was put up with from one of her commanding presence, who refused money, and treated those who accosted her, as if she was their superior. Many came again and again, telling her all they knew, and acquainting her with every transaction of their life, to induce her to prophesy, for such, she informed them, was the surest way to call the spirit upon her. By these means we obtained the secret history of the major part, that is, the wealthier part of the town of ——; and although the predictions of Nattee were seldom given, yet when given, they were given with such perfect and apparent knowledge of the parties, that when she left, which she did about six weeks after her first appearance, the whole town rang with accounts of her wonderful powers.
It will appear strange that Melchior would not permit Nattee to reap a harvest, which might have been great; but the fact was, that he only allowed the seed to be sown that a greater harvest might be gathered hereafter. Nattee disappeared, the gipsie’s tent was no longer on the common, and the grass, which had been beaten down into a road by the feet of the frequent applicants to her, was again permitted to spring up. We also took our departure, and rejoined the camp with Nattee, where we remained for a fortnight, to permit the remembrance of her to subside a little—knowing that the appetite was alive, and would not be satisfied until it was appeased.
After that time, Melchior, Timothy, and I, again set off for the town of ——, and stopping at a superior inn in another part of the town, dressed as travellers, that is, people who go about the country for orders from the manufacturers, ordered our beds and supper in the coffee-room. The conversation was soon turned upon the wonderful powers of Nattee, the gipsy. “Nonsense,” said Melchior, “she knows nothing. I have heard of her.