It was on a Tuesday, in the month of December 1857, that the telegram regarding the actual fate of Captain Wheatcroft was published in London. It was to the effect that he was killed before Lucknow on the fifteenth of November.
This news, given in the morning paper, attracted the attention of Mr Wilkinson, a London solicitor, who had in charge Captain Wheatcroft’s affairs. When at a later period this gentleman met the widow, she informed him that she had been quite prepared for the melancholy news, but that she had felt sure her husband could not have been killed on the 15th of November, inasmuch as it was during the night between the 14th and 15th that he appeared to her.
The certificate from the War Office, however, which it became Mr Wilkinson’s duty to obtain, confirmed the date given in the telegram, its tenor being as follows:—
“No. 9579/1 WAR OFFICE,
30th January 1858.
“These are to certify that it appears, by the records in this office, that Captain German Wheatcroft of the 6th Dragoon Guards, was killed in action on the 15th of November 1857.
“(Signed) B. HAWES.”
The difference of longitude between London and Lucknow being about five hours, three or four o’clock a.m. in London would be eight or nine o’clock a.m. at Lucknow. But it was in the afternoon not in the morning, as will be seen in the sequel, that Captain Wheatcroft was killed. Had he fallen on the 15th, therefore, the apparition to his wife would have appeared several hours before the engagement in which he fell, and while he was yet alive and well.
THE IRON CAGE
From Mrs CROWE’S “Night Side of Nature”
[As you express a wish to know what credit is to be attached to a tale sent forth after a lapse of between thirty and forty years, I will state the facts as they were recalled last year by a daughter of Sir William A. C——.]
Sir James, my mother, with myself and my brother Charles, went abroad towards the end of the year 1786. After trying several different places, we determined to settle at Lille, where we had letters of introduction to several of the best French families. There Sir James left us, and after passing a few days in an uncomfortable lodging, we engaged a nice large family house, which we liked much, and which we obtained at a very low rent, even for that part of the world.
About three weeks after we were established there, I walked one day with my mother to the bankers, for the purpose of delivering our letter of credit from Sir Robert Herries and drawing some money, which being paid in heavy five-frank pieces, we found we could not carry, and therefore requested the banker to send, saying, “We live in the Place du Lion d’Or.” Whereupon he looked surprised, and observed that he knew of no house there fit for us, “except, indeed,” he added, “the one that has been long uninhabited on account of the revenant that walks about it.”