Mr. Herman Merivale's tales on sea and land.
Hare's Journal, Nov 13, Highclere.
Mr. Herman Merivale told us -
A Captain was crossing to America in his ship, with very few
sailors on board. One day one of them came up to him on the deck
and said that there was a strange man in his cabin - but he could
not see the man's face, but that he was sitting with his back to
the door at the table writing. The captain said it was impossible
there could be anyone in his cabin, and desired the sailor to go
and look again. When he came up, he said the man was gone, but on
the table was the paper on which he had written, with the ink
still wet, the words - 'Steer due south.' The captain said that,
as he was not pressed for time, he would act on the mysterious
warning. He steered due south, and met with a ship which had been
long disabled and whose crew were in the last extremity.
The captain of disabled ship said that one of his men was a
very strange character. He had himself picked him up from a
deserted ship, and since then he had fallen into a cataleptic
Trance, in which, when he recovered, he declared that he have
been in another ship, begging its captain to come to their
assistance. When the man who had been sent to the cabin saw the
cataleptic sailor, he recognised him at once as the man he had
Mr. Merivale said that a case of the same kind had happened to
He was staying at Harrow, and very late at night was summoned
to London. Exactly as the clock struck twelve he passed the
headmaster's door in a fly. Both he and a friend who was with him
were at that moment attracted by seeing a hackney-coach at the
door - a most unusual sight it that time of night, and a male
figure wrapped in black, descend from it and glide into the
house, without, apparently, ringing, or any door being opened. He
spoke of it to his friend, and they both agreed that it was
equally mysterious and inexplicable. The next day, the
circumstances so dwelt on Mr. Merivale's mind, that he returned
to Harrow, and going to the house, asked if the headmaster, Dr.
Butler, was at home. 'No,' said the servant. Then he asked who
had come at twelve o'clock the night before. No one had come, no
one had been heard of, and no carriage of been seen; but Dr.
Butler's father had died just at that moment in a distant county.