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The Valet's Tragedy and Other Stories by Andrew Lang

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***State Trials, vii. pp. 168, 169.

Oates swore, and, for once, is corroborated, that Godfrey complained
'of receiving affronts from some great persons (whose names I name
not now) for being so zealous in this business.' If Oates, by
'great persons,' means the Duke of York, it was in the Duke's own
cause that Godfrey had been 'zealous,' sending him warning by
Coleman. Oates added that others threatened to complain to
Parliament, which was to meet on October 21, that Godfrey had been
'too remiss.' Oates was a liar, but Godfrey, in any case, was
between the Devil and the deep sea. As early as October 24, Mr.
Mulys attested, before the Lords, Godfrey's remark, 'he had been
blamed by some great men for not having done his duty, and by other
great men for having done too much.' Mulys corroborates Oates.* If
Godfrey knew a secret dangerous to the Jesuits (which, later, was a
current theory), he might be by them silenced for ever. If his
conduct, being complained of, was examined into by Parliament,
misprision of treason was the lowest at which his offence could be
rated. Never was magistrate in such a quandary. But we do not
know, in the state of the evidence, which of his many perils he
feared most, and his possession of 'a dangerous secret' (namely, the
secret of the consult of April 24) is a pure hypothesis. It is not
warranted, but refuted, by Godfrey's own words as reported by
Wynell, when, unlike Mr. Pollock, we quote Wynell's whole sentence
on the subject. (see previous exchange between Godfrey and Wynell.)

*Lords' MSS., P. 48.


The theories of Godfrey's death almost defy enumeration. For
suicide, being a man of melancholic temperament, he had reasons as
many and as good as mortal could desire. That he was murdered for
not being active enough in prosecuting the plot, is most improbable.
That he was taken off by Danby's orders, for giving Coleman and the
Duke of York early warning, is an absurd idea, for Danby could have
had him on THAT score by ordinary process of law. That he was slain
by Oates's gang, merely to clinch the fact that a plot there
veritably was, is improbable. At the same time, Godfrey had been
calling Oates a perjurer: he KNEW that Oates was forsworn. This
was an unsafe thing for any man to say, but when the man was the
magistrate who had read Oates's deposition, he invited danger. Such
were the chances that Godfrey risked from the Plot party. The
Catholics, on the other hand, if they were aware that Godfrey
possessed the secret of the Jesuit meeting of April 24, and if they
deemed him too foolish to keep the secret in his own interest, could
not but perceive that to murder him was to play into the hands of
the Whigs by clinching the belief in a Popish plot. Had they been
the murderers, they would probably have taken his money and rings,
to give the idea that he had been attacked and robbed by vulgar
villains. If they 'were not the damnedest fools' (thus freely
speaks L'Estrange), they would not have taken deliberate steps to
secure the instant discovery of the corpse. Whoever pitched
Godfrey's body into the bramble-covered ditch, meant it to be found,
for his cane, scabbard, and so on were deliberately left outside of
the ditch. Your wily Jesuit would have caused the body to
disappear, leaving the impression that Godfrey had merely absconded,
as he had the best reasons for doing. On the other hand, Oates's
gang would not, if they first strangled Godfrey, have run his own
sword through his body, as if he had committed suicide--unless,
indeed, they calculated that this would be a likely step for your
wily Jesuit to take, in the circumstances. Again, an educated
'Jesuit,' like Le Fevre, 'the Queen's confessor,' would know that
the sword trick was futile; even a plain man, let alone a surgeon,
could detect a wound inflicted on a corpse four or five days old.

Two other theories existed, first, that Godfrey hanged himself, and
that his brothers and heirs did the sword trick, to suggest that he
had not committed suicide by strangulation, but had been set on and
stabbed with his own sword. In that case, of course, the brothers
would have removed his rings and money, to prove that he had been
robbed. The other theory, plausible enough, held that Godfrey was
killed by Catholics, NOT because he took Oates's deposition (which
he was bound to do), but because he officiously examined a number of
persons to make discoveries. The Attorney-General at the trial of
Godfrey's alleged murderers (February 1679), declared that Sir
Edmund had taken such examinations: 'we have proof that he had
some. . . perhaps some more than are now extant'* This theory,
then, held that he was taken off to prevent his pursuing his zealous
course, and to seize the depositions which he had already taken.
When this was stated to Charles II., on November 7, 1678, by the
perjured Bedloe, the King naturally remarked: 'The parties were
still alive' (the deponents) 'to give the informations.' Bedloe
answered, that the papers were to be seized 'in hopes the second
informations taken from the parties would not have agreed with the
first, and so the thing would have been disproved.'** This was
monstrously absurd, for the slayers of Godfrey could not have
produced the documents of which they had robbed him.

*State Trials, vii. p. 163.
**Pollock, p. 385.

The theory that Sir Edmund was killed because Coleman had told him
too many secrets did not come to general knowledge till the trial of
Lord Stafford in 1680. The hypothesis--Godfrey slain because,
through Coleman, he knew too many Catholic secrets--is practically
that of Mr. Pollock. It certainly does supply a motive for
Godfrey's assassination. Hot-headed Catholics who knew, or
suspected, that Godfrey knew too much, MAY have killed him for that
reason, or for the purpose of seizing his papers, but it is
improbable that Catholics of education, well aware that, if he
blabbed, Godfrey must ruin himself, would have put their hands into
his blood, on the mere chance that, if left alive, he might betray
both himself and them.


It is now necessary to turn backward a little and see what occurred
immediately after the meeting of Coleman and Godfrey on September
28. On that day, Oates gave his lying evidence before the Council:
he was allowed to go on a Jesuit drive, with warrants and officers;
he caught several of the most important Jesuits. On September 29,
the King heard his tale, and called him a 'lying knave.' None the
less he was sent on another drive, and, says Mr. Pollock, 'before
dawn most the Jesuits of eminence in London lay in gaol.' But Le
Fevre, 'the Queen's confessor,' and the other 'Jesuits' whom Mr.
Pollock suspects of Godfrey's murder, were not taken. Is it likely
(it is, of course, possible) that they stayed on in town, and killed
Godfrey twelve days later?

Meanwhile Coleman, thanks to Godfrey's warning, had most of
September 28, the night of that day, and September 29, wherein to
burn his papers and abscond. He did neither; if he destroyed some
papers, he left others in his rooms, letters which were quite good
enough to hang him for high treason, as the law stood. Apparently
Coleman did not understand his danger. On Sunday night, September
29, a warrant for his apprehension was issued, and for the seizure
of his papers. 'He came voluntarily in on Monday morning,' having
heard of the warrant. This is not the conduct of a man who knows
himself guilty. He met the charges with disdain, and made so good a
case that, instead of being sent to Newgate, he was merely entrusted
to a messenger, who was told 'to be very civil to Mr. Coleman.'

Charles II. went to the Newmarket Autumn Meeting, Coleman's papers
were examined, and 'sounded so strange to the Lords' that they sent
him to Newgate (October 1). The papers proved that Coleman, years
before, had corresponded (as Oates had sworn) with the confessor of
Louis XIV. and had incurred the technical guilt of treason. Either
Coleman did not understand the law and the measure of his offence
(as seems probable), or he thought his papers safely hidden. But
the heather was on fire. The belief in Oates's impossible Plot
blazed up, 'hell was let loose'*

*State Trials, vii. p. 29.

Coleman had thought himself safe, says James II., then Duke of York.
'The Duke perceiving' (from Godfrey's information of September 28)
'Oates had named Coleman, bade him look to himself, for he was sure
to find no favour, and therefore, if he had any papers that might
hurt him, to secure them immediately; but he, apprehending no
danger, let them be seized, however kept close himself, and sent to
advise with the Duke whether he should deliver himself up or not.
The Duke replyd, "He knew best what was in his papers; if they
contain'd any expression which could be wrested to an ill sence, he
had best not appear, otherwise the surrendering himself would be an
argument of innocency." He did accordingly,' and was condemned in
November, and hanged.*

*Life of James II., i. p. 534.

King James's tale agrees with the facts of Coleman's surrender. 'He
came in voluntarily.' He did not appreciate the resources of
civilisation at the service of the English law of treason: he had
dabbled in intrigue without taking counsel's advice, and knowing for
certain that Oates was an inconsistent liar, Coleman took his chance
with a light heart. However, not only did some of his letters bring
him (though he could not understand the fact) within the elastic law
of treason; but Oates's evidence was accepted when conspicuously
false; Coleman was not allowed to produce his diary and prove an
alibi as to one of Oates's accusations, and a new witness, Bedloe, a
perjurer who rivalled Oates, had sprung up out of the filth of
London streets. So Coleman swung for it, as Godfrey, according to
Wynell, had prophesied that he would.

Coleman's imprisonment began twelve days before Godfrey's
disappearance. At Coleman's trial, late in November, a mere guess
was given that Godfrey was slain to prevent him (a Protestant
martyr) from blabbing Catholic secrets. This cause of Godfrey's
taking off was not alleged by Bedloe. This man, a notorious
cosmopolitan rogue, who had swindled his way through France and
Spain, was first heard of in the Godfrey case at the end of October.
He wrote to the Secretaries of State from Bristol (L'Estrange says
from Newbury on his way to Bristol), offering information, as pardon
and reward had been promised to contrite accomplices in the murder.
He came to town, and, on November 7, gave evidence before the King.
Bedloe gave himself out as a Jesuit agent; concerning the Plot he
added monstrous inventions to those of Oates.

'As to Sir Edmund Godfrey; was promised 2,000 guineas to be in it by
Le Fere' (Le Fevre, 'the Queen's confessor),' [by] 'my Lord
CHAPEL, IN A PURPLE GOWN, and to keep the people orderly'*

*See Pollock, pp. 384, 387. The report is from Secretary Coventry's
MSS., at Longleat. The evidence as to Bedloe's deposition before
the King (November 7) is in a confused state. Mr. Pollock prints
(pp. 383, 384, cf. p. 110) a document from 'Brit. Mus. Addit. MS.
11058, f. 244.' This is also given, with the same erroneous
reference, by Mr. Foley, in Records of the English Province of the
Society of Jesus, vol. v. p. 30, note. The right reference is
11055. The document is quite erroneously printed, with variations
in error, by Mr. Foley and Mr. Pollock. Bedloe really said that
Godfrey was lured into Somerset House Yard, not into 'some house
yard' (Foley), or 'into a house yard' (Pollock). Bedloe, so far,
agreed with Prance, but, in another set of notes on his deposition
(Longleat MSS., Coventry Papers, xi. 272-274, Pollock, 384-387), he
made Somerset House the scene of the murder. There are other
errors. Mr. Pollock and Mr. Foley make Bedloe accuse Father Eveley,
S.J., in whom I naturally recognised Father Evers or Every, who was
then at Tixall in Staffordshire. The name in the MS. is 'Welch,'
not Eveley. The MS. was manifestly written not before September 12.
It does not appear that Bedloe, on November 7, knew the plot as
invented by Oates, on which compare Mr. Pollock, p. 110, who thinks
that 'it is quite possible that Charles II. deceived him,' Bishop
Burnet, 'intentionally,' on this head (Burnet, ii. 745-746, 1725).
By printing 'he acquainted' instead of 'he acquainteth the Lords,'
in the British Museum MS., and by taking the document, apparently,
to be of November 7, Mr. Pollock has been led to an incorrect
conclusion. I am obliged to Father Gerard, S.J., for a correct
transcript of the British Museum MS.; see also Note iii., 'The
Jesuit Murderers,' at the end of this chapter, and Father Gerard's
The Popish Plot and its Latest Historian (Longman's, 1903).

Bedloe here asserts distinctly that one accomplice was an official
of the Queen's chapel, in her residence, Somerset House: a kind of
verger, in a purple gown. This is highly important, for the man
whom he later pretended to recognise as this accomplice was not a
'waiter,' did not 'wear a purple gown;' and, by his own account,
'was not in the chapel once a month.' Bedloe's recognition
of him, therefore, was worthless. He said that Godfrey was
smothered with a pillow, or two pillows, in a room in Somerset
House, for the purpose of securing 'the examinations' that Godfrey
had taken. 'Coleman and Lord Bellasis advised to destroy him.' His
informant was Le Fevre. One Walsh (a 'Jesuit'), Le Fevre, Lord
Bellasis's man, and 'the chapel keeper' did the deed. The chapel
keeper carried him' (Godfrey) 'off.' 'HE DID NOT SEE HIM' (Godfrey)

On the following day Bedloe told his tale at the bar of the House of
Lords. He now, contradicting himself, swore THAT HE SAW GODFREY'S
DEAD BODY IN SOMERSET HOUSE. He was offered 2,000 guineas to help
to carry him off. This was done by chairmen, 'retainers to Somerset
House,' on Monday night (October 14).*

*Pollock, p. 387, Lords' Journals, xiii. p. 343.

On that night, Bedloe saw Samuel Atkins, Mr. Pepys's clerk, beside
the corpse, by the light of a dark lantern. Atkins had an alibi, so
Bedloe shuffled, and would not swear to him.

On November 14, before the Lords' Committee, Bedloe again gave
evidence. The 2,100 pounds were now 4,000 pounds offered to Bedloe,
by Le Fevre, early in October, to kill a man. The attendant in the
Queen's chapel was at the scene (a pure figment) of the corpse
exposed under the dark lantern. The motive of the murder was to
seize Godfrey's examinations, which he said he had sent to
Whitehall. At a trial which followed in February 1679, Mr.
Robinson, who had known Godfrey for some forty years, deposed that
he had said to him, 'I understand you have taken several
examinations.' 'Truly,' said he, 'I have.' 'Pray, Sir, have you
the examinations about you, will you please to let me see them?'
'No, I have them not, I delivered them to a person of quality.'*

*State Trials, vii. 168.

This person of quality was not the Duke of York, for it may be noted
that, on the day before his disappearance, Godfrey had, in fact,
received back from the Lord Chief Justice the original copy of
Oates's depositions. This copy was found in his house, after his
death, and handed over by his brother to the Government.* To get
the examinations was always the motive of the murder, with Bedloe.
The hour of Godfrey's death was now 2 P.M.; now 3, or 4, or 5 P.M.,
on October 12. The body was hidden in various rooms of Somerset
House, or under the high altar in the Queen's Chapel. The
discrepancies never affected the faith given to Bedloe.

*Lords' MSS., Hist. MSS. Commission Report, xi. Appendix, part ii.,
pp. 2,3.

At the end of December came in a new accomplice-witness. This was
an Irishman, Miles Prance, a silversmith, who had a business among
Catholics, and worked for the Queen's Chapel. Unlike all the other
informers, Prance had hitherto been an ordinary fellow enough, with
a wife and family, not a swindling debauchee. He was arrested on
December 21, on information given by John Wren, a lodger of his,
with whom he had quarrelled. Wren had noticed that Prance lay out
of his own house while Godfrey was missing, which Prance admitted to
be true.*

*Op. cit. p. 51. Prance both said, and denied, that he slept out
while Sir Edmund was missing. He was flurried and self-

Bedloe, passing through a room in the House of Commons, saw Prance
in custody, and at once pretended to recognise in him the 'chapel
keeper,' 'under waiter,' or 'man in the purple gown,' whom he had
seen by the light of a dark lantern, beside Godfrey's body, in a
room of Somerset House, on October 14. 'There was very little
light' on that occasion, Bedloe had said, and he finally refused, we
saw, to swear to Atkins, who had an alibi. But, as to Prance, he
said: 'This is one of the rogues that I saw with a dark lantern
about the body of Sir Edmund, but he was then in a periwig.'* The
periwig was introduced in case Prance had an alibi: Oates had used
the same 'hedge,' 'a periwig doth disguise a man very much,' in
Coleman's case.**

*L'Estrange, iii. pp. 52, 53, 65.
**State Trials, vii. 27.

What was Bedloe's recognition of Prance worth? Manifestly nothing!
He had probably seen Prance (not as a 'waiter') in the Queen's
Chapel. Now he found him in custody. Cautious as regards Atkins,
six weeks earlier, Bedloe was emboldened now by a train of
successes. He had sworn away Coleman's life. His self-
contradictions had been blindly swallowed. If Prance could prove an
alibi, what was that to Bedloe? The light of the dark lantern had
been very bad; the rogue, under that light, had worn a periwig,
which 'doth disguise a man very much.' Bedloe could safely say that
he had made an innocent error. Much worse blunders had not impaired
his credit; later he made much worse blunders, undetected. He saw
his chance and took it.

Prance, who denied everything, was hurried to Newgate, and thrown,
without bed or covering, into the freezing 'condemned hole,' where
he lay perishing of cold through the night of December 21, December
22, and the night of that day. On December 23, he offered, no
wonder, to confess. He was examined by the Lords, and (December 24)
by the Council.

Prance knew, all the world knew, the details about Godfrey's
bruises; the state of his neck, and the sword-thrusts. He knew that
Bedloe had located the murder in Somerset House. As proclamations
for the men accused by Bedloe had long been out, he MAY have guessed
that Le Fevre, Walsh, and Pritchard were wanted for Godfrey's
murder, and had been denounced by Bedloe. But this is highly
improbable, for nothing about Godfrey's murder is hinted at in the
proclamation for Le Fevre, Walsh, and Pritchard.* We have no
reason, then, to suppose that Prance knew who the men were that
Bedloe had accused; consequently he had to select other victims,
innocent men of his acquaintance. But, as a tradesman of the Queen,
Prance knew her residence, Somerset House, the courts, outer stairs,
passages, and so on. He knew that Bedloe professed to have
recognised him there in the scene of the dark lantern.

*Lords' Journals, xiii. p. 346; Lords' MSS., p. 59.

Prance had thus all the materials of a confession ready made, but
not of a confession identical with Bedloe's. He was 'one of the
most acute and audacious of the Jesuit agents,' says Mr. Pollock.*
Yet Mr. Pollock argues that for Prance to tell the tale which he did
tell, in his circumstances of cold and terror, required a most
improbable 'wealth of mental equipment,' 'phenomenal powers of
memory, imagination, and coolness,' if the tale was false.**
Therefore Prance's story of the murder was true, except in the
details as to the men whom he accused. On December 24, he was taken
to the places which he described (certainly lying in his tale), and
preserved consistency, though, after long search, he could not find
one of the rooms in which he said that the corpse was laid.***

**Ibid. p. 146.
***Lords' Journals, xii. pp. 436-438.

As Prance, by Mr. Pollock's theory, was one of the most acute of
Jesuit agents, and as he had all the materials, and all the
knowledge necessary for a confession, he had, obviously, no
difficulty in making up his evidence. Even by Mr. Pollock's
showing, he was cool and intellectual enough; for, on that showing,
he adapted into his narrative, very subtly, circumstances which were
entirely false. If, as Mr. Pollock holds, Prance was astute enough
to make a consistent patchwork of fact and lie, how can it be argued
that, with the information at his command, he could not invent a
complete fiction?

Again, Prance, by misstating dates wildly, hoped, says Mr. Pollock,
to escape as a mere liar.* But, when Prance varied in almost every
detail of time, place, motive, and person from Bedloe, Mr. Pollock
does not see that his own explanation holds for the variations. If
Prance wished to escape as a babbling liar, he could not do better
than contradict Bedloe. He DID, but the Protestant conscience
swallowed the contradictions. But again, if Prance did not know the
details of Bedloe's confession, how could he possibly agree with it?

*Pollock, p. 160.

The most essential point of difference was that Bedloe accused
'Jesuits,' Le Fevre, Walsh, and Pritchard, who had got clean away.
Prance accused two priests, who escaped, and three hangers on of
Somerset House, Hill, Berry (the porter), and Green. All three were
hanged, and all three confessedly were innocent. Mr. Pollock
reasons that Prance, if guilty (and he believes him guilty), 'must
have known the real authors' of the crime, that is, the Jesuits
accused by Bedloe. 'He must have accused the innocent, not from
necessity, but from choice, and in order to conceal the guilty.'
'He knew Bedloe to have exposed the real murderers, and. . . he
wished to shield them.'* How did he know whom Bedloe had exposed?
How could he even know the exact spot, a room in Somerset House,
where Bedloe placed the murder? Prance placed it in Somerset YARD.

*Pollock, p. 148.

It is just as easy to argue, on Mr. Pollock's other line, that
Prance varied from Bedloe in order that the inconsistencies might
prove his own falsehood. But we have no reason to suppose that
Prance did know the details of Bedloe's confession, as to the motive
of the murder, the hour, the exact spot, and the names of the
criminals. Later he told L'Estrange a palpable lie: Bedloe's
confession had been shown to him before he made his own. If that
were true, he purposely contradicted Bedloe in detail. But Mr.
Pollock rejects the myth. Then how did Prance know the details
given by Bedloe?* Ignorant of Bedloe's version, except in two or
three points, Prance could not but contradict it. He thus could not
accuse Bedloe's Jesuits. He did not name other men, as Mr. Pollock
holds, to shield the Jesuits. Practically they did not need to be
shielded. Jesuits with seven weeks' start of the law were safe
enough. Even if they were caught, were guilty, and had the truth
extracted from them, involving Prance, the truth about HIM would
come out, whether he now denounced them or not. But he did not know
that Bedloe had denounced them.

*Pollock, pp. 142, 143.

Mr. Pollock's theory of the relation of Bedloe to Godfrey's murder
is this: Bedloe had no hand in the murder, and never saw the
corpse. The crime was done in Somerset House, 'the Queen's
confessor,' Father Le Fevre, S.J., having singular facilities for
entering, with his friends, and carrying a dead body out 'through a
private door'--a door not mentioned by any witnesses, nor proved to
exist by the evidence of a chart. This Le Fevre, with Walsh, lived
in the same house as Bedloe. From them, Bedloe got his information.
'It is easy to conjecture how he could have obtained it. Walsh and
Le Fevre were absent from their rooms, for a considerable part of
the nights of Saturday and Wednesday, October 12 and 16. Bedloe's
suspicions must have been aroused, and, either by threats or
cajolery, he wormed part of the secret out of his friends. He
obtained a general idea of the way in which the murder had been
committed and of the persons concerned in it. One of these was a
frequenter of the Queen's chapel whom he knew by sight. He thought
him to be a subordinate official there.'*

*Pollock, pp. 157, 158.

On this amount of evidence Bedloe invented his many contradictions.
Why he did not cleave to the facts imparted to him by his Jesuit
friends, we do not learn. 'A general idea of the way in which the
murder was committed' any man could form from the state of Godfrey's
body. There was no reason why Walsh and Le Fevre 'should be absent
from their rooms on a considerable part of the night of Saturday
12,' and so excite Bedloe's suspicions, for, on his versions, they
slew Godfrey at 2 P.M., 5 P.M., or any hour between. No proof is
given that they were in their lodgings, or in London, during the
fortnight which followed Oates's three successful Jesuit drives of
September 28-30. In all probability they had fled from London
before Godfrey's murder. No evidence can I find that Bedloe's
Jesuits were at their lodgings on October 12-16. They were not
sought for there, but at Somerset House.* Two sisters, named
Salvin, were called before the Lords' Committee, and deposed that
Bedloe and Le Fevre had twice been at their house when Walsh said
mass there.**

*Lords' Journals, xiii. pp. 343 346.
**Ibid. p. 353.

That is all! Bedloe had some acquaintance with the men he accused;
so had Prance with those he denounced. Prance's victims were
innocent, and against Bedloe's there is not, so far, evidence to
convict a cat on for stealing cream. He recognised Prance,
therefore he really knew the murderers--that is all the argument.

Mr. Pollock's theory reposes on the belief, rejected by L'Estrange,
that the Jesuits 'were the damnedest fools.' Suppose them guilty.
The first step of a Jesuit, or of any gentleman, about to commit a
deliberate deeply planned murder, is to secure an alibi. Le Fevre
did not, or, when questioned (on Mr. Pollock's theory) by Bedloe, he
would have put him off with his alibi. Again, 'a Jesuit,' 'the
Queen's confessor,' does not do his murders in the Queen's house:
no gentleman does. But, if Le Fevre did commit this solecism, he
would have told Bedloe a different story; if he confessed to him at
all. These things are elementary.

Prance's confession, as to the share of Hill, Berry, and Green in
the murder, was admittedly false. On one point he stumbled always:
'Were there no guards at the usual places at the time of the
carrying on this work?' he was asked by one of the Lords on December
24,1678. He mumbled, 'I did not take notice of any.'* He never, on
later occasions, could answer this question about the sentries.
Prance saw no sentries, and there is nowhere any evidence that the
sentries were ever asked whether they saw either Prance, Le Fevre,
or Godfrey, in Somerset House or the adjacent Somerset Yard, on
October 12. They were likely to know both the Queen's silversmith
and 'the Queen's confessor,' and Godfrey they may have known.
Prance and the sentries had, for each other, the secret of fern-
seed, they walked invisible. This, of itself, is fatal to Prance's

*Lords' Journals, xiii. p. 438.

No sooner had Prance confessed than he withdrew his confession. He
prayed to be taken before the King, knelt, and denied all. Next day
he did the same before the Council. He was restored to his pleasant
quarters in Newgate, and recanted his recantation. He again
withdrew, and maintained that his confession was false, before King
and Council (December 30), 'He knows nothing in the world of all he
has said.' The Lord Chancellor proposed 'to have him have the

*State Papers, Domestic, Charles II., Dec. 30, 1678, Bundle 408.

Probably he 'did not have the rack,' but he had the promise of it,
and nearly died of cold, ironed, in the condemned cell. 'He was
almost dead with the disorder in his mind, and with cold in his
body,' said Dr. Lloyd, who visited him, to Burnet. Lloyd got a bed
and a fire for the wretch, who revived, and repeated his original
confession.* Lloyd believed in his sincerity, says Burnet, writing
many years later. In 1686, Lloyd denied that he believed.

*Burnet, ii. p. 773.

Prance's victims, Hill, Berry, and Green, were tried on February 5,
1679. Prance told his story. On one essential point he professed
to know nothing. Where was Godfrey from five to nine o'clock, the
hour when he was lured into Somerset House? He was dogged in fields
near Holborn to somewhere unknown in St. Clement's. It is an odd
fact that, though at the dinner hour, one o'clock, close to his own
house, and to that of Mr. Welden (who had asked him to dine), Sir
Edmund seems to have dined nowhere. Had he done so, even in a
tavern, he must have been recognised. Probably Godfrey was dead
long before 9 P.M. Mr. Justice Wild pressed Prance on this point of
where Godfrey was; he could say nothing.* Much evidence (on one
point absurd) was collected later by L'Estrange, and is accepted by
North in his 'Examen,' to prove that, by some of his friends,
Godfrey was reckoned 'missing' in the afternoon of the fatal
Saturday.** But no such evidence was wanted when Hill, Berry, and
Green were tried.*** The prosecution, with reckless impudence,
mingled Bedloe's and Prance's contradictory lies, and accused
Bedloe's 'Jesuits,' Walsh and Le Fevre, in company with Prance's
priests, Gerald and Kelly.**** Bedloe, in his story before the
jury, involved himself in even more contradictory lies than usual.
but, even now, he did not say anything that really implicated the
men accused by Prance, while Prance said not a word, in Court or
elsewhere, about the men accused by Bedloe.*****

*State Trials, vii. 177.
**This is said in 1681 in A Letter to Miles Prance.
***North, Examen, p. 201.
****State Trials, vii, 178 (Speech of Serjeant Stringer).
*****Ibid. vii. 179-183.

Lord Chief Justice Scroggs actually told the jury that 'for two
witnesses to agree as to many material circumstances with one
another, that had never conversed together, is impossible. . . .
They agree so in all things.'* The two witnesses did not agree at
all, as we have abundantly seen, but, in the fury of Protestant
fear, any injustice could be committed, and every kind of injustice
was committed at this trial. Prance later pleaded guilty on a
charge of perjury, and well he might. Bedloe died, and went to his
own place with lies in his mouth.

*State Trials, vii. 216.


If I held a brief against the Jesuits, I should make much of a point
which Mr. Pollock does not labour. Just about the time when Prance
began confessing, in London, December 24, 1678, one Stephen Dugdale,
styled 'gentleman,' was arrested in Staffordshire, examined, and
sent up to town. He was a Catholic, and had been in Lord Aston's
service, but was dismissed for dishonesty. In the country, at
Tixall, he knew a Jesuit named Evers, and through Evers he professed
to know much about the mythical plot to kill the King, and the rest
of the farrago of lies. At the trial of the five Jesuits, in June
1679, Dugdale told what he had told privately, under examination, on
March 21, 1679.* This revelation was that Harcourt, a Jesuit, had
written from town to Evers, a Jesuit at Tixall, by the night post of
Saturday, October 12, 1678, 'This very night Sir Edmundbury (sic)
Godfrey is dispatched.' The letter reached Tixall by Monday,
October 14.

*Fitzherbert MSS; State Trials, vii. 338.

Mr. Pollock writes: 'Dugdale was proved to have spoken on Tuesday,
October 15, 1678, of the death of a justice of the peace in
Westminster, which does not go far.'* But if this is PROVED, it
appears to go all the way; unless we can explain Dugdale's
information without involving the guilty knowledge of Harcourt. The
proof that Dugdale, on Tuesday, October 15, spoke at Tixall of
Godfrey's death, two days before Godfrey's body was found near
London, stands thus: at the trial of the Jesuits a gentleman,
Chetwyn, gave evidence that, on the morning of Tuesday, October 15,
a Mr. Sanbidge told him that Dugdale had talked at an alehouse about
the slaying of a justice of peace of Westminster. Chetwyn was
certain of the date, because on that day he went to Litchfield
races. At Litchfield he stayed till Saturday, October 19, when he
heard from London of the discovery of Godfrey's body.** Chetwyn
asked Dugdale about this, when Dugdale was sent to town, in December
1678. Dugdale said he remembered the facts, but, as he did not
report them to his examiners (a singular omission), he was not
called as a witness at the trial of Berry, Green, and Hill. Chetwyn
later asked Dugdale why he was not called, and said: 'Pray let me
see the copy of your deposition sworn before the Council. He showed
it me, and there was not a syllable of it, that I could see, BUT

*Pollock, p. 341, note 2.
**State Trials, vii. 339, 341,

Lord Chief Justice. 'That is not very material, if the thing itself
be true. '

Chetwyn. 'But its not being there made me remember it.'

Its later appearance, 'there,' shows how depositions were handled!

Chetwyn, in June 1679, says that he heard of Dugdale's words as to
the murder, from Mr. Sanbidge, or Sambidge, or Sawbridge. At the
trial of Lord Stafford (1680) Sanbidge 'took it upon his salvation'
that Dugdale told him nothing of the matter, and vowed that Dugdale
was a wicked rogue.* Mr. Wilson, the parish clergyman of Tixall,
was said to have heard Dugdale speak of Godfrey's death on October
14. He also remembered no such thing. Hanson, a running-man, heard
Dugdale talk of the murder of a justice of the peace at Westminster
as early as the morning of Monday, October 14, 1678: the London
Saturday post arrived at Tixall on Monday morning. Two gentlemen,
Birch and Turton, averred that the news of the murder 'was all over
the country' near Tixall, on Tuesday, October 15; but Turton was not
sure that he did not hear first of the fact on Friday, October 18,
which, by ordinary post from London, was impossible.

*State Trials, vii. 1406.

Such was the evidence to show that Dugdale spoke of Godfrey's death,
in the country, two or three days before Godfrey's body was found.
The fact can scarcely be said to be PROVED, considering the
excitement of men's minds, the fallacies of memory, the silence of
Dugdale at his first examination before the Council, Sanbidge's
refusal to corroborate Chetwyn, and Wilson's inability to remember
anything about a matter so remarkable and so recent. To deny, like
Sanbidge, to be unable to remember, like Wilson, demanded some
courage, in face of the frenzied terror of the Protestants. Birch
confessedly took no notice of the rumour, when it first reached him,
but at the trial of Green, Berry, and Hill, 'I told several
gentlemen that I did perfectly remember before Thursday it was
discoursed of in the country by several gentlemen where I lived.'*
The 'several gentlemen' whom Birch 'told' were not called to
corroborate him. In short, the evidence seems to fall short of
demonstrative proof.

*State Trials. vii. 1455.

But, if it were all true, L'Estrange (and a writer who made the
assertion in 1681) collected a good deal of evidence* to show that a
rumour of Godfrey's disappearance, and probable murder by bloody
Papists, was current in London on the afternoon of the day when he
disappeared, Saturday, October 12.*** Mr. Pollock says that the
evidence is 'not to be relied on,' and part of it, attributing the
rumour to Godfrey's brothers, is absurd. THEY were afraid that
Godfrey had killed himself, not that he was murdered by Papists.
That 'his household could not have known that he would not return,'
is not to the point. The people who raised the rumour were not of
Godfrey's household. Nor is it to the point, exactly, that, being
invited to dine on Saturday by Mr. Welden, who saw him on Friday
night, 'he said he could not tell whether he should.'** For Wynell
had expected to dine with him at Welden's to talk over some private
business about house property.*** Wynell (the authority for
Godfrey's being 'master of a dangerous secret') did expect to meet
Godfrey at dinner, and, knowing the fears to which Godfrey often
confessed, might himself have originated, by his fussy inquiries,
the rumour that Sir Edmund was missing. The wild excitement of the
town might add 'murdered by Papists,' and the rumour might really
get into a letter from London of Saturday night, reaching Tixall by
Monday morning. North says: 'It was in every one's mouth, WHERE IS
MURDERED BY THE PAPISTS.'**** That such a pheemee^ might arise is
very conceivable. In all probability the report which Bishop Burnet
and Dr. Lloyd heard of the discovery of Godfrey's body, before it
was discovered, was another rumour, based on a lucky conjecture. It
is said that the report of the fall of Khartoum was current in Cairo
on the day of the unhappy event. Rumour is correct once in a myriad
times, and, in October 1678, London was humming with rumours. THIS
report might get into a letter to Tixall, and, if so, Dugdale's
early knowledge is accounted for; if knowledge he had, which I have
shown to be disputable.

*Letter to Miles Prance, March, 1681. L'Estrange, Brief History,
iii. pp. 195-201.
**Lords' MSS., p. 48; Pollock, p. 93, and note 2.
***L'Estrange, Brief History, iii. pp. 188, 190, 195.
****Examen, p. 201.
^Anglicised version of the author's original Greek text.

Dugdale's talk was thought, at the time, to clinch the demonstration
that the Jesuits were concerned in Godfrey's murder, L'Estrange
says, and he brings in his witnesses to prove, that the London
rumour existed, and could reach the country by post. In fact,
Chetwyn, on the evidence of Sanbidge, suggested this improvement of
his original romance to Dugdale, and Sanbidge contradicted Chetwyn.
He knew nothing of the matter. Such is the value of the only
testimony against the Jesuits which deserves consideration.

We do not propose to unriddle this mystery, but to show that the
most recent and industrious endeavour to solve the problem is
unsuccessful. We cannot deny that Godfrey may have been murdered to
conceal Catholic secrets, of which, thanks to his inexplicable
familiarity with Coleman, he may have had many. But we have tried
to prove that we do not KNOW him to have had any such Catholic
secrets, or much beyond Oates's fables; and we have probably
succeeded in showing that against the Jesuits, as Sir Edmund's
destroyers, there is no evidence at all.

Had modern men of science, unaffected by political and religious
bias, given evidence equivalent to that of the two surgeons, one
might conceive that Godfrey was probably slain, as Macaulay thought,
by hotheaded Catholics. But I confess to a leaning in favour of the
picture of Godfrey sketched by L'Estrange; of the man confessing to
hereditary melancholy; fretted and alarmed by the tracasseries and
perils of his own position, alarming his friends and endangering
himself by his gloomy hints; settling, on the last night of his life
(Friday, October 11), with morbid anxiety, some details of a parish
charity founded by himself; uncertain as to whether he can dine with
Welden (at about one) next day; seen at that very hour near his own
house, yet dining nowhere; said to have roamed, before that hour, to
Paddington Woods and back again; seen vaguely, perhaps, wandering
near Primrose Hill in the afternoon, and found dead five days later
in the bush-covered ditch near Primrose Hill, his own sword through
his breast and back, his body in the attitude of one who had died a
Roman death.

Between us and that conclusion--suicide caused by fear--nothing
stands but the surgical evidence, and the grounds of that evidence
are disputed.

Surgical evidence, however, is a fact 'that winna ding,' and I do
not rely on the theory of suicide. But, if Godfrey was murdered by
Catholics, it seems odd that nobody has suggested, as the probable
scene, the Savoy, which lay next on the right to Somerset Yard. The
Savoy, so well described by Scott in Peveril of the Peak, and by
Macaulay, was by this time a rambling, ruinous, labyrinth of lanes
and dilapidated dwellings, tenanted by adventurers and skulking
Catholics. It was an Alsatia, says Macaulay, more dangerous than
the Bog of Allen, or the passes of the Grampians. A courageous
magistrate might be lured into the Savoy to stop a fight, or on any
similar pretence; and, once within a rambling old dwelling of the
Hospital, would be in far greater peril than in the Queen's guarded
residence. Catholic adventurers might here destroy Godfrey, either
for his alleged zeal, or to seize his papers, or because he, so
great a friend of Catholics as he was, might know too much. The
body could much more easily be removed, perhaps by water, from the
Savoy, than from the guarded gates of Somerset House. Oates knew
the Savoy, and said falsely that he had met Coleman there.* If
murder was done, the Savoy was as good a place for the deed as the
Forest of Bondy.

*State Trials, vii. 28.

* * *



The Duke of York, speaking of Bedloe's evidence before the Lords
(November 8), says, 'Upon recollection the King remembered he was at
Sommerset House himself, at the very time he swore the murder was
committed: . . . his having been there at that time himself, made
it impossible that a man should be assaulted in the Court, murder'd,
and hurryd into the backstairs, when there was a Centry at every
door, a foot Company on the Guard, and yet nobody see or knew
anything of it.* Now evidence was brought that, at 5 P.M. on
Saturday, October 12, the Queen decided to be 'not at home.' But
Bedloe placed the murder as early as 2 P.M., sometimes, and between
two o'clock and five o'clock the King may, as the Duke of York says,
have been at Somerset House. Reresby, in his diary, for November
21, 1678, says that the King told him on that day that he was
'satisfied' Bedloe had given false evidence as to Godfrey's murder.
The Duke of York probably repeats the King's grounds for this
opinion. Charles also knew that the room selected by Bedloe as the
scene of the deed was impossible.

Life of James II, i. pp. 527, 528.



The body of Godfrey was found in a ditch near the White House
Tavern, and that tavern was used as a club by a set of Catholic
tradesmen. Was Prance a member? The landlord, Rawson, on October
24, mentioned as a member 'Mr. PRINCE, a silversmith in Holborn.'
Mr. PRANCE was a silversmith in Covent Garden. On December 21,
Prance said that he had not seen Rawson for a year; he was asked
about Rawson. The members of the club met at the White House during
the sitting of the coroner's inquest there, on Friday, October 18.
Prance, according to the author of 'A Letter to Miles Prance,' was
present. He may have been a member, he may have known the useful
ditch where Godfrey's corpse was found, but this does not rise
beyond the value of conjecture.*

*Lords' MSS. pp. 46, 47, 51.



There is difficulty in identifying as Jesuits the 'Jesuits' accused
by Bedloe. The chief is 'Father Le Herry,'* called 'Le Ferry' by
Mr. Pollock and Mr. Foley. He also appears as Le Faire, Lee Phaire,
Le Fere, but usually Le Fevre, in the documents. There really was a
priest styled Le Fevre. A man named Mark Preston was accused of
being a priest and a Jesuit. When arrested he declared that he was
a married layman with a family. He had been married in Mr.
Langhorne's rooms, in the Temple, by Le Fevre, a priest, in 1667,
or, at least, about eleven years before 1678.** I cannot find that
Le Fevre was known as a Jesuit to the English members of the
Society. He is not in Oates's list of conspirators. He does not
occur in Foley's 'Records,' vol. v., a very painstaking work. Nor
would he be omitted because accused of a crime, rather he would be
reckoned as more or less of a martyr, like the other Fathers
implicated by the informers. The author of 'Florus Anglo-
Bavaricus'*** names 'Pharius' (Le Phaire), 'Valschius' (Walsh), and
'Atkinsus,' as denounced by Bedloe, but clearly knows nothing about
them. 'Atkinsus' is Mr. Pepys's clerk, Samuel Atkins, who had an
alibi. Valschius is Walsh, certainly a priest, but not to be found
in Foley's 'Records' as a Jesuit.

*Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 11055, 245.
**Lords' Journals, xiii. 331, 332. Lords' MSS., p. 99.
***Liege, 1685, p. 137.

That Le Fevre was the Queen's confessor I find no proof. But she
had a priest named Ferrera, who might be confused with Le Faire.*
He was accused of calling a waterman to help to take two persons
down the river on November 6, 1678. He was summoned before the
Lords, but we do not know that he came. Ferrera MAY have been the
Queen's confessor, he was 'one of the Queen's priests.' In 1670 she
had twenty-eight priests as chaplains; twelve were Portuguese
Capuchins, six were Benedictines, two, Dominicans, and the rest
seculars.** Mrs. Prance admitted that she knew 'Mr. Le Phaire, and
that he went for a priest.'*** Of Le Fevre, 'Jesuit' and 'Queens
confessor,' I know no more.

*Lords' MSS., p. 49.
**Maziere Brady, Episcopal Succession in England, p. 124 (1876).
***Lords' MSS p. 52.

It appears that Mr. Pollock's authority for styling Le Fevre 'the
Queen's confessor' is a slip of information appended to the Coventry
notes, in the Longleat MSS., on Bedloe's deposition of November 7.*
I do not know the authority of the writer of the slip. It is
admitted that the authority of a slip pinned on to a letter of
Randolph's is not sufficient to prove John Knox to have been one of
the Riccio conspirators. The same slip appears to style Charles
Walsh a Jesuit of the household of Lord Bellasis. This Walsh is
unknown to Foley.

*Pollock, pp. 155, 157, note 2, in each case.

As to Father Pritchard, a Jesuit, Bedloe, in the British Museum MS.,
accuses 'Penthard, a layman.' He develops into Pridgeot, a Jesuit.*
Later he is Father Pritchard, S.J. There was such a Jesuit, and,
according to the Jesuit Annual Letter of 1680, he passed sixteen
years in the South Wales Mission, and never once went to London. In
1680 he died in concealment.** It is clear that if Le Fevre was the
Queen's confessor, the sentries at Somerset House could prove
whether he was there on the day of Godfrey's murder. No such
evidence was adduced. But if Le Fevre was not the Queen's
confessor, he would scarcely have facilities for smuggling a dead
body out of 'a private door. '

*Longleat MS., Pollock, p. 386.
**Foley, v. 875-877.


Who that ever saw Jeanne d'Arc could mistake her for another woman?
No portrait of the Maid was painted from the life, but we know the
light perfect figure, the black hair cut short like a soldier's, and
we can imagine the face of her, who, says young Laval, writing to
his mother after his first meeting with the deliverer of France,
'seemed a thing all divine.' Yet even two of her own brothers
certainly recognised another girl as the Maid, five years after her
death by fire. It is equally certain that, eight years after the
martyrdom of Jeanne, an impostor dwelt for several days in Orleans,
and was there publicly regarded as the heroine who raised the siege
in 1429. Her family accepted the impostor for sixteen years. These
facts rest on undoubted evidence.

To unravel the threads of the story is a task very difficult. My
table is strewn with pamphlets, papers, genealogies, essays; the
authors taking opposite sides as to the question, Was Jeanne d'Arc
burned at Rouen on May 30, 1431? Unluckily even the most exact
historians (yea, even M. Quicherat, the editor of the five volumes
of documents and notices about the Maid) (1841-1849) make slips in
dates, where dates are all important. It would add confusion if we
dwelt on these errors, or on the bias of the various disputants.

Not a word was said at the Trial of Rehabilitation in 1452-1456
about the supposed survival of the Maid. But there are indications
of the inevitable popular belief that she was not burned. Long
after the fall of Khartoum, rumours of the escape of Charles Gordon
were current; even in our own day people are loth to believe that
their hero has perished. Like Arthur he will come again, and from
Arthur to James IV. of Scotland, from James IV. to the Duke of
Monmouth, or the son of Louis XVI., the populace believes and hopes
that its darling has not perished. We destroyed the Mahdi's body to
nullify such a belief, or to prevent worship at his tomb. In the
same way, at Rouen, 'when the Maid was dead, as the English feared
that she might be said to have escaped, they bade the executioner
rake back the fire somewhat that the bystanders might see her
dead.'* An account of a similar precaution, the fire drawn back
after the Maid's robes were burned away, is given in brutal detail
by the contemporary diarist (who was not present), the Bourgeois de

*Quicherat, iii. p. 191. These lines are not in MS. 5970. M.
Save, in Jehanne des Armoises, Pucelle d'Orleans, p. 6 (Nancy,
1893), interpolates, in italics, words of his own into his
translation of this text, which improve the force of his argument!
**Quicherat, iv. p. 471.

In spite of all this, the populace, as reflected in several
chronicles, was uncertain that Jeanne had died. A 'manuscript in
the British Museum' says: 'At last they burned her, or another
woman like her, on which point many persons are, and have been, of
different opinions.'*

*Save, p. 7, citing Bibliotheque de l'Ecole des Chartes, ii., Second

This hopeful rumour of the Maid's escape was certain to arise,
populus vult decipi.

Now we reach a point at which we may well doubt how to array the
evidence. But probably the best plan is first to give the testimony
of undoubted public documents from the Treasury Accounts of the town
of Orleans. In that loyal city the day of the Maid's death had been
duly celebrated by religious services; the Orleanese had indulged in
no illusions. None the less on August 9, 1436, the good town pays
its pursuivant, Fleur-de-lys, 'because he had brought letters to the
town FROM JEHANNE LA PUCELLE'! On August 21 money is paid to 'Jehan
du Lys, brother of Jehanne la Pucelle,' because he has visited the
King, Charles VII., is returning to his sister, the Maid, and is in
want of cash, as the King's order given to him was not fully
honoured. On October 18 another pursuivant is paid for a mission
occupying six weeks. He has visited the Maid at Arlon in
Luxembourg, and carried letters from her to the King at Loches on
the Loire. Earlier, in August, a messenger brought letters from the
Maid, and went on to Guillaume Belier, bailiff of Troyes, in whose
house the real Maid had lodged, at Chinon, in the dawn of her
mission, March 1429. Thus the impostor was dealing, by letters,
with some of the people who knew the Maid best, and was freely
accepted by her brother Jehan.*

*Quicherat, v. pp. 326-327.

For three years the account-books of Orleans are silent about this
strange Pucelle. Orleans has not seen her, but has had Jeanne's
brother's word for her reappearance, and the word, probably, of the
pursuivants sent to her. Jeanne's annual funeral services are
therefore discontinued.

Mention of her in the accounts again appears on July 18, 1439.
Money is now paid to Jaquet Leprestre for ten pints and a chopine of
wine given to DAME JEHANNE DES ARMOISES. On the 29th, 30th, and on
August 1, when she left the town, entries of payments for quantities
of wine and food for Jehanne des Armoises occur, and she is given
210 livres 'after deliberation with the town council,' 'for the good
that she did to the said town during the siege of 1429.'

The only Jehanne who served Orleans in the siege was Jehanne d'Arc.
Here, then, she is, as Jehanne des Armoises, in Orleans for several
days in 1439, feasted and presented with money by command of the
town council. Again she returns and receives 'propine' on September
4.* The Leprestre who is paid for the wine was he who furnished
wine to the real Maid in 1429.

*Quicherat, v. pp. 331-332.

It is undeniable that the people of Orleans must have seen the
impostor in 1439, and they ceased to celebrate service on the day of
the true Maid's death. Really it seems as if better evidence could
not be that Jeanne des Armoises, nee Jeanne d'Arc, was alive in
1439. All Orleans knew the Maid, and yet the town council
recognised the impostor.

She is again heard of on September 27, 1439, when the town of Tours
pays a messenger for carrying to Orleans letters which Jeanne wrote
to the King, and also letters from the bailli of Touraine to the
King, concerning Jeanne. The real Jeanne could not write, but the
impostor, too, may have employed a secretary.*

*Quicherat, v. p. 332.

In June 1441 Charles VII. pardoned, for an escape from prison, one
de Siquemville, who, 'two years ago or thereabouts' (1439), was sent
by the late Gilles de Raiz, Marechal de France, to take over the
leadership of a commando at Mans, which had hitherto been under 'UNE
Jehanne who called herself Pucelle' does not indicate fervent belief
on the part of the King. Apparently this Jeanne went to Orleans and
Tours after quitting her command at Mans in 1439. If ever she saw
Gilles de Raiz (the notorious monster of cruelty) in 1439, she saw a
man who had fought in the campaigns of the true Maid under her
sacred banner, argent a dove on an azure field.**

*Quicherat, v. p. 333.
**She never used the arms given to her and her family by Charles

Here public documents about the impostor fall silent. It is not
known what she was doing between August 9, 1436, and September 1439.
At the earlier date she had written to the town of Orleans; at the
later, she was writing to the King, from Tours. Here an error must
be avoided. According to the author of the 'Chronicle of the
Constable of Alvaro de Luna,'* the impostor was, in 1436, sending a
letter, and ambassadors, to the King of Spain, asking him to succour
La Rochelle. The ambassadors found the King at Valladolid, and the
Constable treated the letter, 'as if it were a relic, with great

*Madrid, 1784, p. 131.

The impostor flies high! But the whole story is false.

M. Quicherat held at first that the date and place may be
erroneously stated, but did not doubt that the False Pucelle did
send her ambassadors and letter to the King of Spain. We never hear
that the true Maid did anything of the sort. But Quicherat changed
his mind on the subject. The author of the 'Chronicle of Alvaro de
Luna' merely cites a Coronica de la Poncella. That coronica, says
Quicherat later, 'is a tissue of fables, a romance in the Spanish
taste,' and in this nonsense occurs the story of the embassy to the
Spanish King. That story does not apply to the False Pucelle, and
is not true, a point of which students of Quicherat's great work
need to be warned; his correction may escape notice.*

*Revue des Questions Historiques, April 1, 1881, pp. 553-566.
Article by the Comte de Puymaigre.

We thus discard a strong trump in the hand of believers that the
impostor was the real Maid; had a Pucelle actually sent ambassadors
to Spain in 1436, their case would be stronger than it is.

Next, why is the false Pucelle styled 'Jeanne des Armoises' in the
town accounts of Orleans in 1439?

This leads us to the proofs of the marriage of the false Pucelle, in
1436, with a Monsieur Robert des Armoises, a gentleman of the Metz
country. The evidence is in a confused state. In the reign of
Louis XIV. lived a Pere Vignier, a savant, who is said to have been
a fraudulent antiquary. Whether this be true or not, his brother,
after the death of Pere Vignier, wrote a letter to the Duc de
Grammont, which was published in the 'Mercure Galant' of November,
1683. The writer says that his brother, Pere Vignier, found, at
Metz, an ancient chronicle of the town, in manuscript, and had a
copy made by a notary royal. The extract is perfectly genuine,
whatever the reputation of the discoverer may be. This portion of
the chronicle of the doyen of Saint-Thibaud de Metz exists in two
forms, of which the latter, whoever wrote it, is intended to correct
the former.

In the earlier shape the author says that, on May 20, 1436, the
Pucelle Jeanne came to Metz, and was met by her brothers, Pierre, a
knight, and Jehan, an esquire. Pierre had, in fact, fought beside
his sister when both he and she were captured, at Compiegne, in May
1430. Jehan, as we have already seen, was in attendance on the
false Maid in August 1436.

According to the Metz chronicle, these two brothers of the Maid, on
May 20, 1436, recognised the impostor for their sister, and the
account-books of Orleans leave no doubt that Jehan, at least,
actually did accept her as such, in August 1436, four months after
they met in May. Now this lasting recognition by one, at least, of
the brothers, is a fact very hard to explain.

M. Anatole France offers a theory of the easiest. The brothers went
to Lorraine in May 1436, to see the pretender. 'Did they hurry to
expose the fraud, or did they not think it credible, on the other
hand, that, with God's permission, the Saint had risen again?
Nothing could seem impossible, after all that they had seen. . . .
They acted in good faith. A woman said to them, "I am Jeanne, your
sister." They believed, because they wished to believe.' And so
forth, about the credulity of the age.

The age was not promiscuously credulous. In a RESURRECTION of
Jeanne, after death, the age did not believe. The brothers had
never seen anything of the kind, nor had the town council of
Orleans. THEY had nothing to gain by their belief, the brothers had
everything to gain. One might say that they feigned belief, in the
hope that 'there was money in it;' but one cannot say that about the
people of Orleans who had to spend money. The case is simply a

*Anatole France, 'La Fausse Pucelle,' Revue de Famille, Feb. 15,
1891. I cite from the quotation by M. P. Lanery d'Arc in Deux
Lettres (Beauvais, 1894), a brochure which I owe to the kindness of
the author.

After displaying feats of horsemanship, in male attire, and being
accepted by many gentlemen, and receiving gifts of horses and
jewels, the impostor went to Arlon, in Luxembourg, where she was
welcomed by the lady of the duchy, Elizabeth de Gorlitz, Madame de
Luxembourg. And at Arlon she was in October 1436, as the town
accounts of Orleans have proved. Thence, says the Metz chronicle,
the 'Comte de Warnonbourg'(?) took her to Cologne, and gave her a
cuirass. Thence she returned to Arlon in Luxembourg, and there
married the knight Robert des Hermoises, or Armoises, 'and they
dwelt in their own house at Metz, as long as they would.' Thus
Jeanne became 'Madame des Hermoises,' or 'Ermaises,' or, in the town
accounts of Orleans, in 1439, 'des Armoises.'

So says the Metz chronicle, in one form, but, in another manuscript
version, it denounces this Pucelle as an impostor, who especially
deceived tous les plus grands. Her brothers, we read (the real
Maid's brothers), brought her to the neighbourhood of Metz. She
dwelt with Madame de Luxembourg, and married 'Robert des Armoize.'*
The Pere Vignier's brother, in 1683, published the first, but not
the second, of these two accounts in the 'Mercure Galant' for

*Quicherat, v. pp. 321-324, cf. iv. 321.

In or about 1439, Nider, a witch-hunting priest, in his Formicarium,
speaks of a false Jeanne at Cologne, protected by Ulrich of
Wirtemberg, (the Metz chronicle has 'Comte de Warnonbourg'), who
took the woman to Cologne. The woman, says Nider, was a noisy lass,
who came eating, drinking, and doing conjuring feats; the
Inquisition failed to catch her, thanks to Ulrich's protection. She
married a knight, and presently became the concubine of a priest in
Metz.* This reads like a piece of confused gossip.

*Quicherat, v. pp. 324-325.

Vignier's brother goes on to say (1683) in the 'Mercure Galant,'
that his learned brother found the wedding contract of Jeanne la
Pucelle and Robert des Armoises in the charter chest of the M. des
Armoises of his own day, the time of Louis XIV. The brother of
Vignier had himself met the son of this des Armoises, who
corroborated the fact. But 'the original copy of this ancient
manuscript vanished, with all the papers of Pere Vignier, at his

Two months later, in the spring of 1684, Vienne de Plancy wrote to
the 'Mercure Galant,' saying that 'the late illustrious brother' of
the Duc de Grammont was fully persuaded, and argued very well in
favour of his opinion, that the actual Pucelle did not die at Rouen,
but married Robert des Armoises. He quoted a genuine petition of
Pierre du Lys, the brother of the real Maid, to the Duc d'Orleans,
of 1443. Pierre herein says he has warred 'in the company of Jeanne
la Pucelle, his sister, jusqu'a son absentement, and so on till this
hour, exposing his body and goods in the King's service.' This,
argued M. de Grammont, implied that Jeanne was not dead; Pierre does
not say, feue ma soeur, 'my late sister,' and his words may even
mean that he is still with her. ('Avec laquelle, jusques a son
absentement, ET DEPUIS JUSQUES A PRESENT, il a expose son corps.')*

*The petition is in Quicherat, v. pp. 212-214. For Vienne-Plancy
see the papers from the Mercure Galant in Jeanne d'Arc n'a point ete
brulee a Rouen (Rouen, Lanctin, 1872). The tract was published in
100 copies only.

Though no copy of the marriage contract of Jeanne and des Armoises
exists, Quicherat prints a deed of November 7, 1436, in which Robert
des Armoises and his wife, 'La Pucelle de France,' acknowledge
themselves to be married, and sell a piece of land. The paper was
first cited by Dom Calmet, among the documents in his 'Histoire de
Lorraine.' It is rather under suspicion.

There seems no good reason, however, to doubt the authenticity of
the fact that a woman, calling herself Jeanne Pucelle de France,
did, in 1436, marry Robert des Armoises, a man of ancient and noble
family. Hence, in the town accounts of Tours and Orleans, after
October 1436, up to September 1439, the impostor appears as 'Mme.
Jehanne des Armoises.' In August 1436, she was probably not yet
married, as the Orleans accounts then call her 'Jehanne la Pucelle,'
when they send their pursuivants to her; men who, doubtless, had
known the true Maid in 1429-1430. These men did not undeceive the
citizens, who, at least till September 1439, accepted the impostor.
There is hardly a more extraordinary fact in history. For the rest
we know that, in 1436-1439, the impostor was dealing with the King
by letters, and that she held a command under one of his marshals,
who had known the true Maid well in 1429-1430.

It appears possible that, emboldened by her amazing successes, the
false Pucelle sought an interview with Charles VII. The authority,
to be sure, is late. The King had a chamberlain, de Boisy, who
survived till 1480, when he met Pierre Sala, one of the gentlemen of
the chamber of Charles VIII. De Boisy, having served Charles VII.,
knew and told Sala the nature of the secret that was between that
king and the true Maid. That such a secret existed is certain.
Alain Chartier, the poet, may have been present, in March 1429, when
the Maid spoke words to Charles VII. which filled him with a
spiritual rapture. So Alain wrote to a foreign prince in July 1429.
M. Quicherat avers that Alain was present: I cannot find this in
his letter.* Any amount of evidence for the 'sign' given to the
King, by his own statement, is found throughout the two trials, that
of Rouen and that of Rehabilitation. Dunois, the famous Bastard of
Orleans, told the story to Basin, Bishop of Lisieux; and at Rouen
the French examiners of the Maid vainly tried to extort from her the
secret.** In 1480, Boisy, who had been used to sleep in the bed of
Charles VII., according to the odd custom of the time, told the
secret to Sala. The Maid, in 1429, revealed to Charles the purpose
of a secret prayer which he had made alone in his oratory, imploring
light on the question of his legitimacy.*** M. Quicherat, no bigot,
thinks that 'the authenticity of the revelation is beyond the reach
of doubt.'****

*Quicherat, Apercus Nouveaux, p. 62. Proces, v. p. 133.
**For the complete evidence, see Quicherat, Apercus, pp. 61-66.
***Quicherat, v. p. 280, iv. pp. 258, 259, another and ampler
account, in a MS. of 1500. Another, iv. p. 271: MS. of the period of
Louis XII.
****Apercus, p. 60, Paris, 1850.

Thus there was a secret between the true Maid and Charles VII. The
King, of course, could not afford to let it be known that he had
secretly doubted whether he were legitimate. Boisy alone, at some
later date, was admitted to his confidence.

Boisy went on to tell Sala that, ten years later (whether after 1429
or after 1431, the date of the Maid's death, is uncertain), a
pretended Pucelle, 'very like the first,' was brought to the King.
He was in a garden, and bade one of his gentlemen personate him.
The impostor was not deceived, for she knew that Charles, having
hurt his foot, then wore a soft boot. She passed the gentleman, and
walked straight to the King, 'whereat he was astonished, and knew
not what to say, but, gently saluting her, exclaimed, "Pucelle, my
dear, you are right welcome back, in the name of God, who knows the
secret that is between you and me."' The false Pucelle then knelt,
confessed her sin, and cried for mercy. 'For her treachery some
were sorely punished, as in such a case was fitting.'*

*Quicherat, v. p. 281. There is doubt as to whether Boisy's tale
does not refer to Jeanne la Feronne, a visionary. Varlet de
Vireville, Charles VII., iii. p. 425, note 1.

If any deserved punishment, the Maid's brothers did, but they rather
flourished and prospered, as time went on, than otherwise.

It appears, then, that in 1439-1441 the King exposed the false
Pucelle, or another person, Jeanne la Feronne. A great foe of the
true Maid, the diarist known as the Bourgeois de Paris, in his
journal for August 1440, tells us that just then many believed that
Jeanne had not been burned at Rouen. The gens d'armes brought to
Paris 'a woman who had been received with great honour at Orleans'--
clearly Jeanne des Armoises. The University and Parlement had her
seized and exhibited to the public at the Palais. Her life was
exposed; she confessed that she was no maid, but a mother, and the
wife of a knight (des Armoises?). After this follows an
unintelligible story of how she had gone on pilgrimage to Rome, and
fought in the Italian wars.* Apparently she now joined a regiment
at Paris, et puis s'en alla, but all is very vaguely recorded.

*Quicherat, v. pp. 334, 335; c.f. Lefevre-Pontalis, Les Sources
Allemands, 113-115. Fontemoing, Paris, 1903.

The most extraordinary circumstance remains to be told. Apparently
the brothers and cousins of the true Maid continued to entertain and
accept the impostor! We have already seen that, in 1443, Pierre du
Lys, in his petition to the Duc d'Orleans, writes as if he did not
believe in the death of his sister, but that may be a mere ambiguity
of language; we cannot repose on the passage.

In 1476 a legal process and inquest was held as to the descendants
of the brother of the mother of Jeanne d'Arc, named Voulton or
Vouthon. Among other witnesses was Henry de Voulton, called
Perinet, a carpenter, aged fifty-two. He was grandson of the
brother of the mother of Jeanne d'Arc, his grand-maternal aunt.
This witness declared that he had often seen the two brothers du
Lys, Jehan and Pierre, with their sister, La Pucelle, come to the
village of Sermaise and feast with his father. They always accepted
him, the witness, as their cousin, 'in all places where he has been,
conversed, eaten, and drunk in their company.' Now Perinet is
clearly speaking of his associations with Jeanne and her brothers
AFTER HE HIMSELF WAS A MAN GROWN. Born in 1424, he was only five
years old when the Maid left Domremy for ever. He cannot mean that,
as a child of five, he was always, in various places, drinking with
the Maid and her brothers. Indeed, he says, taking a distinction,
that in his early childhood--'son jeune aage'--he visited the family
of d'Arc, with his father, at Domremy, and saw the Maid, qui pour
lors estoit jeune fille.*

*De Bouteiller et de Braux, Nouvelles Recherches sur la Famille de
Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, 1879, pp. 8, 9.

Moreover, the next witness, the cure of Sermaise, aged fifty-three,
says that, twenty-four years ago (in 1452), a young woman dressed as
a man, calling herself Jeanne la Pucelle, used to come to Sermaise,
and that, as he heard, she was the near kinswoman of all the
Voultons, 'and he saw her make great and joyous cheer with them
while she was at Sermaise.'* Clearly it was about this time, in or
before 1452, that Perinet himself was conversant with Jehan and
Pierre du Lys, and with their sister, calling herself La Pucelle.

*Op. cit. p. 11.

Again, Jehan le Montigueue, aged about seventy, deposed that, in
1449, a woman calling herself Jeanne la Pucelle came to Sermaise and
feasted with the Voultons, as also did (but he does not say at the
same time) the Maid's brother, Jehan du Lys.* Jehan du Lys could,
at least, if he did not accept her, have warned his cousins, the
Voultons, against their pretended kinswoman, the false Pucelle. But
for some three years at least she came, a welcome guest, to
Sermaise, matched herself against the cure at tennis, and told him
that he might now say that he had played against la Pucelle de
France. This news gave him the greatest pleasure.

*Op. cit. pp. 4,5, MM. de Bouteiller and de Graux do not observe the
remarkable nature of this evidence, as regards the BROTHERS of the
Maid; see their Preface, p. xxx.

Jehan Guillaume, aged seventy-six, had seen both the self-styled
Pucelle and the real Maid's brothers at the house of the Voultons.
He did not know whether she was the true Maid or not.

It is certain, practically, that this PUCELLE, so merry at Sermaise
with the brothers and cousins of the Maid, was the Jeanne des
Armoises of 1436-1439. The du Lys family could not successively
adopt TWO impostors as their sister! Again, the woman of circ.
1449-1452 is not a younger sister of Jeanne, who in 1429 had no
sister living, though one, Catherine, whom she dearly loved, was

We have now had glimpses of the impostor from 1436 to 1440, when she
seems to have been publicly exposed (though the statement of the
Bourgeois de Paris is certainly that of a prejudiced writer), and
again we have found the impostor accepted by the paternal and
maternal kin of the Maid, about 1449-1452. In 1452 the preliminary
steps towards the Rehabilitation of the true Maid began, ending
triumphantly in 1456. Probably the families of Voulton and du Lys
now, after the trial began in 1452, found their jolly tennis-playing
sister and cousin inconvenient. She reappears, NOT at Sermaise, in
1457. In that year King Rene (father of Margaret, wife of our Henry
VI.) gives a remission to 'Jeanne de Sermaises.' M. Lecoy de la
March, in his 'Roi Rene' (1875) made this discovery, and took
'Jeanne de Sermaises' for our old friend, 'Jeanne des Ermaises,' or
'des Armoises.' She was accused of 'having LONG called herself
Jeanne la Pucelle, and deceived many persons who had seen Jeanne at
the siege of Orleans.' She has lain in prison, but is let out, in
February 1457, on a five years' ticket of leave, so to speak,
'provided she bear herself honestly in dress, and in other matters,
as a woman should do.'

Probably, though 'at present the wife of Jean Douillet,' this Jeanne
still wore male costume, hence the reference to bearing herself
'honestly in dress.' She acknowledges nothing, merely says that the
charge of imposture lui a ete impose, and that she has not been
actainte d'aucun autre vilain cas.* At this date Jeanne cruised
about Anjou and the town of Saumur. And here, at the age of forty-
five, if she was of the same age as the true Maid, we lose sight for
ever of this extraordinary woman. Of course, if she was the genuine
Maid, the career of La Pucelle de France ends most ignobly. The
idea 'was nuts' (as the Elizabethans said) to a good anti-clerical
Frenchman, M. Lesigne, who, in 1889, published 'La Fin d'une
Legende.' There would be no chance of canonising a Pucelle who was
twice married and lived a life of frolic.

*Lecoy de la Marche, Le Roi Rene, ii. 281-283, 1875.

A more serious and discreet scholar, M. Gaston Save, in 1893, made
an effort to prove that Jeanne was not burned at Rouen.* He
supposed that the Duchess of Bedford let Jeanne out of prison and
bribed the two priests, Massieu and Ladvenu, who accompanied the
Maid to the scaffold, to pretend that they had been with her, not
with a substituted victim. This victim went with hidden face to the
scaffold, le visage embronche, says Percival de Cagny, a retainer of
Jeanne's 'beau duc,' d'Alencon.** The townspeople were kept apart
by 800 English soldiers.*** The Madame de Luxembourg who
entertained the impostor at Arlon (1436) was 'perhaps' the same as
she who entertained the real Jeanne at Beaurevoir in 1430.
Unluckily THAT lady died in November 1430!

*Jehanne des Armoises, Pucelle d'Orleans, Nancy, 1893.
**Quicherat, iv. 36.
***Quicherat, ii. 14, 19.

However, the Madame de Luxembourg who entertained the impostor was
aunt, by marriage, of the Duke of Burgundy, the true Maid's enemy,
and she had means of being absolutely well informed, so the case
remains very strange. Strange, too, it is that, in the records of
payment of pension to the true Maid's mother, from the town of
Orleans, she is 'mere de la Pucelle' till 1452, when she becomes
'mere de feue la Pucelle,' 'mother of the LATE Pucelle.' That is to
say, the family and the town of Orleans recognised the impostor
till, in 1452, the Trial of Rehabilitation began. So I have
inferred, as regards the family, from the record of the inquest of
1476, which, though it suited the argument of M. Save, was unknown
to him.

His brochure distressed the faithful. The Abbe, Dr. Jangen, editor
of 'Le Pretre,' wrote anxiously to M. P. Lanery d'Arc, who replied
in a tract already cited (1894). But M. Lanery d'Arc did not
demolish the sounder parts of the argument of M. Save, and he knew
nothing of the inquest of 1476, or said nothing. Then arose M.
Lefevre Pontalis.* Admitting the merits of M. Save's other works,
he noted many errors in this tract. For example, the fire at Rouen
was raked (as we saw) more or less (admodum) clear of the dead body
of the martyr. But would it be easy, in the circumstances, to
recognise a charred corpse? The two Mesdames de Luxembourg were
distinguished apart, as by Quicherat. The Vignier documents as to
Robert des Armoises were said to be impostures. Quicherat, however,
throws no doubt on the deed of sale by Jehanne and her husband, des
Armoises, in November 1436. Many errors in dates were exposed. The
difficulty about the impostor's reception in Orleans, was
recognised, and it is, of course, THE difficulty. M. Lefevre de
Pontalis, however, urges that her brothers are not said to have been
with her, 'and there is not a trace of their persistence in their
error after the first months of the imposture.' But we have traces,
nay proofs, in the inquest of 1476. The inference of M. Save from
the fact that the Pucelle is never styled 'the late Pucelle,' in the
Orleans accounts, till 1452, is merely declared 'inadmissible.' The
fact, on the other hand, is highly significant. In 1452 the
impostor was recognised by the family; but in that year began the
Trial of Rehabilitation, and we hear no more of her among the du Lys
and the Voultons. M. Lefevre Pontalis merely mentions the inquest
of 1476, saying that the impostor of Sermaise (1449-1452) may
perhaps have been another impostor, not Jeanne des Armoises. The
family of the Maid was not capable, surely, of accepting TWO
impostors, 'one down, the other come on'! This is utterly

*Le Moyen Age, June 1895.

In brief, the family of Jeanne, in 1436,1449-1452, were revelling
with Jeanne des Armoises, accepting her, some as sister, some as
cousin. In 1439 the Town Council of Orleans not only gave many
presents of wine and meat to the same woman, recognising her as
their saviour in the siege of 1429, but also gave her 210 livres.
Now, on February 7, 1430, the town of Orleans had refused to give
100 crowns, at Jeanne's request, to Heliote, daughter of her
Scottish painter, 'Heuves Polnoir.'* They said that they could not
afford the money. They were not the people to give 210 livres to a
self-styled Pucelle without examining her personally. Moreover, the
impostor supped, in August 1439, with Jehan Luillier, who, in June,
1429, had supplied the true Maid with cloth, a present from Charles
d'Orleans. He was in Orleans during the siege of 1429, and gave
evidence as to the actions of the Maid at the trial in 1456.** This
man clearly did not detect or expose the impostor, she was again
welcomed at Orleans six weeks after he supped with her. These facts
must not be overlooked, and they have never been explained. So
there we leave the most surprising and baffling of historical
mysteries. It is, of course, an obvious conjecture that, in 1436,
Jehan and Pierre du Lys may have pretended to recognise the
impostor, in hopes of honour and rewards such as they had already
received through their connection with the Maid. But, if the
impostor was unmasked in 1440, there was no more to be got in that
way.*** While the nature of the arts of the False Pucelle is
inscrutable, the evidence as to the heroic death of the True Maid is
copious and deeply moving. There is absolutely no room for doubt
that she won the martyr's crown at Rouen.

*Quicherat, v. 155.
**Quicherat, v. pp. 112,113,331, iii. p. 23.
***By 1452, Pierre du Lys had un grand hotel opposite the Ile des
Boeufs, at Orleans, given to him for two lives, by Charles
d'Orleans, in 1443. He was also building a town house in Orleans,
and the chevalier Pierre was no snob, for he brought from Sermaise
his carpenter kinsman, Perinet de Voulton, to superintend the
erection. Nouvelles Recherches, pp. 19, 20.


'Sir,' said Dr. Johnson, 'it is the most extraordinary thing that
has happened in my day.'

The most extraordinary thing that had happened in Dr. Johnson's day
was the 'warning' to the noble peer generally spoken of as 'the
wicked Lord Lyttelton.' The Doctor went on thus: 'I heard it with
my own ears from his uncle, Lord Westcote. I am so glad to have
every evidence of the spiritual world that I am willing to believe
it.' Dr. Adams replied, 'You have evidence enough--good evidence,
which needs no support.' Dr. Johnson growled out, 'I like to have

Thus the Doctor was willing to believe what it suited him to
believe, even though he had the tale at third or fourth hand; for
Lord Westcote was not with the wicked Lord Lyttelton at the time of
his death, on November 27, 1779. Dr. Johnson's observations were
made on June 12, 1784.

To Lord Westcote's narrative we shall return.

As a study in Russian scandal, and the growth and development of
stories, this anecdote of Lord Lyttelton deserves attention. So
first we must glance at the previous history of the hero. Thomas
Lord Lyttelton was born, says Mr. Coulton (in the 'Quarterly
Review,' No. 179, p. 111), on January 30, 1744.* He was educated at
Eton, where Dr. Barnard thought his boyish promise even superior to
that of Charles James Fox. His sketches of scenery in Scotland
reminded Mrs. Montagu of the vigour of Salvator Rosa, combined with
the grace of Claude Lorraine! At the age of nineteen, already
affianced to Miss Warburton, he went on the Grand Tour, and excelled
the ordinary model of young debauchery abroad. Mr. James Boswell
found a Circe at Siena, Lyttelton found Circes everywhere. He
returned to England in 1765; and that learned lady, Mrs. Carter, the
translator of Epictetus, 'admired his talents and elegant manners,
as much as she detested his vices.' In 1768 he entered the House of
Commons, and, in his maiden speech, implored the Assembly to believe
that America was more important than Mr. Wilkes (and Liberty).
Unseated for bribery in January 1769, he vanished from the public
view, more or less, for a season; at least he is rarely mentioned in
memoirs, and Coulton thinks that young Lyttelton was now engaged--in
what does the reader suppose? In writing 'The Letters of Junius'!**

*The writer was not Croker, but Mr. Coulton, 'a Kentish gentleman,'
says Lockhart, February 7, 1851, to his daughter Charlotte.
**If Lyttelton went to Italy on being ejected from Parliament, as
Mr. Rigg says he did in the 'Dictionary of National Biography,'
Coulton's theory will be hard to justify.

He was clever enough; his rank was like that assumed as his own by
Junius; his eloquence (as he proved later in the House of Lords) was
vituperative enough; he shared some of Junius's hatreds, while he
proclaimed, like Junius, that the country was going to the dogs.
Just as Junius was ending his Letters, the prodigal, Thomas
Lyttelton, returned to his father's house; and Chatham wrote to
congratulate the parent (February 15, 1772). On May 12, 1772,
Junius published his last letter in 'The Public Advertiser;' and on
June 26 Mr. Lyttelton married a widow, a Mrs. Peach. He soon left
his wife, and was abroad (with a barmaid) when his father died in
1773. In January 1774 he took his seat in the Lords. Though Fox
thought him a bad man, his first speech was in favour of securing to
authors a perpetual copyright in their own works. He repeated his
arguments some months later; so authors, at least, have reason for
judging him charitably.

Mr. Carlyle would have admired Lyttelton. His politics (at one
juncture) were 'The Dictatorship for Lord Chatham'! How does this
agree with the sentiments of Junius? In 1767-69 Junius had
exhausted on Chatham his considerable treasury of insult. He is 'a
lunatic brandishing a crutch,' 'so black a villain,' 'an abandoned
profligate,' and he exhibits 'THE UPSTART INSOLENCE OF A DICTATOR!'
This goes not well with Lyttelton's sentiments in 1774. True, but
by that date (iii. 305) Junius himself had discovered 'that if this
country can be saved, it must be saved by Lord Chatham's spirit, by
Lord Chatham's abilities.' Lyttelton and Junius are assuredly both
of them ruffianly, scandal-loving, inconsistent, and patrician in
the manner of Catiline. So far, the likeness is close.

About America Lyttelton wavered. On the whole, he recognised the
need of fighting; and his main idea was that, as fight we must, we
should organise our forces well, and fight with our heads as well as
with our hands. He disdained the policy of the ostrich. The
Americans were in active rebellion; it could not be blinked. He
praised Chatham while he opposed him. He was 'fighting for his own
hand.' Ministers felt the advantage of his aid; they knew his
unscrupulous versatility, and in November 1775 bought Lyttelton with
a lucrative sinecure--the post of Chief Justice of Eyre beyond the
Trent. Coulton calls the place 'honourable;' we take another view.
Lyttelton was bought and sold, but no one deemed Lyttelton a person
of scrupulous conscience.

The public prospects darkened, folly was heaped on folly, blunder on
blunder, defeat on defeat. On April 24, 1779, Horace Walpole says
that Lord Lyttelton 'has again turned against the Court on obtaining
the Seals'* November 25, 1779, saw Lyttelton go boldly into
Opposition. He reviewed the whole state of the empire. He poured
out a torrent of invective. As to his sinecure, he said, 'Perhaps
he might not keep it long.' 'The noble Lords smile at what I say!'

*Is this a slip, or misprint, for 'on NOT obtaining the Seals'?

They need not have smiled. He spoke on Thursday, November 25; on
Saturday, November 27, the place in Eyre was vacant, and Lord
Lyttelton was a dead man.

The reader will keep in mind these dates. On Thursday, November 25,
1779, the first day of the session, Lyttelton overflows in a
volcanic speech against the Court. He announces that his place may
soon be vacant. At midnight on November 27 he is dead.

On all this, and on the story of the ghostly 'warning' to Lord
Lyttelton, delivered in the night of Wednesday, November 24, Coulton
builds a political romance. In his view, Lyttelton, expelled from
Parliament, lavished his genius and exuded his spleen in the
'Letters of Junius.' Taking his seat in the Lords, he fights for
his own hand, is bought and muzzled, wrenches off his muzzle, blazes
into a fierce attack on the wrongs which he is weary of witnessing,
the hypocrisy which he is tired of sharing, makes his will, sets his
house in order, plays one last practical joke by inventing the story
of the ghostly warning, surrounds himself with dissolute company,
and at midnight on November 27 deliberately fulfils his own
prediction, and dies by his own hand. It is a tale creditable to
Coulton's fancy. A patrician of genius, a wit, a profligate, in
fatigue and despair, closes his career with a fierce harangue, a
sacrilegious jest, a debauch, and a draught of poison, leaving to
Dr. Johnson a proof of 'the spiritual world,' and to mankind the
double mystery of Junius and of the Ghost.

As to the identity of Junius, remembering the warning of Lord
Beaconsfield, 'If you wish to be a bore, take up the "Letters of
Junius,"' we shall drop that enigma; but as to the alleged suicide
of Lord Lyttelton, we think we can make that seem extremely
improbable. Let us return to the course of events, as stated by
Coulton and by contemporaries.

The warning of death in three days, says Coulton, occurred (place
not given) on the night of November 24, 1779. He observes: 'It is
certain that, on the morning after that very day' (November 25),
'Lord Lyttelton had related, not to one person alone, but to
several, and all of them people of credit, the particulars of a
strange vision which he said had appeared to him the preceding
night.' On Thursday, the 25th, as we saw, he spoke in the Lords.
On Friday, the 26th, he went down to his house at Epsom, Pitt Place,
where his party, says Coulton, consisted of Mr. (later Lord)
Fortescue, Captain (later Admiral) Wolsley, Mrs. Flood, and the
Misses Amphlett. Now, the town had no kind of doubt concerning the
nature of Lord Lyttelton's relations with two, if not three, of the
Misses Amphlett. His character was nearly as bad, where women were
concerned, as that of Colonel Charteris. But Walpole, writing to
Mann on November 28 (the day after Lord Lyttelton's death), says:
'Lord Lyttelton is dead suddenly. SUDDENLY, in this country, is
always at first construed to mean BY A PISTOL. . . The story given
out is, that he looked ill, AND HAD SAID HE SHOULD NOT LIVE THREE
DAYS; that, however, he had gone to his house at Epsom. . . with a
caravan of nymphs; and on Saturday night had retired before supper
to take rhubarb, returned, supped heartily, went into the next room
again, and died in an instant.'

Nothing here of a dream or ghost. We only hear of a prophecy, by
Lyttelton, of his death.

Writing to Mason on Monday, November 29, Walpole avers that Lord
Lyttelton was 'attended only by four virgins, whom he had picked up
in the Strand.' Here Horace, though writing from Berkeley Square,
within two days of the fatal 27th, is wrong. Lord Lyttelton had the
Misses Amphlett, Captain Wolsley, Mr. Fortescue, and Mrs. Flood with
him. According to Walpole, he felt unwell on Saturday night (the
27th), 'went to bed, rung his bell in ten minutes, and in one minute
after the arrival of his servant expired!' 'He had said on Thursday
that he should die in three days, HAD DREAMT SO, and felt that it
would be so. On Saturday he said, "If I outlive to-day, I shall go
on;" but enough of him.'

Walpole speaks of a DREAM, but he soon has other, if not better,
information. Writing to Mason on December 11, he says that ghost
stories from the north will now be welcome. 'Lord Lyttelton's
vision has revived the taste; though it seems a little odd that an
APPARITION should despair of getting access to his Lordship's bed,
in the shape of a young woman, without being forced to use the
disguise of a robin-redbreast.' What was an apprehension or
prophecy has become a dream, and the dream has become an apparition
of a robin-redbreast and a young woman.

If this excite suspicion, let us hasten to add that we have
undesigned evidence to Lord Lyttelton's belief that he had beheld an
APPARITION--evidence a day earlier than the day of his death. Mrs.
Piozzi (then Mrs. Thrale), in her diary of Sunday, November 28,
writes: 'Yesterday a lady from Wales dropped in and said that she
had been at Drury Lane on Friday night. "How," I asked, "were you
entertained?" "Very strangely indeed! Not with the play, though,
but the discourse of a Captain Ascough, who averred that a friend of
his, Lord Lyttelton, has SEEN A SPIRIT, who has warned him that he
will die in three days. I have thought of nothing else since."'

Next day, November 29, Mrs. Piozzi heard of Lord Lyttelton's death.*

*Notes and Queries. Series V., vol. ii. p. 508. December 26,1874.

Here is proof absolute that the story, with apparition, if not with

Of what did Lord Lyttelton die?

'According to one of the papers,' says Coulton, vaguely, 'the cause
of death was disease of the heart.' A brief 'convulsion' is
distinctly mentioned, whence Coulton concludes that the disease was
NOT cardiac. On December 7, Mason writes to Walpole from York:
'Suppose Lord Lyttelton had recovered the breaking of his blood-

Was a broken blood-vessel the cause of death? or have we here, as is
probable, a mere inference of Mason's?

Coulton's account is meant to lead up to his theory of suicide.
Lord Lyttelton mentioned his apprehension of death 'somewhat
ostentatiously, we think.' According to Coulton, at 10 P.M. on
Saturday, Lord Lyttelton, looking at his watch, said: 'Should I
live two hours longer, I shall jockey the ghost.' Coulton thinks
that it would have been 'more natural' for him to await the fatal
hour of midnight 'in gay company' than to go to bed before twelve.
He finishes the tale thus: Lord Lyttelton was taking rhubarb in his
bedroom; he sent his valet for a spoon, and the man, returning,
found him 'on the point of dissolution.'

'His family maintained a guarded and perhaps judicious silence on
the subject,' yet Lord Westcote spoke of it to Dr. Johnson, and
wrote an account of it, and so did Lord Lyttelton's widow; while
Wraxall, as we shall see, says that the Dowager Lady Lyttelton
painted a picture of the 'warning' in 1780.

Harping on suicide, Coulton quotes Scott's statement in 'Letters on
Demonology:' 'Of late it has been said, and PUBLISHED, that the
unfortunate nobleman had determined to take poison.' Sir Walter
gives no authority, and Coulton admits that he knows of none.
Gloomy but commonplace reflections in the so-called 'Letters' of
Lyttelton do not even raise a presumption in favour of suicide,
which, in these very Letters, Lyttelton says that he cannot defend
by argument.* That Lyttelton made his will 'a few weeks before his
death,' providing for his fair victims, may be accounted for, as we
shall see, by the threatening state of his health, without any
notion of self-destruction. Walpole, in his three letters, only
speaks of 'a pistol' as the common construction of 'sudden death;'
and that remark occurs before he has heard any details. He rises
from a mere statement of Lord Lyttelton's, that he is 'to die in
three days,' to a 'dream' containing that assurance, and thence to
apparitions of a young woman and a robin-redbreast. The appearance
of that bird, by the way, is, in the folk-lore of Surrey, an omen of
death. Walpole was in a position to know all current gossip, and so
was Mrs. Piozzi.

*Coulton's argument requires him to postulate the authenticity of
many, at least, of these Letters, which were given to the world by
the author of 'Doctor Syntax.'

We now turn to a narrative nearly contemporary, that written out by
Lord Westcote on February 13, 1780. Lord Westcote examined the
eldest Miss Amphlett, Captain (later Admiral) Charles Wolsley, Mrs.
Flood, Lord Lyttelton's valet, Faulkner, and Stuckey, the servant in
whose arms, so to speak, Lord Lyttelton died. Stuckey was
questioned (note this) in the presence of Captain Wolsley and of MR.
FORTESCUE. The late Lord Lyttelton permitted the Westcote narrative
to be published in 'Notes and Queries' (November 21, 1874). The
story, which so much pleased Dr. Johnson, runs thus:--

On Thursday, November 25, Mrs. Flood and the three Misses Amphlett
were residing at Lord Lyttelton's house in Hill Street, Berkeley
Square. Who IS this Mrs. Flood? Frederick Flood (1741-1824)
married LADY Julia Annesley in 1782. The wife of the more famous
Flood suits the case no better: his wife was LADY F. M. Flood; she
was a Beresford. (The 'Dictionary of National Biography' is
responsible for these facts.) At all events, on November 25, at
breakfast, in Hill Street, Lord Lyttelton told the young ladies and
their chaperon that he had had an extraordinary DREAM.

He seemed to be in a room which a bird flew into; the bird changed
into a woman in white, who told him he should die in three days.

He 'did not much regard it, because he could in some measure account
for it; for that a few days before he had been with Mrs. Dawson,
when a robin-redbreast flew into her room.' On the morning of
Saturday he told the same ladies that he was very well, and believed
he should 'BILK THE GHOST.' The dream has become an apparition! On
that day--Saturday--he, with the ladies, Fortescue, and Wolsley,
went to Pitt Place; he went to bed after eleven, ordered rolls for
breakfast, and, in bed, 'died without a groan,' as his servant was
disengaging him from his waistcoat. During dinner he had 'a rising
in his throat' (a slight sickness), 'a thing which had often
happened to him before.' His physician, Dr. Fothergill, vaguely
attributed his death to the rupture of some vessel in his side,
where he had felt a pain in summer.

From this version we may glean that Lord Lyttelton was not himself
very certain whether his vision occurred when he was awake or
asleep. He is made to speak of a 'dream,' and even to account for
it in a probable way; but later he talks of 'bilking the GHOST.'
The editor of 'Notes and Queries' now tries to annihilate this
contemporary document by third-hand evidence, seventy years after
date. In 1851 or 1852 the late Dowager Lady Lyttelton, Sarah,
daughter of the second Earl Spencer, discussed the story with Mr.
Fortescue, a son of the Mr. Fortescue who was at Pitt Place, and
succeeded to the family title six years later, in 1785. The elder
Mr. Fortescue, in brief, is said to have averred that he had heard
nothing of the dream or prediction till 'some days after;' he,
therefore, was inclined to disbelieve in it. We have demonstrated,
however, that if Mr. Fortescue had heard nothing, yet the tale was
all over the town before Lord Lyttelton died. Nay, more, we have
contemporary proof that Mr. Fortescue HAD heard of the affair!
Lyttelton died at midnight on the Saturday, November 27. In her
diary for the following Tuesday (November 30), Lady Mary Coke says
that she has just heard the story of the 'dream' from Lady Bute, who
had it from Mr. Ross, WHO HAD IT FROM MR. FORTESCUE!* Mr.
Fortescue, then, must have told the tale as early as the Monday
after the fatal Saturday night. Yet in old age he seems to have
persuaded himself that the tale came later to his knowledge. Some
irrelevant, late, and fourth-hand versions will be found in 'Notes
and Queries,' but they merely illustrate the badness of such

*See The Letters and Journals of Lady Mary Coke, iii. 85. Note--She
speaks of 'a dream.'

One trifle of contemporary evidence may be added: Mrs. Delany, on
December 9, 1779, wrote an account of the affair to her niece--here
a bird turns into a woman.

In pursuit of evidence, it is a long way from 1780 to 1816. In
November of that year, T. J. wrote from Pitt Place, Epsom, in 'The
Gentleman's Magazine;' but his letter is dated 'January 6.' T. J.
has bought Pitt Place, and gives 'a copy of a document in writing,
left in the house' (where Lyttelton died) 'as an heirloom which may
be depended on.' This document begins, 'Lord Lyttelton's Dream and
Death (see Admiral Wolsley's account).'

But where IS Admiral Wolsley's account? Is it in the archives of
Sir Charles Wolseley of Wolseley? Or is THIS (the Pitt Place
document) Admiral Wolsley's account? The anonymous author says that
he was one of the party at Pitt Place on November 27,1779, with
'Lord Fortescue,' 'Lady Flood,' and the two Misses Amphlett.
Consequently this account is written after 1785, when Mr. Fortescue
succeeded to his title. Lord Lyttelton, not long returned from
Ireland, had been suffering from 'suffocating fits' in the last
month. And THIS, not the purpose of suicide, was probably his
reason for executing his will. 'While in his house in Hill Street,
Berkeley Square, he DREAMT three days before his death he saw a bird
fluttering, and afterwards a woman appeared in white apparel, and
said, "Prepare to meet your death in three days." He was alarmed
and called his servant. On the third day, while at breakfast with
the above-named persons, he said, "I have jockeyed the ghost, as
this is the third day."' Coulton places this incident at 10 P.M. on
Saturday, and makes his lordship say, 'In two hours I shall jockey
the ghost.' 'The whole party set out for Pitt Place,' which
contradicts Coulton's statement that they set out on Friday, but
agrees with Lord Westcote's. 'They had not long arrived when he was
seized with a usual fit. Soon recovered. Dined at five. To bed at
eleven.' Then we hear how he rebuked his servant for stirring his
rhubarb 'with a tooth-pick' (a plausible touch), sent him for a
spoon, and was 'in a fit' on the man's return. 'The pillow being
high, his chin bore hard on his neck. Instead of relieving him, the
man ran for help: on his return found him dead.'

This undated and unsigned document, by a person who professes to
have been present, is not, perhaps, very accurate in dates. The
phrase 'dreamt' is to be taken as the common-sense way of stating
that Lord Lyttelton had a vision of some sort. His lordship, who
spoke of 'jockeying the GHOST,' may have believed that he was awake
at the time, not dreaming; but no person of self-respect, in these
unpsychical days, could admit more than a dream. Perhaps this
remark also applies to Walpole's 'he dreamed.' The species of the
bird is left in the vague.

Moving further from the event, to 1828, we find a book styled 'Past
Feelings Renovated,' a reply to Dr. Hibbert's 'Philosophy of
Apparitions.' The anonymous author is 'struck with the total
inadequacy of Dr. Hibbert's theory.' Among his stories he quotes
Wraxall's 'Memoirs.' In 1783, Wraxall dined at Pitt Place, and
visited 'the bedroom where the casement window at which Lord
Lyttelton asserted the DOVE appeared to flutter* was pointed out to
me.' Now the Pitt Place document puts the vision 'in Hill Street,
Berkeley Square.' So does Lord Westcote. Even a bird cannot be in
two places at once, and the 'Pitt Place Anonymous' does seem to know
what he is talking about. Of course Lord Lyttelton MAY have been at
Pitt Place on November 24, and had his dream there. He MAY have run
up to Hill Street on the 25th and delivered his speech, and MAY have
returned to Pitt Place on the Friday or Saturday.** But we have no
evidence for this view; and the Pitt Place document places the
vision in Hill Street. Wraxall adds that he has frequently seen a
painting of bird, ghost, and Lord Lyttelton, which was executed by
that nobleman's stepmother in 1780. It was done 'after the
description given to her by the valet de chambre who attended him,
to whom his master related all the circumstances.'

*It was a ROBIN in 1779.
**Coulton says Friday; the Anonymous says Saturday, with Lord

Our author of 1828 next produces the narrative by Lord Lyttelton's
widow, Mrs. Peach, who was so soon deserted. In 1828 she is 'now
alive, and resident in the south-west part of Warwickshire.'
According to Lady Lyttelton (who, of course, was not present), Lord
Lyttelton had gone to bed, whether in Hill Street or Pitt Place we
are not told. His candle was extinguished, when he heard 'a noise
resembling the fluttering of a bird at his chamber window. Looking
in the direction of the sound, he saw the figure of an unhappy
female, whom he had seduced and deserted, and who, when deserted,
had put a violent end to her own existence, standing in the aperture
of the window from which the fluttering sound had proceeded. The
form approached the foot of the bed: the room was preternaturally
light; the objects in the chamber were distinctly visible. The
figure pointed to a clock, and announced that Lord Lyttelton would
expire AT THAT VERY HOUR (twelve o'clock) in the third day after the

We greatly prefer, as a good old-fashioned ghost story, this version
of Lady Lyttelton's. There is no real bird, only a fluttering
sound, as in the case of the Cock Lane Ghost, and many other
examples. The room is 'preternaturally light,' as in Greek and
Norse belief it should have been, and as it is in the best modern
ghost stories. Moreover, we have the raison d'etre of the ghost:
she had been a victim of the Chief Justice in Eyre. The touch about
the clock is in good taste. We did not know all that before.

But, alas! our author of 1828, after quoting the Pitt Place
Anonymous, proceeds to tell, citing no named authority, that the
ghost was that of Mrs. Amphlett, mother of the two Misses Amphlett,
and of a third sister, in no way less distinguished than these by
his lordship. Now a ghost cannot be the ghost of two different
people. Moreover, Mrs. Amphlett lived (it is said) for years after.
However, Mrs. Amphlett has the preference if she 'died of grief at
the precise time when the female vision appeared to his lordship,'
which makes it odd that her daughters should then have been
revelling at Pitt Place under the chaperonage of Mrs. Flood. We are
also informed (on no authority) that Lord Lyttelton 'acknowledged'
the ghost to have been that of the injured mother of the three
Misses Amphlett.

Let not the weary reader imagine that the catena of evidence ends
here! His lordship's own ghost did a separate stroke of business,
though only in the commonplace character of a deathbed wraith, or
'veridical hallucination.'

Lord Lyttelton had a friend, we learn from 'Past Feelings Renovated'
(1828), a friend named Miles Peter Andrews. 'One night after Mr.
Andrews had left Pitt Place and gone to Dartford,' where he owned
powder-mills, his bed-curtains were pulled open and Lord Lyttelton
appeared before him in his robe de chambre and nightcap. Mr.
Andrews reproached him for coming to Dartford Mills in such a guise,
at such a time of night, and, 'turning to the other side of the bed,
rang the bell, when Lord Lyttelton had disappeared.' The house and
garden were searched in vain; and about four in the afternoon a
friend arrived at Dartford with tidings of his lordship's death.

Here the reader with true common sense remarks that this second
ghost, Lord Lyttelton's own, does not appear in evidence till 1828,
fifty years after date, and then in an anonymous book, on no
authority. We have permitted to the reader this opportunity of
exercising his acuteness, while laying a little trap for him. It is
not in 1828 that Mr. Andrews's story first appears. We first find
it in December 1779--that is, in the month following the alleged
event. Mr. Andrews's experience, and the vision of Lord Lyttelton,
are both printed in 'The Scots Magazine,' December 1779, p. 650.
The account is headed 'A Dream,' and yet the author avers that Lord
Lyttelton was wide awake! This illustrates beautifully the fact on
which we insist, that 'dream' is eighteenth-century English for
ghost, vision, hallucination, or what you will.

'Lord Lyttelton,' says the contemporary 'Scots Magazine,' 'started
up from a midnight sleep on perceiving a bird fluttering near the
bed-curtains, which vanished suddenly when a female spirit in white
raiment presented herself' and prophesied Lord Lyttelton's death in
three days. His death is attributed to convulsions while

The 'dream' of Mr. Andrews (according to 'The Scots Magazine' of
December 1779)* occurred at Dartford in Kent, on the night of
November 27. It represented Lord Lyttelton drawing his bed-
curtains, and saying, 'It is all over,' or some such words.

*The magazine appeared at the end of December.

This Mr. Andrews had been a drysalter. He made a large fortune,
owned the powder-mills at Dartford, sat in Parliament, wrote plays
which had some success, and was thought a good fellow in raffish
society. Indeed, the society was not always raffish. In 'Notes and
Queries' (December 26, 1874) H. S. says that his mother, daughter of
Sir George Prescott, often met Mr. Andrews at their house, Theobalds
Park, Herts. He was extremely agreeable, and, if pressed, would
tell his little anecdote of November 27, 1779.

This proof that the Andrews tale is contemporary has led us away
from the description of the final scene, given in 'Past Feelings
Renovated,' by the person who brought the news to Mr. Andrews. His
version includes a trick played with the watches and clocks. All
were set on half an hour; the valet secretly made the change in Lord
Lyttelton's own timepiece. His lordship thus went to bed, as he
thought, at 11.30, really at eleven o'clock, as in the Pitt Place
document. At about twelve o'clock, midnight, the valet rushed in
among the guests, who were discussing the odd circumstances, and
said that his master was at the point of death. Lord Lyttelton had
kept looking at his watch, and at a quarter past twelve (by his
chronometer and his valet's) he remarked, 'This mysterious lady is
not a true prophetess, I find.' The real hour was then a quarter to
twelve. At about half-past twelve, by HIS watch, twelve by the real
time, he asked for his physic. The valet went into the dressing-
room to prepare it (to fetch a spoon by other versions), when he
heard his master 'breathing very hard.' 'I ran to him, and found
him in the agonies of death.'

There is something rather plausible in this narrative,
corresponding, as it does, with the Pitt Place document, in which
the valet, finding his master in a fit, leaves him and seeks
assistance, instead of lowering his head that he might breathe more
easily. Like the other, this tale makes suicide a most improbable
explanation of Lord Lyttelton's death. The affair of the watches is
dramatic, but not improbable in itself. A correspondent of 'The
Gentleman's Magazine' (in 1815) only cites 'a London paper' as his
authority. The writer of 'Past Feelings Renovated' (1828) adds that
Mr. Andrews could never again be induced to sleep at Pitt Place,
but, when visiting there, always lay at the Spread Eagle, in Epsom.

Let us now tabulate our results.

At Pitt Place, Epsom,
or Hill Street, Berkeley Square,
On November 24,
Lord Lyttelton
Dreamed of,
or saw,
A young woman and a robin.
A bird which became a woman.
A dove and a woman.
Mrs. Amphlett (without a dove or robin).

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