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sleep at all! --and he appeared so agitated that Mrs. Merryman, who was not yet composed, put her hand upon his face, and found it be dewed with clammy drops. She awoke him. — He started up; — beheld the rushlight's gleam, and heard his wife's soothing voice asking him, if he had not been disturbed by some horrid dream, or oppressed by a night-mare? The following dialogue theñ ensued :
Merryman. I've been in Hell ; — and rather than pass such another night, I would willingly never close my eyes again.
Mrs. Merryman. Poh! my dear! - Dreams are but indigestions.
Merryman. True : - but then they sometimes mock us with the semblance of reality.
Mrs. Merryman. Well, but what was this terrific dream?
Merryman. Still it leaves a horror upon me.
Mrs. Merryman. Pray relate it. - Merryman. Is the brandy-bottle by the bed
Mrs. Merryman. I suppose it is - as usual. Merryman.-Do hand it to me. - (Drinks.)
I dreamed that I had departed this life without a penny to bury, and actually. wandered about with other pennyless shades on this side the river Styx, without being permitted to get into Charon's boat, till relieved by the hand of charity. I then crossed the Styx, and, on my landing, was instantly seized by some horrid spectres, and dragged before the infernal judges Minos, Æacus, and Rhadamanthus. -- I made them a very low bow, and was about to express my happiness at seeing the shades of those upright Grecians, whose names were still so celebrated on earth, and whose justice had secured them such honours in his infernal majesty's dominions : but Minos, eyeing me with a most severe aspect, - (he was the very picture of the late Hurlothrumbo,) exclaimed: 66 Peace, Babbler! Thou art not in the Common-Hall of Freeland now; neither are our ears to be tickled like those of the fools whom thou hast left behind with empty sounds. Thou comest hither not to deceive us, but to hear thy doom : await it in silence.” — The unerring record lay before them, wherein not only every transaction of my life was faithfully re
corded; but with the motives of them. It was read over ;--- and(be it for ever a secret from my enemies !)— I shuddered at myself! What was the worst of all, I was deprived of my usual gloss of words, and, if even it had been permitted to me, it would have availed me nothing with those to whom even the secrets of my heart stood revealed. The Furies, with a joyful malice, hovered over my head, awaiting only the sentence to fall upon me. After the reading was finished, and the judges had hield a short consultation together, Minos turned about, and thus addressed me :-“ Hypocrisy and fraud deserve a most severe and exemplary punishment. We decree, therefore, that thou. shalt never be permitted to taste of the Lethéan stream, that thou mayest forever be tormented with knowing what thou once hast been. Take him away!"- .
A horrible and confused grumbling of approbation followed this sentence; the Furies.appeared disappointed of their expected prey ; I was carried out into the Elysian Fields, and turned loose amidst millions of shades, which were seen fluttering about in every direction.
Long while did I rove in search of the ghost of my friend Brush, or of some other acquaintance; as I already began to feel the weight of the punishment which my judges had inflicted upon me, and could not bear reflection. Disguise was unnecessary where it could no longer be of any avail, and I imagined that every ghost that passed, jeered me. At last, I suddenly espied the ghost of my former friend, Quirke, gliding gloomily along. I approached,—but it turned away, as if to shun me. “Stop!” cried I, in the most friendly accents ; — "we are no longer mortal ; — let us, therefore, no longer retain our mortal disagreements.” Quirke then turned reluctantly round, and asked by what celestial power I had been so favoured, as to be permitted to visit the abodes of death in a mortal state? – I stared, and replied that I was actually as much a ghost as he was, and, to convince him of it, acquainted him with all that had happened to me since my quitting a mortal state. He, however, grinned his disbelief, and we entered into conversation respecting the transactions on earth, or that part of it, with which we were mutually acquainted, since his leaving it. I then asked after my friend Brush, and was answered that he seldom saw him, as he was continually awaiting for the arrival of fresh ghosts to enquire about Freeland, with which he himself never troubled his head, as he was well convinced that he had not left a single friend, or wellwisher behind him. I then expressed a wish to take a turn, in his company, through the fields, and to be introduced to those ghosts with whom he had already made acquaintance, for I already began to be a burthen to myself. I guess that Quirke was pretty nearly in a similar situation, or that he was discarded by the other shades, as he willingly complied with my request. — We walked on, and the first shades which attracted my attention, were two playing with a sort of quoits, such as I had never seen before; and one of them played with his left hand, having lost his right one. On asking Quirke who they were, he replied that they were the shades of the famous Romans, Cocles and Mutius Scævola, whose history I well knew. They never heeded us in the least, as we stood looking at them ; and on my expressing a sur