The Vampyre, and Other Tales of the Macabre

By Robert Morrison; Chris Baldick | Go to book overview

CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMED RIBBONMAN

William Carleton

I HAD read the anonymous summons, but from its general import, I believed it to be one of those special meetings convened for some purpose affecting the general objects and proceedings of the body. At least the terms in which it was conveyed to me, had nothing extraordinary or mysterious in them, beyond the simple fact that it was not to be a general, but a select meeting; this mark of confidence flattered me, and I determined to attend punctually. I was, it is true, desired to keep the circumstance entirely to myself, but there was nothing startling in this, for I had often received summonses of a similar import. I therefore resolved to attend, according to the letter of my instructions, on the next night, at the solemn hour of midnight, to deliberate and act upon such matters as should, then and there, be submitted to my consideration.' The morning after I received this message, I arose and resumed my usual occupations; but from whatever cause it may have proceeded, I felt a sense of approaching evil hang heavily upon me; the beats of my pulse were languid, and an undefinable feeling of anxiety pervaded my whole spirit; even my face was pale, and my eye so heavy, that my father and brothers concluded me to be ill; an opinion which I thought at the time to be correct; for I felt exactly that kind of depression which precedes a severe fever. I could not understand what I experienced, nor can I yet, except by supposing that there is in human nature some mysterious faculty, by which, in coming calamities, the approach throws forward the shadow of some fearful evil, and that it is possible to catch a dark anticipation of the sensations which they subsequently produce. For my part I can neither analyze nor define it; but on that day I knew it by painful experience, and so have a thousand others in similar circumstances.

-33-

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