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they have not yet lost their faith in witchcraft and supernatural agency: yet such is the advance of knowledge in the manufacturing districts, where science is blended with every operation and every art, that these traits of ignorance no longer exist. The idea that fairies dance in the meadows on warm summer nights to sweet music, no doubt has arisen from the sound ascribed to the midnight dances of the ephemera, noticed at the 2120 page; but to see these green little figures flitting to and fro, is a stretch of imagination that can only result from a state of fear and trepidation. Great stress is laid by the country people upon sounds heard in the night time, such as the croaking of the raven, or the thrilling note of the screech owl. These are always considered as bad omens, and a certain presage of disaster and death.
The power of the imagination to reproduce sounds, when in a state between sleeping and waking, is a fact that no one can doubt. Who has not found himself suddenly aroused by a sound, or startled out of sleep by a well-known voice, when it is certain no sound had been uttered? These effects, like our dreams, are excited by causes extremely slight. By the lower order, these sounds are considered as calls or warnings from invisible spirits. As science extends, and the people become informed, these alarms will die away, as the following tale will sufficiently prove.
In one of the baronial castles of the north which
had been uninhabited for years, there were heard at times such extraordinary noises, as to confirm the opinion among the country people that the place was haunted. In the western tower an old couple were permitted to live, who had been in the service of the former lord, but so imbued were they with the superstitions of the country, that they never went to bed without expecting to hear the cries of the disturbed spirits of the mansion. An old story was current, that an heir apparent had been murdered by an uncle, that he might possess the estate, who, however, after enjoying it for a time, was so annoyed by the sounds in the castle, that he retired with an uneasy conscience from the domain, and died in France.
Not many years ago, the property descended to a branch of the female line, (one of the heroes of Waterloo,) who, nothing daunted, was determined to make this castle his place of residence. As the noises were a subject of real terror to his tenantry, he formed the resolution of sleeping in the castle on the night he took possession, in order to do away these superstitious fears. Not a habitable room could be found, except the one occupied by the old gardener and his wife in the western turret, and he ordered his camp-bed to be set up in that apartment. It was in the autumn, at nightfall, that he repaired to the gloomy abode, leaving his servant, to his no small comfort, at the village inn; and after having found everything comfortably pro
vided, turned the large old rusty key upon the antiquated pair, who took leave of him, to lodge at a farm hard by. It was one of those nights which are checkered with occasional gleams of moonshine and darkness, when the clouds are riding in a high wind. He slept well for the two first hours ; he was then awaked by a low mournful sound that ran through the apartments. This warned him to be up and accoutred. He descended the turret stairs with a brilliant light, which, on coming to the ground floor, cast a gigantic shadow of himself upon the high embattled walls. Here he stood and listened ; when presently a hollow moan ran through the long corridor, and died away. This was followed by one of a higher key, a sort of scream, which directed his footsteps with more certainty to the spot. Pursuing the sounds, he found himself in the great hall of his ancestors, and vaulting upon the large oaken table, set down his lamp, and folding his cloak about him, determined to wait for the appearance of all that was terrible. The night, which had been stormy, became suddenly still: the dark flitting clouds had sunk below the horizon, and the moon insinuated her silvery light through the chinks of the mouldering pile. As our hero had spent the morning in the chase, Morpheus came unbidden, and he fell asleep upon the table. His dream was short, for close upon him issued forth the horrid groan: amazed, he started up and sprang at the unseen voice, fixing with a powerful blow his Toledo steel in the arras. The blade was fast, and held him to the spot. At this moment the moon shot a ray that illumed the hall, and showed that behind the waving folds, there lay the cause concealed. His sword he left, and to the turret retraced his steps. When morning came, a welcome crowd greeting, asked if he had met the ghost? \O, yes,' replied the knight, dead as a door
nail behind the screen he lies, where my sword has 'pinned him fast : bring the wrenching bar, and
we'll haul the disturber out.' With such a leader, and broad day to boot, the valiant throng tore down the screen where the sword was fixed; when lo! in a recess, lay the fragments of a chapel organ, and the square wooden trunks made for hallowed sounds were used as props, to stay the work when the hall was coated round with oak. The wondering clowns now laughed aloud at the mysterious voice. It was the northern blast that found its way through the crannies of the wall to the groaning pipes that alarmed the country round for a century past.
HARMONY is an effect inherent in nature. Every sound is a mixture of three tones, as much so as a
ray of light is composed of three prismatic colors. If we listen to St. Paul's bell, we hear it utter the
following tones, eit
- which form a conso
nance of the 5th and 10th with the key-note. This union is termed the common chord, and every sound in nature is composed in a similar way.
It is from observing these effects that the musical scale has been formed, which may be called the prism of the art, by means of which, all combinations of sound are divisible into their constituent parts.
Melody is a succession of sounds at harmonic distances. It is only one of the accidents, or forms, of harmony, and its excellence and beauty will always depend on the order of chords through which it is made to pass; or, in other words, on the correctness of the harmony by which it is generated. An ingenious writer* says, 'the reason why the intervals 'that produce harmony produce also melody, seems 'to be, that melody is retrospective harmony, or depends on a perception of harmonical relation to sounds that have preceded. The connexion is 'no where so apparent, as in passages of arpeggio. "The memory of the sounds which have just passed "us, linger in the ear, and are accommodated with harmonious combinations in those that follow. A
* 'T. Perronet Thompson.