This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.


Here is a well authenticated example of a premonitory dream which occurred just before the bloody battle of Eamillies, wherein Marlborough inflicted his first terrible blow on the Frerien army— hitherto considered in Europe to be invincible. Before the battle a young officer named Fitzgerald, a great favourite of the General's, whose private aide-de-camp he was, requested a friond in the hearing of Marlborougft to take a miniature fiom his neck after the battle and send it to his mother, •for I know,' ho added, 'I shall not survive the fight.' The General and Ins friend both rallied him on his gloomy prognostications, but the youth assured them he knew he would be killed. To his commander's offer to excuse him from entering the battle— for his courage and heroism were well known— he declined, saying, 1 shall never accept life at the expense of my good name. Marlborough, who was deeply attached to him, assigned him a post where he would be in comparative safety. Ihe battle was fought and won. When all was nearly over, and when the British forces were pursuing the retreating French, Marlborough and his staff congratulated Fitzgerald on his safety, and good-humouredly ridiculed his pre* monitions. 'You speak as you think, he said, *but I know I shall die in this battle, because last night but the sentence was never finished. The last cannon shot fired by the enemy before their gunners _were cut down by the British cavalry, struck-him, killing him on the spot. In his pocket was found the following, written on a slip of Sapor •.— 'On the night of the 21st of [ay, 1706, Sir John Friend, my father s cousin, who was executed by William of Grange for his fidelity to the Stewarts, appeared to me in a dream, and told me I should meet a. soldier's death on the following day.' The warning had been fulfilled. This incident it .was which caused Marlborough ever after to lend an car to alleged supernatural messages, and earned for him the reputation of being superstitious, Here is another instance related in Cadell's 'Campaigns in Egypt,' though the volume omits some of the most salient features of the case, regarding the nature of premonition, which, however, I have obtained from some of the deceased soldier's decendants. When the Grenadiers were lying in camp just before one of the great battles in Egypt the sentries were surprised to see one of the corporals, William MKmlay, rise from where he was lying asleep amongst his fellows, and proceed along the lines some distance to a certain spot marked by a small bush. The sentries would have challenged him. The officer in command, who at nrst suspected treachery, but subsequently B aw tho man to be asleep, deterred them from so doing. They followed him to the spot where he was standing apparently conversing with someone, though "he was absolutely alone— 'Who has told you to come and warn me that I am to die to-morrow? Tell me your name, veiled figure, or raise your plaid from your face and let me see who yo are.' Then the man was seen to start back in horror. 'Father— father— is it you. Then it must be true.' The violence of his emotion woke him. He was surprised to find himself at a distance from his bivouacking place, and also to see the officer in command beside him. He informed the latter that he had dreamed a figure had appeared to him with its face enveloped in a plaid, and had informed him that he would die on the following day. Tho officer soothed him in a kindly manner, and brought him back to his place of The officer himself then goes on to B ay— 'When the inlying pickets turned out in the moring, 'M'Kinlay came up and handing me a paper said, Captain, here is my will, and as I have no relatives I wish all my arrears and all my pay to go to my comrade, Hugh Swift, who has a wife and family. 7 'What nonsense, M'Kinlay,' I said, 'go into action and do what you have always done, behave like the brave soldier that you are.' He said, 'I shall do that sir, but I am certain to be killed today, and I request you to take my will.' To satisfy him I took it. MKinlay fought with the pickets the whole day witH the greatest coolness and gallantry. In the afternoon, a little before the action was over, we rejoined the regiment. We had suffered much, but M'Kinlay was standing unhurt close to me, upon which I said — 'So MKmlay, you sec I was right; you arc safe. The right of the regiment being poßted on the round of a hill cut into steps for vines, a body of the enemy's sharpshooters came close under us, and opened a fire to cover their retiring columns. M'Kinlay, seeing one of them taking aim at me over the arm of a f<r tree, cried, Xook at that rascal cir-ing at our captain.' Advancing in front of mo ho presented his gun and fired. The two shots were almost simultaneous. His bullet killed the Frenchman, but tho lattcr's passed through M'Kinlay's neck, and actually gave me a severe contusion on the breaßt. I foil with the unfortunate man, and was. actually covered with his blood. When M'Kinlay was raised he was quite dead. His premonition had proved true. He had saved my life at the expense of his own. Here is another striking case which came within ray own experience, and which I shall relate before I take up one or two longer "dreams" which constitute the most remarkable instances of their kind I have met with in my researches. I slightly vary the names here, as some of the parties are still alive. Some years ago I was in the neighbourhood of Kirkcudbright, where an old servant of my father's lived. She hod married a Thomas Proudfoot, a respectable, pious, hard-working man. Having heard they had experienced a good deal of Bickness and trouble, I thought it would only be an act of kindness on my part if I called to ask for them. Accordingly I repaired to Tongland: where the Proudfoots resided. I knocked at the door, which was ■ presently opened by the man himself. On Beeiug me Jus whole manner altered. A look of awful horror crossed his features. He staggered baA, snying "You here: whvfthen, it must be true." Surprised at this unwonted reception, I asked the reason. He hesitated a moment, betrayed great agitation, then at length ho said : "I would rather have lost

£20 — all mv savings in the world — than have seen you to-day." The surprise in my looks doubtless served in place of a question, for he continued : "Yea, I see you wondering what I mean; but last night you appeared to me in a dream, and taking me by the hand announced that you had something to show me. There were three other men with you. You ordered them to set down on the ground a long wooden box, and it was placed on the loupin'-stone yonder. When you lifted the lid off there was my own corpse lying in the box with the head cut off from the body. I ken I have very few days to live. I rallied the poor fellow over his superstition, but soon saw that instead of doing him good I was only rendering him more agitated. He told me he was on his way to Kirkcudbright, and as I saw he would rather be out of my company than in it for the time being I said no more, but went to make some calls.

Some hours afterwards I was returning home, and came to a place where the road crossed the railway line. To my surprise I observed a small crowd of farm labourers and railway officials standing round "something" covered with two sacks. When they saw me approaching the signalman ran towards me. "Oh, sir, a fearful thing has happened. Thomas Proudfoot has been run. over by a goods train and killed." I was appalled by the intelligence, and could scarcely stammer out an inquiry as to how it occurred. "No one knows, sir. The driver of the - train said he whistled and let off steam to attract his attention, then shouted aB he came near. But Thomas seemed to lose his head, and in place of stepping on to the other line he just stood and allowed himself to be knocked down. Of course we cannot get a Coffin yet, but we are going to put the remains in Sandy McWlian's long tool-chest so as to carry them home, and we wondered if you- would break the news to his missus." • ■ Though I would rather have undergone any suffering than have undertaken the duty, yet there was no dne else to do it. The mangled remains were" therefore placed in the long toolbox, and we set out. When we approached the house, without my knowledge the bearers placed the improvised coffin down on the rap' at the door. As I turned round after doing so I saw what the bearers had done. Thomas Proudfoot's dream had been fulfilled in every particular, only it was th£- weeping widow that I led to look at her husband's decapitated corpse in place of himself. What thepry short of supernatural intimation can explain these facts? — Oliphant Smeaton.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item
Bibliographic details
Word Count

DRENMS PREMONITORY OF DEATH. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXV, Issue 10450, 21 September 1901, Supplement

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.