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1/1/18

Normally, at this point, I would indulge in a retrospective of the previous year, but I want to share another piece of evidence, so I will make this brief.

On the personal side, my routine never varies--so much so, that I am often hard-pressed to tell you whether it is a week-day or the weekend (except there is no mail on Sundays), and holidays often pass me by, hardly being noticed. I get up at least by 5:00 a.m., if not earlier, to work on my past-life study, and the ever-evolving e-book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words." I get my Mom, age 98, up for the day at 10:00 a.m., and with two relatively short breaks, I go continually in caretaking mode until 8:00 or 8:30 p.m. I get to bed by 9:00, and then it all repeats. It is now 8:25 a.m.

As regards this website, I have the stats before me. For the year, there were 125,704 unique visits (meaning, excluding repeated visits on the same day). How many of those were return visitors, I don't know. Last month, 3,181 people downloaded the article on "James, the Submarine Man" from a back page of my website; while 252 people similarly downloaded the satirical "Life of Andrew Jackson" by Seba Smith. Six hundred twenty-five people read my article on "Continuing Love" (i.e., across the Great Divide). This page, the Updates, was visited 245 times; Abby's journal, 216 times. The supporting page for my book was seen 115 times; the point-of-purchase page on my online store for that same book was seen, I think, twice; and there were no sales. Since about half the people who read this blog look at the supporting page, but almost nobody seriously considers purchasing it, one has to conclude that either the supporting page is very dull, or else it is very frightening. Other factors would include that $12.00 is considered steep for an e-book; that nobody reads e-books (i.e., not in pdf, epub, or mobi formats); or that my refusal to use hype marketing means that people's jaded sensibilities cannot be aroused to a purchase unless they see the "calls to action" they have grown up with.

What else...

Now, to my latest discovery. You may know, unless you are new here, that I have concluded that in my past life, as Mathew Franklin Whittier (younger brother of poet John Greenleaf Whittier), I co-authored "A Christmas Carol," along with my then-first wife, Abby Poyen Whittier. The question then becomes--as one would when investigating a crime, for example--was there ability, motive, and opportunity? It turns out all three were there, but lately, as I have been discovering Mathew's earliest work, written at age 16, I have been specifically addressing the issue of ability. Do I see any precursors to "A Christmas Carol" in Mathew's earliest work? We are now talking 1829, or a full 14 years before that work was self-published by Charles Dickens.

It only makes sense if one understands that Mathew wrote a humorous ghost story; while Abby, who was versed in both mysticism and the occult, wrote the ghosts' speeches in (forgive me) dead earnest. To her, it was not a "ghost story" at all--it was like one sees in the film "Ghost," written by Bruce Joel Rubin, with accurate occult depictions. Mathew, by the time they would have co-written this work, was about half-convinced, because Abby had been tutoring him. But his early work evinces full skepticism. So what we can expect from him, in these early years, are, in fact, ghost stories which actually poke fun at some of the things Abby is trying to teach him. Later, after her death, he embraced the writings of Swedenborg, and later, of Spiritualism. In 1851 he took the pen name of "Trismegistus" (which has been wrongly attributed by historians to one Benjamin Drew); but even as early as April of 1829, he has used this pseudonym. This means that in addition to occult teachings about spirits, etc., she was trying to teach him Hermeticism, and probably Alchemy.

What I stumbled across--thanks to my intrepid researcher, who flagged and photographed it during her most-recent trip to the historical library--is a story signed "J.W.S.," which takes place in--and is signed from--New York City. Mathew would move to New York by late December or early January. In this case, I would guess, from the content of the story (he always based his stories, however loosely, on real life), that he was there briefly to attend a wedding, and wrote this story afterwards before returning to Boston.

My hunch is that "J.W.S." is short for "John Whittier's son," and he used that pseudonym as a gesture of reconciliation (since he and his father had had a falling out a year or two previously). Having studied well over a thousand of Mathew's published works, over the past eight years, I am absolutely certain that this story is his production. One would have to read my book, in order to knowledgeably pronounce on this issue, one way or the other. Or, you may take my word for it.

If I am right, this is a clear precursor to "A Christmas Carol," both in writing style (read the introduction to that book, and you'll see what I mean), and in subject-matter. This isn't the only one--I believe, as I am sitting here, that I found no less than four other ghost stories written by Mathew, during the period 1830-1835. And there was at least one more in Dec. 1842, which was an actual account of a death premonition, admittedly jazzed up a bit for the newspaper. That one, published at the same time that Edgar Allan Poe was publishing, rivals anything that Poe ever wrote, in my opinion--and it was based on a real occult event.

Remember that if this is indeed Mathew's work, he is writing competently in his trademark style at age 16 (he will be 17 on July 18, 1829). The main difference between his style at this age, and later on in his life, is that it is just a bit more "quaint," somehow--it would be difficult to describe. A bit more self-reflective; a bit more flowery; a bit more old-school. But otherwise, every bit as clever.

I don't know who is bothering to read this barrage of entries; or who may take the time to read them in the future. There is a back-story, in Mathew's personal history, to this story, and several loosely autobiographical elements. If I am not mistaken, he ran away to sea at age 14, returning after an unknown amount of time (having probably lived and worked, for awhile, in Cuba, because his stomach wouldn't adjust to the open sea). The girl he had a crush on, who was two years older, never really took his attentions seriously--but he didn't know it, and took her quite seriously. After he returned, she began discouraging him (we have this represented in other pieces). Meanwhile, when Mathew left home he had been quite wild; but after returning, he became serious about turning over a new leaf. One reason he had left home, was that his brother was permitted to attend the local college, but he (as the more able-bodied son, needed on the farm) was not. Having returned from his adventure, he takes an alternate route. Young Abby, four years his junior, being also a child prodigy, and coming from an upper-class family, has benefitted from the best private tutoring available. Despite their age difference, she now takes him on as a student, teaching him French, Latin, and the classics. But she also attempts to teach him metaphysics and the occult. At first he scoffs; gradually, he sees the logic in it, and accepts at least some portion of it. It is at that point--where he is starting to be open-minded--that I believe he and Abby co-wrote the original manuscript which Dickens later published. That is why we see the strange admixture of a ghost story (as Dickens took it to be, entirely), along with high mysticism and accurate occultism. Mathew took Scrooge, and Abby took the ghosts. Wherever you see the ghosts speaking--at least, when Dickens retained the original, or some semblance thereof--you are actually seeing Abby speak through them. British novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray, praised those speeches as being some of the finest "sermons" in existence--but he didn't know he was actually praising Abby.

The question arises, just who was Abby, that she could be seriously considered as a co-author of this work? Well, you would have to read her short stories and poetry, both of which yield very clear precursors--including a story of Christmas involving a visiting palm-reader. But historically, Abby was first cousin to Charles Poyen, whose lecture/demonstrations first introduced America to Mesmerism, i.e., hypnosis. He, also, was highly intelligent, and endured scathing ridicule. He is now all but ignored in the textbooks. That Mathew was personal friends with him, we know by a tribute published under Mathew's own initials after Poyen's death.

I'm hoping I may still have time for a little walk on the beach, so I'll share the new discovery, below, and place in the HTML coding as quickly as I can. Oh, for any historians out there, note that I have previously claimed it was Mathew who wrote the "Enoch Timbertoes" series. Here, we have an earlier character named "Tiptoe." Note also that if I am not mistaken, the girl he had a crush on (as discussed in a recent Update) was named "Evelina," and here we have a "Corinna Ethelinda Prunello"--an extremely unusual name. Mathew often rendered his characters' names in a cartoonish fashion, but generally with some hidden meaning--elsewhere, Evelina has apparently been given the name "Prudence."

Mister Robert Tiptoe.--A Tale in two Chapters.

CHAPTER I.

    "He's gone,
  And hark! strange sounds and whispers in the air
  Float round us, with a spirit's tone."
        Translation from a Chinese Poem.

The Honorable Mister Tiptoe was what the good society of ancient Gotham denominated a very fashionable, genteel fellow. No one knew the nature of his pecuniary affairs or the character of his family; but he was handsome, dressed well, lounged well, and, in a word, his deportment gave him such a noble and peculiar air, that in the opinion of the reigning belle of the day, Miss Corinna Ethelinda Prunello, he was the very rose-bud of 'the convenient sex,' as she somewhat quaintly styled the creatures of the masculine gender.

Bob--for by that name he was more generally known--had dashed away in high life for a number of years, and at last, after a liberal waste of foolery and money, arrived at the height of his apparent ambition;--he became the ostensible leader of fashion, flash, fun and frolic, at the most brilliant period in the annals of high life. His acquaintance was courted by every description of belle and beau--his presence was regarded as the principal attraction at all splendid fetes--his sanction became requisite to the adoption of any new mode of dress or style of etiquette--in fine, he ruled with undivided sway over the mighty empire of fashion.

Bob had naturally a strong mind and good heart, and although his numerous extreme habits had somewhat weakened their powers, his spirit revolted from the oftentimes excessive frolics, in which his more violent companions indulged. It is true, he would occasionally stop in at madam so-and-so's, and once or twice made a call at the watch-house; but for the most part he contented himself with simply being distinguished as a man of polite pleasures. Nothing, however, as he after a while found, is so wearisome and enervating to mind and body, as those same polite pleasures, and now that Bob was at the head of all fashionable greatness, having nothing left to desire, he began, like many other great men spoken of by history, to look with contempt on the means of his elevation. Indeed, he began to think, and as a natural consequence to view with disgust much of his past life. It was during this state of mind, that he was called upon to attend the funeral of a once intimate friend--one who had lived a similar life with himself, and had at last sunk under its accumulated excitements and disappoints. This incident accelerated the important resolution in his mind--he came to a serious determination--and from that time he was an alterated man. What was the exact nature of this resolution, we are not permitted to divulge. It was known to none; and on the following day at the accustomed hour of lounge and ramble, he was for the last time observed walking slowly and moodily along--disregarding the salutation of his friends, and apparently in the deepest abstraction. Day after day, and year after year followed, and not a sign of Bob Tiptoe was to be seen--he seemed to have vanished like a well-known star from the firmament.

Many and various were the speculations on this unlooked for event, and like all such mysterious occurrences, it supplied a better subject for the language of slander than had been known since the days of England's last queen. Some supposed that he was abducted by the fraternity of masons on suspicion of revealing the secret of shaking hands--some said that he had committed a long catalogue of crime, and in a fit of remorse had thrown himself to the waves, and many there were, among whom was Bob's particular friend Tom Tandem, that insisted he had exhausted the patience and at last fled from the fangs of a large pack of desperate creditors. But there were others rather more charitable in heart, of which small number was Miss Corinna Ethelinda Prunello, who declared that such a gentleman as Mister Robert Tiptoe must certainly have taken it into his eccentric head to visit London,--perhaps for the benefit of his health, or what was infinitely more probable, to take charge of an Earldom bequeathed him by a noble relation.

But slander and speculations were not the only, nor the least consequences of the Honorable Robert Tiptoe's unaccountable absence. Immediately the walks of fashion were deserted and lifeless--theatrical amusements waned and were discontinued--halls became vulgar and ill-attended--parties fell into disrepute, and strange to relate the most remarkable and mysterious occurrences took place--all of which were found in some degree connected with the supernatural influence of the same Bob Tiptoe. The city was filled with accounts of divers voices and sounds in the tone of that lamented personage, having been heard in various places--of dandies thrown rudely into mud-gutters by some invisible hand--of damsels kissed in the open street and in broad day-light, without a single soul within gun-shot; and one story was circulated on the most respectable authority, that after the parson of Trinity Chapel had descended from the pulpit, a most eloquent sermon was preached by some unseen spirit, whose voice was the very echo of the absent Bob's.

Among the many other incidents of this description, the most extraordinary, and one which can be implicitly believed, as it was recorded from the lips of the heroine herself, a lady of unquestionable veracity, was the following: At a fete given in honor of the arrival of the new Dutch governor--at which Miss Corinna Ethelinda Prunello was present--the conversation happening to turn upon Mister Tiptoe's singular evaporation, many of his old foibles and fancied crimes were raked up and descanted upon in the most sarcastic manner. Corinna, who had always a great predilection for our hero, and indeed had long before marked him for her own especial comfort through life, boldly advocated his memory, and warmly rebutted all insinuations derogatory to the purity of his character. She was in the middle of an enthusiastic encomium on her favorite, her cheek glowing and her black eye flashing with the energy of her feeling, when suddenly she gave a loud shriek and fainted lifeless on the floor. It seems she had heard a whisper in the very accents of Mister Tiptoe that made an impression which she said she should always remember, and that presently she felt herself folded in some person's arms, and her lips and cheeks violently imprinted with burning kisses--what the meaning of it was she could not divine, but she verily believed it to be the ghost of poor Mister Tiptoe himself.

Another extraordinary event, over which the spirit of Tiptoe seemed to preside, was this: Tom Tandem--Bob's old friend--was at birth-night ball, and during the evening, as he was pretty-well soaked with champaign, he happened to remark to a circle of gossips around him that the late Mister Bob Tiptoe was, after all, nothing more than a mere clod-hopper, turned into a would-be gentleman by running in debt to Peter Needle, the tailor, and that at last, finding his true character about to be discovered, he had decamped and for aught he knew was at his original employment. So soon as Mr Tom Tandem had made the aforesaid speech, to the utter astonishment of himself and of all around him, he found himself sprawling on the floor-deposited there, as he afterwards swore, by the evil hand of some unseen devil, who moreover, while he lay stretched at his length, gave his nose the most diabolical tweak he had ever dreamt of, and then thundered in the very voice of Bob Tiptoe--'take that you rascal.'

How he really came to be floored and treated in the manner described, it is difficult for us to tell, but that such an event actually happened, is testified by several sober-minded men who witnessed the occurrence--that his nasal organ had a severe tune played upon it, was proved by the most unequivocal evidence, as it long after displayed all the colors of the rainbow and remains altered from its original position many a day. Many more anecdotes of similar occurrences might be related, in which the agency of 'Mysterious Bob,' as he was now universally called, was always seen. But we leave them to tradition, and would merely remark, that in the course of two or three years they multiplied to such a degree as to frighten all the old women and maiden ladies out of their wits, and gained for their supposed cause, a general opinion that Mister Robert Tiptoe had entered into a solemn league with old Nick himself.

In the mean time, Tom Tandem, now that Bob had vacated the high throne of fashion, resolved to possess the same himself, and as he had for a long while indulged views favorable even to an alliance with Miss Corinna Ethelinda Prunello, he determined forthwith to supplant his absent friend--who still retained a powerful sway over her affections--and occupy her himself. This was no insignificant task--Miss Corinna was a plum--she had a spirit--and although but little prospect remained of Tiptoe's return, her love for him, very singularly, was as warm as ever. To overcome these obstacles, her new suitor left no measures fair or foul untried, and his principal manoeuvreing was a system of detraction against the character of his rival--he wrote anonymous letters--he whispered--he insinuated--and through the openings occasioned by this warfare, he contrived at last to advance the interests of himself. Miss Corinna reluctantly consented--although perpetually haunted by the warning voice of Mysterious Bob--and the bridal day was fixed.

The Reverend Barnabas Amen, a divine who had lately made a great noise in the city, was invited to officiate at the ceremony, which according to the custom of the day, was to be celebrated in open church. The party was assembled--the bridal couple stood forth--the rites and prayers were commenced, when the whole scene was thrown into confusion by an incident as extraordinary as it was unexpected. And now let us leave the astonished company and unfold events in relation to the more important part of our story.

CHAPTER II.

  He turned aside from carnal ways,
   To drink of wisdom's cup,
  That he might gain eternal praise
   When life was rendered up.

  'Yah--who--who--whoop!'
  Red Jacket, on the first appearance of a pale face in America.

In an obscure extremity of a narrow and remote avenue of Gotham, was a small Dutch house, remarkably clean and neat in appearance, but so antiquated, that it looked for all the world as if it had weathered the blasts of some two hundred winters. It was enclosed by a bit of garden clumsily bordered by a white-washed board fence, and very famous among all the surrounding farmers for its fertile crops of enormous cabbages. This grotesque habitation was the abode of a rich little antique Dutch woman, by the name of Dibby Spiedleburg. Dibby was a singular old damsel. She had no relations--she held communion with none, except Hans Bromberg her shopkeeper, and those she met in the course of her necessary vocations. As for her neighbours, she permitted none to darken her doors, and never herself displayed any curiosity about their concerns. Indeed, she was seldom on any occasion discovered beyond the pale of her cabbage ground, save at times when some mischievous troop of bare-headed urchins would threaten to invade her territory, and then, to be sure, she might be seen with her face in a storm and her broom-stick aloft, sallying forth with incredible celerity and scattering wide the affrighted miscreants--but these scenes very seldom occurred. Her time was generally past in attending to the affairs of her household, or in smoking for hours together a long white pipe, a favorite amusement of hers, and which she sometimes carried to such an excess that her entire habitation was frequently enveloped in an immense cloud. The only true and congenial companion of whom Dibby Spiedleburg could boast, was a huge white cat, that she was accustomed to call with a characteristic affection, Pussy Spiedleburg. Many and many a year had they lived together on the most intimate terms, and often of a sunny morning might the industrious Dibby be seen, hobbling round her little garden, scouring and rattling among her tin milk-pans and flourishing her elbows, while old Puss sat complacently on the fence, or on the door-step, whisking her tail in the air, washing her face, or waiting with crafty crouch the unsuspecting old gander of the neighborhood, her most troublesome enemy, with whom she often had a regular pitched battle.

One evening, about the celebrated period already described, when Mister Robert Tiptoe, as it was supposed, had vanished into 'thin air,' Pussy Spiedleburg pushed open the door of Dibby's best parlor, and finding a large comfortable fire roaring in the fire-place, forthwith deposited herself snug in the accustomed corner. Having silenced an impudent flea, which just then inflicted upon her a caustic nip, she folded her tail out of harm's way, and resigned herself to a comfortable nap. Presently in came Dibby Spiedleburg, with her hands in her pockets, like an old fashioned ginger-bread, and sitting herself down by the side of her companion, and mounting her specs, and puffing a cloud from her pipe large enough for a small fog, began to ruminate on a bit of news she had heard that day from Hans Bromberg. It was no other than that a young devil had been seen in the town going about under the name of Bob Tiptoe, a fine gentleman, and at last was supposed to have disappeared in a flash of blue flame. Now Dibby had once seen that same Bob Tiptoe, and she remembered very vividly that he had a cloven foot. She was very superstitious, and the more she thought of the matter the more she began to feel lonely and uneasy. It was certainly a marvellous story in her opinion--and then she peered over her spectacles round the room, and drew close to Puss--but hush! she thinks she hears a noise; it was nothing after all but a loud purr from the cat, and Dibby vexed at her indifference, tweaked Puss Spiedleburg's tail. But now a noise came in good earnest,--whack--whack--whack! seemed to sound from the outer door--then the parlor door flew open, and in stalked a tall, well built person, dressed in black, and a huge wig spreading far down his shoulders. So soon as Dibby recovered from her fright, she welcomed the stranger--listened to his errand, which proved to be a message from Hans Bromberg--and how it came to pass we are totally unable to relate, but on the following day the stranger became an inmate of Dibby Spiedleburg's abode.--This remarkable deviation from her long established habits of retirement can be attributed in part to increased superstitious feelings, but why she so willingly received into her domicile a person before unknown to her, must be answered by Hans Bromberg, in whom Dibby had the utmost confidence.

The stranger was put in possession of a small but comfortable room, to which his trunks were soon after conveyed, and to which thence forward he kept himself almost always confined. Who this personage was, other than his name, or what were his employment or objects, Dibby Spiedleburg knew not, neither did she at that time care.--It was sufficient for her, that Hans Bromberg corroborated the stranger's tale, without making her one wit the wiser--that he himself punctually paid her a profitable rent--and above all, that she and Pussy Spiedleburg were now entirely protected from the visits of Bob Tiptoe, or any other ghost or devil from Gotham.

There were certain singular circumstances, however, in connection with her lodger, which in the course of a few months began to work very powerfully upon her curiosity, for notwithstanding what we have said, Dibby Spiedleburg was but a woman, and possessed the same disposition with all the other inquisitive daughters of Eve. She found that he seldom or never emerged from his room--that his door was always bolted, and only opened for the admission of his meals, and that not a footstep or breath of noise ever disturbed the silence of his apartment. Now, thought Dibby, what does all this mean; and the more she pondered the more she was inclined to investigate the matter, and Dibby was not lacking in shrewdness either. Many and various were the plans she devised to arrive at the mystery. She visited Hans Bromberg twice for business, as she feigned--but in reality to collect some facts relative to her guest--but all seemed in vain;--when one day an event occurred, which, while it inflamed her curiosity, excited her highest alarm. She rapped one morning at his door--the signal for the admission of his breakfast--he did not appear. She knocked again, and again, and then at the dinner hour, but met with the same success. Dibby therefore, in either the goodness or curiosity of her heart, resolved to ascertain the cause of his silence. 'Who knows,' thought she, 'but what the poor gentleman is dead,' and she forthwith--for it was locked--broke open his room-door. But not a sign of him was to be seen; a multitude of books and manuscripts lay scattered round on the floor and table--a miniature of a beautiful young girl hung over the mangle-piece--but what caught the particular attention of Dibby, was an immense vol.ume, lying on the bed, which appeared to be in an unknown language, of red and black characters. She did not trust herself near it, but imagining at the moment she heard a noise, she hobbled out of the room in the twinkling of an eye, and immediately proceeded to the shop of Hans Bromberg, with the full conviction that the stranger he had recommended was no other than some infernal agent of Mynheer Beelzebub.

Indeed, subsequent events gave additional grounds for her belief. In vain she interrogated Hans Bromberg about the mysterious stranger he had introduced to her; a grunt, or 'Yah! good vrow' was his only answer, and on the following morning, when she went up with the stranger's breakfast--there stood his door wide open--his books, trunks, manuscripts and papers had disappeared, and the rent due, together with a present of ten golden guineas, were all that remained of that unaccountable personage--not a clue was found to unravel the extraordinary occurrence.

It was during the third winter after this event, one bright Sunday morning, that Dibby Spiedleberg took her accustomed walk to Trinity Church. She opened her pew door--dusted the seat--spread out her petticoats and her prayer-book before her, and mounting her spectacles on her snuff-box, i.e. her nose--aimed her sharp hazel twinklers, in the most serious devotion full at the pulpit. Instead, however, of encountering the rueful physiognomy of her well beloved and righteous minister Domine Psalmtune, what should meet her astonished eyes, but the well-remembered countenance of her former lodger. Her surprise and delight were vastly increased, when she heard his eloquent sermon. Parson Psalmtune's were mere goose-talk to it--'such a good, such a wonderful man,' thought Dibby, as she sat ruminating over a fresh pipe at home.

But this was not the only surprise in the wind for Dibby. In her day, much was thought of the ceremony of weddings, and as they were usually celebrated in places of public worship, many from motives of amusement and curiosity were often impelled to attend them. About this time a rich and most splendid marriage was to take place at Trinity Church. All Gotham rang loud with the reports of the bride's beauty, and the bridegroom's wealth. Every body intended to be present at the nuptials. Hans Bromberg himself, in a fit of good humour, arising from having dexterously wheedled Dibby Spiedleburg in traffic out of a silver sixpence, politely offered to wait upon her to the wedding. The ceremony was imposing indeed--there was seen the bridegroom dressed superbly in satin breeches, and fringed jacket, with his eyes sparkling bright as the silver buttons with which his ample coat was decorated, in the joy of intense expectation;--there close beside him stood the beautiful bride shining in a profusion of silk robes and golden ribbons, like an angel in a twilight cloud--and farther off, the most conspicuous in the scene, was the solemn form of the full robed parson.

Dibby had just arrived in time to catch a glimpse of the 'wonderful man,' the Reverend Barnabas Amen, as he was proceeding to join the hands of the bridal couple, when, as we have already hinted at the close of the last chapter, the whole scene was thrown into the most inconceivable confusion. For suddenly--and Dibby Spiedleburg saw it with her own eyes,--the parson's wig took flight to the opposite end of the church, his mantle and cassock disappeared from his form, and who should stand forth to the wondering view of the whole assembly--to the astonished gaze of Dibby--the knowing glance of Hans Bromberg--the confounded eye of Tom Tandem--and the overjoyed, though fainting Corinna Ethelinda Prunello--but that long lost and remarkable personage--Mister Robert Tiptoe!

What farther happened in relation to this celebrated individual, we know not. We have found it impossible to trace his history any later, or any clearer, in any authentic manuscript, than what we have narrated. But tradition informs us, though with rather an incredible aspect, among other things, that the cause of Mr Robert Tiptoe's singular disappearance was a fulfilment of some league he had formed with the devil. Another account states, that grown weary of his dissipated life, and being anxious to become respected as a deserving man, he devoted himself to reflection and the study of the occult sciences, in the course of which he discovered some secret which enabled him to amuse himself and astonish the town, during his period of solitude. But these and other accounts of a similar character, we entirely disbelieve as apocryphal and fabulous, having ourselves no faith in praeternatural influences--devils, ghosts, or any thing of the kind. The only plausible statement in regard to our hero, is an incomplete story handed down to us by a descendant of Hans Bromberg, which informs us that Dibby and Pussy Spiedleburg died on the same year of the marriage, bequeathing the whole of their property, including an immense new crop of cabbages, to the wedded husband of Miss Corinna Ethelinda Prunello--'that good--that wonderful man'--the Rev. Barnabas Amen, alias, Mister Robert Tiptoe.

J.W.S.

New York, March 23, 1829.

Best regards,

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.

 

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