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Thus, the family of Rothmurchan had the Bodac au Dun, or Ghost of the Hill; and Kinchardines, the Spectre of the Bloody Hand; Gartnibeg House was haunted by Bodach Gartin ; and Tulloch Gorus by Manch Monlach, or the Girl with the Hairy Left Hand. Bodach signifies, from the Saxon, Bode, a messenger, a tidings-bringer.
The Bodach Glass is introduced in the novel of Waverley as the family superstition of the MacIvors, the truth of which has been traditionally proved by three hundred years' experience. It is thus described to Waverley by Fergus:
• You must know, then, that when my ancestor, Ian nan Chaistel, wasted Northumberland, there was appointed with him in the expedition a sort of Southland chief, or captain of a band of Lowlanders, called Halbert Hall. In their return through the Cheviots they quarrelled about the division of the great booty they had acquired, and came from words to blows. The Lowlanders were cut off to a man, and their chief fell the last, covered with wounds, by the sword of my ancestor. Since that time his spirit has crossed the Vich Ian Vohr of the day when any great disaster was impending. My father saw him twice : once before he was made prisoner at Sheriff Muir, another time on the morning of the day on which he died.'
Fergus then relates to Waverley the appearance of the Bodach : 'Last night,' said Fergus, 'I felt so feverish that I left my quarters, and walked out, in hopes the keen frosty air would brace my nerves. I cannot tell how much I dislike going on, for I know you will hardly believe me.
However, I crossed a small foot-bridge, and kept walking backwards and forwards, when I observed, with surprise, by the clear moonlight, a tall figure in a grey plaid, such as shepherds wear in the south of Scotland, which, move at what pace I would, kept regularly about four yards before me.'
"You saw a Cumberland peasant in his ordinary dress, probably
“No; I thought so at first, and was astonished at the man's audacity in daring to dog me. I called to him, but received no answer. I felt an anxious throbbing at my heart; and to ascertain what I dreaded, I stood still, and turned myself on the same spot successively to the four points of the compass. By heaven, Edward, turn where I would, the figure was instantly before my eyes at precisely the same distance! I was then convinced it was the Bodach Glass. My hair bristled, and my knees shook. I manned myself, however, and determined to return to my quarters. My ghastly visitor glided before me (for I cannot say he walked) until he reached the foot-bridge; there he stopped, and turned full round. I must either wade the river, or pass him as close as I am to you. A desperate courage, founded on the belief that my death was near, made me resolve to make my way in despite of him. I made the sign of the cross, drew my sword, and uttered, “In the name of God, evil spirit, give place !" “ Vich Ian Vohr," it said, in a voice that made my very blood curdle ; “beware of to-morrow.' It seemed at that moment not half a yard
from my sword's point; but the words were no sooner spoken than it was gone, and nothing appeared further to obstruct my passage.'
THE WHITE-BREASTED BIRD OF THE OXENHAM FAMILY.
HOWELL, the letter-writer, relates that he saw, in a stonecutter's shop in Fleet Street, a marble slab, with the epitaphs of four persons of the Oxenham family; when at or near death, "a bird with a white breast was seen fluttering about their beds.' The last appearance of this kind is stated to have been in 1794. In 1641 there was published a tract, with a frontispiece, entitled ' A True Relation of an Apparition, in the Likeness of a Bird with a White Breast, that appeared hovering over the Death-bed of some of the Children of Mr. James Oxenham,' etc. And in an account of Sydenham is a statement of a similar appearance at the death of one of the family of Oxenham, in that parish. The inscription upon the marble seen by Howell was : "Here lies John Oxenham, a goodly young man, in whose chamber, as he was struggling in the pangs of death, a bird with a white breast, was seen fluttering about his bed, and so vanished.'
DONINGTON CASTLE AND CHAUCER.
F the castle of Donington, near Newbury, in
Berkshire, only a small ruin remains. Of the
castle of Donington, in Leicestershire, the remains are more extensive. In its entirety, this stronghold, situated on a commanding eminence, rose abruptly from the valley of the Trent, which it proudly looked over and threatened. The character of this fortress was unquestionably castellated, of the eleventh century; and the ballium or court is still distinctly defined. Each of these castles has been assigned as the abode of Chaucer.
The castle in Leicestershire, built by Eustace Baron of Haulton and Constable of Chester, was demolished by order of King John about the year 1216; its owner, John de Laci, having taken too prominent a part with the rebel barons. But the castle was evidently rebuilt by his grandson, Henri Laci Earl of Lincoln, who died in 1360. The fortress then came into the possession of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, who married Alice, Lincoln's daughter. This prince was cousin to Edward 11. ; and he joined a confederacy of barons who took up arms against the king because
of the profligacy of his favourites. After the battle of Borough Bridge, being taken prisoner, he was beheaded in the year 1322 ; and, immediately afterwards, the castle was given to the favourite Despencer. Speed thus alludes to this transaction : 'He had not long before created the elder Spencer Earl of Winchester, and deckt the plume of his fortunes with a toppe-feather taken out of the said late Earl of Lancaster's estate, that is to say, with the castle and honour of Donington, parcell of the earldome of Lincoln.' However, the Despencers did not wear this toppe-feather' long, for in 1325 they were both executed by the capricious Edward's command.
In 1327, Edward Earl of Kent, uncle of Edward 11., was owner of the castle ; but in 1330, through the base machinations of Mortimer and the infamous Queen Isabella, this good Earl was put to death. An old historian speaks of this event as follows: 'From noone till five at night he [the Earl] stood at the place of death without the castle gates, none being found to behead him, till a base wretch of a marschal-sea was sent and did it; so little conscience did the malice and ambition of his potent adversaries make of shedding the royal blood, which, by God's juster judgment, was not long unavenged.'
In 1352 the castle belonged to John Plantagenet Earl of Kent, and Joan his sister was his heir. This Joan was daughter of Earl Edmund, who was brother by the father's side to Edward 11. She is reputed to have been the most beautiful woman of the age, and the troubadours and