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The Female Sprites






In September 1764, the following extraordinary incident happened in the
family of a clergyman then living in Bartholomew Close.

The gentleman and his wife returning home about eleven o'clock from a
friend's house, where they had been to spend the evening, desired the
maid to get them warm water to mix with some wine. There being no fire
in the parlour, they went into the kitchen; and while the water was
heating, the gentleman ordered the maid to get a pan of coals, and warm
the bed. The servant had not long been gone up stairs, when the
gentleman and his wife heard an uncommon noise over their heads, like
persons walking without shoes: and, presently after, a woman enters the
kitchen, without any other clothes on than her shift and cap. Their
astonishment at such a sight so greatly frightened them, that they had
neither of them power to speak a word: and while they were thus absorbed
in amazement, another woman entered the room in like manner. Just at
this time the maid came down from warming the bed; and, though greatly
surprised at so unexpected an appearance, had the courage to ask them
who they were? and what they wanted? To which they replied, that they
were servants at their next-door neighbour's, and, being awakened out of
their sleep by their master's calling out, Fire and thieves! ran up
stairs, and entering the garret window, came down, to preserve
themselves from danger, and procure assistance. Upon this, inquiry being
made, the gentleman's daughter at the adjoining house was found in
violent fits, which occasioned his calling the maids hastily to her
assistance; and this caused an alarm that had nearly proved fatal to the
clergyman's wife, who was, at that time, far gone with child.





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