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The Best Ghost Stories

The Apparition of Mrs. Veal
By Daniel De Foe
THE PREFACE
This relation is matter of fact, and attended with such circumstances, as may induce any
reasonable man to believe it. It was sent by a gentleman, a justice of peace, at Maidstone,
in Kent, and a very intelligent person, to his friend in London, as it is here worded; which
discourse is attested by a very sober and understanding gentlewoman, a kinswoman of the
said gentleman's, who lives in Canterbury, within a few doors of the house in which the
within-named Mrs. Bargrave lives; who believes his kinswoman to be of so discerning a
spirit, as not to be put upon by any fallacy; and who positively assured him that the whole
matter, as it is related and laid down, is really true; and what she herself had in the same
words, as near as may be, from Mrs. Bargrave's own mouth, who, she knows, had no
reason to invent and publish such a story, or any design to forge and tell a lie, being a
woman of much honesty and virtue, and her whole life a course, as it were, of piety. The
use which we ought to make of it, is to consider, that there is a life to come after this, and
a just God, who will retribute to every one according to the deeds done in the body; and
therefore to reflect upon our past course of life we have led in the world; that our time is
short and uncertain; and that if we would escape the punishment of the ungodly, and
receive the reward of the righteous, which is the laying hold of eternal life, we ought, for
the time to come, to return to God by a speedy repentance, ceasing to do evil, and
learning to do well: to seek after God early, if happily He may be found of us, and lead
such lives for the future, as may be well pleasing in His sight.
A RELATION OF THE APPARITION OF MRS. VEAL
This thing is so rare in all its circumstances, and on so good authority, that my reading
and conversation has not given me anything like it: it is fit to gratify the most ingenious
and serious inquirer. Mrs. Bargrave is the person to whom Mrs. Veal appeared after her
death; she is my intimate friend, and I can avouch for her reputation, for these last fifteen
or sixteen years, on my own knowledge; and I can confirm the good character she had
from her youth, to the time of my acquaintance. Though, since this relation, she is
calumniated by some people, that are friends to the brother of this Mrs. Veal, who
appeared; who think the relation of this appearance to be a reflection, and endeavor what
they can to blast Mrs. Bargrave's reputation, and to laugh the story out of countenance.
But by the circumstances thereof, and the cheerful disposition of Mrs. Bargrave,
notwithstanding the ill-usage of a very wicked husband, there is not yet the least sign of
dejection in her face; nor did I ever hear her let fall a desponding or murmuring
 
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