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possibility of our becoming personally acquainted, first, that I
was destined to be unlucky in life; and secondly, that I was
privileged to see ghosts and spirits; both these gifts inevitably
attaching, as they believed, to all unlucky infants of either
gender, born towards the small hours on a Friday night.

I need say nothing here, on the first head, because nothing can
show better than my history whether that prediction was verified or
falsified by the result. On the second branch of the question, I
will only remark, that unless I ran through that part of my
inheritance while I was still a baby, I have not come into it yet.

But I do not at all complain of having been kept out of this
property; and if anybody else should be in the present enjoyment of
it, he is heartily welcome to keep it.

I was born with a caul, which was advertised for sale, in the
newspapers, at the low price of fifteen guineas. Whether sea-going
people were short of money about that time, or were short of faith
and preferred cork jackets, I don't know; all I know is, that there
was but one solitary bidding, and that was from an attorney
connected with the bill-broking business, who offered two pounds in
cash, and the balance in sherry, but declined to be guaranteed from
drowning on any higher bargain. Consequently the advertisement was
withdrawn at a dead loss - for as to sherry, my poor dear mother's
own sherry was in the market then - and ten years afterwards, the
caul was put up in a raffle down in our part of the country, to
fifty members at half-a-crown a head, the winner to spend five
shillings. I was present myself, and I remember to have felt quite
uncomfortable and confused, at a part of myself being disposed of
in that way. The caul was won, I recollect, by an old lady with a
hand-basket, who, very reluctantly, produced from it the stipulated
five shillings, all in halfpence, and twopence halfpenny short - as
it took an immense time and a great waste of arithmetic, to
endeavour without any effect to prove to her. It is a fact which
will be long remembered as remarkable down there, that she was
never drowned, but died triumphantly in bed, at ninety-two. I have
understood that it was, to the last, her proudest boast, that she
never had been on the water in her life, except upon a bridge; and
that over her tea (to which she was extremely partial) she, to the
last, expressed her indignation at the impiety of mariners and
others, who had the presumption to go 'meandering' about the world.
It was in vain to represent to her that some conveniences, tea
perhaps included, resulted from this objectionable practice. She
always returned, with greater emphasis and with an instinctive
knowledge of the strength of her objection, 'Let us have no
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