Mrs. Simpson's Vision

Mrs Emma Jane Simpson


Now where was I…..I recall Eliza was taking down my thoughts of my short time on this earth.

At that she gets fairly flustered and jumps up and kisses me and “Auntie” says she “ You mustn't think about leaving us yet. Of course I'll write your words for you and I shall read them when I'm an old lady too and so will my children” and there she blushes, what with her not even walking out yet, let alone married.

So finally we settles it and she says she'll write down all I say, but she'll make it into nice, writing- down words for me. And I says never mind about that now, as I want to tell about my Dream.

Now its Eliza wants to put “Dream” but I don't know what to call it. All the women on my side of the family has always been known for having The Sight. So sometimes when I have a dream I find it hard to know whether 'tis the Sight or just a dream and then, only when things happen afterward do I know 'twas the Sight. I thought if I was to write this one down then when it comes to pass I shall have it down and even Eliza will have to start to understand The Sight.

So there was I, in the year of grace eighteen hundred and thirty (and the date it was September 17th as I remember well, on account of Elsie telling us all she can't be skivvy in the kitchen no more as her mother is took poorly and she's needed at home.)

'Twas in the middle of the day and I was just resting my eyes on account of all them onions Elsie'd been chopping, when in comes John Skinner the coachman and I sits up and sees the strangest thing:

One half of my lovely modern kitchen (which, as everyone hereabout knows, is made after the fashion of the late King's own kitchen in his palace down along The Stein, and is bright and shiny as a new halfpenny) was in a terrible state it seemed. It was dull and dirty-looking and bits of the bricks was showing through and the floor was like a barnyeard and all my lovely shining copper pots and my tubs and baskets and shelves was all gone.

But that was not the end of it. For in my kitchen was people. People such as you never saw before and must have been from foreign parts so strangely was they attired. At first I thought them all young gentlemen for all, I thought, were wearing tight pantaloons. The jackets and the shirts they had on was all of garish colours such as the gentry favour but none of them was smart or clever-made, and hung down upon them loosely like a shepherd's smock and covered all the tops of their pantaloons. And some of them was wearing very funny shoen. (Eliza wishes me to make clear that 'shoen' is an old word now and that all people do say 'shoes', but I tells her that I don't never say 'shoes' so she's wrong as I am surely part of 'all' people).. Some of these shoen were more like dancing slippers, but some was big and clumsy and was tied together at the front with coloured string ending in little bows. But not shiny, sateen bows such as is usually worn – just thin little bits that looked passing mean.

I tried not to mind these strange people as I could tell John Skinner was not seeing them, which is why I claim The Sight – they was people from another place. I would wager one of my best pork pies on that.

But that ain't the half of it – for as I became accustomed to them, I could see that some of them was women! Not ladies, mind. Not dressed like that. Yet they was all together, bold as brass, with the gentlemen - despite one I saw with scarlet fingernails. (Two of the women indeed was like fisherfolk or farmers with their unpainted faces all stained by the sun and weather!) And their hair! None of the gentlemen was wearing their wigs which is becoming very common in our modern age and sometimes I think is a good thing as it stops the lice from making their nests or whatever 'tis that lice do live and breed in. Eliza says she does not know, for all her learning, either.

Now the thing about the women's hair was enough to almost stop my gab for a moment, so shocked was I. Not dressed at all, it wasn't. Just hanging limp around their faces and on their shoulders with nary a curl or a tweak or a ribbon or a touch of powder.

But then it did dawn upon me that the women was dressed in pantaloons too! (Apart from two who were standing there like slomachy bawdy-girls in naught but their shifts) While dangling from leather straps across their shoulders they all did have small packs slung, like a peddler-man at the market and some of them in bawdy colours like the Fool in a Mystery Play.

Yet all treated each other with respect, and they did eat some good, wholesome country loaf and stout Leicester Cheese and quaff some small ale before they left so as I knew they were not Spirits.

Well, that's it. That was all. But you mark my words, young Eliza, that this was not a dream but the Sight. All know that the Master do have property in Heathen Parts across the seas. Strange men and women they do have in those parts, and some with skins as black as Ewen Coalman at the end of a days work, and not able to wash it off either. And I have heard tell that their hair is different to all good Christians, though I do not know the details on't.

So I put all down here now that I may remember it and bring to mind the details. For, sure as my name is Emma Jane Simpson, I do know that this was a Sign. Whether it be to tell that the Master will be bringing some of those strange Heathens to our shores, nor that we should all up stakes as we have done from Tubridge Wells and set out for Foreign parts again I do not know. But, mark my words that change is coming and unto this I do set forth my proof in proper writing-down words and below fix my mark.

Emma Jane Simpson on the 27th Day of September, 1830.