THE BARGEST, OR SPECTRE-HOUND.
IN the glossary to the Rev. Mr. Carr's "Horae Momenta Carvenae," I find the following: "Bargest, a sprite that haunts towns and populous places. Belg. berg, and geest, a ghost." I really am not a little amused at Mr. Carr's derivation, which is most erroneous. Bargest is not a town-ghost, nor is it a haunter "of towns and populous places;" for, on the contrary, it is said in general to frequent small villages and hills. Hence the derivation may be berg, Germ, a hill, and geest, a ghost--i.e., a hill-ghost; but the real derivation appears to me to be bär, Germ, a bear, and geest, a ghost--i.e., a bear-ghost, from its appearing in the form of a bear or large dog, as Billy B--'a narrative shows.
The appearance of the spectre-hound is said to precede a death. Like other spirits, Bargest is supposed to be unable to cross water; and in case any of my craven readers should ever chance to meet with his ghostship, it may he as well to say, that unless they give him the wall, he will tear them in pieces, or otherwise ill-treat them, as he did John Lambert, who, refusing to let him have the wall, was so punished for his want of manners, that he died in a few days.
BILLY B --'S ADVENTURE.
"You see, sir, as how I'd been a clock-dressing at Gurston (Grassington), and I'd staid rather lat, and may be a li'le sup o' spirit; but I war far from being drunk, and knowed everything that passed. It war about eleven o'clock when I left, and it war at back end o' t' year, and a most admirable (beautiful) neet it war. The moon war varra breet, and I nivver seed Kylstone-fell plainer in a' my life. Now, you see, sir, I war passin' down t' mill loine, and I heerd summat come past me,--brush, brush, brush, wi' chains rattling a' the while, but I seed nothing; and thowt I to mysel, now this is a most mortal queer thing. And I then stuid still, and luik'd about me; but I seed nothing at aw, nobbut the two stane wa's on each o' t' mill loine. Then I heerd again this brush, brush, brush, wi' the chains; for you see, sir, when I stuid still it stopped, and then, thowt I, this mun be a Bargest, that sae much is said about; and I hurried on towards t' wood brig; for they say as how this Bargest cannot cross a water; but Lord, sir, when I gat o'er t' brig, I heerd this same thing again; so it mun either hey crossed t' watter, or have gane round by t' spring heed! (about thirty miles!) And then I becam a vahliant man, for I war a bit freekn'd afore; and, thinks I, I'll turn and hey a peep at this thing; so I went up Greet Bank towards Linton, and heerd this brush, brush, brush, wi' the chains a' the way, but I seed nothing; then it ceased all of a sudden. So I turned back to go hame; but I'd hardly reached the dour when I heerd again this brush, brush, brush, and the chains going down towards t' Holin House; and I followed it, and the moon there shone varra breet, and l seed its tail! Then, thowt I, thou owd thing, I can say Ise seen thee now; so, I'll away hame. When I gat to t' door, there war a grit thing like a sheep, but it war larger, ligging across t' threshold of t' door, and it war woolly like; and says I, 'Git up,' and it wouldn't git up. Then says I, 'Stir thysel,' and it wouldn't stir itsel! And I grew valliant, and I raised t' stick to baste it wi'; and then it luik'd at me and sich oies (eyes), they did glower, and war as big as saucers, and like a cruelled ball. First there war a red ring, then a blue one, then a white one; and these rings grew less and less till they came to a dot! Now, I war nane feer'd on it, tho' it grin'd at me fearfully, and I kept on saying, 'Git up,' and 'Stir thysel,' and t' wife heerd as how I war at t' door, and she cam to oppen it; and then this thing gat up and walked off, for it war mare freet'd o' t' wife than it war o' me; and I told the wife, and she said it war Bargest ; but I nivver seed it since--and that's a true story." [a]
[a] Hone's "Every-Day Book."