The tenth Relation.
An Account of the death of the most Eminent of a certain Family pre∣saged by Rats eating the Hangings of a Room.
AT Kitsford in Devonshire, which is now the Seat of Thomas Wood Esq I very well remember, dining in the Parlour there, with the Lady, the Mother of the above-named Gentle∣man; she shewed me in the hangings of the Room, near one of the Win∣dows, a great hole eaten, as supposed, by Rats; it was almost at the top of the Room; and this, she said, happened but a few weeks before the death of her Husband Some time after dining again in the same Room, there was another hole eaten just under the for∣mer; which the Gentlewoman was pleased to say, did foreshew her death; and truly, in a very little time after, she died on a Sunday morning, with∣out Page 220 any previous sickness; being at that time dressing her self to go to Church, with intent to receive the Communi∣on; and was to all appearance well in health, and dead, in half an hours time. About a year, or more after that, ano∣ther hole was eaten in the same Hang∣ing, soon after which died Roger Wood Esq the Heir, and elder Brother to him that now injoys the Estate. He likewise died very suddenly, for having been out coursing a Hare in the mor∣ning, he came in about noon at his Bro∣ther George Powell, Esquires, (where he then lodged) and leaning his hand to his head, complained that his Head aked, and died in a few hours.
I had a Relation of my own, who was a Silk-man, and had laid by a par∣cel of Ribbons, which he had sold to a Merchant, for the Sea; after a day or two, when they were to be sent away, there was above 30 yards of them torn out, eaten, and spoiled by Rats: With∣in a very short time after the Silk-man died as he was returning from a Jour∣ny to London.
RAts and Toads are both lookt upon as noxious Creatures, and therefore generally loathed by all people, who gene∣rally have a Natural Antipathy against that sort of Vermin, unless it be Witches, and such, who are said to Cherish them: And why may there not be Magical Ani∣mals, as well as Magical Plants? But by what kind of Instinct these Creatures should foreknow of such events, or if they do not fore-know, upon what score they should after this manner fore-bode, and prognosticate such Catastrophies; is a very hard matter to determine. They are gene∣rally look'd upon to be Ominous, so are Crows, Ravens, and Screech Owls, which generally resort to the Windows, or tops of Houses, where people are a dying; and most usually the resort of them to Houses, and places, is attended with an answerable Fatality. Nor is it unusual for people to have presages of their approach into the other World, which per∣haps Page 222 may be the care and vigilance of some good Genius, by these notices to prepare us for it.