The variations in the narratives of Sir George Villiers' appearance toan old servant of his, or old protege, and the warning communicated bythis man to Villiers' son, the famous Duke of Buckingham, are curiousand instructive. The tale is first told in print by William Lilly,the astrologer, in the second part of a large tract called Monarchy orNo Monarchy in England (London, 1651), twenty-three years afterBuckingham's murder. But while prior in publication, Lilly's storywas probably written after, though independent of Lord Clarendon's, inthe first book of his History of the Rebellion, begun on 18th March,1646, that is within eighteen years of the events. Clarendon, ofcourse, was in a position to know what was talked of at the time.Next, we have a letter of Mr. Douch to Glanvil, undated, but writtenafter the Restoration, and, finally, an original manuscript of 1652.Douch makes the warning arrive "some few days" before the murder ofBuckingham, and says that the ghost of Sir George, "in his morninggown," bade one Parker tell Buckingham to abandon the expedition to LaRochelle or expect to be murdered. On the third time of appearing thevision pulled a long knife from under his gown, as a sign of the deathawaiting Buckingham. He also communicated a "private token" toParker, the "percipient," Sir George's old servant. On each occasionof the appearance, Parker was reading at midnight. Parker, _after_the murder, told one Ceeley, who told it to a clergyman, who toldDouch, who told Glanvil.In Lilly's version the ghost had a habit of walking in Parker's room,and finally bade him tell Buckingham to abstain from certain company,"or else he will come to destruction, and that suddenly". Parker,thinking he had dreamed, did nothing; the ghost reappeared, andcommunicated a secret "which he (Buckingham) knows that none in theworld ever knew but myself and he". The duke, on hearing the storyfrom Parker, backed by the secret, was amazed, but did not alter hisconduct. On the third time the spectre produced the knife, but at_this_ information the duke only laughed. Six weeks later he wasstabbed. Douch makes the whole affair pass immediately before theassassination. "And Mr. Parker died soon after," as the ghost hadforetold to him.Finally, Clarendon makes the appearances set in six months beforeFelton slew the duke. The percipient, unnamed, was in bed. Thenarrative now develops new features; the token given on the ghost'sthird coming obviously concerns Buckingham's mother, the Countess, the"one person more" who knew the secret communicated. The ghostproduces no knife from under his gown; no warning of Buckingham'sdeath by violence is mentioned. A note in the MS. avers thatClarendon himself had papers bearing on the subject, and that he gothis information from Sir Ralph Freeman (who introduced the unnamedpercipient to the duke), and from some of Buckingham's servants, "whowere informed of much of it before the murder of the duke". Clarendonadds that, in general, "no man looked on relations of that sort withless reverence and consideration" than he did. This anecdote heselects out of "many stories scattered abroad at the time" as "upon abetter foundation of credit". The percipient was an officer in theking's wardrobe at Windsor, "of a good reputation for honesty anddiscretion," and aged about fifty. He was bred at a school in SirGeorge's parish, and as a boy was kindly treated by Sir George, "whomafterwards he never saw". On first beholding the spectre in his room,the seer recognised Sir George's costume, then antiquated. At lastthe seer went to Sir Ralph Freeman, who introduced him to the duke ona hunting morning at Lambeth Bridge. They talked earnestly apart,observed by Sir Ralph, Clarendon's informant. The duke seemedabstracted all day; left the field early, sought his mother, and aftera heated conference of which the sounds reached the ante-room, wentforth in visible trouble and anger, a thing never before seen in himafter talk with his mother. She was found "overwhelmed with tears andin the highest agony imaginable". "It is a notorious truth" that,when told of his murder, "she seemed not in the least degreesurprised."The following curious manuscript account of the affair is, after theprefatory matter, the copy of a letter dated 1652. There is nothingsaid of a ghostly knife, the name of the seer is not Parker, and inits whole effect the story tallies with Clarendon's version, thoughthe narrator knows nothing of the scene with the Countess ofBuckingham.