A True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs. Veal

by Daniel Defoe
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Last Updated on August 7, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 730

"A True Relation of the Apparition of Mrs Veale" is a ghost story by Daniel Defoe written in the form of a journalistic report.

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Defoe precedes the story with a preface that details reasons why the story must be viewed as a "matter of fact". First of all he states it

It was sent by a gentleman, a justice of peace, at Maidstone, in Kent, and a very intelligent person, to his friend in London, as it is here worded;

One wonders if this is a bit of a satire. He is asking for readers to accept it as truth because it was noted down by a gentleman. Further more that gentleman can attest that the more lower class woman who told him the story "was to be of so discerning a spirit, as not to be put upon by any fallacy"

He cements his proof with words about story's Christian undertones. It is as if the narrative is challenging us to question the validity of the story that has, in the narrator's view, such deep, spiritual meaning.

The use which we ought to make of it, is to consider, that there is a life to come after this, and a just God, who will retribute to every one according to the deeds done in the body; and therefore to reflect upon our past course of life we have led in the world; that our time is short and uncertain;

The narrator spends a lot of time in the story, telling us what a trustworthy wonderful woman, the person who first told the story, Mrs. Bargrave is. The narrator says he has known her for many years.

But by the circumstances thereof, and the cheerful disposition of Mrs. Bargrave, notwithstanding the ill-usage of a very wicked husband, there is not yet the least sign of dejection in her face; nor did I ever hear her let fall a desponding or murmuring expression; nay, not when actually under her husband's barbarity; which I have been witness to, and several other persons of undoubted reputation.

There are people though that disbelieve her and as the narrator states "blast her reputation."

Though, since this relation, she is calumniated by some people, that are friends to the brother of this Mrs. Veal, who appeared; who think the relation of this appearance to be a reflection, and endeavour what they can to blast Mrs. Bargrave's reputation, and to laugh the story out of countenance.

Mrs. Bargrave claims that she was visited by her old friend Mrs Veal a day after she died. As if it is not enough to convince us of Mrs. Bargrove's sparkling character, the narrator tries reinforce that the truth of the story by stating that Mrs. Veale was also a "very pious woman." As old friends Mrs Bargrave and Mrs Veal

would often condole each other's adverse...

(The entire section contains 730 words.)

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