LADY’S AND GENTLEMAN’S
(THE CASKET AND GENTLEMAN’S UNITED.)
EVERY DEPARTMENT OF LITERATURE:
ENGRAVINGS, FASHIONS, AND MUSIC,
ARRANGED FOR THE
PIANO-FORTE, HARP, AND GUITAR.
GEORGE R. GRAHAM.
FROM JANUARY, TO JUNE, 1841, INCLUSIVE.
|Alchymist, the, by Mrs. Lambert,||105|
|Blind Girl, the, by Mrs. C. Durang,||26|
|Blind Girl of Pompeii, the, (illustrated),||49|
|Confessions of a Miser, the, by J. Ross Browne,||83, 102, 189|
|Clothing of the Ancients, the, by Willam Duane, Jr.||269|
|Destroyer’s Doom, the,||115|
|Defaulter, the, by J. T. Maull,||164|
|Descent into the Maelström, a, by Edgar A. Poe,||235|
|Father’s Blessing, the, by Mrs. S. A. Whelpley,||132|
|Grandmother’s Tankard, my, by Jesse E. Dow,||59|
|Grandfather’s Story, my, by Lydia Jane Pierson,||217|
|Haunted Castle, the, a Legend of the Rhine,||214|
|Island of the Fay, the, by Edgar A. Poe, (illustrated,)||253|
|Lost Evening, the, by Jesse E. Dow,||2|
|Leaves from a Lawyer’s Port-Folio,||13, 224|
|Lady Isabel, the, (illustrated,)||97, 145|
|Lost Heir, the, by H. J. Vernon,||261|
|Life Guardsman, the, by Jesse E. Dow,||275|
|My Progenitors, by S. W. Whelpley, A. M.||21|
|Maiden’s Adventure, the,||109|
|Major’s Wedding, the, by Jeremy Short, Esq.||129|
|Murders in the Rue Morgue, the, by Edgar A. Poe,||166|
|May-Day. A Rhapsody, by Jeremy Short, Esq.||242|
|Our Bill, by Mrs. Lambert,||150|
|Outlaw Lover, the, by J. H. Dana,||189|
|Parsonage Gathering, the, by Mrs. E. C. Stedman,||221|
|Poetry: the Uncertainty of its Appreciation, by Joseph Evans Snodgrass,||288|
|Reefer of ’76, the, by the Author of “Cruizing in the Last War,”||30, 51, 125, 180, 210, 256|
|Review of New Books,||47, 92, 142, 197, 248, 294|
|Rescued Knight, the,||64|
|Syrian Letters, the,||36, 78, 265|
|Sports and Pastimes,||44, 90, 140, 196, 246, 292|
|Silver Digger, the, by M. Topham Evans,||68|
|Saccharineous Philosophy, the,||81|
|Sketch from Life, a, by J. Tomlin,||136|
|Self-Devotion, by Mrs. E. C. Embury,||159|
|Thunder Storm, the, by J. H. Dana,||285|
|Unequally Yoked, by Rev. J. Kennaday,||159|
|Ugolino. A Tale of Florence, by M. Topham Evans,||279|
|Worth and Wealth: or the Choice of a Wife, by Ellen Ashton,||206|
|Yoo-ti-hu, by J. Ross Browne,||10|
|A Soldier’s the Lad for me, by A. McMakin,||25|
|April Day, an, by Alex. A. Irvine,||179|
|Æolian Harp, to the,||179|
|Alethe, by J. S. Freligh,||216|
|Brilliant Nor-West, the, by Dr. J. K. Mitchell,||149|
|“Blue-Eyed Lassie,” to the, by the late J. G. Brooks,||223|
|Callirhöe, by H. Perceval,||100|
|Comparisons, by C. West Thompson,||165|
|Chimes of Antwerp, the, by J. Hickman,||192|
|Dream of the Delaware, the,||56|
|Dusty White Rose, the, by Mrs. Volney E. Howard,||209|
|Fairy’s Home, the,||87|
|I am your Prisoner, by Thos. Dunn English, M. D.||135|
|Invitation, the, by E. G. Mallery,||137|
|I Cling to Thee, by T. G. Spear,||234|
|Joys of Former Years have Fled, the, by S. A. Raybold,||289|
|June, by A. A. Irvine,||287|
|Language of Wild Flowers, by Thos. Dunn English, M. D.||20|
|Little Children, by Mrs. C. H. W. Esling,||67|
|Lines, by E. Clementine Stedman,||114|
|Life, by Martin Thayer, Jr.||243|
|Lay of the Affections, the, by Mrs. M. S. B. Dana,||268|
|Lord Byron, to, by R. M. Walsh,||273|
|Mother’s Pride, the, by Mrs. C. H. W. Esling, (illustrated),||205|
|Not Lost, but Gone before, by Chas. West Thompson,||87|
|Napoleon, by J. E. Dow,||113|
|Old Memories, by Mrs. C. H. W. Esling,||188|
|Old Rock, to an, by G. G. Foster,||223|
|Pine on the Mountain, to the, by Lydia Jane Pierson,||29|
|Picture, a, by Mrs. M. S. B. Dana,||158|
|Sabbath Bells, Impromptu, by Willis G. Clark,||35|
|Sea Scene, a, by Robert Morris,||35|
|Skating, by George Lunt,||77|
|Soul’s Destiny, the, by Mrs. M. S. B. Dana,||80|
|Slighted Woman, a, by the Author of “Howard Pinckney,”||156|
|Soliloquy of an Octogenarian, by Pliney Earle, M. D.||241|
|Sighs for the Unattainable, by Charles West Thompson,||264|
|Sonnet written in April, by Mrs. E. C. Stedman,||278|
|Thine—Only Thine, by Mrs. C. H. W. Esling,||39|
|Time’s Changes, by John W. Forney,||260|
|Voice of the Spring Time, by Martin Thayer, Jr.||209|
|Voice of the Wind, the, by Emma,||255|
|Waters of Lethe, the, by N. C. Brooks, A. M.||9|
|Winter, by J. W. Forney,||82|
|Winter Scene, a, by Mrs. E. C. Stedman,||163|
|Winter Scene, a, by L. J. Pierson,||192|
|Young Rambler, the, by Thomas J. Spear,||1|
|Fashions for January (three figures) colored.|
|The Blind Girl of Pompeii.|
|Fashions for February (four figures) colored.|
|Why don’t he Come?|
|Fashions for March (three figures) colored.|
|Fashions for April (four figures) colored.|
|The Mother’s Pride.|
|Fashions for May. Ladies of Queen Victoria’s Court—correct likenesses—(seven figures) colored.|
|The Island of the Fay.|
|Fashions for June, (three figures) colored.|
|The Indian Maid, by S. Nelson,||42|
|Not for Me! Not for Me! by M. W. Balfe,||88|
|You never knew Annette, by C. M. Sola,||138|
|Oh! Gentle Love, by T. Cooke,||193|
|The Sweet Birds are Singing, by J. Moschelles,||244|
|Let Me Rest in the Land of my Birth, by J. Harroway,||290|
Vol. XVIII. JANUARY, 1841. No. 1.
THE YOUNG RAMBLER.
BY THOMAS G. SPEAR
O’er a landscape array’d in the verdure of June,
While the sky was serene, and the birds were in tune,
From his vine-cover’d home, with his dog and his toy,
Went the glad-hearted youth in the hey-day of joy.
He saunter’d away in his quest of delight,
As heedless of rest as a bird in its flight,
Allur’d by the flowers, and sooth’d by the gale,
O’er the green-sloping hill and the fair sunny vale.
With a fondness to roam, and a wish to be free,
He bounded in triumph, or whistled in glee,
Now crushing a blossom, or plucking a bough,
Or climbing a tree by the cliff’s rugged brow.
With his dog at his side, o’er the heather he flew,
Where the clover-bed bloom’d, or the strawberry grew,
And trampled the grass that encumber’d the plain,
While flutter’d the flock from the clustering grain.
He knew the lone spots of the forest and glen,
The rook of the crow, and the nest of the wren,
And hied as a forager there for his prey,
But left the wood-tenants unharm’d in their play.
By hedge-row, and brushwood, and briar, and brake,
To the pebble-shor’d brook, and the wild-wooded lake,
He rov’d, while the pathway was leafy and green,
Where bow’d the old oaks o’er the silvery scene.
And there by the brookside, when tir’d of play,
He gazed on the charms of the slow-dying day,
And thought, as it gave to some lovelier land,
The blaze of that light which the zenith had spann’d,
That a ray there must be to illumine the heart—
A guide and a goal for man’s innermost part—
A Glory unknown, to be follow’d and bless’d,
That again would recall what it gave to its breast.
When Love can a lustre so beautiful shed,
It were sad if the soul could be lost or misled,
Or its flight to its source be less cheerful and bright,
Than the blaze of that sun ’neath the curtains of night.
With the lovely illusions of day’s mellow’d scene,
All around him was radiant, and vocal, and green,
But now as he gaz’d on the sky and the air,
No melody rose, and no splendour was there.
“Oh! keep me,” he said, “in the path where I stray,
Illum’d by the warmth of some soul-cheering ray—
That my glance may be clear thro’ the cloud and the storm,
When the night of the grave has o’ershadow’d my form.”
He look’d as a child, but he felt as a man,
And in Wisdom concluded what Folly began;
Then in silence his steps he was fain to resume,
Ere the shadowy fall of the thick-coming gloom.
Soon up from the shore, and away from the stream,
He wended as one that was wak’d from a dream,
For the voice of a thought had been heard in his heart,
And the lingering whisper was slow to depart.
His vine-cover’d home in the twilight was nigh,
And the whipporwill sending its plaint to the sky,
And the bark of his dog, and the voice at the door,
He welcom’d with joy when his ramble was o’er.
Though dear to his vision that forest-bound scene,
With its dwelling of peace on a carpet of green,
The wild spot his memory loves to restore,
Is the path to that stream, and the oak by its shore.
THE LOST EVENING.
BY JESSE E. DOW.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
“Maurice stay and go with me to the ball at Mrs. Wilson’s this evening,” said a fairy formed creature with eyes that sparkled with anticipated delight, as she rested her hand upon a young naval officer’s arm and gazed upon his manly features.
“Mary, dearest Mary,” replied the young man in a hesitating manner. “The stage will leave here at eleven to-night, and if I miss it I shall lose my only chance of reaching my Frigate. She is under sailing orders—and will be off in the twinkling of a marline spike, and there’s glory to be won and——”
“A seaman’s sepulchre—” said the lovely girl, as the tears started into her eyes and glittered like tiny pearls upon her long dark eye-lashes.
“But Maurice, you can go at eleven and accompany me to the ball beside. The last evening you spend at Belleview should be spent with your friends.”
The young man hesitated no longer. “Mary,” said he, “you have conquered, I will accompany you to Mrs. Wilson’s and leave at eleven—I shall then bear with me your last impression; and when the tempest howls and the billows toss their snowy spray around me, when the never wearied Petril sings in the hollows of ocean astern, and the thunder awakes the echo of the deep—then while the good ship scuds along her lightning way, will I recall this evening of light and beauty, and with my dread-nought wrapped about me, keep my midnight watch, happier far, than the lazy commodore who snores in a velvet night-cap in his luxurious cabin.”
“Well, Maurice, you have finished at last,” said the laughing girl leaning upon his arm, “I never expected to hear the end of your rhapsody when you commenced—but come let us go in for I have much to do and the evening approaches.” The young man returned her animated glance with a gaze of deep devotion and following her, entered the house from the garden Verandah. There was no one in the drawing-room when Maurice Fitzgerald and Mary Howard entered.
“Maurice,” said the young maiden as she pointed out upon the ocean, and then turned to a table of magazines and annuals, “Nature and art are placed before you, and I shall leave you to be amused by them until my father’s return.” Thus saying, the light hearted girl bounded away to dress for the coming rout. Fitzgerald answered with a smile and then turned to gaze upon the prospect that spread out before his uncle’s mansion. The broad Atlantic was seen for several miles rolling in the crimson light of the setting sun, and the hollow roar of its distant breakers burst upon his ear. The sea-birds in forked trains were seen winging their garrulous flight toward the land, and the successful fishermen were casting their scaly spoil upon the beach. It was a quiet evening, notwithstanding the wind in cat’s paws ruffled the surface of the deep, and wailed sadly amid the branches of the elm trees that lined the avenue in front of the mansion.
As Fitzgerald gazed upon the scene he thought of his lovely cousin and then of the glorious profession that he had chosen. The eye of the mariner loves the ocean. His ear delights in its hollow murmurs, its lashing surges, its misty shadows, and its constant motion. He feels that the land is not for him and that his home is on the deep, deep sea. He sickens in the forest. He grows weary upon the mountain side, the fairest valley smiles in vain for him, and the babbling river but carries him away to that mightier deep whose ebb and flood surrounds the world. The very air—the scent of the sea is far more pleasant to him than the spicy breezes that sigh o’er India’s isles, and the stout ship with its tar and rope-yarn, its salt junk, called by sea-men mahogany, and its duff puddings that defy the tooth of time, is far more agreeable to him than the altar’d palace of an eastern prince with tables crushing beneath the weight of costly viands and richest wines. No one can appreciate the beauty and majesty of the heavens but him who has been shut out from every other prospect for days and weeks together. How beautiful it is to lean upon the taffrail in a moonlight night upon an eastern sea while the sails of the gallant ship from sky to water are gently filled by the dying Levanter, and watch the broad bright moon as she travels up the high way of heaven and sheds a brighter lustre upon the stars. Then the eye penetrates, aye even into the deep blue space beyond her and as when gazing upon the calm bosom of the middle ocean sees naught but mysterious shadowings—a waving curtain of eternal blue.
The topsails of a ship now flashed upon the edge of the horizon, the quick eye of Fitzgerald soon discovered her to be a vessel of war. He watched her with intense interest, and as she approached the land the sun went down to his rest in the deep.
As the last ray of the golden orb flashed upon the vessel, Fitzgerald saw plainly that the Cross of Saint George floated at her ensign peak and that she was an enemy of his country. The stranger having drawn in sufficiently near to the land, now tacked, and in the uncertain haze of evening, faded away.
“I will be the first to communicate the glad tidings to my commander,” said the young officer, proudly; “and ere many days the haughty Briton shall humble himself to the stars of the republic.”
“Well said, my gallant boy,” cried Col. Howard, as he hobbled up to his future son-in-law, who started like one awakened from a glorious dream.
“Uncle,” said Fitzgerald with a smile, “I did not hear you enter.”
“No matter, boy,” said the old soldier, as he screwed his features into the proper expression for a severe twinge of the gout, and stood silent for a moment, and then as the pain evaporated, continued, “I heard you and am pleased with your thoughts; you must leave this evening.”
“Certainly,” said Fitzgerald, smiling.
The tea urn was now brought in, and the family of Colonel Howard assembled around the well spread table. A short blessing interrupted by a few short pishes and pshaws! on account of the severe pains that constantly seized the old gentleman’s leg, was now said by him; and then the evening meal was quietly and systematically disposed of. Sage surmises as to the course of the belligerent stranger, and sager speculations as to the result of her meeting with an American cruizer, now occupied the thoughts and conversational powers of the little party; at length Colonel Howard began to grow drowsy. His arm chair was now wheeled to the right about—he gave his blessing to his nephew with a good will, grasped his hand with the frankness of a soldier, and bade him adieu; then bringing his crutch to the third position of the manual, he went to sleep. Soon the young couple heard the old man muttering in his visions of the revolution, “on to Princeton—ha, there goes Knox, I know his fire—onward my boys—huzza, they fly—the day is ours,” and then a twinge of the gout played the deuce with his dream, and when it past away he slumbered as sweetly as a child upon its mother’s breast. Fitzgerald and Mary now departed for Mrs. Wilson’s, the former having taken his baggage in the carriage, so as to be ready to step from the ball room to the stage-coach.
Mrs. Wilson was one of those comets of fashion who regularly appear with every cycle of time, and who after setting the cities in a blaze, retire to the inland towns to renew their fires, and shine forth as planets of the first magnitude amid inferior stars; believing it to be better to be the head of a village than the tail of a city. It was currently reported by scandalising spinsters that she had been a milliner in England, and having a handsome person was hired by the manager of a country theatre, there to act the goddess in the play of Cherry and Fair Star. Here she entrapped the affections of a young nobleman, who by a mock marriage became her reputed husband. The honey moon soon passed away, and with the realities of wedded life, came the astounding denouement that the nobleman’s coachman had officiated as chaplain on the occasion, and that the marriage was a humbug. This was a downfall to Mrs. Wilson, but she had no help excepting to marry the butler of his lordship, a man of considerable wealth, and emigrate to America. His lordship was generous on the occasion: and the honest butler found himself with a wife, an estate, and an heir presumptive, all at the same moment. Having money and a handsome person, the beautiful and well dressed Mrs. Wilson soon imposed herself upon an aristocratic family in New York as a branch of a noble stock in England. Mr. Wilson, it may be proper to observe, died on his passage, and Mrs. Wilson was a widow when she made the highlands of Neversink.
There is over all those stale meat pies, ycleped large cities, a self-styled upper crust that rises in puffs above the solids. It rejects every thing that is not as light and as trifling as itself, and to say the least of it, has but little virtue or consistency. It covers the virtues and the vices of the social compact, and smothers in flour and paste the unhappy genius who endeavors to penetrate it. As nothing was made in vain, perhaps this self-important crust, like the web of the spider, was designed to catch the painted and gilded drones, whose presence and senseless buzzing might otherwise have disturbed the working party of mankind at their labors, and have caused them to leave the world to starve. To this upper stratum of society in New York, Mrs. Wilson was introduced by her new made friends, and she continued in the ascendent for three months, but unfortunately for human greatness, one evening at a large and fashionable rout, a noble marquis was announced, who to the astonishment of every person present exclaimed, as he was presented to Mrs. Wilson, “Poll Johnson are you here, when did you leave the millinary line?” This was sufficient—the party broke up in confusion, as though a case of plague had occurred in the circle. Mrs. Wilson fainted, and was sent home in a hack as a bundle of soiled linen is sent to the washerwomen, duly marked and numbered upon the outside; and the aristocratic family who had been imposed upon by her, went through with a three weeks’ purification at Saratoga Springs, whence they returned with a sin offering, in the shape of a real nobleman—a perfect simpleton of a count—whose soul lay in whiskers, and whose heart was in bottle green.
Mrs. Wilson, like the jack daw, stripped of borrowed plumes, left New York in great haste, and settled upon a country farm near Belleview, where at the opening of my sketch she reigned mistress of the ton.
As Mary Howard and Fitzgerald entered the saloon, a number of light footed creatures preceded by the super-human Mrs. W. came sailing across the room to meet them.
The ball had commenced, and numbers were dancing to a tune which was then in vogue, and which had been made for these words—
“Come list to me a minute,
A song I’m going to begin it,
There’s something serious in it,
’Tis all about the Law,
Has got a deuce of a claw.”
Here the ladies all curtesied to the gentlemen, and the gentlemen all bowed to the ladies, and all continued for five seconds looking in their partners faces with pendent arms, straight under-pinnings, body and breast bent into a half circle, and head erect—
Like some brass God of Heathen make
In shape unheard of——;
but as soon as the note expressive of the word claw was ended, which in the language of Milton, was like
“Linked sweetness long drawn out;”
every body like an unstrung bow, resumed its straight position, and then such a double shuffle commenced as bade defiance to the most agile of the monkeys of Paraguay, and would have caused a mutiny in the lodge of the Upper Mandans had the dance been introduced there by the incomparable Mrs. Wilson.
The ball went on in its vigor—small talk and sour lemonade, with some of the thinnest slices of smoked beef, between two equally thin slices of bread, oiled on one side, and patted down on the other, filled up the interstices of the evening, and the company were as amiable and as ceremonious as possible.
A young gentleman in checkered pantaloons, and a bottle green coat, with a spotted cravat, and a retiring dickey around his neck, now approached Miss Howard and her cousin, and was introduced by the presiding deity as Count Frederick Ampisand, of Hesse Cassel, Germany.
Fitzgerald did not like the appearance of the count; he gave him a formal return of civilities and retired to another corner of the room. Mary Howard who was a perfectly artless creature; but still perverse in her nature from the indulgence of an invalid mother, and proud of having her own way, became pleased with the foreigner as Fitzgerald became disgusted. She admired his pretty broken sentences; his captivating lisp, his manner of pulling up his dickey, and of raising his quizzing glass whenever a lady passed him. Forgetting all but her own gratification, and being desirous of giving Fitzgerald a commentary upon jealousy—that green-eyed jade—she neglected her lover, and hung upon the Count’s aspirations as Eve did upon the devil’s whisper in Eden’s bower.
Fitzgerald was piqued. In fact he became angry, and joining the dance, which he had heretofore declined, became the gayest of the gay. He skipped through a cotillion like a reefer at a dignity ball in Barbadoes, and the light-footed Mrs. Wilson declared that she discovered new graces in Mr. Fitzgerald every time he jumped over the music-stool. Mary Howard now became piqued in turn, and she joined heartily in the laugh against her lover. A rude remark of the Count’s, and a heartier laugh of his beloved, at his expense, now stung the young officer to the soul. He looked at the little knot of critics. The Count was gazing at him through an enormous quizzing glass, and a smile of scorn curled his moustached lip.
Fitzgerald was impetuous and brave. Nature had given him great strength, and a good share of modest assurance. He walked deliberately up to the party—“Miss Howard,” said he, “I beg of you to excuse the Count for a moment. I have a laughable trick to show him in the hall.” The Count did not relish the proposition to go into the dark entry with the officer. He had discovered a spice of devil lurking in his eye. But Mary, suspecting that her cousin was about to divert them with a sea trick that required the aid of a second person, insisted upon Count Ampisand’s going with him to oblige her.
“Aye, ver well to oblige Miss ’Oward. I will go with Neptune,” said the Count magnanimously.
“Get your hat,” said Fitzgerald, as the Count left the saloon.
“I ave him in my pocket,” said Ampisand, pulling from his coat an opera hat, that answered the double purpose of a “bustle” and a beaver, and clapping it upon his head. The two lovers now stood at the outside door from which several steps led to the muddy street.
“Count Ampisand,” said Fitzgerald, “you are an imposter and a pitiful scoundrel. I have called you out to insult you. Now, sir, take that, and be off.” So saying, before the thunder-stricken Ampisand could reply, Fitzgerald seized him by the nose, and, after giving it no infant’s pull, presented his front to the street, and administered an impetus to his after body that carried him into a horse-pond in the middle of the road.
“I will ave the satisfacione, begar, Mr. Lieutenant to shoot you wid de small sword dis night,” said the Count, gathering himself up, and retreating to the two Golden Eagles in no small haste. Fitzgerald laughed aloud, and closing the door behind him, walked lazily toward the shore of the ocean. After walking for half an hour upon the wild sea beach, Fitzgerald turned his steps toward Mrs. Wilson’s for the purpose of bidding his cousin farewell.
Coming footsteps now aroused him from his reverie, and soon a young gentleman from the city, accompanied by a surgeon, and Count Ampisand, came up to him. A challenge was received and accepted, and Fitzgerald named the present as the only time. After much haggling about the unseasonableness of the hour, and the disturbance the duel might create in the vicinity of Mrs. Wilson’s,—on the part of the challenging party—the count, who had been refreshing his courage with some old port, prepared to meet his antagonist on the spot.
Small swords had been brought by Ampisand’s friend, and the surgeon, who was an acquaintance of Fitzgerald, undertook to act as his second. The gentle breeze was singing a lullaby to the ocean, and the sound of the distant viol broke upon their ears. The ground was now paced out—the principals were placed, and the words, one! two! three! guard! were given, and the duel commenced. For a few seconds the parties appeared to be equally matched, but at length the count, whose body seemed wonderfully to have increased in size since the insult, began to pant and blow like a porpoise out of water. Fitzgerald now caught the count’s sword in the fleshy part of his arm, and ran him through the body. The wounded man dropped his weapon, and fell heavily upon the ground. Fitzgerald and the surgeon ran up to him,—“Forgive me,” said the apparently dying man, whispering in Fitzgerald’s ear, “I loved Mary Howard, and would have borne her away from you, but now, alas, my prospects are blighted, and I must pay for my folly with my blood.”
“He does not bleed,” said the surgeon, mournfully.
“Alas, my friend is mortally wounded,” said the count’s second, putting a bottle of Scotch snuff to his mouth, instead of a phial of brandy. The wounded man grated his teeth violently, and rejected all aid. Lights now came from Mrs. Wilson’s toward them, notwithstanding the moon shone brightly to dim them.
“Is there no hope?” said Fitzgerald to the surgeon. The medical man raised the body up—a cold sweat was upon the face—death seemed nigh at hand. He shook his head.
“Fly, sir,” said Ampisand’s second, “or you will be taken, the crowd are near at hand.”
“Go to my lodgings,” said the surgeon, “and I will meet you there in a few minutes.”
Ampisand’s friend and Fitzgerald now took the swords and ran across the churchyard, which made a short cut to the surgeon’s. As they reached the street they heard a stage-coach rattling furiously down the main street. Fitzgerald stopped. He saw it was far ahead—he uttered a faint cry—his chance of reaching his frigate was past. The surgeon soon came. The wounded man was in the charge of a German doctor, at Mrs. Wilson’s. The ladies had nearly all gone home in fainting fits, and Mary Howard had left in a flood of tears. This confirmed Fitzgerald’s suspicions. “She loved him,” said he “and, oh, what have I lost by this evening’s devotion!”
Fitzgerald’s arm pained him considerably, and the surgeon dressed it. A carriage was then sent for, to bear the young officer to his post; and while it was being made ready, he threw himself upon the surgeon’s truckle bed, and caught an unquiet nap. It was nearly 3 o’clock of a cold wet morning,—for a storm had ushered in the day,—when the unhappy Fitzgerald departed in a close carriage from Belleview.
For the first stage he had a hope of overtaking the post, but his horses began to lag with the advance of day, and it was three P. M. before he arrived at the point of embarkation. As he drew up at the Bowery House, he watched eagerly for some one of his brother officers, but none appeared to greet him. He paid his coachman and bounded into the passage. The bar-keeper met him at the door.
“Where is the Frigate, Dennis?” said he impatiently.
“She sailed at nine this morning,” said the bar-keeper, “and is now out at sea.”
Maurice Fitzgerald, I have said, was a brave man. He could have faced death upon the blood-stained deck, and gloriously braved the brunt of battle, but now he felt his strength depart, and retiring suddenly to his room, burst into a flood of tears. After a few moments, his moral courage returned. “I have merited this,” said he, “by acceding to her girlish whims. I must now make the best of a bad matter, and trust to fortune for success.” He now proceeded to act in a calm manner. He wrote a hasty note to Col. Howard, detailing the circumstances of the case as they occurred, and sending his formal respects to Mary. He wrote a line to his aged father, of the same character, and furthermore stated his intention of joining his vessel by the aid of a pilot boat. Having paid his bill, he sold a check upon his banker, purchased a sea-cloak and a brace of pistols, and with his valise in his hand, boarded a fast sailing pilot, at Beckman’s Slip. A bargain was soon struck, and the light craft, with Fitzgerald at the helm, turned her head to the sea. On the way down, they met the pilot who had taken the frigate to sea, and ascertained her course. Trusting, then, to the swiftness of the boat, that had several days provision on board, the young officer boldly steered for the Atlantic, and when the sun set, the highlands of Neversink were astern.
During the night, which continued wet and gloomy, the wind, in fitful puffs, hurled them swiftly o’er the waves, and, when the morning came, the long, swelling billows of the ocean tumbled o’er them, and the sheer-water darted ahead along the thunder-chaunting waves. Nothing was to be seen but the clouds above, and the gloomy waves below, which came together at the edge of the horizon like the lid and bottom of a circular tobacco box, when closed. The old pilot was now confident that the frigate had changed her course during the evening preceding, and that all possibility of his overtaking her was gone. With a heavy heart, therefore, Fitzgerald put his helm down, the tacks and sheets were shifted, the snowy canvass felt again the side-long breath of the gale, and the little bark drew in toward the distant shore.
A suspicious looking schooner now hove in sight, and bore down upon them with the swiftness of the wind. The pilot, from the first, did not like her appearance, and Fitzgerald, although he said nothing to alarm his companion, felt confident that she was a pirate. In less than an hour, the warlike stranger shot across their bows, fired a gun, loaded with grape, at their sails, and hoisted the black flag of the Bucaniers.
All resistance to this antagonist would have been madness, and the pilot obeyed the hoarse hail, and ran alongside the pirate. Twenty rough looking rascals, each armed to the teeth, with a young man of higher rank at their head, sprang into the pilot boat, and after making sundry motions, which seemed to imply a speedy cutting of their throats, bound the pilot and his men. Fitzgerald, however, resisted the party that came upon him, and with his pistols soon wounded two of the pirates. A cutlass now flashed before his eyes, and sense and reason departed.
When Fitzgerald again became conscious of existence, he found himself in a cot, swinging in a beautiful cottage, in the vicinity of the sea, for he could hear the solemn roar of breakers, and the screams of the sea-birds, as they revelled amid the foam. A beautiful Creole maiden stood by his bed side, chaunting a low, mournful tune, while she brushed away the flies from his pillow with a long fan made of peacock’s feathers.
He looked at her for some seconds, and then as the thought of his cousin past across his brain, a deep sigh burst from his lips. The maiden started—“hush,” said she, putting her finger to her lips, and stepping to the side table, handed him a composing draught in a silver goblet. He drank the contents with gratitude, and soon fell into a sweet sleep.
It was nearly sunset when Fitzgerald awoke, completely invigorated in body and mind. He looked around him,—no one was to be seen. He called, but no one answered his summons. He now determined to find out where he was. His clothes were in a chair beside his cot, and his valise was upon the dressing table. He raised himself slowly upon his arm,—finding that he was not in want of strength, he sprang out of the cot and dressed himself. He now viewed his face in a huge Spanish mirror, that hung over a taper, with the holy letters I. H. S. below it. He started back in astonishment. A cruel cut had laid open his marble forehead to the scull, and a long, purple scar, scarcely healed, marked the track of the cutlass. Having brushed his long, black hair over the disfiguration, he went to the window and looked out upon the surrounding face of nature. He saw he was upon a small island, in the midst of a host of others, and that the narrow passes between them were filled with clippers and man-o’-war boats, apparently returning from cruizes upon the main. It was a romantic spot, unlike any other in the world. About sixty cottages, like the one he occupied, rose in the distance, each with its garden and verandah. Groves of orange and lemon trees, loaded with ripe fruit, waved their tops of eternal green around, and filled the atmosphere with a delicious odor.
The waves broke over the long, bold reefs that lined the islands, and the sky was dotted with flocks of sea-birds. Here and there a solitary pine tree sprung from a crevice in the rocks, where its cone had been thrown up by the dash of some sweeping wave whose crest had borne it across the sea. It was Noman’s Group, and was not far from Cape Flyaway.
Fitzgerald had hardly made the discoveries above related, when the lovely Creole, with an officer in a naval uniform, entered the chamber. They saluted Fitzgerald with kindness, and appeared to be astonished at his sudden improvement. He now found a ready market for the smattering of Spanish he had picked up among the Dagos of Mahon, and in half an hour his store was exhausted.
From them he learned that the pilot had been set adrift in his boat, after having furnished all the information desired; but that he, from his resistance, had been retained to be killed at leisure. Having, however, from a fever of the brain, continued insensible so long,—it being then the thirtieth day,—the pirates concluded to send him to the Hospital Island, to be restored to health. He was now with his surgeon and attentive nurse, and would be reported “well,” on the coming Saturday. His attendants refused to tell him where he was. All distances and names of places were carefully concealed, and all that he could ascertain was, that a direct communication was kept up with the American Continent, and that newspapers were brought to the islands from the United States weekly, and would be furnished him if he desired them.
Fitzgerald was lavish of his thanks for such kindness, and begged that the latest newspapers from New York might be given him.
The Creole girl left the room immediately, and presently a boat was seen putting off to a brig in the pass, opposite the cottage.
The surgeon now drew his chair closer to that of his patient, and became less reserved. The latter soon understood that it had been decided by the pirates that upon his recovery he should join them or be shot upon the cliff. The blood of Fitzgerald boiled in his veins at the bare proposal of the Bucanier, but before he gave his anger words, his lovely Creole approached with a package of New York dailies, taken the week previous from an outward bound brig. Forgetting every thing else in his desire to hear from his native land, he opened the first paper that met his eye, and read the following:—“Arrived, the United States Frigate ——, with His Britannic Majesty’s Ship —— of forty-four guns, in tow, as a prize. The action lasted thirty minutes, when the British frigate struck her flag. Capt. —— immediately left the frigate and proceeded to Washington with the enemy’s flag. The official account of this gallant action will be given to-morrow. Suffice it to say that every officer and man did his duty, and that promotion, and the thanks of a grateful country await the victors.” In another paper he read a list of promotions in the navy, and his own dismissal from the service. The marriage list now caught his eye, and he read,—“Married in Belleview, on the 1st instant, by the Reverend Mr. Smell Fungus, Count Frederick Ampisand, of Hesse Cassel, Germany, to Miss Mary Howard, the only daughter of Col. John Howard, of the revolutionary army.
“Love is the silken cord that binds
Two willing hearts together.”
Every word of this paragraph remained like an impression from types of fire upon his melancholy brain.
“Doctor,” said Fitzgerald, throwing down the paper, while the blood oozed from his scarcely-healed wound,—“tell your leaders that henceforth I am with them body and soul. The victim of circumstance—the sport of the world—a cork floating upon the stream of time.—I will be dreaded, if I cannot be loved.”
The morning came, and Fitzgerald was introduced to the bucaniers in their strong hold. Bold and generous, two qualities that always sail in company, he became a universal favorite at the melee, and o’er the bowl; and in the course of a short time, he paced along the weather quarter of the gun brig, King Fisher,—“the monarch of her peopled deck.”
It was a beautiful summer’s night. The sun had sunk in a dense cloud bank behind the Bahamas; and the small red bow in the northwest, accompanied by a hollow sound, as though cannons had been fired far down beneath the surface of the ocean, gave evidence of the near approach of a norther.
The brig was soon prepared for the war of the elements, whose signal guns had been heard wakening the lowest echoes of the deep. Her head was brought so as to receive the first burst of the tempest’s fury; conductors were rigged aloft, and their chains of steel rattled sharply as they descended into the sea along side. The light spars were sent down, her storm stay-sail was set, and she rode the heaving billows like a duck.
A tall merchantman, bound apparently to the Havana, now swept along to the windward of the islands under a press of canvass. Fitzgerald saw that she was crowded with passengers, and his soul sickened at the thought, that ere the morning dawned that gallant bark would be a wreck upon an iron-bound coast, and her host of human beings would lie the play things of the shark, and the lifeless sport of the thunder-pealing waves. A sudden throb of sympathy moved his heart, a tear—the first, he had shed for months—started to his eye. He grasped his trumpet—his topsails were unfurled and in less than an hour he occupied a station to the windward of THE DOOMED SHIP. His canvass was now reduced as before, and under the smallest possible sail, he stretched ahead of the merchantman.
The norther now came on in its fury—from the red bow that had reached the zenith, a bright flash of blinding lightning darted in a long bright stream and parted into a thousand forks, and then came a crash of thunder with the almost resistless wind. The King Fisher was borne down to her bearings, and then righted again, and gallantly faced the blast. Not so with the crank merchantman. Her tall masts were whipped out of her in a twinkling; the ocean surges swept her deck fore and aft: and she lay tossing in the trough of the sea a helpless wreck.
At midnight the fury of the blast died away, and the sea that had rolled in terrific waves began to go down. The brig under a reefed foresail and maintopsail now danced again from billow to tasseled-tipt billow, and gained rapidly upon the sea washed wreck. As the King Fisher drew near the once gallant vessel, Fitzgerald heard a voice crying in agony for help. He looked over the head and saw a female floating upon a spar, a short distance before him. To brace round his topsail-yard, lay to, and lower the life boat, was but the work of a moment, and with six trusty fellows he launched out upon the midnight deep.
In a few moments he caught the almost lifeless female by the hair, and wrapped her in his sea-cloak—“To the wreck,” said he, in a voice of thunder, as his starboard oars backed water to return to their craft. The crew gave way with a will, and immediately the life boat made fast to the loose rigging of the wreck. Preceded by Fitzgerald, two of his men mounted the vessel’s side. Fitzgerald as he sprang upon the deck started back with astonishment. Colonel Howard stood before him in a long robe of white flannel, apparently as free from the gout as the youngest of the party.
“Uncle,” said the young officer, with a cry of delight, “what a meeting!”
The old man looked up, “Rash and impetuous boy,” said he, with a voice trembling with joy and astonishment, “you have not lost all sympathy yet; I have been in search of you, but little did I expect such a meeting. Poor Mary, oh, that she had remained a few moments longer.”
“Is Mary here?” said Fitzgerald, casting a troubled glance around the anxious crowd that had gathered around the speakers.
“No,” said the old veteran, clasping his hands and lifting up his eyes streaming with tears—“She was swept out of my aged arms by the last sea, and is now in heaven.”
“She is in my boat,” said Fitzgerald, “I thought that voice was Mary’s as it came from the deep, but come let us haste, the wreck may go down with us while we stand here.”
“Are you all armed in the boat?” hailed Fitzgerald, in a voice of thunder.
“Aye, aye, sir,” was the gruff answer from the ones who remained in her.
“Then shoot the first person who attempts to enter her without my orders,” said Fitzgerald; the pirates cocked their pistols, and sat ready to execute his commands. The two men who had boarded the wreck with him were now ordered to make ropes fast to the ends of a hammock; one rope was then thrown to the boat’s crew, while the other remained on board the wreck. The aged men and women, one by one, were now lowered by this simple contrivance to the boat; and when she was sufficiently loaded, Fitzgerald ordered one of his men on board to steer her, with orders to see that the passengers were not molested until he came on board. Seven times the life boat, filled with the passengers and crew of the Rosalie, whose captain had been washed away, made its voyage of mercy, and having cleared the wreck, the noble-hearted Fitzgerald—plunged into the waves and reached the boat in safety—this had been made necessary by the parting of the rigging that held the boat. The whole were saved, and as the life boat was run up to the davits, the wreck plunged heavily to leeward, a heavy wave rolled over her and she was seen no more.
It was a bright morning at the Bahamas when the King Fisher took her departure for the Florida reef. Fitzgerald now entered his cabin for the first time since the rescue, and the thousand thanks that were showered upon him by the aged and the young—by the strong man—the gentle woman—and the lisping child almost overpowered him.
He received their congratulations in a proper manner, and modestly informed them that he had but performed his duty. He bade them welcome to the best his poor brig afforded, and promised to land them at the nearest port. Mary Howard, pale and weak, now came out of her little state-room. She cast her round black eyes which beamed fearfully bright upon Fitzgerald. A crimson cloud past over her snowy face,—“It is he,” she screamed, while the tears that had so long refused to flow from their sealed fountains filled her eyes; Fitzgerald sprang to meet her, and in a moment she fell lifeless into his open arms.
Colonel Howard now bade the young officer place his daughter upon the sofa in the after cabin: and having seen her revive, retired and left them alone.
The unfortunate Mary now became calm and collected, and with a heart overflowing with gratitude, and eyes suffused with tears, related to Fitzgerald the events that had transpired since his departure, and the cause of her present voyage amid the horrors and uncertainties of war.
It seems that Count Ampisand had stuffed his clothes with pillows, and that Fitzgerald’s sword had barely grazed his noble body, having been warded off by the feathers that filled his stuffing. This accounted for the entire absence of blood. The count of course soon became convalescent.
Mary Howard ever generous, and feeling that she had been the unhappy cause of the duel, prevailed upon her father to take the wounded foreigner to his house on the night of the duel. Ampisand was delighted with this state of things, and he pressed his suit upon Mary Howard warmly: but she repelled his advances with scorn. Mrs. Wilson, however, and her scandalising circle, could not wait for Count Ampisand to get married in the regular way, and believing in the absence of Fitzgerald that Mary Howard could not refuse the amiable and accomplished count, they prevailed upon a travelling letter writer—one of those drag nets for second-handed news—to put a paragraph in his master’s paper for the fun of it.
This was the notice that Fitzgerald saw, and which had caused him so much terrible agony of mind.
“It is too late to repair the evil,” said Fitzgerald, as he paced the cabin with a countenance tortured by despair.
“It is never too late to do a good action,” said Mary Howard, firmly—“Maurice Fitzgerald you are not the one to bring dishonor upon a patriot father’s name: or to call down the curse of a sainted mother upon your head.” The young man bowed his head upon the rudder case, and the fair girl resumed her narrative.
The arrival of the scandalous paragraph caused the speedy ejection of the count from Colonel Howard’s domicil, in no ceremonious manner, and the instant departure of Mrs. Wilson, bag and baggage.
Colonel Howard raved like a madman for a week; threatened the editor of the offending paper with a prosecution; discovered the perpetrators of the scandal; placarded the whole party as retailers and manufacturers of falsehoods; and posted Count Ampisand as an imposter and a villain in every section of the Union.
The count was shortly afterward tried for stealing spoons and convicted. The next day he changed his lodgings, and occupied a room on the ground floor of the castellated building at Moyamensing, which had but one grate, and that was before the window, while Sanderson, the terror of the genteel sucker, had him served up in his amusing diary of a Philadelphia Landlord on the next Saturday.
The departure of Fitzgerald from New York was commended by his brother officers, but his long absence from the ship could not be satisfactorily accounted for, and he was dismissed by the navy department. Enquiries had been made in every section of the country for him by his almost distracted father; and at last a reward was offered in the newspapers for any information concerning him. The pilot who had left him wounded with the pirates, now came forward, and related the circumstances under which he and Fitzgerald had parted company. Fitzgerald’s father, an aged man of great wealth, and who had no other child to attract his love, now insisted upon Colonel Howard’s proceeding to ransom his son. Mary, whose health was rapidly declining, was directed by her physician to perform a sea voyage, and thus father and daughter were induced to brave the dangers of that sea, whose waves teemed with freebooters, and whose isles flashed with cutlasses and boarding-pikes.
The Rosalie had agreed, for a great sum of money, to land the Howards at New Providence: and then proceed on to New Orleans, her port of final destination. Once landed, they were to trust to opportunity for the means of transportation to their native land.
The norther brought them together as before related; and the warring elements of nature produced a reconciliation between the lovers.
Fitzgerald, when Mary had ceased speaking, raised his head. He had been singularly agitated during her narrative; he now calmly opened his soul to her. He kept nothing back; the catalogue of offences detailed to her was an exact copy of the dark list that had been registered against his name above. Twice she started as though an adder had stung her; but when he informed her that his hand had never been stained with blood; and that he had never appropriated to himself a dollar of the ill-gotten wealth, she breathed freer, and as he concluded, a smile lit up her heavenly countenance.
“Maurice,” said she, “I believe you—you have made a false move in life: and I have been the innocent cause of it. It is not too late to repair it—you must leave this bloody craft at the first port you make—the busy times—the deeds of blood—the privateering and the blustering of war will cover all, and in our little village we can peacefully linger out our lives, and rejoice that the day of our sorrow is over.”
Colonel Howard now entered the cabin. He approved of the plan suggested, and Fitzgerald joyfully consented to its being carried into execution.
The next day the brig made the land. The passengers of the foundered ship were immediately sent on shore, with the exception of Colonel Howard and his daughter; and upon the return of the last boat a letter of thanks, signed by the passengers, with a draft for ten thousand dollars, was handed to Fitzgerald.
He immediately sent an officer in disguise to New Orleans to get the money; and at twelve o’clock, accompanied by the Howards, left the King Fisher. He had left a letter in his signal book to the next in command, surrendering up the brig, renouncing the service of the bucaniers, and giving his portion of the spoils to the crew. His necessary clothing he had packed with Colonel Howard’s. Upon reaching the shore, he bade the officer of the boat to inform the second in command that he should be absent for a few days, and that if he found it necessary to move his berth he would find instructions for his guidance in his signal book. A house was near at hand, the little party soon changed their apparel, and procuring a conveyance, proceeded to a little village on the other side of the island, whence in a fast sailing clipper they stretched over to Pensacola. Having shaved off his ferocious whiskers and his long soap-locks, which gave him the appearance of a nondescript animal, somewhere between a man and a monkey, he dressed himself in the sober attire of a citizen of this glorious republic, and in company with his kind uncle and much loved cousin, proceeded by land to Belleview.
On the arrival of the party at the homestead, the fortunate Fitzgerald became the husband of the true-hearted Mary; and old Fitzgerald and Colonel Howard danced a hop waltz together, gout and all, on the occasion. The wedding broke up at a late hour, and old Fitzgerald went to bed tipsy, very much to the scandal of a total abstinence society, of which he was an honorary member.
Fitzgerald and his domestic wife settled down upon the homestead, and in a few months Colonel Howard and Major Fitzgerald were called to the dread muster of the dead.
The property of the old, now became the property of the young; and the broad lands and splendid mansion of Maurice Fitzgerald became the envy and the pride of the village.
Of the King Fisher nothing was heard until after the war, when she was found rotting upon a mud bank, near the place where her commander left her. Her crew had deserted her, and the gallant gun brig never ploughed the ocean furrow more.
Washington, November, 1840.
THE WATERS OF LETHE.
BY N. C. BROOKS, A. M.
Written for one in dejection.
“Oh, for a cup of the Waters of Lethe.” Letter of a Friend.
Come, Peri, from the well,
Where cooling waters steep
The soul that’s bound by memory’s spell
In soft oblivion’s sleep.
The lethean power diffuse;
I could not wake again:
Pour o’er my heart its balmy dews,
And on my burning brain.
The plighted hopes of youth—
The perished joys of years—
Affections withered—slighted truth—
The sunlight dashed with tears—
The cloud, the storm, the strife,
I would recall no more,
And all the bitterness of life;
The lethean goblet pour!
Remembered tones of old—
Of friends in quiet sleep,
Make other eyes and tones seem cold,
And bid the lonely weep;
Come then, Oblivion, seal
All memory as I drink;
This tortured heart would cease to feel,
This fevered brain to think.
Baltimore, November, 1840.
BY J. ROSS BROWNE.
I. The Consultation.
Yoo-ti-hu, the handsomest and sprightliest Page in the suite of Pokatoka, King of Gazaret, imprudently fell in love with Omanea, the flower of the king’s harem. Pokatoka, though sadly afflicted with rheumatism, was partial to the amusements of the harem. It happened that he had a slight suspicion of Yoo-ti-hu’s integrity, and this rendered him perfectly miserable. Tally-yang-sang, Great Nazir, or Chamberlain of the Harem, was sent for.
“Mirror of Vigilance,—Quintessence of Piety,—and Disciple of Wisdom,”—such were the Grand Nazir’s titles, and so the king addressed him.—“Well we know thy skill in affairs of the heart. Well we know thy penetration is never at fault. We have required thy presence to demand if thou hast noticed anything peculiar in the conduct of our peerless Omanea, since the addition of Yoo-ti-hu to our suite?”
“There is a lone dove,” replied the Grand Nazir, in his own mysterious way, “whose nest is in the grove of love. Even as this emblem of tenderness awaits the coming of a prisoned mate, so pines in secret my lady Omanea.”
“And by whom think you, wondrous Tally-yang-sang, is this change effected?”
“Your mightiness would scarcely thank me if I made known my suspicions, since they implicate your greatest favorite.”
“Ha! ’tis Yoo-ti-hu! I thought so! I knew it!—he shall die.”
“God is great,” muttered Tally-yang-sang.
“Let the page’s head be brought to me,” said the king, “as a token of my displeasure.”
“With all my heart, sire. I dislike the youth, and your highness shall be obeyed.” The Grand Nazir bowed very low, and left the audience chamber.
II. The Three Wishes.
Yoo-ti-hu, being accidentally near, heard what had passed. In the bitterness of despair, he rushed from the palace, and roamed to a solitary retreat in the gardens.
“How miserable am I,” he cried, “to love so hopelessly and so madly. Grant, oh, inventive genius! that I may evade the vigilance and persecution of Tally-yang-sang. Grant that the fates may aid me in this dilemma.”
“Yoo-ti-hu,” said a voice from the shrubbery, “thou hast incurred my displeasure; but, nevertheless, since thou art in a dangerous situation, I promise three such things as thou shalt choose.”
“Verily,” quoth Yoo-ti-hu, “thou art a bountiful genius; and it is a sin to reject aid from so high a source. Know then, generous spirit, that I have peculiar occasion for a bow and a quiver of arrows.”
“A modest request,” observed the Genius, “and fortunately, I have by me such an one as no living archer ever shot with; for look you this way or that, such are its virtues, that it will hit the mark exactly in the centre.”
“Bless thee a thousand times!” cried Yoo-ti-hu in an ecstacy of joy; “and since thou art so kind, I fancy I may crave a lute,—with which I shall be satisfied, were it never so small.”
“Thou shalt have one, my son, of such exquisite tones, that when the same is played, all living things shall skip and dance,—so pleasant is the music.”
“Delightful!—excellent!” cried Yoo-ti-hu.
“What next?” said the Genius.
“Indeed, thou art too good,” replied Yoo-ti-hu; “I am going now to rove the world as a simple minstrel. I shall live on birds, and amuse myself with my lute,—so I need nothing more.”
“But, son, I solemnly swear thou shalt have three things, be they never so costly.”
“Well, good Genius, since thou art so kindly disposed, I shall choose an inexhaustible purse.”
“The very thing I have in my pocket,” quoth the Genius, and handing the inexhaustible purse to Yoo-ti-hu, he disappeared immediately.
III. Tally-yang-sang in a Plight.
Yoo-ti-hu seated himself on the steps of a fountain to admire his bow and his lute. Tally-yang-sang, chancing to roam in the vicinity, espied the page, whereupon he assumed a very severe countenance, and approaching the spot, spoke thus: “Yoo-ti-hu, thou art an unfaithful wretch! Thou hast betrayed the confidence of thy king. Thou hast entered his harem and stolen the heart of Omanea! Know, then, that I am commanded to carry him thy head, as a slight token of his displeasure.”
“Verily, great and worthy nazir,” quoth Yoo-ti-hu, “I can show thee pleasanter sport than that. Seest thou yon Bird of Paradise, with plumage more bright than the colors of Iris? Behold, your highness, how I shall shoot him!” Yoo-ti-hu drew his bow—shut his eyes—and let fly an arrow. The bird fell quivering among the bushes. Tally-yang-sang was no less pious than philosophical, and this feat surprised him exceedingly. With curiosity depicted in his countenance, he walked forward to where the bird had fallen.
“A little farther,” said Yoo-ti-hu.
“Yes—there lies the bird. But tell me,” said Yoo-ti-hu, with a boldness that surprised the Grand Nazir, “dost thou certainly mean to carry my head to the king?”
“God is great,” quoth Tally-yang-sang.
“And Mahommed is his Prophet!” added Yoo-ti-hu; with which he started up such a tune on his lute, as caused the venerable chamberlain to skip and dance like one possessed of the devil.
“The spirit of Ebris seize thee!” roared Tally-yang-sang, capering about among the bushes, and leaving a strip of skin on every thorn, “the devil take thee for a musician!” and on he skipped and danced till the tears ran down his cheeks—the blood streamed from his jagged and scarified limbs—and his capacious breeches were completely torn from his legs. Yoo-ti-hu continued the music with unabated ardor. Tally-yang-sang forgot his orisons and paternosters; and up and down—left hand and right hand—ladies chain—balancee—reel—jig—and Spanish waltz, danced the bare-legged amateur, roaring with pain, and uttering horrible imprecations.
“God is great?” quoth Yoo-ti-hu.
“His curse be on thee!” roared Tally-yang-sang.
“Music hath charms,” said Yoo-ti-hu.
“Exercise is the staff of life,” philosophised Yoo-ti-hu.
“Blast it!” shrieked Tally-yang-sang.
“Piety is pleasant,” moralised Yoo-ti-hu.
“Damnable!” roared Tally-yang-sang.
Yoo-ti-hu perceived the vigor departing from the limbs of the Great Nazir, whereupon he struck up a still livelier air. Tally-yang-sang curvetted and pranced—whirled hither and thither his bare spindles, and leaped madly among the thorns. In an agony of pain he cried, “Dear, gentle Yoo-ti-hu,—I beseech thee to stop!”
“Verily,” quoth Yoo-ti-hu, “I value my head.”
“I shall not harm a hair,” groaned Tally-yang-sang.
“Words are cheap,” said Yoo-ti-hu.
“But I swear—I solemnly swear!” piteously cried Tally-yang-sang.
“By the Prophet!”
“By God himself!”
“Swear by thy beard!”
Another good hour did Tally-yang-sang caper about, roar and blaspheme, till cruelly excoriated from head to foot.
“Do you swear?” asked Yoo-ti-hu.
“By that which is sacred?”
“By my beard!”
In a truly pitiable condition the Grand Nazir limped toward the palace. Yoo-ti-hu followed—admiring the bandy and scarified legs of the great Tally-yang-sang, and muttering benedictions on the genius.
IV. Yoo-ti-hu in Danger.
The great rajas, moguls, and lords of Gazaret, belonging to the court of Pokatoka, had sallied out with the king, to take a stroll in the royal gardens.
“Ho!” cried Yptaleen, high master of the festivities, “what fantastic clown comes hither?”
“An Egyptian dancer,” quoth the king.
“A self-punished Musselman,” added a raja.
“True,” said a grand mogul, “for behind him walks his koran bearer.”
“Rather a shia with his talisman,” observed a lord of Gazaret.
“Or a sooni,” whispered a pious Mohammedan.
“A blood-stained spirit of Ebris,” remarked a famous Astrologer.
“Hush!” exclaimed Yptaleen, “by all that is terrible!—by monkin and nakir! ’tis Tally-yang-sang, grand nazir of the harem!”
And Tally-yang-sang it was, whose woeful figure approached the pageant.
“Mirror of Piety!” cried the king, “what means this outlandish freak? Methinks it ill becomes thee to tramp about, bare-legged and bloody, after this fashion. Propriety of conduct, and delicacy, should distinguish a master of the harem; and I much regret that thou hast infringed, not only on these, but on the laws of decency.”
“Sure, mighty monarch of Gazaret,” replied Tally-yang-sang, wringing his hands and smiting his breast, “thy page deals with the devil; for, verily, he hath a lute of such bewitching tones, that, when the same be played, I could not help skipping and dancing among the bushes till my bones creaked—my head whirled, and I was flayed and excoriated within an inch of my life—as your highness may see.”
“Tally-yang-sang,” said the king gravely, “thy character is impeached—thou hast spoken of impossibilities; in fact, thou hast lied.”
“By all that is solemn, I have spoken the truth,” cried the grand nazir.
“And nothing but the truth?”
“As I live!” protested Tally-yang-sang.
“Then Yoo-ti-hu shall lose his head.”
“Nay,—I have sworn on my beard to save it.”
“Generous Tally-yang-sang!” cried Pokatoka, “thou art too lenient of offence. Nevertheless, Yoo-ti-hu shall be punished.”
“Certainly,” said Tally-yang-sang, “it was my design to have him decently flayed to death.”
“Which shall be done,” quoth the king, “if thou provest the offence.”
Without further delay the bare-legged and excoriated Tally-yang-sang led the way to the palace; and caliphs, rajas, moguls and lords of Gazaret, followed admiringly in the rear.
V. The Trial and its Effects.
The grand council-chamber of the palace was presently crowded with courtiers, officers of the guard, sicaries, mandarins, and pashas,—at the head of whom, seated by his queen, and attended by a magnificent suite of pages sat Pokatoka, King of Gazaret. At a desk, immediately under the throne, sat a venerable Arabian writer, versed in hieroglyphics, and ready to take the minutes of the whole proceedings. Ranged around, stood a number of beautiful Circassians, Georgians, Nubians, and Abyssinians—slaves and witnesses from the king’s harem; but the diamond of these gems was Omanea, arraigned on charge of having unlawfully bestowed her heart on Yoo-ti-hu. The fact is, Tally-yang-sang was determined that the lovers should both be condemned, and had thus prepared matters for the prosecution. In order to establish the truth of his charge, he remained—much to the edification of the young slaves by whom he was surrounded—in the same plight in which the king had met him.
“Quintessence of piety and disciple of wisdom,” said the king, “proceed with thy charge.”
“Know then, courtiers, rajas, mandarins and officers of the guard,” quoth Tally-yang-sang, “that Yoo-ti-hu hath stolen the heart of Omanea, and that his highness, the king, commanded me to rid the offender of his head. This very evening I roamed in the royal gardens, meditating on the most agreeable plans of decapitation, when I espied the wicked Yoo-ti-hu. Having lured me into a horrid bush, he struck up a tune on his lute—the infernal strains of which caused me to dance till I was fairly torn to shreds—as you all may perceive. Then—”
“Stop there!” cried Pokatoka, “this story of the lute must be established ere you proceed farther.”
“I solemnly beseech your mightiness to take my word,” groaned Tally-yang-sang, eyeing the lute with horror,—“Do, Great King of Gazaret! and the blessings of heaven be on thee!”
“Nay,” cried the king, “we must have a fair and impartial investigation. Yoo-ti-hu, thou art commanded on pain of loosing thy head to strike us a tune on thy lute!”
“For God’s sake,” implored the grand nazir, “since ye must hear it, I pray and beseech ye to bind me to a post.”
Exactly in the middle of the court stood a post, ornamented with divers beautiful designs, carved in wood and in gold; and to this was the chamberlain firmly tied.
“Truth is mighty,” quoth the king, “and will out. So proceed Yoo-ti-hu, in the name of God and Mahommed, his Prophet!”
Yoo-ti-hu forthwith struck up his liveliest air; and lords, rajas, and moguls; sages, philosophers and mamelukes; officers of the guard, sicaries and mandarins; slaves, young and lovely, and old and ugly; disciples of Mahommed; priests, friars, saints and heretics; pages, trainbearers, and virgins of incense—sprang to their feet and danced hither and thither—hornpipe, jig and merry reel—in such glee and confusion as were never heard of before or since. The venerable writer had leaped from the desk—the decrepit Pokatoka from his throne; the sharp-featured old queen from her chair of dignity and joined in the general melee. But the groans of the gouty—the blasphemies of the pious—the laughter of the young—and the remonstrances of the sage, were all drowned in the lusty roars of Tally-yang-sang, who cruelly bruised his head against the post in trying to beat time—tore the live flesh from his back so eager was he to dance—and uttered a horrid imprecation at every ornament on the post.
“Yoo-ti-hu! Yoo-ti-hu!” cried the breathless Pokatoka.
“Yoo-ti-hu!” screamed the dancing queen.
“Yoo-ti-hu! Yoo-ti-hu!” was echoed and re-echoed around by the nobles and courtiers; and to and fro they skipped, as Yoo-ti-hu plied his merriest tunes—the floor groaning—the perspiration streaming from their cheeks; and their breath failing at every jump.
“Dear, pleasant, Yoo-ti-hu,” cried the king, in the heat of a Spanish jig, “I do beseech thee to stop.”
“A thousand seguins for silence!” groaned a gouty raja, prancing high and low in a German waltz.
“I am shamed—disgraced forever!” muttered an Arabian astrologer, in the middle of a Scotch reel.
“Yoo-ti-hu—the devil seize thee!” shouted a pious Musselman.
“Have mercy!” cried a blasphemous heretic.
“Mercy! mercy!” echoed the dancers one and all—“Do, gentle Yoo-ti-hu, have mercy, and cease thy accursed music!”
“Pardon him! pardon him!” roared the magnanimous Tally-yang-sang—his ribs rattling frightfully against the post; “in the name of the prophet pardon him ere I bruise myself into an Egyptian mummy!”
“Yoo-ti-hu cease! thou art pardoned!” cried the king, in a piteous tone, “my seal—my life on it thou shall not be harmed!”
“Very well,” said Yoo-ti-hu, still striking his lute; “but I must have Omanea as a bride.”
“Thou shalt have her!—take her!—she is thine!” shouted the rheumatic monarch.
“Thy oath on it,” quoth Yoo-ti-hu.
“By all that’s sacred—by my beard she is thine!”
Yoo-ti-hu ceased—the dancers, groaning and breathless, returned to their seats—the grand nazir was taken from the post in a pitiable plight—and the pious Musselman ejaculated—“God is great!”
An Arabian historian says that Yoo-ti-hu having espoused Omanea, carried his bride to the kingdom of Bucharia, of which, in the course of time, he became the king; and with his inexhaustible purse built a palace of gold, wherein he reigned for half a century, the mirror of monarchy, and the admiration of mankind.
Louisville, Kentucky, December 14, 1840.
LEAVES FROM A LAWYER’S PORT-FOLIO.
“Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.”
“I feel that I am dying,” exclaimed the sick man, gazing wistfully toward the window, “and it seems good to me that it should be so. Lift me up a little that I may look upon this April morn, and throw back the curtains that I may feel the sweet breath of heaven once more upon my brow,—there, that will do, God bless you all.”
The speaker was in the last stage of his disease. His eye was sunken, his voice was feeble, his lips were bloodless, his emaciated fingers looked like talons, and his originally handsome countenance, now hollow, pale, and ghastly, seemed already as the face of a corpse. At times his features would twitch convulsively. He breathed quick and heavily.
The balmy air of a spring morning stealing soothingly across his forehead, and tossing his long dark locks wantonly about, appeared for a while to kindle up the fading energies of the dying man, and turning with a faint smile toward me, he said,
“I promised you my history, did I not? Well, I will tell it now, for I feel my sands are running low, and the cistern will soon be broken at the fountain. I have no time to lose; move nigher, for my voice is weak. Put that glass of wine close at your elbow,—I shall want my lips moistened, for my tale is long.
“Do you know what it is to be young? Ah! who does not? Youth is the heaven of our existence. Every thing then is full of poetry. It is the time for love, and song, and more than all for hope. This glorious morning is a type of our youth. The birds sing sweeter than ever; the winds have a music as of heaven; the distant tinkle of the streams is like a fountain-fall in moonlight, and the whole earth seems as if it were one cloudless Eden, where life would pass like a dream of sinless childhood. Poetry! did I say? oh! what is like our youth for that? But more than all, aye! more than music, or beauty, or even those childish dreams, is the poetry of a first pure love! I see by your countenance that you have known what that is. God help me! it has been at once the bliss and the bane of my existence.
“I left the University rich, accomplished, and not without academic fame. My parents were dead, and I had but few relations. Life was before me where to choose. I had every thing to make me happy, but—will you believe me?—I was not so. There was a void within me. I longed for something, and scarcely knew what. It was not for fame, for I had tasted of that, and turned sickened away; it was not for wealth, for I enjoyed enough of that to teach me, it would not satisfy my craving; it was neither fashion nor ease, nor the popularity of a public man; no, from all these I turned away athirst for higher and loftier things. What could it be? At length I learned. My life is dated from that moment.
“It was about a year after I had graduated, when, sick of the world and its emptiness, I left the city, in early summer for a stroll through the mountains of the interior. You have often seen the hills of the Susquehanna: well, I cannot stop to describe them. I was enraptured with their beauty, and determined to loiter among them until September, and so dismissing my servant, I took lodgings in a quiet country inn, and assumed the character of a mountain sportsman. But I delay my story. Hand me the wine and water.
“It was on a sporting excursion that I first saw my Isabel! Oh! if ever the ideal beauty of the ancients, or the dreams we have in childhood of angels’ faces, were realised in a human countenance, they were in that of Isabel. There was a sweetness about it I cannot describe; a purity in every line which breathed alone of heaven. Do you not believe that the face is the impress of the mind; that our prevailing thoughts gradually stamp themselves on our countenances, and that the sinless child and the haggard felon alike carry the mark of their characters written upon their brows? You do. Yes! God branded Cain as a murderer, but it was only the brand of his wild, terrible, agonising remorse.
“From the first moment of my seeing Isabel, I felt that I had met with that for which I had so long sought. The void in my bosom was satisfied. I had found something holier and brighter than I had deemed earth could give birth to, and I almost worshipped the ground where she trod. I loved her with all the poetry and fervor of a first love. She did not seem to me like others of her sex. There was a holiness cast around her like the mantle of a seraph, which awed the beholder into a reverential love. And oh! what bliss it was to gaze upon her face, to hear her lute-like voice, and to feel that I breathed the same air with herself.
“Isabel was the daughter of a village clergyman, who had been poor without being dependent. Her mother had been dead for many years; and her father had followed his wife but a few months before I first met Isabel.
“How could I help loving such a being? Wealth to me was no object: I looked not for it in a bride. I sought for one in whom I might confide every thought, and in finding Isabel my happiness was complete.
“Why should I delay telling the story of my love? Day after day found me at the cottage of Isabel, and day after day I grew more enraptured with her artlessness. Together we read in the mornings; and together we wandered out amidst the beautiful scenery around; and together we sat in the still evening twilight, when my greatest pleasure was to hear her sing some of those simple little lays of which her memory preserved such a store. Ah! those were happy hours,—hours, alas! which can never come again. From such meetings I would loiter home beneath the summer moon, with a thousand bright and joyous, yet undefined feelings, thrilling on every nerve of my frame. And often, as I turned to take a last look at the little white cottage, embowered in its trees, I thought I could detect the form of Isabel, standing where I left her as if she still followed me with her eye.
“It was not long before I declared my love to Isabel, and found that it was returned with all the fervor and purity of her guileless heart. Oh! with what rapturous emotions did I hear the first confession of her sentiments—with what delight did I clasp her hand in mine, as her head lay upon my bosom—what tumultuous feelings thrilled my soul, as her dark eyes looked up into my own, with all that purity and depth of affection which tell that the soul of the gazer is in the look.
“Well, we were married. It was that season of the year in which all nature puts on her autumn glory, and when hill and plain and valley are clothed with a garmenture as of a brighter world. The corn was yellowed for the harvest; the wild flowers were fading from the hill-sides; the grapes hung down in purple clusters from the old, twisted vines in the woods; and the birds, that had been used to sing for us, in every grove, were one by one disappearing, as they took flight for the sunny south. But could I miss their music while Isabel was by to whisper in her fairy voice, or cheer me with her low and witching minstrelsy? Was I not happy—wholly, supremely happy? It was as if I dwelt in an enchanted land. I forgot, almost, that I was a member of society; saw but little company; and spent the day with Isabel in rambling around the mountain, or when confined by the weather to the house, in a thousand little fireside amusements. We talked of the past, of our plans for the future, of the hollowness of the great world without, and of that mutual love for each other which we felt could not be eradicated by the power of a universe. Isabel was all I had imagined her in my fondest moments. Like myself, she turned away from the companionship of a selfish world, and sought only to spend life afar from human strife, secure in the possession of the one she loved. Alas! little did she think that the thunder-cloud was hanging, dark and lowering, above us, which would eventually burst, and bring ruin on our unsheltered heads.
“We saw but little company, I have remarked; but among that little was one with whom, as subsequent events developed, my destiny was inextricably woven. He was an old classmate in the University, whom I had casually met at the neighboring county-town; where he resided in the capacity of a medical man. Our former intimacy was revived; for Robert Conway was really a fascinating man. It was not long before he became intimate with our little family, and, seduced by his plausible demeanor, I not only engaged him as my family physician, but entrusted him with the nearest and dearest secrets of my heart. I felt the warmest friendship for him, and, next to Isabel, there was no one for whom I would have done so much. I have told you of the poetic nature of my character; you may have also noticed its warmth; and, in the present instance, believing I had found a really disinterested friend, I was hurried away into an infatuation from which I awoke only to find that I had clasped an adder to my bosom, and that—oh! my God—all my hopes of life were blasted forever.
“The winter had already set in, when I received a short letter from my town agent, requesting my immediate presence in the city on business of the last importance to my fortune. As Isabel was in a weak state of health, and would not be able to accompany me, I returned an answer, stating my inability to comply with the summons, and declaring my willingness to suffer even some pecuniary loss, rather than leave her at that time.
“In less than a fortnight, however, I received a still more pressing letter from my correspondent, declaring that my absence had already prejudiced my fortune, and that nothing but my personal presence could, in the then distracted state of monetary affairs, preserve myself from beggary. This was an appeal which, for Isabel’s sake, I could not resist. That the being whom I loved above myself should be subjected to the miseries of poverty, was a supposition too harrowing to entertain.
“Never shall I forget the eve of the morning on which I departed. It was one of surpassing beauty. The landscape without was covered with a mantle of snow, and the trees were laden with icicles spangled in the star-light. The heavens were without a cloud, and the innumerable worlds above, glittered on the blue expanse like jewels on the mantle of a king. It was, in short, one of those clear, cold nights in early February, when the very ringing of a sleigh-bell can be heard for miles across the still expanse of the landscape.
“As Isabel and I stood looking through the casement at the brilliancy of the starry hosts on high, a melancholy foreboding suddenly shot across my mind that we were parting to meet no more. I know not how it was, but the same feeling pervaded the thoughts of Isabel; for as a meteor-star darted across the sky, and instantly disappeared, she heaved a sigh, and, turning toward me, said, as she leaned upon my arm, and gazed confidingly up into my face,—
“ ‘Do you know, George, that, during all the evening I have been tortured with a foreboding that our happiness is destined, like yonder shooting-star, to last only for a while, and then pass away forever? It may be that this is our last evening. I cannot tell in what shape the impending evil will come,’ she said, ‘but this I know, that be it what it may, we shall always love each other, shall we not, George?’
“ ‘Yes, dearest!’ I replied, kissing her, ‘but dismiss these gloomy thoughts; they arise only from your ill-health. Believe me, we shall continue for long, long years to enjoy our present felicity.’ Ah! me, little did my own feelings coincide with what I said. ‘Cheer up, dearest, I shall return in a fortnight or so, and by that time shall be able to assure you that I shall leave you no more.’
“With words like these I attempted to remove the forebodings of Isabel, but though she smiled faintly in return, I found that I could not wholly dispel the melancholy of her thoughts. I dreaded the parting on the morrow, and accordingly, having deceived her as to the hour of my setting forth, I rose at day-break, kissed her as she lay calmly sleeping, and, tearing myself from her, entered the mail-stage, and before the hour when we usually arose, was miles away from our habitation.
“I reached the city, and found my fortune, indeed, trembling on the verge of ruin. For some days its preservation engaged every faculty of my mind, and I found time for nothing else, unless it was to read and answer the letters I daily received from my sweet wife. The times were critical. Stocks of every kind—and nearly my whole fortune was vested in them—were undergoing a fearful depreciation; and one or two heavy loans which had been made out of my estate, and which completed the balance of my wealth, were in a most precarious situation. I soon found it would not only be impossible to settle my affairs so as to rejoin Isabel at the end of the fortnight, but that I must undertake a journey, personally, to a southern city, which would delay me at least a month more; and, accordingly, I penned a hasty note to her on the eve of my setting out, bidding her look forward, at the expiration of this new term, to a happy meeting, and informing her at what post-towns I should look for letters from her.
“I set forth on the ensuing day, but, though I enquired at the various post-offices along my route, where I expected letters, yet I did not receive a line from Isabel; and the first epistle which I obtained was a letter which I found lying for me, on my arrival at the port of my destination. It had come from P——, and was written prior to Isabel’s knowledge of my second journey. I have it still by me; every line of it is graven on my heart; my only prayer is that it may be buried with me, for alas!—it is the last letter I ever received from Isabel.
“As day after day rolled by without receiving any intelligence from her, I grew more and more uneasy, until, as the term of my absence drew toward a close, my sensations approached to agony. A few disappointments I had borne with fortitude, if not with calmness, for I knew that the mail was not always regular; but when days grew into weeks, and weeks had almost grown into months, without the arrival of a single line from Isabel, either directly from our residence, or indirectly by the way of P——, nay fears grew insupportable. I was like Prometheus chained to a rock, and subject to a torture from which there was no escape. At length I could endure it no longer, but hastily bringing my business to a close, even at a considerable sacrifice, I set out by rapid journeys toward my home, without even passing by P——, such was my eagerness to know what could have been the cause of Isabel’s silence.
“It was on an evening in the latter part of the month of March, when my jaded horses drew up before the gate of my dwelling. Hastily alighting, I entered the little lawn, and was soon at my long-sought-for threshold. But I started back at the sight that met my eyes. The windows were dark and cheerless; the grass was covered with leaves and broken twigs; the knobs upon the door were soiled for want of burnishing; and everything around wore that appearance of loneliness and desolation which marks an uninhabited house. With a fainting heart I lifted the knocker. The sounds echoed with hollow distinctness through the house; but no one replied to the summons. Again and again I repeated it; and again and again I was unsuccessful. With a heart wild with the most terrible fears I passed to the back part of the house; but there, too, I found the same silence and desolation. It was like the house of the dead. Unable longer to contain myself I rushed back to my carriage, and with an air that made the coachman believe me insane, ordered him to drive to a neighboring farm-house.
“ ‘Who’s there?’ asked a female voice from inside of the cottage, in answer to my impetuous knock.
“ ‘I, madam, do you not know me? But where, in heaven’s name, is Isabel? where is my wife?’ I exclaimed, seeing by the astonished looks of the woman, that she, too, believed me out of my senses, ‘what is the matter at my house, that I find it closed?’
“ ‘Oh! la,’ answered the woman, curtseying as she held the candle to my face, ‘you are the gentleman that lived at the big house nigh to the stage-road, across the creek. Gracious me! how wild you look. But, sit down, sir; we ain’t very nice just now, for baby’s sick, and we can’t afford help—’
“ ‘Woman,’ I exclaimed, vehemently interrupting her, and seizing her fiercely by the arm, ‘in God’s name tell me all. Answer me at once—is my wife dead?’ and though my voice grew husky, it trembled not, as I put the fearful question.
“ ‘Dead! why indeed I don’t know, sir,’ she answered, tremblingly, awed by my wild demeanor, ‘for it’s been nigh a month since she left here to join her husband.’
“ ‘To join me!’
“ ‘Yes, sir. Why didn’t you,’ she asked, perceiving surprise in every feature of my countenance, ‘write for her? The neighbors all say so, and Dr. Conway went to see her safe to town; though it’s queer, now, since I think on’t, that he ain’t got back agin by this time.’
“ ‘My God,’ I exclaimed, staggering back, as a fearful suspicion flashed across my mind, ‘was I reserved for this? Oh! Isabel, Isabel—’ But I could say no more. My brain reeled; my temples throbbed to bursting; a strange, swimming sensation was in my ears; every thing appeared to whirl around and around me; and, losing all consciousness, I fell back, senseless, on the floor.
“When I recovered my recollection, I was leaning against the bed, and a group, composed of the woman to whom I had been speaking, her husband, and a farm boy, stood around me. My cravat was untied, and my brow was wet with water.
“ ‘My good woman,’ I said faintly, ‘I feel better now. Go on with your story; I can bear to hear the worst. God help me, though,’ I continued, placing my hand upon my forehead, ‘it has well nigh drove me mad.’
“She had, however, but little to tell, beyond what I knew already. But her husband added, that after my departure, he had noticed that not a day passed without his seeing the vehicle of Dr. Conway in front of my house; and that, too, long after the returning health of my wife rendered professional visits unnecessary. He had thought, he said, it singular, but, as he was not given to gossip, he had kept silence. About a month since, he added, the house had been shut up, and, under pretence of rejoining me, Isabel had set out, no one knew whither, with my old classmate.
“Oh! who can tell the feelings that, during this recital, and for days after, raged in my bosom? The evidence was unquestionable, irresistible, damning in its character. And yet I could not—though every one else did—believe Isabel to be guilty. She was too pure, too artless, too ardently attached to me. But, then again, how could I resist the testimony staring me in the face? The visits of Conway; his fascinating manners; the false report of my having written for her; and her flight with the seducer, no one knew whither, were circumstances which my reason could not answer, whatever my assurance of her love might persuade me. Who knows not the pangs, the torments of uncertainty? And day after day, while my enquiries of the fugitives were being pushed in every quarter, did I fluctuate between a confidence in Isabel’s purity, and the most fearful suspicions of her faith. It was a terrible struggle, that one in her favor. But at length, as every successive informant brought new proofs of her infidelity, I settled down into the agonising belief of her ruin.
“Yet I did not give up my pursuit of the fugitives. No—my God! how could I forget my shame? The dearest hopes of my heart had been overthrown, and she, in whom I had trusted as man never before trusted, had wantonly deserted me—aye! even while my own kisses were still, as it were, warm upon her cheek. I had sacrificed everything at the shrine of her love; was this the return my devotedness had met with? What! she whom I had pressed to my bosom as a wife,—she whom I had made the incarnation of all ideal loveliness, to be—oh! that I should have to speak the word—a mere wanton. God of my fathers! was this the destiny to which I was condemned?
“I am calmer now. I must hurry on, for my breath is rapidly failing me. My brow burns: bathe it—there, that will do. And open the window. There is something in this gentle, balmy breeze, fragrant with a thousand odors, which calls back the memory of happy days, and almost makes me weep. God grant that none of you may ever suffer as I have suffered.
“I pass by three months, three long and weary months, during which I received no tidings of the fugitives. They had never been in P——; even my epistle announcing my departure to the south had never been received by Isabel, but had been sent, with most of the ensuing ones, as a dead letter to Washington. I traced the fugitives only for a single stage; there every clue to them was lost. At length I was about giving over in despair, when chance revealed what I had so long sought for in vain.
“Did you ever visit an Insane Hospital? You start. Ah! you know nothing of its horrors unless you have seen your dearest friend writhing beneath the keeper’s lash, or chained like a felon by his infernal fetters. Do you understand me? No! the truth is too horrible for you to suspect. Well, then, it was in visiting one of these loathsome prison-houses that I saw and recognised, in one of its miserable victims, my own, my lost, my now suffering Isabel.
“You need not think that I shall grow phrenzied by this harrowing recital. I have thought of it too often, and endured subsequent agonies too great, to suffer myself now to lose my reason in reciting it. But neither will I dwell upon that awful meeting. Suffice it to say that all my anger against Isabel departed when I saw her, who had once lain pure and trusting on my bosom, confined as a maniac, in a public hospital. Oh! I would give worlds could I shut out that horrid sight.
“I soon learnt all from the keeper. Isabel had been placed there nearly four months before, by a woman I instantly recognised from his description, to be the one I had procured at my marriage to wait upon Isabel. She had stated that the patient was a half sister, and had left an address where she might be found.
“As the rules of the establishment precluded all hope of my removing Isabel, in spite of my protestations that I was her husband, unless I brought her pretended relative, to corroborate my account, I was compelled to rest satisfied with the melancholy pleasure of knowing, that her disease should receive at my expense, the attention of the best physicians, and with the renewed hope of discovering her waiting woman, and thus removing my wife from what I felt was worse than death. Guilty as she was, she was still my wife, and I could not utterly desert her.
“I entertained little doubt of discovering this woman, although as might have been supposed, her address was fictitious. I had, in fact, a means of finding her out which I did not scruple to adopt. She had been an English woman, and had often boasted of rich relations across the Atlantic, to whom in her simple vanity, she one day expected to be heiress. As I knew that, at most, she could only have connived at my wife’s disgrace, and as I knew also that money was the touch-stone of every avenue to her heart, I had no doubt whatever as to the success of the scheme I intended to put in execution. It was simply this: I caused an advertisement to be extensively circulated, describing her and her relationship to her English cousin, and informing her that if she would apply at a certain office in P——, she would hear of something to her advantage. The bait took. She came in person; I was instantly sent for, and confronted her. But to come at once to the conclusion of this part of my story; she owned, upon my threats, and promises of forgiveness with a large sum of money if she would confess all, that she could satisfy every particular as yet unknown to me, of this melancholy tragedy.
“She stated, in effect, that Conway, from the first moment he had beheld Isabel, had entertained a passion for her, which neither the favor he had received from me, nor her own purity, nor the impassable barriers against its gratification, had enabled him to conquer. Indeed it is questionable if he ever cared to do so. Wilful, headstrong, remorseless, and careless of every thing but the gratification of his desires, he was perhaps one of the most hardened villains that ever cursed mankind; a villain the more dangerous, because his fascinating manners enabled him to wear the guise of virtue, and perpetrate his infamous designs without suspicion. But in laying himself out to seduce Isabel, he capped the climax of his villainy. For a long time, however, he only attempted to gain the good will of Isabel, and to seduce by large presents, her waiting woman to his side. As yet he had not ventured to breathe a word of his unholy passion to its object. But my departure opened new hopes. Flattered and deceived by the attentions paid him by Isabel,—attentions which I now learned with the wildest joy, were only paid to him because he was my friend,—he now resolved to make a bold throw in his perilous game. He knew my writing well. In a word, he forged a letter purporting to be from me, to Isabel, requesting her to join me in P——, under his escort; and by these means he placed my unhappy wife wholly in his power. As she would not travel without her waiting woman, he was forced to make her his confidant, and purchase her secrecy by large sums of money. But why linger on this awful history? Demons themselves would shudder at its relation. I cannot—yes! I must tell it. Repulsed by Isabel with scorn, when, on the second day, he ventured to declare his passion, he told her, with the mockery of a fiend, as he pointed to the lonely inn where they then were, that resistance was useless. Yes!—here, hold down your ear, closer, let me whisper it only; he used force; God of heaven, there was none to save her from the monster’s fangs!
“There—there—it is over: unhand me I say. But forgive me: I am well nigh crazed: I know not what I do. Some of that drink. Bless you for fanning my poor, aching brow; I believe sometimes that I am becoming a child again. Those tears have relieved me. I am so weak now that they come involuntarily into my eyes, but time was when it seemed as if they had been dried up forever at their fountain, and when, in my unutterable agony, I would have given worlds to weep.
“I forgot to tell you that I felled that hag to the ground like an ox, when she told me that fearful tale. I could not help it. A woman! and stand by merciless! Oh! my God it was too much.
“And Isabel then was innocent. Aye! it had driven her mad. Oh! I could have crept on my hands and knees to her feet, for a whole life-time; if by so doing I could only have won from her forgiveness, for suspecting for a single moment, her angel purity. But it was not so to be. It was my fitting punishment. In the inscrutable designs of that Providence, before whose bar I shall so soon appear, it was decreed that I should never more see Isabel in the possession of her reason. She died. I had only time to hurry from that strange recital to behold her last moments. Never, never shall I forget that sight.
“She was evidently in the last stage of her malady when I entered the chamber where she lay; and as she turned her wild, and wasted, but still beautiful countenance toward me as the door opened, I burst into a flood of tears, and could scarcely stagger to a seat at her bedside. I suffered more—will you believe it?—in that moment than I had ever done before. Our first meeting; our early love; our auspicious union; our days of after felicity; that long to be remembered night of our separation; and all the hideous succession of ensuing events whirled through my brain as if a wild, shadowy phantasmagoria was revolving, with the swiftness of thought, around me. But more than all my injustice toward her smote me to the heart. Could I look upon that emaciated face, in every line of which was stamped sufferings the most extreme, and not feel its silent though unconscious reproaches? I bent over and kissed her cheek. As I did so a hot tear-drop fell upon her face.
“ ‘Who is it weeps?’ faintly said my dying wife, looking vacantly into my face, ‘ah! I know you not. You are not him. When will he come, when will he come?’ she continued, in a plaintive tone, drawing tears from every eye. She was dreaming still that she awaited my return at our far-off-home. Thank heaven! all else was forgot.
“At this moment one of the physicians entered the room. Noiseless as he was, her quick ear detected his footstep. She turned quickly around: a look of disappointment stole over her face. She shook her head mournfully.
“ ‘Why don’t he come?’ she murmured, ‘ah! he has forgotten Isabel. Well,’ she continued, in a tone that almost broke my heart, ‘he may desert me, but never can I desert him.’
“ ‘Isabel—Isabel,’ I ejaculated, unable longer to contain myself, ‘for the love of heaven speak not so. Isabel, dear Isabel, do you know me? Oh! you do. Say, only say you do: one word. Oh! my God, she will never awake to reason.’
“ ‘Did you talk of Isabel?’ she said, looking inquiringly up into my face, and for an instant I fancied the light of intellect shone across those pale, wan features. But alas! if so, it faded like it came. In another moment her eyes assumed their former vacant, yet sorrowful and imploring expression, and turning away she began to sing a snatch of an old song I had taught her in the days of our courtship.
“It flashed across me that, by singing the following verse, I might possibly touch a link in her memory, and recall her to reason. I mentioned it to the physicians. They implored me to do so. I obeyed.
“ ‘Who sang that?’ suddenly exclaimed the sufferer, starting half up in bed, and looking eagerly around, ‘it seems, I do believe, as if it was the voice of George,’ and lifting up her hand to command silence, she bent her ear down to catch the sounds.
“There was not a dry eye in the room. My own tears came fast and thick; and my utterance became so choked that I could not proceed.
“The hopes we had again entertained by her sudden question, seemingly so rational, were the next instant dissipated, by her dropping her hand, and sinking back upon the pillows, in a state approaching to insensibility. Need I delay? From that stupor, gradually becoming deeper and more profound, she never awoke; or rather awoke only in that better world where she found relief from all her sorrows, and where, if earthly suffering, or earthly purity can avail aught, she is now one of the brightest of the redeemed.
“Ah! you may well shed tears. It were enough to make angels weep, that death-bed! Night and day, in illness or health, here or in another continent, that closing scene of her life has been present to me, urging me on to avenge her wrongs.
“We buried her. Far away from the spot where she died, amid the green old hills of her birth, and in the quiet, little church-yard where her father and mother slept, we laid her down to her rest; and my last prayer is that I too may be buried there, side and side with that sweet suffering angel.
“I was from that moment her Avenger. I sought out her waiting woman again, and learning from her all the information she could give me respecting the retreat to which Conway had fled, I set out in his pursuit. But her information was too scanty to avail me aught. Conway had left her money enough to bear his victim to P——, and then, alarmed at the catastrophe, fled she knew not whither. Once or twice since, however, he had remitted her small sums of money by mail, enjoining on her continued secrecy. The letters were post-marked New York.
“Thither I went. But all my enquiries were useless. After a search of a month I was no nearer to the attainment of my object, than on the day when I first set forth in pursuit of Conway.
“But did my zeal abate? How could it when that death-bed scene was ringing its cry for vengeance night and day in my ears? No. I had stood beside the grave of Isabel, and vowed to be her Avenger: I had repeated that vow, night and morning since; and I would spend the last cent of my fortune, and go to the uttermost end of the earth, but what I would yet fulfil the oath.
“At length I obtained a clue to Conway’s retreat. He had sailed from New York five months before for London, under an assumed name. I now felt sure of my prey.
“On my arrival at that vast metropolis, I instituted a cautious enquiry after his present abode, which I felt certain would ultimately place him within my grasp. Meantime I began a course of daily practice at a neighboring pistol-gallery, and soon became so proficient that I could split a ball, at twelve paces, nine times out of ten, upon the edge of a knife. Nor did I neglect fencing. I became by constant attention an invincible swordsman.
“But months, aye! years elapsed, and still he evaded my grasp. He hurried from one land to another, under a dozen disguises, but though delayed by my anxiety to be perfectly certain of the road he had adopted, I was ever like the blood-hound on his path. Fly where he would, the AVENGER OF BLOOD was behind him. Thrice he flew to Paris, once he hurried to Rome, twice he hid himself in the Russian capital, four times he visited England under different names, two several times he crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic, and once for nearly a whole year, during which he went on a voyage to Calcutta, I almost lost sight of him. But I recovered the clue at his return. Years had only whetted my appetite for revenge. My determination was when I met him, to goad him by insult into an honorable encounter, and if this could not be done, to shoot him in the street like a dog.
“Fortune favored me at length. It was scarcely a month after his return from the East Indies, when I learned that three days before he had set out for Paris. Thither, like the angel of death, I pursued him.
“It was the second night of my arrival at Paris, when I stepped into a noted gambling-house in the Rue des ——. The apartment was brilliantly lighted, and in the ostentatious luxury of its furniture reminded one of a fairy palace. It was densely crowded. I sauntered up to a table where they were playing vingt et un, and carelessly threw down a guinea upon the chance. I won. I was about turning indifferently away, when an individual approached the table, whom, even under his disguise, I recognised, in a moment, to be Conway. He threw down his stake. At that instant his eye caught mine. Never had I seen human countenance change so fearfully as his did during the instant of recognition. It quivered in every nerve. He turned paler than ashes. I looked at him, for a moment, sternly and calmly. His eye fell before mine. In an instant, however, he recovered, in a measure, his equanimity, and turning away with an air of affected indifference, whistled a careless tune. I stepped up to him.
“ ‘Dr. Conway,’ said I, ‘you are a scoundrel.’
“ ‘Sir, sir,’ stammered the abashed villain in French, affecting not to know me, ‘you mistake your man. I am Monsieur De Rivers, at your service.’
“ ‘Monsieur De Rivers then, if you please,’ said I, tauntingly, ‘I congratulate you on understanding a language which you affect not to be able to speak.’ The villain crimsoned and was abashed. ‘But think not you shall thus escape. You are my man; and without regard to the name under which at present you choose to go, I pronounce you again to be a scoundrel.’
“ ‘I—I,’ stammered Conway, ‘know you not. The gentleman is mad,’ he said, with a faint smile of contempt, turning to the crowd which had now gathered around us. A scornful look was the only reply. One of them even went so far as to say, shrugging his shoulders,
“ ‘Sacre—why don’t you fight? Can’t you see the gentleman means to insult you.’
“ ‘Crazy, did you say, villain?’ I exclaimed, stepping up to Conway, ‘I am sane enough to see that you are a coward as well as a scoundrel—do you understand me now?’ and deliberately taking him by the nose, I spat in his face.
“ ‘By God, sir,’ said he, his face blanched with rage, making him, for one moment, forget his fears, ‘this is too much. I am at your service. Here is my card. When shall it be?’
“ ‘The sooner the better,’ I hissed in his ear, as he turned to leave the room. ‘Let it be to-night.’
“ ‘Gentlemen,’ interposed a French officer, whom I knew casually, approaching us at my beck, ‘this matter had better be settled at once. Had it not?’ he continued, turning to Conway, or rather to an acquaintance of his, whom my enemy had singled out from the crowd as we left the room.
“ ‘Yes! let it be at once—here,’ exclaimed Conway, almost foaming with rage.
“ ‘At once then,’ said the two seconds, simultaneously, ‘step this way.’
“We followed as they lead; and passing up a staircase before us, we soon found ourselves in a small, dimly lighted room, about twelve feet square.
“ ‘We shall be free from observation here,’ said my second, as he closed and double-locked the door.
“During this brief remark the other officer had been engaged in an earnest conversation with his principal; and after a silence of some minutes on our part, he crossed the room, and addressed a few words to my second. After the other had ceased speaking, he continued silent for a few minutes. At length, however, he said,
“ ‘Well, I will make your proposition;’ and turning to me he continued, ‘I suppose you are scarcely willing to apologise. The demand comes from your opponent.’
“ ‘Never,’ said I.
“ ‘Then the affair must proceed.’
“ ‘Gentlemen,’ said Conway’s second, ‘how do you fight? As you are the challenged party the choice is with you!’
“ ‘With pistols—at once—in this room,’ answered my second.
“I observed the cheek of Conway blanch at these words, and his eye became wild and unsettled. He muttered something about the police, the possibility of an interruption, and the unseasonableness of the hour. Even his own second could not restrain an expression of disgust at his cowardice.
“ ‘I can scarcely hold a pistol, much less hit a mark with one,’ whispered Conway to his second; but in the death-like silence the remark was heard distinctly throughout the room.
“ ‘Sacre,’ muttered the officer addressed, but checking his anger, he turned around, and asked our party if we should be put up across the room.
“ ‘No,’ said I, ‘Dr. Conway has declared he knows nothing of the use of the weapon I have chosen. Villain as he is, I do not wish to take advantage of him. Let us fire across this table,’ said I, touching one about four feet wide with my foot, ‘or if that will not suit him, we will cut for the highest card, and the loser shall bare his breast to the pistol of the other.’
“ ‘My God! do you mean to murder me?’ said Conway, trembling like an aspen, and scarcely able to articulate.
“ ‘Murder you! No, miscreant, though you have murdered one dearer to me than life—one, whom friendship, if not gratitude should have preserved—one who now lies in her early grave; while you, for years since her death, have been insulting man and God by your continued existence.
“ ‘What do you choose?’ asked my second sternly, as soon as I had ceased, ‘it were better for all that this matter should be closed at once.’
“ ‘We cut for the chance,’ said Conway’s second.
“The cards were brought, shuffled, and placed upon the table. I signed to Conway to take one. He stepped hurriedly up, and with a trembling hand, drew. It was a king. A smile of sardonic triumph lighted up every feature of his countenance. My second looked aghast. Yet, in that moment, my confidence did not forsake me; not a nerve quivered, as I advanced proudly to the table and drew my card. It was an ace.
“ ‘Oh! my God, it is all over,’ almost shrieked the miserable Conway, flinging his card down in despair, ‘is there no hope?’ he said, turning wildly to his second, ‘oh! shew me a chance,’ he continued, addressing me, ‘for my life. Don’t murder me in cold blood. Don’t—don’t—don’t,’ and he fell on his knees before me, raising his hands imploringly to me, while the big drops of sweat rolled from his face.
“ ‘Take your place across the table,’ said I sternly to him, ‘put a pistol into his hands. Villain as he is, he is too miserable a coward to be shot down unresisting—though he would have granted me no such favor had the chance been his.’
“They placed him in his position. No words were spoken. Not many seconds elapsed before the word was given, and we both fired simultaneously. I felt a slight, sharp puncture in my side; and I knew I was wounded. But as the smoke wreathed away from before me, I beheld Conway leap toward the ceiling convulsively, and fall, the next instant, dead across the table. He had been shot through the heart. Isabel was AVENGED.
“I fled from Paris. I reached here, saw you, have adjusted my affairs under your supervision, and am dying of that wound.”
Reader, that night he expired.
Philadelphia, December, 1840.
LANGUAGE OF THE WILD FLOWERS.
BY THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH, M. D.
I. Solanum Dulcamara. Deadly Nightshade.
I hear thy step afar—
I see the flashing of thy blade
Out-blazing like a meteor star,
Thine eyes are peering from the shade,
Burning with smouldering flame;
Thy voice is as a woman’s wail,
Thy face is bloodless all and pale,
A mockery to fame.
Thou sportest thee a shad’wy robe—
Thy fingers grasp an air-built globe—
A mighty scorn is on thy lip,
Thy wrath is straining on the slip
Fire leaves thy nostrils—plague thy breath;
Fear is thy handmaid—thou art Death!
Smile not so grimly—though an hour
May find me powerless in thy pow’r,
And subject me to thy control,—
’Twill be my body—not my soul,
There victor, I defy thee.
For though thou mayest seize my form,
Devote my body to the worm—
And all the grave’s corruption—HE,
The maker both of thee and me,
Decreeth to deny thee
Presumptuous one! all power to inherit,
That portion of his breath which is my spirit.
II. Sambucus Canadensis. Elder.
The wind blows cold—yon poor, old man
Seeks pity for his woe,
For naught hath he to bear him on,
Though a long, long way to go,
All houseless, homeless, weak and tired,
While friends are far away,
His clothes are tattered—locks are white—
Oh! pity him, I pray.
His wife is dead—his children gone,
He knoweth not where but far;
The sun’s bright light he seeth not,
Nor light of moon nor star.
For God hath taken sight away,
Hath bent him as you see;
And made his limbs as thin and weak
As those of a withered tree.
A very little from your wealth,
Some coppers more or few’r—
Will get him a morsel of bread to eat,
And cannot make you poor.
Give alms! the memory will be
A balm unto thy heart,
A spring to thy limbs—a sight to thine eye—
And joy to ne’er depart.
Oh! curl not thy proud lip, nor turn
Thy form away in pride;
As he is, you may be e’er long,
When woes of life betide.
Then as a wearied, blasted man,
From door to door you go—
You’ll think with tears of when you scorned
The humble blind man’s woe.
III. Juniperus Virginiana. Cedar.
The winter has come, and the skaters are here
With a falchion of steel
On each manly heel,
To strike the ice with a stroke of fear;
And to make the victim the story tell,
With a voice as clear as a tinkling bell.
The winter has come, and he howls at the door,
And puffing his cheeks,
He whistles and shrieks,—
A shriek of ill-will to the suffering poor,
That maketh the widow clasp her sons,
And huddle together her shiv’ring ones.
The winter has come, and the sorrow besides,
And the poor man’s breast
Can know of no rest,
While his life’s troubled torrent onward glides,
But when ’tis exhausted, the poor will share
A place with the rich, and no winter is there.
Philadelphia, December, 1840.
BY S. W. WHELPLEY, A. M.
Mr. Lowman in his treatise on the civil government of the Hebrews, remarks, that their careful attention to genealogy was a distinguishing trait in their national policy. From considering the Hebrews who glory in their descent from the most renowned patriarchs, I was led to reflect on the probable influence which the same custom would have upon other nations. Indeed I have often admired the general indifference of mankind to the names and history of their ancestors; especially considering the veneration which all men feel for every thing that wears the marks of antiquity.
From a few obvious principles I shall endeavor to state the benefits which I consider would result to mankind from the universal prevalence of the custom of keeping an exact genealogy in families. It would be a perpetual source of entertainment and pleasure. Who would not feel gratified to look back upon the line of his ancestors, and see their names, characters, occupations, place of residence, and time when they lived? They would also open numerous and extensive sources of friendly attachment, by closing the ancient alliances of interest, honor, consanguinity and friendship, which subsisted between our forefathers, who perhaps fought side by side in battles, ploughed the seas together, or shared the common danger of exploring and settling new countries.
Genealogical study would operate as a stimulus to laudable ambition, and would enkindle a sense of honor. If a man’s ancestors were mean and low, he would often be struck with the animating thought of raising the reputation of his race. If they were high and honorable, he would, at times, be jealous of their honor, and feel strongly prompted to emulate their virtues.
Could every man trace back his line, it would level many useless distinctions; for it would appear, that some who are ostentatious of their descent and blood, have beggars, bandits, and the humblest cottagers for whole series of links in their chain. That others who are now low and indigent, could look back to lords, princes, and monarchs, who dwelt in “cloud-capt towers and gorgeous palaces.” In fine, it would appear that the descending line of generations is ever wavering, now elevated, now depressed. The grandfathers and grandchildren of lords may have been porters, footpads, or slaves.
The other evening, while investigating a knotty point, I prosed myself into a deep sleep, and dreamed out the sequel. It would be better for many metaphysicians, moral philosophers, and writers of all classes, if they did the same.
I thought I was still pondering on the subject of Genealogy, and considering with what curiosity and pleasure I could look back on the line of my ancestors to the grand progenitors of our race, when suddenly there appeared before me a winged fantastic figure, answering in some measure to the description of Iris. Her flowing robes were of various and varying colors; her eye was penetrating but never fixed; and her aspect might be compared to the shade and light wandering over the folds and margin of a summer cloud. I knew her instantly to be one of the airy powers that preside over dreams.
She informed me that she was empowered to give me a view of my ancestors, and bade me attend her. Not knowing whither she intended to conduct me, or in what form of vision I was to be enwrapt, a chill of terror and ineffable awe rivetted me to the spot. Turning eastward she beckoned me with her hand, and with easy volition, we rose to the region of the clouds. We continued to move with inconceivable speed, till the Atlantic rolled beneath our feet, and we directly alighted on Plinlimmon in Wales.
I was now a little recovered from my surprise, and was delighted to see the venerable seat of my forefathers. I could evidently discern the meanderings of the Severn and Dee, although by distance diminished to a thread. Numberless villages and flourishing farms lay extended in various directions, and I looked with great curiosity over the rocky hills and blue ridges, where a hardy race of men were once able to resist the impetuous armies of the Henrys and Edwards.
Here my conductress presented me with a perspective of most wonderful powers. It would not only magnify objects to their natural size, but this it would do even at any assignable distance. Within the external tube was a sliding barrel, graduated into sixty circles. My guide informed me that a circle denoted a century, and that when the barrel was drawn to the first circle, I might look back one century; and so of all the rest.
Upon this she drew the barrel to the second circle, and presented me the instrument, impatient to try its astonishing powers. Looking through it I saw a face of things entirely new. James the I. had just ascended the throne of the United Kingdoms. I was looking around to observe the appearance of the country which had flourished long under the happy reign of Queen Elizabeth. My guide asked me if I could discern a cottage at the foot of the mountain. “That,” said she, “is the dwelling of your ancestors in the male line.” The moment I espied the cottage, which was low and poor, an aged man came out. His figure was tall and erect—his head quite gray—his look was grave, forbidding, and shaded with melancholy.
My conductress succinctly told me that he had long since buried his wife, and all his children, excepting one son, who was then at sea—that his father was killed in battle, and that his grandfather had emigrated when a youth from Germany. Without further words she took from me the perspective, and the scene of modern times changed.
We immediately mounted on the wing, and again moved eastward. As we passed over London I was not a little gratified by a transient glance of that majestic city, the noblest in Europe, and most commercial in the world. The forest of towers, the waters, all white with sails, and the country all covered with villages, by turns caught my eye; but I travelled too much in the manner of young noblemen, who take the tour of Europe, to make very particular remarks; since our route from Plinlimmon to the banks of the Danube took up but about five minutes. We now stood on a rising ground, having on our right the city of Presburgh, and on our left majestically rolled the Danube. The country appeared beautiful, but I noticed, with regret, various vestiges of tyranny and misery in the appearance of an abject multitude.
The fantastic power now drew out the third circle, and looking through the perspective I beheld a scene in the reign of Maximillian the I. The comparison was truly at the expense of the present day: a bold and manly race appeared, in general of larger size and nobler form. Their thoughts seemed full of freedom, and their general air was martial and independent. With something that appeared like the first dawn of modern refinement, there was a strong tinge of unpolished and simple manners. While I stood in high expectation every moment of seeing another of my ancient fathers, there appeared a royal personage at the head of a splendid retinue of chariots and horsemen. It was the emperor Maximillian himself, who, at that time was at Presburgh, and was on a party of pleasure that morning on the banks of the Danube. I gazed at his majesty, who was a man of uncommonly fine presence, and said, how happy should I be should he prove to be the man I am in quest of.
My guide soon dashed my hopes, by desiring me to observe the coachman of the last carriage,—“That,” said she, “is the man!” I began to fear that my blood
“Had crept thro’ scoundrels
Since the flood.”
I observed that I had always understood my ancestors were from Germany, but never knew till now that they were coachmen—she smiled and bade me not be disheartened. He was a perfect Scythian, and seemed to look like one of the vilest of the human race; there being not discernible in his features any sentiments of honor or humanity. “He is,” continued my guide, “the son of a Tartar by a German mother. His father was one of the wandering tribes that dwelt, at times, near the Bosphorus in Circassia, and on the borders of the Caspian sea.” I wanted no more, but, delivering her perspective, I stepped back into 1840, and was more than ever struck with the wide difference which the flight of three centuries had made in one of the most warlike nations of the world.
Germany! how art thou fallen? Thy councils are divided—thy heroic spirit fled—thy warriors are become women! I consoled myself, however, that my father was a German coachman in the fourteenth, and not in the nineteenth century.
We rose once more, and passed over rivers, solitudes, morasses, forests, lakes and mountains, and at length alighted on an eminence near the mouth of the river Wolga. My guide, not leaving it optional, drew the glass to the sixth circle. I shivered in every nerve to think that my forefathers for such a period of years, had lived in the dreary regions of mental darkness. But could they have been tossed less at random, or enjoyed a milder sky in any of those countries where Rome had once displayed her eagle?
The Wolga is one of the largest rivers in the world. It rises in the Russian empire, and receiving a multitude of tributary streams, it winds a course of three thousand miles, and pours an immense volume into the Caspian sea. Through its whole course, it is said, there is not a cataract. It rolls majestically, with gentle current, through extensive, rich and beautiful plains, diffusing every where luxuriant vegetation and exhaustless abundance. Near the sea, it branches and forms a number of pleasant and beautiful islands.
On one of these we stood, and, for a moment, surveyed the romantic scenery. Near us was a Russian castle and garrison, and the island, which had been used as a military station since the reign of Peter the Great, was guarded by strong fortifications, and enriched with an infinite number of boats and vessels, and defended by ships of war and gallies.
I now looked through the glass, which threw me back six hundred years. How surprising was the change! One half of the island was a forest. The other half was occupied by a spacious camp, containing innumerable wheel carriages of singular forms. Before me lay a great army marshalled for parade. I was struck with their uncommon dress and armor; and presently more so, by a sight of their council chief, who occupied an elevated platform, and seemed at that moment engaged in deep consultation.
At the head three seats were raised above the rest, on which sat three personages of the greatest dignity. The central one, said my guide, is none other than Genghis Khan, and in him you behold your ancestor. He is now holding a council of war, and deliberating on an invasion of China. But you have little reason to boast of your descent from one who has destroyed fifty thousand cities. His tyranny and the perfidy of his queen have roused a conspiracy, which, though it will not destroy him, will imbitter his future life. Beneath a dark brow his fierce and jealous eye seemed to dart the fires of glory and valor into every surrounding breast. Yet he looked like one on whose heart the worm of care unceasingly preys, and who is inwardly consumed by the fires of ambition.
Leaving him, however, to his fate, my guide gave the signal of departure. We crossed the Caspian sea, and the Circassian mountains. The dominions of the ancient Medes and now of the Persians, passed beneath us. In a few moments we alighted on a hill which commanded a view of the fair and delectable vales of Sheeraz, the most celebrated province in Persia. Sublime conceptions struck my fancy as we were travelling the region of the clouds, when I saw stretched out on one side the vast ridges of Mount Taurus, and far distant on the other, the plains where Darius and Alexander fought. A sigh rose at the remembrance of the great cities and powerful empires which once flourished there.
Before me was the vale of Sheeraz, for many miles in extent. The surrounding mountains were covered with vines, and widely extended prospects of rural felicity in that happy region. Innumerable flocks and herds were scattered over the hills, the shepherds and shepherdesses looked gay, all nature was blooming, and the Persians, brave, polite, and elegant in every age, seemed the happiest people upon the face of the earth. The sun shone with peculiar smiles from the cloudless azure, and far remote the calm billows of the Persian Gulf, drew a silver line on the horizon.
On this hill, said my conductress, once dwelt your ancient fathers. At this she drew the glass to the twelfth circle, making from the Wolga a transit of 600, and from this of 1200 years. I looked eagerly through the prospective, and there arose before me a scene of unspeakable horror and desolation. An immense horde of barbarians was ravaging and destroying the whole country. Their faces flashed with fury. They were swift and fierce as tigers. The villages and hamlets, as far as could be seen were in flames; heaven was obscured by smoke; age, infancy, innocence, and beauty, were mingled in indiscriminate slaughter; and blood poured in all directions.
They rushed into a house which stood near me, dragged forth its inhabitants, and cut them in pieces. The parents and the children were mangled and slain together. A little infant only was left, and that, to all appearance, by accident. It was flung upon the ground, and lay wallowing in the blood of its parents, weeping at its fall, although insensible to its deplorable condition. Behold, said my guide, your ancient father. The existence of numerous generations depends on his preservation, and from him multitudes shall descend. Astonished at man’s inexplicable destiny, I gazed, admired, and wept.
At length a female barbarian came up. She was black, filthy, deformed, hideously savage, and resembled a harpy. She spied the weeping infant, and a sensation of humanity stole upon her heart. Kind nature, and compassion to man, has implanted those heavenly sensibilities in the rudest and most degenerate of her children. She took up the babe, and seemed to sooth it. She wiped away its tears and blood, laid it in her bosom and darted out of sight. The glass dropped from my hand, and I stood rivetted in silent astonishment.
That child, resumed my companion, is carried into the bosom of Scythia; there becomes first a robber, then a chieftain, afterward a sage. His descendants dwelt at times in India, in the islands, in Tonquin, in China, in Tartary; and a last issue, as you have seen, was the conqueror of Asia. O Providence! how unsearchable are thy ways! What beings of light, what fiends of darkness, are among thy children. O listen to the fervent aspirations of a worm, and if thine ear is not inexorable, smile on their destiny.
As the glass dropped, the modern vale of Sheeraz returned and as soon vanished. Passing over Palestine, the Levant, Archipelago, Greece and Italy, our next stand was on the banks of the Tiber, among ruined monuments of ancient Rome. The remains of arches, towers and temples, porticos and palaces, where the Cæsars and Scipios once lived, lay before me. A gloomy grandeur covered the scene with awful solemnity, and filled my soul with sensations equally sublime and melancholy.
“There the vile foot of every clown,
Tramples the sons of honor down,
Beggars with awful ashes sport,
And tread the Cæsars to the dirt.”
My airy governess now drew the glass beyond the eighteenth circle. I looked through it and beheld Rome at the zenith of her ancient greatness. A forest of towers covered her seven hills. Never, even in imagination, had I beheld so grand a scene. Her temples, domes and structures, rose and expanded on my view, and at once displayed the glories of that queen of cities. Noble and beautiful villas covered as far as the eye could see, the banks of the Tiber: and the whole prospect appeared as though the wealth, the arts, sciences and elegance of the world, were collected to adorn and beautify the scene.
In the forum a vast assembly of people were listening to the address of an orator, who, from his dignified and commanding manner, I took to be Cicero. My guide assured me it was none else. His attitude, his gestures, his whole manner, were sublime. He was pleading for Milo. The occasion had drawn together an innumerable throng of spectators. I admired the elegance of the criminal: his appearance was firm, heroic, and great. Pompey was present at the head of a select body of troops.
I have seen no man in modern times who can bear a comparison with Pompey. He had the qualities of great men with a dignity peculiar to himself.
On high glittered the Roman eagle, and the whole group of objects appeared with a majesty and resplendence not to be described. The judges, the criminal, the orator, the general, the nobility of Rome, the army and the spectators, possessed a grandeur of countenance which might have induced one to imagine that all the fine and noble countenances in the world had been collected together.
After indulging my curiosity for a moment, my guide showed me my ancestor. He was a common soldier, and stood near the general, appearing to belong to his life guard. He listened with deep attention to the orator; and at times, roused by the powerful flights of unrivalled eloquence, seemed to lay his hand upon his sword, ready to draw it in defence of innocence.
His descendants, continued my conductress, accompany Trajan in his expedition into Asia, where, after various turns of fortune, some of them, as you have seen, settled in the vale of Sheeraz. Here, I must remark, that I was more interested than I had been before, for, upon noticing him more particularly, I found him perfectly to resemble my father in stature, proportions, and countenance.
The next field of discovery carried me back to the Trojan war. The celebrated city of Troy, and the Phrygian shores, the fleet and army of Greece, now engaged my whole attention. I was not a little gratified to have a glance at a scene which has filled the world with noise, and been so famous in poetry. Yet I must confess my expectations were not fully answered. The Grecian chiefs appeared with far less splendor than they are made to exhibit under the glowing pen of Homer. I liked Ulysses the best of any of them. He was a sturdy old fellow, and although in appearance somewhat of a barbarian, yet he was strong, manly, and sagacious, equally able to ward off as to meet danger. I hoped now my ambition would be crowned by finding Ulysses among my progenitors. My guide, however, directly pointed out to me Thersites, assuring me that he was the very man. To save time, I will give a description of him, as we find it in Pope’s translation of Homer:
Thersites clamored in the throng,
Loquacious, loud and turbulent of tongue,
Awed by no shame, by no respect controlled,
In scandal busy, in reproaches bold:
His figure such as might his soul proclaim,
One eye was blinking, and one leg was lame,
His mounting shoulders half his breast o’erspread,
Thin hair bestrewed his long mishapen head,
Spleen to mankind his envious heart possessed,
And much he hated all but most the best.
Ugly as Thersites was, I thought it, however, no small honor to be descended from one of the conquerors of Troy, and I intend at a convenient time, to consult the ancient critics, to see whether Homer has not been guilty of detraction in stating the character of Thersites.
From Troy the genii lead me directly to Mesopotamia, and we halted in the midst of an extensive morass, a wild and trackless wilderness, inhabited by noxious reptiles and wild beasts. Presenting me the glass, she told me to make the best of it as this would be the last opportunity. Under the eye of the perspective the scene presently kindled with glowing colors and magnificent prospects. In the midst wandered a spacious river, the circumjacent grounds, although reclaimed from their native state, afforded those rural wild and romantic scenes indicative of the morning of improvement and invention. Thousands of people appeared busy in building various structures. Many were leisurely roving in the gardens and groves along the river banks. Contentment and tranquility smiled, labor went on with cheerfulness, and the orders of superiors were obeyed with a rude but lofty air of conscious freedom.
My conductress asked me whether I had yet noticed the Tower of Babel? On which, turning to my right, I saw, not far off, that massive structure. Its elevated summit rising toward the clouds, seemed indeed to threaten heaven. I could not but remark how much I had the advantage of Herodotus and some of the other Greek Philosophers, who viewed that Tower in a state of decay, and yet gave a most wonderful account of its greatness. I was now fully sensible that this was the seat of the first of empires, and was beginning to observe more attentively several things, when the appearance of some personages, at the head of a troop of horse, attracted my notice. Two personages of majestic port, followed by a numerous train, now drew near. Before them the statue of Apollo Belvidere would have appeared diminutive.
You see, said my guide, Nimrod and Ham. The former was in the bloom and vigor of manhood. In his eye the fire of ambition burned, and all his actions bespoke haughtiness, ostentation and authority. He was the true and original founder of the science of war and despotism.
In the appearance of Ham there was something almost more than mortal. His deportment was grave, thoughtful, and gloomy. His snowy locks fell over his shoulders which the flight of centuries had not bowed, and his venerable beard swept a breast where the secrets of wisdom seemed deposited. But yet his eye was fierce and cruel, and gave sign of his inward depravity.
Whilst I was scrutinising to discover marks of consanguinity, my guide pointed me to a little fellow just by me who was making brick. There, says he, is your progenitor. His face was an isosceles triangle; and a long sharp nose and chin gave him the air of complete originality. He is, continued she, a true and legitimate offspring of Japhet. And now, having favored you more than I ever did any other mortal, to give you complete satisfaction, know, that from Noah to yourself there have been one hundred generations; and in your line there have been one King, five Princes, seven Butchers, eight Sages, five Commanders, ten Magicians, six Pilgrims, fourteen Soldiers, twenty Husbandmen, seventeen Mechanics, fourteen Sailors, thirteen Shepherds, eleven Beggars, eight Philosophers, twelve Robbers, ten Hermits, nine Warriors, and one Author.
Moreover, some of this illustrious line were present at the confusion of Babel, at the sack of Troy, the battle of Pharsalia, the destruction of Palmyra, the burning of fifty thousand cities in India and China, the defeat of Bajaret, the assassination of Henry the Fourth of France, the Powder Plot, and many other great events. Here I awoke, and behold! it was a dream.
And now the information I would make of the knowledge derived front my dream, is to publish forthwith an address to all the sons of Adam, demonstrating the importance of keeping an exact genealogy. The plan of which address is developed in the following articles.
I.—The seven subsequent years must be employed in exploring the generations that are past; and as I should be obliged to go to Wales and Germany, most of us to Europe and perhaps some to Asia, if not to Africa, I believe there had better be an armistice; for this business cannot be accomplished without an universal peace.
II.—The scheme of Leibnitz of an universal language, might also in that time or a little more, be matured. For in order to know the fair Asiatics and Africans, we must certainly have a common language.
III.—When the scheme is effected, men will see more and more the importance of improving their race. Upon this discovery a Science will arise of infinitely greater glory and utility than that of War. Nations will cross their breed as much as possible; and a wife from India or the South Sea, will be prized more than a ship-load of silks.
IV.—Every man who dies without an issue is the end of a line. He is like a thread cut from a weaver’s web, and never joined again, or like a river that perishes in the sands of Africa, and never reaches the ocean. The plan contemplated, therefore, will excite in men a universal desire to propagate their species. Every man will see the folly and criminality of remaining single, and the horrid impiety of exposing his life in war before he has tied himself to some future generations. He will view it as risking the extermination of an endless chain of beings equally important with himself. And when he has become a parent, he will view it still more impious to hazard his life in any way, now become necessary for the preservation and care of his children.
V.—Thus the art of killing, which has been the main business of nations, will be superceded by that of communicating, preserving and improving life. And in future generations the names of heroes and conquerors will be eternized only by their infamy, as crimes are recorded in law Books, preceded by prohibition and followed by penalty. The ages of war will be regarded as the period of universal destruction, or rather as the period in which the human race had not yet acquired the use of reason. Then Philosophers and Philanthropists will be celebrated, and a man will only be considered as great as he is known to be good.
A SOLDIER’S THE LAD FOR ME.
BY A. M‘MAKIN.
There’s a charm in the fame
Of a soldier’s name,
With his colors so gay, and his spirits so light;
At his bold command,
No lass in the land,
Can withhold from his prowess her smile so bright,—
With his nodding plume, and his manners so free,
A soldier—a soldier’s the lad for me.
At fete or at ball
He is courted by all;
His step is the lightest that trips in the dance,
With his sword on his thigh,
And a smile in his eye,
Each belle doth acknowledge his bow and his glance,
With his nodding plume, and his manners so free,
A soldier—a soldier’s the lad for me.
When there’s mischief to pay,
He is first in the fray,
Nor blanches when death-shots are falling around,
With a tear for the foe
In the battle laid low,
He sheds not till victory his valor hath crown’d;
With his nodding plume, and his manners so free,
A soldier—a soldier’s the lad for me.
In his wild bivouac,
With his cup and his sack,
His sweetheart remember’d with heart, and with soul;
To beauty a fill,
And a cheer with a will,
While each comrade to friendship is passing the bowl.
With his nodding plume, and his manners so free,
A soldier—a soldier’s the lad for me.
Philadelphia, December 20, 1840.
THE BLIND GIRL.
BY MRS. C. DURANG.
“Can nothing induce you to give up the idea of going to the ball to-night, my dear Maria?” said the anxious Mr. Worthington, “our dear little one seems quite unwell, and surely the loss, or rather the exchange of one pleasure for another, can not be so distressing, particularly when the one is of so evanescent a nature as a rout.”
“What good could I possibly do the infant?” was the reply to this kind expostulation of her doting husband; “you know Sarah is quite accustomed to her, and really I think it ridiculous that you should wish me to stay home; but lately you seem to rack your brains to contrive what means you can devise to thwart my wishes: if I ask for anything that will cost the slightest extra expense, the reply is: ‘we can’t afford it.’ Pray how do other people afford to live in more style than we do, with less income than ours?”
“Unfortunately, they cannot afford it,” said Mr. Worthington; “and we see the consequences daily. Many of the enormous failures that have lately occurred, might have been prevented, but for the spirit of rivalry that fashion has instilled into the families of many of our merchants and citizens.”
“So,” said Mrs. Worthington, “because people fail, I am to be deprived of everything I wish for, and kept at home to see whether the child is going to be sick. I am sure I have taken every precaution to prevent its crying after me, for I have carefully covered its eyes every time I have nursed it since its birth. Nay, I do not let it come into the room where I am without something thrown over its face, that it may not know me; so that if I was to remain home to watch it, it would neither be better nor wiser; nay, it might frighten her to see a strange face.”
Mr. Worthington paused for some time, confounded by his wife’s unnatural exultation, and want of affection for her infant, at last he exclaimed, with considerable sharpness,—“Have you a heart?”
“I once did, and do still, possess such an article, notwithstanding I presume you consider yourself the proprietor.”
“It must be small indeed,” said Mr. Worthington with a sigh.
“Large enough for it to admit the whole circle of my friends,” added the lady.
“I fear it will soon be untenanted, then,” uttered Mr. Worthington as he left the room, finding it was impossible to dissuade her from her purpose, and discovering, too late, the misery of being united to one whose education had unfitted her for a wife.
Maria Wilson was an only child. At an early age she was left to the direction of a mother, whose partiality for her daughter blinded her to all her errors. The best affections of her heart had been neglected, their place had been allowed to be usurped by pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency. Their means were circumscribed and insufficient to enable her to shine in the gay world, although her beauty was well calculated to attract the admiration of those who moved in it, and her sole ambition seemed to be to gain pre-eminence there, so that when Mr. Worthington, young, handsome, and rich, offered his hand, it was not rejected:—he viewed her faults with the fondness of a lover, and deceived himself into the belief that, once his, he could mould her disposition to whatever he wished it to be; but, after marriage, she launched into the vortex of fashionable life with enthusiasm, regardless of consequences; she was courted and caressed; in vain he entreated, in vain he expostulated; the wish of her heart was gratified; the goblet of happiness, as she thought, was at her lips, and she was determined to quaff it to the dregs; misfortune had not yet taught him to despair, and hope still upheld him; he looked forward to the time when she would become a mother, when the bonds of nature would form a fresh tie with those of affection. But, alas! he was doomed to be disappointed; the little stranger was viewed as an intruder, whose smile was not allowed to meet the mother’s eyes; she mourned that the fashion was past for children to be put out to nurse, and never suffered it to be brought to her without its face being covered, that it would not fret for her absence. Every request from her husband to avoid unnecessary expenses, were recorded as evidences of his want of love, or as proofs of a contracted and narrow disposition.
She went to the ball,—and, when she returned, her little infant, Adela, lay at the point of death. For the first time, a pang of regret and remorse stung her bosom; repentance caused her tears to flow, as she became a voluntary watcher of its sick bed. Oh! how anxiously did she endeavor to behold one look from those eyes she had so often concealed from hers; she feared they were closed never to be opened again. She sat in silence and despair, endeavoring to catch the sound of that voice whose plaintive wail she had so often despised, but for two days its heavy breathing alone reached her ear.
Providence ordained that it should recover. On the third day it opened its eyes, those eyes which, for the first time, met those of its mother, and as she beheld it smile, a beam of newly-kindled affection woke in her breast; she caressed her child, but it turned from her, and sought the face it had been accustomed to behold; she endeavored in vain to gain the affection of the slighted child; it clung to its nurse, Sarah, who loved her with a mother’s fondness. After many fruitless efforts to regain the treasure she had lost in her infant’s smiles and love, she abandoned the attempt, and with the child’s return to health, she returned to her old routine of levity and frivolity. Unthinking woman! how little did she reflect what labor of mind, and sacrifice of personal comfort her husband daily endured. Of what utility was his splendidly furnished house to him? Surely he merited at least her gratitude, when it was for her gratification that his hours were passed in his homely counting-house, where dreariness was banished by the excitement of business. The wooden chairs, the maps on the wall, the perpetual almanac, table of interest and foreign exchange, pasted in formal array, formed a strong contrast to the splendid rooms where the draperied windows admitted the softened light, which reflected on gilded mirrors, and carpets, where mingled the colors of the rainbow, to blaze in beauty; while the rich vases, filled with flowers, rivalling in beauty the choicest exotics in their hues, would tempt the looker on to believe it was a paradise. And such it would have been to him in his hours of relaxation, could he but have secured the affections of his Maria there; but fashion was the forbidden fruit, and vanity the serpent; they both proved irresistible; her beauty was the theme of universal admiration; it was that which first attracted him, when he sought her heart and hand. But the movements of the heart are imperceptible, its pulsations are uncontrollable, and it will sometimes appear to vibrate on slight occasions. Alas! he too late discovered that with hers it was but the echo of ambition, pride, or vanity that had touched its chords; love had never been awakened in her bosom.
As Adela advanced in years, the subject of her education engrossed much of her father’s thoughts; it was there he felt most severely his wife’s deficiency of duty. A mother’s watchful care is necessary for her daughter’s welfare. No one but her can guard the mind, and guide it through that ideal world, which the youthful imagination creates, and wherein it wanders, bewildered by false hopes and illusive joys.
There is no country whose system of female education is free from error. The elite of England and America select the fashionable boarding schools for their daughters to finish their studies in; where, unfortunately, the adornment of the person, and flippancy of manner, often supercede the adornment of the mind. Can parents reflect that the conclusion of a female’s education requires their care the most, and that the dashing boldness of manners, too often learned at a fashionable school, is but the mask which covers ignorance, and bravados out the want of merit? How much less estimable is the character of such a female than the modest, timid, but firm being who has received and finished her education under the watchful guidance of that mother’s eye, whose anxious glance searches unto the soul of her charge, guarding it from evils that threaten and too often besiege the senses, till confusion and desolation leave the fair fabric a monument of ruins for parental fondness to mourn over.
In France the convent is selected, in a measure secluded from the influence of fashion: there the mind is more unfettered by folly, and becomes prepared to receive necessary instruction. Hence they are more capable of encountering the vicissitudes of life, and prepared for that intercourse which French women are allowed in society. Thus their minds become strengthened; no nation has produced so many celebrated women as France.
An English husband condemned for treason will be allowed to linger in prison, unless the entreaties and petitions of his wife and friends have sufficient influence to procure his release; if they fail, she sinks beneath the weight of her misfortunes, and an early grave yields repose to the bruised spirit: not so with the French woman; it awakens all the energies of her soul; every effort is made; every stratagem is resorted to; the prison doors though barred, are still accessible to love, artifice, and ingenuity, these combined, generally contrive to elude the vigilance of the keepers; thus Madame Lavalette, Roland, and several others, have given bright examples of what fortitude, education, and energy may achieve; thus the Bastille’s dungeons have been insufficient barriers to the influence of the French women.
As time passed on, the aspect of Mr. Worthington’s affairs seemed to become less prosperous; day after day losses occurred, until at last his bankruptcy served to convince his wife that his admonitions had not been needless; remorse again visited the unhappy woman; she felt that her husband’s forbearance had been great; and determined that the neglect of her first born infant should be amply atoned for, by double attention to the second, whose birth was now at hand.
After Mr. Worthington’s bankruptcy, it became necessary that he should leave his native place, and enter into business where it might prove more successful; he settled his wife in a small house till he should be enabled to send for her, and for a short time enjoyed more comfort than when splendor shone around them; they looked forward with hope and joy to the time when they would behold a child that would be mutually attached to each.
The infant was born; a lovely girl, but alas! its eyes were denied to see the blessed light of heaven! It was blind!
The wretched, self-convicted, soul-struck woman dared not complain; conviction of her errors bowed her spirit to the earth; what would she not now have given to recall some years of her past life? But it was too late, and the only resource now left her, was to submit with resignation to her fate.
After Mr. Worthington had departed for the Island of Martinque, his wife had to struggle for the maintenance of her children till he should be enabled to establish himself in business; she proposed opening a seminary, and called on some of those friends whose presence had often enlivened her assemblies, and who had partaken of her hospitality. One had just sent her children to Mrs. ——, who was all the ton. Another thought it would be better style to have a governess in the house; and if she thought she could take the entire charge of the children, she would have no objection to give her the preference, if she could make the terms very low; others were “not at home” when she called—while some more candid than the rest—at once informed her, that any other occupation would be more suitable to her as her former dislike to children could not be so easily overcome; among them were those, who with sneers, regretted the change in her circumstances.
Thus it is to live in the world without studying human nature. We will be sure to find nought but disappointments, if we trust to those we meet in the giddy throng of fashionable assemblies; they are like the fleecy vapors that float over the blue expanse, their brightness is only the reflection of the light by which they are surrounded, and their aspect is as changing. The human family taken in the mass collectively, are cold and senseless, the philanthropic sensations of the heart are extinct, and an apathetic illusion usurps the place of the genuine effusions of benevolence, with which the refined soul overflows when in its unsophisticated state; it is in the domestic circles that friendship is found, given, and reciprocated, it is there that the best human feelings reign monarchs; but in the busy scenes of life, coldness, and contempt are the answers to an appeal for compassion and humanity.
With a mind forlorn and desolate, Mrs. Worthington sought consolation from her children. The cherub smiles of one yielded it; but the early affections of the other had been blighted by its mother’s neglect, and it sheltered itself among strangers. It was no longer swayed by the same gentle passions, but fierce and uncontrolled, they became an ocean of contending emotions.
Adela, at the age of sixteen, eloped with a young man, whose worthless character precluded any chance of felicity for the unhappy girl, and added to the tortures of the miserable parents: but the winning softness, and amiable disposition of the sightless Isabella, made ample amendment for all her mother’s misfortunes. With calmness and cheerfulness she bore her calamity: “What,” said she, “though darkness is over those veiled orbs; my mind’s vision sees beyond this world, the mental light that flashes through the long vista of existence, gleams with brilliance to direct my course. Why should I sigh to behold this world? Do I not enjoy the delightful fragrance of the earth’s flowers, and am I not nourished by its fruits? Do I not possess the affections of those I love, and has not the philanthropy of man instructed (us children whose existence is one still night of calm,) in reading, working, and employing ourselves usefully, so that we feel not that the light of day is darkened from our view?”
And truly might it be called useful, for by her efforts she had supported her mother during a long sickness. The physician, Dr. Morris, that attended Mrs. Worthington, beheld the beauty of Isabella; respect and humanity first guided him to the assistance of a lovely, interesting creature, who deprived of one of the most essential faculties of our nature, exerted those she still possessed for the support of her mother. Her progress in music had been so rapid that before she had been two years under the instruction of one of the directors of the institution for the Relief of the Blind, she was even enabled to fill the situation of principal chorister in a church. That respect soon ripened into love, and she only waited the return of Mr. Worthington to bestow her hand on one altogether worthy of the amiable girl.
The many years that passed with Mr. Worthington, wherein all his efforts proved unsuccessful, finally broke his spirits. Every prospect of raising his family to their former splendor proved unavailing; the separation from his wife had not been felt by him as severely as it would have been, had not her conduct, during the early period of their marriage, alienated his affections; thus those disappointments, which at the time he deplored, proved to be mercies, that in the end were as beneficent as the morning and evening dew which temporises the soil for the fruits it is hereafter to produce.
The final blow was yet to come. He had determined on returning to his native land, and settling in some humble manner of life—when a letter arrived, informing him that his daughter Adela was not expected to live. He immediately arranged his affairs, and departed for those shores which blighted hopes had driven him from in despair.
The sun was about to set, as Dr. Morris sat by the bedside of the dying Mrs. Worthington. Isabella knelt by the side of her mother, and breathed a secret prayer, that the spirit of her parent might be permitted to remain on this earth till the return of her father. Every knock at the door for the last three weeks, had awakened in her bosom a throb of expectation, hoping it might be him. An awful pause ensued, as her last wish and prayer ascended to heaven; it was interrupted by the heavy breathing of the sufferer; when a step was heard approaching the door, it opened, and her father stood there. A shriek from her mother acquainted her, whose eyes were denied the sight of him, that it was him to whom she owed her being, that had come.
“My prayer is heard,” said she, “father let your daughter receive a second blessing, He who is in heaven, ‘the Father of all,’ has already blessed me, by your presence. Mother rejoice, our prayers are heard; and if it is His will that you should soon return to your heavenly home, you can bear with you the last embrace of him you so wished to see, to be assured you die with his blessing on your head.”
“Bless you, my child! bless you, my wife! but there is one that craves your blessing, Maria, if you have yet the strength: it is indeed, needed.” He waited not for a reply, but left the room, to which in a few moments he returned, bearing in his arms the wasted and almost inanimate form of Adela; the last effort of nature gave almost supernatural strength to the mother; she caught her child in her arms, they were folded in one long embrace: the spirits of both departed together. Heaven! in mercy, veiled the sight of so much misery from Isabella; she felt that a solemn scene had passed in her presence, but she knew not the full extent of its horrors.
It was the last trial Mr. Worthington had to endure. The union of Isabella with Dr. Morris banished every solicitude; and taught him that the goodness of God is shown most conspicuous, when by granting those wishes that seem opposed to His, our folly, and His wisdom is manifested.
TO THE PINE ON THE MOUNTAIN.
BY LYDIA JANE PIERSON.
Thou giant Pine of patriarchal years,
O’er the rock helm of the stern mountain bending,
As watching yon glad river, which appears
Like a bright dream through bowers of beauty wending.
Mocking thy bleak and solitary pride
With warm and flowery scenes, and soft wings gleaming,
Bright fountains laughing on the mountain’s side,
’Neath bow’rs of blossom’d vines, profusely streaming.
And sigh’st thou o’er those visions of delight,
As my lone bosom o’er the glowing treasures
Which live in fancy’s realm before my sight,
Mocking my spirit with ideal pleasures?
Or art thou holding converse with the wind,
Waving majestic assent to some story
Of mournful interest, how thy stately kind
Have perish’d from the places of their glory?
Or are ye talking of the noble race
Stately as thou, with the wind’s freedom roaming;
Who o’er these mountains once pursued the chace,
Or stem’d the river at its spring tide foaming?
Oh knew I all the legends of the past!
With life and love, and death and sorrow teeming,
On which thou hast looked down, since first the blast
Play’d with thy plumes, in morning sunlight gleaming.
Thou’st seen the free born hunters of the wild,
Chasing the fleet deer in his antler’d glory;
Or with his chosen maid, rich nature’s child,
Breathing in whispers love’s ungarnish’d story.
And thou hast seen him on the mountain path,
Victor and vanquish’d, fleeing and pursuing,
Conquer’d and writhing with vindictive wrath,
Or agonising o’er his nation’s ruin.
While the fierce conqueror gaz’d with gloating eye
On mangled forms, in mortal anguish lying;
Or where the wigwam’s flame was wreathing high,
Showing its inmates, wild with terror flying.
Seemed he not king-like, with his plumy crown,
And like a tiger, streak’d with hideous painting!
With hand that sought no treasure but renown,
And heart that knew no fear, and felt no fainting.
Full many a time, perchance beneath thy shade,
The youthful sachem stood with pride surveying
His wide domains, and the soft valley’s shade,
Where through the bowers his dark-eyed love was straying.
Yet sometimes still there comes a wasted form,
With locks like thine, by many winters faded;
Well has he brav’d the battle, and the storm,
The sachem whom thy youthful branches shaded.
Ye are a noble pair, ye stand the last,
Each of a noble race; and ye are staying
Magnificent mementoes of the past,
Glorious and wonderful in your decaying.
And thou dost toss thy branches to the wind,
And sigh sad dirges of thy perished glory;
And he is brooding, with a saddened mind,
Over a perish’d nation’s wrongful story.
A few more years, and the wild eagle’s wing
Shall seek his long-lov’d rest with mournful screaming;
A few more years, and no dark form shall cling
To this stern height of perish’d glory dreaming.
And who will mourn when thou art lying low,
And o’er thy shattered limbs green mosses creeping;
What noble heart will melt with generous woe,
When the last warrior of his race is sleeping?
Liberty, December, 1840.
THE REEFER OF ’76.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “CRUIZING IN THE LAST WAR.”
“God bless you!” said my old schoolmate, Harry St. Clair, to me, on a bright morning in April, 1776, as I shook his hand for the last time, and leaping into the stern-sheets of the boat, waved my hand in adieu, and bade the crew, with a husky voice, give way. I could scarcely trust myself to look again at the group of old classmates crowding the battery, for a thousand memories of the past came crowding on me as I gazed. The tears, despite myself, welled into my eyes. Determined that no one should witness my emotions, I turned my face away from the crew, affecting to be engaged in scanning the appearance of the brigantine destined to be my future home, the Fire-Fly.
She was as beautiful a craft as ever sat the water. Her hull was long and low, of a mould then but lately introduced. There was no poop upon her quarter deck, nor was she disfigured by the unsightly forecastle then in use. Never had I seen a more exquisite run than that which her glossy hull developed; while her tall, rakish spars, tapering away into needles, and surrounded by their cobweb tracery of ropes, finished the picture. She was, indeed, all a sailor’s heart could desire. When I stepped upon her decks my admiration increased to a ten-fold degree. She had seemed from the water to be a craft of not more than a hundred tons burthen; but the illusion vanished on ascending her side, when you found yourself on board of a brigantine of not less than thrice that size. Her well-scraped decks; her bright burnished binnacle; the boarding-pikes lashed to the main-boom; the muskets placed in stands abaft the main-mast; the nicety with which even the smallest rope was coiled down in its place; the guns ranged along on either side under her bulwarks, and especially the air of neatness, finish, and high discipline perceptible about her, convinced me that I was embarking on board a man-of-war of the highest professional character. In fact I knew Captain Stuart’s reputation to be that of a rigid disciplinarian.
“Mr. Parker—glad to see you,” said my superior, as I touched the deck and raised my hat, “you are punctual, but allow me,” said he, turning to an officer on his right hand, whom I knew to be his lieutenant, “to present you to Mr. Lennox—Mr. Lennox, Mr. Parker.”
The usual salutations were exchanged; the boat was hoisted in; and I dove down into the mess-room to stow away my traps. It was full of officers. The second lieutenant, the purser, and my three fellow reefers greeted me heartily, as they rose from a long, narrow table, on which was a formidable display of salt junk and old Jamaica.
“Just in time, Parker,” sang out my old crony, Westbrook, “we’re stiffening ourselves to keep up against the fog outside. Push the bottle, Jack—a cut of the junk for Parker—and as there’s nothing like beginning right, here’s a jolly voyage to us.”
The toast had just been drunk, amid a whirlwind of huzzas, when the shrill whistle of the boatswain shrieked through the ship, followed by the hoarse cry, “all hands on deck, ahoy!”
In an instant the gun-room was deserted, and we were at our several posts; while the gallant brigantine echoed with the tramp of the crew, the orders of the first lieutenant, and the monotonous creaking of the windlass, as the anchor was being hove up to the bows.
By the time the anchor was catted the morning sun was just beginning to struggle over the heights of Long Island; and as the mists upon the water curled upward in fantastic wreaths beneath his rays, the head of our brigantine began slowly to incline from the breeze. In another instant, as her sails filled, the water could be heard rippling under the cut-water. Then as a sudden puff of wind pressed her down toward her bearings, and we shot rapidly ahead, the bubbles went whizzing along her sides, and eddying around her rudder, swept away astern in a long and glittering wake.
I stood, after the bustle of making sail was over, gazing on the scenery around me, with feelings such as I had never experienced before. It was to be my first voyage in a man-of-war: I would soon, doubtless, imbrue my hands in the blood of my fellow men; and I myself might never return alive from my cruize. I could not help, therefore, being filled with strange and new emotions, as I leaned over the taffrail, gazing on the now fast-receding town, and recurring, again and again, to the many happy days I had spent in my native city, and to the dear faces there which I might never see again. But gradually these feelings were lost in the admiration enkindled in my bosom by the beauty of the surrounding scenery.
It was indeed a glorious sight which opened around me. Right in the wake of the brigantine lay the city, still partly shrouded in the morning mists; while the back-ground was filled up by a range of uplands, through which a narrow opening disclosed where the Hudson rolled his arrowy course. To the right lay Governor’s Island, the East River, with its shipping, and the verdant shores of Long Island; while on the left rose up the bluff highlands of Staten Island, emerging, as it were, from a cloud of mist, and crowned with antique farm-houses, rich fields of verdant grass, and here and there a strip of woodland, as yet sparsely decked with its new-found leaves. Directly ahead were the Narrows, with the frowning heights on either hand; while a white, glittering line on the horizon without, and the long, undulating swell, heaving in through the streight, betokened our near approach to the ocean. A few sails flashed in the distance. All was still, beautiful, and serene. Occasionally, however, the measured sound of oars would give token of a passing fishing boat, or a snatch of a drinking song would float from some craft idly anchored in the stream. A few gulls screamed overhead. A flock of smaller water-fowl wheeled and settled on a strip of white, sandy beach just outside the Narrows. The surf broke with a hollow roar, in a long line of foam, along the neighboring coast; while out on the sea-board hung a dim haze, undulating slowly beneath the sun’s rays as he rose, blood-red, in the eastern horizon.
“A fine breeze for our first day’s cruize,” said Westbrook, “and, faith, a deuce of a one it will be, if we should happen to be caught by one of King George’s frigates, and either be strung up for rebels at the yard arm, or stifled to death in one of his cursed prison hulks. What think you of the prospect, comrades, isn’t it pleasant?”
“Pleasant do ye call it?” said Patrick O’Shaughnessy, a reefer of about my own age, who was a dangerously late emigrant to the colony, “shure, and it is rayther at my father’s hearth I would be, in dear, ould Ireland, afther all, if we’re to be thrated as rebels the day.”
“Your father’s hearth, Pat,” said Westbrook, “and do you really mean to say that they have such things in Galway, or wherever else it was that you were suffered to eat potatoes in ignorance, until your guardians brought you out here on a speculation.”
“By St. Patrick, your head must be hard,” said the irritated reefer, “and it’s well that my shillelah isn’t on the wrist—”
“Pshaw! now you’re not angry, comrade mine,” said Westbrook, laughing good-humoredly, but repenting already of his reckless speech, “come, we’ve got a long cruize before us, and we shall have enough of quarrels with those rascally British, without getting up any among ourselves,” and he frankly extended his hand.
“Shure, and it’s a gentleman ye are, Misther Westbrook, and I’d like to see the spalpeen that says ye aint,” said O’Shaughnessy, grasping the proffered hand, and shaking it heartily.
“Yonder are the white caps of the Atlantic, rolling ahead,” said I, as we stretched past Sandy Hook, and beheld the broad ocean opening in all its vastness and sublimity before us.
We were now fairly afloat. At that time the enterprise in which we had embarked was one of the greatest danger, for not only were we liable to the usual dangers of nautical warfare, but we were, as yet, uncertain in what manner we should be treated in case of a capture. But we were all confident in the justness of our country’s cause, and being such, we were prepared for either fortune.
Nearly a week elapsed without anything occurring to dissipate the monotony of our voyage, excepting a momentary alarm at the appearance of a frigate, which we at first took to be an English one, but which subsequently turned out to be a Frenchman. Meanwhile, we were not without many a merry bout in the gun-room, and over our salt junk and Jamaica, we enjoyed ourselves as hilariously as many an epicure would over his Burgundy and turtle-soup. The jest went round; the song was gaily trolled; many a merry story was rehearsed, and anticipations of a successful cruize were mingled with determinations to bear the worst, if fortune should so will it. Under the broad flag of New York, we were resolved “to do or die,” against the prouder ensign of an unjust, and tyrannical king.
We had run down well nigh to the Windward islands, and were beating up against a head wind, when we spoke a French merchantman, who informed us that he had passed a rich Indiaman, but the day before, bound from London to Jamaica. After enquiring the course of the Englishman, our skipper hauled his wind, and bidding the friendly Gaul, “un bon voyage,” we steered away in pursuit of our prize. Night settled down upon us before we caught sight of her; but still crowding on all sail we kept on in our way.
It was about eight bells in the middle watch, and I was on the point of preparing to go below, after the relief should have been called, when I thought I heard a rattling of cordage down in the thick bank of fog to leeward. I listened attentively, and again heard the sound distinctly, but this time it was like the rollicking of oars.
“Hist! Benson,” said I to the boatswain, who was standing near me at the moment, “hist! lay your ear close to the water here, and listen if you do not hear the sound of oars.”
The old fellow got into the main chains, and holding on with one hand to them, cautiously leaned over and listened for several minutes.
“I hear nothing, sir,” said he in a whisper, “it’s as still as death down in yonder fog-bank. But I’ll keep a sharp look-out, for it may be there’s a sail close on to us, without our knowing it, in this mist.”
The night had been intensely dark, but was now breaking away overhead, where a few stars could be seen twinkling on the patches of half-hid azure sky. All round the horizon, however, but especially to leeward, hung a dark, massy curtain of mist, shrouding everything on the sea-board in impenetrable obscurity, and, like piled up fleeces, laying thick and palpable upon the immediate surface of the ocean, but gradually becoming thinner and lighter as it ascended upwards, until it finally terminated in a thin, gauze-like haze, almost obscuring the stars on the mid heaven above. So dense was the mist in our immediate vicinity, that the man at the helm could not discern the end of the bowsprit; while the upper yards of the brigantine looked like shadowy lines in the gloom. Occasionally, the light breeze would undulate the fog, lifting it for a moment from the water, and disclosing to our sight a few fathoms of the unruffled sea around us; but before a minute had passed the vapors would again settle in fantastic wreaths upon the face of the deep, wrapping us once more in the profoundest obscurity. Not a sound was heard except the occasional rubbing of the boom, the sullen flap of a sail, or the low ripple of the swell under our cut-water, as we stole noiselessly along in the impenetrable gloom. The tread of one of the watch, or the sudden thrashing of a reef-point against the sail, broke on the ear with startling distinctness. Suddenly I heard a noise as of a stifled cry coming up out of the thick fog to leeward, from a spot apparently a few points more on our quarter than the last sound. The boatswain heard it also, and turning quickly to me, he said—
“There’s something wrong there, Mr. Parker, or my name isn’t Jack Benson. And look—don’t you see a ship’s royal through the fog there—just over that gun—that shadowy object, like a whiff of tobacco-smoke, down here to the right, is what I mean.”
“By heavens! you are right—and—see!—yonder comes her fore-top-mast, rising above the undulating mist.”
“Ship ahoy!” hailed the second lieutenant, at that moment appearing on deck, and listening to my report, “what craft is that?”
The hoarse summons sailed down to leeward, like the wailing of some melancholy spirit, but no answer was returned. A couple of minutes elapsed.
“Ship ah—o—o—y!” sung out the officer again, “answer, or I’ll fire into you—this is the Fire-Fly, an armed vessel of the free state of New York.”
“We are a merchantman, belonging to Philadelphia,” answered a gruff voice in reply.
“Send your boat on board.”
“We can’t,” answered the same voice, “for one of them was washed overboard, three days ago, in a gale, and the other one was swamped.”
At this instant, one of those sudden puffs of wind, to which I have already alluded, momentarily swept away the fog from around the approaching ship, and we beheld, to our astonishment, that her sails had been backed, and that she was slowly falling astern of us, as if with the intention of slipping across our wake, and going off to windward.
“Fill away again, there,” thundered the lieutenant, perceiving their manœuvre, “or I’ll fire on you—fill away, I say.”
“By the holy aposthles,” said O’Shaughnessy at this moment, “isn’t there a schooner’s mast, on the lee-quarter of the fellow—yes—there it is—see?”
Every eye was instantly turned in the direction to which he had pointed. A single glance established the keenness of his vision. Right under the weather quarter of the merchantman, might be seen the mast of apparently a small schooner. The sails were down, and only the bare stick could be discerned; but the whole truth flashed upon us as if with the rapidity of lightning.
“The ship is in the hands of pirates,” I exclaimed involuntarily, “God help the poor wretches who compose her crew.”
“Boarders ahoy!” sung out the voice of the captain, breaking, like a trumpet-call, upon the momentary silence of the horror-struck crew, “muster on the forecastle, all—up with the helm, quarter-master—ready to grapple there—heave,” and the huge irons, as we bore down upon the ship, went crashing among her hamper.
The instant that discovered the true nature of our position, worked a change in the whole appearance of the merchantman. Her deserted decks swarmed with men; her silence gave place to shouts, oaths, and the clashing of arms; and after a momentary confusion, we saw, in the obscurity, a dark group of ruffians clustered on the forecastle, awaiting our attack.
“Boarders ahoy!” again shouted Captain Stuart, brandishing his sword on high, “follow me,” and springing into the fore-rigging of the merchantman, he levelled a pistol at the first pirate attempting to oppose him, and followed by a score, and more, of hardy tars, rushed, the next instant, down upon her decks.
“Stand to your posts, my men,” thundered the pirate captain, as he stood by the main-mast, surrounded by his swarthy followers, “stand to your posts, and remember, you fight for your lives—come on,” and drawing a pistol from his belt, he levelled it at the first lieutenant, who, pressing on, aside of Captain Stuart, received the ball in his side, and fell, apparently, lifeless on the deck.
“Revenge! Revenge!” thundered the Captain, turning to cheer on his men, “sweep the miscreants from the deck, on—on,” and waving his sword aloft, he dashed into the fray. The men answered by a cheer, and bore down upon the pirates with an impetuosity, doubly more vehement from their desire to avenge the fallen lieutenant.
For full five minutes the contest was terrific. Desperation lent additional vigor to the freebooters’ muscles, while our own men were inflamed to madness by the fall of Lennox. I had never been in a conflict of any kind whatever before, and for the first few moments—I will not hesitate to own it—a strange whirling sensation, akin to fear, swept through my brain. But a half a minute had not passed before it had vanished; and I felt a wild tumultuous excitement which seemed to endow me with the strength of a Hercules. I lost all sight of the turmoil around me. I could only see that it had become a general mêleé, in which personal prowess was of more importance than discipline. I heard a wild mingling of oaths, shouts, cries for mercy, the clashing of arms, the explosion of pistols, the shrieks of the wounded, and the fierce tramping of men struggling together in the last stage of mortal combat. But I had no time for more detailed observations. A giant ruffian singling me out from the crowd, rushed upon me with uplifted cutlass, and the next instant I would have been clove in twain, had I not caught the blow upon my blade. But so tremendous was its force that it splintered my trusty steel to fragments, and sent a shock through every nerve of my system. I staggered. But not a moment was to be lost. Already the gigantic arm of the pirate was raised on high. Happily my pistols were both as yet untouched. Springing back a step or two I jerked one from my belt, levelled it at his brain, and fired. He whirled around as if intoxicated, staggered, would have caught at the mast for support, and fell over dead upon the deck.
But I had no leisure to regard my fallen foe. The contest still raged around me fiercer than ever. On our side of the ship, however, the pirates had broken, and were retreating slowly and doggedly toward the stern. We pressed on hotly in pursuit, while shouts, curses, and huzzas, the groans of the dying, and the fierce rattling of cutlasses, formed a tumult around us of stirring excitement; but just as I rushed past the gangway, followed by a few of the bravest of our crew, a wild, long, thrilling scream from the cabin below, rose up over all the uproar of the conflict. It could come from no one but a woman—that prolonged cry of mortal agony! In an instant the retreating pirates were forgotten; I thought only of the danger of the sufferer below. Dashing aside, with the power of a giant, a brawny ruffian who would have impeded my progress, I sprang, at one leap, half way down the gangway, and with another stride found myself in the cabin of the ship.
Never shall I forget the scene that there met my eyes.
The apartment in which I stood was elegantly, even luxuriously furnished, presenting the appearance rather of a sumptuous drawing-room, than of a merchantman’s cabin. The state-rooms were of mahogany, elegantly inlaid with ebony. A service of silver and rich cut glass was ranged in the beaufut around the mast. Silken ottomans stretched along the sides of the room; a silver lamp of exquisite workmanship, depended from the ceiling; and a carpet of gorgeous pattern, and of the finest quality, covered the floor. But not a solitary individual was to be seen. A lady’s guitar, however, lay carelessly on one of the ottomans, and a few books were scattered around it in easy negligence. Could I be deceived with this corroborative testimony? Yet where was the owner of these little trifles? These reflections did not, however, occupy an instant; for I had scarcely finished a rapid survey of the cabin before another, and another shriek, ringing out just before me, roused every emotion of my heart to an uncontrollable fury. Catching sight of an undulating curtain at the farther end of the apartment, which I had imagined was only the drapery of the windows, I darted forward, and lifting up the damask, started back in horror at the sight that met my eyes.
This after cabin was smaller, and even more luxuriously fitted up than the other. But I did not remark this, at the time, for such a scene as I then witnessed, God grant I may never be called to look upon again.
As I pushed aside the curtain, three swarthy, olive-complexioned ruffians, dressed with more elaboration than any of their comrades I had yet seen, turned hastily around as if interrupted in some infamous deed, scowling upon me with the looks of demons. It needed but a glance to detect their fiendish work. A well dressed elderly man was extended at their feet, weltering in his blood. On an ottoman before them half lying, half sitting, was one of the fairest beings I had ever seen, her night dress disordered, her frame trembling, and her hair, wild and dishevelled, hanging in loose tresses from her shoulders. Her hands were covered in one or two places with blood; her eyes were wild; her face was flushed; and she panted as one does whose strength has been nearly overtasked in a desperate struggle. Never shall I forget the unutterable agony depicted on that countenance when I first entered; never shall I forget the lightning-like change which came over it as her eye fell upon me. Rushing frantically forward, while joy beamed in every feature of her face, she flung herself into my arms, shrieking hysterically,
“Oh! save me—save me—for the love of your mother, save me.”
My sudden appearance had startled the three ruffians, and for a moment they stood idle, suffering her to dart between them; but at the sound of her voice, they rushed as one man upon me. The odds were fearful, but I felt, at that instant, as if I could have dared heaven and earth in behalf of that suffering maiden. Clasping my arm around her waist, and retreating hastily into the other cabin, I shouted aloud for aid, parrying, with a cutlass I picked up at random, the attack of the miscreants. But the attempt was desperation itself. Already I had received two cuts across my arm, and I could scarcely hold my weapon in it, when the foremost ruffian, leaving my death, as he thought, to his comrades, laid his unholy hand once more upon the maiden. Good God! I thought my heart would have burst at this new insult. My determination was quicker than the electric spark of heaven. Hastily releasing the lovely burden from my hold, I seized my remaining pistol with the disengaged hand, and before the villain could perceive my purpose planted it against his face and fired. The brains spattered the ceiling, and even fell upon my own face and arm. But the miscreant was dead. Oh, the joy, the rapture of that moment! I heard, too, as the report subsided, the death-groan of another of the ruffians falling beneath the avenging cutlass of our men, who now, victorious on deck, came pouring down the hatchway. In another instant, as a shout of victory rang through the cabin, I had raised the almost senseless girl from the floor. She looked eagerly into my face, gazed wildly around, uttered a cry of joy, and convulsively clinging to me, as if for shelter, buried her head upon my bosom, and burst into a passion of hysteric tears.
The emotions of that moment were such as I had never deemed mortal being capable of experiencing. Feelings I cannot even now describe whirled through me, until my brain seemed almost to spin around in a delirium of joy. Yet there was a holiness in my emotions, far, far different from the common sensations of pleasure. I felt—I knew not how—a sudden interest in the fair being, sobbing convulsively upon my shoulder, which made her already seem dearer to me than life itself. I pressed her involuntarily to me; but a mother could not have done so with more purity to a new-born infant. Her sobs melted me so that I could scarcely keep my own eyes dry.
“God bless you, my poor, sweet girl,” I said in a husky voice, “you are among friends now.”
The tone, the words went to her very heart; she clasped me convulsively again, and burst into a fresh flood of tears. Poor dove! she had just escaped from the hands of the spoiler, and fluttered, as yet, involuntarily on her rescuer’s bosom.
“God—in—hea—ven—bless you,” she murmured, betwixt her sobs, after a while, raising her tearful countenance from my shoulder, and looking upon me with eyes, whose depth, and whose gratitude I had never seen equalled—“God—bless—you, sir, for this act. Oh! if a life of prayers for your welfare can repay you,” she continued, with uplifted hands, and a countenance, which, in despite of its earnestness, was crimsoned with blushes, “it shall be freely given by me. But my uncle! my poor uncle! alas! they have murdered him,” and she covered her eyes with her hands, as if to shut out the fearful sight.
“Say nothing, my dear girl,” said I, the tears standing in my own eyes, “all are friends around you now. The ship has been rescued—the pirates are no more. Compose yourself—none here will harm you—your slightest wish shall be attended to, and you shall be served with the purity with which we serve a saint. Do not thus give way to grief—let me insist on your retiring—here is your maid,” said I, as the trembling creature emerged from a state-room, in which she had locked herself when her mistress was in danger, “a little rest will compose you.”
“Oh! my uncle, my more than parent—heaven bless you,” sobbed the beautiful, but still agitated girl, as she suffered herself to be led away by her little less agitated maid.
The prize turned out to be the British West-Indiaman, which had been surprised by pirates about a quarter of an hour before we hailed her. The beautiful being and her uncle were the only passengers. It is needless to say that very few of the ruffians survived the conflict, and that those who did were tried summarily by a court-martial the next day, and hung at the ship’s yard-arm. Their little schooner, or rather oyster-boat, was scuttled and sunk.
The wounds in my arm proved serious, though not dangerous, but they did not disable me from continuing on duty. I would willingly have lost the limb in such a holy cause.
The first appearance on deck of Beatrice Derwent—for such was the name of her I rescued—was at the burial of her uncle on the evening succeeding the re-capture of the ship. She appeared, leaning on the arm of her maid, and as her eye, just lifted for one moment from the deck, happened to catch mine, her face became suffused with crimson, and such a look of gratitude toward the living, combined with grief for the dead, flashed over her countenance as I never saw equalled. But in another moment her eyes dropped once more on the corpse, and I saw, by the convulsive heaving of her bosom, how fearful was her grief. When the corpse was launched into the deep, her sorrow broke all the restraint of custom, and she sobbed aloud. Directly, however, they subsided partially; and as she turned to re-enter the cabin, the last rays of the setting sun, gilding the mast-head with a crown of glory, and glittering along the surface of the deep, lingered a moment on her sunny hair, like the smile of the departed spirit.
The prize meantime, proving to be richly laden, was allotted to me to conduct into port, as the first lieutenant’s wound prevented him from assuming the command, and the second lieutenant chose rather to remain with the brigantine. Beatrice Derwent was, as a matter of course, to continue on board the merchantman. Thus did destiny again link my fate with this lovely creature, and by one of those simple accidents which so often occur, open for me a train of events, whose transaction it is my purpose to detail in the following crude autobiography.
The sensations with which I watched the receding brigantine, after assuming my new command, and hauling up on our course, may well be imagined. Scarcely a fortnight had elapsed since I first launched on the deep, a nameless, unknown, irresponsible midshipman; and now, by one of fortune’s wildest freaks, I was commanding a prize of untold value, and become the protector of the loveliest of her sex.
“There’s a divinity that shapes our fortunes,
Rough hew them as we will.”
It was not till the third day after parting company with the brigantine, that Miss Derwent, with her maid, appeared once more upon the deck. The shock of her uncle’s death had brought on an illness, which confined her during that time to the cabin; and even now, there was a languor in her fine countenance, and a melancholy in her dark eye, which, though they added to the interest of her appearance, betokened the acuteness of her grief. She was attired in a dark silken dress; her hair was plainly braided back, and she wore no ornaments of any kind whatever. Rarely had I beheld a vision of such surpassing loveliness. I stepped forward to assist her to a seat. She smiled faintly, her eyes sparkled a moment, and then a deep blush shot across her saddened features. But I will not detail the scene that ensued. Suffice it to say that, from that moment I loved Beatrice; and that though she had not bid me hope, there was nothing in her conduct to bid me despair.
BY WILLIS G. CLARK.
Sweet Sabbath! to my ear,
Thy bells, with mingling tone,
Tell of the distant and the dear
In yon far blue unknown.
Of happier days they tell,
When o’er the vernal ground,
Fairer than Ocean’s richest shell,
Young Nature breathed around:
When Hope, as at a shrine,
To Fancy poured her lay,
And hues, inspiring and divine,
Painted the live-long day.
Sweet bells! They have a voice,
Lost to the usual air,
Which bids the sorrowing heart rejoice,
Though life no more be fair.
Though dust to dust has gone,
They speak of brighter hours,
When Memory, as from a throne,
Surveyed her paths of flowers.
Of sunny spots, where Love
Unfurled his purple wings,
And filled the spirit and the grove
With glorious offerings!
A SEA SCENE.
BY ROBERT MORRIS.
The world is hushed and still, save where the sea
Against the rock-bound shore, in monster glee
Rushes and roars, and far along the coast,
In solemn thunders o’er the loved and lost
A constant requiem pours. Above—beyond—
No glimmering light is seen! No cheerful sound
Steals from the distance. Not a lonely star
Gleams from the dim, mysterious depths afar,
To win the eye, and, like a spirit chart,
To chase the sadness from the sea-boy’s heart.
His craft is small and frail—the waves are high—
And fresh and chill the wild breeze whistles by!
On, madly, blindly, rushes his slight sail,
An arrow winged before the maddened gale.
His heart is stout and firm; his messmates true,
Will, at his call, their hopeless toil renew!
But hark! that peal! Old ocean reels and rings,
While wilder still, the poor craft bends and springs;
And see yon flash—like lava from the sky
Poured rashly out by some dread hand on High,
And dealing death to those unfit to die!
Again—again! And mingling with the sea
The frail thing sinks and mounts. Eternity
Now yawns at every plunge, and each strong wave
Seems hurrying on to some cold ocean grave!
Now lost to view—now soaring with the swell—
Ah! who the thoughts of that pale crew may tell!
How radiant, Home, must seem thy beauties now!
How far thy low roof from that vessel’s prow!
How angel-like fond features, sunny eyes,
Rise o’er the waves in memory’s paradise!
Sweet gentle words are heard amid the storm,
And hands are clasped, whose blood flows fast and warm.
The future breaks upon the mental sight,
And Hope’s eternal watch-fire gives it light!
The soul again is nerved—the storm rolls on—
Morn breaks, and with it comes the welcome sun,
And though, as yet, no land salutes the eye,
Some tropic bird comes wheeling gaily by;
The air seems sweeter, and the ocean’s foam
Looks fresher, brighter, and reminds of home!
Oh! who may paint the rapture of that hour—
The peril past, the breeze, with fresh’ning power,
Filling the out-spread canvass! Who may tell
The wild emotions that each bosom swell,
As the glad morrow dawns upon the soul;
And feeling’s fountain bursts beyond control—
As welcome voices greet, or lip to lip,
In speechless joy, the heart’s companionship—
Is mutely told—or, as in some fair face
A gentler, deeper, thought of love we trace,
And mark with joy the chosen one’s embrace!
THE SYRIAN LETTERS.
WRITTEN FROM DAMASCUS, BY SERVILIUS PRISCUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, TO HIS KINSMAN, CORNELIUS DRUSUS, RESIDING AT ATHENS, AND BUT NOW TRANSLATED.
Servilius to Cornelius—Greeting:
How cheering it is, my dear Cornelius, after a long and perilous voyage, and the fearful pitchings of a frail vessel, to feel your accustomed security of footstep, and trace in the wide plains and lofty mountains the varying forms of nature’s loveliness, doubly enchanting after a temporary separation. Such were my emotions after landing on the shore of Berytus, heightened by the delightful and unexpected surprise of meeting an old friend in a strange land.
Sulpicius behaved toward us in the most elegant and hospitable manner, and so swiftly did the interval between arrival and departure fly, that the scene of parting salutation was in sad contrast with the joy of our first greeting. But as I have revived these recollections, let me give a hasty sketch of what passed on the second evening of our landing. Having gathered around the tables to the evening repast, cheerfulness reigned triumphant. Tossed for days upon the whirling waters, we were now in conscious security gaily, assembled in the harmonious circle, with not a care to distract, and every reasonable pleasure to elevate. The music ceasing, Lactantius observed he was sure he had heard that strain before, he thought, when off the coast of Cyprus.
“Yes,” I replied, with a smile, “Lactantius you are right, I also heard it.”
“Ah!” said he, “I believed every eye had been closed in sleep. It was my custom at the dead hour of night, that time so fruitful of meditation and of better thoughts—when silence reigns and unarmed repose throws her soft mantle over every living thing; and the air robbed of its noon day heat grows cool and balmy, to order before me the events of the day, and mark wherein I had done amiss. Pardon me, Lactantius, this was not all, have I not heard you, on more than one occasion, breathe passages not of poetry only, but of bright description and solid thought? Come, I call upon you, in the name of those around, should you approve, to narrate the story of our voyage.”
“Yes! a good thought,” they cried. “And interweave,” says Marcus, “as much poetry in the narration as you are wont.”
“Stay,” cries Sulpicius, “if you mean by poetry, play of fancy, at the expense of geography, I should heartily prefer the unpainted narrative, for how is it that travellers love the wonderful so much, and delight to make the storms more dangerous, the mountains higher, and the valleys greener than nature ever made them?”
“Such Sulpicius, is not my meaning,” rejoined Marcus, “but only that one so competent to color nature as she should be colored, should perform the task, and who, if he but wave the gay wand of fancy, may bring before you every hill in its greenness, and temple in its sculptured whiteness, so that you might almost believe you saw them on the painter’s easel, or starting up in beautiful reality at your feet.”
“Stop Marcus, the subject of this undeserved eulogy is present, and if you say another word I shall hesitate whether to begin, since our friends may form expectations which cannot be realised.”
With this he described the whole course of our voyage, from our embarkation at Constantinople to our landing at Berytus, its perils and its pleasures: the countries we saw, the cities we visited, in that full and flowing style for which he is so celebrated. At one moment he would bring so faithfully to our eye, the terrors of that night on which we were so near engulphed, that the shudder of fancied danger shot through our veins, and the billows almost seemed to toss us, so vividly can a master’s hand summon up an image of those horrors one has but lately passed through. Indeed at one part of the recital, Fortunatus who was present, uttered a smothered cry to the sailors, as if he was again acting the part of a commander upon his ship. At this strange ejaculation, notwithstanding the exciting story, we could not repress our laughter; Lactantius himself joining in the general merriment. When he began to describe the different cities we had entered, he used considerable action, and so clearly did he bring the representation to our view that in pointing, as if to the real object, we instinctively followed with our eyes the motion of his fingers, as it were, in expectation that the rising walls of some palace, or the rich scenery of some wooded valley, would meet our gaze. Such is that silent homage which we unknowingly pay to eloquent genius.
When he had finished, some expression of pleasure or admiration burst from every tongue, and Sulpicius ordered us to fill our glasses to Lactantius, accompanying this token of friendship with other marks of high wrought satisfaction, such as he displays only on those occasions, when his feelings are strongly enlisted in the object of them.
“Lactantius,” he remarked, “having always at my elbow a ready scribe, who, committing to parchment with the most wonderful facility all that falls from the lips of those distinguished men from Rome, Constantinople, or other great cities, who in their travels may chance to honor me with a visit, I have been enabled to accumulate a rich collection, over which, whether as memorials of genius or of friendship, I linger, whenever I peruse them, with fresh delight. This day’s conversation, as it fell from your lips, is already deposited on the precious pile.”
Here I perceived an uneasy play upon the features of my friend; as I quickly traced the cause, for it was none other than his retiring diffidence, I felt anxious to change the topic of our conversation. The announcement of a stranger’s name, repeated, however, in so low a tone that I did not hear it, diverted the attention of the company. Entering, he walked toward the couch of Sulpicius, and we were all struck, at the first glance, with his commanding air and dignified deportment. An ample forehead, dark and piercing eye, and venerable beard, that sported with by a passing wind, carelessly floated about the graceful folds of his tunic, elicited instantaneous respect.
“I come,” he said, addressing himself to Sulpicius, “to seek the great Lactantius, and understanding he was present, took the liberty of entering without ceremony.” Sulpicius with this, rose, kindly welcomed and invited him to join us at the tables, but politely refusing, he continued,—“I come to consult him upon a subject which I hold to be entitled to the friendly countenance of every lover of generosity and toleration, be he of whatever faith.”
With this Lactantius arose and joined him, and as he clasped his hand, there seemed so much Christian sincerity in his manner, that a tear sparkled in the eye of the stranger, but it passed away, and his settled demeanor was resumed. When they had left, a hundred conjectures sprang up, as to what might be the object of this interview. But Sulpicius informed us he was an eminent citizen of Berytus, that he had held a responsible office under one of the last Emperors, embracing, however, the creed of that new sect called Christians, he fell into disgrace, and stood in jeopardy of his life, but was saved through the earnest intercession of an influential friend residing at Baalbec, and a solemn promise to retire into distant and perpetual banishment. Upon the death of the Emperor he returned from exile, and would have been re-instated in all his former dignities, but tiring of the turmoil of public life he preferred the quiet of retirement, and the peaceful enjoyment of domestic bliss. But you have not given us, observed Valerius, your conjecture of the object of his visit, nor the name of that worthy citizen whose intervention was so happy in its results. The object of the interview is doubtless to arouse the feelings, or invoke the powerful aid of Lactantius in the establishment of a Christian Colony, or perhaps in the building of some Christian temple, since Constantine has proved so munificent in the erection of the most gorgeous edifices to the Christian’s God. The name of the citizen whose good offices were so fortunate, was Æmelianus of Heliopolis. When this name was mentioned, I noticed that the countenance of Lucretia became pale, and her lip was compressed, as if in the suppression of some hidden emotion, but its cause I was not able to divine.
The sun upon the following day shining through the windows’ tapestry, awoke me by his reddening beams, and warned me to rise and behold the grandeur at my feet. Throwing the lattice open, I beheld a panorama unequalled in sublimity and beauty by any thing I had ever seen. Berytus stretched away below me, sparkling with shining domes, glistening house tops, and here and there arose some marble monumental pillar, or an obelisk, commemorative of some signal event, which, peeping from their encircling grove, appeared to rest upon its summit like flakes of freshly fallen snow. Beyond the city lay the ocean, with many a sail, but dimly visible upon its heaving bosom; behind me rose, towering and precipitous, eternal Lebanon, bathed in a flood of various lights, like a vestment dyed with many colors, and the pines which crown its heights, spreading their fringy leaves against the clouds, borrowed all their hues.
With nature clothed in gladness, and the scented freshness of the morning air, filled with the warbling of birds, you may entertain surprise when I tell you, that my feelings were those of sadness, for I reflected that this great city must, in its turn, as other cities have, either sink into insignificance, or become much diminished in splendor, and its thousands of busy people, with the unerring certainty of the rising sun, be gathered generation after generation, to their fathers, while the hoary mountain at whose base it lay, would through all time raise its head in haughty glory. How vain to boast of immortality, how vain to live solely for ambition’s sake, when the fame of the hero rests upon the mercy of a parchment, or the treacherous reliance of tradition. A convulsion of the earth may overthrow a temple, the pride of centuries, the boast of a nation—a spark consume a city, and time’s wasting finger in the interval of but a few years, destroy the golden record of genius, however perpetuated, so that the celebrity of the orator, and the works of the poet, shall have but a flickering existence, and finally shall perish from the recollection of their countrymen.
The morning of our departure being now at hand, we began our journey from Berytus, through Baalbec to Damascus, and as it lay through a rocky region, we knew it would be rough and wearisome, but when we remembered the grandeur of nature, the mountains, valleys, forests, temples, palaces, we should behold, we trusted we would be able to drive away fatigue.
Among those who performed the journey with us, were Lactantius, Marcus, and Valerius; also Cornelia, and Placidia, the daughter of Lucius Sergius, and their kinswoman Lucretia.
Lucius having purchased a chariot, the ladies accompanied him by another route, the rest of us having bought chargers at the market place of Berytus, well accustomed to the rocky pathway, determined to travel by the via Antoniana, cut at some spots into the solid rock, through the liberality of Antoninus, who has left in this country endless works of art, which I hope may remain imperishable monuments to his genius, generosity, and enterprise. The journey from Berytus to Baalbec by this route is of more than a day—arduous and perilous—but as I said, the traveller finds an ample return for all his toil, in the awful sublimity of countless rocky peaks, which cap these hoary mountains with an imperishable crown. Rising into the clouds, they seem to bear the fleecy vapors upon their broad summits, while their terrible height obscures the morning sun, and for the while hides their base in impenetrable darkness, and even throws a gloom upon the troubled bosom of the ocean, which occasionally lashes their everlasting foundations in its fury. Ocean always in motion, mountains ever at rest, both as thou wert a thousand years ago—unchangeable! what a fruitful comment upon the perishable creations of man’s feeble arm.
Crossing the river Lycus, which having its birth among the purest fountains, and finding its channel in the hollow of a deep cleft of the mountains, shoots beneath your feet with impetuous dashings, we after a space arrived at the banks of the purple Adonis. You may remember it was near this river, that he, from whom it derives its name, came to his end. Many temples have been dedicated in these wild regions to the memory of Adonis, and to her who the poets tell us mourned so bitterly for his loss. Having passed over Lebanon, we fell upon luxuriant gardens; endless groves of olive trees; purpled vineyards; hill sides clad with trees laden with ripe fruit, that shining from their dark surrounding foliage, were bright with every tint of heaven, from the richest golden to the deeply blushing red. Such was this enchanting prospect, heightening in its beauty at each succeeding step, and when at last we came in full view of the great Baalbec, or as some call Heliopolis of Phenicia or of Assyria, built upon the level of a broad and verdant plain, and starting from among deep embosoming thickets, our admiration was irrepressible. High and conspicuous above the city walls rose that greatest temple of the world, the Temple of the Sun, now lit with his departing beams; and we could plainly trace its portico, its courts, and surrounding temples. In one spot a monument or an obelisk upreared itself, or the gilded dome of some Palace, shining like a Pharos above the dark enshrouding groves.
Having approached the northern gate of the city, we were obliged to pass through established ceremonies ere we secured an entrance. This enabled me to examine the beautiful architecture of this noble portal. Four Corinthian pillars upon an elevated basement, supported a heavy architrave, with niches between their intercolumniations, filled with two statues, one representing the founder of the city, King Solomon in royal robes, the other Sheba. In the centre hung a lofty brazen gate, covered with massive mouldings cast in brass, one I recollect much resembling that upon the great shield in the temple of Mars at Constantinople. So weighty was this structure, that it must have proved a labor of years to construct it, as it surely would one almost of months to batter it down. It looked impenetrable. On beholding this gate, I could not but fancy it opened into some new region, that when drawn aside, I should be presented with a scene novel and wonderful. Directly the immense mass began to yield, and the harsh rattling of its bars and chains, and the low rumbling of its enormous hinges, reminded me of distant, deep mouthed thunder. Its ponderous folds were now fully opened to admit us, and the issue realised what fancy had portrayed, for an exhibition of the gayest kind was passing before us. Young and ardent charioteers in streaming and many colored robes, and mounted upon chariots, richly inlaid with sparkling gems and gold, were driving their highly mettled coursers in various directions, through the broad and noble avenues, some of which seemed to terminate at this northern gate. So rapid and complicated were the movements of these young votaries, that it was matter of wonder to me they did not come in dreadful conflict. Others on prancing steeds were displaying their gallant horsemanship. Here you saw a gathering group of youthful citizens at some athletic sport, and there a little knot of philosophers, who may be readily distinguished by their long mantles, grave countenances, and earnest conversation, as if in the hot discussion of some exciting topic. You may have noticed after an attendance at the theatre for hours, with nothing to fix your wandering gaze, except the curtain of the Proscenium, how gladly you have hailed the lifting of it, revealing the actors in full dress, and all the dazzling arrangements of the Drama. Such were my sensations at this moment. Asking for the house of a kinsman of Sergius, some friendly citizen informed us he had just left him at the baths, but that he had perhaps returned, and he would conduct us to his mansion. Arriving there, we found the owner at his hall of entrance, when instantly recognising Sergius, he pressed us immediately to dismount, else, as he alleged, we would violate the customs of Heliopolis. Not choosing at the very first, to violate so hospitable a custom, we cheerfully entered the splendid mansion, and as gladly were we received. Having assembled in the Hall, after the freshening influences of the bath, we were greeted by a number of distinguished citizens, who, were invited to meet us, as eminent Romans upon our journey through Syria. Under such favorable auspices though wholly undeserved as they respect your friend Servilius, it was not long ere we cemented a friendship. “Highly welcome!” exclaimed Mobilius, (for this was his title,) upon his first acquaintance, for on such good terms did he seem to be with himself and those around him. “Highly welcome to Baalbec, but this you will not find a very Christian spot, while these priests of Heliopolitan Jove are so numerous: Is it true,” he continued in the same breath, “and you must bring the latest news, that Constantine intends to close our temples, and convert them into others, for the observance of the rites of this new sect called Christians?”
“There was such a rumor my friend,” replied Lactantius, “but of its truth I cannot speak, would it were correct.”
At this, his eye flashed and I plainly saw, he was a true convert to the worship of the sun.
“You would not speak thus,” he said, “had you ever witnessed the splendid ceremonies of our religion,” and whispering to him as if bestowing a peculiar mark of confidence, “you shall if you wish from a secret undiscoverable nook, see all,” and darting a quick enquiring glance, he added in the same low whisper, though distinct enough to be heard by me, “you may be a convert.”
“I will behold the spectacle,” was Lactantius’ brief reply. I doubted not but that this great warrior in a self denying cause, had in this ready compliance, some wise purpose, possibly, to persuade this youthful votary of the danger of his faith, or to convert him to his own: and such I believed was partly Mobilius’ design, so I felt there would be no difficulty in securing a share of this undiscoverable nook, for I was eager to witness these strange ceremonies. But I have exhausted my parchment, and I fear your patience, so I shall reserve my account until the next epistle, which I hope may find you as I trust this does in continued prosperity and health. Farewell.
Philadelphia, December, 1840.
BY MRS. CATHARINE H. W. ESLING.
The bland winds whisper it at every breath,
And thou art mine—
Mine thro’ all changes—mine alone till death.
Years will pass by,
And write their records upon either’s brow,
Will dim the eye,
But alter not one heart pulse beating now.
Changes will come,
And the light foot, less lightly tread the ground,
The gentle hum
Of voices, will have lost their softest sound.
And clinging ties
Will be dissever’d—from the household band
Some may arise
To the bright mansions in the “Happy Land.”
In all their youth,
The sunny gladness of their early years,
To realms of truth
Their spotless souls soar from “the vale of tears.”
Strong links may break,
Links that are twined around the inmost heart,
And dreamers, wake
To see their sand-built fabrics slowly part.
But thou wilt be,
Even as the oak, in all thy strength and pride,
An unscath’d tree,
While I, the Ivy, cling thy form beside.
And when we leave
The sunny paths of youth, where flowers grew bright
We will not grieve
That our brief morning hid its beams in night.
Edging each cloud,
Hope’s silver ray shall light us near and far,
No darken’d shroud
Can hide from us love’s ever-burning star.
Like noon’s sweet close
Before the shades of eve grow dim and dark,
When flowers repose,
And angels’ eyes day’s slow departure mark.
Like that, shall seem
Our parting from this world of earthly bloom,
And life’s calm stream,
Shall gently lave us as we near the tomb.
The bland winds whisper it at every breath,
And thou art mine—
Mine thro’ all changes—mine alone till death.
Philadelphia, December, 1840.
OR, FIRST AND LAST LOVE.
“What a beautiful creature Clara Fletcher is!” exclaimed Mr. Tressayle.
“Beautiful!” replied the lady by whom he stood, tossing her head disdainfully, “why la!” and she raised her glass to her eye, “I think she’s positively plain looking.”
“Beautiful indeed!” echoed her mamma, a fat, vulgar looking woman, the flaunting colors of whose dress, betrayed her character at once, “why now, I do say, Mr. Tressayle, it’s astonishing—it is—how a gentleman of such tone as you, should think that pert Miss Fletcher any thing but common-like. Why do look at her hair now, I’d be bound she done it up herself—and then her dress, why that stuff,” said she, with a contemptuous curl of her lip, “couldn’t have cost a dollar a yard. Do you think it could, Araminta, my dear?”
Mr. Tressayle was decidedly the most fashionable man at Saratoga. With a fine person, a handsome countenance, the most courtly manners, and more than all supposed to be possessed of a fortune as extensive as his establishment was fashionable, he was looked up to by all as the match of the season. The Belvilles, therefore, with whom he was now conversing, were not a little flattered by the attentions which he paid them. True they were the wealthiest family at the Springs; but then Mr. Belville had made his princely fortune as a distiller. Originally the keeper of a green-grocer’s shop, he had risen afterward into an obscure tavern-keeper, and from thence by slow gradations, he had become a wine-merchant, a distiller, a usurer, and a millionaire. Latterly, his lady, discarding the shop, and affecting to despise tradesmen’s wives, had set up for a woman of fashion, and nothing gave her, in her eyes, more importance than the attentions obviously paid by Mr. Tressayle to her only child, Araminta Melvina Belville, a long, scraggy young lady of about two-and-twenty, but who affected the manners of “sweet sixteen.” The devotion of Tressayle to such a being was indeed surprising to all who did not know how involved was his fortune.
What reply might have been made by Tressayle to this remark we know not, for his answer was cut short by the appearance of no less a personage than Mr. Belville.
“How are you, Tressayle, fine girls here, eh!” said this gentleman, slapping the young man somewhat familiarly on the shoulder, “deuced handsome gal that, just come in, and has fell heiress to a cool three hundred thousand. By Jove she’s a lucky thing to get the hunk of money old Snarler made in the East India trade.”
“Clara Fletcher heiress to Mr. Snarler!—you surprise me,” said Tressayle, “I thought he had sworn to cut off her mother, who was his sister, you know, and all her family with a shilling, merely for marrying Mr. Fletcher, who, though poor, was in every respect a gentleman.”
“Ay, so he did—so he did, but he died at last—d’ye see?—without a will,—and so Clara Fletcher, the only daughter of his only sister, cuts into his fortune fat.”
“It’s singular I never heard of this before,” said Tressayle, half musingly.
“Mamma, la! if I don’t think Mr. Tressayle has seen Miss Fletcher before,” whispered the daughter behind her fan; and then raising her voice and simpering and blushing as Tressayle looked down on overhearing her, she continued, “dear me, you haven’t been listening all the while, have you? But do tell, Mr. Tressayle, who is that young man talking with her?”
“I believe it is Mr. Rowley.”
“Gad is he the feller,” broke in Mr. Belville, “that published the poems so many people are cracking up? Why he isn’t much after all I guess. For my part I don’t see why some people get praised for writing poetry—it’s nothing—I could do it myself if I’d try,” said he, with a sneer. “I don’t think this Mr. Rowley a man of talent; no poet is.” And finishing his sentence with a supercilious look at the subject of his remarks, the ci-devant green-grocer, inflated with the consciousness of his wealth, thrust his fingers into his waistcoat pockets, and marched off to join another group.
“Why, my dear Miss Fletcher, how d’ye do?” said the shrill voice of Mrs. Belville, at this moment, as Mr. Rowley led his beautiful partner to a seat near the pretender to ton, “how have you been this age? Why how well you are looking. Laws me, and so you know Mr. Tressayle. Well now I do say how quiet you’ve all kept it.”
It was as Mrs. Belville said. Clara Fletcher had scarcely replied to the vulgar address of her neighbor by a distant though polite inclination of her head, before she caught the eyes of Tressayle fixed upon her with a look of mingled inquiry and delight, and as he bowed and stepped forward a slight blush passed over her beautiful cheek, and a scarcely perceptible tremor of the voice might have been detected in replying to his salutation.
That night mother and daughter held a long consultation, the result of which was, that Miss Fletcher might prove a formidable rival, and that therefore no arts were to be omitted to detach the fashionable and wealthy Mr. Tressayle from her suite.
Meanwhile, Tressayle reached his room, and throwing himself abstractedly into a large fautieul, sat for nearly an hour, with his face leaning on his hand. At length he started up, and pacing the room rapidly, exclaimed, as if continuing a train of thought,
“It is no use denying it, Clara Fletcher is far more beautiful than I ever dreamed she could be. Yes! and I once loved her,—at least I told her so. I wonder if she would refuse me now,” and he paused before the glass. “Pshaw! it is idle to think so. True, she is not more than half as wealthy as this inanimate little fool, Miss Belville; but, then, there is the vulgar mother, and coarse father of the latter. Clara has none of these. I never saw their vulgarity so plainly as I did to-night. Ah! I forgot, there is that coldness I showed to Clara when her other uncle disappointed every one’s expectations in omitting her in his will. I’m cursedly afraid she’s not forgotten it. But, then, how could one know she would ever become an heiress? It’s deucedly unlucky, now I think of it, that I never called on her in New York, after my return from Europe. But ‘faint heart never won fair lady;’ and, besides, if Clara ever loved me, as I really think she once did, it’s not so difficult a matter for Henry Tressayle to re-kindle that affection in her bosom. Besides, I’m really making a heroic sacrifice in giving up a fortune twice as large for my old flame.”
From that time Tressayle was almost ever at the side of the beautiful Clara Fletcher. He rode with her, sang with her, danced with her, promenaded with her, and did this too, without a rival, for her former suitor, Mr. Rowley had been compelled to return to New York by business, and few cared to enter the lists against so resistless a beau as Tressayle. Every body declared that they were already affianced lovers, or they soon would be so, except the Belvilles, whose chagrin could not be concealed, and who sneered even at the probability of such a thing.
Tressayle, however, was not so well satisfied with his progress as was the world at large. His knowledge of the sex told him that the conduct of Clara toward him, was not exactly that of one whose affections he had anew engaged. She was too easy, too composed, possessed of too much quiet calmness at all times, not to awaken uneasy suspicions, lest her love was not yet gained. Still, however, she did nothing to shew any distaste for Tressayle’s society, and his own vanity led him on in the pursuit.
Nor was his love any longer a mere matter of calculation to Tressayle. It had become a necessity—it had grown into a passion. If ever he loved a woman, that woman had been Clara Fletcher, and when it had become known that she was not her uncle’s heiress, it was not without a struggle that Tressayle left her. But supremely selfish, and with a fortune impaired by extravagance, he looked at it as an impossibility that he should marry except to an heiress. Now, however, all his old feelings toward Clara were revived, and revived too in ten-fold force. Her fortune was no longer an obstacle. Yes, Tressayle loved; loved for the first time; loved with more than the fervor of which such a man might be thought capable. He could endure his suspense no longer, and determining to propose at once for Clara, he chose for his purpose, an afternoon when they rode out unaccompanied together.
Words cannot describe the eloquence with which the lover—for Tressayle’s talented, though selfish mind, was capable of the highest eloquence—poured forth his passion in the ear of his mistress. But it drew no answering emotion from Clara. A slight blush perhaps tinged her cheek a moment, but her eye calmly looked into his own, and her voice was firm and clear, as she replied,
“Listen to me, Tressayle,” she said. “I am young still, but I was once younger. You remember it well. Then I met you, and—need I disguise it?—you spake to me of love. I know it was but once you said so, but it was after you had paid attention to me which you knew, as well as I, was more eloquent than words. I had never seen one whom I thought your equal, and I loved you. Stay—hear me out. I loved you with all the ardor of a girl’s first love. But how was it returned? While I thought only of you,—while a word from you was my law—while the day seemed gloomy without your presence—while, in short, I gave to you freely every emotion of my heart, you were coolly calculating how much my fortune would be, and preparing, as you subsequently did, to discard me altogether in case I was not my uncle’s heiress—”
“Oh, Clara, Clara, hear me.”
“Yes, Tressayle, but listen first, and then I will hear you. You left me without cause when my uncle’s will was opened and I was found to have been overlooked. I need not tell you the agony of my heart on discovering your character. Let that pass. Reason conquered at last. They say a first love,” continued the beautiful girl, looking at her companion until his eye quailed before the calm dignity of her own, “can never be conquered; but believe me it is a mistake. When the object of that love is unworthy, it is not impossible. And now, Tressayle, you understand me. You are to me as a stranger. Never can I love you again. I am, moreover, the affianced bride of Mr. Rowley.”
Tressayle could not answer a word. Mortification and shame overpowered him, and he was glad when he saw that they were near the termination of their ride.
The first person they met on alighting was Mr. Belville. Ashamed of himself and stung to the very quick, Tressayle took advantage to propose to the millionaire for his daughter.
“Gad, and are you the only ignorant man here of your loss of fortune?” said Mr. Belville, superciliously. “But I forgot the mail came in while you were riding with Miss Fletcher. Good morning, sir.”
Tressayle hurried to his room, opened his letters, and found that the Bank in which he was a large stockholder was broken. In two hours he had left Saratoga.
H. J. V.#ENGLISH