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cially as with the numerous cross roads by which our path would be intersected, it would scarcely be possible in the dark to take the right one; and there we were, on the borders of a wide common, without a light or guide,•and my servant totally ignorant of the country, having been in my service only a few weeks.
6. You must trust to the horses,' I exclaimed; “I remember I baited them at this inn once, though it is now a long time since.'
“Slowly and step by step we proceeded; now splashing through what were once mere rivulets, or at least but brawling brooks, but which the floods had swollen into torrents; then coming in contact with branches of trees which the blast had riven, for the storm still raged with unabated fury; and it must have been past midnight when my servant descried a light in the distance. “Make for it !' was my order, and with what haste he could he obeyed. The light, which was at first very faint, gradually became more distinct, and at last we discovered ourselves near a cottage which my recollection told me was about five miles from my destination. As we drew near, a sudden thought darted across my mind-had not dark tales of darker doings reached me about this very dwelling? I would fain have passed on, but procure a light we must; there was now no help for it, and I bade my servant rouse the inmates. A few knocks, and a man's voice gruffly asked
666 Who's there?
"• Doctor D--;'l replied, thinking it better at once to let them know who I was ; 'I am on my way to a patient, and if you will give my servant a light I shall be obliged to you, as my lamps are gone out.'
“A light was soon procured, and he bade us a surly · Good night, but not before I had discerned the sturdy figures of two or three ill-looking fellows peering at me through the half-open door. Great caution was necessary in crossing the heath, for even by day-light it was dangerous to do so ; and slowly we proceeded on our dreary way. Unwilling to alarm my servant, yet feeling how necessary it was for him to be on his guard, I was just about to bid him keep a good look-out, when, amid the howling of the storm, I heard a faint whistle, and in a few seconds I fancied it was returned. “Report, then, has not wronged these villains,' I mentally exclaimed, and my first step was to order the postilion to drive for his life, my next to bethink me of some weapon of defence. I had none but a case of surgical instruments which, by mere chance, I happened to have about me; but what were these against well-armed ruffians ? At that instant the horses were suddenly seized, the postilion knocked off, and two men presented themselves with loaded pistols at each door of the carriage. Resistance, I saw at a glance, would be useless—nay, madness; and I felt the necessity of obeying their command to deliver my purse, when the tramp of horses' feet was heard, and the sound of voices reached us; nearer and nearer they came; and my assailants, fearful (for conscience makes cowards of us all), hurried off, and left me to the mercy of the new comers. Fortunately they proved to be two persons sent from the inn to expedite my arrival, as, from the delay, they feared that some accident had occurred or that I had lost my way. Under their guidance I soon reached the inn, and was met at the door by a venerable old man, whose silvered locks floated in the cold night wind, and whose furrowed cheek was coursed by many a tear.
“My child! oh! save my child !' broke from his trembling lips as, with a convulsive grasp, he seized my hand, and hurrying me into the house threw open the door of a small room, where, reclining on a sofa, was a being beautiful as thought. Her jet black tresses were scattered in rich profusion over the humble pillow which supported her death-like form; and though the palor of death cast its marble hue over her countenance, nought could surpass its loveliness.
“• Save, oh! save my child!' again and again groaned the old man,' and I will bless you ; give me back my loved, my only one.'
“ But there she lay, motionless, apparently lifeless ; and in answer to my queries I learnt that she had been in that state for nearly twelve hours. At first they thought she had fainted, but, as the usual remedies had been resorted to without effect, it was deemed desirable that I should be sent for. An elderly female attendant, who replied to my questions, watched with great anxiety my countenance as I examined the pulse of my patient, and by a sign gave me to understand that she had something to communicate. An opportunity soon presented itself, and she informed me with great emotion that the mind of her young lady was affected.
Yet he cannot believe it,' she said ; and it is only through the solicitations of his friends, and at the urgent request of her medical attendants, that her father has consented to her being removed from home. Every doctor in London of any skill has been consulted, and all say that the — Asylum is the only place for her. It has cost my master many thousands, and I'm sure he would not mind as many more could Miss Lucy-I mean Mrs. Ventnor recover.'
“Mrs. Ventnor !' I exclaimed, surely she is not married; so young, too, poor girl!
“ Yes, sir,' said the old nurse, she is very young, hardly nineteen; and she was not eighteen when she was married.
“'But how came this dreadful calamity to befal her?" I asked; 'not ill-treatment, I hope?'
“Oh, no! doctor, for he loved the very ground she walked on; but he died suddenly the day they were married, and her brain has been turned ever since.'
“ Here our conversation was interrupted by the frequent repe
tition of my name, and I hastened to return to the room which I had quitted. It was the old man's voice which I had heard, and I soon perceived the cause of the summons in the altered appearance of my patient. A slight flush tinged her cheek, and she sighed heavily; and though no ray of intelligence beamed from the half-open eye, still any change was better than the lethargic state in which she had so long lain.
"She lives ! she breathes !' exclaimed the doating father. 'Lucy, my hope, my pride, the solace of my old age, speak to me one word, only one, to bless and cheer me !' and the old man sank on his knees and sobbed like a child.
“After a short interval I considered it advisable that the invalid should reach her resting-place as soon as possible, and, accordingly, we commenced our journey homewards. Pitying the distress of Mr. Beverton, I requested him to become my guest for a few days, until he had, in some little measure, overcome his reluctance to leave his daughter with strangers. For the first few days Lucy lay in an unconscious state, heeding nothing, and seemingly ignorant of any change in the persons or things around her; but by degrees her accustomed wildness of manner returned, and on paying my usual morning visit, I one day found her arrayed exactly as described in this portrait, with a cheek as hueless as the flowers that bound her raven hair.' A white satin robe fell in massy folds around her perfect figure. It was her bridal dress; and yet, as if, even in her madness, a gleam of the sad truth had burst forth, she had thrown a widow's veil over her wreath of orange flowers.
66. See, see!' she whispered, in a mysterious manner, 'this is my wedding-day, and this,' extending her delicate finger on which she wore a plain wedding-ring, 'is his gift; my own Charles placed it there;' and kissing it fondly, she murmured, we will never, never part. Is not this beautiful ?' she continued, drawing from her bosom a silken bag which contained a small piece of paper, from which she read, in a low, sweet tone, the following lines :
** There's not a word thy lip hath breath'd,
A look thine eye hath given,
Like to a dream of heaven.
A fav'rite flower or tree;
That is not priz'd by me,
Whene'er I hear the linnet's song,
Or the blithe woodlark's lay,
The rosy clouds decay:
Or music from the tree,
And memory clings to thee.'
“ As she concluded these beautiful lines, rendered still more touching by her impassioned manner, she paused, and a shade of sadness fitted over her lovely face; then uttering a fearful shriek, which the lapse of years has not effaced from my recollection, she seized my arm and screamed forth in accents of terror
66. They shall not tear thee from me! I will cling to thee whilst I have life! Charles ! Charles ! do you not hear me? 'Tis Lucy, thy own Lucy, who calls on thee and bids thee stay. See ! see! they mock at my despair ! fiends, devils, furies, all the powers of earth shall not wrest him from me! Father! father! help! for God's sake, help!
“For hours after this sad scene the unfortunate girl lay in the same state as when I first saw her. Vainly did I resort to every possible restorative, and I indeed feared that the bruised and wounded spirit had quitted its earthly abode; but it was not so. Slowly and sadly the long hours of that dreary night wore on, and the solemn stillness was broken only by the sobs of the poor old man, watching with a parent's love for the slightest ray of hope ; but as the grey dawn appeared, poor Lucy gave some signs of returning life, and at last she murmured forth some indistinct words. Having again successfully administered further restoratives, I left her to the care of her nurse, enjoining perfect quietude, and promising to see her again in two hours. As I approached her chamber, the full, rich, mellow tones of a female voice burst on my ear, now swelling to its fullest compass, now dying on my entranced senses with an unearthly sweetness. Oh! never, never had I heard so wild, so sweet a strain. The words—for as I drew near I could distinguish them were these :
• They bid me forget thee, they tell me that now
The grave damp is staining that beautiful brow;
“ Doctor, doctor,' eagerly exclaimed the father, as I gently opened the door, 'there is hope I see, I feel there is hope-for she weeps.
“And so it was ; her own sad, sweet melody had opened the food-gates of her grief, and she wept long and violently ; indeed, so unrestrained was her emotion that I dreaded its effects on her delicate frame.
“ Father ! dear father !' she at last said, in a low, faint voice, "come nearer, closer, yet closer. Where am I, father? not in my own loved home ? Father! dear father! tell me.'
“The old man struggled to repress his emotion (for I whispered—' Be calm, for God's sake be calm ! any excitement will destroy her '), and said
“. You are with your friends, dearest, with those who love and
cherish you; compose yourself, my own one. You have been ill, very ill; but the Almighty has heard my prayers and restored you to me.'
“Oh, father! I have had a fearful dream. I thought it was my bridal-day, and that, leaning on your arm, I stood before the altar. Charles, too, was there ; and when I gave him my hand, his was cold, icy cold; and when he should have spoken, his lips were motionless; and there, standing by his side, was a skeleton form, which wound its arms around him and bore him from me. Oh! so fearful was it, that now, even now, I can scarcely doubt its dreadful reality.'
“At that moment her eye fell on her strange attire-the black veil falling in folds over her snowy dress, and the bridal token glittering on her finger—then, with a piercing shriek, which rose higher and higher till it ended in the yell of a maniac, she fell senseless in the outstretched arms of her father. Life was indeed extinct, and her pure spirit had taken its everlasting fight; the silver cord, which had been too highly strung, had snapped in twain, and the Widowed Bride lay motionless and dead.
“Would that I had been spared the sight of that old man's grief; there he knelt, supporting the lifeless form of his only child. His whole frame shook with emotion, and the cold drops of agony burst forth from every pore.
"*My child ! my child !' at length he groaned; my pride, my joy, the bright star of my existence, my beautiful, my true, would that I had died for thee, my child, my child !
“ His voice grew fainter and fainter, his grasp grew less firm, the eyes became fixed. I looked; he was dead! Yes, they who had loved so well and truly in life, in death were not separated. They sleep together in the family vault in Church, and this simple inscription alone marks her monument - The Widowed Bride.'”
THE MILK-MAIDS OF DORT.*
BY MRS. CRAWFORD.
See the first blush of day—come away, come away!
. The remarkable preservation of the city of Dort, in Holland, by the pretty milkmaids, would furnish materials for an interesting musical farce. The Spaniards, intending to besiege the city of Dort, had accordingly planted some thousands of soldiers in ambush, lo be ready for the attack the moment opportunity might offer. On the confines of the city lived a rich farmer, who kept a vast number of cows in