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my father ; the Captain and I, as usual--for our interests, like our hearts, were one-played together. The points were threepence and the bet a shilling. It is not in the power of the more common evils of life to disturb my equanimity; yet where is the soul which will not shake when assailed by the shafts of ill-fortune at cards ? We lost the first rubber. With girlish playfulness I bantered my lover on his stupidity. He replied not. We lost a second. “Some natural tears I shed;" and, with well-feigned anger, I exclaimed, “ Pringle, you are a downright-. donkey!” Fortune now smiled propitious on us : we wanted but one trick to win the rubber—when the Captain revoked! and, ere I could call reflection to my aid, kings, queens, knaves, aces, all had winged their flight full in his astonished face.
I retired to my couch, but not to sleep : sad forebodings of some impending ill still kept me waking. And if, perchance, a short and feverish slumber fell over me, it was to dream of gentle and confiding hearts trampled on by man-inconstant, fickle man! Then, methought, I saw my gallant suitor dressed in the garb of war (even as I first beheld him) advancing with his exterminating blade to slay me. Then, methought, I saw him, in the hopelessness of despair, leading the Kenningtonian phalanx to death and sure destruction. Then, methought-but, oh! let it suffice that I awoke to the realization of my direst forebodings.
When I entered the saloon where we were wont to take our earliest matin meal, my father put into my trembling hand a letter which he had just received. With what emotions did I recognize the well-known hand! 'Twas Pringle's! My frame agitated like a rose-bud exposed to all the warring winds of heaven, I read :
“My dear father-in-law as was to have been, “ Being a military man, and naturally fond of a quiet life, besides other matters to attend to, cannot think, after what occurred last night, &c. we should get on happy together-Miss Niobe, I mean, and me. His Majesty's service (except in case of invasion, when I shall naturally disband myself) requires all the time and attention I can give out of business, (and business must always be tantamount to a prudent man ;) and such fatigue requires a QUIET HOME after the evolutions of the day to relax oneself, which I see no chance of deriving with your daughter, So, as a man of business, it is best to be candid in time, and break. Sorry for all trouble, and with affectionate love to Miss Niobe, believe me your dutiful son-in-law as was to have been,
. “ Samuel PRINGLE,
“Borough High Street, and Capt. L.K.V. “P.S.-As the goose, &c. is bespoke for the wedding-dinner, which now won't be wanted, it is natural I should cheerfully be at half the expense--provided the poulterer won't hold it back.”
My feelings, on the reading of this cruel epistle, may be more easily conceived than described ; nor even can they be conceived save by those whose gentle and pure affections,—the first overflowings of a heart (like mine) formed for tenderness and love, have been rudely nipped in the bud. Thus cruelly betrayed, thus basely deserted by him whom my young heart* had selected from out the mass of mankind to be its
* With the militia and the yeomanry against us, we still abstain from a rigid calculation of Miss Sadgrove's own personal age. Admitting, therefore, that (according to her own declaration) she herself is not yet thirty, yet,“ putting this and
companion in the thorny walk of life,—the perfidy of the false, yet still beloved Pringle, struck deep into a soul like mine; and brought me to the brink of that grave whose peaceful shelter, even now, unpitying Fate denies me. Years passed slowly on; and (respecting the sanctuary of my grief !) no suitor e'er intruded.* My spirit, like the stricken deer, then took refuge in itself t; and, with proud resolve, I determined never more to listen to the deluding voice of man, even though issuing from the lips of London's Lordly Mayor.
But now a blow, unparalleled in the black annals of misfortune, awaited her whom the dark goddess has still selected as a target for the aim of her most piercing shafts. My sire, my sainted sire, his venerable head bending beneath the silvery trophies of winters seventy and seven, two months, and fourteen days, was by the ruthless hand of the grim destroyer torn from my side; leaving me, his hapless, helpless child, mistress of myself, and of about six-hundred a-year in the Long Annuities,
-"that heritage of woe,” as my favourite, the poet of grief, expresses it I. Touched by my sorrow and my solitary state, lovers now came in legions to console me. But, oh! once crossed in love, how shall the craving void of a heart like mine be satisfied ? One Pringle only issued from the hand of Nature; and to him, my soldier-love, my soul still turns in pleasing, painful recollection. Alone, and unprotected, seven offers from amongst the gay and gallant throng who have sought my hand, it is true, I have in turn accepted. But ere the day which should witness the surrender of my liberty had arrived, that proper spirit which has still protected me has driven the aspiring tyrants from the flowery field of love. Formed in the finest mould of sensibility, my gentle heart flutters in trepidation at the lightest breath of man's dominion ; but, oh! could I find a youth submissive to the rosy fetters of my soft sway, his soul attuned in all to harmonize with mine; who, still obedient to the meek dictates of a heart too mildly feminine, would lead my fragile frame to the nigh goal of life's soon-terminating race; then only, and for brief space, might I cease to claim distinction as the most Unfortunate of Women.
that together," it is quite clear to us that her " young heart," even at this time, could not have been much younger than thirty-two.--ED.
* Might not some latent apprehension of a revoke at the point of nine, have occasioned this respect for the lady's grief?—ED.
f Fine writing, in our estimation, covers a multitude of sins. It is for this reason we offer no objection to this simile, or to various other rhetorical flourishes, not quite reducible to the understanding, which have occurred in the course of these interesting notices.-Ev.
With every disposition to sympathize with the sorrows of Miss Niobe Sadgrove, we really cannot consider the loss of her worthy father as an event “un. paralleled in the black annals of misfortune:" on the contrary, we could state instances of a similar calamity occurring in a great many respectable families. As to her being left a “ helpless child," again our compassion is at fault; for children of her mature age are usually able to take tolerable care of themselves. With respect to the quotation, " That heritage of woe,” which the lady applies to a legacy of six hundred a-year in the Long Annuities, we apprehend there must be some mistake : at least, we never knew, or heard of, any poet who would so consider a very pretty little income. If the lady's “ favourite poet of grief” be Lord Byron, the noble bard certainly was
" Lord of himself, that heritage of woe !" but- Bless us ! we perceive the cause of the mistake. The lady has favoured us with her quotation a little too late in the sentence. She means, “ Mistress of myself,' that heritage of, woe.'"-ED.
THE LATE KING OF SPAIN.
The personal history of Ferdinand VII., if ingenuously written by ansbody who had lived with him from his earliest years to his decease, would be almost as interesting as the memoirs of Napoleon. It would exhibit a series of vicissitudes more romantic than any modern fabricator of fictions would dare to imagine. The eldest son of Charles IV. and of Teresa Maria Louisa, daughter of the Duke of Parma, he was born at the Escurial on the 14th of October, 1784. He had not completed his forty-ninth year when he died; and yet his brief career is crowded with events, to which, perhaps, his own hand alone could have done justice. He was, in all probability, the only legitimate son of the king : his features and character furnished the strongest evidence upon that point which nature could supply. His brothers, Carlos and Francisco, are so unlike their father and each other, that they may be said, without any scandal, to have been born of different sires. The supposition, though by no means popular in Spain, is perfectly warranted by the licentious habits of the queen, and by the peculiar hatred which she conceived towards Ferdinand almost from the hour of his birth. Though married at an early age to Charles IV., she never loved her husband. She looked upon him as a mere curtain, behind which she gave the rein to all her passions; and, although, in the prime of her life she became the avowed mistress of Godoy, the notorious prince of the Peace, it is well understood that she was rivalled only by the Russian Catherine in the variety of her paramours.
Charles was throughout his life an imbecile. He easily fell under the control of a fiery woman, who left no means untried in order to carry her purposes of pleasure or ambition into effect. She permitted the ascendency of Godoy, because he artfully lent himself to all her intrigues, and was the slave of her desires. The incompetency of the king for the management of public affairs filled them with the perpetual fear of an abdication. They, therefore, resolved to render Ferdinand still more unfit, if possible, for the cares of empire. He was brought up in a state of ignorance which would have disgraced the son of the poorest mechanic in England. From his boyhood he was surrounded by illiterate persons, by buffoons given to low amusements and vicious propensities. With the exception of a single individual, Escoiquiz, canon of Toledo, who happened to have opportunities occasionally of conversing with the prince, no person was ever admitted to his presence who was in any manner distinguished for intelligence. The good canon observed in secret the atrocious system upon which the education of the heir to the throne was conducted; and resolved to counteract it as far as he could without exposing himself to danger. His exertions were attended with very limited success; but they generated in his bosom an attachment to the prince, and a paternal solicitude about his fortunes, which remind us frequently of Mentor. Unhappily, Escoiquiz possessed little of the political wisdom which characterised the preceptor of Telemachus; but his devotion to the just interests of the royal youth was marked by a degree of courage and constancy, alike honourable to the man and to the sacred ministry of which he was a member.
When reading the history of Spain, we often imagine that we are in
the midst of the annals of some Asiatic empire. In Hindostan, before it became British, in Persia and Turkey, even to this hour, the sudden elevation of a valet, or a barber, to the highest dignities of the state may be considered as an event quite in the ordinary course of things. Since the Bourbons have occupied the Spanish throne, many instances have occurred of similar promotions. But I remember no occurrence of this description so remarkable for the many disasters to which it gave rise, as the sudden step which the joint favour of the king and queen enabled Godoy to make, from the rank of a cadet to an office which constituted him for several years the real sovereign of the Peninsula. Born of obscure parents at Badajoz, he took an excursion to Madrid, literally for the purpose of seeking his fortunes. He was accompanied by his brother Louis. Both, especially Manuel, were fine-looking young men. Without a dollar in their pockets, they applied themselves to all the arts that are calculated to win the attention of women. They conversed fluently, danced with spirit and grace, sang and played on the guitar in an agreeable style. One of the ladies of the court, who bestowed her favours on Louis, prevailed upon the queen to hear him. Pleased by his performance she paid him some compliments. “Ah,” he exclaimed, “what would your majesty have said, had you heard my brother!” He was ordered to attend with Manuel the next evening. The king and queen were present, and were both equally enchanted by the skill, voice, manners, and appearance of the musician. Manuel was invited to court, and from that hour his fortune was secure. He, whose wealth had lately consisted only of his cap and sword, rose, by rapid strides, to the highest station which the monarchy could give. He was created a prince. His arms were embroidered upon the banners of the artillery--the proudest branch of the Spanish army. The courtly biographers of the day traced his descent to Montezuma! His levees were more crowded than those of the Escurial or Aranjuez. He was attended with all the pomp of a Sultan, by almost all the grandees—the most profligate aristocrats in Europe ; by the commanders of the forces, the civil employés, and by the whole of the judges and law officers-at all times in Spain a most corrupt and servile race. He was in all circles the rage
the very idol of the women—the uncontrolled distributor of honours and emoluments; he sometimes sold them for money; more frequently he gave them in exchange for the gratification of his vanity or still more criminal passions. Merit, talent, virtue, knocked at his door—but never found admission. The man who, without a purse in his hand, solicited the patronage of Godoy, was obliged to exhibit in the ante-room a beautiful wife, a virgin sister, or daughter. If the victim struck his fancy the bargain was made. Her dishonour became the price of a foreign mission, or a governorship in the Indies, or of success in the courts of justice : for be it said, to the disgrace of human nature, that in those days the tribunals never pronounced an important judgment, without previously consulting the wishes of Godoy !
It is no wonder that, as Ferdinand advanced in years, two parties became distinctly defined in the court and the nation. Whatever hasty and superficial travellers may be pleased to say to the contrary, the mass of the inh abitants of Spain are essentially a grave, religious, and moral people. It is true that they are not easily interested in public affairs. Their climate and soil vield them in abundance all the necessaries, many of the luxuries of life. The mountainous nature of their territory, and the.paucity of road and canal communications, tend to encourage their pastoral dispositions. Never driven to discontent or insubordination by those frightful vicissitudes which are of frequent occurrence in manufacturing countries densely peopled, they can rarely find motives for leaving their homes in the contentions of political factions. But it is not too much to say, that as soon as the situation of the young prince, oppressed by the unnatural and unrelenting hatred of his mother, and by the persecutions of Godoy, became generally known to the provinces, a sentiment of deep indignation against the court, and of sympathy for the unhappiness of Ferdinand grew into a passion throughout the Peninsula,
The popular feelings in favour of the young prince, thus created in the earlier part of his life, remained undiminished to the last. They sustained him through many changes of policy, which must otherwise have subverted his throne. They were, in the first instance, unequivocally displayed upon the occasion of his marriage to Maria Antonia, (daughter of the King of Naples) which was celebrated at Barcelona amidst the most enthusiastic rejoicings. This princess possessed a highly cultivated intellect. Perceiving, upon her arrival at Madrid, the utter insignificance to which her husband was condemned, she set herself resolutely to the task of restoring him to the rank which belonged to him as heir to the throne of Spain. Her premature death was the only result of her exertions. It was very generally imputed to poison-a rumour to which the suicide of the court apothecary a few days after afforded some confirmation, A tradition is still preserved of a letter, which the unfortunate man is said to have written, but which was carefully suppressed by the police, containing a full confession of the deed, and disclosing the names of the parties by whom he was instigated to administer the fatal potion.
The blunders of Godoy in his transactions with the revolutionary governments of France, aided not a little by the confusion into which his profligacy, and that of the court, threw the whole administration of the kingdom, at length led to his downfall. He owed his title to the peace which he concluded with France in 1795. But when Napoleon established his dynasty, as he foolishly thought, for ever, and determined to encirele his throne by royal satraps of his own family, he found the means of convincing Godoy that a title of prince without a principality was a mere empty sound. He proposed to create one for him in Portugal. But for this purpose Portugal must first be conquered and partitioned. In order to do both these things, a combined French and Spanish army was of course necessary. The treaty was agreed upon, The French troops were not only permitted to pour into - the northern provinces of Spain, and to take possession of all the strong places, but they were absolutely hailed as deliverers. The game of falsehood was played until troops were actually on their way to seize the royal family, Suddenly it was resolved that the king and queen, together with their children, should embark for Mexico, The court was then at Aranjuez, where it was never attended before by more than a company of guards. The rapid collection of several regiments destined to protect the royal family in their progress to Seville gave the signal of alarm. The people of La Mancha, the most excitable in Spain, assembled to the number of forty thousand in the neighbourhood of the palace. Godoy was justly