Page images

China, they left that country in the Lord Lowther, a moiety of the cargo being owned by captain Grant, who appointed Mr. Arthur Vincent, formerly in the East India company's service, to command the vessel, he (captain Grant) and his family coming home in her as passengers, including three servants, one male and two female. The cabins occupied by captain Grant and his family were in the after-part of the vessel, beyond the cuddy; they consisted of sleeping cabins and a sitting cabin. The cuddy was open to the officers of the ship, and others; but no person had a right of access to the cabins of captain Grant, to enter which it was necessary to pass through the cuddy. Soon after the commencement of the homeward voyage, and especially after leaving St. Helena, it was observed by persons on board that captain Vincent paid particular attentions to Mrs. Grant (who is a French Creole of the Mauritius,) beyond what were required from the commander of the ship to female passengers, and that Mrs. Grant seemed pleased with and encouraged those attentions. Margaret Jamieson, the nursery-maid, in attendance upon the children, however, saw nothing in their conduct to excite suspicion in her mind; she had seen them sitting alone in the cuddy, and in the sitting cabin, but never saw any impropriety. Mr. Cockerell, purser of the ship, and a friend of captain Grant, observed that captain Vincent paid more particular attention to Mrs. Grant than was required, and she seemed to encourage it; but it did not appear to him that there was any improper object in his attentions, and knowing that captain Vincent was engaged to be married on his return to England, he appeared to him to be making court to captain Grant, through his wife, with a view to his interest. Captain Grant was in the habit of walking the deck for hours together, and of sleeping in his cabin after dinner from six to eight o'clock. There was only one occasion that created suspicion in his mind, but he did not think of it afterwards. On entering the cuddy, suddenly, one evening, when Mrs. Grant and captain Vincent were sitting together, they seemed embarrassed and confused. Three other persons on board the vessel, the steward, the carpenter, and a midshipman (also examined on the libel,) deposed to a very visible

intimacy between captain Vincent and Mrs. Grant; to their being much alone together, when captain Grant was on deck, or asleep; to their sitting in earnest conversation on the deck; to a difference in their conduct when captain Grant was present, and to the coarse jokes of the crew on the subject of their behavior. One of them spoke to their seeing captain Vincent and Mrs. Grant on a sofa in the cabin, he sitting, and she reclining; another to an act of gross familiarity on the part of captain Vincent with the person of Mrs. Grant, placing his hand on the inside of her thigh. Mr. Anderson, the only passenger, and who was examined on Mrs. Grant's allegation, saw no impropriety between Mrs. Grant and captain Vincent. The vessel reached England on the 10th or 11th of November, when captain Grant and his family landed at Brighton, first staying at the Norfolk hotel, and then taking lodgings in 5, Regency square. Jamieson stated, that, just before their arrival, Mrs. Grant told captain Vincent, in her presence, that she should be glad to hear from him how he found his bride, and it was arranged that he should address his letters under cover to Jamieson, who proved that one letter came in that way, which Mrs. Grant said was from captain Vincent. On the 20th December, during the absence of captain Grant in London, captain Vincent, who had come to Brighton the preceding evening, called at Regencysquare, and was shown up to the drawing room, where Mrs. Grant was, and where they remained alone together for some time. Captain Vincent dined there, and slept there that night, a bed having been borrowed by direction of Mrs. Grant, and put up in a room on the ground floor, Mrs. Grant sleeping (a daughter of about six years of age with her) on the floor above. Mrs. Grant desired that the hire of this bed should not be charged to captain Grant, as she would pay it herself. Captain Vincent left the house at twelve o'clock on the 21st of December. During the time he was there, on the 20th, about five in the afternoon, the male servant, entering the drawing-room to light the lamp, found Mrs. Grant and captain Vincent sitting together on the sofa, his arm being round her waist. On the 9th of February, it happened that captain Grant, being at the Jerusalem coffee house, looked into the WOL. XXV.-NO, XLIX. 15

pigeon-holes where letters for persons frequenting the coffee room were deposited, and saw four letters in his wife's hand writing, addressed to captain Vincent. He opened them, and found their contents (partly in English and partly in French) to be as follows:—

No. 1.
“Brighton, December 24, 1837, 12 o'clock at night.

“My dearest Arthur, Those only who have suffered them can tell the unhappy moments of separation. O, my Arthur, let me speak in a language so well [then in French] understood by you, and which being more familiar to me, I wish to express to you the sentiments of my oppressed heart. Since you have disappeared from before my eyes, I have experienced the most cruel sensation. Exactly, I can tell you, in the simplicity of my heart, that the comparison absolutely is as if you had appeared to me like that beauteous star, which in nature gives, by its influence, life to the dying plants, and in whose absence that which is most brilliant is seen to wither and decay. I believe, Arthur, that we were formed in heaven to be closely united in this life; for, in truth, with the sublime sentiments and the sympathy which we feel towards each other, how delightfully would our lives have passed together Yes, my beloved Arthur, your Maria is virtuous, and possesses a heart which would have rendered you for ever happy. Never should we have seen a cloud approach our heads; all my joy would have been in thinking how to prove to you from day to day how delightfully life flows on, when hearts and delicacy of sentiments are united, as much as two creatures can be, the one with the other. Now I consider myself, in the silence of this night, lonely as the solitary dove, of which our love is the emblem, in the fidelity of our hearts, inflamed with a delicious sentiment, which has made us experience that which the crowns of sovereigns cannot in an equal degree possess. With this idea your faithful Maria will, while life endures, never cease to cherish and respect you. Have a care, O my Arthur, not to neglect your friend. More than that, be the physician who ought to cure me with prudence, for my life is linked to you ; you are all to me in this world. This is not alone the idea of exalted love, but it is very serious. Let us take our precautions: let us be prudent with each other. Write to me at the end of this week, under cover, and address to Margaret Jamieson, 5, Regency-square; it is better, because the good Margaret likes you, and as she receives many letters from her friends in Scotland, it will not cause any suspicion. Have patience ; and with prudence we shall, in despite of the jealous, be favored. My wish will be, that I may at my last sigh entertain those ardent flames which you have implanted in my breast. [Then in English] Adieu, my dearest Arthur: I sincerely hope to hear something soon from you. I am so wretched, that I am sure God will have pity on your poor and devoted friend. Believe me, yours ever most affectionately, M. G.-Pray do kindly excuse my handwriting; but I am so nervous, that I cannot do any thing well—it is a madness! Adieu.”

No. 2.
“Brighton, December 29, 1837.

“My dearest Arthur [in French,)—I could not pass these solemn days without expressing to you all the wishes of this heart so devoted to you in every thing which is most exalted in love. I cannot contemplate, without extreme emotion, the state in which I was when you bid me adieu. [Then in English.] This very day last week, I may say,+fixed in her choice, and faithful but in vain,_see me neglected on the world's rude coast, the dearest companion of my voyage lost. O, my Arthur [in French, when may I hope to see you again —if it were possible in your journey only for half a day, like the brilliant lightning which illuminates the uncertain steps of the traveller. I render thanks to that divine Providence, so infinite in all the profusion of its blessings upon my sweet family. My husband is very good and attentive in all things, which any other but myself would appreciate ; but I am not worthy; I have not the power (or I am powerless—Je n'ai pas de pouvoir;) you alone are enabled to bring me to reason ; but at present all my weak nature is absorded but in you alone. [Then in English.] Adieu. Believe me, yours ever most affectionately, M. G. Pray do excuse this—in haste.”

No. 3.
“Brighton, New Year's day.

“My dearest Arthur, I begin this day in offering my heart to God to bless yourself and my blessed family. I am obliged to go to London tomorrow for a week. You will be sorry to hear that your Maria has received, two days ago, the most afflicting intelligence that has reached her. I pray to God to comfort me and to enable me to sustain this heavy stroke with that resignation to his will which none but himself can give. I may say, O my Arthur, with the poet—

* Doomed as I am in solitude to waste
The present moments and regret the past.’

deprived of every joy I valued most (my love torn from me,) and I have lost my blessed mother. [Then in French.] The next week will make a very melancholy impression on my heart, when I reflect, in the bitterness of this oppressed heart, that your unfortunate and too faithful Maria will be clad in the sad garments of deep mourning, and without the hope of hearing your cherished voice to console her. [Then in English.] O, Arthur, think of your own, own devoted Maria. [In French.] I acquaint you with my sorrows, because I know your precious heart. I am obliged to finish my letter, as my head is very confused. I ought to take care of myself, as I am still very delicate. [In English.] Believe me, yours ever most affectionately, M. G.”

No. 4.
“5, Regency square, January, 1838.

“My dear Captain Vincent, I am very much rejoiced to hear of your marriage, and wish you and your wise all the happiness that it is possible to possess in this world. My husband participates in my feeling towards you, and I need not say how happy I should be to give you a comfortable room, if you could make it convenient to pass through Brighton accompagné de votre epouse. I feel my late bereavement very severely ; it is indeed a very trying dispensation; but I trust the Almighty will enable me to bear it with fortitude. My health is very delicate at this time; indeed, I feel

« PreviousContinue »