Page images

as possible, with my eyes fixed upon her radiant countenance, overturning in my progress everybody who stood before me, without my seeing them when on their legs, or noticing them as I strode over them when prostrated on the marble pavement.

Three times did she make the circuit of the church, gracefully actioning out blessings to the crowd around her. Regardless of the buffets and the blows that I received, I still kept my position near her. Once, as she gently turned her head, our eyes met. I hate to talk about basilisks - language has no words, poetry no numbers, to express the omnipotence of the attraction of that gaze-though her blue eyes were softer than the down on the youngest seraph's wing, they drew my soul to them with a power stronger than death. I could not take my gaze from off them; nor could the young and beautiful victim remove her regards from mine. Nor do I know how long this fixidity of looking would have continued, had not my trampling down those near me excited so much attention, that I was instantly cast forth from the line of procession by a couple of stout huissiers.

But there was nothing tender, nothing consolatory in the gaze of this imitation of divinity. I could read nothing in her eyes but an awful and deep speculation, a feeling of wonder and of terrorawakened curiosity. Ere I had regained my position near her, the exulting hymn broke forth once more, the fumes of the frankincense again arose, the altar-piece was veiled in clouds, and, borne through the accumulating mists, the representation of the Virgin mother disappeared.

My strained eye-balls watched her to the last, and when the folding canvas, which I could just perceive through the smoke, closed upon her, I knelt down near the rails of the altar, and burying my face in my hands, I closed my eyes, and encouraged my mind to linger over every feature that I had lately looked upon so rapturously.

The organ, in melodious tones, sighed itself to silence; the procession and the crowd gradually retired; at length, the numerous priests departed one by one, yet I heeded not all this, nor knew that I was alone.

Thus absorbed, and still in the same position, I began to tax my soul for an answer-but she was bewildered. “ Can this be love? so suddenly? was she really mortal? I know her intimately-I have conversed with her-1 have watched her-prayed with her-rejoiced with her—but where ? Either,” said I to myself bitterly, “I have two existences, or I am mad. Quiet Troughton! 0 that I had never left my high seat in the dark counting-house in the city! This insatiate heart can now never be filled with content--never again know peace. Love her_no_that is not the feeling. I only know that I am wretched.” And I again sank into a painful reverie.

How long 1 thus remained, I know not; but I was at length aroused by a smart slap on the shoulder, and on looking up, I saw Julien's countenance smiling above me.

“O!” said he, what alone at the foot of the altar? Certainly you are the most devout man in Barcelona. Have I unintentionally made a convert of you? But, seriously, how do you find the ceremonies of our church ?"

“ Detestable I would to God that I had never witnessed them!"

“ This is ungenerous, Troughton. Perhaps you allude the more particularly to the living representation of the Virgin Mary. The practice is of great antiquity, and many are roused to devotion by these excitements, who otherwise would not have a religious idea in their lives. The wise and the truly devout see no harm in these typical representations. But, as a solemn piece of acting, did the Señorita look the character ?”.

“ She was too divine. Who is she ?” and I trembled whilst I asked.

“ The only daughter of a Spanish trader, whom the good king Joseph has driven from Madrid, after having squeezed him as you would a sponge."

“ Spanish her golden air, her transparent complexion, her radiant colour, and her rounded form-how unlike is all this to the graceful, but tawny and meagre beauties of Spain! She cannot be Spanish, Julien."

“O! you don't know your countrywomen. All the pure blood is squeezed out of twenty Spanish girls, to make one fair creature like the Señorita; consequently, the dark beauties are unfairly dark, the fair ones unfairly fair. No; she is thoroughly Spanish, and the acknowledged beauty of Barcelona."

“ But her name, good Julien, her name ?"

“ She is called the Trottoni—a very merry and devout little Catholic, I assure you."

“ Yes, and you made more than an angel of her to-day. Pray, sir," said I with bitterness, “ does this being, who is all but celestial, dress in the usual mantilla, and wear short Spanish, and peculiarly abbreviated petticoats?"

“ Exactly; or her beautiful ankles would have much reason to complain."

“ And she can wanton with her fan, too, no doubt?"

“ No woman in Barcelona manages that indispensable more gracefully."

Good—very good and she is kindly-natured too; and will, perhaps, condescend to light the cigar of a handsome caballero, and after a few gracious puffs, hand it to his mouth.”

“ It is the custom of the country, Ardent. She did me that especial favour last night."

“ The devil she did ! But I like this-it does me good—infinite good."

“ Would it not do you more good to be introduced to her? I met her at a tertulia, after I left you last night. I will take you to her house to-night, if you will."

“ Never! never! I will not destroy the illusion. I have seen her only as she ought to be seen. Let us change the subject. I feel that I shall spend but a short, yet weary life, in chasing an ignis fatuus."

Having resisted the pressing instances of my friend to accompany him, I repaired to my silent lodgings, to resist, by reflection, the wilfulness of a too sanguine temperament, which I felt was fast hurrying me to misery, perhaps to insanity; but I could not rid myself of the

vision of the Virgin Mary, and the torture of the horridly grotesque idea of seeing her with a lighted cigar in her mouth.

The reader of course will perceive that I had fallen in love for the first time, that I did not know it, and, that being awkwardly placed, I was petulant and unreasonable. Who ever knew love to improve the character of either man or woman, excepting in the eyes of the beloved object? For myself, I grew impatient and irritable, rarely leaving my lodging until it was dark, and then I usually strolled out with Jugurtha and Bounder along the sea-beach, assuring myself that I was the most unfortunate of men, and doing my best to prove my assertion.

A fortnight had now elapsed, and I was daily growing more morose and melancholy, during the whole of which period I had never seen either Julien or Isidora. The few inquiries that I had made, convinced me that my father and family were not at Barcelona ; but my anxiety to see them had now long passed away.

At length, I ventured to go and take a lodging for myself and suite, beyond the walls of the town, as I should thus be liable to less molestation, and I might prolong my excursions with my two companions through the whole of the night, without fearing the annoyance of the sentinel, or the suspicions of the good townsfolk at my midnight rambles.

It being now nearly the end of July, the weather proved intensely hot, and my suburban retreat became very grateful. It was certainly a miserable cottage, but, thanks to the cares of Jugurtha, we were much better fed thán lodged. I'thus lived in more than retirement, for it was almost seclusion, until the 3rd of August, when my energies were once more most strangely brought into play:

The night was dark and clear, and there was spread out above us one of those delicious Spanish summer skies that is felt in every nerve as well as seen. Jugurtha and myself were well armed, for in Spain everybody arms, accompanied by Bounder, whose custom it was never to disarm, on the night of this day had made a much more extensive excursion than usual. We got into unknown paths, and, disregarding the law of trespass, we went where the fragrance of the dew-steeped orange-flowers was most tempting. At length, we suddenly found ourselves close upon a long, low building, very unlike the villas of Spain, but resembling a good deal the cottage ornée of England. Good manners bade us immediately retreat; but the faint sound of music and song not only wooed us to stay, but to advance also. Who would not rather be invited than coerced ? So we crept nearer to the mansion, and, as the windows, which reached the ground, were open, we had a tolerably distinct view of what was passing in the principal room. It was a domestic scene, with nothing picturesque about it. We were not near enough to distinguish the features of the small party, which consisted of an elderly gentleman, a woman in the prime of life, and a very young lady.

The old gentleman wore a well-powdered wig, and was very busy at a writing-desk, sorting and docketting a variety of papers ; the middle-aged lady was busy with a tambour frame, and the young

August 1836.-VOL. XVI.-NO. LXIV.


female, who was singing to the eternal Spanish guitar, had her face shaded with hei mantilla, and her figure partially turned from the only light, which was a large and shaded lamp, burning on the desk of the busy old gentleman. The apartment did not seem to be too well furnished, yet there was that quiet air of home over the whole scene, that was exquisitely soothing to my feelings.

As to the singing, though I heard it plainly enough, I did not mych notice it, for the pealing hymn which I had so lately heard in the church of our Lady of the Sea, was continually ringing in my ears.

To be continued.)



The temple of Fame, as it stands on high,

With its starry crown in the centre,
Tempts many a wish from the passer-by,

Through its golden gate to enter :
But whoever doth enter the golden gate

Of that more than regal palace,
Must nerve his soul for the storms of fate,

And the sharpest shafts of malice.
Like an angel clad with her rainbow wreath,

Hope heralds him on to the portal,
But Envy behind, with her baleful breath,

Would wither the wreath immortal.
While the banquet's spread for the son of Fame,

And he drains the cup of glory,
She steals the gems from his crowned name,

And the page from his gifted story.
For the serpent works, as in days of old,

When Eve ate the fruit of sorrow,
The serpent works, with a lie as bold,

In the shape he loves to borrow.
So dearly pays Fame's gifted son,

For the “pen, as the sword,” renowned,
In the double wreath that his name hath won,

Though justly, as proudly, crowned.
For he finds the serpent within its leaves,

And the sting of the loathsome creature,
That still as in Eden, the world deceives,

With its oily tongue and feature.
But despite the arts of the tempter bold,

He shall wear his wreath of glory,
And live, when his noble heart is cold,

In the page of our proudest story.


APOLLO! god of the lyre ! didst thou ever play the flute ?
Jove! who once puttedst on the swan, didst thou ever put on duck ?

Mercury! God of the winged heell didst thou ever adorn thy glittering Hobies with four-inch spurs i

Venus! most amiable goddess ! if it's not an impertinent question, was your zone of love like an officer's sash ?

Eolus, order us a good breeze, do; messieurs et mesdames, the gods and goddesses all, take your places in the five seconds cloud, and if Eolus knows how to “ blow a cloud,” we shall be soon wafted to a sight which will make ye “ hide your diminished heads." This pretty seaside place is Ramsgate (that's a finer pier than the Piræus, Jove.) This is the Albion hotel—Eolus, don't bang us against the side of it, there, that will do, don't make so much noise. Juno, keep that beastly peacock quiet-gently so: now look into this window-there he is.

“ What a disgusting fop!" thundered Jove.
“ He is handsome, but wants dignity," enunciated his spouse.

“Do look, Minerva, what a delightful moustache-he's a positive beauty,” quoth the Goddess of Love eagerly.

“ He has an intellectual forehead, certainly, my dear Venus." “ Hang him !-an effeminate beast !” growled Mars.

“Do you think I ever put mouth to a thing so tawdry as that in the corner, which, I suppose, he calls a fute?” inquired the tinkling God with some asperity.

Really," complained Venus, “ you are all extremely cross; and I shall therefore dismiss you. I will take this sweet mortal under my protection—he is such a love."

“ Is he though?-let's have a look at him then," said a tiny voice.

“ Why, Cupid, my love, how came you here 2-where have you been, and what is that scratch on your arm ?—what have you

been about?” “ Calling out Lord

mamma.” “O you little wretch what, so young !" « Bah I let me see this beauty.”

Why, what is all this fuss about? My dear gentle reader, don't be in a pet. Are you not aware that people borrow a kind of reflected light from those who introduce them to you, and that you would make your best bow to the “ friend” of the Duke of whilst you turn on your heel from the “ werry partikler hintimate acquaintence" of your tiger? Respect, my dear friend, then, Count Mignionette: he is introduced by the gods of Olympus (not of the Olympic). He is unquestionably a handsome man and has much of the militaire, though unfortunately alloyed by the petit-maitre. A fine contour, aquiline nose, rather swarthy complexion, small lips, jet black eyes,

« PreviousContinue »