« PreviousContinue »
solitary, wretched hovel, bordering on pack of hounds in full cry; and with the the marsh, the abode of the most ghostly, scent breast high, and, to my horror, yellow, emaciated objects in human form perceived the two borns or wings of the I ever beheld, except some of the ca- troop, making an echellon movement in yenned, curry-dried, liver-worn Anglo- an ever-narrowing circle, like a regiment East Indians we left at Cheltenham. of cavalry bringing their right and left The sun was fast setting, and we had shoulders forward, to outfiank, and then still two miles to make, and were coast
enclose us. I dared not risk a second ing along the edge of a knoll, thickly glance at my foes, but the hoarse voices of set with huge and speckled aloes, inter the ringleaders ran through the ranks, mingled here and there with stunted and I heard and saw the plash of their ilexes, and with the strawberry-tree, many feet as they turned up the mud then bright with its globes of deep red but a few yards in my rear. gold, when methought I heard a rustling How I reached the hut I know not, among the branches, and a sound like but reach it I did, where I found my that of the grinding of teeth. I noticed friend leaning against the wall, breathit to my companion. He suddenly less with terror. The shed was rudely turned ashy pale, and whispered hysteri- constructed of peat, and appeared to cally, “We are near a herd of swine!” have been long deserted, consisting only
Vast numbers, I should have told of bare walls and a few rafters; but, you, are turned out in the fall of the providentially, there was a door hanging leaf, to fatten here, and become so by one hinge; this I contrived to shut savage and wild, that none but their just as the centre of the herd reached keepers dare approach them; and cased the threshold. They made a halt, reas they are in an almost impenetrable tired a few paces, and collected together, mail of leather, even they sometimes fall as if to hold a council of war. While victims to the ferocity of these brutes. they were undecided how to act, we dis
“ It is well for us,” continued my charged our four barrels loaded with friend, “that there is a hut within a few small shot, from the window, at 'the hundred yards. Let us lose no time in nearest, which slowly limping, with a making for it.” As he spake, the sounds sullen grunt of disappointment, the became louder, and I saw some hun- whole of their comrades at their heels, dred hoys emerging on all sides from the retreated into the covert. brushwood, grunting fiercely, and gnash- “ Thank God!” said R-, when he ing their teeth in unison. They were saw the last disappear among the aloes. huge, gaunt, long-legged, long-headed “ It is but a year since a traveller, crossand long-backed creatures, giants of their ing the Maremma, paid for the journey species — spectral monsters, more like with his life. There was not a tree to starved bloodhounds than swine.
shelter him; and though he was a deterThey now mustered their forces in mined man, and well armed, and no battle array, outside the thicket, and doubt made a gallant resistance, they commenced the attack in a systematic hemmed him in, and devoured him.' I and regularly concerted manner; the ve- could shew you the spot where the terans of the herd directing the move- swineherds drove them from his manments of the hostile band, and one, by gled remains ; it was pointed out to me a deeper grunt, not ill resembling the the last time I came here." word of command of a certain general, de grege porcus, of our acquaintance, SPECIMEN OF A NEW NOVEL. giving dreadful notes of preparation, as if to spirit on the line to a charge.
We made our way with difficulty through the rotten and yielding morass, Yes, my dear boy, I will comply with leaping from tuft to tuft, and risking, by your request, and the tranquillity of a false slip, to plunge into a bottomless which I am so fond will become more abyss, while our bloodthirsty pursuers, agreeable to me, occupied in recalling, with their long legs and lanky sides, and for your amusement, the incidents of my tucked-up bellies, advanced—a fearful past life. Expect from me, however, phalanx, in semilunar curve, momently nothing like a mysterious and romantic gaining ground! My friend, who was story. I have been the victim of no more accustomed to the bogs than my- dark plot—no devastating passion ; nor self, soon outstripped me, not daring to has my destiny been interwoven with look behind. Once, and once only, did revolutions, battles, or other great public I, and beheld them coming on like a events. Fortunately for myself, but
AN ORIGINAL SKETCH.
unluckily for my narrative, I knew who elegant, the streets wide, the whole ex. were my parents, was never stolen dur- terior scene clcar and bright, and the ing my infancy, have never been exposed people are abroad, contented and happy in a box, and, in short, have experienced -free from beggars, bayonets, and spies, little which has not been the fate of hun- and upon a soil entirely their own. dreds who never dreamed of printing On the night to which I have alluded, their hopes, fears, and feelings. But all the town appeared in motion, and from your earliest boyhood I have so in pursuit of pleasure. It was an hour often enjoyed your youthful and ardent when the spirits rise, the heart expands, curiosity ; so many a time, by the plea- when soft hopes and pensive recollections sant winter fire, I have held you on my steal across the mind, and we think the knee and in my arms, while your in- earth a heaven, and wish to live in it for quiring spirit drank in all the casual reminiscences which accident or your A lordly building, that rose in the own solicitations drew from my lips, that white moonlight, and cast a strong, unI feel a true gratification in being able even shadow into the street, shewed a to oblige your wish, and in giving you, dim light from two of its windows. The on paper, all that I can gather from the rest of the building was dark, and care. forgetfulness of an old man's mind. Per- fully closed, the bell was tied to the haps, too, the garrulity of age, as well as brazen guard, the old-fashioned knocker the warmth of affection, prompts me to was muffled, and the stones before the comply. I will adventure upon the side-walk in front of the door were thickly perilous ground of authorship, and en- covered with the soft bark used by deavour to fling upon paper the frag- tanners, over which the wheels of each ments which you have already heard, passing carriage cease their thunders and with such additional particulars as I can roll lightly, as on felt. These arrangeremember.
ments plainly enough denoted some one
sick within—too much prostrated to bear It was a lovely summer night. The the clash and tumult of the ever-busy, full moon had mounted in the east. The external world. Group after group went silver clouds lay stretched along the lightly by the sad dwelling. The aged heavens in silent and radiant sleep, and, tottered on, and breathed the fresh nightbehind their soft shapes, the lustrous air with unalloyed satisfaction. The stars twinkled, and the near planets burn- young and the
gay went talking and ed steadily. The gentlest of breezes just laughing by. The maiden stole blissstirred the leaves, without breaking the fully beneath the window of death, and langour which hung over the beautiful listened to the whispers of love; and the city, after a long August day of intense careless shouted as he passed, in the unbeat. Every thing in the streets was thinking buoyancy of strength, health, still, except the footsteps of the pedes- and enjoyment. Thus goes ever on the trians, who came out in parties to enjoy selfish world. the breath of evening, or, peradventure, The gloomy chamber, tenanted by the the sound of a guitar, or the notes of a sick, perhaps by the dying, was elegantly piano melting in with the voice of some furnished as a sleeping apartment; an music-loving girl, heard through the accumulation of vials, cups, bowls, and wide-opened window. Over the whole all the paraphernalia of sickness lay scene appeared that brilliant enchant- around. At the farther end of the room, ment and tranquil lustre which the poetry upon a bed hung with silken curtains, of England has ascribed too exclusively lay an attenuated female
form, apparentto eastern climes. The heavens and the ly in a deep slumber. By her side sat a air had all the deep and transparent lovely girl, pale with anxiety, and an old beauty of Italy or Asia. The inhabitants nurse moved about with a feline noiseof New York, who move over the broad lessness, and the indifference of one pavements at this calm delicious hour, or skilled in such scenes, and callous to them sit inhaling the odours of their gardens from habitude. Before the sufferer from windows and terraces, do not know awakens from her slumber, let me introhow unsurpassably enchanting are those duce her to you. long, sweet, American summer nights. Maria Morgan had been born of
Many of the streets of this great me- affluent parents, who satisfied themselves tropolis, too, were even at that period with bestowing upon her a fashionable remarkable for their beauty. They ex- education, and regulating her morals bibit nothing of the gloom of European according to fixed standards, without
The buildings are high and cultivating her affections and refining her mind. She had grown up correct and affectionate girl when she received official unfeeling, accomplished and admired, orders to repair to head-quarters. Howbut not beloved. Her wealth procured ever she came by it, she was of a sweet and her a husband, who died after the birth gay disposition, and a mind lofty and of one daughter, and the haughty and noble, when awakened to exertion. Her wealthy widow, subsequently, lived on school life had been all peace and sunin single independence, having found the shine. Equally beloved by her comstate of matrimony either too happy or panions and instructors, quick at her too miserable to induce a second experi- tasks, accomplished, and full of talentment. The same effect springs often susceptible in feeling--adorning nature equally from opposite causes.
and freedom-proud, but gentlemodest The daughter had been, like herself, and timid, yet constant and firm-capable sent early to a boarding-school, where of heroic actions, yet indolent and pleaalmost total separation from her mother sure-loving, and destitute of resolution had offered no opportunity for the growth in the petty details of life, she was a of filial attachment, except the theoreti- character from which, at once, every cal sentiment caught from poetry and thing was to be hoped and every thing romances, which, like phosphoric fire, to be feared. inflames, without warmi the heart. The whole fabric of her education was Even had the mother been capable of built on the soundest moral principles, inspiring affection, Flora could have and she, therefore, regarded her mother scarcely loved her as a child should love with a profound respect, which almost a parent.
any other woman could have awakened The girl spent her vacations at home, into affection, but she was too well aware in a circle small, but fashionable and re- of those peculiarities which always renfined, though tedious, for here etiquette dered her society painful, and her eyes took the place of morals, and formality filled with tears when she took leave of of love ; and she returned, with cordial her girlish haunts, and the companions delight, to her school amusements and of her happiest hours. She bade a heavy school friendships. Here she lived the adieu to a score of school-girl Hebes, life, almost, of a flower in a garden, to whom she had vowed inviolable fideblossoming amid clusters of other flowers. lity; she kissed her dear and reverend For, if her life was not one of idleness, instructress with unfeigned affection. it was one of sunshine, and the routine Even her favourite bird was fondled, of her daily avocations scarcely troubled for the last time, in her bosom and her opening mind more than the rose consigned to another ; for, of all things, is disturbed by the dew and the breeze, her mother was unable to endure the when its leaves burst their bud with a “screaming of a bird.” Her muchgentle violence; even so easy and pleasant used books were gathered together, and a thing was learning to Flora Morgan. packed up ; rings, seals, and locks of Music, French, dancing and drawing, hair were interchanged; vows, adieus, map-painting, worked fire-screens, and and kisses were repeated again and again, gilt paper-boxes filled up the leisure of with all the unbounded fervour of youthher lighter hours till she reached the ful love. There are few things more dignified age of seventeen, and bordered tender than the heart of a young boardupon the entire completion of her educa- ing-school girl. It has all the fond ention.
thusiasm of a woman's, without its expeAs the mamma grew old, she grew, if rience. Poor Flora pressed her hand possible, more isolated and repelling. upon hers, to keep it from breaking, as Neither loving nor loved, she was be- she looked back from the carriage-winlieved to be utterly heartless, as she was dow, and saw the home of her pleasantest assuredly, utterly disagreeable. She associations disappear amid the trees. quarrelled with her servants, slandered I do not think nature has created her enemies, and insulted her friends, woman a nobler being than man, because and, at length, when neither man, nor I think their capacities for virtue are woman, nor cat would endure her com- originally the same. But the world has panionship, on account of her caprices, made him inferior in many points. I and the exactions of her eccentric, domi- have no time to discuss opinions, I mean neering, and ungenerous disposition, she only to express them; but it is certain recalled poor Flora, now a tall, careless, that she is kept more aloof from those beautiful girl, to be her companion or influences of policy and artificial passions, rather her victim.
which distort the characters of the other Poor Flora! a sad day was it for the She is less corrupted by avarice,
ambition, a thirst for science, a worldly without a lingering wish for earth. But pride, and plans of life too broad to be Flora's labours were of a different kind. executed purely and peacefully. The The lips of the sufferer had never uttered elements of her thought and feeling are a kind word to her, though she had less alloyed by common-place considera- served her like an angel. Sickness and tions. Napoleon was tormented with an death are frightful enough everywhere, unquenchablé mania for empire. His and to everybody; but to the young, mother and his wife always looked farther they are terrible and ghastly. They are and higher, and sighed not over his ob- a tremendous lesson' to the tender eyes stacles, but his successes. The emperor, which have, hitherto roved only over from his situation, felt himself compelled sunshine and flowers. to repudiate the faithful Josephine. Her : Flora watched her mother's fading face heart—her fame her love-her happia and wasting form with intense interest ness, were thistle-down in his path, while and sympathy. Never was a kinder she would have preferred one smile of nurse. Her delicate attention was visihis to all personal distinctions. : When ble everywhere. The bad 'temper of the consul had usurped the crown, 'he Mrs. Morgan broke out in new forms of met his mother one morning walking in caprice under the pressure of pain and a garden and gave her his hand to kiss, ennui, and those nearest her received their but the stern matron, with a thousand share indiscriminately. But Flora never times more than the majesty of Juno, failed her--never replied-never murrebuked the conqueror of the world, and mured. It was her hand that shook the bade him remember, it was his duty to heated pillow-it was she who was ever kneel to the being who gave him existence. near to aid the wearied and dying patient The symbols of a queen or an empress to a new position, and her overseeing care were in her eyes, what Philosophy herself which hushed every voice and step, conciwould pronounce them; idle baubles, liated every attendant, and invented every which accident gives without merit, and sweet artifice to soften the rugged horrors takes away without justice; but the title of death. In this period of trying selfof a mother, was the rank of nature con- sacrifice, her character deepened, opening ferred by the voice of God. This is ge- to her new sources of strength, hitherto nerally the difference between the cha- hidden from herself, and her loving nature racter of man and woman. But where found even in the peevish and still haughty is Flora?
sufferer, much to excuse and to redeem, The dutiful daughter sighed at the if not to admire. unkindness of her fate, and resolved to On the night in question, I called to love her mother, if she could. At all inquire what hope remained of Mrs. events, she resolved to act as if she loved Morgan's recovery. I remember how her. It was a heavy task, but there is a heavily my heart weighed in my bosom wonderful support in the consciousness on leaving the moonlight--the music that we are doing our duty. She had the gay voices--the light shufiling of not been home six months when two young steps—the grateful evening breeze, events occurred which opened a world and all the tokens of cheerful pleasure of thought to her youthful contemplation. without, to enter the gloomy chamber of In the first place she fell in love with a death-to behold a human life quenched, poor student at law, worth every thing for I had a presentiment that the scene but money. In the next, Mrs. Morgan was near its close. It had always been was seized with a sudden, rapid and dan- understood between Mrs. Morgan and gerous illness, which alarmed every one myself, that I was to be the guardian of but the victim herself. For three months Flora, and of the ample property which she languished, and as she grew more was to come into her possession. I had sick, she also grew more peevish. No made several attempts to converse with task is more grateful than to watch by the former upon the subject, but always the couch of one dear to us. It brings found myself baffled by her adroitness in the very finest and tenderest sentiments eluding the subject. of the mind to the surface. The heart persuade her that she was seriously ill. is perpétually full of a melting compassion She persisted in every artifice to convince -the eyes ever ready to be moistened herself of returning health; had for a with tears. I have hung over the pillow long time rejected the aid of physicians, of such a one sleeping, with a feeling so and was perpetually forming gay plans purified that I could have clasped the for the future. Flora watched and wept. unconscious hand, which was no more The peevish mother rebuked and ridito act among the living, and met death culed her.
BY H. H. RILEY,
This evening I found Flora calm and “She cannot hear you now, my dear cheerful.
child,” I exclaimed. “ She has been much better, sir," she "Why cannot she hear me?” asked whispered; “and so kind.”
the unconscious girl. I would have made one or two inquiries, “She will never hear you again. We but she pressed her finger on her lip. I are all in the hands of God, my child, walked softly to the bedside and gazed we must submit to his will." upon the pallid features of the mother. “Mother-dear, dear mother !” exThey were so appallingly altered as to claimed the affrighted and bewildered girl. be scarcely recognizable. Yet upon her She spoke to a cold clod.
A long sunken temples, fearfully emaciated convulsiye sob heaved her bosom. She cheeks, and all the thin sharp features, fell into the nurse's arms, and hid her still even in sleep, even in death, appear- face in her bosom, and then not a breath ed the haughty coldness, which spoke a was heard in the chamber of death, while heart whose affections had been embit- the blue, tranquil moonlight streamed tered.
down through the windows upon the Flora gazed down upon that passion- floor. Some days passed away; at the less unloving face, till the big tears leaped proper period the will was read. Imafrom her eyes and fell upon the floor. gine my surprise on finding that Mrs. It was the first time she had beheld a Morgan had bequeathed all her property fellow-creature blighted by disease, and to Sir William Fitzroy—a gentleman to sinking into that dark fate which swal- whom she was said to have been remotely lows up before our eyes our dearest and related, but whom she had never seenbest, and which surely awaits our own to whom she owed nothing, and who steps, however young, light, ardent, and was already worth twenty thousand happy.
pounds a year! “How still! how pale! how deathlike!” I murmured. The nurse
THE INDIANS. mixing a medicine to be taken during the night. A man went by in the street singing aloud. Mrs. Morgan opened When the prow of Columbus first struck her eyes languidly. Tears were on her the point of San Salvador, and he cast cheeks. She put forth her long bony his eyes upon the new world, he was so fingers with a look of deep terror and completely fascinated by the sublimity affection to the beautiful girl—the only of the surrounding landscape, that one who had faithfully loved her in spite he terms it a second paradise. As of all her faults.
regards climate, productions of soil, and “ Flora, dear Flora-save me! save grandeur of scenery, he acknowledges
himself utterly unable to give even a “My dearest mother-"
sketch, and far şurpassing the imaginaThe sufferer lay a moment recovering, tion of the wildest and most enthusiastic whether from the effects of a dream, or admirer of nature. Beautiful birds, of from sudden apprehensions of the reality rainbow colours, fluttered and sported in of her danger, no one can now say. In the groves, making their cool shady aisles a few moments she grew more calm. sound to a thousand mingling notes;
“Flora, my sweet girl, you have been bright insects, with light, transparent a ministering angel to me. Forgive me. wings, were roving from flower to flower, I wish I have—you ought to possess giving a drowsy hum to the already all now-but-oh, save me-save me!”. bland and languid air, and the mingling
Another boisterous passenger beneath colours that they exhibited playing conthe window uttered an idle oath. It fusedly together, appeared elegant and was answered by a hoarse laugh. Then grand; the atmosphere was pure and the clock struck, quivering in the silence elastic, and bore all the wild sweetness of upon the last peal of twelve. The faint the surrounding verdure and flowers; voice of the mother ceased; her extended the magnificent forests swept away as far hand fell heavily to the bed; her eyes as the eye could reach, with their sumclosed, pened again, and fixed their mits wreathed in a fresh and brilliant starting and glazed orbs steadily upon verdure; the bays lay sleeping within the ceiling. The experienced nurse mo- their banks, with a bright and glossy tioned me to lead Flora away. The stillness; the music of the far-off rivers voice of the street passenger still went was heard in the silence of the atmoson singing.
phere, and the waters of those that were “Let me speak to my poor mother," near flowed forth sparkling and fresh as said Flora.
the mountain spring. As regards the