Page images
PDF
EPUB

The man in the grey coat was then taken before the city authorities. His story, however, was soon told. His twin brother had been shot by O’Gunnell's orders, and he had promised the priest not to raise his hand against him, but to leave him to the torments of his conscience. The letters were his writing, and O'Gunnell's servant was an accomplice.

MOUNT SKIDDAW.

SAXON'S

BY N. H. MICHELL, AUTHOR OF AN ESSAY ON WOMAN," THE

DAUGHTER,” &c.

*1

Oh, that my tongue could tell what now I feel !

My bosom, like soine fountain, brimmeth o'er
With struggling thoughts that words may not reveal:

I can but gaze, and tremble, and adore.
Thou mountain! where I stand, so huge and hoar !

Valleys and plains, that mock the straining eye!
Old Ocean rolling on the distant shore !

And, arching all, thou vast eternal sky!
My spirit, lost, absorbed, but murmurs—what am I?

[ocr errors]

Yet are we told this earth was made for man :

Ay, what is matter, glorious though it be?
Can aught around think, feel, or move one span?

Rather to Him who framed it bend thy knee;
Whose word could melt to nothing all we see ;

Whose breath lives in us, an eternal fire :
Yes, we can pass o'er yon far-shining sea,

Drink bliss from Nature's charms, that never tire,
And make the earth our own, till sense and thought expire.

Expire? shall death dissolve the kindred tie

That links my soul, majestic scenes, to you?
Shall the enfranchised spirit heavenward fly

And bid to all on earth a long adieu ?
Or may we be permitted still to view

The haunts of childhood, and the seats of age ?
Hover 'round those we loved, and all we knew?

A mystery this to moralist and sage:
Yet on this mighty mount, such thoughts my heart engage.

ARDENT TROUGHTON, THE WRECKED MERCHANT.1

BY E. HOWARD.

Behold me looking from the decks of the ship upon the mountains of my native Spain, and the towers and the spires of my paternal city; my heart, my feelings, all my associations, entirely English. There stood Troughton, formerly known by the lamb-like epithet of Quiet, flaunting in a red-hot and gaudy military uniform, attended by a still more gaudily appareled mute, health throbbing with all its tumultuous wishes and aspirations through his veins, whilst a latent fierceness of temperament was gradually and surely bracing up his heart to that rigidity that makes the will zealously obey the passions, and work out sternly all their wild decrees.

Though my position was, at this period, a little awkward, I did not, at first thought, find it unpleasing-it was romantic enough, and, to others, I might make it as mysterious as I chose. The apparent colonel of cavalry, and the announced (though not by myself) envoy extraordinary from the court of Persia was, it is true, no more than the supercargo of a vessel and its lading, both of which were, no doubt, held in equilibrio, far down in the bosom of the fathomless sea; penniless, and without vouchers as to my identity, I felt some reluctance to present myself in my father's mansion. For what had I to bring him in lieu of all his expected wealth ? Nothing but a horrible story of shipwreck, sufferings, and death.

As I reflected, this loathing to seek his mansion and his blessing came upon me so strongly, that I grew first alarmed, and then very melancholy, accusing myself of wanting those sweet and natural affections, which makes the substratum of almost all the happiness of this world. My thoughts grew bitter, as I was pensively leaning over the taffrail; and, no doubt, the expression of my countenance reflected them accurately, for I was roused from my sad reverie by the gentle pressure of the hand of Donna Isidora on my shoulder, who, with her gallant and gay young lover, I found was standing by my side.

“When,” said she smiling, “ will his Excellency Don Ardentizabello de Trompe Hilla choose to cast the cloud from off his brow, and condescend to permit the Barcelonians to sun themselves in his presence?"

“ Ah! when indeed ?” said Julien. “ We have been some time endeavouring to rally our energies before we dared approach your excellency. What hosts were you destroying in your imagination ? or whom were you condemning to death, in the black tribunal of your thoughts? You were looking both fierce and frightful.”

“ Fierce, but not frightful,” said the lady ; " but it is my will that you do not look fierce. I have some rights in you—you are my

Continued from p. 273. August 1836.-VOL. XVI.—NO. LXIV.

DD

waif-mine by the right of what the English call flotsom and jetsom-for none but myself would have picked such a withered weed out of the water.”

“ Isidora !"

“ True, Julien ; but you are nobody. You know very well that, notwithstanding that proud look, Captain Mantez would not, do all that you could, at your intercession, have had these poor folks brought on board."

“Why?" said I sharply, for the first time breaking silence.

“ Because," said she hesitatingly, as if ashamed that one who might call himself her countryman, should be so inhuman,—“ because he thought, by the construction of the coffina boat I think you call it, which contained you)—that you were English.”

“Ah! did he indeed? May heaven forget me, if I remember not this.”

“ Ardent Troughton," said my monitress mildly, but emphatically, “I fear me that your thoughts are evil-I never saw you so disturbed before. My friend, reflect upon the awful fate of that brave James Gavel, over whom you have so often made me weep. I did not wish, by my jesting, to call upon your brow a spot so large and so red. If you will not permit me to claim you wholly as my bondsman, still I have my right of salvage in you-an eighth, I believe-so I shall select my share, and take your face—so unruffle it, if you please."

“O! not the face,” said I vehemently, “but the arm; and in all honourable and brotherly service, the heart also."

As I thus spoke, Julien shook me cordially by the hand, and the almond-shaped and large dark eyes of Isidora swam in a brilliant moisture, through which a strange and lambent fire seemed struggling. I did not understand it.

“ Well,” said Julien laughing, “ now that we have finished our heroics, will your excellency condescend to embark? Captain Mantez waits to take leave of you in his cabin. The first cutter is manned for you alongside, and your suite is already in the boat.”

« And the dog ? no inconsiderable member of what you are pleased to call my suite.

“ 01 the captain has taken that fine animal into especial favourhe intends to keep him."

“ Then, Don Julien, he shall keep me we go together. But, really, in all sincerity, and indeed in all sorrow, I am truly grieved that I ever assumed this disguise, and am eager to throw it off. Had I known your intentions in thus tricking out me and poor dumb Jugurtha in these false colours, I could never have lent myself to the generous deception. You know that you introduced me as the Persian envoy before I was aware of your purpose, and I could not compromise you. My heart, to its very core, thanks you for your benevolent motives—and loves you for them, too, my dear Julien- but let me rid myself of this disguise at once, if it be possible.”

“ It is not possible.”

“ Then am I truly sorry for it. You are an hidalgo-noble by birth, and of high rank in your country's military service-I am no

may choose

thing but a merchant-not yet even that—for my

father to continue me, for some time, in his counting-house.

“ You a clerk in a counting-house, with that lofty and haughty air !—that very military look !-the thing is absurd; but really, Ardent, you are unkind thus to force upon me your self-disparagements. I have taken you as my friend—we are equal. I confess to you that this masquerading has become a little awkward; but we must still persevere in it, till we have got you on shore; you may then shake off my despised finery, the envoy will vanish of a secret mission, and Signior Troughton may disclaim for ever, in a sober suit of black, all acquaintance with Don Ardentizabello de Trompe Hilla ; but, for my sake, leave the ship in full honours.”

“ For your sake, anything."

Julien thanked me by a pressure of the hand, and Isidora, still more eloquently, by a glance of those beautiful eyes, that might madden the wise, and make the mad tame, so benignly soft was their expression.

At this moment the valet of our thrice-puissant captain came on another embassy, to invite us to a farewell collation in the cabin. Conquering, for the sake of my noble friends, the great dislike I had taken to this commander, I entered his cabin, received with a dignified suavity the place of honour, drank the necessary toasts, and made the customary speeches.

But there was one below that welcomed me with heart-cordiality, and that was poor Bounder, the Newfoundland dog, who was, much to his displeasure, chained up in one corner of the cabin. His expressions of delight at seeing me were frantic; and when I was about to depart, they became, by their violence, incommodious to the company. Indeed, the priest, Xavier, had cursed him through all the forms of the Catholic church; for, in going the length of his chain, Bounder had, in his evolutions to approach me, twisted it round the right leg of the ecclesiastic, fairly wrenched him from his chair, and Aung him prostrate upon the deck beneath the table.

“ That dog seems strangely attached to you,” said Mantez, as we were rising.

“ He was more strangely attached this moment to the worthy padre," I replied.

May the brute be macerated into ten thousand pieces of undying agony," said the Christian priest. “The abomination has rasped off the skin from my shin, from the knee to the instep-see how the blood is oozing through my worsted stockings- I must to the surgeon's. A curse upon the beast, and upon-all those who laugh at the sufferings of the church of Christ.”

“You see, Don Mantez,” said I, “ that the poor animal has been anathematized by the very patient and apostolic father--no good can now come upon his devoted head-he will bring misfortune to all, wherever he may be. So, with your permission, I will even take him on shore with me."

“Not so, your excellency-I have taken a fancy to the dog, and cannot part with him." Then looking sternly at the padre, he continued--for the captain was a bit of a Tartar,“ if the good father has cursed the dog, he shall uncurse him—if he has placed a ban upon his head, for his own pleasure, he shall take it off for mine-and for, whatever fees the church may reasonably demand. No, no, we will keep the dog; and, when the fine fellow gets a little more tame and used to us, let me see the man who will dare, then, to excommunicate and damn him to hell. In anything else I should be most happy to oblige your excellency."

“ But the dog is mine."
“ Yours !"
“ Yes--I-"

But here I was very seasonably interrupted by Isidora placing her hand playfully on my lips, and exclaiming, “ Don Trompe. Hilla, when I get on shore to my uncle's, I will indemnify you for the failure of your request, by giving you two pugs and a poodle—the latter as well trimmed as our gallant captain's whiskers.”

“Ah, señora ! you may say anything," said the captain.

“I have said too much,” thought I ; " and yet I cannot give up my noble friend, upon whose back I rested in the wild sea, when I was struggling hard with death."

“Will you sell the dog?" said I, forgetting that I was not possessed of a single farthing. The captain looked seriously offended.

“When I sell my honour, not till then,” was the laconic reply,

I could do nothing more without betraying the ruse of Julien, which might have been attended with unpleasant consequences to my generous friends, so Mantez and I bowed to each other stiffly enough, and each wishing the other the moderate wish, that he might live a thousand years we all repaired, to the deck previously to our going in the boats. But as I ascended the quarter-deck ladder, the piteous, the almost human howl of the deserted animal, went through my bosom like the cry of a drowning brother. I hurried into my boat with Don Julien de Araguez and Donna Isidora, and there I found Jugurtha waiting for me. Before we shoved off, Captain Mantez was also seated in his barge, the dog howling all this time, so as to be distinctly heard, and my choler rising rapidly.

I looked forward, and there I saw my mute, in his oriental costume, fumbling with the poniard that he carried in his vest, and looking with more than a demon's hate at the captain. I had seen before, but had not much remarked upon similar looks that the negro had bestowed upon Mantez. But now, sitting as he was, directly facing me, he made me shudder, by the more than infernal spite that contorted every feature.

Now, Spanish seamen are not very expert in the management of their boats. It was blowing rather fresh, with a little ruffling sea, and the two boats did not free themselves immediately from each other, but were dropping together astern, and I was all this time agonized by the howling of the dog. In spite of all my endeavours to keep down my passion, the black drop of blood in my heart was fast expanding itself, and driving me into fury. At one howl, more piteous than any I had yet heard, forgetting the risk that I ran, and my two noble-hearted preservers, between whom I was sitting, I started upon my feet in the stern-sheets of the boats, and lifting my hands in a

« PreviousContinue »