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was faithful? did I not say I would not despair? How could you suggest, my dear Matilda, that my feelings, considering I had parted from him so young, rather rose from the warmth of my imagination than of my heart ?-0 I was sure that they were genuine, deceitful as the dictates of our bosom so frequently are—But to my tale
- let it be, my friend, the most sacred, as it is the most sincere pledge of our friendship.
« Our hours here are early-earlier than my heart, with its load of care, can compose itself to rest. I, therefore, usually take a book for an hour or two after retiring to my own room, which I think I have told you opens to a small balcony, looking down upon that beautiful lake, of which I attempted to give you a slight sketch. Mervyn-Hall, being partly an ancient building, and constructed with a view to defence, is 'situated on the verge of the water. A stone dropped from the projecting balcony plunges into water deep enough to float a skiff. I had left my window partly unbarred, that, before I went to bed, I might, according to my custom, look out and see the moon - light shining upon the lake. I was deeply engaged with that beautiful scene in the merchant of Venice, where two lovers, describing the stillness of a summer night, enhance upon each other its charms, and was lost in the associations of story and of feeling which it awakens, when I heard upon the lake the sound of a flageolet. I have told you it was Brown's favourite instrument. Who could
touch it in a night which, though still and serene, was too cold, and too late in the year, to invite forth any wanderer for mere pleasure. I drew yet nearer the window, and hearkened with breathless'attentionthe sounds paused a space, were then resumed-paused again--and again reached my ear, ever coming nearer and nearer. At length, I distinguished plainly that little Hindu air which you called my favourite — I have to'd you by whom it was taught me - the instrument, the tones were his own- was it earthly music, or notes passing on the wind to warn me of his death?
«It was some time ere I could summon courage to step on the balcony- nothing could have 'emboldened ine'to do so but the strong conviction of my mind, that he was still alive, and that we should again ineet --but that conviction did embolden me, and I ventnred, though with a throbbing heart. There was a small skiff with a single person-O Matilda, it was himself!-I knew his appearance after so long an absence, and through the shadow of the night, as perfectly as if we had parted yesterday, and met again in the broad sunshine! He guided his boat under the balcony, and spoke to me--I hardly know what he said, or what I replied. Indeed I could scarcely speak for weeping, but they were joyful tears. We were disturbed by the barking of a dog at some distance, and parted, but not before he had conjured me to prepare to meet him at the same place and hour this evening - but where
and to what is all this tending ?-Can I answer this question - I cannot — Heaven, that saved him from death and delivered him from captivity, that saved my father, too, from shedding the blood of one who would not have blemished one hair upon his head-that heaven must guide me out of this labyrinth. Enough for me the firm resolution, that Matilda shall not blush for her friend, my father for his daughter, or my lover for her on whom he has fixed his affection.»
Talk with a man out of a window !-a proper saying.
Much Ado about Nothing.
We must proceed with our extracts of Miss Mannering's letters, which throw light upon natural good sense, principle, and feelings, blemished by an imperfect education, and the folly of a misjudging mother, who called her husband in her heart a tyrant until she feared him as such, and read romances until she became so enamoured of the complicated intrigues which they contain, as to assume the management of a little family novel of her own, and constitute her daughter, a girl of sixteen, the principal heroine. She delighted in petty mystery, and intrigue, and secrets, and yet trembled at the indignation which these paltry manæuvres excited in her husband's mind. Thus she frequently entered upon a scheme merely for pleasure, or perhaps for the love of contradiction, plunged deeper into it than she was aware, endeavoured to extricate herself by new arts, or to cover her error by dissimulation, became involved in meshes of her own weaving, and was forced to carry on, for fear of discovery, machinations which she had formerly resorted to in mere wantonness.
Fortunately the young man whom she so imprudently introduced into her intimate society, and encouraged to look up to her daughter, had a fund of principle and honest pride, which rendered him a safer inmate than Mrs Mannering ought to have dared to hope or expect. The obscurity of his birth could alone be objected to him- in every other respect, .
With prospects bright upon the world he came,
But it could not be expected that he should resist the snare which Mrs Mannering's imprudence threw in his way, or avoid becoming attached to a young lady whose beauty and manners might have justified his passion, even in scenes where these are more generally met with, than in a remote fortress in our Indian settlements. The scenes which followed have been partly detailed in Mannering's letter to Mr Mervyn; and to expand what is there stated into further explanations would be to abuse the patience of our readers.
We shall therefore proceed with our promised extracts from Miss Mannering's letters to her friend.