Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

He told us his attackers were known desperadoes, often employed in the most daring functions of the police, but as often colouring under this mask acts of private revenge and murder, for which they are hired by enormous bribes. It is their practice to get false information lodged against the persons intended to be attacked; and thus they proceed armed with a distortion of the powers of the law. They had now been sent down from London, at an incredible expense, to take advantage of the reports of robberies committed in this neighbourhood. The same men, for they in vain attempted to disguise their persons, had once committed an assault upon him before; and had kept him in custody for six weeks, when he escaped from them by a miracle. As Mr. M was an intelligent, firm, and active magistrate, it was probable they might not immediately venture into his house for their purpose; but Longford had no doubt they would way-lay him in some way, from which it would be scarce possible finally te protect himself. He hinted that persons in power were his decided enemies'; and would wink at no light stretch of authority to obtain the command of his person.

M i who had formed a high idea of the purity of administrations, and of the exercise of laws and institutions, would have blamed Longford for these insinuations, under less provocation. He still thought him mistaken, though he did not add to his sufferings by contradicting him.

For more than a week Longford was kept quiet in M's house. During this time he still made many allusions to his story without explaining it, and persisted in his certainty of a conspiracy against him, of which there were indeed too many confirmations without doors. Wretches in disguise haunted the avenues to the house, and beset the servants and visitors. But hitherto in vain.

In the mean time Ellen's anxiety grew with her attachment: her health suffered; and even her beauty declined. She spent however those precious days principally in the company of Longford, in whose interesting manner, rich stores of knowledge, and affecting eloquence, she found new objects of admiration. With a wild fancy and an agitated heart even his confusion was frequently eloquent! the various scenes in which he had been engaged gave a romantic colour to all his allusions; and sentiments of the noblest and most glowing hues flowed from him as from a fountain. Indignant, irascible, yet instantly relenting ; impetuous; daring, yet in a moment melted with tenderness; acquainted with the diversified tints of many colour's life,” having learned to weep “at the woe of others by his own;" and deeply touched with the softest of human passions, he had within him all the ingredients that give interest and delight to the powers of conversation. Not indeed those powers which are pleasing to dull men, and mere men of business, who stared at him with a stupid wonder ; and only pitied his ebullitions as the symptoms of insanity : but such as are admired by people of cultivated minds and refined dispositions.

I compassionated the situation of sweet Ellen from the bottom of my heart. Her attachment became too like idolatry; and her sublime affections irradiated, yet wore her beautiful person. To her Longford, no doubt, communicated many particulars of his life, which he concealed from others; but I do not yet know that he gave her a perfect explanation. Her virtue was too great to permit her to fly with him, and be the partaker of his adventures; nor did he wish it. He had too many hardships and dangers to encounter, to desire that she should be a sharer of them. And he seemed perfectly convinced of the impossibility of long remaining in safety in his present situation. The idea of the separation was inexpressibly dreadful to both.

I have recovered one of his poetical addresses to Ellen on this occasion, which I will insert.

66 To E. M.

1.
“ Soft is the fairy beam that plays

Within that eye's too mournful sight;
Yet dangerous is it still to gaze
Till my soul melts in fond delight.

O hide, that lovely face,

In which entranc'd I trace
An angel's goodness with an angel's grace!

2.
Tear the delusion from my view;

Soften no more my yielding heart;
Those features of celestial hue
Raptures too high for earth impart!

For this shall I adore
A few short hours; and then deplore
Thro' all my darkening days the transient pleasure o'er!
3.
Yet cast that heavenly ray again

Upon my languishing desire ;
And tho' the bliss, be mix'd with pain,
Once more relume the rapturous fire!
The
memory

still Of that delight will fill My years of future gloom with many a melting thrill.

4.
O why, adown that lovely cheek,

Steals, Ellen, the contagious tear?
Does it a doubt of Longford speak ?
Is it the mark of love or fear ?

O let me drink those drops divine,

And, as the compact thus I sign, E'en tho' the poison kills, a moment think thee mine!

5.
Upon my

ravish'd ear bestow
The tones of that enchanting voice,
And from thy bosom's fountain throw
The treasures that my soul rejoice,

For tho' thy beauty charm,

Yet, lovelier than thy form,
Do gems of mental light thine inward spirit warm !

6.
O let me fold thee in mine arms,

And press thee to this last embrace, ,
Forget one moment all alarms;
And ages in that moment trace !

Then if my destiny

For ever bids me fly,
The point of earthly bliss I taste before I die!"

ART. DCCXL.
No. XLI. The same Story continued.
“ Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour, and to prettiness."

SHAKSPEARE.

TO THE RUMINATOR.

SIR, LONGFORD at length ventured to his own cottage, whence he despatched a note to M- the next morning to announce his safe arrival. Another day passed; and a third ; and all was well. On the fourth he was expected again to visit M's house; but he came not. Uneasiness and alarm pervaded the family: night arrived; and brought no intelligence of him. A servant was despatched to him; and returned with an account, that he had left his home in the morning to dine at M-_'s; and they had not since heard of him. Day followed day; but no information of him could be procured. Every rap at the door, every tread of a horse was listened to, with a sick and fearful trembling. Ellen very soon sunk into silent and almost motionless despair.

At last a note without a postmark, and by what conveyance is unknown, reached the house. It contained these few lines in a hurried hand, and on a torn scrap of paper:

“ MY DEAR FRIEND, .« I have been trepanned, imprisoned, and all but murdered : I do not yet despair : I may escape;

if I do not, death will be a grateful release: tell Ellen to pray for me, and then we may both be

« AnteriorContinuar »