Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small]

A TALE.

Illustrated article. :ruling passion, to be really, purely, and

deeply loved, had never been satisfied. DE LINDSAY.

And while this leading and master-desire pined at repeated disappointments, all

other gratifications seemed rather to mock " Man walketh in a vain shadow, and dis

than to console him. The exquisite tale quieteth himself in vain.”

of Alcibiades, in Marmontel, was appli

cable to him. He was loved for his ad RUPERT DE LINDSAY was an orphan ventitious qualities, not for himself. One of ancient family and extensive posses- loved his fashion, a second his fortune ; sions. With a person that could advance a third, he discovered, had only listened but a slight pretension to beauty, but with to him out of pique at another; and a an eager desire to please, and a taste the fourth accepted him as her lover because most delicate and refined, he very early she wished lo decoy him from her friend. learnt the art to compensate by the graces These adventures, and these discoveries of manner, for the deficiencies of form ; brought him disgust; they brought him, and before he had reached an age when also, knowledge of the world; and noother men are noted only for their horses thing hardens the heart more than that or their follies, Rupert de Lindsay was knowledge of the world which is founded distinguished no less for the brilliancy of on a knowledge of ils vices,--made bitter his ton and the number of his conquests, by disappointinent, and misanthropical by than for his acquirements in literature, deceit. and his honours in the Senate. But while I saw hiın just before he left England, every one favoured him with envy, he and his mind was then sore and feverish. was, at heart, a restless and disappointed I saw him on his return, after an absence

of five years in the various Courts of Eu. Among all the delusions of the senses, rope, and his mind was callous and even. among all the triumphs of vanity, his He had then reduced the art of governing 25-VOL. V. 2 B

135

man.

1

ness.

his own passions, and influencing the pas. quenched wish of his heart was

to be sions of others, to a system ; and had matured into completion. reached the second stage of experience, In a small village not far from London, when the deceived becomes the deceiver. there dwelt a family of the name of War. He added to his former indignation at the ner; the father, piously termed Ebenezer vices of human nature, scorn for its weak. Ephraim, was a merchant, a bigot, and

Still many good, though irregular a saint ; the brother, simply and laically impulses, lingered about his heart. Still christened James, was a rake, a boxer, the appeal, which 10 a principle would and a good fellow. But she, the daughhave been useless, was triumphant when ter, who claimed the chaste and sweet made to an affection. And though sel name of Mary, simple and modest, beaufishness constituted the system of his life, tiful in feature and in heart, of a temper there were yet many hours when the sys- rather tender than gay, saddened by ihe tem was forgotten, and he would have gloom which hung for ever upon the home sacrificed himself at the voice of a single of her childhood, but softened by early emotion. Few men of ability, who nei. habits of charity and benevolence, unacther marry nor desire to marry, live much quainted with all sin even in thought, among the frivolities of the world after loving all things from the gentleness of the age of twenty-eight. And De Lind. her nature, finding pleasure in the green say, now waxing near to his thirtieth earth, and drinking innocence from the year, avoided the society lie had once pure air, moved in her grace and holiness courted, and lived solely to satisfy his amid the rugged kindred, and the stern pleasures and indulge his indolence. tribe among whom she had been reared, Women made his only pursuit, and his like Faith sanctified by redeeming love, sole ambition : And now, at length, ar and passing over the thorns of earth on rived the time when, in the prosecution its pilgrimage to Heaven. of an intrigue, he was to become suscep. In the adjustment of an ordinary amour tible of a passion; and the long and un with the wife of an officer in the

regiment, then absent in Ireland, but who affection ; she has trusted in me, and she left his gude-woman to wear the willow shall not be deceived; she is innocent in the village of T-, Rupert saw, and happy, I will never teach her misery admired, and coveted the fair form I have and guilt !” Thus her innocence reflected so faintly described. Chance favoured even upon him, and purified his heart his hopes. He entered one day the cot. while it made the atmosphere of her own. tage of a poor man, whom, in the incon- So passed weeks, until Rupert was sumsistent charity natural to him, he visited moned by urgent business to his estale. and relieved. He found Miss Warner He spoke to her of his departure, and he employed in the same office; he neglect, drank deep delight from the quivering lip ed not his opportunity ; he addressed and the tearful eye with which his words her ; he accompanied her to the door of were received. He pressed her to his her home; he tried every art to please a heart, and her unconsciousness of guilt young and unawakened heart, and he suc was her protection from it. Amid all his ceeded. Unfortunately for Mary, she had sins, and there were many, let this one act no one among her relations calculated to of forbearance be remembered. guide her conduct, and to win her confi Day after day went on its march to dence. Her father, absorbed either in eternity, and every morning came the the occupations of his trade or the visions same gentle tap at the post-office window, of his creed, of a manner whose repellant and the same low tone of inquiry was austerity belied the real warmth of his heard ; and every morning the same light affections, supplied but imperfectly the step returned gaily homewards, and the place of an anxious and tender mother; same soft eye sparkled at the lines which nor was this loss repaired by the habits the heart so faithfully recorded. I said still coarser, the mind still less soft, and every morning, but there was one in each the soul still less susceptible of the frater- week which brought no letter-and on nal rake, boxer, and good fellow. Monday Mary's step was listless, and her

And thus was thrown back upon that spirit dejected-on that day she felt as if gentle and feminine heart all the warmth there was nothing to live for. of its earliest and best affections. Her She did not strive to struggle with her nature was love ; and though in all things love. She read over every word of the she had found wherewithal to call forth few books he had left her, and she walked the tenderness which she could not res. every day over the same ground which had train, there was a vast treasure as yet un seemed fairs-land when with him ; and discovered, and a depth beneath that calm she always passed by the house where he and unruffled bosom, whose slumber had had lodged, that she might look up to the as yet never been broken by a breath. It window where he was wont to sit. Rupert will not therefore be a matter of surprise found that landed property, wliere farmers that De Lindsay, who availed himself of are not left to settle their own leases, and every opportunity - De Lindsay, fasci- stewards to provide for their little families, nating in manner, and consummate in is not altogether a sinecure. He had lives experience, soon possessed a dangerous abroad like a prince, and his estate had sway over a heart too innocent for suspio not been the belter for his absence. He cion, and which, for the first time, felt the intquired into the exact profits of his proluxury of being loved. In every walk, perty ; renewed old leases on new terms; and her walks hitherto had always been discharged his bailiff: shut up the roads alone, Rupert was sure to join her; and in his park, which had seemed to all the there was a supplication in his tone, and neighbourhood a more desirable way than a respect in his manner, which she felt the turnpike 'conveniences; let off ten but little tempted to chill and reject. She poachers, and warned off ten gentlemen ; had not much of what is termed dignity; and, as ihe natural and obvious conseand even though she at first had some quences of these acts of economy and inconfused idea of the impropriety of his spection, he became the most unpopular company, which the peculiar nature of man in the county. her education prevented her wholly per: One day, Rupert had been surveying ceiving, yet she could think of no method some timber intended for the are; the to check an address so humble and dif- weather was truly English, and changed fident, and to resist the voice which only suddenly from heat inio rain. A change spoke to her in music. It is needless to of clothes was quite out of Ruperi's or. trace the progress by which affection is dinary habits, and a fever of severe nature; seduced. 'She soon awakened to the full which ended in delirium, was the result. knowledge of the recesses of her own For some weeks he was at the verge of heart, and Rupert, for the first time, felt the grave. The devil and the doctor do the certainty of being loved as he desired. not always agree, for the moral saith

Never," said he, so will I betray that that there is no friendship among the

66

wicked. In this case, the doctor was Are you sure there are none ?" she ultimately victorious, and his patient re. said, every morning, when she inquired covered. “Give me the fresh air,” said at the office, from which she once used Rupert, directly he was able to resume to depart so gaily; and the tone of that his power of commanding, “and bring voice was so mournful, that the gruff me whatever letters came during my postman paused to look again, before he illness.” From the pile of spoilt paper shut the lattice and extinguished the last from fashionable friends, country cou. hope. Her appetite and colour daily desins, county magistrates, and tradesmen creased ; shut up in her humble and firewho take the liberty to remind you of less chamber, she passed whole hours in the trifle which has escaped your recol- tears, in reading and repeating, again and lection,-from this olio of precious con- again, every syllable of the letters she ceits Rupert drew a letter from the Irish already possessed, or in pouring forth in officer's lady, who it will be remembered, letters to him all the love and bitterness first allured Rupert to Mary's village, of her soul. “He must be ill,” she said acquainting him that she had been re at last; “he never else could have been ported by some d good-natured so cruel!" and she could bear the idea no friend to her husband, immediately upon longer. "I will go to him, I will soothe his return from Ireland. Unhappily, the and attend him-who can love him ?man loved his wife, valued his honour, who can watch over him like me ?" and and was of that unfashionable tempera- the kindness of her nature overcame its ment which never forgives an injury. He modesty, and she made her small bundle, , had sent his Achales twice during Rupert's and stole early one morning from the illness to De Lindsay Castle, and was so house. “ If he should despise me," she enraged at the idea of his injurer's de. thought; and she was almost about to parting this life by any other means than return, when the stern voice of her brohis bullet, that he was supposed in con ther came upon her ear. He had for sequence to be a little touched in the several days watched the alteration in her head. He was observed to walk by him. habits and manners, and endeavoured to self, sometimes bursting into tears, some guess at the cause. He went into her times muttering deep oaths of vengeance; room, discovered a letter in her desk he shunned all society, and sate for hours which she had just written to Rupert, gazing vacantly on a pistol placed before and which spoke of her design. He him. All these agreeable circumstances watched, discovered, and saved her.did the unhappy fair one (who picked up There was no mercy or gentleness in her information second-hand, for she the bosom of Mr. James Warner. He was an alien from the conjugal bed and carried her home; reviled her in the board) detail to Rupert with very consi• coarsest and most taunting language ; derable pathos.

acquainted her father, and after seeing her “Now then for Mary's letters," said debarred from all access to correspondthe invalid; “no red-hot Irishman there ence or escape, after exulting over her I trust,” and Rupert took up a large unupbraiding and heart-broken shame heap, which he had selected from the rest and despair, and swearing that it was as a child picks the plums out of his pud- vastly theatrical, Mr James Warner ding by way of a regale at the last. At mounted his yellow Stanhope, and went the perusal of the first three or four let. his way to the Fives Court. But these ters he smiled with pleasure ; presently were trifling misfortunes, compared with his lips grew more compressed, and a those which awaited this unfortunate girl. dark cloud settled on his brow. He took There lived in the village of Tone up another-he read a few lines started Zacharias Johnson, a godly man and a from his sofa. “What ho, there !-my rich, moreover a saint of the same chapcarriage-and-four directly! -lose not a ter as Ebenezer Ephraim Warner; his moment !-Do you hear me ? — Too ill, voice was the most nasal, his holding forth do you say?-never so well in my life! the most unctuous, his aspect the most -Not another word, or My carriage, sinister, and his vestments the most threadI say, instantly !-Put in my swiftest bare of the whole of that sacred tribe. horses ! I must be at T-to-night be. To the eyes of this man there was somefore five o'clock !” and the order was thing comely in the person of Mary obeyed.

Warner : he liked her beauty, for he was To return to Mary. The letters which a sensualist; her gentleness, for he was had blest her through the livelong days a coward ; and her money, for he was a suddenly ceased. What could be the merchant. He proposed both to the reason ?--was he faithless— forgetful - father and to the son ; the daughter he ill? Alas! whatever might be the cause, looked upon as a concluding blessing sure it was almost equally ominous to her. 10 follow the precious assent of the two

me !"

relations. To the father he spoke of god.. she sat alone in her “ helpless, hopeless, liness and Scrip-of the delightfulness of brokenness of heart," in that deep deliving in unity, and the receipts of his spair which, like the incubus of an evil flourishing country house ; to the son he dream, weighs upon the bosom, a burden spoke the language of kindness and the and a torture from which there is no esworld-he knew that young men had ex- cape nor relief. She managed at last, pensés—he should feel too happy to fur- within three days of that fixed for her nish Mr. James with something for his union, to write to Rupert, and get her innocent amusements, if he might hope letter conveyed to the post. for his (Mr. James's) influence over his Save me,” it said in conclusion, worthy father : the sum was specified, "I ask not by what means, I care not and the consent was sold. Among those for what end-save me, I implore you, domestic phenomena, which the inquirer my guardian angel. I shall not trouble seldom takes the trouble to solve, is the you long--I write to you no romantic magical power possessed by a junior appea! :-God knows ihat I have little branch of the family over the main tree, thought for romance, but I feel that I in spite of the contrary and perverse di- shall soon die, only let me die unsepararection taken by the aforesaid branch. ted from you, you, who first taught me James had acquired and exercised a most to live, be near me, teach me to die, take undue authority over the paternal pa- away from me the bitterness of death. triarch, although in the habits and sen Of all the terrors of the fate to which they timents of each there was not one single compel me, nothing appears so dreadful trait in common between them. But as the idea that I 'may then no longer James possessed a vigorous and unshack. think of you and love you. My hand is led, his father a weak and priest-ridden, so cold that I can scarcely hold my pen, mind. In domestic life, it is the mind but my head is on fire. I think I could which is the master. Mr. Zacharias John. go måd, if I would-but I will not, for son had once or twice, even before Mary's then you could no longer love me. I acquaintance with Rupert, urged his suit hear my father's step-oh, Rupert!-on to Ebenezer; but as the least hint of Friday next-remember-save me, save such a circumstance to Mary seemed to occasion her a pang which went to the But the day, the fatal Friday arrived, really kind heart of the old man, and as and Rupert came not. They arrayed her he was fond of her society and had no in the bridal garb, and her father came wish to lose it, and as, above all, Mr. up stairs to summon her to the room, James had not yet held those conferences which the few guests invited were already with Zacharias, which ended in the assembled. He kissed her cheek; it was alliance of their interests,—the proposal so deathly pale, that his heart smote him, seemed to Mr. Warner like a lawsuit to and he spoke to her in the language of the Lord Chancellor, something rather to other days. She turned towards him, her be talked about than to be decided. Un-, lips moved, but she spoke not. “ Му fortunately, about the very same time in child, my child !” said the old man, which Mary's proposed escape had drawn “have you not one word for your faupon her the paternal indignation, Za- ther!"->" Is it too late ?" she said ; "can charias had made a convert of the son ; you not preserve me yet?”--there was James took advantage of his opportunity, relenting in the father's eye, but at that worked upon his father's anger, grief, moment James stood before them. His mercantile love of lucre, and saint-like keen mind saw the danger; he frowned affection to sect, and obtained from Eben at his father-the opportunity was past. ezer a promise to enforce the marriage. "God forgive you !" said Mary ; and backed up his recoiling scruples, preserv- cold, and trembling, and scarcely alive, ed his courage through the scenes with she descended to the small and dark room, his weeping and wretched daughter, and, which was nevertheless the state chamber in spite of every lingering sentiment of of the house. At a small table of black tenderness and pity, saw the very day mahogany, priin and stately, starched and fixed which was to leave his sister help- whaleboned within and without, withered less for ever,

and fossilized at heart by the bigotry, It is painful to go through that series of and selfishness, and ice of sixty years, inhuman persecutions, so common in do. sat two maiden saints : they came formestic records ; that system, which, like ward, kissed the unshrinking cheek of all grounded upon injustice, is as foolish the bride, and then, with one word of as tyrannical, and which always ends in blessing, returned to their former seats misery, as it begins in oppression. Mary and resumed their former posture. There was too gentle to resist; her prayers be was so little appearance of life in the percame stilled; her tears ceased io flow; sons caressing and caressed, that you

« AnteriorContinuar »