« PreviousContinue »
encies. Then he is himself so very accomplished. Do you know there was a mur. mur, half confirmed too by some mysteri. ous words which dropped from my poor mother, that he possesses other sciences, now lost to the world, which enable the possessor to summon up before him the dark and shadowy forms of future events ! Does not the very idea of such a power, or even of the high talent and commanding intellect which the world may mistake for it-Does it not, dear Matilda, throw a mysterious grandeur about its possessor? -You will call this romantic_but consider I was born in the land of talisman and spell, and my childhood lulled by tales which you can only enjoy through the gauzy frippery of a French translation. O Matilda, I wish you could have seen the dusky visages of my Indian attendants, bending in passive attention round the magic narrative, that flowed, half poetry, half prose, from the lips of the tale-teller. No wonder that European fiction sounds
cold and meagre, after the wonderful effects which I have seen the romances of the East produce upon the hearers.”
" You are possessed, my dear Matilda, of my bosom-secret in those sentiments with which I regard Brown-I will not say his memory-I am convinced he lives, and is faithful. His addresses to me were countenanced by my deceased parent-imprudently countenanced perhaps, considering the prejudices of my father in favour of birth and rank. But I, then almost a girl, could not be expected surely to be wiser than her under whose charge nature had placed me. My father, constantly engaged in military duty, I saw but at rare intervals, and was taught to look up to him with more awe than confidence. Would to Heaven it had been otherwise !
It might have been better for us all at this day!"
“ You ask me why I do not make known to my father that Brown yet lives, at least that he survived the wound he received in that unhappy duel ; and had written to my mother, expressing his entire convales. cence, and his hope of speedily escaping from captivity. A soldier, that in the trade of war has oft slain men,” feels probably no uneasiness at reflecting upon the supposed catastrophe, which almost turned me into stone. And should I shew him that letter, does it not follow, that Brown, alive and maintaining with pertinacity the pretensions for which iny father formerly sought his life, would be a more formidable disturber of his peace of mind than in his supposed grave ? If he escapes from the hands of these marauders, I am convinced. he will soon be in England, and it will be then time to consider how his existence is to be disclosed to my father-But if, alas ! my earnest and confident hope should betray me, what would it avail to tear open a mystery fraught with so many painful recollections ?–My dear mother had such dread of its being known, that I think she even suffered my father to suspect that Brown's attentions were directed towards herself, rather than permit him to discover the real object; and O, Matilda, whatever respect I owe to the memory of a deceased parent, let me do justice to a living one. I cannot but condemn the dubious policy which she adopted, as unjust to my father, and highly perilous to herself and me.--But peace be with her ashes-her actions were guided by the heart rather than the head; and shall her daughter, who inherits all her weakness, be the first to withdraw the veil from her defects?”
“ Mervyn-Hall. « If India be the land of magic, this, my . dearest Matilda, is the country of romance. The scenery is such as nature brings together in her sublimest moods_sounding cataracts-hills which rear their scathed heads to the sky-lakes, that, winding up the shadowy valleys, lead at every turn to yet more romantic recesses-rocks-which catch the clouds of heaven. All the wildness of Salvator here, and there the fairy scenes of Claude. I am happy too, in finding at least one object upon which my father can share my enthusiasm. An admirer of nature, both as an artist and a poet, I have experienced the utmost pleasure from the observations by which he ex. plains the character and the effect of these brilliant specimens of her power. I wish he would settle in this enchanting land.