Page images

I had certainly acted imprudently. It was apparent that my conversation had interested the father in my behalf, and I was a fool in having exposed my person to the horror of his children. I ought to have familiarized the old De Lacy to me, and by degrees have discovered myself to the rest of his family, when they should have been prepared for my approach. But I did not believe my errors to be irretrieyable ; and, after much consideration, I resolved to return to the cottage, seek the old man, and by my representations win him to my party. “ These thoughts calmed me, and in the afternoon I sank into a profound sleep; but the fever of my blood did not allow me to be visited by peaceful dreams. The horrible scene of the preceding day was for ever acting before my eyes; the females were flying, and the enraged Felix tearing me from his father's feet. I awoke exhausted; and, finding that it was already night, I crept forth from my hiding-place, and went in search of food. “When my hunger was appeased, I directed my steps towards the wellknown path that conducted to the cottage. All there was at peace. I crept into my hovel, and remained in silent expectation of the accustomed hour when the family arose. That hour past, the sun mounted high in the heavens, but the cottagers did not appear. I trembled violently, apprehending some dreadful misfortune. The inside of the cottage was dark, and I heard no motion; I cannot describe the agony of this suspence. “ Presently two countrymen passed by; but, pausing near the cottage, they entered into conversation, using violent gesticulations; but I did not understand what they said, as they spoke the language of the country, which differed from that of my protectors. Soon after, however, Felix approached with another man : I was surprised, as I knew that he had not quitted the cottage that morning, and waited anxiously to discover, from his discourse, the meaning of these unusual appearances. “ “ Do you consider,’ said his companion to him, ‘ that you will be obliged to pay three months’ rent, and to lose the produce of your garden 2 I do not wish to take any unfair advantage, and I beg therefore that you will take some days to consider of your determination.” “. . It is utterly useless,” replied Felix, ‘we can never again inhabit your cottage. The life of my father is in the greatest danger, owing to the

[ocr errors]

dreadful circumstance that I have re-
lated. My wife and my sister will
never recover their horror. I entreat
you not to reason with me any more.
Take possession of your tenement, and
let me fly from this place.”
“ Felix trembled violently as he said
this. He and his companion entered
the cottage, in which they remained for
a few minutes, and then departed. I
never saw any of the family of De
Lacy more. -
“ I continued for the remainder of
the day in my hovel in a state of utter
and stupid despair. My protectors
had departed, and had broken the only
link that held me to the world. For
the first time the feelings of revenge and
hatred filled my bosom, and I did not
strive to controul them ; but, allowing
myself to be borne away by the stream,
I bent my mind towards injury and

death. When I thought of my friends, of the mild voice of . De Lacy, the gentle eyes of Agatha, and the exquisite beauty of the Arabian, these thoughts vanished, and a gush of tears somewhat soothed me. But again, when I reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage of anger; and, unable to injure any thing human, I turned my fury towards inanimate objects. As night advanced, I placed a variety of combustibles around the cottage; and, after having destroyed every vestige of cultivation in the garden, I waited with forced impatience until the moon had sunk to commence my operations. “As the night advanced, a fierce wind arose from the woods, and quickly dispersed the clouds that had loitered in the heavens: the blast tore along like a mighty avelanche, and produced

« PreviousContinue »