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the desperate Dillon. Calm, and inured to horrors, as was the veteran seaman, he involuntarily passed his hand before his brow, to exclude the look of despair he encountered; and when, a moment afterwards, he removed the rigid member, he beheld the sinking form of the victim, as it gradually settled in the ocean, still struggling, with regular, but impotent strokes of the arms and feet, to gain the wreck, and to preserve an existence that had been so much abused in its hour of allotted probation.
4 He will soon know his God, and learn that his God knows him ! murmured the cockswain to himself. As he yet spoke, the wreck of the Ariel yielded to an overwhelming sea, and, after a universal shudder, her timbers and planks gave way,
and were swept towards the cliffs, bearing the body of the simple-hearted cockswain among the ruins.”
We have before alluded to “ the Bravo," where this indomitable wilfulness has perilled the success of the work in question. There is a fine shadow thrown over the following scene, which reminds us of some of the effects produced by the Old · Masters. Indeed, authors and painters are fellow artists; one works with words, the other with colors; one reaches nature through the eye, the other through the ear. The advantage, however, lies with the poet, as his descriptions rouse the eye to an activity as well as the other senses; for to a reader of the commonest imagination, we doubt if every vivid description does not bring palpably before his vision the scene related.
As a piece of this fine word painting we quote the following.
4 The near approach of the strange gondola now attracted the whole attention of the old man. It came swiftly towards him,
impelled by six strong oars, and his eye turned feverishly in the direction of the fugitive. Jacopo, with a readiness that necessity and long practice rendered nearly instinctive, had taken a direction which blended his wake in a line with one of those bright streaks that the moon drew on the water, and which, by dazzling the eye, effectually concealed the objects within its width. When the fisherman saw that the Bravo had disappeared, he smiled and seemed at ease.
• Aye, let them come here,' he said ; "it will give Jacopo more time. I doubt not the poor fellow hath struck a blow since quitting the palace that the council will not forgive! The sight of gold hath been too strong, and he hath offended those who have so long borne with him. God forgive me, that I have had communion with such a man! but when the heart is heavy, the pity of even a dog will warm our feelings. Few care for me now, or the friendship of such as he could never have been welcome.'
“ Antonio ceased, for the gondola of the state came with a rushing noise to the side of his own boat, where it was suddenly stopped by a backward sweep of the oars. The water was still in ebullition, when a form passing into the gondola of the fisherman, the larger boat shot away again to the distance of a few hundred feet, and remained at rest.
“ Antonio witnessed this movement in silent curiosity; but when he saw the gondoliers of the state lying on their oars, he glanced his eye again furtively in the direction of Jacopo, saw that all was safe, and faced his companion with confidence. The brightness of the moon enabled him to distinguish the dress and aspect of a bare-foot Carmelite. The latter seemed more confounded than his companion, by the rapidity of the movement, and the novelty of his situation. Notwithstanding his confusion, however, an evident look of wonder crossed his mortified features when he first beheld the humbled condition, the thin and whitened locks, and the gene
ral air and bearing of the old man with whom he now found himself. “. Who art thou ? escaped him, in the impulse of surprise.
6 Antonio of the Lagunes! A fisherman that owes much to St. Anthony, for favors little deserved.'
666 And why hath one like thee fallen beneath the senate's displeasure ?
66 I am honest and ready to do justice to others. If that offend the great, they are men more to be pitied than envied.'
“• The convicted are always more disposed to believe themselves unfortunate than guilty. The error is fatal, and it should be eradicated from the mind, lest it lead to death.'
«Go tell this to the patricians. They have need of plain counsel, and a warning from the church.'
6. My son, there is a pride and anger, and perverse heart in thy replies.'
6. Father," he said, when a long and earnest look was ended, • there can be little harm in speaking truth to one of thy holy office. They have told thee there was a criminal here in the Lagunes, who hath provoked the anger of St. Mark ??
6. Thou speakest of another !_thou art not then the criminal they seek ?
««I a am a sinner, like all born of woman, reverend Carmelite, but my hand hath never held any other weapon than the good sword with which I struck the infidel. There was one lately here, that I grieve to add, cannot say this ! 66 And he is gone?
* * “ The Carmelite, who had arisen, instantly reseated himself, like one aetuated by a strong impulse.
4. I thought he had already been far beyond pursuit,' he muttered, unconsciously apologizing for his apparent haste.
“ “ He is over bold, and I fear he will row back to the canals, in which case you might meet nearer to the city—or there may more gondolas of the state out-in short, father, thou wilt be more certain to escape hearing the confession of a Bravo, by listening to that of a fisherman, who has long wanted an occasion to acknowledge his sins.
“ Men who ardently wish the same result, require few words to understand each other. The Carmelite took, intuitively, the meaning of his companion, and throwing back his cowl, a movement that exposed the countenance of Father Anselmo, he prepared to listen to the confession of the old man.
" Thou art a Christian, and one of thy years hath not to learn the state of mind that becometh a penitent,' said the monk, when each was ready.
« • I am a sinner, father; give me counsel and absolution, that I may have hope.
-Thy will be done—thy prayer is heard approach and kneel.'
Antonio, who had fastened his line to his seat, and disposed of his net with habitual care, now crossed himself devoutly, and took his station before the Carmelite. His acknowledgments of error then began. Much mental misery clothed the language and ideas of the fisherman with a dignity that his auditor had not been accustomed to find in men of his class. A spirit so long chastened by suffering had become elevated and noble. He related his hopes for the boy, the manner in which they had been blasted by the unjust and selfish policy of the state, his different efforts to procure the release of his grandson, and his bold expedients at the regatta, and the fancied nuptials with the Adriatic. When he had thus prepared the Carmelite to understand the origin of his sinful passions, which it was now his duty to expose, he spoke of those
passions themselves, and of their influence on a mind that was ordinarily at peace with mankind. The tale was told simply and without reserve, but in a manner to inspire respect, and to awaken powerful sympathy in him who heard it.
“ • And these feelings thou didst indulge against the honored and powerful of Venice! demanded the monk, affecting a severity he could not feel.
“ . Before my God do I confess the sin! In bitterness of heart I cursed them; for to me they seemed men without feeling for the poor, and heartless as the marble of their own palaces.'
«• Thou knowest that to be forgiven thou must forgive. Dost thou, at peace with all of earth, forget this wrong, and canst thou, in charity with thy fellows, pray to Him who died for the race, in behalf of those who have injured thee ??
“ Antonio bowed his head on his naked breast, and he seemed to commune with his soul.
66 • Father,' he said, in a rebuked tone, 'I hope I do.'
«• Thou must not trifle with thyself to thine own perdition. There is an eye in yon vault above us which pervades space, and which looks into the inmost secrets of the heart. Canst thou pardon the error of the patricians, in a contrite spirit for thine own sins?
Holy Maria, pray for them, as I now ask mercy in their behalf! Father, they are forgiven.'
“ The Carmelite arose and stood over the kneeling Antonio, with the whole of his benevolent countenance illuminated by the moon. Stretching his arms towards the stars, he pronounced the absolution in a voice that was touched with pious fervor. The upward expectant eye, with the withered lineaments of the fisherman, and the holy calm of the monk, formed a picture of resignation and hope that angels would have loved to witness.