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And when from out its balmy bed,
Its rosy cheek it rears,
How soft the dew's bright tears !
The youngling as her own,
“ Another flower is born !"
But there's a flower more sweet than this
Young offspring of the tree,
This maze of mud and stone,
Or dies, unblest, unknown.
That breathes upon its birth,
It has no place on earth.
For succour or for cheer,
No pity prompted tear.
It hears the feeble horn-
* Another child is born!”
Bright Nature, man might lift
“ Behold another gift!
More wealth than he can use-
The bliss he can diffuse!"
Upon the bud-blest tree,
Thy birth, bright Infamy!
Thy coming to the morn,
MRS. MARY LEMAN GRIMSTONE.
A SINGULAR ADVENTURE. It was one evening in the latter end of October, 1810, that I was left about an hour before midnight, almost alone, in one of the public rooms of the principal hotel in Mantua. The apartment
was spacious, and its size seemed augmented, by the scarcity of inmates. A man of apparently spare habits, dressed in somewhat rusty garments, and whose general appearance was much below that of the company accustomed to frequent the house, was my only companion. The fire was low, and the candles glimmered deeply in the extent of the room. I had looked in turns over the Gazettes, which were scattered on the tables, and began to think of retiring. I endeavoured to gaze out of the window, but the night was pitchy-dark, and no object was discernible, except where the lamps, attached to the public buildings in the street, made half visible the ill-defined masses of buildings. I sunk back to my seat by the dying coals, and perplexed myself with weighing the comparative advantages of departing to my lodgings, or remaining at the hotel for the night. The clock struck, and I found within a quarter of the witching hour. The stranger had not yet spoken, nor was I inclined to break the silence; at length my companion spoke.
“I think, Sir," said he, “ that in the debate which took place this evening, you inclined to the opinion maintained by the Signor Ripari ?" There was something in his manner and the tone of his voice much superior to what I should have expected from his appearance.
I answered in the affirmative.
“Your reasonings, then, do not induce you to believe in the possibility of the appearance on earth of a departed spirit, or at least in the power of such a being to make its presence perceptible to human creatures such as ourselves.”
“I certainly am not guilty," I replied, “ of presuming to assert that such a revisitation is beyond the limits of possibility; probability I own the opinion in question appears to be devoid of.”
“True; argument is against the hypothesis."
6 I know but one in favour of it-the general assent of all ages and nations to the re-appearance of the dead."
“I do not think," said he," that much strength is to be acquired from that argument, considering the state of the earthly inhabitants of the world; their confined reasonings and mental investigationtheir consequent wonder and astonishment at many of the operations of Nature, which, though now familiar, were to them inexplicable, may account for the use of a notion, which, when once conceived, would be eargerly embraced, and widely disseminated. Argument, therefore, I may repeat, is entirely against the credibility of the opinion."
"In that case,” I replied, “the question must be considered as settled, for by what means, except argument, are such inquiries to be prosecuted?"
“You do not, of course, consider arguments, or the conviction arising from them, as the only sources of belief ?"
“ Certainly not; belief may originate from numerous causes
for instance, from the retention of what has been shewn to us by experience."
" It is upon that very cause that I ground my belief in the reappearance of the forms of the dead ?”.
Then you are a believer ? But do you think that the testimony of another's experience can overcome the improbability of the alleged instances-especially since the pretended beholders of apparitions are generally weak and ignorant persons, and likely to be the subjects of delusion ?"
“Passing over,” answered my opponent, “ the incorrectness of your statement, and the sophism of the argument you would insinuate, your observation is founded on an assumption unauthorized by any expression of mine."
“ But where-how?"
“When I spoke of experience, I said nothing to confine it to the experience of others, consequently testimony is not of the question."
“ You do not, surely," I answered, “ proceed upon your own experience ?"
There was a half sort of smile on his features, as he replied to my question, "Why not?" I started with surprise.
“ You have been favoured, then, with a communication from the world of spirits ?"
“The narration would be tedious," he replied ; “if your inclination lead you, you shall yourself know as much as I do."
“That is to say, you possess the power of calling these mysterious existences to the sight of yourself and others ?" « Come and see,
was his reply; and leaving his chair, he seemed about to depart. He lingered, as if waiting for me to accompany him.
I feigned a laugh, and said, “ that my faith in his power was not so firm as to induce me to leave the house at so late an hour."
“True," answered the stranger; "it grows late-'tis past midnight-you are doubtless remaining here, and I will therefore bid you farewell;"-and bowing with great politeness, he was gone before I could speak to detain him.
A strange and fretting discontent seized me; I was vexed that I had let him depart, and lamented that I had lost such an opportunity of extending my knowledge beyond the limits of the visible world. It may appear singular--it did so to me afterwards. I know that I felt no doubt of the truth of what my companion had asserted; on the contrary, I did not even revolve it as a thing whose reality was established, but thought and acted upon as a settled truth. Yet I had only his bare word for so wonderful, and apparently incredible a tale. He was a stranger to me, and our
connection arose from one of the most common-place casualties of lifemthe meeting in a coffee-room. So it was, however--I believed implicitly in what I had heard.
Ì retired to bed-sleep I had none, unless a disturbed and feverish dozing can be so called ; the image of my new acquaintance was constantly before iny eyes, and phantom-like shapes seemed to float around me. I tossed about unrefreshed, and full of anxiety I strained my eyes in looking for day-light, and when, after a lapse of, as it appeared, of many hours, I caught a glimmering of the sky, I sprung from my restless couch, dressed myself, and rousing the servants to let me out, rushed into the street.
Why I did so I cannot tell; and this reflection immediately struck me, that I had but a small chance of discovering a man whose name, situation, and place of residence, I was wholly ignorant of, by running through the streets before day-light, and when scarce a soul was abroad, save some whose rencounter might prove neither desirable nor safe.
The sun rose, and cast a pale and sickly glare through the vapour which covered the city, and hung in dim masses around the buildings. The air was exceeding raw and cold, the pavement was wet, and covered with filth of every description. The houses, all shut up, looked dismal and repelling. Every thing seemed squalid, meagre, and ungainly, and I felt forcibly illat execrable sensation arising from But my readers know the feeling, doubtless, better than I can describe it.
I counted the lingering minutes, till my ears were at length relieved by the welcome of artisans and labourers 'preparing for their daily occupation; countrymen from the adjoining suburbs made their appearance with their asses laden with fruit and vegetables. A city-like din began to arise, and the depression of my spirits began to disappear, or at least to diminish, as the stir and bustle increased.
I paced round the city with eager steps, examining every countenance I met, and searching, though in vain, for the stranger of the preceding night. I blamed my own carelessness in not ascertaining his name, and hastened back to the hotel, to inquire from the waiters who he was. of this, however, they knew as little as • myself—they only remembered having occasionally seen him, but with his name, or any other particulars which could guide me in my search, they were unacquainted. I hastily dispatched my breakfast, and again commenced my wanderings.
At length, when the eagerness of my researches had wearied and irritated me, as I was crossing in great haste, one of the squares, I ran against some one, and upon turning round to apologize, found my
labours at an end. “You are not the first,” said the stranger, half-laughing, and seeming fully aware that he was the object of my pursuit, "who has looked diligently for a something that lay just before him at the time."
I felt, I know not why, half-ashamed of acknowledging the cause for which I had sought him. I recounted to him the history of my rambles, and we talked on different subjects.
“ And so," said he at length, upon a pause occurring in the conversation, you have risen before day, and run about till noon, to find a man with whom, when found, you have no business but to tell him how diligently you have looked for him."
I blushed and hesitated; he smiled as he spoke, and this increased my confusion.
“Excuse me," I said; “I have other business."
"Indeed! pardon my freedom; but had we not better despatch it without delay? You will allow me to enquire the nature of it?".
" To tell the truth,” I replied, “I have been thinking, since I saw you last, of the subject which then formed the ground of our discourse."
“Oh! I remember it was of the re-appearance of the dead-of ghosts,— of those subtle intelligences which accommodate themselves to shapes,-unite with sounds,-present themselves in odours,-infuse themselves in savours,-deceive the senses, and the very understanding. Was it not so? What do you think of St. Austin's description? Is not the holy father a strong authority for our side of the question ?
“ The fathers of the church were men, and not infallible. But our talk was of the existence you speak of.”
“I made an offer to you at the time, which you rejected,” said he.
“ Is it too late to avail myself of it even now ?cannot the error be retrieved ???
“ On one condition." “ Name it.”
" That when you have seen what I have to exhibit, you will ask no questions concerning my search. I demand this,” he added, “more for your own sake, than to gratify any disposition of my
I wish not to conceal knowledge, where the promulgation of it can benefit the world ; that which I peculiarly possess is a curse rather than a blessing.”
The manner in which this was said, disposed me to think favorably of the speaker. I felt convinced he was sincere. I made the promise required of me, and taking his arm, I walked with him to the house where he informed me he lodged.
Ile led me into a small room, plainly, though not inelegantly, furnished. A moderate-sized bookcase, with shelves, well filled with antique-looking volumes, formed the most prominent among its accommodations. There was nothing placed to be seen, no ostentation of science, nothing but what the apartment of any private man would have exhibited.
We so naturally associate the idea of darkness, and seasons of solitude and stillness, with that of the visions of the deceased, that I was astonished, when, after we had been seated a short time, my companion asked if I was prepared to name the person I most