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and have been the wretch you have seen me ever since, for peace and tranquillity, which were formerly my constant companions, have for ever deserted me.”
The hunter ceased, the tremor of misery was upon all his hearers. Each of the military looking with dismay on his neighbour as on a fiend; for, conscious and sick at heart, they recollected the part they had taken against the unfortunate lady, in persuading Vernon to desert her.
Hamilton, being the only one in company whose conscience left him free to act with fórtitude and prudence, broke up the party, first engaging the hunter and his two friends to return next morning, and conduct them to the same place.
They travelled the two following days with all the melancholy ceremony consistent with the sentiments they entertained of each other; and, arriving within sight of the three trees, where Fanny had leaned, the first thing that struck Vernon's sight was a pink work-bag, empty and blown on a bush, and some way farther, a child's straw bonnet ; but the bones were removed from whence the hunter had seen them ; yet they were not to depart without proof, one of the dogs bringing a little hand, and laying it at Vernon's feet. Fainting for some time relieved him from the sight of the day, and remembrance of his past conduct.--Some of the other officers sought for the remains of Fanny, in order to bury them, and make that small reparation for the advice they had given against her. But the search was in vain; for the wolf, who had approached so near to devour Fanny, was obstructed in his way by the dead child, (from which she had retreated some paces) and, seizing it by the throat, tore it with all the fierceness incident to his nature, and made off with it into the woods, leaving Fanny to deplore afresh the loss of little Polly, and spend the rest of the night in terrors past description.
But her hour was not yet come, and she again beheld the morning sun, which chased away the wild beasts, and revived her hopes of finding the bridge.- Early she pursued her course, keepiug as near the river as trees and bushes would permit, till it was lost to her view in a thick grove of high cypress i trees; and making her way through thorns which seemed to barricade the entrance of the grove, she followed the river to the darkest part before she looked back, and then, through the long avenue, beheld the light and sky at a great distance. There was now neither underwood nor grass beneath these baneful trees. toad or eft was disturbed at every step, till the shade began to draw towards a conclusion. Pleased at the prospect of having nçarly extricated herself, she pressed hastily forward through the habitation of two old adders, whose territories had never yet been
invaded with impunity, and did not perceive the scaly circlings of one of them till her foot was on its head, and it feebly infused its dying venom on her ancle. As she felt the pain increase upon her, she wrapt the child up and laid it from her, lest in her convulsive agonies she might kill it herself; and then, looking a long farewell to her child, she fell writhing to the ground, where a heavy sleep and dead numbness overpowered her.
Fanny awoke as from a dream, and catching the infant in her arms, set forward her right foot, dragging after it her left, till Providence guided her steps to some fourishing plants, among which was the herb called adder's tongue, which she applied, and received immediate ease. Then lying down for an hour's repose, awoke so refreshed from it, that her appetite returned, and with the child she feasted on the fruits that surrounded them.
She then continued her journey till night, and a thick fog coming on, and fearing to lose the direction of the river, she şought for some hollow tree, in which to await the approaching morn; for the day birds had ceased to sing, and a dead sile ce reigned, as usual, about an hour before the nightly noises of the forest began.
An old bear and her whelps had already walked forth, when Fanny entered their den, wet with the tog. Here she took up her abode for the night; and sitting down, with the infant beside her, watching till dawn, when she fell asleep:
With pangs of the keenest grief, she awoke, and fell on her knees to pray, but, before the prayer was pronounced, her eyes sought in vain for the child. She looked instantly round, in her own arms, at her feet, but there was no child. She called it by its name, and her cries pierced the air, while she beat her head against the trunks of the trees. She ran frantic up the cliffs, calling on the wild beasts to restore her child, nor stopped her eager pace till she had gained the summit of the cliff; when, rushing from among the trees, the promised land lay all before her; the bridge, the town, the large river beyond, all, aş described to her, lay in view.-It recalled her senses; she stood still, and stedfastly beheld the much wished for town, and the tall ships which were to have conveyed her and her children to England. She looked back to the woods for them then at the town again, for it was there she first landed :-recollection alternately rent and softened her bosom till she sunk to the ground. 'Here she was discovered by a little girl, who, fearing to go near, called to her. Fanny opened her eye-lids : shę endeavoured to move, but her limbs "refused.--Her eye-lids dropt, and her soul fled.
The gịrl made haşte back, and called her father to the place.
He once had shared Fanny's bounty; and he now found his patroness on the grass, still and cold.
His wife came next, and assisted in performing the last sad offices to her remains.
His wife had come next to weep, and, in pain and truth of heart, pour over the beloved woe-urging countenance of Fanny a funeral oration, dictated by gratitude, and rendered solemn by sorrow and endearing by love. She covered her with willow boughs, watched by her all day, and in the evening the whole family returned to bury her, with rural rites, at the foot of the mountain. But when she was laid, in her hard-reached peaceful mansion, sweetly decked with flowers, and the retiring rays of the sun still radiant on her face, the soldier's heart failed him at the last ceremony of the earth, which was for ever to exclude her highly honoured face ; he trembled, and while his wifeturned from the sight, the children exclaiıncd, “There must be more flowers !" and while they sought for them, Lodamar took his pencil for his pocket, and sketched the scene, till the last beams of the sun withdrew from the grove. Then was Fanny's cold scene closed : willows bound tight over the turf, and the sorrowful family returned home,
(To be concluded in our nert.).
THE NARRATOR.No. XII.
UPON THE SEVERITY OF OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
“ Kneel not to me:
And deal with others belter. " Such, were the sentiments our great dramatist put into the mouth of his noble-minded Posthumous, even to the man who had done him the greatest of human evils. How sweet are the notes of mercy when thus administered! the melody of song-birds charm the ear alone; but the sounds of forgiveness penetrate the heart, while they mount to the eye the brightest tear of sensibility: the dulcet measures of a thousand instruments ravish for a time our faculty of attention, and are forgotten; but soothing çoncord from the lips of clemency lives on the memory of the grateful while the frame endures.
I have often been led to consider the administration of our crimi. nal laws infinitely too sanguinary, and that many a being suffers the pangs of death without deserving them; and that mercy too often forgets itself when there is an ample expansion for its exertions.
BACCARIA, in his book on Crimes and Punishments, severely, though justly, censures this' neglectful propensity, and holds it out as a thing the most impolitic, as seven tenths of the condemned may be made useful, and even profitable, to the State they may have offended the murderer and the cruel must always be excepted-should such escape the cord of justice, reflection must always keep up coals of fire within guisty bosoms. Man in his best state is faulty,--yes, from the prince to the rustic; and, although he is said to possess more wisdom than any other animal, he is generally found to have less virtue: to meet his frailties fairly, then, would it not be better to weigh with more candour his offences, to look a little closer into the causes that give rise to his dereliction? and where we find the offence unaccompanied by acts of inhumanity or brutality, to portion out the chastisement with more moderation? I am of opinion it would be more to our credit in a religious as well as a political point of view: the retrospect would, I am sure, to a good mind, be more pleasing,--because to receive mercy, sometimes awakens in the breast of the culprit a grateful acknowledgment, if not a perfect reform; and this I shall endeavour to exemplify by narrating a tale told by that excellent French writer, Madame du Montier“ While I was in the country (says that lady) I fell in company, with a worthy Friar, about eighty years of age, who entertained me with the following story :
THE FRIAR'S STORY. “ About forty years ago I was sent for to pray with a highwayman, and to prepare him for a better world; they had shut me up in a small
chapel with the malefactor, and while I was making every effort to excite him to repentance, I perceived that the man was deeply absorbed in thought, and hardly attended to my discourse..
My dear friend (said I) do you reflect that in a few hours you must appear before a more awful tribunal than that which has lately condemned you: what can divert your attention from that which is of such infinite importance? "« True father (returned the malefactor) but I cannot divest myself of the idea that it is in your power to save my life'_ How can I possibly effect that? (1 replied) and even suppose
. I could, should I venture to do it, it would be only to give you the opportunity of committing many more crimes' _ If 'that be all that prevents you (returned the condemned man) you may rely on my word, I have beheld my fate too near to expose myself to what I have felt.' « The friar here acted (says Madame du Montier) as you and I should have done, he yielded to the impulse of compassion, and it only remained to contrive the means of the man's escape.
“ The chapel (continued the friar) in which we were, was lighted only by a small window near the top, about fifteen feet from the ground. You have only (said the criminal) to set your chair on the altar, which we can remove to the foot of the wall; and if you will get upon it, I can reach the window by the help of your shoulders. '-I consented to this manoeuvre, and, having replaced the altar, which was portable, seated myself quietly again in my chair: about three hours after came the executioner, who began to grow impatient, knocking hard at the door, and then asked me rudely, what was become of the culprit? • he must have been an angel, (I replied) for by the faith of a priest he flew out through the window. '-The executioner, who found himself a loser by this account, enquired if I was laughing at him, and turning away hastily, run to inform the judges: they repaired to the chapel, where I was still sitting, and pointing to the window, I assured them upon my conscience that the malefactor flew out at it; and supposing him to be a beatific spirit, I was going to recommend myself to his protection; that moreover, if he were a criminal, which I could not suspect after what I had seen, I was not obliged to be his guardian. The magistrates could not preserve their gravity at my sang froid, and after wishing a pleasant journey to the man escaped, went
“Twenty years after this (went on the friar) as I was travelling over the Ardennes, I lost my way; the day was closing; for some time I saw not a creature, except the mousing owl, who had just ventured abroad; and the weak-eyed bat new from her solitary habitation. I was weary and fainted for repose, when a kind of peasant accosted me, and after surveying me very attentively, he asked me whither I was going, and told me the road I was travelling was full of dangers: If you will follow me (continued the man) I will conduct you to a farm at no great distance, where you may pass the night in safety.'I was much embarrassed; the curiosity visible in the countenance of the rustic excited my suspicion ; but considering that if he had a bad design towards me, it was impossible to escape : I followed him with trembling steps: my fear was not of long duration, I soon perceived the farm the peasant had mentioned and as we entered, the man who was the proprietor of it, told his wife to kill a capon with some of the finest chickens in the poultry yard, and to welcome his guest with the best cheer: while supper was preparing the conntryman entered, followed by eight children whom he thus addressed :- My children, pour forth your grateful thanks to this good friar,-had it not been for him you had not been here, nor your father neither, for he saved my life in a moment the most critical."-I instantly rècollected the features of the speaker, and recognized the thief whose existence