Page images
PDF
EPUB

an interval permitted him to look back on his past life. It was in one of these moments, when Vernon (who was a fine figure, and his vitiated life not yet apparent in his face) drew the attertion of the company at Lord M****'s; where he was leaning against a window which looked into the garden and park, on which his eyes were constantly bent; and so very sad was his countenance, that his kind entertainer wished to awaken him from such a distressing scene :-"Are not the gardens well laid out?” said his Lordship; as he approached him ; but the wild erness is

sorry

work « Ah !” said Vernon, starting, 9. I was indeed sorrowful in the wilderness, seeking the remains of my wife." But what are you talking of what have I done ? what have I said? that you should know what I was thinking of.", Hamilton drew him from the astonished circle, under pretence of showing him the gardens ; and, in the most retired part, dis closed to him the reasons why the willows in America over the grave he knew not had made him so sad, Vernon listened in profound silence to the recital of Fanny's death and interment! and only waving his hand to Hamilton, abruptly returned to the house, where he shone forth in the brilliancy of wit, high spirits, and enjoyment.

But the hour of departure arrived, and Vervan's splitary lodging received him :-his servant was absent; he had no light, and sat down to await his return :i when the remembrance of Fanny, no longer to be resisted by his nearly exhausted spirits, recurred powerfully on his mind.--Fanny and her ,wrongs how vered in every dark part of the room.

The liquor he had drunk failed of its usual operation, and nowt alternately sunk him to melancholy, or urged him to despair. Het lamented the past, and dreaded the future. Life had long ceasedi to be an enjoyment to him. Though hitherto he had baffledi the intruding truth, remorse now seized him. He sought about for his pistols, and, being possessed of them, thought to relieve himself saying " Fanny, we meet. But the thought rushed: in that Fanny was heavenly; the action accursed; and might separate them to eternity. He dashed the pistols from him, and determined to weather out bis misery, till the natural moment of relief overtook him; and, from this time seeking to dissipates the gloom of his mind, he frequented all places ot diversion that country quarters afforded, till the most extraordinary hour of hist life arrived, He was standing near a groupe of young ladies, at an assembly, where nought was distinctly visible to him, save the lights, on which he thoughtfully gazed ;--nought welcome to his ear, but the buz which assured hiin he was not alones From this absent mood he was recalled by a voice sweeter than the shepherd's pipe upon the mountains ; for it was like Fanny's.

1

He turned round aghast to the groupe from whence the voice came; but, hearing it not again, thought it was fancy, and endeavoured to conceal the emotion it had caused. But again the voice struck his ear, and pierced his troubled heart. He forgot himself and the public room he was in, rushed to the lady that had uttered the well-known voice, and, seizing her by the shoulder, turned her swiftly round, to take a full view of her face.. “ It is Fanny !” exclaimed he :--but the words

« It is not Fanny !”soon dropt from his faltering tongue, in accents much lower. Yet he continued beholding her with a scrutinizing look of astonishment, till she was rescued from him. . He appeared agitated and shocked to a degree that moved all the company which stood around him with compassion. His strength began to leave him, and his senses to fail, when an elderly gentleman, tottering from a seat whence he had beheld: the scene, tremblingly pronounced, “That Fanny, alas ! may be my lost daughter; for such was her name, and she was most like this her sister. Speak, stranger, speak! and give hope to a parent, whom death has lately stript of many blessings; of all I held dear, save this child whom you call Fanny. Tell me, have I another left ?-can you restore her to me?" - Vernon's senses returned. He was supported by Hamilton, and beheld the father of his much-injured Fanny 'requiring her at his hands; “ And thus will it be," cried Vernon, in a still more awful day, when to the great Judge of all I must plead guilty.Sir, I cannot restore your daughter ; she is dead, and lies buried beyond the Atlantic Ocean, on a distant shore. Then, springing from the people whose care had hitherto assisred him, he rushed from the house, and, traversing the streets till the lone fields received him, leaned on the first gate his aching head. Hamilton was retained in the room by the tears and intreaties of Fanny's interesting likeness, who begged from him some account of her sister, as several of the officers who were at the assembly, one being applied to, had said Hamilton knew best her history, as he had been her only friend.

6 And were you our Fanny's friend :"cried the young lady, “ Oh come with us, and tell us if it is not possible that the report of her death may be a mistake,

Hamilton said every thing in a minute; and at last absolutely tearing himself out of the father and daughter's hands, ran down stairs to look for Vernon's servant, whom he sent after him ; and then went home in the carriage with Mr. and Miss Herbert, giving them a brief and exculpating account of Vernon'e behavour to Fanny: while the rest of the officers, whose advice and example had thus involved Vernon, loudly exclaimed against him as a rascal and betrayer. Certain it is, that the affair had never appeared in that light to them, till they found out that the victim was a rich person's child... Then

every passion rose up in her favour; and her youth, her innocence, her love, .made Vernon appear cruel, treacherous, and unmanly: and thus for once did riches cast a right light upon

trush, while the sad fate of many a poor inan's child lay buried in oblivion, for want of such an illustration.

The officers, after proper deliberation, according to their phrase, voted Vernon to Coventry, but he came no more among them, and Hamilton only sought after him ; but could not trace him beyond an old barn, where he had disturbed some sleeping beggars by his mournful prayers. They sat up in their beds, and, holding each other's hand, listened to him as something preternatural, till the moon shining through a part of the unroofed top bright on his regimentals, showed Vernon Icaning against a post that propped some sinking boards; the beggars lay down again to sleep, and in the morning he was gone, and some years elapsed before his fate came to their knowledge.

In the mean time Hamilton was married to Maria Herbert, Fanny's youngest sister, who was become the heires of her house, by the untimely deaths of her sister and brother, who Hamilton found was his beloved school-fellow, Marmaduke Herbert. Hamilton was happy, but not unchecked with regret at not having exerted himself more powerfully in Fanny's behalf.

On the evening of a day in which they had fully discussed the subject, walking in Fanny's garden, where many shrubs of her planting were yet counte, Hamilton received a letter from one of the serjeants, informing him, that he had seen Vernon's name, age, and death, marked in a church-yard belonging to a small village in Cornwall, that overlooked the sea. Thither flew Hamilton, and, by the sexton's means,'traced him to the farmhouse from which he was buried. They could give no farther account ihan that he came a stranger to the neighbouring port; where, waiting for a passage to a particular part of America, he was overtaken by a rapid consumption, and removed to them for air and quiet: that he died, desiring the remainder of the money he brought with him might, after his burial, be distributed among poor women of the name of Frances,

Tears stood in Hamilton's eyes when he heard this last tribute to this unfortunate loved sister's memory. He asked, with an emotion that would scarce permit him, whether his friend appeared happy; his poor friend!” he then called him, and gave way to the pang of nature. He was cheerful, they said, good to the poor, and attentive to church, which he told them he should have been ashamed of, had he remained with his old acquaintances, whose bad example, more than their advice, had brought him to the state he was in.

Among his papers Hamilton found one written the day before he died, which proved him to be less happy than the good people supposed.

The morning Hamilton left the village, his horses waited long for him in the church-yard shade, while he, resting on a graverail opposite to Vernon's, recalled his good qualities, palliated the bad, and regretted that he had nor had it in his power to say the last duties to either of his deceased friends ; casting then a painful look across the vast element, on the distant shores of which the divided pair lay buried, hoped, in the romantic way. wardness of his heart, that the mysterious system of here after might permit the sorrowing spirits to leave the small precincts of their nightly haunts, and that, meeting on the great deep, they might unite in forgiveness.

ANECDOTE OF HENRY IV. OF FRANCE. CAYET, sub-preceptor to Henry IV. relates, that, “ Jean of Albret, having requested to accompany her husband in the Picardy wars, the king, her father, laid his commands upon her to come away, should she prove

with child, to be delivered in his house ; adding, that he would take care of the child, boy or girl.' This princess being pregnant, set out, in her ninth month, from Compeigne, crossed all France down to the Pyrenees, and in a fortnight reached Pau, in Berne. She was very desirous, added the historian, to see her father's will, which was kept in a large gold box, with which also was a gold chain of such a length as to go twenty-five or thirty times about a woman's neck: she asked him for it. Thou shalt have it," said he, "on thy shewing me the child now in thy womb, so that it be no puny, whimpering chit.

I give thee my word the whole shall be thine, provided that whilst thou art in labour, thou singest me a Berné song, and I will be at thy delivery." Between midnight and one o'clock, on the 12th of December, 1553, the princess was delivered : her father, on notice, hastened down, and she, hearing him come into the room, chanted out the old Berne lay,

Notre Dame du Bout du Pont,

didez moi en cette heure, &c, Immediately after her delivery, her father put the gold chain about her neck, and gave her the gold box, in which was his will, saying, “There, girl, that is thine, but this belongs to me, taking up

the babe in his gown without staying till it was dressed and carried it away to his apartment. The ltttle prince was fed and brought up, so as to be inured to-fatigue and hardship, frequently eating nothing but the coarsest common bread ; the good king, his grandfather, had given such orders. He used, according "to the custom of the country, to run about bare-headed, and bare-footed, with the village boys, both in winter and summer,

Who was this prince? --Henry the Fourth.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Méart.cheering moments, I review ye still !
The mead, the minstrel, and the dancer's skill,
When O! what rapture fill'd my little breast,
To be appror'd and mingle with the rest,
Swift down the mazy course to time I ran,
Nor dream’d of ills to waste the future man.

And now at rest among the gossip train,
I listen to the old wife's merry strain ;
The while the farmer's rustic jokes delight,
Tongue rallies tongue, and jocund moves the night,
Nor is the toast forgot (respectful thing),
Dame fills the cups and master gives 6 the King!”
În turn the varied theme instructs the ear,
How land to cultivate, how crops to rear,
Whose breed of cattle won the highest prize
The Board of Culture for its sons devise,
Till from the wooden clock above the door,
The cuckoo nine times sings her wonted lore.
Another dance the youthful folks require,
"Tis Christmas time and master mends the fire
Intreats his guests another hour to stay,
Refills the cups and bids the music play ;
The strong ale circles 'mongst the festive crew,
And ev'ry cheeks a summer rose to view.
And now the modest parson joins the throng
Nor checks the sports nor stills the rustic song,
But warns the whole (and takes his cup of ale)
Next morn to be at church, and none to fail
Bids them for health, be merry and be wise,
And seek their beds in time, in time to rise.
Again the cuckoo bursts her wooden pen
And tells to all the drowsy hour of teng
Dame give the signal all to rest retire
And the great pot upturn'd, puts out the fire :
Morn wakes the swains who now bedezen'd gay,
At church meet friendly upon Christmas day.
Nor yet the bleak wind nor the driving sleet
Can keep the rustics from their sacred treat,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »