Page images
PDF
EPUB

what had it not revealed the fervent love-the

first love of youth-the hopes of a life, the constancy of a manly character, the tenderness of a refined nature !

Teresa could not be mistaken in its meaning -such a look she had once before encountered from one she might see no more, and the memory

of that look had never left her. Her heart bled for the hapless Enrico ; she pitied him most sincerely, for she had experienced the difficulty of uprooting such affection from the bosom. Enrico felt that Teresa had read his feelings in his eyes, and when he noted her blush and downcast eyes, and above all when he observed the tears resting on her fringed eyelashes, hope entered his heart, and he dared to take her hand and press it gently in his.

Suddenly Teresa rescued her hand and turned coldly from him ; poor Enrico, at this mark of her displeasure, rose hastily from his seat and left the porch. Apparently, this little scene had passed unobserved by Maria, who was sitting with her back partly turned to them and apseemingly absorbed in a book.

Teresa remained motionless on the seat for some time, and her thoughts were wholly occupied with the sorrow she had so innocently brought on this amiable young man.

Her eyes were again raised to the skies; but the sun had set, leaving a faint radiance behind it, and the pale blue of the firmament began to be studded with innumerable stars. A dark cloud had gathered just over the house, and Teresa saw in it an emblem of the grief which had fallen on it. The cloud broke and came down in a heavy shower of rain, but Teresa and Maria were protected by the porch and remained stationary. Teresa was at length surprised at her companion's long silence, and she stole gently to her side and asked her what was the subject of the book which seemed to interest her so much. She received no answer, and she leaned forward and looked into Maria's faceber book was turned upside down in her hands, and Teresa saw, by the faint light in the heavens,

that her countenance was convulsed with grief, and her cheeks streaming with tears.

She soothed her tenderly, and asked her the cause of her grief; but Maria waved the subject, by complaining of a violent pain in her head, and proposed going into the house.

As they entered the habitation, the cloud dispersed, the rain ceased, and the moon shone out in clear radiance, and Teresa secretly prayed that so might the sorrow pass from this humble roof. It was late, and they soon separated for the night, Maria still persisting in assigning a headache as the cause of her tears, and Teresa went into her small room, and seated herself in the window, pondering over the painful discovery she had made. She now began to fear that Maria's grief was in some way connected with Enrico's love for herself, and as the idea of this poor girl's hopeless attachment gained strength in her mind, she grieved doubly at the fate which had thrown her into this once happy family.

Thus she mused till the moon was high in the heavens and every object was plainly perceptible in its brilliant light. There was the wood in which Enrico had found her—its withering foliage unstirred by a breath of air-there, in the distance, lay the small churchyard, where her darling infant had been buried, the simple headstone recording many a tale of woe, many a bereavement, many a quelling of fond hopes ! What tears had watered those graves, what sighs, and moans, and wailings had arisen above them, what long looks of agony had dwelt on them, and yet how unbroken was their repose, how undisturbed the slumber of their tenants ! Time passed, and sad hearts forgot to grieve, and the same eyes which had rained tears on those graves were, perhaps, dwelling with new interest on other faces; the sighs which had breathed of ceaseless sorrow,

now heaved for the living, and the silent dead were no more membered.

But the dead need not tears; why should we grieve for those who have ceased to buffet with the waves of life, and are safely harboured where

were

re

storms are unknown? Released from all their cares and woes, they should rather pity us who still toil, and struggle, and suffer. On earth they often fainted under the load they were compelled to bear, now they enjoy an everlasting repose. Then should not the contemplation of a churchyard fill our hearts with a calm, holy joy, rather than inspire melancholy and gloomy thoughts ? Let us but view it as a short and peaceful passage to a state of unutterable bliss, and it will lose all its imaginary terrors.

But Teresa's equanimity had been put to Aight by the discovery of young Enrico's love ; it was so sad to be compelled to blight the hopes of his sanguine spirit; joy is so rare, so sweet and refreshing to witness, that our natures recoil from embittering its cup. She thought of his clear, laughing eye, and yet she must dim its brightness ; she must cast a gloom over the future, which had hitherto appeared to him as a rose-strewn path ; she must be the first to teach him that disappointment is the lot of mortality.

« PreviousContinue »