Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

tribe; and it was indeed true that the youth had seen and admired Selina, and that he would gladly have engaged in an amour with her; but it was not true that he was at all encouraged by Selina, who had, indeed, scarcely noticed that he was in the least attentive to her. But the suspicions of Narbal, once excited, could not be soon appeased. He was perpetually on the watch, and perpetually fancied that he discovered something to increase his own torment. His own life was become wretched, and be rendered Selina's the same, by h unjust suspicions, and the violence of his infuriated passions.

It chanced one evening that Selina and her son Ali left their tent to enjoy the cool of the evening, after the heat of a sultry day. Invited by the shade of a wood which they saw at a distance, they entered it, and soon so lost their way, that they did not find it so easy to get out as to enter it, and were overtaken by the night. Narbal returning at the same time, and finding Selina had walked out, was immediately haunted with his usual jealous suspicions. He went out immediately in quest of her, expecting now to make great discoveries. A fatal chance directed his steps in the way she had taken; and he saw her and Ali near the skirts of the wood. Alive to all the fears with which she had latterly been impressed by his presence, she uttered a slight scream at the sight of him. As he knew the voice well, he was certain it was her; but the darkness of the evening prevented him from immediately recognising his son. His passion and jealousy would not suffer

ment, overpowered with horror, sunk lifeless on his arm. He raised the reeking blade to deprive her also of life, but a momentary return of af fection held his band. When the violent storm of passion had sub- sided, and he was able to look on what he had done, he saw his son dead at his feet, and his wife, his beloved Selina, breathless in his arms. Nor could any attention or art restore her to life; the horror of the scene had taken too powerful an effect on her delicate and feeble frame: she revived but for a monient, uttered two or three convulsive sighs, and then expired.

Narbal stood for a time, changed, as it were, to congealed stone. Dreadful were his feelings. At length, reason forsook the man who had not known to exert it in curbing the vio lence of his passions. He became furiously insane, and in this miserable state survived several years, a wretched example how, by not restraining brutal passions, human nature may be reduced to the verge of absolute brutality.

THE SOLDIER'S FUNERAL.

IN the church-yard of East Bourne I was resting myself on a gravestone, from a walk rather longer than usual. It happened to be about the time when the bell was drawing towards a conclusion, which soon brings the rustic from his white-washed parlour to his pew. There is not in life a more picasing scene. To see

"

reigns content. Oh happy rustic, ingand though a tear, as a glis-, how I envy thee! tening dew-drop, trembles upon its bud, it only adds to its fragrance and, beauty.

I now felt the full force of this; for, as I lifted up my hand to my hat to shade off the sun, I detected a straggling tear gliding down my check. But I freely let it fall; it was nature's innocent offering on the altar of sensibility, and I am confident it was a sacrifice indulgent Heaven, would not disdain, for it was accom-, panied with sensations that princes, might have envied.

From these reflections I was abruptly aroused by the swelling notes of a trumpet, which I found announeed that the remains of a dragoon were escorting by his comrades to his last quarters. Slow and so lemn were their steps, and their whole demeanour truly spoke their hearts were interested. I understood from one of the spectators, that the deceased belonged to a regiment just returned from foreign service. Poor fellow ejaculated, thou hadst escaped the fatigues and hardships of a foreign clime; met danger, and death, in every breeze; yet had that insatiable monster not received his commission; but as if weary of his, lenity, or to make the stroke more: painful, when, perhaps, thou hadst thought to have met the fond smiles of an aged parent, the endearing: embraces of a loving wife, or the inexpressible joy of pressing thy children to thy breast, then did be smite thee, and that to the quick. The accoutrements. of the soldier were laid upon his coffin, to him no longer of use; and his horse, which had been his faithful companion during many a weary march, as if perfectly sensible of the dissolution of his master, with mournful steps followed his remains. A few comrades from the troop to which he belonged, with arms reversed, brought up the rear. Never in my life did I feel so much affected by so coma circumstance. I have been Cha11 of fortuna from mv

I looked on, while the comrades of, the old soldier performed their last, sad duty over him: his horse was led,, or, as I fancied, dragged reluctantly from his graye, After the procession had departed, I observed one of the party still loitering near the grave un-, til he sawit filled up, when, taking the. spade from the sexton, he carefully selected as many sods as covered it.

Worthy fellow! may the spot where thou shalt sleep never want a, covering!It will not; some generous soul like thyself will be the last to leave it--if not, Nature, ever true, to her task, will plant, over thee a verdure that shall never decay, and, which none shall dare to disturb!He cast a mournful look at the place, as if to mark its situation, and slowly left the spot. Honest fellow, fare thee well! thou possessest a heart that would do honour to an higher station. I myself, poor as I am, will erect a stone in memory of thy friend, that whenever it is the fate or minz. in our jour

mon

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

HARRIET VERNON;

OR,

CHARACTERS FROM REAL LIFE.

A NOVEL,

In a Series of Letters.

BY A LADY.

(Continued from p. 356.)

LETTER XXVIII.

Mr. Wentworth to Mr. Johnson.

Bengal.

I LOSE no time to inform my dear friend of my safe arrival in this place, after a most expeditious and pleasant voyage. I am perfectly well and in excellent spirits, which, when I have told you my adventures, you will not be surprised to hear. I wrote a few lines to you and colonel Ambrose by the Besborough: but a few days after her sailing a change took place in my affairs of a most wonderful nature, which, not to keep you in suspense, I will now begin to relate.

I was received by Mr. Winstansley, the gentleman to whom I was recommended by colonel Ambrose, with great politeness; he is a fine old gentleman turned of seventy, very infirm, and totally incapacitated for business. I have,' said he, 'made my fortune in this place, and although I am an Englishman, am determined to end my days here. I have no connection (and he sighed

[ocr errors]

pressed a surprise that I had not seen the young lady; he informed me that she was seldom at home, being fond of any society rather than his. She is now,' said he, on a visit to a family of character and fortune, about seven miles from this place. They are fond of her to excess: I cannot disapprove of the acquaintance otherwise than because they are zealous catholics, and have persuaded my daughter to become of their religion.'

The old gentleman seemed pleased with my conversation and company: I felt a respect and concern for him, which induced me to be more than commonly assiduous to please him. I found I could manage his business with great ease; and, in short, every day made me more and more pleased with my situation. I felt a great curiosity to see the daughter, but avoided mentioning her, because I observed the subject was shunned by the father, and evidently gave him pain.

One day, when we were conversing as usual, he looked with uncommon earnestness in my face, and asked me if I had parents living.-I replied, that I had lost them both when young; that I did not remember my father, but did my mother perfectly, as I was fourteen when she died.

'Do you know what her maiden name was?'

I replied, No; I had never heard: nor have I, that I know of, a relation in the world.'

'I hope,' said he, I am not impertinent; but you will much oblige me if you would favour me with

[ocr errors]

told me that my success in life must depend on my own exertions, for that her own support was only an, annuity for her life; that I had no relations, unless a brother of hers, whom she had disobliged by marrying my father, was living. This she had no reason to think was the case, it being twenty years since she had seen or heard any thing of him, nor did she know to what part of the world he went. Her eyes were always filled with tears when she spoke on this subject. At her death I was placed in a inerchant's counting-house by the clergyman of the parish, in which employment I had supported myself until now, that I am five-and-twenty. And this, sir,' continued I, 'is my short history. But, perhaps it may give you satisfaction to see the picture of my mother, which I have in my possession, and will, if you please, produce.

That will be every thing,' he replied, with much agitation; and which made me at once apprehend what doubtless you also have by this time conjectured.-I. produced the picture, but repented my precipitation, for the moment he cast his eyes on it I thought he would have fainted. I caught him in my arms; it was, indeed, my uncle. Oh! Johnson, conceive the feelings of us both! words are wanting to express the scene that followed this dis

died found myself in possession of five hundred a year, out of which I was by my father's will to pay my sister one hundred pounds a year when she came of age, and to maintain and educate her until then. Her mother had been dead two years. This trust was to me an acceptable one. I lived on my estate, and superintended the education of my young sister: I taught her myself all I knew, and procured masters to instruct her in the accomplishments I was not capable of teaching her myself. Sensible, amiable in her temper, and lovely in her person, she grew up, every thing that could charm the heart and ensure the affections of all who knew her. I devoted myself entirely to her company, and found that in her absence I was unhappy.-At the age of twenty, after refusing several eligible offers, she selected a young man of small fortune as her partner for life. Accustomed to consult me on all occasions, she did not in this instance omit it. I had no objection to the union, but what arose from the young man's extravagant turn: I mentioned this to her; but she, like other young women, trusted to the power of her charms and example to reclaim him in this particular. To shorten my story-it was agreed on that the marriage should take place when she came of age, which now wanted but three months. In the mean time, I discovered, with inexpressible concern and surprise, that another reason lurked in my breast

tended

covery.

I now in my turn became impafient to learn more particulars, which, as soon as he was sufficiently reco

vored be se

To conquer my passion while con- I was become an old man, and I tinually in her presence I found found myself unequal to the task. impossible, but I had command In what a wonderful manner has enough over myself never to wound Providence blessed me, by, thus her ears with such a declaration. bringing you to comfort and supThe day at length arrived for the port me! By your account of your marriage; I attended her to the altar, mother's straitness of fortune, I conand by an effort of resolution as clude that she found my fears of great, perhaps, as was ever exerted her husband's extravagance realised; by man on a similar occasion, I but this, together with the fate of gave her to your father. On pre- the letters, cannot now be known. tence of urgent business in London, Would to Heaven she were now I left the new-married pair, and did alive! But why do I breathe such a indeed set out for that place, where wish ? Am I not completely blessed I hoped, by plunging into dissipation in beholding her son: From the and company, to erase from my moment I heard your name and saw mind all paintul recollection. I was you, a gleam of hope came across soon convinced of my mistake, for me; and when I conversed with you, in the course of a few months and discovered sentiments so confound my fortune diminished and genial to those possessed by your my grief augmented. Thus circum- dear mother, my fear of a disapsianced, i lormed the resolution of pointment delayed my inquiry congoing abroad. I sold my estate and cerning your family. This precious embarked for this place, without picture, which at once places the daring to trust myself with an inter- reality of your being my nephew view with your mother. I wrote her past all doubt, was taken at my réa letter telling her what I had done, quest, the year before her marriage. and added, that I found it necessary The original is in my possession ; for my peace that I should never see this is a copy.' her more, for that I loved her too In this manner did the good old well. On my arrival in this place gentleman continue conversing for I embraced an opportunity which some time. I felt myself unable to presented itself of entering into answer a word, from excess of joy business with the remainder of my and surprise. As soon as we could fortune, in which I have succeeded compose ourselves, he retired to beyond my most sanguine expecta- write to his daughter, my new-found tious, and in a short time recovered cousin, and I to you. I hope it will my peace. I married an amiable wo. reach you; and I doubt not your man, with whom I lived happily for congratulations by the first convey• some years, when it pleased Heaven ance. I hope this will find you in to deprive me of her, leaving me one health and happiness equal to my daughter. I wrote many letters to own. To your good uncle present your mother, but never had an an- my best respects. I suppose my swer. By what you say, they either fair cousin will be home in a few must have miscarried, or have been days; I long to see her, and hope intercepted by her husband. I had to work a reformation in her beha, thoughts of returning to England viour towards her father. for ihe purpose of finding her, but

I am, dear Johnson, I could not prevail on my wife to accompany me. When she died,

sincerely yours, which is only eight years since,

CHARLES WENTWORTH,

a

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »