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continued love he had felt for her, and her present hardheartedness, his lost hopes and eternal despair, determined to live no longer ; and, holding his breath, without making the slightest motion, ended the contest and died by her side. A short time afterwards, Sylvestra, wondering at his stillness, and fearing lest her husband should awake, began to say,—“Prithee, Girolamo, go away,--why don't you move ?” Not hearing him answer, she thought very likely he had gone to sleep; 50 stretching out her hand to awaken him, she began to feel him, and touching his face, she found it was cold as ice, which surprised her very much; but moving him again with more force, and perceiving that he stirred not at all, after some little further examination she plainly perceived that he was dead; upon which she almost lost her senses with sorrow and despair, and remained for a long time not knowing what to do. At length she resolved upon asking her husband what he would do in such a case, if it were to happen to him ; and, having awakened him, she represented the story as having taken place with some other persons, and then inquired of him what would have been his conduct in such circumstances. The good man replied, that, in his opinion, the best thing to do would be to carry the dead youth quietly to his own house and leave him there; and he declared, for his part, that in such a case he should bear his wife no grudge, as it did not appear to him that she had committed any fault. “Then,” said Sylvestra, “so be itand so leť us do ourselves ;” and, having taken her husband's hand, she made him feel the dead body. At which being frightened beyond measure, he sprang out of bed and lighted a lamp, and, without saying a syllable more to his wife, he took the body in the same clothes it had on upon his shoulders, carried it to the door of the house where Girolamo had lived, and having placed it there, left it standing upright. When the morning came, and the dead body was seen standing against the wall, there was a great multitude collected, and much lamentation on all sides, but especially from his mother; and, upon his being examined, and no blow or wound being discoverable upon his person, it was generally believed by the doctors that the youth had died of grief, which was indeed the fact. The corpse was forthwith conveyed to the inside of a church, and thither came the weeping mother, with a great troop of sorrowing relations and friends, and all of them began immediately, after the manner of the country, to bewail themselves and make a loud lamentation.
Now whilst these funeral rites were being performed by his mother and her female relations, the man in whose house Girolamo died said to Sylvestra, “ Prithee put a veil over thy head, and go to the church where they have laid Girolamo, and insinuate thyself amongst the women, and hear what they say of this transaction, whilst I will do the same amongst the men, so that we may know whether any one suspects us of having been at all concerned in it.” The proposal pleased the youthful bride, who now too late had become sorrowful and compassionate, and she longed ardently to gaze upon him dead, to whom, when alive, she would not grant the favour of one single kiss. It is a wonderful thing this Love! and almost impossible to be known beforehand, in all its hidden forces and surprising revolutions! That heart, which the living and prosperous fortune of Girolamo could not open, his present miserable fate subdued in an instant, and rekindled within it all her former flames of love and passion. A moment afterwards, upon looking on his pallid and emaciated countenance, she fell into an agony of remorse and pity, and, covering her face with the veil, she glided on through the crowd of women till she came to the feet of the dead boy ; then uttering a shriek of unutterable meaning, where love, and passion, and sorrow, and despair, were mingled together, she threw herself at length upon Girolamo, and
would have bathed his face in burning tears, had not Death touched her almost before she fell, her heart being broken, and her breath choked up by the violence of reviving feelings. After this the mourners around began to comfort her, and exhorted her to rise up, not as yet knowing who she was; but when they saw that she did not move, they endeavoured to help her; and, finding her insensible, they lifted her up, and at one and the same instant they discovered that it was Sylvestra, and that she was dead. Upon which all the matrons were overwhelmed with double sorrow, and began again a second lamentation. The rumour of this strange event was soon spread out of doors, and at length came to the ears of her husband, who, when he heard it, would receive no consolation or comfort from any one, and for a long time mourned in profound grief. Some time after this the real circumstances of the death of the youth were related by the husband, and when they were publicly known they excited much indignation against the mother, who had taken such fruitless pains to quell the natural instincts of love. The deceased Sylvestra was adorned in a becoming manner with wreaths of flowers, and small knots of party-coloured ribbons, and then laid out in the same sepulchre, side by side, with Girolamo; and the young of both sexes of Florence for many days came to view them and weep over their unhappy fate; and little poems and songs were thrown upon their bodies; and their epitaph was written in these words:
GIROLAMO AND SYLVESTRA.
Love could not join them in life-
ON THE APPROACH OF THE HOLIDAYS.
“ Ibimus, O socii comitesque."—HQR.
A Few more days--and Vacuna, with all her train of smiles and pleasures, will be our companion. A few more days, and Eton will send forth her numerous fosterchildren, to forget, with due expedition, the precepts which she has laboured to instil. Already are all our Windsor vehicles, from imperial tandem to lowly chaise and pair, bespoken for the removal of our fellow-citizens; already the rulers of our little state are looking forward to their release from “durance vile,” and our dames are “ blessing their stars,” and preparing their last new apparel for a visit.
How busy is the scene! Wherever we go we are reminded by a thousand images that a great change in our commonwealth is at hand. Every friend we meet has a busy and thoughtful countenance, which seems to say to us, “ I shall see you no more for some time.”
What an alteration takes place in the manners and characters of our schoolfellows as the Holidays approach! A hundred little foibles and follies, which have lain dormant during the uniformity of an Eton life, now begin to spring up, and force themselves upon our notice. Among these, the desire of making a figure, or, as it is more usually termed, “ cutting a dash,” has a strong and extensive influence over the younger part of our community. Our little friend Gnavus, who, to do him justice, has been exercising all imaginable assiduity since his last vacation, is now busily employed in locking up his books, lest any one should suppose him to be
a sap in the Holidays.” Carus, who dresses, while at Eton, with an almost puritanical plainness, is terribly afraid that Mr. Ingalton's idleness may disappoint him
of his top-boots; and Novus, whose quiet simplicity has hitherto procured for him the prænomen of Cawker, is anticipating, with inconceivable rapture, the splash which long spurs and a bit of blood will make on the London road.
How various are the enjoyments and pursuits in which the members of our commonwealth will shortly be engaged. One is anxious to see his friends, and another to see the world; one will read algebra, and another will read novels; one will kill birds in Norfolk, and another will kill time in Bond-street. Mr. Sterling is looking forward to an interview with the vicar of the parish, and Mr. Montgomery to a tête-à-tête with the belle of the county: Mr. Golightly is sighing for the glass of the lounger, and Mr. Rowley for the glass of the bon-vivant.
Perhaps the meditations of no two persons are alike; but the meditations of all have for their origin, their ground, their keystone—the Holidays. It is a circumstance that would surprise in no small degree an uninitiated observer, that in spite of the thousand delights and fascinations which are supposed to be concentrated in this single word-Holidayswe scarcely meet a countenance which exhibits any extraordinary pleasure at their approach. And this we conceive does not proceed
insensibility to the gratification of revisiting the places of our birth, and returning to the friends of our childhood ; but rather from that reluctance we all feel to any change of place or habits which is accompanied with hurry and trouble. Of course, we do not assert that “ The Holidays" are words conveying to any one unpleasant ideas ;* but there is a certain degree of restlessness attending the preparation for them, which is disagreeable even to lively minds, and absolutely vexatious to more sober and sedate dispositions.
* Our good friend Mr. M. Swinburne excepted.-P.C. VOL. I.