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Among the recesses of the park, a little spring gushed forth in the midst of a narrow area of moss, among fern, and wild flowers, and hawthorns. Here lay, beside the gurgling waters, a pale and wasted youth. A darkcoloured doe stood beside him. Of a sudden she lifted her head, and started with long bounds to a distant part of the woodland. She had been scared by the hasty tread of Randolph. In the next instant, Francis, half murmuring the name "Ianthe," lay a corpse beside the fountain, which was crimsoned with his blood; and over him stood his murderer, holding the Scymeter of Ezra, from which large red drops fell thick upon the turf. He had none but a vague and uncertain sense of recognising Francis. When he struck the deadly blow, it was not his earliest and dearest friend whom he slew, but only a wretch who was feared and hated, he knew not wherefore, by his adored Zorah. The madness of his brain deprived him of remembrance, and almost of consciousness.
He stooped, with hasty and eager hands, to fulfil the horrible injunction of the lady. He tore open the dress of Francis, and found in his breast a small packet of written paper; and this he threw aside as worthless. Between it and the heart of the youth, a dark engraved stone, set in gold, was hung by a twisted chain. No sooner had Edward laid his finger upon it, than he started back, raised his hand to his forehad, and shuddered violently, The power of the talisman had recalled his former mind-conviction and misery burst upon his conscience-he knew that he was an assassin, and that Francis was his victim. He clasped his hands, and knelt motionless and silent beside the corpse for many minutes. He touched one of the dead hands which he had so often clasped in friendship, and put back the bloody hair from the disfigured and ghastly forehead; his grief broke out in a tremendous paroxysm. After a long period of horror, his mind was fixed into its purpose. He rose, and, having thrown over the corpse of his friend his own dabbled cloak, turned to leave the spot of his crime, and to execute the stern atonement he had resolved upon. His foot struck against the papers which he had flung by before; and when he looked upon the cover, he saw that it was addressed to himself. He secured the packet and rapidly pursued his way.
He soon reached the great city; and it was his first business to find some of the lawful authorities, to whom he told the murder he had committed, and described the residence of his accomplices, Zorah and Manasses. He was committed to prison, and persons were sent to seize the old man and the lady. They easily found the hovel of the squallid pauper, Manasses, and having made him prisoner, proceeded to look for the palace described by Edward. He did not pretend to know the mode by which an entry could be obtained from the ruinous house of the old man to the magnificent apartments of Zorah; but, by a long examination, they found a thick and iron-bound door, leading out of the under-ground vaults. Manassus readily gave them the key, and after cousiderable difficulty in applying it to the rusty wards of the lock, and turning the clogged hinges, they gained admittance to a passage beyond. This led them into a large and ancient building, which seemed not to have been inhabited for years. The windows were all built up, or carefully closed with dusty shutters; the
plaster of the walls were decayed, and cobwebs covered all the doors, and formed a gray drapery in every corner. No fragment of furniture was visible, except that, in one lofty and dilapidated chamber, the remains of an old oaken wardrobe were fastened to the wall; and in this was found the dress which had been worn by Edward, when he fell into the hands of Manasses. They could discover no other traces of the strange occurrences of which Randolph spoke.
The old man was put into confinement; and it was remarkable that, though he had before appeared an aged indeed, yet a hale and not superannuated person, he now had all the look of extreme and unexampled longevity. His face seemed to become suddenly shrunk and haggard; his eyes lost all their mobility, and brightness; his hair was white, instead of darkly gray; and his feeble limbs could no longer support his shrivelled and withered body. That evening he sent for a celebrated Rabbin, who was admitted to his cell; and they spoke together long and earnestly, in presence of one of the officers of the jail. They talked in Hebrew, and he could not, therefore, understand their communications; but he could observe, in the tones and gestures of Manasses many signs of guilt and horror, such as his eyes, accustomed to all the aspects of criminality, had never before encountered. The Rabbin sat beside him on the floor, and the feeble light revealed to the jailor his awe-struck and astounded, but benignant and compassionate countenance.
After this miserable interview, where piety feebly contended with atrocity and desperation, had continued for an hour, Manasses became obviously more frenzied, and the jailor sent for a physician. He attempted to compose the patient by soothing medicaments, and staid by his side while the Rabbin sought to quiet his delirious and agonised spirit into more devotional feeling, About midnight, however, so much of horror was accumulated on that narrow bed, and the chance of doing any farther good was so desperate, that the venerable Jew rushed out of the prison, to spend the remaider of the night in secret prayer. Manasses, Ezra, Joseph D'Atorna, or whatever may have been his real name, did not long survive the departure of the Rabbin; and the terriffic howl, sinking into a long deep groan, in which he drew his dying breath, rang for many days and nights in the ears of the physician and the jailor.
The wretched Randolph, crushed with the horrible sense of the crime, to which his guilty devotedness to the beautiful fiend by whom he had been enthralled, had impelled him, expired in prison before he could be brought to trial for the murder. His previous rebellion, however, to the injunction of Zorah, and deep repentance and remorse, occasioned the annihilation for ever of the dominion of that wonderful being. The tenure by which she retained her supernatural powers was destroyed; and perdition horrible and instant was the consummation of what was once so beautiful and so mighty. On examining Barton's papers, it appeared that, like his ill-fated friend, he had been allured to the perpetration of murder, by the same enchantress, uuder the name of "Ianthe," in Italy, and that, weighed down by remorse, he quitted her, and returned to England.-Athenæum.
"Oh! too convincing, dangerously dearIn woman's eye th' unanswerable tear! That weapon of her weakness she can wield, To save, subdue-at once her spear and shield." BYRON.
AND pleads the tearless eloquently weak,
Thou tortured one, whose tears, like flowing rain,
His boasted prowess to a hand like thine,
So weak and fragile !-'twere a wise man's fame
To plead with nations thy rejected claim:
In the Good Shepherd's fold a lorn and weary guest!
Vicegerent of the Lord-appointed head
of earth's lesser tribes the dread--
A NORWEGIAN SKETCH,
IT was on the afternoon of a day in the latter end of August, during a pedestrian tour through Norway, that, after having travelled from the early morn through a continuous forest, I suddenly emerged upon the mar gin of one of those Fiords by which that country is intersected, even in the very interior. It was a calm and solitary scene: not a breath rippled the surface of the water, which lay in such glassy stillness, that I could discern, half-way across, the transient circle formed by the light dip of the sea-fowl's wing. Before me, the lake stretched, in many windings, through the forest glades, until it was lost among fantastic rocks, which might be mistaken for ruins, towering majestically up, and leaning in fine relief upon the deep blue sky. They appeared to be at least a league distant; and, before I reached them, the sun had left my path to
the sombreness of evening,—but a flood of light was still poured upon the pinnacle of the rocks, and upon the spiral tops of the trees that crowned the heights, which shelved up from the water. When I attained this seeming barrier, I found that here the water, after contracting itself into a very narrow strait, spread out in another and wider arm, whose banks were more precipitous; and as day-light was now fast departing, it was with some feelings of satisfaction that I descried, at no great distance, the grey turrets of an ancient chateau.
The building, which I now leisurely approached, was constructed like all the residences of the old Norwegian families-massive and irregular, though square. The heads of wolves, boars, and deers, rudely carved in stone, projected over each window. A high stone wall encompassed the building; and a huge gateway, of the Saxon order, over which stood, with extended wings, an uncouth representation of an eagle, holding a fish in its beak, opened upon a grass terrace overhanging the water. Two children, their fair locks curling over their necks, and, seemingly, of the same age, were standing upon the terrace, who, the moment they perceived me, fled, with the speed of their native does, through the gateway. After surveying for a moment, from the ter race, the dim landscape beneath, I followed them, and was met half-way across the circular court within by the master of the house.
I expected to have been received by him with that cordial welcome which is usually found in those remote spots of earth, where the falseness and knaveries of the world have not yet approached-where the strings of benevolenee have not been poisoned by ingratitudenor suspicion entered, to close the avenues of hospitality. But my expectations were not realized. The old man did not indeed refuse to extend his hand to me, but it was hesitatingly; he did not refuse me the usual welcome of his country, but it was coldly given: nor did the children echo the welcome in the gleeful faces with which infancy had ever met me, in place where treachery had never been, but stood at a distance, holding each other by the hand, and looking as if they mistrusted me. I followed my conductor into the house, where an abundant repast was soon set before me; but it was with an indifferent relish that I partook of what I suspected to be the offering of cold civility, rather than of kind-heartedness.
I had made an end of my meal, and had emptied a goblet of birch wine to Gamte Norgé, to convince myself (after the example of Sterne) that I bore no grudge against the master of the house, or the land of his nativity, when he entered the room, and walking up to me, enquired if I belonged to the profession of medicine. I replied in the negative; but added, that in the course of my travels I had gathered some little knowledge of the science. "My daughter," said he, my only daughter, is dying! Medicine, I believe, could not save her yet come with me." The words of the old man-his tone-his countenance-smote me for my suspicions of his hospitality. "I have mistaken," said I," the solemnity of sorrow, for the coldness of ungracious welcome."
I followed him into the chamber of his daughter; she was sitting in a chair, and looked as if life were fast ebbing away. The twin children were standing beside their mother-for they were her children—and with one arm she encircled them both, and often, with
the feeble, but passionate effort of expiring strength, press them to her bosom. She looked at her old father, and would have spoken, but could not: but he understood her wish, for he went to her, and supported her, while she leaned forward, and put aside the silken tresses from the brows of her infants, and kissed them. seemed scarcely twenty-five; and, though sorrow had blanched her cheek-and something more agonising, more acute, than sorrow, had left in her heart the poison of its sting-she was beautiful still. Need I say, that when the old man looked at me, I could only shake my head. The crisis was at hand. It was now nightand as the feeble ray of a waning moon streamed faintly through the window, and fell upon the countenance of the dying, I said to myself," another moon will rise upon her grave." She expired the same night; I did not retire to rest, but stood in the window of my chamber until the first streak of dawn, gazing in reverie, sometimes upon the dark outlines of the forest, which the faint and fitful moonshine only defined, but was too feeble to enlighten, and sometimes upon the starry garb of night, faintly seen beneath the cloudy folds of her
It was my intention to continue my journey so soon as I had acknowledged the hospitalities received; for in such a time as this, the presence of a stranger could not be welcome. In leaving my chamber, I chose a wrong descent, which conducted me to a door that opened upon the terrace. The bereaved father was standing there, and he approached to meet me. I expressed my acknowledgments for his hospitality, and my hopes that he might be supported under his affliclion; and was about to take my leave of him, when he laid his hand upon mine, and gently motioned me to return into the house. He led me to a small chamber, which overlooked the terrace and the water below: and pointing to a chair, while he seated himself in another, opposite to me, he pressed his handkerchief to his eyes, and addressed me as follows:
"You must not leave my house with suspicions of its hospitality. Your reception yesternight was ungracious; but when the events, which have brought sorrow into this family, are known to you, they will explain the coldness of the welcome with which strangers are greeted in the house of Kalmerck. My daughter, who died yesternight, was my only child; to-morrow would have been her twenty-fourth birth-day. While yet an infant, her mother died; and she grew up, beneath my eye, in virtue and gentleness-I might say in beauty too. When the days of her early childhood were passed, she was—though still a child-the companion of her father; and when years came upon me, she was my stay; and I hoped-but there is no Agnes to close my eyes!—she is gone before her father. It is six summers ago, and on an evening such as yesterday, that I was standing with my daughter on the terrace, as was our frequent custom, pointing out to her an eagle soaring above the Fiord, when a stranger turned into the winding path that leads to my gate. I went towards him, and welcomed him. He informed me he was a Swede, and by profession a portrait-painter. Agnes was then eighteen. I beckoned her to approach, and inquired of the artist if her's was a countenance which he could copy. He undertook to produce a faithful likeness, and became an inmate in this house. His name was Scholberg; his appearance, though not
youthful, scarcely indicated the meridian of life, but his countenance bore the impress of thought beyond his
"While the picture was in progress, the artist was our constant companion; his manners agreeable, and his information extensive-so at least it seemed to us, in this remote solitude. You will not wonder then, that the society of Scholberg had attractions for both Agnes and me-alas! for my poor daughter, it had too
"The picture was at length completed; this is it," said the old man, as he drew from a cabinet a miniature picture, inclosed in a box of beech-wood, and placed it in my hand. It represented the playful countenance and slight form, of a fair and lovely girl, but just departed from childhood; and showed that the artist was deficient in neither talent nor sentiment. How different from her I had seen but yesternight-from her, who lay in the chamber of death! I withdrew my gaze from the picture, and returned it to the old man, who resumed his narrative.
"When the painting was finished, the artist still delayed to go. I was in no haste to withdraw from him the hospitality of my house; but at length some occasion offering, I suffered myself to hint at his departure -and it was then that I first discovered the truth. The happiness of my child was every thing to me; I would not risk the peace-the health-the life, perhaps, of my Agnes. In fine, after a few months, I gave her to Scholberg; aud as I joined their hands, I said to them, My children, you must never leave me! I am now an old man, and cannot be long in this world; but while I remain, you, Agnes, will be my support,~ and you, Scholberg, whom I have made her husband, will ratify her promise. When I depart, all I have will be my child's and you will then be free.'
"During the first four years after this union, little occurred to disturb the serenity of our lives; and the twin children you have seen are its only living pledges. I now approach that part of my relation of which I would willingly spare myself the recital; but I have not yet explained the seeming inhospitality of my house, and I must finish the narrative I have begun.
Scholberg appeared gradually to lose his relish for the simple pleasures of our secluded life. He became abstracted and restless-subject to deep reverie-and was usually silent, unless when at times he would speak of countries which he had visited; and contrast in a few and sullen words, the varied enjoyments of more favoured lands with the monotony of his present existence, Agnes, too, grew sorrowful; she grieved to find that she and her children, and the calm of domestic life, had lost their charms; and still more did she grieve to think, that the release her husband coveted, could only be purchased by the death of her father. I now approach the dreadful crisis of my story. One afternoon in May, three months ago, while standing on the terrace, looking down the Fiord, illuminated by the rays of one of our first summer suns, Scholberg proposed to renew the almost forgotten custom of rowing upon the water. For some days before he had been less abstracted, and more willing to be pleased, and he had that day shown an unwonted playfulness of manner. Alas! it was like the sunbeam that plays upon the surface of deep water, hiding the darkness and profundity beneath. Agnes hailed the proposal as a pro
"We descended the winding road, and unmoored the boat. The Fiord, as you perceive, has many headlands and branches; among these, there is one called 'The Three Brothers' Cradle,' from a tradition current in Norway, into which Agnes would never permit the boat to be conducted; she said its gloominess terrified her -and the tradition connected with it had made an early impression upon her mind. It is narrow at the entrance, and within is shaped like a bell: high rocks encircle it, raising perpendicularly from the water, which, from its unfathomable depth, is of a pitchy blackness. A few sapless birch-trees are scattered among the clefts of the rock and on its summit, lofty firs grow to the very edge, and throw a deeper shade over the abyss beneath. To the entrance of this gulf, Scholberg rowed the skiff; and before reaching it, the sun was sinking beneath the crowded trunks of the dark trees that crowned the rocks. Shall we enter?' said Scholberg. When a youth, I had sometimes taken my boat thither, to scare the young eagles, and watch their ineffectual efforts to mount to the summits of the rocks; and I felt willing, after so long an absence from the spot, to recal once more the memory of those youthful days. We did accordingly enter the Cradle. Scholberg rowed nearly to the centre, when he stopped, and standing up in the boat, and looking to the sky, told me to remark the stars, which were visible, although the sun had not set. I said I could not perceive them. Stand up,' said he, as I do, and place your hands thus. I stood and looked towards the sky-and in the same moment the boat received a sudden impulse. I staggered and while the fall was yet uncertain, the hand of the parricide directed it! I fell into the cauldron, and the skiff shot from me. I am relating facts, and recalling feelings: what mine were, in the instant that I felt the hand of my son hurl me from life into the dark waters, I cannot describe; though, if life had its longest course yet to run, I should remember till its latest hour the agony of that moment. To save life by swimming would have been impossible, even to the youngest and the most vigorous-for the tide was then setting in with great force up the Fiord: but for me, an old man, even to gain the mouth of the Cradle, was impracticable--the distance was beyond my strength; and in that sunless gulph, the extreme coldness of the water must have benumbed my limbs. Yet, without any defined purpose of saving my life, natural instinct led me to preserve it as long as possible. But strength gradually failed me ; and it was only in one of my latest impotent efforts to avert the moment of sinking for ever, that my hand struck a hard substance. It was the trunk of a tree such are frequent in the Fiords. Loosened from the rafts which are descending to the sea, they are floated whithersoever the tide and the wind may carry them; and this one had, by the providence of God, been drifted into The Cradle of the Three Brothers.' I grasped it with the clutch of a drowning man; and, by a desperate effort, succeeded in placing myself upon it. Salvation seemed now possible -death was at all events less near. Night was indeed approaching-and cold, and wet, and the feebleness of age, were to he endured:
yet I had hope. At this moment, turning my eyes towards the mouth of the Cradle, I saw the skiff shoot through the opening, and disappear. Gradually, the tide carried me nearer the rocks, though farther from the outlet-at last I could touch them. A new and more defined hope now arose; by means of the rocks I could shape my progress. By degrees, I found myself advancing nearer the outlet. Hours were thus spent ; but at length the wide Fiord, gleaming in the star-light, stretched before me. The tide was now ebbing, and I was carried, without effort, down the Fiord: until, as morning was beginning to break, the tree grounded upon the sand of a low and sheltered creak, not very distant from my own dwelling. Exhausted, I threw myself upon the sand, and fell asleep. When I awoke, the day was far advanced. Cold and benumbed, I arose, and with difficulty ascended the bank, and approached my own house. Scholberg stood upon the terrace, and
I was close to him before he perceived me. 'Scholberg!' I said. He turned and uttering a fearful yell, which still sounds in my ear, filed with the speed of lightning to the edge, and leaped into the flood below -finding the grave he had intended for me. My story is told. Agnes, struck with the guilt of her husband, and its awful retribution, never smiled again; and I am now left alone, with the motherless twin children."
The old man ceased: a tear rolled down his wrinkled cheek. I held out my hand to him, and turned away; and as I went on my journey, I found my eyes grow dim, when I thought of the solitary old man.
THE NEGLECTED GRAVE.
THE nettle springs upon his grave,
The hardy thistle blossoms there!
Are then those orphans left alone?
To say they there together rest?
Behold the smiling twice-wed bride! Are then a widow's tears but showers, Like those which smiling spring-time pours, To gently bend, not break, the flowers, By the first flattering zephyr dried? Then, by a hand to thee unknown, Be the last mournful tribute shown! Here let me place the votive stone, And bid the cypress o'er it wave! Whilst she, thy tenderest, latest care, Is gone, Love's myrtle wreath to wear, Nor would one transient moment spare, To deck thy lone, neglected grave.
THE AWKWARD MAN.
THOUGH I know the awkward man to be a senseless stony separation between the dearest attractions on earth, I am one of those insipid dull creatures, who are so wise out of the world that they pass for fools in it. I can better illustrate the character I begin to grow weary of playing in this excellent drama of life, yet cannot "shuffle off," by relating my adventure in this way. I am, I confess it with some shame, as ignorant of the world as the world is of me; and have only been used to look at men as children do at an eclipse-through glasses darkened and dulled with the smoke of my midnight lamp; but a kind though mistaken friend of mine, who insisted that the "proper study of mankind is man," after numberless invitations and polite pressures and gentle tuggings, pulled me up by the roots from my studious bower, as a gardener plucks up a thriving weed of " enormous overgrowth;" disentangling my very heart-strings and eye-strings from to the richly-cultured ground in the Muses' garden, as the unfeeling cultivator of cucumbers uproots, that useless but harmless weed, and dragged me from my learned lair, to accompany him on a visit to some fashionable friends in town. I submitted, at last, with about as good a grace as Barnardine did to be hanged; and it cost me as many efforts to step up to the door, as it did him to mount the steps of the scaffold. The knock was given -the door opened-and my friend (must I call him?) perceiving that I would fain have retreated, seized my arm and dragged me in, as the young oxen were dragged into the temples of the ancients where they were meant to be sacrificed. We were in, however; and I passed very successfully along the line of cane-carriers, lapdog-carriers, door-knockers, and other gentlemen of the shoulder-knot, without being openly quizzed; and I therefore began to augur well of my success in future.
It was the chilly month of October; and we were ushered into a handsome dining-room, where were seated mine hostess, who was the wealthy widow of Colonel —, four or five elegant females (her daughters) and their young companions, a captain of foot (her son), an ensign of dragoons, a fashionable clergyman, a beau cousin, and two sundries, without any thing distinguishable about them; the whole party being very snugly seated round a warm, welcome-giving autumnal fire, and earnestly employed in cracking more nuts than jokes over the dessert-table, as we were announced and entered, They all arose to receive us, and with them rose my heart to my mouth; the courage I had in the hall slipped, through my fingers like a live eel additionally oiled, or a buttered Chinese pursued by a Canton crew for naked night-rogueries. something like an oblique how, which, for anything I know to the contrary, was meant for the company present; but it might be mistaken to have been intended for the bust of Shakspeare on the sideboard, or Jones or Johnson, passing under the window at the time, as for the use I had put it to. This would have passed unnoticed, had I not, in the first place, in retreating my right foot from a bow in advance, come with my heel, which was newly pumped, sharp against the shin of the footman who was dutifully waiting to see me to a chair; and had I not, in the second, in shaking hands with the whole party on being introduced, nipped one of the young lades' fingers almost in the bud, and dropped the
hand of the second without shaking it, that I might grasp a third, who was waiting to go through the ordeal ; and had I not, in the third place, shook my introducing friend's hand so long and so cordially, that you would have supposed I had never seen him for years, instead of being brought there by him. Whether I shook the captain's hand, or did, as my friend schooled me afterwards for doing, refuse the clergyman's proffered hand with as much unconscious indifference as an Atheist would feel for one of the cloth, I know not; for all the rest of my blunders were as much done in a dream as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress was seen in one. But we were at last securely seated; and my friend and I much blamed that we did not dine with them, instead of coming in after the dessert. "It was impossible," he said; and I felt glad that it was so. The wine was now set before us; and the captain, who righted me, paid me the compliment of taking, as he said, a glass with me, though at the time I certainly thought that I had been introduced to take a glass with him. But n'importe! as the French say in England. I felt inclined to toast the ladies, in the excess of my gallantry: but just as I had screwed up my courage tight to the peg, it cracked, as you have perhaps seen a tenor string to a fine Cremona snap itself and a note in two, and have heard the imperfect sound die under the bow-and so died my gallantry im my breast; and I congratulated myself the next minute on my forbearance, for there was no estimating what a long succession of awkward mistakes it might have led to. But the spirit of my sudden gallantry was still effervescing within, and I thought I might venture on being gallant to the lady who lefted me. I watched her want, therefore, with the eye of a lover, seeking occasion for doing some gallant thing or for doing one. Her eyes, which were the prettiest pair of blue eyes I had ever seen out of poetry, settled upon a peach, like two sister butteflies of that azure hue, which gives to those blue seraphs of the green vales of Kashmeer the sovereignty for beauty. I was all haste to serve her eyes, and so to win her heart; but reaching it too hastily, in the darting of my arm I threw down a decanter of Burgundy, whose issuing tide divided and subdivided itself into as many streams as you will sometimes see issuing from an allegorical urn in a county map. Great consternation ensued; the captain feared a stain on his military small-clothes, the clergyman a stain on his sacerdotal cloth, and the ladies looked after the unsullied snow of their gowns (white as the lawn of Cos), with as much care as they would after their characters for unspotted virtue. Many apologies were made by my blushing friend, for my blushing self; which was very handsome in him, as I was too confused to apologise for myself, and was fully employed in damming up the main stream with my handkerchief, till the assisting hand of a footman at my elbow, who was as welcome to me then as is the sun to the rain-drenched meadows, had dried up the vinous inundation. My friend excused me: I was first of all very near-sighted, and could not see across a table; and next I was very 66 nervous-weak." The accident was soon forgotten, and the company was again calm; and Awkward " himself again." was As if with the kind intention of making me easy, my fàir friend on my left began to be on the very best terms with me, and said every thing that was agreeable and nothing that could possibly remind me of my disgrace. I know not