Page images
PDF
EPUB

She re

her to herself, conveyed her to the house of the good old unhappy Romeo. Philander was now pressing against a whole tide of people at the doors of the theatre, and striving to enter with more earnestness, than any there endeavored to get out. He did it at last, and with much difficulty forced his way to the box where his beloved Chloe stood, expecting her fate, amidst this scene of terror and distraction. vived at the sight of Philander, who fell about her neck with a tenderness not to be expressed, and amidst a thousand sobs and sighs told her his love and his dreadful mistake. The stage was now in flames, and the whole house full of smoke; the entrance was quite barred up with heaps of people who had fallen upon one another as they endeavored to get out. Swords were drawn, shrieks heard on all sides, and in short there was no possibility of an escape for Philander himself, had he been capable of making it without his Chloe. But his mind was above such a thought, and wholly employed in weeping, condoling, and comforting. He catches her in his arms—the fire surrounds them, while .... I cannot go

on

Were I an infidel, misfortunes like this would convince me that there must be an hereafter ; for who can believe that so much virtue could meet with so great distress without a following reward ? For my part, I am so old-fashioned as firmly to believe, that all who perish in such generous enterprises are relieved from the further exercise of life; and Providence, which sees their virtue consummate and manifest, takes them to an immediate reward, in a being more suitable to the grandeur of their spirits.

THE WEDDING DAY.

A

GENTLEMAN who had courted a most agreeable

young woman and won her heart, obtained also the consent of her father, to whom she was an only child. The old man had a fancy that they should be married in the same church where he himself was, in a village in Westmoreland, and made them set out while he was laid up with the gout in London. The bridegroom took only his man, the bride her maid: they had the most agreeable journey imaginable to the place of marriage, from whence the bridegroom writ the following letter to his wife's father :

March 18, 1672. “Sir,—After a very pleasant journey hither, we are preparing for the happy hour in which I am to be your son. I assure you that the bride carries it, in the eye of the vicar who married you, much beyond her mother; though, he says, your open sleeves, pantaloons, and shoulder-knot, made a much better show than the finical dress I am in. However, I am contented to be the second fine man this village ever saw, and shall make it very merry before night, because I shall write myself from thence

6 Your most dutiful son,

16 T. D. “ The bride gives her duty, and is as handsome as an angel.-I am the happiest man breathing."

The villagers were assembling about the church, and the happy couple took a walk in a private garden. The bridegroom's man knew his master would leave the place on a sudden after the wedding, and seeing him draw his pistols the night before, took this opportunity to go into his chamber and charge them. Upon their return from the garden, they went into that room; and after a little fond raillery on the subject of their courtship, the lover took up a pistol, which he knew he had unloaded the night before, and, presenting it to her, said, with the most graceful air, whilst she looked pleased at his agreeable flattery: “Now, madam, repent of all these cruelties you have been guilty of to me; consider, before you die, how often you have made a poor wretch freeze under your casement; you shall die, you tyrant, you shall die, with all those instruments of death and destruction about you, with that enchanting smile, those killing ringlets of your hair.” “Give fire!" said she, laughing. He did so, and shot her dead. Who can speak his condition ? but he bore it so patiently as to call upon his man. The

poor

wretch entered, and his master locked the door

upon him. “ Will," said he," did you charge these pistols ?" He answered “Yes." Upon which he shot him dead with that remaining. After this, amidst a thousand broken sobs, piercing groans, and distracted motions, he writ the following letter to the father of his dead mistress :

SIR,—I, who two hours ago, told you truly I was the happiest man alive, am now the most miserable. Your daughter lies dead at my feet, killed by my hand, through a mistake of my man's charging my pistols unknown to me. Him have I murdered for it. Such is my wedding-day. I will immediately follow my wife to her grave; but before I throw myself on my sword, I command my distraction so far as to explain my story to you. I fear my heart will not keep together until I have stabbed it. Poor, good old man! Remember he that killed your daughter, died for it. In the article of death, I give you my thanks, and pray

for

you, though I dare not for myself. If it be possible, do not curse

me."

THE SHIPWRECK.

A

YOUNG gentleman and lady, of ancient and honorable

houses in Cornwall, had from their childhood entertained for each other a generous and noble passion, which had been long opposed by their friends, by reason of the inequality of their fortunes; but their constancy to each other, and obedience to those on whom they depended, wrought so much upon their relations, that these celebrated lovers were at length joined in marriage. Soon after their nuptials, the bridegroom was obliged to go into a foreign country to take care of a considerable fortune that had been left him by a relation, and came very opportunely to improve their moderate circumstances. They received the congratulations of all the country on the occasion; and I remember it was a common sentence in every one's mouth, “ You see how faithful love is rewarded."

He took this agreeable voyage, and sent home, every post, fresh accounts of his success in his affairs abroad; but at last, though he designed to return with the next ship, he lamented, in his letters, that “ business would detain him some time longer from home," because he would give himself the pleasure of an unexpected arrival.

The young lady, after the heat of the day, walked every evening on the sea-shore, near which she lived, with a familiar friend, her husband's kinswoman; and diverted herself with what objects they met there, or upon discourses of the future methods of lifepin the happy change in their circumstances. They stood one evening on the shore together in a perfect tranquillity, observing the setting of the sun, the calm face of the deep, and the silent heaving of the waves which gently rolled towards them, and broke at their feet;

a

when, at a distance, her kinswoman saw something float on the waters, which she fancied was a chest, and with a smile told her, “ she saw it first, and if it came ashore full of jewels, she had a right to it.” They both fixed their eyes upon it, and entertained themselves with the subject of the wreck, the cousin still asserting her right; but promising, “ if it was

prize, to give her a very rich coral for the child of which she was then big, provided she might be god-mother." Their mirth soon abated, when they observed, upon the nearer approach, that it was a human body. The young lady, who had a heart naturally filled with pity and compassion, made many melancholy reflections on the occasion. “Who knows," said she, “but this man may be the only hope and heir of a wealthy house, the darling of indulgent parents, who are now in impertinent mirth, and pleasing themselves with the thoughts of offering him a bride they have got ready for him ? or may he not be the master of a family that wholly depended upon his life? There may, for aught we know, be half-a-dozen fatherless children, and a tender wife, now exposed to poverty by his death. What pleasure might he have promised himself in the different welcome he was to have from her and them? But let us go away; it is a dreadful sight! The best office we can do, is to take care that the poor man, whoever he is, is decently buried.” She turned away, when a wave threw the carcase on the shore. The kinswoman immediately shrieked out, “Oh my cousin !" and fell upon the ground. The unhappy wife went to help her friend, when she saw her own husband at her feet, and dropped in a swoon upon the body. An old woman, who had been the gentleman's nurse, came out about this time to call the ladies in to supper, and found her child, as she always called him, dead on the shore, her mistress and kinswoman both lying dead by him. Her loud lamentations, and calling her

« PreviousContinue »