Page images
PDF

中国一直是一

[ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

MED

S

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

THE GRAVE-STONE.

raised above the sod, with crosses and grave-stones:

on one of these, not far from the wall, he, at first with A PARTY of young men had been long carousing to astonishment, and then with constantly increasing horgether one evening, and amongst many other freaks ror, plainly read his own name. which they thought of and put in execution, they de. He sat still and in silence before the glass until the termined to have their fortunes told. After drinking curtain was again let down, and the old woman had up all the wine which remained on the table, in order taken the lamp from out of the oven, to light him to to strengthen their resolution, they about midnight the door. He went home sunk in thought; every trace sallied forth, arm in arm, wild with their revelry. of his revelling had disappeared, but the image of his

The woman whom they resolved to consult lived grave was impressed upon his mind in indelible cha. without the city gates, in a small house; and, for the | racters: many days and weeks passed on. purpose of her prophecies, she used a mirror, in which In order to divert his mind, he now determined to the inquirer might behold whatever scene of his future go himself upon a journey, which, on account of some life he desired to have revealed. Many a story was disagreeable affairs, he had previously determined to related in which it was asserted that her revelations leave to another. He rightly considered that a total had come to pass. She had, however, been positively change of scenes, places, and sensations, would have a interdicted from continuing her dangerous occupation, beneficial influence. Visiting on horseback many charmand only carried it on now very secretly.

ing, and to him, hitherto unknown spots, his mind As the noisy party approached her house, she ob not only regained its former tone; but he became even served, by their demeanour, that they were elevated more lively than the natural gravity of his character with wine, and she steadily refused to accede to their had hitherto allowed him to be. request. No promises, no money, that they could offer, Whilst travelling one day, he was overtaken by a caused her to waver in her resolution; and, at length, storm that constantly increased. He was already many most of the young men believed her assurances that miles distant from the place he had left, and had about she had finally renounced the craft, and, leaving her as far to go before he could reach the one to which he house, agreed to parade the streets: one only, Leopold, was journeying. He soon became dripping wet, and, who had drank the least, but in whose character there spurring his horse, he took a by-path, in hopes of reachwas great natural enthusiasm, separated himself pri ing some village, of which he saw the main road offered vately from his companions, went back to the fortune some prospect; but the whole neighbourhood seemed teller, and renewed his solicitations under the most alike solitary and deserted by men. solemn assurances that whatever he might see should be At length, however, he came in sight of a farm-yard, kept secret. By gold and fair promises he succeeded partly surrounded with trees, and enclosed within a at length in overcoming the scruples of the old woman, pretty high wall. He perceived that he should be who, silently motioning, lighted him up a small forced to alight, and tie up his horse, as he could only stair-case into a room in which there was a large mir. find a narrow footpath; and this he resolved upon, ror placed against the wall, with a curtain before it. though the pity he felt for his steed made him for She set the glass on the table, hid the lamp in the oven, some time debate with himself as to the propriety of and then asked her visitor what he wished to see.

seeking another road. At length, however, he advanced. He reflected awhile, and debated in his mind whether He came to a church-yard. He stood still with affright. he should ask to behold his future bride, his future re The form of the spot, the trees, the roof which appearsidence, or whatever else curiosity dictated. Whilst he ed above them, seemed to remind him of a well-known was thus pondering he heard the call of the watchman. spot; and, pondering a few moments, the recollection The wine he had drank and his midnight excursion had Aashed across his mind that this was precisely the spot had a singular infuence on his mind : he looked up, and he had beheld portrayed in the magic glass. He looked asked to see his grave.

again at the wall, the spot was empty; but close by In manifest alarm, and moreover, with a certain sort were seen the newly-made graves. of kindliness in her manner, the beldam endeavoured Horror rendered him for a time speechless, and imto divert him from this, reminding him how often fore movably rooted to the spot. Alternate fits of shiver. knowledge causes accomplishment: but in vain; he ing and of burning fever succeeded. Hastening back, persisted in his wish, and, after many refusals, the he sprung upon his horse; spurring without intercurtain was withdrawn from the glass.

mission, he soon regained the highway; and disregardIn the dusky twilight which seemed to be retained ing the business on which he had come, he took the in the glass, and not to extend without it, there ap direct road homewards. On the third day he reached peared a long green quadrangle, surmounted by a wall. his native town, which he had left ten days before. Within it stood many oak and elm trees, above which His excellent steed died from fatigue, and he himself appeared the roof of a building resembling a cloister. was seized with a violent fever, during which, to the lo the back ground there were seen many hillocks, ' horror of those who attended bim, he dwelt continually

No. XLII, VOL. IV.

hpon the frightful images that had taken possession of that moment he felt again the peace of infancy, so long,

is mind. It was a long time before he recovered from so very long, a stranger; and, anheeding the questions the debility this malady brought upon him.

of his companion, he ran from street to street before At length, however, he became convalescent; but the procession, and beheld her with increasing pleasure, every trace of his original gaiety seemed to have been as, passing by, she blushed at bis gaze When the rooted out by his illness, and he appeared in the circle priest, by giving his blessing, had ended the ceremony, of his friends the shadow of his former self-his youth and she was in a moment lost to Leopold's view, he was ful manly beauty gone. His eyes no longer beamed amazed at finding how completely the memory of the with that innocent confidence, which, in spite of all past, like a moment of inebriation, had yielded to the faults and weaknesses, so long remains when neither sentiment, hitherto unknown, which now possessed his enormous sin nor an odious narrow-mindedness impair soul. the graces of youth.

Man only learns the worth, the importance, and the Unable to regain his wonted cheerfulness, he gradu bliss of life, when he loves; but we are incredulous ally became more and more an object of indifference until this highest miracle of the mind is no longer a to his friends: this wounded him, and caused him to | stranger to us. All that had hitherto engaged Leopold's reflect with great earnestness upon the sad images that mind was now unheeded. He was at first occupied exhad taken possession of his mind. He shortly after clusively in finding out the name and residence of the wards realized all his fortune, for he felt that he abode fair unknown; and, having succeeded in devising too near his burying-place, and that he was attached, measures for again and again seeing and hearing her, as it were by an invisible chain, to the green and silent he by this means occupied his mind and filled his heart spot which lay within the cloister-wall. Amply pro with the admiration of her loveliness. vided with money, he left the town by a road directly The parents of the maid, already advanced in life, opposite to the one he had formerly taken; and, after and whose minds had never been highly cultivated, several days' journey, he stopped in a small Catholic were well known and esteemed in the town for the scrutown, where an agreeable neighbourhood, pleasant com- pulous exactness with which they observed the forms of panions, and, more than all, a removal from all his | their religion: they saw with displeasure, the visits of former connexions, seemed to promise that oblivion of the young man to their house, without, however venthe past of which he was in search. He succeeded, in turing to disoblige the distinguished stranger by any fact, in repressing the appalling images which had marked incivility, although, as they were bigotedly filled his mind; and, feeling himself better, he sought scrupulous, they secretly, but closely, watched his conto perfect his cure by habitually taking part in every duct. sort of amusement, in balls, fetes, and drinking parties. He, on the other hand, made use of all the amiability His wealth caused him to become the centre of a circle which was watural to him, and the polished manners of gay young men, who drank deeply of the cup of which he had acquired in his early intercourse with pleasure, and, by mockery and laughter, drove away society, to inspire them with confidence. He came from him and from each other every serious thought. oftener, spoke to his beloved more, and for a long time He was now looked upon as an exaggerated specimen of now and then even without witnesses; and, observing a gallant, gay, reckless man of pleasure; and the elder all those attentions which are agreeable to the fair, he citizens of the town privately warned the young of the at length saw that his assiduous courtship had caused sin of such thoughtless dissipation, and against the a tender partiality to spring up in his favour. seduction of bad examples.

For a few weeks only was his happiness concealed Leopold often heard of these cautions, of which he from the watchful eyes of the parents. They had made a jest: not that his heart was corrupted, but he already learnt much as to his religion and former confelt within him a stern necessity for acting as he did: duct. The growing inclination of their beloved child he could not hide from himself how impossible it was to the Protestant was as apparent as it was disagreeable for him to revert to a life of quiet and moderation, and to them; and, their suspicions being confirmed, they that he must continue his wild career in order to es resolved upon taking a decisive step. A short time cape from the horrid, the maddening, ideas which he afterwards Leopold paid them many visits without could not overcome. It was in such mood that he was ever finding the daughter at home: he inquired anxiousone day looking on at a procession: he discovered by ly whether she was unwell or had gone on a journey : the angry looks which both men and women di the parents seemed dejected, and returned an evasive rected towards him, how displeased they were at his answer. Tormented by doubts and the loss of her presence; but for this be cared but little, and therefore society, he waited a month longer; but his good angel continued to walk up and down with one of his friends. came back no more.

Amongst the train of young maidens there appeared Unwearied by his disappointment, he now redoubled one, of a slender make, clad in a gray dress, her heav his researches in private, and, at length, learnt that she ing bosom confined by a white kerchief. Slowly walk- had been sent by her parents to a distant religious ing along, she bent her pale face over a hymn book, establishment, the name and situation of which no one just as we see St. Cecilia or St. Elizabetb designed in could tell him. He offered his domestics large rewards old pictures. From the moment he saw her, Leopold's if they could procure more positive intelligence: but indifference was at an end. He gazed on the lofty, yet this was for a long time useless. pions, cast of her features-her bright eyes, which One evening, however, his valet came to him with indicated an ingenuous and elevated faith-that faint a cheerful and confident look, and said that he had glow, like as of the morning, which seemed to beam learnt, from an old servant of the young lady, the name from out her heart through her transparent skin: he of the driver of the coach in which she had been taken saw how compassionately she looked upon him. At away, With a joyful cry Leopold sprung up, threw

« PreviousContinue »