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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 youngmen 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 chawithout 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

charm and 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 becaine 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 reach. was 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 flashed across his mind that this was precisely the spot had a singular influence 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 In the back ground there were seen many hillocks, horror of those who attended lim, he dwelt continually

No. XLII. VOL. IV.

that moment he felt again the peace of infancy, so long, so very long, a stranger; and, unheeding the questions of his companion, he ran from street to street before the procession, and beheld her with increasing pleasure, as, passing by, she blushed at bis gaze When the priest, by giving his blessing, had ended the ceremony, and she was in a moment lost to Leopold's view, he was amazed at finding how completely the memory of the past, like a moment of inebriation, had yielded to the sentiment, hitherto unknown, which now possessed his

soul.

hpon the frightful images that had taken possession of

is mind. It was a long time before he recovered from the debility this malady brought upon him.

At length, however, he became convalescent; but every trace of his original gaiety seemed to have been rooted out by his illness, and he appeared in the circle of his friends the shadow of his former self-his youthful manly beauty gone. His eyes no longer beamed with that innocent confidence, which, in spite of all faults and weaknesses, so long remains when neither enormous sin nor an odious narrow-mindedness impair the graces of youth.

Unable to regain his wonted cheerfulness, he gradually became more and more an object of indifference to his friends: this wounded him, and caused him to reflect with great earnestness upon the sad images that had taken possession of his mind. He shortly afterwards realized all his fortune, for he felt that he abode too near his burying-place, and that he was attached, as it were by an invisible chain, to the green and silent spot which lay within the cloister-wall. Amply provided with money, he left the town by a road directly opposite to the one he had formerly taken; and, after several days' journey, he stopped in a small Catholic town, where an agreeable neighbourhood, pleasant companions, and, more than all, a removal from all his former connexions, seemed to promise that oblivion of the past of which he was in search. He succeeded, in fact, in repressing the appalling images which had filled his mind; and, feeling himself better, he sought to perfect his cure by habitually taking part in every sort of amusement, in balls, fetes, and drinking parties. His wealth caused him to become the centre of a circle of gay young men, who drank deeply of the cup of pleasure, and, by mockery and laughter, drove away from him and from each other every serious thought. He was now looked upon as an exaggerated specimen of a gallant, gay, reckless man of pleasure; and the elder citizens of the town privately warned the young of the sin of such thoughtless dissipation, and against the seduction of bad examples.

Leopold often heard of these cautions, of which he made a jest: not that his heart was corrupted, but he felt within him a stern necessity for acting as he did : he could not hide from himself how impossible it was for him to revert to a life of quiet and moderation, and that he must continue his wild career in order to escape from the horrid, the maddening, ideas which he could not overcome. It was in such mood that he was one day looking on at a procession: he discovered by the angry looks which both men and women di. rected towards him, how displeased they were at his presence; but for this he cared but little, and therefore continued to walk up and down with one of his friends.

Amongst the train of young maidens there appeared one, of a slender make, clad in a gray dress, her heaving bosom confined by a white kerchief. Slowly walking along, she bent her pale face over a hymn book, just as we see St. Cecilia or St. Elizabeth designed in old pictures. From the moment he saw her, Leopold's indifference was at an end. He gazed on the lofty, yet pious, cast of her features—her bright eyes, which indicated an ingenuous and elevated faith-that faint glow, like as of the morning, which seemed to beam from out her heart through her transparent skin: he saw how compassionately she looked upon him. At

Man only learns the worth, the importance, and the bliss of life, when he loves; but we are incredulous until this highest miracle of the mind is no longer a stranger to us. All that had hitherto engaged Leopold's mind was now unheeded. He was at first occupied exclusively in finding out the name and residence of the fair unknown; and, having succeeded in devising measures for again and again seeing and hearing her, he by this means occupied his mind and filled his heart with the admiration of her loveliness.

The parents of the maid, already advanced in life, and whose minds had never been highly cultivated, were well known and esteemed in the town for the scrupulous exactness with which they observed the forms of their religion: they saw with displeasure, the visits of the young man to their house, without, however venturing to disoblige the distinguished stranger by any marked incivility, although, as they were bigotedly scrupulous, they secretly, but closely, watched his conduct.

He, on the other hand, made use of all the amiability which was natural to him, and the polished manners which he had acquired in his early intercourse with society, to inspire them with confidence. He came oftener, spoke to his beloved more, and for a long time now and then even without witnesses; and, observing all those attentions which are agreeable to the fair, he at length saw that his assiduous courtship had caused a tender partiality to spring up in his favour.

For a few weeks only was his happiness concealed from the watchful eyes of the parents. They had already learnt much as to his religion and former conduct. The growing inclination of their beloved child to the Protestant was as apparent as it was disagreeable to them; and, their suspicions being confirmed, they resolved upon taking a decisive step. A short time afterwards Leopold paid them many visits without ever finding the daughter at home: he inquired anxiously whether she was unwell or had gone on a journey: the parents seemed dejected, and returned an evasive

Tormented by doubts and the loss of her society, he waited a month longer; but his good angel came back no more.

Unwearied by his disappointment, he now redoubled his researches in private, and, at length, learnt that she had been sent by her parents to a distant religious establishment, the name and situation of which no one could tell him. He offered his domestics large rewards if they could procure more positive intelligence: but this was for a long time useless.

One evening, however, his valet came to him with a cheerful and confident look, and said that he had learnt, from an old servant of the young lady, the name of the driver of the coach in which she had been taken away, With a joyful cry Leopold sprung up, threw

answer.

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