« PredošláPokračovať »
breast of my friend,-a gentleman who can trace his pedigree up to Eden, give him but time enough for the task—a gallant of golden furtunes, who, in a word, would wed the maid to-morrow.”
“ What!” exclaimed Belleville.
“I should have said,” continued the imperturbable Marquis, “this very night, without one question of her wealth-or her condition." * Humph!” cried Jacques. “You speak
“ You speak of the wench whose foolish pity took her to the straw of the poor innocent ?”
“Ay-surely;" replied Belleville, impatiently. " Who is she ? Where can she be found ?”
“She is not for such as you, most noble Sir," answered Tenebræ. “She looks somewhat higher.”
“ I said she was of noble birth,” observed De la Jonquille; “ber face-her form-her footstep—her voice,-all things declare it. And is she betrothed, good Jacques?"
“Ay,” answered Tenebræ,“ be sure of it—betrothed.”
'Impossible!” cried Belleville. "To whom?” se Here comes one will tell ye,” replied Jacques, and he pointed to Father George, the Capuchin, who slowly advanced towards them.
“ Most holy father," said De la Jonquille, stepping to meet him.
“He is dead !” cried the Capuchin in a hollow voice, and with an unmoved countenance, " the wretch is dead!"
“What-Narcisse ?” exclaimed Belleville, with the smile of hope upon his lip, "Narcisse ?”
“ Ay—the murderer is passed to judgment," answered the Monk.
“Thank Heaven!” cried the Chevalier, feeling that a dangerous witness was removed. “ Thank Heaven !"
“What ?" roared the Marquis, and his eyes glowed like fiery coals upon the abject face of Belleville, who started at their terrible glare. “'Tis well, Chevalier, thou hast the spirit of thanksgiving for all blessings-even for so small a benefit as the death of a foolish murderer. I would I had a touch of thy true gratitude,” and De la Jonquille smiled with withering scorn upon his trembling friend. Then, with a sprightly look, and a laughing voice, he clapped Belleville on the shoulder, telling him to take heart, and breathe his grateful thanks for all such mercies.
“Poor boy!- poor child !" cried Jacques Tenebræ—" ay, 'twas rough work-I thought ’twould end so.”
“ His blood be upon his own head !” exclaimed the pious Capuchin, at the same time exhibiting a small phial found on the pallet of Narcisse, conveyed to him by the compassionate Marquis.
“ Poison !” cried Belleville.
“ The hardened wretch!” answered the Capuchin; " but such is the iniquity of man.”
“The precipitate villain,” remarked De la Jonquille,“ when, had he waited but another week, a second lesson from the worthy Jacques might have changed his stony heart, turning it into loving flesh for all mankind. That the rack should be so defrauded !”
“ Were you with him when he died ?" asked Belleville, timidly, of the Capuchin.
• Ay,” answered Father George. “My spirit was touched with compassion for his desolate soul, and I returned to his cell, to censure and to comfort him. I found him sinking into death--and now is he" “ No doubt-no doubt,” remarked De la Jonquille, hastily interrupting the Monk. “And did he not confess ?-spoke he not of accomplices ?—of villains who had left him a scapegoat for the law?”
“ He said,” replied the Monk—" but, as I am a Christian, I think he knew not what he uttered-he said that Rupert was to blame.”
“ Indeed ! if he could be found, now,” observed the Marquis, fixing his eyes on the shuddering Belleville—“ if Rupert should prove no shadow-no creature of an idiot's dream!”
“Poor lad !-poor, broken thing !" sighed Jacques Tenebræ.
“ And then,” continued the Monk, in softest whispers," he called on Antoinette to kiss him ere he died.”
“ The dog!” exclaimed the wrathful hangman, the blood mounting to his paternal cheeks.
“ I shouted to him, but I spoke to clay; and now, I repeat-now is he"
“ True-most true,” again interrupted the Marquis—“ now is he offal for the grave.”
“Not so, I trust,” replied the Capuchin. “I come to beg his body."
“ For what, most holy father ?” asked Jacques Tenebræ,“ if not to give it Christian burial ?”
“Christian burial!" screamed the Monk, retreating, as he spoke, from the illiterate hangman—" when he should be burned to ashes, and scattered to the winds! Hast no religion, Jacques Tenebræ ?” asked the Monk, frowningly.
“ Nay, father, please to remember I am neither cardinal nor abbot, I speak but as a hangman.”
“ So please your holiness,” said De la Jonquille, deferentially, to the Capuchin
“ Such title is not for me, most noble Sir,” said Father George, with a forbearing smile.
“ True; not yet—not yet,” replied the Marquis, courteously bowing. “ Pardon me, most pious father, I was fain to ask what would ye with the wicked carcase of that miserable boy?”
“ The Church can turn even such vile clay to a golden purpose,” answered the Monk.
“ The Church knows nothing of the philosopher's-stone-though it may sometimes burn those who hunt for it,” said De la Jonquille,
yet can I not guess to what rich use even the Church, with all its wisdom, can put the racked anatomy of a dead footman.”
“Because thou art wholly of this world,” replied the Capuchin, " and canst not comprehend the watchful love-the sleepless charity-of our most holy order, for the souls of men. Attend and learn."
De la Jonquille, with well-acted reverence, bent towards the Monk. Belleville surveyed him with looks of intense interest; and Jacques Tenebræ, with a dull, nay, dogged air of unconcern.
“ We have long needed, for the discipline of erring souls, a body so unhallowed—so vile—so hung about with terror as that in yonder dungeon,” said the Monk.
“ Poor boy!" said the hangman. “ Heaven help us !"
“ Peace! or get you hence, Jacques Tenebræ," thundered the Capuchin; and Jacques stood abashed at the reproof. 6. In our most religious house, for the wholesome penance of the younger brotherhood, we have long yearned for some instrument of horror-some appalling shape -to work a healthful cure in the diseased passions of our wicked and fallen nature.”
“ Ha! ’tis, as thou sayest, a vile world, Father George,” observed De la Jonquille,“ and the men, saving your ghostly presence, whether frocked or unfrocked, at the best but snakes and tigers.”
“ Thou sayest truly, my son,” answered the Capuchin, with a sigh.
“And yet I have sometimes thought," continued the Marquis-and he spoke in his silveriest tone—"that if the world were indeed so bad if the men that crowded and struggled in it were such monsters as thy Mother Church, in her best charity, avouches them to be~I have thought it marvellous that the sun should shine upon them—that the corn should spring, and the fruits ripen for the delight and nourishment of such miserable outcasts.”
“The thought, my son,” replied the Monk, gazing steadfastly in the unmoved face of De la Jonquille, “ shows thy humility."
“ To be sure thy fraternity would make the enjoyment of these good gifts a--but we wander from the theme. Thou camest to beg the body of the murderer. Alack! for what ?” asked De la Jonquille. “ I have said, as an instrument of penance," answered Father George.
Penance! why, what wouldst do with it ?”' asked Jacques Tenebræ. " Penance! his ?”
“Even yesterday, we might have turned it to good service. Brother Martin-I fear me a sluggard in the goodly work-transgressed our holy rule, and worshipped the belly-god. He was known to eat an onion in a time of fast. We would have chastised his gluttony with the carcase of the murderer and the self-slayer !”
“ Chastise him—and with the dead ?” asked Pierre Tenebræ," and for an onion dinner swallowed in forbidden hours !"
“He is young and must be disciplined. For penance, we would have made him share his bed with the body of the culprit,” said Father George, with the air of a man who has hit upon a notable discovery.
“I see thy wisdom, most holy Father, cried De la Jonquille, “thouldst make a mummery of the wretch-keep him as a pet bugbear for the terror of the sinful. Ha! ha! A notable device!”
“ They who would reclaim wayward spirits must deem no labour irksome for the goodly end,” said the Monk, and clasping his hands, he raised his eyes to heaven.
“Shall I take your wishes to the Governor ?” asked Tenebræ. “If the child be really dead, no doubt you will be welcome to him—though, by my conscience, 'tis a strange jewel to come a-begging for. Shall I speed to the Governor, most holy father?” again asked Jacques, and the Monk having assented, the hangman departed on his errand.
“The Governor cannot have the heart to disappoint the brotherhood," said De la Jonquille.
“I have all faith in his religious dispositions," answered Father George.
“ Poor Narcisse !" cried the Marquis. “'Tis to be hoped, for his reputation, that, as time runs, the Capuchins will, at least, preserve his identity.”
“What meanest thou ?” asked the Monk, with a distrustful glance. “Why, as the world spins round, things are somehow apt to get mis
placed—and then they get new names,--and thus weak men are gulled, —and so
“Why, what is this ?”' inquired the Monk, awakened to suspicion by the sneering lip of the speaker. “Of what things dost thou speak?”
“ Hear me, pious father," answered De la Jonquille, with feigned humility ; " in the confusion which time is apt to bring upon the holiest of relics, unless thy brotherhood keep especial guardianship of the carcase thou comest to petition for, is it impossible-mark me-I ask is it impossible--for I would not hint its vulgar likelihood,--that Narcisse, the footman—the boy—the murderer of a venerable greyhaired Jew—the tortured felon, Narcisse, dying on a felon's straw, may not in future times be shown to trembling, gaping hundreds, as a stout son of the church?”
“ Peace !” exclaimed the Monk.
“ More: may not his fingers—so dexterous in picking purses—be shown and sacrificed to as the healing fingers of a saint, touching away fevers-healing leprosies ?”
“ Peace, I say!" thundered the priest. “ It is impossible!” “Let us hope so," coully answered De la Jonquille.
“ And yet, good Father George, in some hundred years or two, who shall secure Narcisse from such promotion ? Such things have been, and-well-wellcourtesy is my foible—thou frownest-for me, then, they shall be impossible.” And De la Jonquille, with a look of laughing scorn, at which even the Capuchin recoiled, doffed his hat, and placing his arm in the arm of Belleville, walked rapidly away.
(To be continued.)
MEMOIR OF EDWARD HOWARD, ESQ.
FROM A CORRESPONDENT.
(With a Portrait.)
Unflattering, but true, as the likeness which embellishes the present Number, shall be the Memoir appertaining; we only lament our inability for doing the subject the same justice which the artist has done.
For two reasons, however, it may be considered fortunate that but little space can be allowed for this sketch: first, because it would be a delicately difficult task to write at full and plainly on the theme in question ; secondly, because its hero has put forth so many personal truths in fictitious guises, that, by referring his admirers to his works, we give them the best clue to the facts of his life; abounding especially in the first portion of“ Rattlin the Reefer.”
The name of Edward Howard, which, early in the present century, was given to the nurseling of strangers, seems to imply that the very elevation of his lineage rendered his birth obscure. The excellent education and ample means of support which he received may tend to confirm this belief.
As a naval officer he saw much of the world's ways in many lands; and, though born too late for the worst dangers of war, met the perils of sea and climate with a courage, fortitude, and cheerfulness that endeared him to all ranks.
On coming of age he embarked his very considerable fortune in a speculation which promised shortly to return him fourfold. The sudden failure of this scheme involved him in distress, which brought into play his pacific talents, and showed him that “ learning is better than house and lands,” patient industry sometimes of more use than active daring.
Spite of a thousand obstacles, he married an amiable and exemplary being, whose domestic economy, as well as the exertion of her mind, served to augment his store of earned comforts.
From 1832, for five years, he was the able and courteous sub-editor, and afterwards editor, of "The Metropolitan Magazine," then the property of his intimate friend Captain Marryat. Mr. Howard has also contributed to various annuals and periodicals, “ The Book of Beauty,” “ The Keepsake,” &c., &c. His novels are “Rattlin the Reefer,'
" " The Old Commodore," and “Outward Bound;" all justly praised for the fidelity of their nautical descriptions, their sailor-like humour, and pathetic power. His aim is ever moral; but certain kindred ties are such problems to a man so situated, mothers and sisters are such beatified visions, such “ Ladies with the glory” to him, that he is romantic in his ideals as to the quality of influence these household goddesses may exert over the hearts of sons or brothers. These dim guesses should claim rather pity than censure from those whose feelings, unpoetised by familiurity, have jogged on in the course of nature without shame or fear.
It has pleased Heaven to afflict Mr. Howard with illness and the loss of hearing, to call from him abruptly his co-labourer, friend, and nurse—the mother of his three fine children.
From respect to his feelings, those who knew her must cherish in silence the memory of her virtues. Thus bereaved, he turus his earthly hopes to the chance of an ultimate dénouement to all the mysteries which perplexed his youth ; and his friends may sincerely assure him that the highest family in the realm might feel proud to acknowledge one so brave, kind, and mental—as a kinsman-even though owing his existence to those who “ loved not wisely, but too well.”
We will conclude by subjoining one of the many tributes by which Mr. Howard's contemporaries have proved their sense of his merits. We owe our copy to the poet, not to the modest theme.
TO RATTLIN THE REEFER.
Thou startlest me to weeping,
Poor superstitious boy !
Revive an infant's joy,
Then flashes back the cause
The fanatic he wa:.