Obrázky na stránke

once more; I come to die with thee, my love. Stand off, ye inhuman wretches, off, and give me way," He then broke through the crowd, which had opposed him, and seeing the coffin, he started some paces backwards; “ Help me, she is murdered," he exclaimed, “ My gentle love is murdered;" and throwing himself on the coffin he became speechless with agony. It was with the utmost difficulty we tore him from it; he struggled hard, and his eyes darted fire; but at length, having liberated himself, he paused a moment; then, striking his forehead with his hand, he muttered, "I will'tis fit it should be so," and darting furiously through the aisle, disappeared. But scarce had we time to breathe, before he again entered, dragging in a man advanced in


66 Come on, thou wretched author of my being," he exclaimed; "come see the devastation thou hast made!" and compelling him to approach the coffin; sólook," he said, "see where she bleeds beneath thy ruthless arm! Oh! my deserted love; seest thou not how she supplicates thy mercy! perdition--but I will not curse thee, O my father, I will not curse thee;" and saying this he threw himself on the coffin. The old man, in the mean time, became the

[blocks in formation]

very picture of horror; his hair stood erect, his face was pale as death, and his teeth struck each other; he looked first upon the coffin, and then upon his son, and, racked with pity and remorse, he at last burst into tears: 'Have compassion on me, my son;' he cried, " kill not thy father.' “ It is enough," said the youth, slowly lifting up his head; "it is enough, my father;" and being now more calm, we prevailed upon him to arise; and Arnold, after some time, concluded the ceremony.

Our consternation during this dreadful scene, may be readily conceived, and how much it would shock the feelings of the worthy curate; who, after the first tumult of surprise had ceased, conducted himself with all that dignity and mildness of manner so peculiarly engaging in his character. Old Stafford, and his son, who was with difficulty persuaded to quit the church, were now led to the parsonage. Their appearance had been occasioned by a letter written by Miss Stafford to her brother, mentioning the situation of Maria, her miscarriage, indisposition, and the treatment she had met with; and, irritated to the highest degree, he immediately left the continent, and arrived at his father's house early on the same day Maria was buried.

Her death was unknown at H-n hall, and Henry insisted upon his father's accompanying him immediately to the curate's, as his presence would be necessary for the satisfaction of both parties. Mr. Stafford was much averse to the measure; but as his son's health had been lately upon the decline, and his present agitated state of mind contributed greatly to increase his complaint, he reluctantly complied with his request, still hoping to avoid so unprofitable a connection. Upon their arrival at Ruysd—le, they drove to the parsonage, and being there informed of the death of Maria, and that the burial service was then actually performing, the carriage was ordered to the church, and Henry rushed in, in the manner above mentioned.

The Staffords, having continued a couple of days at the parsonage, returned to H--m Hall. Young Stafford's health is much impaired, and it is apprehended he will fall a sacrifice to the unfeeling tyranny of a father, whose remorse is now as excessive as it is fruitless.

I purpose remaining a few months with my worthy friend, until time hath in some degree mitigated the pressure of his misfortune. I find also a melancholy pleasure in visiting the many scenes in this neighbourhood, whose romantic and sequestered beauty gave employment to the pencil and the taste of Maria, and I am now finishing this hasty sketch on the banks of the rapid Swle, and under the shelter of an oak, whose antique branches throw a broad and deep shade athwart his surface; turbulent he pours along beneath yon scowling precipice, he rises from his bed, and wild his gloomy spirit shrieks. Here can I indulge the fervor of my imagination; here can I call up the fleeting forms of fancy; 'I can here hold converse with Maria; and, yielding to the pensive bias of my mind, enjoy the torrent and the howling storm.

[ocr errors]




Hoc erat in votis, &c. &c.

'Twas oft my earnest wish some Knight or Peer Would give me just three hundred pounds a

year, Some easy rectory, or some snug retreat, With pleasant parsonage, not too small or great; That, and still more, the bounteous fates have

sent, And given that first best blessing of content. } Brib'd by no pension, tempted by no place, I spurn at riches purchas'd with disgrace';. Nor yet to passion, or to pride a slave, Have wasted all the little wealth they gave, Nor idly wish my lucky stars to grant ici.. Some hidden treasure more than what I want.

* For this very spirited and pleasing Imitation of Horace, I am indebted to my friend the Rev. Francis Drake, B. D. Fellow of Maudlin College, Oxford.

« PredošláPokračovať »