Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and light in her movements as Ellen herself—then that old nurse with the new baby—then Ellen, smiling as usual; and last of all, Sir Charles got upon the box, followed by the Viscount!! and then oft' they drove as fast as the horses could carry them. My eyes and mouth continued wide open long after they had turned the corner into Park Lane. I was at my wit's end; at sea without a rudder. What could all this possibly portend? The little boy was left behind too! and all the servants, with the exception of one of the lady's maids, and Sir Charles's own man. Could it be that Ellen was going to be palmed off upon the poor deceived Viscount? But why then should they go out of town to be married? why had not I seen the least glimpse of a lawyer, or any preparation for a trousseau 9 and why did the new baby go with them? that could not be of much use at a wedding. No, that could not be it. Where could they be going? I passed a restless day, a sleepless night. The next morning I grew desperate, and was on the point of sallying forth in my.cap and dressing gown, to knock at the door of the deserted mansion, and demand satisfaction of the butler, when who should I pounce upon at the door, but my old friend General Crosby. It was devilish unlucky, but I was obliged to ask him up. "1 intended to call on my friends, the St Legers, over the way, this morning," said he, "but I find they are gone to Portsmouth."

"To Portsmouth, are they? that's very curious," said I, interrupting him. "Do you know the family?" asked I, with something like agitation.

"I have known Sir Charles St Leger all his life; he married Fanny Spenser, a daughter of Admiral Spenser." "Good God!"

"Why are you surprised?" asked he gravely.

"Why, General, I must be candid with you; truth and honour compel me to a disclosure, which, I am sure will, as a friend of the family, cause you exceeding pain." The general was now surprised in his turn.

"Good heavens!" he ejaculated, " Nothing has happened to Mrs Murray or the child, I hope."

"I don't know who you mean by Mrs Murray," I replied, with great seriousness. "It is of Lady St Leger and her sister that I am about to speak." And I then told him every circumstance of guilt, with their corroborating proofs, to which I had been so unwilling a witness; I told him all without disguise; to all of which he listened, as I thought, very calmly, apathetically indeed, considering he was a friend of the family; but on the conclusion of my recital, to my great dismay, he arose, put on his hat, and looking at me sternly, said, "Sir. the lady whom you have thus honoured by so great a share of your attention is not the intriguante you suppose, is not the paramour of Sir Charles St Leger, but is no other than his wife and my god-daughter. I wish you, Sir, a good morning."

"Wife! god-daughter!" I repeated in a faint voice. "But, General, for God's sake, one instant: the elder lady?" "Is Lady St Leger's elder sister, the wife of the gallant Captain Murray, whose absence on service she has been some time lamenting. His ship has arrived at Portsmouth, and they are all gone to meet him." He had reached the door; I was in an agony; my hair stood on end;—" One word more: the Viscount?" "Is Captain Murray's elder brother. And before I take my leave, permit me to wish you a better occupation than clandestinely watching the actions of others, of misinterpreting the actions of an amiable and virtuous lady, and traducing the character of an estimable man, whose refinement of feeling you have neither mind to understand nor appreciate. Sir, I wish you again a good morning."

What would I not have given at that moment of shame to have been on my travels down the bottomless pit! Anywhere rather than on the first floor at Brook street. I was positively at my wits' end.

I hung my head, completely abashed, discomfited—I had nothing to say, absolutely not a word—and was thoroughly ashamed of myself and my ingenuity. Had I possessed a tail, I should have slunk off with it hanging down between my legs, in the manner I have seen a discomfited dog do: but I had no such expressive appendage, and I could only ejaculate to myself at intervals, during the whole of the next three days—

"God bless my soul! what a false scent I have been on! And for a bachelor gentleman too, not at all given to invention! Yet how was I to guess that a wife could be in love with her husband? There is some excuse for me after all. God bless my soul!"

P. S. The St Legers are returned—Capt. Murray is with them —French blinds are putting up all over the-house, "Othello's occupation's gone," can't stand it—offto the continent. Monthly Mag.

RECOLLECTIONS OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS.

When the breeze of a joyful dawn blew free
In the silken sail of infancy,
The tide of time flowed back with me
The forward-flowing tide of time;
And many a sheeny summer morn,
Adown the Tigris I was borne,
By Bagdat's shrines of fretted gold.
High-walled gardens green and old;

True Mussulman was I and sworn,
For it was in the golden prime
Oi goud Haruun Alraschid.

Anight my shallop, rustling through
The low and bloomed foliage, drove
The fragrant, glistening deeps, and cluve
The citron shadows in the blue:
By garden porches on the brim,
The costly doors flung open wide,
Gold glittering through lamplight dim,
And broidered sofas on each side:
In sooth it was a goodly time,
For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Often, where clear stemmed platans guard The outlet, did I turn away The boat-head down a brobd canal

From the main river sluiced, where all

The sloping of the moonlit sward Was damask work, and deep inlay Of breaded blooms unmown, which crept Adown to where the waters slept. A goodly place, a goodly time, For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alntschd!

A motion, from the river won,

Ridged the smooth level, bearing on

My shallop through the star-strown cohu,

Until another night in Dight

I entered, from the clearer light,

Imbowered vaults of pillared palm.

Imprisoning sweets, which, as they clontb

Heavenward, were stayed beneath the dome

Of hollow boughs.—A goodly time,

For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid 1

Still onward ; and the clear canal
Is rounded to as clear a lake.
From the green rivage many a fall
Of diamond rillets musical,
Through little crystal arches low
Down from the central fountain's flow
Fall'n silver-chiming, seemed to shake
The sparkling flints beneath the prow. A goodly place, a goodly time, For it was in the golden prime
Of goud Haroun Alraschid!

Above through many a bowery turn
A walk with vary-coloured shoiis

Wandered engrained. On either side
All round about the fragrant marge,
From fluted vase, and brazen urn
In order, eastern flowers large,
Some drooping low their crimson bell
Half-closed, and others studded wide
With disks and tiars, fed the time
With odour in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alrasohid.

Far off, and where the lemon grove
In closest coverture upsprung,
The living airs of middle night
Died round the bulbul as he sung.
Not he: but something which possessed
The darkness of the world, delight,
Life, anguish, death, immortal love
Ceasing not, mingled, unrepressed,
Apart from place, withholding time,
But flattering the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Black-green the garden bowers and grote
Slumbered: the solemn palms were ranged
Above, unwooed of summer wind.
A sudden splendour from behind
Flushed all the leaves with rich gold green.
And flowing rapidly between
Their interspaces, counterchanged
The level lake with diamond plots
Of saffron light.. A lovely time,
For it was in the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid!

Dark blue the deep sphere overhead,
Distinct with vivid stars unrayed,
Grew darker from that under-flame;
So, leaping lightly from the boat,
With silver anchor left afloat,
In marvel whence that glory came
Upon me, as in sleep I sank
In cool soft turf upon the bank,
Entranced with that place and time,
So worthy of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Thence through the garden I was borne—
A realm of pleasauce, many a mound,
And many a shadow-chequered lawn
Full of the city's stilly sound.
And deep myrrh thickets blowing round
The stately cedar, tamarisks,
Thick rosaries of scented thorn,
Tall orient shrubs, and obelLks

Graven with emblems of the time,
Id honour of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

With dazed vision unawares
From the long alley's latticed shade
Emerged, I came upon the great
Pavilion of the Caliphat,
Right to the carven cedarn doors,
Flung inward over spangled floors,
Broad-based flights of marble stairs,
Ran up with golden balustrade,
After the fashion of the time.
And humour of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

The fourscore windows all alight
As with the quintessence of flame,
A million tapers flaring bright
From wreathed silvers, look'd to shame
The hollow-vaulted dark, and streamM
Upon the mooned domes aloof
In inmost Bagdat, till there seem'd
Hundreds of crescents on the roof

Of night new-risen, that marvellous time,

To celebrate the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Then stole I up, and trancedly Gazed on the Persian girl alone, Serene with argent-lidded eyes Amorous, and lashes like to rays Of darkness, and a brow of pearl Tressed with redolent ebony, In many a dark delicious curl,

Flowing below her rose-hued zone;
The sweetest lady of the time,
Well worthy of the golden prime
Of good Haroun Alraschid.

Six columns, three on either side,
Pure silver, underpropped a rich
Throne o' the massive ore, from which
Down dropped, in many a floating fold,
Engarlaoded and diapered
With inwrought flowers, a cloth of gold,
Thereon, his deep eye laughter-stirred
With merriment of kingly pride,
Sole star of all that place and time,
I saw him—in his golden prime,
Tub Good Haroun Alhascind!

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »