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The fairest spot of earth were sad,
Did I not share with thee its smite,
If thou wert there the while.
Yes—I have mark'd that beaming eye So sweetly, fondly turn'd on me—
Oh! how I long for that bless'd day
When fate shall join us ne'er to part Till love with life shall fade away From this high-beating heart!— Having copied them on handsome gilt paper, which I folded and sealed in my best style, I committed them to the post-office with my own hand—taking care to pay the postage. It would not be sent to her that evening as the letter-carriers were already abroad—but morning would answer quite as well.
Another night of pleasant dreams passed away. I rose as soon as it was light. What was my surprise at seeing Flora at her window! The postman could not have arrived. It would not be his time for at least an hour and a half. She must have called herself, or sent to the post-office yesterday evening, and got my letter; and here she is, acknowledging it as plainly as pantomime can. Such was my logic. She was, at all events, more liberal of her glances, and happier looking. I was determined I should declare myself in the course of the day, in plain prose, giving name and connections and requesting liberty to call at her house. I mustered courage to smile once or twice in the pride of my heart, and she smiled also. Here was I, the proverbially modest and diffident young man, as my relations, acquaintances, and landlady chose to style me, actually far on in the art of nonchalance.
"Never mind," said I to myself—" Faint heart never won fair lady; I have:—therefore my character has been hitherto misunderstood. My marriage will set that to rights."
breakfast my hand shook a little when I lifted the cup or saucer (I could not eat anything) but still my courage was above the flinching point—I rang the bell, and in came my landlady.
Just at this moment, a carriage halted in the street. I ran to the window, my landlady following. It was at Flora's door and a gaily dressed young man was in the act of stepping from it. He knocked, and entered the house. I could not speak! Fortunately my landlady did not. About ten minutes elapsed, when Flora and an elderly lady made their appearance, accompanied by the gaily dressed young man, who handed them into the carriage, and then followed himself. Bang went the carriage door: the driver mounted the box, and off they drove.
"There they go at last," said my landlady, "she has got a great match, they say."
"Who has?" said I, almost choking.
"Miss Flora Stewart," she replied. "She's to be married this day to young Laird Hilton—him that's in the coach with them Did I not tell you about it? Though to be sure I only got word of it mysell last night. But I must go and inform Jenny Wardrop."
Ere she had uttered the last words, my brain was reeling round the floor seemed to become a perpendicular, and the wall opposite to me a horizontal surface, ready to receive me as I fell down in insensibility.
A FRKAK OF PORTUNK.
Fifteen years rolled by, and again I visited the city of Edinburgh —the scene of my early, only, and unsuccessful love.—Strange that one untoward circumstance should have clouded all my associations with a place where I had previously enjoyed so much happiness!— But so itwas:—every object looked cold tome—whileavoice within me kept whispering—" Here it was you played the fool!"—Reason attempted to assert her superiority by suggesting, that the folly of youth was best atoned for by the wisdom—not the unavailing regret of manhood, which only made me a second time to play the fool, I felt, without being able to act upon it, the reproof of my inward monitor. The distant past was in my memory like yesterday—new, painful, and engrossing.
Murder must needs keep awful haunting about the most callous spirit, when memory and the bloody spot meet together! What tuggings of despair to get free! What desolateness for the eye, on earth and in heaven What fiendish laughter to sport with tearful repentance! What homelessness for all thought!
I had not committed murder, nor any crime of deeper dye than that which is written down among the memoranda of my eighteenth year—that tale of love and vanity!—It is both my pride and my shame to bring myself thus before the confessional of my own conscience—placing all my actions, be they praise or blame-worthy, out in palpable and permanent array for its judgment. It was my father's practice, and it has been mine. Whether any eye save my own shall ever see these memoranda, I know not—but if so—it shall be for the sake of good. It is only a righteous thing that my character should hereafter, if known at all, be known with its faults as well as its properties. 1 have altered or recalled no part—deeming it preferable lo trust to the fidelity of the first impression—and not being over solicitous about a blameless diction.
Well did I remember the homeward journey, during my lovesickness—the quiet green fields that seemed to fleet past like winged islands, eacha paradise—mocking my troubled soul, as forward rolled the vehicle which bore me to my parents—Then the days of my slow recovery—and then the settled indifference of succeeding years.
» » • * • * *'* *I took apartments in Edinburgh, as far remote from my former residence as the business which brought me to the city once more would permit. On the fourth day after, as I was seated by the fire with my pipe, and solitary reflections—my servant entered and put a letter into my hand.—I hastily broke it open, and, wonderful to say, it enclosed the identical love-verses in my own hand-writing which l had addressed to Flora Stewart on the night before her marriage! The envelope had these words, "Look to the window opposite."— My heart filled, and the tears started in my eyes. I rose trembling and went to the window. A lady sat at one in the house opposite.— It was Flora herself—the long-lost object of my earliest love! She was lovelier, I thought, than ever. A gentle sadness suffused her features—the badge of widowhood was on her brow. In five minutes more I was in her presence. * * * * * *
When the tide of memory had grown calm, she proceeded to give me some account of that period of her history which had elapsed since we saw each other. Her husband had fallen into bad health, and gone, by the advice of his physicians, to the continent, whither she had accompanied him, and where, in a few months, he breathed his last, leaving her the whole of his possessions. She was now in the fifth year of childless widowhood, and resided with her mother, as she had done previous to her marriage. She well remembered having seen me, when a student, at the memorable window. Her supposed attachment to me, as I was prepared to hear, had been purely in my own imagination. She had even long believed, that the verses which I had addressed to her were the production of her husband, who had employed a friend to transcribe them. It was only by hinting this to himself that she became aware of her mistake. She then, and not till then, recollected that there had been something marked in my manner of looking at her—while she had been busy with her marriage dress—and having once associated delight with the verses themselves, she could not help transferring some portion of her esteem, at least, to the unknown author—and thus my image had continued in her memory. I was pleased with the idea of being so little changed, that she could recognise me after so many years.
We hare been for some time married, and our union bids fair for happiness. I am in possession of the estate and title of my old rival the Laird of Hilton.
Thus strangely are our most confident expectations frustrated, and our happiness ultimately secured, in a way which we never thought of. Z.
END OF AUTUMN.
Autumn departs—but still his mantle's fo'd
Autumn departs—from Gala's fields no more
Deem'st thou the?e saddened scenes have pleasure still,
No 1 do not scorn, although its hoarser note
Sia Walter Scott.
One day the great philosopher Citofile said to a woman who was disconsolate, and who had good reason to be so, " Madam, the Queen of England, daughter to Henry IV. was as wretched as you: she was banished from her kingdoms; was in the utmost danger of losing her life in a storm at sea; and saw her royal spouse expire on a scaffold."—" I am sorry for her," said the lady; and began again to lament her own misfortunes.
"But," said Citofile, "remember the fate of Mary Stuart. She loved, but with a most chaste and virtuous affection, an excellent musician, who played admirably on the bass-viol. Her husband killed her musician before her face; and, in the sequel, her good friend and relation, Queen Elizabeth, who called herself a virgin, caused her head to be cut off on a scaffold covered with black, after having confined her in prison for the space of eighteen years."— "That was very cruel," replied the lady, and presently relapsed into her former melancholy.
"Perhaps," said the comforter, "you have heard of the beautiful Joan of Naples, who was taken prisoner, and strangled."—" I have a confused remembrance of her story," said the afflicted lady.
"I must relate to you," added the other, "the adventure of a sovereign princess, who, within my memory, was dethroned after supper, and who died in a desert island."—" I know her whole history," replied the lady.
"Well, then, I will tell you what happened to another great princess, whom I instructed in philosophy. She had a lover, as all great and beautiful princesses have: her father entered the chamber, and surprised the lover, whose countenance was all on fire, and his eyes sparkling like a carbuncle. The lady, too, had a very florid complexion. The father was so highly displeased with the young man's countenance, that he gave him one of the most terrible blows that had ever been given in his province. The lover took a pair of tongs, and broke the head of the father-in-law, who was cured with great difficulty, and still bears the mark of the wound. The lady in a fright leaped out of the window and dislocated her foot, in consequence of which she still halts, though possessed in other respects of a very handsome person. The lover was condemned to death for having broken the head of a great prince: you can easily judge in what a deplorable condition the princess must have been when her lover was led to the gallows. I have seen her long ago when she was in prison ., she always talked to me of her own misfortunes."
From the French of M. de Voltaire.