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best skill. At length the piece was finished, and a simultaneous movement among the auditors showed that expectation was wound up to the highest pitch. The professors saw this, and, scarcely waiting for their accustomed applause, sidled into the best seats. They formed a sort of semicircle around the spot on which Wolstenbftch was to stand. Some assumed the gravity of judges; others took snuff and smiled superciliously; while others again, more sanguine in their temperament, chuckled and nodded to their friends. At last, when all were arranged, the violinist appeared; he walked with an indescribably awkward gait, straight down to the foot-lamps, and bowed. The audience rose up as by one effort; there was a stare of wonderment, then a burst of applause, though no one knew why he applauded that strange ungraceful effigy of a man, unless, indeed, his excessive ugliness was merit, in the estimation of the gaping multitude. The musicians bowed, and bowed again, but never smiled. Then he drew his bow across the strings, and music flowed like oil; he played on, and no one remembered that he was not handsome: not a word was spoken, not a movement made: even the professors forgot to be angry, until the charm was dissolved and the melody had ceased. It was then that the applause broke forth louder, longer than before, for now they knew why they were pleased. Wolstenbach received these honours without relaxing a muscle—he bowed to the audience, to the professors, lowly, lowly, humbly, but he never once looked up, for the ban was upon him, and he dared not lift his eyes to meet the glance of the bright, and the beautiful; but huddling his instrument under his arm, he shuffled away with his uncouth lanky walk, while a thousand tongues pronounced him an inspired master, an impersonation of musical genius, and there was no more mention of his reputed madness.
Again and again he appeared, each time with added fame; riches poured on him like rain, but he abated nothing of his stern parsimony, nor of his desire for gain, because the vulture of avarice was ever gnawing in his bosom, as the famine had eaten into that of his boy. He travelled far, spreading his name from one kingdom to another; but the thought of his wife and his son never left him: for though he knew that they were to die by his compact, he knew not that they were to die so fearfully. He had not felt sorrow for them then, but it was the only human feeling that clung to him after; for he despised the whole race of mankind, and while he greedily sought their admiration, he looked down upon them from his crime-won pinnacle, and hated them all. The familiar, by whose aid he excelled, and whom he was doomed ever to carry in his bosom, was no less an object of his disgust. He could not forgive the past; and he resented the tauntings which the demon heaped upon him in private, for it was then that the vile creature had power to torture him. But when the musician's grasp was upon the strings of that magic violin, it became helpless in his hands, and he failed not to wreak upon it the vengeance of his moody humour. In the face of assembled crowds, when the hour of triumph was come, he fretted, and beat, and belaboured the fiend, whose shrieks and cries were but so many subjects of admiration to the wondering auditorj .
Thus went Wolstenbach and his grim companion from court to court, every where received as the sovereign of his art;—his superhuman appearance every where engendering awful terror;—his ceaseless avarice, disgust;—his unrivalled skill compelling admiration :—envied by professors, protected by princes, lauded and supported by nobles and fair dames, who guessed not whence came the harmony which so much delighted, nor dreamt that they followed as a popular idol—a Demon Musician.
TO MONT BLANC.
O He/vrn and earth! how awful is thy form,
Altar of nature! comes her glory down
When shall yon eagle reach the heaven that fills
And every sky with highest figures shines
Round thee: the white unsteady clouds that stream
From oft'thy forehead most ethereal seem;
And the pale moon that high glazes thy savage pines.
Thine, waters great and small of purest wave
From out thy side, the frozen-bearded spring
Looks with clear eye, like hermit's, glittering,
Touch'd by the moon's cold wand: below great torrents rave.
And who shall dare upon thy skirts to tread,
OI not in vain hath God built up thy height, Thou type to man of many visiou'd forms— Abstractions of the mind—shap'd from thy storms,—
Thy converse with high heaven,—thy hues of changing lijtht.
Lives there the man, might dare unto thy crown
Of chastest snows, where never sun that shone,
Hurt the blue chair of winter's icy throne,
Bear thought impure, as men may dare in thronging town?
His lesson are thy rocks that never blanch :—
Yon eagle hath not reach'd thy summit hoar,
Oh ! if the winds could whisper what they hear, When murmuring round at sunset through the grove:If words were written on the streamlet clear, So often spoken fearlessly above:If tell-tale stars, descending from on high, Could image forth the thoughts of all that gnze,
Entranced upon that deep cerulean sky, And count how few think only of their rays!
If the lulled heaving ocean could disclose
If echo, rising from her magic throne,
Hon. Mrs Nortjn.
There was every promise of a fine crop this season in Mr Brace's plantation. The coffee-walks had been refreshed by frequent showers, and were screened from the chill north winds; and the fruit looked so well that, as the owner surveyed his groves the day before the gathering began, he flattered himself with the hopes of a crop so much above the average as might clear off some of the debts which began to press heavily upon him.
His daughters remained at his side during the whole of this cheerful season; for Mary had but a faint remembrance, which she wished to revive, of its customs and festivities. The time of crop is less remarkable and less joyous in a coffee than a sugar plantation; but there is much in both to engage the eye and interest the heart. The sugar crop had been got in three months before, and Mary had then visited the Mitchelsons, and seen how marvellously the appearance of the working population, both man and beast, had improved in a very short time. Horses, oxen, mules, and even pigs^ had fattened upon the green tops of the cane and upon the scum from the boiling-house; while the meagre and sickly among the slaves recovered their looks rapidly while they had free access to the nourishing juice which oozed from the mill. The abundance of food more than made up for the increase of labour; and the slaves, while more hardly worked than ever, seemed to mind it less, and to wear a look of cheerfulness sufficiently rare at other seasons.
There was less apparent enjoyment to all parties at the time of gathering in the coffee, though it was a sight not to be missed by a stranger. The slaves could not grow fat upon the fruit of the coffeetree as upon the juice of the cane; but as there was an extra allowance of food in consideration of the extra labour, the slaves went through it with some degree of willingness. The weather was oppressively hot, too; but Mary found it as tolerable in the shade of the walks as in the house. She sat there for hours, under a large umbrella, watching the slaves, as each slowly filled the canvass bag hung round his neck, and kept open by a hoop. She followed them with her eyes when they sauntered from the trees to the baskets to empty their pouches, and then back again to the trees; and listened to the rebukes of the overseer when he found unripe fruit among the ripe.
"I am sure," said she to her father one day, " I should come in for many a scolding if I had to pick coffee to-day. If the heat makes
* From " Illustrations of Political Economy, No. IV. Dpmcrara; A Tale. By Harriet Martineau." London, 1832.
us faint as we lie in the shade, what must it be to those who stand in the sun from morning till night! I could not lift a hand, or see the difference between one berry and another."—" Blacks bear the heat better than we do," observed Mr Bruce. "However, it is really dreadfully sultry to-day. I have seldom felt it so much myself, and I believe the slaves will be as glad as we when night comes." —" The little puffs of air that leave a dead calm," said Mary, "only provoke one to remember the steady breeze we did not know how to value when we had it. I should not care for a thunder-storm if it would bring coolness."—" Would not you? You little know what thunder-storms are here."—" You forget how many we had in the spring."—" Those were no more like what we shall have soon, than a June night-breeze in England is like a January frost-wind. You may soon know, however, what a Demerara thunder-storm is like."
Mary looked about her as her father pointed, and saw that the face of nature was indeed changed. She had mentioned a thunderstorm, because she had heard the overseer predict the approach of one. There was a mass of clouds towering in a distant quarter of the heavens, not like a pile of snowy peaks, but now rent apart and now tumbled together, and bathed in a dull, red light. The sun, too, looked large and red, while the objects on the summits of the hills wore a bluish cast, and looked larger and nearer than usual. There was a dead calm. The pigeon had ceased her cooing: no parrots were showing off their gaudy plumage in the sunlight, and not even the hum of the enamelled beetle was heard.
"What is the moon's age?" asked Mr Bruce of the overseer. "She is full to-night, sir, and a stormy night it will be, I fear." He held up his finger and listened. "Hark 1" said Mary, " there is the thunder already."—" Itisnot thunder, my dear."—" It is the sea," said Louisa. "I never heard it here but once before; but I am sure it is the same sound."—" The sea at this distance!" cried Mary. Her father shook his head, muttering, " God help all win are in harbour, and give them a breeze to carry them out far enough The shore will be strewed with wrecks by the morning. Come, my dears, let us go home before yonder clouds climb higher."
The whites have not yet become as weather-wise, between tht tropics, as the negroes; and both fall short of the foresight which might be attained, and which was actually possessed by the original inhabitants of these countries. A negro cannot, like them, predict p 6torm twelve days beforehand; but he is generally aware of its approach some hours sooner than his master. It depends upon the terms he happens to be on with the whites, whether or not he gives them the advantage of his observations. Old Mark sent his daughter Beckv to Mr Bruce's house to deliver