« AnteriorContinuar »
spair, remorse, and blasted love! Raising his eyes from the barren soil, he saw a female advancing slowly over the moor, as if her steps were turned to the neighbouring village. The path led through the ruined mine; and, as the stranger drew near to the despairing Curate, she paused, and the eyes of each were fastened intensely on the other. It was Mary, the object of his affection, of whom he had often thought with self-reproach, and a longing desire to see her again. And now she stood before him. He who has bent beneath misery and desertion, can tell how welcome are the returning glance and form of those who love us. The Curate clasped his hands fervently, and a deep flush came to his wasted features. "Mary," he said, '' you are come to comfort me: I thought you would not forget or forsake me." The girl stood silent for a few moments; but it was not the silence of a full heart. She was deeply changed: the look of simplicity and candour had given place to one of haughtiness: the spirit, too, it was evident, had been affected by the scenes of dissipation and splendour in which she had resided. "James," she said, " I am come, but not to be your wife—that hour is past; and as to forsaking, you never came to see me for many months, till I thought you had forgot me." He spoke in sincere and glowing words of his bright and prolonged hopes, and how they had wholly occupied his mind; and of former moments of her destitution, and his fidelity. Still she listened coldly: he knelt before her, and gazed on her beauty, in agony at the conviction that it never could be his; and then he told of the hour of her father's death, and how, in that last moment, she had been given to his care. She turned pale and seemed to be struggling with remembrances. "Mr Collins," she said, at last, " it is of no use to talk of this now; I cannot feel as I did then: remember the time when I kneeled before you, and prayed with tears that I might not leave my home, and that you would pref ;r my love to the love of gold. You would not, and now it is gone from you: not because of the ruin you have met with; but in the places where I have dwelt, other feelings, and prouder ones, have been nurtured. Farewell, my kind and generous protector, may every blessing attend you! but—but I never can be your wife." She turned from the spot with a quickene&step: he gazed after her retreating figure as long as it remained in sight, and then he turned to the solitude of his own heart. "Is that my Mary?" he said, with a miserable smile, "the dear devoted girl that I watched over when her father died? Surely she was to be my wife, my beautiful wife! and was to comfort me in my misery." He would have sat down once more on the glittering pile beside him; but a sudden thought crossed his brain, and he started from the spot as if a serpent had stung him: he clenched his hand fiercely, and gnashed his teeth:—" There, there," he said, wildly, "was my ruin; my love, my fortune, all my joy on earth, and hope in heaven, were sold for these accursed heaps. I sold my bride, with all her tenderness and beauty, for these detested stones,—ha! ha!—that now mock me like so many fiends."
The night had set in darkly ere he went to his wretched home. his spirit was utterly crushed, and his frame soon sank also. Before long, he was unable, as well as unfit, to attend to his ministerial duties; and his numerous flock saw with pity, that their pastor's career, it was probable, would soon draw to a close. Six months had not passed, when the girl he loved, and whose attachment was the last silver cord to which he had clung, was married to a young farmer in the neighbourhood. Even had she been faithful, what prospect remained to the Curate of supporting a wife on the miserable pittance to which the loss of his bequest reduced him? But his feelings were embittered by the knowledge that she had brought a small portion to her husband, which was bequeathed to her by the will of the lady whom she had served. Another Curate also was found to supply the wide parish of Calartha; but the people, in kindness, continued to allow their former Minister his poor salary, from the conviction, perhaps, that he would soon cease to be a burden to them. He still loved, when his failing strength permitted, to walk out into the wild paths that had so long been familiar to him; and his feet, it was observed, though they sometimes fainted by the way, seemed to wander mechanically to the scene of his dazzling hopes and of his ruin; and there he would stay for hours, grasping, at times with a trembling hand, some stray stones, richly veined with the mineral, while his hollow eye and attenuated form showed that poverty and wealth would soon be alike indifferent to him. One day he had been absent from his home much longer than usual, and his mother and sister went forth to trace his steps to the well-known scene, and found him reclined peacefully there; but the flitting remains of strength had been exhausted beneath the heat of the day. They called on his name, and bade him come to his home: but he heard them no more; for life was extinct, and it seemed, from the expression of his features, that he had welcomed death.
THE HEIRESS' COMPLAINT
Why tell me, with officious zeal,
And wonder how my soul can feel
Why dott thoa count the golden atorr,
Ami uaiue the suitors o'er and o'er
Know that I scorn the sordid train
Know that the heart I sigh to gain
I love—I dare not breathe his name,
The son of genius and of mind; He climbs the steepy path of fame,
Content to leave the crowd behind.
And while in halls illumined bright,
Seldom he seeks the giddy throng, And then he stands retired, apart,
With listless look and joyless heart.
He turns from Love's all-speaking eye;
His mind to fame, to science clings, Throned in a world of visions high,
Of deep and vast imaginings.
My vaunted wealth, my flatter'd fare,
But lie regards that dross as base,
Yet must I still reluctant wear These flashing gems, these robes of state,
Oh! never shall the world deride
My passion with unfeeling jest,
Can hide the tortures of my breast.
Thy tears flow fast—Now judge if gold
AVw Mon. i JEAN NOT AND COLIN.
Many credible persons have seen Jeannot and Colin of the village of Issoire in Auvergne, a place famous all over the world for its college and its cauldrons. Jeannot was the son of a very renowned muledriver; Colin owed his existence to an honest labourer in the neighbourhood, who cultivated the earth with the help of four mules, and who, after he had paid the poll-tax, the military-tax, the royal-tax, the excise-tax, the shilling-in-the-pound, the capitation, and the twentieths, did not find himself over-rich at the year's end.
Jeannot and Colin were very pretty lads for Auvergnians: they were remarkably attached to each other, and enjoyed together those little confidentialities, and those snug familiarities, which men always recollect with pleasure when they afterwards meet in the world.
The time dedicated to their studies was just upon the eve of elapsing, when a tailor brought Jeannot a velvet coat of three colours, with a Lyons waistcoat made in the first taste; the whole was accompanied with a letter directed to Monsieur de la Jeannotiere. Colin could not help admiring the coat, though he was not at all envious of it; but Jeannot immediately assumed an air of superiority which perfectly distressed his companion. From this moment Jeannot studied no more; he admired himself in the glass, and despised the whole world. Soon after a valet-de-chambre arrives posthaste, bringing a second letter, which was addressed to Monsieur the Marquis de la Jeannotiere; it was an order from Monsieur the father, that Monsieur the son, should set out for Paris directly. Jeannot ascended the chaise, and stretched out his hand to Colin with a smile of protection sufficiently dignified; Colin felt his own insignificance and burst into tears: Jeannot departed in all his glory.
Those readers who like to be instructed as well as amused, must know that Monsieur Jeannot, the father, had very rapidly acquired a most immense fortune by business. Do you ask how it is one makes a great fortune? It is because one is fortunate. Monsieur Jeannot was handsome, and so was his wife, who had still a certain bloom about her. They came up to Paris on account of a law-suit, which ruined them; when fortune, who elevates and depresses mankind at will, presented them to the wife of a contractor for the army-hospitals, a man of very great talent, who could boast of having killed more soldiers in one year than the cannon had blown up in ten.
Jeannot pleased the lady, and his wife pleased the contractor. Jeannot soon had his share in his patron's enterprise; and afterwards entered into other speculations. When once you are in the current of the stream, you have nothing to do but to leave your bark to itself; you will make an immense fortune without much difficulty. The mob on the bank, who see you scud along in full sail, open their eyes with astonishment; they are at a loss to conjecture how you came by your prosperity; they envy you at all events, and write pamphlets against you, which you never read. This Jim what happened to Jeannot the father, who quickly became Monsieur de la Jeannotiere, and who, having purchased a marquisite at the end of six months, took Monsieur the Marquis his son from school, to introduce him into the fashionable world of Paris.
Colin, always affectionate, sent a letter of compliment to his old school-fellow, in which he wrote his " tlieselines to congratulate" him. The little Marquis returned no answer: Colin was perfectly ill with mortification.
The father and mother provided a tutor for the young Marquis. This tutor, who was a man of fashion, and who knew nothing, of course could teach nothing to his pupil. Monsieur wished his son to lear n Latin; Madame wished him not: accordingly they called in as arbitrator an author, who was at that time celebrated for some very pleasing works. He was asked to dinner. The master of the house began by asking him: "Monsieur, as you understand Latin, and are a courtier."—" I, Sir, understand Latin? not a word," replied the wit, "and very glad am I that I don't; for there is not a doubt but a man always speaks his own language the better, when his studies are not divided between that and foreign languages: look at all our ladies, is not their vivacity more elegant than that of the men? Their letters, are they not written with a hundred times the animation? Now all this superiority they possess from nothing else but their not understanding Latin."
"There now! was not I in the right?" said Madame: "I wish my son to be a wit: that he may make a figure in the world; and you see if he learns Latin he is inevitably lost. Are comedies or operas played in Latin? In a law-suit, does any one plead in Latin? Do we make love in Latin?" Monsieur, dazzled by all this ratiocination, gave his judgment; when it was finally determined that the young Marquis should not lose his time in becoming acquainted with Cicero, Horace, and Virgil. But then what was he to learn? for he must know something: could not he be shown a little geography? "What would that serve?" replied the tutor: "whenMonsieur the Marquis goes to any of his estates, won't the postilions know which way to drive him? They'll certainly take care not to go out of their way; one has no need of a quadrant to travel with; and a man may go from Paris to Auvergne very commodiously, without having the '"ast idea of what latitude he is under."