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portion with his fears, and the strength which deserted him went over as an ally and supporter to her weakness. Even her bodily health received its direction from her mind. Her nerves seemed to recover their tone, her cheek its hue, and her eye its brilliancy. The cold and sluggish imagination of a man is unacquainted with half the resources of a woman in such circumstances. Disappointed in her dependence on fortune and casualty, Lelia betook herself to the altars ana gods of her people! Saints and martyrs were by turns invoked; vows were offered up, and pilgrimages and religious watchings performed. Then came dreams and prodigies into play, and omens, and auguries. Sortes were wrested from the pages of Dante, and warnings and commands translated from the mystic writings of the sky—
"The stars which are the poetry of heaven."
The year touched upon its close; and the sum which the goldseeker had amassed, although great almost to a miracle, was still far —very far, from sufficient. The last day of the year arrived, ushered in by storm, and thunderings, and lightnings; and the evening fell cold and dark upon the despairing labours of Francesco. He was on the side of the mountain opposite Niccoli's house; and, as daylight died in the valley, he saw, with inexpressible bitterness of soul, by the number of lights in the windows, that the fete was not forgotten. Some trifling success, however, induced him, like a drowning man grasping at a straw, to continue his search. He was on the spot indicated by a dream of his enthusiastic mistress; and she had conjured him not to abandon the attempt till the bell of the distant church should silence their hopes for ever.
His success continued. He was working with the pickaxe, and had discovered a very small perpendicular vein; and it was just possible that this, although altogether inadequate in itself, might be crossed at a greater depth, by a horizontal one, and thus form one of the gruppi, or nests, in which the ore is plentiful and easily extracted. To work, however, was difficult, and to work long, impossible. His strength was almost exhausted; the storm beat fiercely in his face; and the darkness increased every moment. His heart wholly failed him ; his limbs trembled; a cold perspiration bedewed his brow; and, as the last rays of daylight departed from the mountain-side he fell senseless upon the ground.
How long he remained in this state he did not know; but he was recalled to life by a sound resembling, as he imagined, a human cry. The storm howled more wildly than ever along the side of the mountain, and it was now pitch-dark; but on turning round his head he saw, at a little distance above where he lay, a small, steady light. Francesco's heart began to quake. The light advanced towards him, and he perceived that it was borne by a figure arrayed in white from head to foot "Lelia!" cried he in amazement, mingled with superstitious terror, as he recognized the features of his young fair mistress. " Waste not time in words," said she, " much may yet be done, and I have the most perfect assurance that now at least I am not deceived. Up, and be of good heart? Work, for here is light. I will sit down in the shelter, bleak though it be, of the cliff, and aid you with my prayers, since I cannot with my hands." Francesco seized the axe, and stirred, half with shame, half with admiration, by the courage of the generous girl, resumed his labour with new vigour. "Be of good heart," continued Lelia, "and all will yet be well. Bravely—bravely done!—be sure the saints have heard us!" Only once she uttered any thing resembling a complaint—" It is so cold!" said she, " make haste, dearest, for I cannot find my way home, if I would, without the light."' By and by she repeated more frequently the injunction to " make haste." Francesco's heart bled while he thought of the sufferings of the sick and delicate girl on such a night, in such a place; and his blows feel desperately on the stubborn rock. He was now at a little distance from the spot where she sat, and was just about to beg her to bring the light nearer, when she spoke again. "Make haste—make haste!" she said, "the time is almost come— I shall be wanted—I am wanted—I can stay no longer—farewell!" Francesco looked up, but the light was already gone.
It was so strange, this sudden desertion! If determined to go, why did she go alone ?—aware, as she must have been, that his remaining in the dark could be of no use. Could it be that her heart had changed, the moment her hopes had vanished? It was a bitter and ungenerous thought; nevertheless, it served to bridle the speed with which Francesco at first sprung forward to overtake his mistress. He had not gone far, however, when a sudden thrill arrested his progress. His heart ceased to beat, he grew faint, and would have fallen to the ground, but for the support of a rock against which he staggered. When he recovered, he retraced his steps as accurately as it was possible to do in utter darkness. He knew not whether he found the exact spot on which Lelia had sat, but he was sure of the surrounding localities; and, if she was still there, her white dress would no doubt gleam even through the thick night which surrounded her.
With a lightened heart—for, compared with the phantom of the mind which had presented itself, all things seemed endurable—he began again to descend the mountain. In a place so singularly wild, where the rocks were piled around in combinations at once fantastic and sublime, it was not wonderful that the light carried by his mistress should be wholly invisible to him, even had it been much nearer than was by this time probable. Far less was it surprising that the (bouts which ever and anon he uttered should not reach her ear: for he was on the lee-side of the storm, which raved among the cliffs with a fury that might have drowned the thunder.
Even to the practised feet of Francesco, the route, without the smallest light to guide his steps, was dangerous in the extreme; and to the occupation thus afforded to his thoughts it was perhaps owing that he reached Niccoli's house in a state of mind to enable him to acquit himself in a manner not derogatory to the dignity of manhood. "Niccoli,'' said he, on entering the room, "I have come to return you thanks for the trial you have allowed me I have failed, and, in terms of the engagement between us, I relinquish my claims to your daughter's hand." He would then have retired as suddenly as he had entered; but old Niccoli caught hold of his arm:—" Bid us farewell," said he, in a tremulous voice, "go not in anger. Forgive me for the harsh words I used when we last met. I have watched you, Francesco, from that day—and—" He wiped away a tear, as he looked upon the soiled and neglected apparel, and the haggard and ghastly face, of the young man—" No matter—my word is plighted —farewell—Now call my daughter," added he, "and I pray God that the business of this night end in no ill!"
Francesco lingered at the door. He would fain have seen but the skirt of Lelia's mantle before departing !" She is not in her room!" cried a voice of alarm. Francesco's heart quaked. Presently the whole house was astir. The sound of feet running here and there was heard, and agitated voices called out her name. The next moment the old man rushed out of the room, and, laying both his hands upon Francesco's shoulders, looked wildly in his face. "Know you aught of my daughter?" said he: "Speak, I conjure you, in the name of the Blessed Saviour! Tell me that you have married her, and I will forgive and bless you! Speak!—will you not speak? A single word! Where is my daughter? Where is my Lelia ?—my life —my light—my hope—my child—my child 1" The mineralo started, as if from a dream, and looked round, apparently without comprehending what had passed. A strong shudder then shook his frame for an instant . "Lights!" said he, " torches!—every one of you! Follow me!'' and he rushed out into the night. He was speedily overtaken by the whole of the company, amounting to more than twelve men, with lighted torches, that flared like meteors in the storm. As for the leader himself, he seemed scarcely able to drag one limb after the other, and he staggered to and fro, like one who is drunken with wine.
They at length reached the place he sought; and, by the light of the torches, something white was seen at the base of the cliff. It was Lelia. She leant her back against the rock; one hand was pressed upon her heart, like a person who shrinks with cold; and in the other she held the lamp, the name of which had expired in the socket . Francesco threw himself on his knees at one side, and the old man at the other, while a light, as strong as day, was shed by the torches upon the spot. She was dead—dead—stone dead \
After a time, the childless old man went to seek out the object of his daughter's love; but Francesco was never seen from that fatal night. A wailing sound is sometimes heard to this day upon the hills, and the peasants say that it is the voice of the mineralo seeking his mistress among the rocks; and every dark and stormy night the lamp of Lulia is still seen upon the mountain, as she lights her phantom-lover in his search for gold.
Such is the story of the storm-lights of Anzasca, and the only part of it which is mine is the translation into the language of civilized men of the sentiments of a rude and ignorant people.
There is a calm for those who weep:
The storm that wrecks the wintry sky,
I long to lay this painful head,
The Grave, that never spake before.
Art thou a mourner P hast thou known
And tranouil nights?
O live! and deeply cherish still
Though long of winds and waves the sport.
Seek the true treasure, seldom fonnd,
Whatever thy lot—where'er thou be—
A bruised reed He will not break;
Humbled beneath His mighty hand,
Now, traveller in the vale of tears;
There is a calm for those who weep,
The soul, of origin divine,
The sun is but a spark of fire,