Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of fortresses naturally suggested the towers, battle- a Baron in his Sorereign's Company, contributed by Sir ments, keys, portcullises, and battering-rams seen on Frederick Madden to the twentieth volume of the many escutcheons. One of the most singular bearings Archeologia, gives an inventory of the equipments in existence is that of the ancient Scottish family of for a foreign campaign of Henry, the fifth earl of Dalziel-namely, a naked man hanging from a gallows Northumberland, the same whose Household Book is with his arms extended-a bearing of honour, though so well known. It describes, in the earl's wardrobe, 80 liable to be taken for the reverse, since, if 'hoar his 'harness and cote-armure beaten with his arms antiquity may be believed, it was granted to per- quarterly,' with a large number of coats, standards, petuate the memory of a brave and hazardous exploit banners, and hundreds of pennons, all beaten' or performed by an ancestor of the Earl of Carnwath, 'powdered with my lord's arms.' in taking down from a gallows the body of a favourite • Badges of cognizance' were sometimes called kinsman of Kenneth II., who had been hung up by signs of company,' a phrase explanatory of their use. the Picts. A reward having been offered by the Retainers of every description bore the badge of their monarch to any one who would rescue the corpse, lord, and the minstrel of a noble house wore it susnone were inclined to venture, till a gentleman of the pended to his neck by a silver chain. The bear and family of Menteath came to the king and said “Dal-zel' ragged staff of the earls of Warwick, the “buckle' of (Gaelic for 'I dare '), and having performed the task, the Pelhams, and the annulet' of the Cliffords, are assumed the above arms and the surname of Dalziel. well-known badges of ancient baronial families. The Such at least is the legend.

badges of the House of Lancaster were the antelope The differences' borne to distinguish the younger and the red rose, and a swan 'gorged and chained.' branches of a family are said to have a hidden moral in them. The crescent of the second son indicates

Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby that there is room for the increase of his fortune; the wore the first and last of these embroidered on green mullet, or spur, of the third, hints that he must up and blue velvet when he entered the lists near Coventry and ride if he means to get anything; the martlet, or against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray.' swallow without feet, of the fourth, reminds him that And in that age of factions broils and civil warfare, he must keep upon the wing, having no land to stand badges were thought of sufficient importance as party upon. These allusions are probably imaginary. symbols to be forbidden by statute-particularly

The origin of supporters' is much disputed by Richard's white hart, which was so frequent an heralds, some maintaining them to be derived from annoyance to Henry IV. In our own days, we have the custom of an individual about to be invested with seen the violet and the fleur-de-lis proscribed in turn some dignity being led to his sovereign between two for a similar cause. The Scottish clans commonly nobles, in remembrance of which lie chooses two noble employed as badges a sprig or branch from some tree animals or figures to support his arms. Menestrier, or bush: Chisholm, the alder; Menzies, the ash; the French heraldic writer already referred to, traces Buchanan, the birch ; Maclean, the blackberry ; the practice to that of ancient tournaments, 'in which Buccleuch, the heather; and so on. the knights caused their shields to be carried by pages The charge and cognizance were, moreover, profusely in the disguise of lions, bears, griffins, blackamoors, embroidered on the trappings of the war-horse and and the like, who also hield and guarded the escut the draperies of the tent; but above all, they were cheons exposed to public view some time before the blazoned conspicuously on the standard and banner of lists were opened.' The probability, however, rather the sovereign, noble, and banneret, and the pennon of is, that supporters were introduced as a sort of orna- the knight. These were borne before them in all mental garnish to the shield, and originated in the warlike expeditions, often planted on the field by their taste or caprice of the seal-engravers. Their use is side, hung out at their temporary lodgings, suspended at present confined, in England, to the nobility and from the roofs of their halls, and finally reared to Knights of the Garter, with the addition of a few droop in sympathetic decay over their graves. untitled families who have received a royal grant for The architect made a liberal use of arms, as well some special service. In Scotland, the chiefs of clans as of crest and badge, in the adornment of both the and baronets of the Nova Scotia creation are also exterior and interior of his buildings, ecclesiastical, entitled to them.

civil, or domestic. They were sculptured on the walls Formerly, abbeys and religious houses bore arms; and over doorways and windows, enriched the gables, trades, guilds, and corporations bore them, and fought drips, corbels, and pinnacles, were painted and emgallantly under them too; towns and cities likewise bossed on ceilings, and introduced, above all, in stained had their escutcheons, as well as the universities, and windows. On every piece of furniture they were their several colleges, schools, and public hospitals. carved in profusion, embossed on plate, embroidered They are, in most cases, still jealously preserved, and in the richest manner in gold and silver upon silk or employed on the seals of these bodies, on their badges velvet, on canopies, arras, the coverlets and draperies of office, and for other purposes. Every bishopric, as of beds, cloths, and vestures of numerous kinds. The already mentioned, has its shield and armorial bearings, heralds' wore them on their tabards, which were and in this country as well as throughout the continent. are literally coats of arms.' But one of their most

Blazoning was not confined to the shield; but, at ancient and solemn uses was on seals, the seal of a the time when arms were really worn, was likewise knight or noble affixed to a deed being a convenient displayed on the surcoat, the mantle, and the just-au- substitute for his signature, when, as was usually the corps or bodice. On these, the charge was usually case, he could not write-a desirable confirmation of embossed in beaten gold, or embroidered in resplen- it when, by miracle, he could. dent tissue. Richard II. carried this magnificence of On sepulchral monuments, arms were splendidly decoration to its highest pitch; but long before his and profusely sculptured and blazoned ; none, howreign, the knights and nobles of France and England ever, appear on the most ancient monumental effigies were accustomed to plunge into the dust and blood of preserved in our churches and cathedrals. One of the battle arrayed in the most costly and splendid attire. earliest on which they occur is that of Geoffry MandeSir John Chandos lost his life at the affair of Pont de ville, Earl of Essex, in the Temple Church. He died Lussac owing to the rich and long robe he had on over in 1148, in the very infancy of heraldry. The general his cuirass, which Froissart describes as 'blazoned use subsequently made of heraldic scutcheons as an with his arms on white sarcenet, argent a pile gules, ornament to tombs and a memorial of the family one charge on his breast, the other on his back. Á alliances of the deceased, is observable in all our curious document, entitled The Apparel of the Field of cathedrals and churches ; in which also the hatchment,

IN FOUR

CHAPTERS.-CHAP.

IV.

&

or funeral achievement, of the departed was usually What needless misery it would have cost her! This preserved as long as its more perishable materials letter is almost the duplicate of the one we receired permitted, together with, in many cases, the real arms from Venice, and I think he must have mislaid this in which he had fought. Over the tomb of Edward and written second, which he has since forgotten. the Black Prince, in Canterbury Cathedral, there still It appears to have been wet; it is not very legible; and hang his shield and surcoat, embossed and embroidered we have just made out that the post-mark is Milan, with the arms of England and France, with his which is odd, when the postscript is dated Aleppo. gauntlets and the scabbard of his sword. The sword Can he be on his way back ? itself is said to have been taken away by Oliver ‘But, О Everard, how ill I have behaved to Krasinski! Cromwell. Of the genuineness of these remains, we Will he ever return to me, or think of me again? believe no doubt is entertained.

Perhaps, when he can bring Arthur with him, he may, But without exhausting our subject, we are afraid if he really loved me as he said he did ; but he has we have fully exhausted the reader's patience; we never written, nor did I expect he would, for he is therefore bring our lucubrations to a close, although | very, very proud.' we are thereby necessitated to leave many strange So much for the ghost !' exclaimed Everard ; and charges entirely unnoticed.

he wrote to his sister, saying that he hoped this affair would be a warning to her not to indulge in absurd

superstitions; above all, not to act upon them. KRASINSKI: A TALE.

*Things will come to a pretty pass if young ladies take counsel of their dreams in the conduct of life.

I am afraid, Emma, you will never see any more of It was a bright day in spring when they sailed into Krasinski; and I suspect you have lost a good the beautiful bay of Naples.

husband by your folly.' "What a place to come to on such an errand !' All anxiety regarding Arthur being thus removed, exclaimed Edmonds.

De Rosny, feeling that his mission was at an end, "A very good place to come to-never mind the Everard to accompany him northward; but the latter

announced his intention of leaving Naples. He invited errand,' said De Rosny, smiling.

declined, alleging that he liked the place, and, his They employed themselves as people usually do on leave being nearly expired, it was not worth his while their first arrival at that fascinating capital ; and they to move. had a very good excuse in doing so, since they had no Confess,' said De Rosny, 'you don't like to leave directions how else to proceed—a circumstance which the beautiful Russian ? When I am gone, who knows eased their consciences when they thought of the but she may pay you another visit.' ghost, which was not very often amid so many amuse 'I have no such hope,' answered Everard; "she will ments. Moreover, not long after they arrived, they scarcely return my bow when I meet her on the stairs, received a letter from the host of the Leone Bianco, though I take off my hat with an admirable grace, and to whom, at the instigation of Emma, they had written endeavour to look as killing as I can.' to make inquiries on the subject, saying that, on • Well, you will have the consolation of listening to reference to his books, he found that it was not on her delicious voice, at all events,' said De Rosny. the 9th, but on the 10th of April that Arthur and "That's a dangerous pleasure, so I mean to relinKrasinski had quitted Venice. Naturally, this dis- quish it,' answered Everard. These apartments are crepancy discredited the ghost considerably, if ghost too expensive for me when I am alone, and I shall there was, thongh Everard was by no means free from remove to the Hôtel d'Italia.' anxiety about his brother.

The beautiful Russian alluded to was the Countess However, his uneasiness was shortly still further Stephanie Menchikoff, and Everard's acquaintance with lightened, by a letter from Emma, conveying the her had originated in a singular incident. pleasant intelligence that they had at last heard from On their first arrival at Naples, or, at least, after Arthur.

they had been there a few days, but before the intelli* But you will wonder at his carelessness, well as gence from Venice and London had destroyed all faith you know him,' she said, when I tell you that the in the apparition, De Rosny, who, sceptical as he was, letter was written at Venice in April, though we did not like the idea of another interview with his have only just received it! He writes to acknowledge midnight visitor, observed, that it was very perplexing, the receipt of the money he had sent for; and says if anything was required of him, that he was not told that he is about to quit Venice, and try to rejoin what it was. M. de Rosny at Rome–M. de Rosny having been * Here we are at Naples, but what are we to do? called away several weeks ago—and that he is tired Unbeliever as I am, I complied so far as to go to of waiting for him, especially as his friend Count Malta—where, however, I probably should have gone Krasinski is leaving for England, and that he shall in any case, though not quite so soon-and I liare go on with M. de Rosny to the east. He says he accompanied you here; but what next? How are we has given Krasinski an introduction to mamma, and to proceed ? It would be much more to the purpose advises me to take care of my heart, as he is a if the ghost had directed us what to do. “handsome nice fellow, and sings like a nightingale;" | * But that's always the way in ghost-stories, and so he certainly does. He concludes with begging replied Everard. “There is always something that us not to be uneasy if we get no letters, as he shall renders their proceedings incomprehensible and aborbe constantly on the move, and have no time to write. tive. He ought to pay you another visit, and explain Of course, a letter written so long ago would have his intentions. gone for nothing, and mamma was in a dreadful way "Well, to confess the truth, I had rather be excused when she read it; but, on turning the leaf, we found -unless, indeed, we were together. I should have a postscript dated Aleppo, begging a thousand pardons no objection to that sort of thing if I had company; for his having forgotten to post the letter, which, to indeed, I should rather like it. A man, when he is his horror, he had just found in his desk. He adds: alone, under such circumstances, is not master of his “I am all right; but I've sprained my wrist by a mind; his recollection afterwards is confused, and fall from a camel, and am obliged to scrawl this with he does not know whether he is asleep or awake. my left hand; so no more from your affectionate Suppose we invoke the spirit some night when we brother."

are together!' 'How lucky that I never told mamma of my dream! With all my heart!' said Everard. Why not this

very night? With a bottle of Lacrimachristi, and times her brother was with her, and they sang together, some good cigars, we may get through the night; and with exquisite taste and skill. if nothing comes of it, we shall, at anyrate, have the One evening, as he was ascending the stairs, he met satisfaction of feeling that we have done all we could this brother-a tall, fine-looking, dark man, bearded in the business.'

and moustached, who started back with apparent Accordingly, having spent their evening very agree- surprise, and evinced so much annoyance, that Everard ably in hearing an opera of Rossini's, they established relinquished the indulgence of listening to the music, themselves in their salon, when the other inhabitants lest he should get into a quarrel that would end in of the hotel went to bed; and with their wine and their making him ridiculous, since the lady certainly gave cigars, prepared to pass the night.

him no encouragement. They chatted for some time about the music and His ill success diminished his regret at removing the singers they had heard, till all seemed perfectly to his new apartments, which he did the day of De quiet in the hotel; and then Everard proposed that Rosny's departure. As he had formed acquaintance they should collect themselves, and solemnly invoke with two or three young compatriots, he got on the spirit-it must be admitted, however, without the pleasantly enough, till his leave had nearly expired, smallest expectation that their invocation would have when he wrote to De Rosny, who was at Rome, to any effect.

announce his approaching departure, and to mention • You had better pronounce the invocation, said De also, that when he was packing up at their old hotel, Rosny ; 'but I believe we should put out the light he had found a valuable ring of De Rosny's in one of first: here are the matches to light it again.'

the drawers of the chiffonier in the salon. The candles being extinguished, Everard, in a low, •I should have sent it before,' he added, but I could earnest voice, called upon his brother, if he were dead, not find a safe vehicle. Yesterday, however, I chanced to appear to them, and instruct them how they should to meet that little fig-merchant that was on board the proceed to effect whatever purpose he designed in packet with us, and as he said he was starting for sending them to Naples.

Rome, I have ventured to intrust it to him-I mean A short silence ensued, and then, to their amaze- the fellow that had that comical souse in the water. ment, they heard the handle of the door turn. De Heaven knows whether he is honest; but I have not Rosny, who, from his own experience, was naturally told him the value of the parcel. Pray, write immeless incredulous than Everard, pressed his companion's diately, and say if you have received it, as I shall not arm:-the door opened, and they saw by the gleam of feel happy till I know it is safe.' light that entered from the staircase, where a lamp Two days after this letter was forwarded, Everard burnt all night, a ghostly figure glide in, and, with discovered that he had been robbed of the money that noiseless step, cross the room towards the window, had been remitted to him from England to pay his where it paused, waiting, as Everard-who now really bills and his passage-money to Malta, and also of a believed it to be his brother-supposed, to be spoken set of diamond studs and some other articles of value. to. Overcome with awe, he rose from his chair, How or when this robbery had been committed, was prepared to address the apparition ; but at the first as difficult to discover as the thief. It might have motion he made, before he had time to utter a sound, been done in the night, or while Everard was out the figure filed with such precipitation, that Everard, the preceding evening. People of all countries and who pursued it, only reached the door in time to see languages were incessantly coming and going; several the tail of a white petticoat disappearing on the stairs had quitted the hotel that morning, and no suspicion above. However, he heard a door close on the second attached to any one in particular. Of course, this floor, and De Rosny, who was following, exelnimed: delayed his departure; he wrote to his commanding“Quel dommage ! Voilà un revenant avec qui je ferais officer to account for his absence, and to De Rosny volontiers connaissance !'

to acquaint him with his misfortune; but instead of "Whether she is pretty, I can't say,' rejoined Everard, an answer by letter-indeed, before he could have for I only saw her petticoat-tail, but she is young to received one--De Rosny arrived himself. a certainty. I never beheld such activity. She was up Everard, supposing he had come to relieve him of the stairs like a bird! Her feet scarcely touched the his difficulties, eagerly welcomed him. ground! What could have brought her here at that How kind this is of you!'he exclaimed ; 'you may identical moment? One would think she knew of our imagine what an awkward fix I'm in!' design, and was playing us a trick.'

"Why?' said De Rosny, looking astonished. "What • Impossible,' returned De Rosny; 'nobody knew of has happened ?' it. Probablement, elle s'est trompée de chambre.' Haven't you received my letter?' said the other.

This was the most feasible explanation: they Yes, and the ring also.' enjoyed a hearty laugh at their own expense; and, But my subsequent letter?' the solemnity of their vigil being utterly dispelled, No; I started almost immediately—at least, the they went to bed. The next day, they asked the day after the Greek brought me the ring. But what's waiter, without telling the motive of the inquiry, the matter?' who lodged over their heads, and they were informed Everard thereupon related what had occurred. it was the Countess Stephanie Menchikoff, and that • Very vexatious !' said the other; 'but console she had previously occupied the lower floor, but yourself with the reflection that your loss is nothing had moved, the day the young men arrived, to one to mine at Venice.' less expensive. The waiter added, that she was très It's as much to me,' replied the lieutenant, because belle, and a very fine singer ; elle a une voix char- you're a rich fellow, and the loss of your jewellery and mante,' he said. Whether she was married, he could other little matters is nothing to you. But if you have not say; nobody visited her but her brother.

not had my letter, what has brought you back to After this, the young men made several efforts to Naples ?' become acquainted with the fair stranger; but she *You shall hear,' replied De Rosny. "That ring resolutely discouraged all their advances, in spite of a you sent me by the Greek is part of the plunder of good deal of perseverance on the part of Everard, who the rogue who robbed me at the Leone Bianco.' was considerably épois ; which was not to be wondered 'Is it possible ?' said Everard. at, for she was really a beautiful woman, and her voice, 'Quite true, I assure you,' answered De Rosny. as the waiter said, was charmante. He often spent half "Good heavens !' exclaimed Everard, turning pale. the evening, when De Rosny was otherwise engaged, Then probably the rascal who committed the robbery at her door, listening to her enchanting strains. Some- | is actually here--and my brother'

[ocr errors]

6

"That is the point,' returned De Rosny.

"You have not heard of it?' Everard sank into a chair, and covered his face with 'Not a word! Where? At Naples ?' his hands— My poor brother!' he exclaimed. "Poor 'At Naples. A trap was laid for him, and he was Arthur!'

caught robbing somebody at the Hôtel d'Italia ; and "We are certain of nothing yet: the man that stole since he is found to be an escaped forçat with the it may have parted with it-it may have passed mark of the bagne on his shoulder, he is condemned through many hands since; but, to say the least of it, to death, and I am going to see the execution; for, to it is a curious coincidence, that here, where we have say the truth, he is an old friend of mine.' come in compliance with the directions of the ghost I compliment you on your acquaintance.' or dream, whichever it was, we should stumble upon Well, he was the most plausible fellow in the world. the first trace of the thief.'

I think he would have deceived the devil himself. · And murderers !' murmured Everard, without When I first knew him, he was a teacher of music, raising his head.

and lodged with my sister at Milan. He was the *The first thing to be done,' suggested De Rosny, cleverest fellow, too, I ever met! He spoke French is to find out who inhabited those rooms.'

and Italian like a native, and, indeed, generally passed “The Russian countess left them the day we went for an Italian, though he was in reality a Russian. I in; but she can have nothing to do with it; besides, it should think he would have made his fortune in your may have lain for some time where I found it. It was country if he could have been honest. He was conquite at the back of the drawer of the chiffonier—the nected with the Carbonari, too, and was at one time drawer I used to keep locked, where I put my money; employed as a spy, which, I suspect, is the real reason and I should not have seen it, but that, in my haste, why they take liis life.' as I was coming away, I pulled the drawer quite out.' Did you ever hear if he had a sister ?' asked

"Well, we niust get what information we can,' Everard, struck with a sudden thought. replied De Rosny; but the difficulty was, how to get “No,' replied the other, 'I never lieard of his having any that was available. The master of the hotel said a sister; but he fell desperately in love with a danseuse: that the Countess Stephanie had lodged there some a beautiful woman she was; and she had a sweet voice, weeks; before her, the rooms were inhabited by an too, though not of sufficient power for the theatre. I English family; who were preceded by some Turks of believe it was a real attachment, for he took her from distinction; and so forth; and as they were very the stage, had her voice cultivated, and married her; expensive apartments, all the occupants had been of and for some time they made an excellent thing of it. the higher class. All he could say was, that nobody They went to Paris, and had great success as chamberhad ever complained of the loss of such a ring; and singers; but wherever he went, somehow, something that it was quite uncertain how long it might have unpleasant happened, and I lost sight of him for å been in the drawer. They spoke to the inspector of long time. I had a strong suspicion, lately, that he police, who shrugged his shoulders, without making was on some new course of action. He was very shy any remark.

of his former acquaintance, and seemed very flush of This affair occupied them a good deal for some time. money. He used to pretend not to see me when we They were unwilling to believe that the clue, so unex- met; but a few months since I was taking a cup of pectedly found, was to lead to nothing; besides, Everard coffee in the Corso, when he happened to pass, and had begun to be seriously alarmed about his brother, saluted 'me quite in a friendly manner. I thought and the letters of his mother and sister expressed he wanted something of me; and when he sat down considerable uneasiness.

beside me, and called for some curaçoa and cigars, *How should that letter of Arthur's,' said Emma, I felt sure of it, and buttoned my breeches pocket. have been posted at Milan ? If he was then on his way However, it was not money he wanted, but only that back, which he surely must be by this time, if he has I should put a letter for him into the post at Smyrna not long ago returned, why does he not write again? or Aleppo.' His conduct is inexplicable, if he is alive and well. “But how did he know you were going there?' How came that letter wet, too? Does it not seem as Oh, he knew that my business carried me there if that had some connection with the drowning? But frequently. I forgot the letter, however, and never then the landlord of the hotel says he left on the 10th thought of it till I got back to Milan.' of April. Altogether, it is very perplexing, and keeps To Milan ? And did you post it at Milan ?' mamma in dreadful suspense. What would her case "Yes, I did.' be, if she knew all ?'

Have you any recollection of the address of that Notwithstanding these reasons for anxiety, they letter?' inquired Everard. were obliged to resign themselves to inaction, since None, except that it was addressed to somebody in they knew not how to take advantage of the hint England,' answered the Greek. afforded by the ring; and as Everard had procured May I ask you if that letter ever got wet while it an extension of leave, he resolved to accompany De was in your possession ?' Rosny to Rome. After spending a fortnight there in "To be sure it did ; don't you remember my falling sight-seeing, he took his place in the public convey; overboard ? I had it in my pocket-book then. Why ance to return to Naples, and found himself seated do you ask?' beside the Greek fig-merchant, whom he saluted, and Overcome by surprise and emotion, Everard could thanked for having safely delivered the parcel he had scarcely answer; but as soon as he could speak, he intrusted to him.

gave his communicative companion a sketch of past 'It was very lucky I met you that day,' said he, events ; adding, that the finding of the ring, and this 'for the parcel contained a very valuable diamond remarkable disclosure about the letter, led him to ring belonging to Monsieur de Rosny, which otherwise suppose that the thief under condemnation was also never would have reached its owner; for I was robbed the murderer of his brother, and that the revelations that night of all my little valuables, and my money of the ghost were but too correct. too. A rascal got into my room at the hotel, and The Greek, to whom such beliefs were not strange; plundered me of everything of value, except my had no difficulty in accepting the evidence, and con. clothes.'

firmed at once Everard's suspicion in regard to the Ah, no—that would not suit; they are not portable Countess Stephanie. enough. So you were one of the victims. You know "It seems that he has been carrying on this system he is taken ?

of plunder some time,' said he his wife always Who? The thief?'

had apartments in a first-rate hotel; he never took

[ocr errors]

anything bulky, and he deposited his spoil with her. It use lie had made of them, carrying with him the was a capital scheme! In his own apartments, nothing secret that was never to be disclosed. could be found; and who would have thought of A piercing scream, and a movement among the searching a great lady's rooms at a hotel? He had crowd near a woman who had fainted, testified to there several disguises; and they say his make-up, and being one heart amidst the thousand that beat for his familiarity with different languages, rendered it Michel Lowstoff. almost impossible to detect him; besides, the fellow All efforts to discover Stephanie failed. Arthur is half a comedian.'

Edmonds was no more heard of; and the only thing Furnished with this information, Everard's first care ever ascertained was, that he and Krasinski had was to send back a messenger to De Rosny, which he quitted Venice on the 9th of April.

On being perdid from Velletri, urging his following him to Naples sonally interrogated, the landlord of the Leone Bianco immediately; and he accordingly arrived almost as called to mind that the bill had been ordered and soon as himself.

made up for the 10th; but that on the morning of the * But what is this fellow's name?' inquired De 9th, for some reason unknown to him, they had altered Rosny.

their minds, and suddenly departed. Caldesi is the name he went by at Milan; but the Greek says he has several aliases, and that to his knowledge he sometimes passes for an Italian or a

SUICIDE IN FRANCE. Frenchman. I have already applied for an order to One of the many popular errors prevalent in France see him, and was most anxious for your arrival ; concerning England ie, that there are more suicides to-morrow he is to be executed.'

here than there; and the reason given is the one But although the English ambassador was appealed which Montesquieu enunciated years ago, and which to, the order was not to be obtained. "The criminal men, parrot-like, repeat after him without examinahas confessed and made his peace with Heaven,' said tion, that our execrable climate is so miserable we are the priest; "his last moments must not be disturbed ;' glad to escape its perpetual fogs even by self-murder. and all their exertions could not procure a reversal of As every milord, according to Gallic etlinography, lias this decree.

an insane love of boxing and betting, so has he the They were inexpressibly disappointed; but anxious spleen' and a suicidal monomania. You may argue at least to see the man whom Everard now feared with a Frenchman on this point to the end of time might be the murderer of his brother, they were early without effect; you may prove by the eternal truths at the place of execution. The scaffold was erected of Cocker that he is wrong, and that the balance is in the Piazza Cavalcotojo; and the ambassador, though most heavily weighted on his own side; he will only he could not obtain permission for them to visit the laugh at your credulity, and ridicule your national prison, provided them with an order that secured them pertinacity. The thing is undeniable, according to an advantageous situation from which to view the last him. 'Have we not got fogs, and rain, and miasma, moments of the culprit. But early as they were, and swamps enough to infuse that profound disgust soldiers, who have their part in all such ceremonies on of life which is our national characteristic: ergo, the continent, lined the square, and crowds of lazza- must we not necessarily have the largest number roni and other curious spectators, eager to see how a of suicides ?' So the argument ends with a smile fellow-creature died, were already assembled.

and a shrug; perhaps with an epigram in addition; With difficulty the two friends reached their places; and the Frenchman leaves you saying to himself: and they were not long seated, before a murmur and Que ces Anglais sont bêtes !' movement among the crowd announced that the pro But a recently published work, crowned by the cession was at hand. A group of people approached ; Imperial Academy of Medicine,' and written by M. uniforms glittered in the sun, contrasting with the Lisle, ought to set the question of proportion at rest, black and gray robes of ecclesiastics; and, surrounded for this generation at all events. No man who careby the Bianchi, carrying crosses covered with black, fully masters the facts and reasonings of this work, they could just discern an uncovered head. De Rosny can doubt for a moment where lies the suicidal was silent; Everard could scarcely preserve the preponderance in Europe ; and where-adopting the semblance of composure; he felt as if the next few Frenchman's argument against himself—it must lie moments would reveal a terrible secret.

by the very nature of things: granting M. Lisle's The procession stopped behind the scaffold; and some causes and figures to be correct. minutes elapsed before the chief figure in this awful The book opens with the avowed intention of comscene ascended the steps, and appeared accompanied bating the doctrine that suicide is always a sign of by one of the padri assistenti, to whose assiduous minis- mental alienation. Sometimes, and often, of course, it trations, to judge by his attitude, he was attentively is; even giving a distinctive name to a certain species listening. After a few words spoken, the confessor of monomania ; but it is not always and necessarily appeared to give him his blessing, and then the so. Suicide, like every human fact, obeys fixed laws unhappy man raised his head to take his last look at as exactly as the course of the planets or the crystalthe world he was leaving.

lisation of salts; and year by year it can be confi"Ciel!' cried De Rosny, starting from his seat; and dently predicted how many out of a certain population as he did so, the eye of the criminal met his. A glance will commit suicide; in what proportion between the of recognition and indomitable resolution acknowledged sexes, and in what proportion between the inhabitants the acquaintance.

of the towns and the country; the means which will Krasinski !' murmured De Rosny, in a voice stifled be used, and, to an extent, what will be the moral or by agitation.

social causes of suicide being resorted to. Everard seized his arm, and, livid with emotion, rose The result of the writer's investigations, so far as too; then the eye turned on him, and quailed-Arthur England is concerned, is very far from corroboratory and Everard Edmonds might have been taken for of the opinion of Montesquieu and the national Gallic twins, they resembled each other so remarkably. belief touching our mortal ennui and our suicidal mono

'I read my brother's murder in his face !' he gasped mania. In France, from 1836 to 1852 inclusive, there out.

were 52,126 suicides, or a mean of 3066 a year; the De Rosny significantly bowed his head.

numbers rising steadily from 2340 in 1836, to 3674 in A moment more, and the signal was given; the 1852. From 1827 to 1830, the mean number had been tragedy of death was over; and the possessor of all only 1800 a year. Before 1836, the proportion was one those rare endowments was gone to account for the suicide for every 17,693 inhabitants; in 1836, it was

« AnteriorContinuar »