Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

park had been let to a farmer, who neighborhood, and he was very had converted the whole to the rich, and was come of a very anpurposes of agricultore. The house cient and great family himself; but exhibited the same symptoms of somehow, as I have heard my father neglect : the farmer's family inha- say, he was never for good. He bited one wing-but in the rest of had always a hard and cruel heart. the house the windows had been When he was a child, it was his debricked up

The whole conveyed light to torture flies and worms, and the idea of decay, and the swallows he would take the young birds from and other birds had taken undis- the nests, and torment thein to enturbed possession of the turrets and joy the misery of the old ones; and the chimney-tops. Some of the when he grew to be a man, all his great rooms were converted into delight was in badger-baiting, cocka granaries, and the principal hall fighting, or any sport that would was made a receptacle for the far- enable him to indulge his cruel namer's carts, &c.

ture. He was also very fond of "I expressed curiosity to know matching dogs to fight, and he kept the cause why so magnificent a re- bull-dogs that were the terror of the sidence should have been so aban- neighborhood. He had one, in pardoued, and the farmer, to whom I ticular, which was reckoned to have applied for information, told me that more courage than any dog that had the last resident possessor was Sir ever been seen in this country, and William Herbert ; that since his he had gained Sir William a great death it had been twice let to occa- deal of money by the wages that sional inhabitants, but that neither he had laid on him. One day, a of the families had stayed more than neighboring gentleman, who had a few nights; and that the present long been a sort of rival to Sir Wilowner had given orders to dispose liam in every way, boasted at a of the grounds on a lease to any of public dinner that he had procured the neighboring farmers, and to let a dog that he would match against the house be included in the agree- his, which was now considered alment with them. 'I am surprised,' most invincible.

Sir William acsaid I, 'that so lovely a spot should cepted the offer, and laid very large not have attracted the attention of sums of money on his dog, and some one who would have rescued day was fixed, and many of the it from its present state, and I won neighboring gentlemen were invited der that its owner should have so to see the sport, as they called it. little taste as thus to abandon-so The dogs were set at each other, delightful a possession.'

and a more obstinate fight had nc"Why, madam,' replied the far- ver been seen. They were both mer, it is a long story, and it hape creatures of wonderful strength and pened a great many years ago, but, power, and both stanch in their as you seem curious, if you will way. The contest lasted very long, walk in and rest yourself I will tell and the poor brutes were excited by you all about it.

their cruel masters to continue it, «•It was before my time, for I though they had hardly strength was a little boy when Sir William left to crawl to each other. At last died, but my father was his hunts, the victory was decided ; Sir Wilman and lived at the manor-house, liam's dog was completely exhaustand I have heard all the particulars ed, and lay bleeding and breathless often enough from him. This Sir on the ground, and no effort could William, mądam, was a fine portly induce him to return to the attack. gentleman as ever you saw, and the The other dog was declared the ladies all round admired him, and conqueror, and was carried oil he might have chosen a wife from amidst shouts of triumph from the any of the great families in the human brutes who had witnessed

his prowess. My father, who was but others said, that the family had present, said he turned towards Sir all been alarmed by noises at midWilliam at that moment, and was night, and nobody has ever since terrified at his countenance : he that staid long there. I myself put looked almost mad with rage and no faith in this sort of stories, but disappointinent ; his face was swol- many of the neighbors will tell you, len and black with passion, and his that long after Sir William's death eyes seemed bursting from their horrid sounds were heard, at the sockets. He took from one of his hour of twelve at night, from the attendants á loaded hunting-whip, room in which he was laid before and called to the miserable dog to the funeral. The noises were said come to him. The wretched ani- to resemble the howlings of a dog, mal heard the voice of his master, mixed with the cries of a human beand, though nearly blind, and hard- ing in the last extremity of agony. ly able to drag himself across the What they might have been I do floor, he yet crawled to his foot, and not know, but the house is quiet licked the hand that was extended enough now, yet I never go to that to seize him. : My father, madam, part of the mansion myself, and I could never tell the story without a do not much like to talk or think shudder of horror : but Sir William about it. None of the family have held the animal fast in one hand, been here since, and the large tombwbile with the other he flogged him stone that faces the great pew in with the hunting-whip, wbich he the church was put up in memory never let go till the miserable crea- of Sir William by his successor, ture had breathed his last in agony. This, madaın, is the history, and Several gentlemen who stood round, this is the reason why the house was and cried shame on him, had made at first neglected, until now, as you ineffectual attempts to stop his cruel see, it is only fit for a farm-house, arm, but he was infuriated; he and we have lived very comfortably foamed at the mouth with rage. At in it, much more happily than ever the moment when the dog had re- Sir William did, I am sure.' ceived his last stroke, one of them “ Now this account, at the time caught his arm to stop him. Sir I heard it, had certainly shocked William turned round to make a me as far as respected the awful deadly blow at him with the butt- death of Sir William ; but the latter end of the whip, when, in one cio- part of it I thought absurd in the ment, the blood gushed from his extreme, for, my good friends, I mouth, nose, and ears, in a conti- wes not then either nervous or sunued torrent. He fell to the earth, perstitious ; but, at the moment I never to rise from it more a living speak of, alone in a church, I felt man, but there he lay a swollen and that my mind was weakened, and I discolored corpse.

In his fury he determined not to look at the tomb, had burst a blood-vessel, and his or to think of the story. I comlite and his cruelties ended together. posed myself as well as I could, and

6 6 The title and estate went to a fell into a sort of doze, which I imagentleman who was a second or gined lasted some time, for, when I third cousin, and he lived some- awoke, the moon had risen, and was where in foreign parts, as his wife now high in the heavens, pouring a was not in good health, and was not flood of softened radiance through able to bear the changeable weather the Gothic windows on a part of the in England. : The house was after church, while the other was left in a while let tó a nobleman's family, dark shadow, I rose from my rebut they only staid two days, and clining position, to make some were off the third morning ; some change in the arrangement of my say, because my lady did not like cushions, and perceived that the the sight of the bleak mountains, - light was thrown most strongly ou

the tomb, on which I had previously my recumbent posture, determined resolved not to look ; but, as I dare to examine the tomb myself, and to say you may some of you have ex- be convinced that my mind had perienced at times, we feel our- been under a temporary derangeselves irresistibly impelled to look ment. I stood up; I looked to the at, or think of, those things from door of the pew, when, oh dreadful which we would most wish to with- sight ! the same ghastly and horrid draw our attention, so I felt, I know face met my view, as the spectre not how, a strange impulse to fix leaned over it, with its glaring eyes my eyes upon this tomb, on which fixed on mine. My sensations I reclined the sculptured figure of Sir have hardly words to describe : by Wiliam, nearly as large as life. no power could I withdraw my eyes

“While my eyes remained, as it from this object ; for hours did I rewere, fastened on this object, could main thus spell-bound ; I felt as if I be deceived by the shadows of the blood bad congealed in my the moonlight, or did I in reality veins ; my temples ached with inperceive a moving form apparently tense agony, and every hair on my rising from that tomb ? Ah no! it head felt as if it was endued with a

was no vision of the imagination : I living power, and was moved by e distinctly saw a long lean arm raised some invisible mechanism. I felt

above the sepulchre, and, a moment that my senses were deserting me,

afterwards, the ghastly apparition but I was not mad; for through that : of a human face, pale, wild, and un- long and dreadful night did I disy earthly, glared on me with eyes ex- tinctly hear the hours told by the

pressive of misery and despair. I church clock, which returned in : stood unable to move a limb; every dismal echoes to my ear. Horror

faculty of body and mind seemed at last became despair ; I rose in frozen up in horror. The spectre frantic wildness to rush from my advanced a step from the monument, prison, when again did the spectre and in that moment my senses were utter that soul-appalling sound, almost paralysed by the most heart- Every object, the church, the morending sound that ever appalled a numents, seemed to rock and reel mortal ear. It was the yell of des- around me, my eyes emitted sparks pair—it was the cry of human sut- of fire, and from that moment I lost fering, with a strange and horrible all recollection of many weeks of mixture of the agony of a dying ani- my existence. mal. I sank down totally overpow “My story appears terrific, and ered: all that I had heard recurred it was indeed truly so to me, and to my mind, which became a chaos yet the events were in reality very of terror and superstitious alarms, common, and such as, had my mind, and I lost all consciousness of the instead of being in a state of erhorrors that surrounded me in a citement and terror, been capable temporary insensibility.

of calm investigation, wouid not to "I know not how long I remained me have been the cause of such in this state almost approaching protracted suffering. The next death, but, when I in some degree morning, the woman who had the recovered myself, I found that I had care of sweeping the church came fallen on the floor of the pew, and, to it early to prepare it for the apas my mind was gradually restored proaching service, and she found to recollection, I endeavored to per- me raving in a paroxysm of delisuade myself that I had been de- rium, and the poor innocent cause luded by a phantom of the imagina- of my fear himself terrified and tion. I thought how often we are alarmed. He was a pauper belongvictims to our over-excited fancies. ing to a village some miles distant ; My senses might have been bewil- he was born deaf and dumb, and dered ; I might only have dream- had, as he grew up, been found to ed, In this idea, I slowly rose from be also an idiot. His parents had

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

supported him decently while they “I remained long on a bed of lived ; but, on their death, the care suffering. A frenzy fever left me of him had devolved on the parish. reduced to almost infantine weakHe had grown old in poverty, sick- ness.

Of its effects on me corponess, and dependence : but he was really and mentally you may judge, perfectly harmless, and the neigh, when I tell you, that when I enterboring farıners never refused him a ed that church my hair was brown meal. Frequently in the summer and glossy as the chesnut, and that season he wandered around for days when I rose from my bed it was together, taking his . scanty food grey as you now see it. My limbs, froin the hand of charity, and his which were strong and agile, have nightly rest in barns or outhouses. ever since trembled with paralysis ; It was supposed that he had wan- and my mind, which was once dered into the church, where he had cheerful, energetic, and couragefallen asleep ; and when he awoke, ous, is now, as you observe, subhe was the unconscious cause to dued to such weakness, as to have me of terror never to be forgotten, been overpowered at the idea of by his meagre and ghastly appear- passing the night in a church, though ance, and his horrid and uncouth surrounded by friends and protectattempts at articulation,

ors.

THE LATE REVOLUTION IN BELGIUM.

BY AN EYE-WITNESS. Dr. Porter is a native of Bruges, reign of a constitutional monarch, and the head of a noble family of he seems to have abandoned theolocompetent fortune. He is about forty gy and history for politics, and 10 years of age, short in stature, dry in have engaged warmly in the controtemperament, perfectly bald, with versies of the day. Belgiuin was a an acute expression of countenance. complainant : it had never ceased His youth has been a studious one : to be so under the present king, during Napoleon's iron reign, he from the time he was imposed upon spent his time in Italy—at Rome them by the allies. Her grievances chiefly, where he had free admis- were not serious, but they were sion to the records of the Vatican. vexatious, and, above all, the BelHe has since, in his History of the giaos felt that. Holland was preierCwrch, and in his life of Scipio de red by the Dutch king, and that a Ricci (translated by Mr. T. Roscoe, full measure of justice was not dealt and published by Colburn), made out to it. The Belgians are a jeasuch a use of these researches, as lous and irritable race, and it was an to subject him to the charge of un- unlucky measure to couple thema fairness. The friends of the church with a rival people, under an alien have urged, he would never have sovereign, and what is more, a hebeen permitted to peruse and copyretic. De Potter took

up

the the documents he has availed him- of his countrymen, and all that man self of, had be not given the Court could do by pamphlet and newspa. of Rome to understand that his per, he did. "He may be said to views were friendly. His reputation have been an agitator, but he took at Rome stood deservedly bigh : in none of the measures of the great the absence of the Belgian ambas- Irish disturber ; he neither made sador, his friend, he officiated in his speeches aor went on missions, but place, and altogether, from his birth, at last he proposed a rent, and was fortune, talents and learning, bore banished for it. Certain members a high consideration at Rome. of the States, who had voted against

On his return home, under the ministers, were turned out of the

cause

posts they filled, and some were de- strictions imposed by a protestant prived of pensions. De Potter pro- court, suggested a union-an alliposed that a fund should be es ance offensive and defensive-hetablished to indemnify all persons tween the two great factions. The who suffered for patriotism's sake : party thus united became so strong he was already in prison for a libel both in the States and in the counon the government, and he was now try, and the war of the journals so brought out to be tried for a conspi- severe upo the obnoxious minisracy and high treason. In less than ters, that it was determined by the three months after his condemna- government to employ a sort of coup. tion, he and his two advocates were d'état, and put down the organ of the chiefs of the provisional govern- these discontents, conceiving that ment, established on the ruins of when the mouth-piece had been tathe authority that persecuted him. ken away, the complainants thern-... This circumstance alone is a strong selves would sink into silence. indication of the immediate causes They availed themselves of the very of the revolution in Belgium. first pretext, and brought the chief

The history of the remote causes scribe, De Potter, to trial for con. is long and tedious, and we feel con- spiracy and high treason, and fident in saying, that though some with a view to sow disunion in a grounds existed for complaint, there party already too strong, they seizwere none to justify a revolution, ed upon his private correspondence, and none which would of themselves

upon that of his intimate friend Tuihave roused the country to resist lemans, and published them. ance. The prorimaie causes were of

De Potter was no sooner cona more inflammatory nature : they demned, than the ministers continuarose out of the tyranny and injus ed the prosecution of the journals. tice used towards the press. The In thirty days a libel per diem was press is a terrible enemy, for it lives attacked ; these libels were containupon its griefs; the very strokes of ed in seven different newspapers. arbitrary power which shake it in It was now, while these atlairs were one direction, in another sense pending, that the French revolution afford it the most animating and ex- broke out. Can it be doubted that citing sustenance.

the public mind, inflamed by the at'The first overt act committed tacks on the press, was in a fit state against the press, by the govern to receive any violent. impression ? ment, was the sending two French The newspapers, in expectation of men out of the country for a squib fine, imprisonments, and destrucor satire of some kind. The iniqui- tion, were naturally prepared to ty of this measure was pointed out push the people to any step which in very strong terms, by Ducpetiaux might screen themselves, and proand De Potter, in the different jour- duce an amendment of the law unnals of the day; they were tried der which they wrote.

The inand imprisoned for it. They were flammability of the public feeling convicted by a law against sedition, was, however, only skin deep ; it which was promulgated on Napo- had no profound or pressing causes; leon's return from Elba, and which and the country enjoyed all essenhad been intended to serve a tem- tial advantages; it had never been in porary purpose in those dangerous an equal state of prosperity : trade, times. De Potter was utterly un- commerce, and the arts were fouraffected by imprisonment; on the ishing, and the improvement in the contrary, it left him time for unin- means and manner of living, within terrupted labors. He became still the last five years, has been extramore assiduous in his vocation. The ordinary. At the same time, the persecution of the liberals, and the clumsy policy of the government discontent of the priests, under re- had left grievances, great in name,

« НазадПродовжити »