Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

sigh, stretched forth his arm and drew aside the cuttain. When his dark eyes met those of Miss Cecil, he felt an unusual emotion at his breast; an emotion of gratitude, hope, and dread. She arose ; and, gently. advancing nearer to him, inquired in a trembling voice -which too plainly expressed the interest which she took in his situation how he found hiinself. He replied, that he was better than he wished to be; for the feelings of his mind were more than he could endure with fortitude. If my adversary dies,” continued he, “ and I survive, even should I escape the punishment of the law, I shall ever be wretched at the recollection of so dreadful an effect of my credulity and rashness.” He was proceeding to give Miss Cecil a narrative of the correspondence between him and Miss Granville; first, expressing his anxiety and doubts about the mystery which enveloped the whole affair ; when Julia interrupted him, by saying, that she knew it too well, and long ago had warned her cousin of its evil effects. “But," continued she, “ had I felt the most distant foreboding of this its fatal conclusion, I would have used commands instead of entreaties, to have stopped the deception.” “ Deception! How, Madam, was it a deception ? Surely I am a stranger to your friend! What could be her meaning ?" “ An idle frolic, without design or end, but to entertain herself. She thought to amuse her whimsical moments with an adventure, which certainly was innocent, though imprudent. She conceived that she could lay it aside whenever she pleased; but, alas ! how agonizingly otherwise has been its termination !""

Agonizing indeed! Most probably, she has rendered both her own heart and mine miserable for life. Horrid as must be my feelings, yet how much more racking must be bers, when she recollects, that it was her conduct that put the sword in my hand, and plunged it into the bosom of her affianced husband! Could she imagine, that any man would receive such letters as

those which she wrote to me, and not feel his whole soul fired with curiosity ? At least, the impetuosity of my nature spurned at restraint; and my impatience hurried me to the coffee-house, where I watched till her servant called for my letter : when he returned home, I followed him; and these, these, are the overwhelming consequences !” His strength was exhausted, and he sunk back on his pillow. Julia, conscious that she was hurting the man, for whom—the feelings of her heart too forcibly told her she felt that in reality which her cousin so fatally feigned, hastily arose ; and, entreating him to compose his mind, said she would snatch the first opportunity to impart the truth of the melancholy story to Cavendish ; whose principal danger, she believed, rested on the tortured state of his spirit. He caught her hand; and, fervently pressing it, she darted out of the room, the soft touch of his hand thrilling to her inmost soul. In the evening, she sent up her affectionate compliments to Mr. Cavendish; and, if he would admit her, she would be happy to watch an hour by him alone. He replied, that he wished much to see her. She ascended the stairs, her heart beating with hope and fear of the effects of what she was going to reveal. When she entered his chamber, and drew near his bed, she beheld the late blooming Frederick pale as marble: the effulgent lustre of his azure eye was almost extinguished : the last gleams of its fading light seemed resting on the dark horizon of death, as if to take a last view of the world, and sink for ever. He laid his burning hand on hers; and gazed at her with an expression that needed no explanation; it penetrated to her heart, and she burst into tears. Recovering herself, she said, “ Mr. Cavendish, will you can I hope for your pardon? I have been, in a great part, the cause of the dismal scene that is now before me.” You, Julia ! How ? For Heaven's sake, explain ; and either dissipate my suspicions, or convince me they are true, and end my

[ocr errors]

tortures by killing me. O! is Serena unworthy of my love ?" Miss Cecil with a faltering voice, interrupted by many showers of tears, revealed the whole transaction; only a little altering the truth, by as much as possible meliorating the folly of her friend, and taking the blame on herself. When she ended, the dejected orbs of Frederick beamed with renovated radiance; he clasped his hands in an extasy of joy. “O! my God, I thank thee! Julia, my kind friend! fly to my unhappy Serena; tell her that I forgive her ; speak peace to her suffering soul; and tell her to live for me. Το know that my dear girl is innocent, and yet fondly loves me, has infused new life into my dying frame. Fly, my dear Julia, and render your sweet friend as happy as myself!” She rose, her eyes overflowing with tears of rapture; and, advancing to the door, turned back two or three steps, and faintly breathed, in a trembling voice, “ And may I not also tell the unfortunate Wade, that you forgive the rashness which, in endangering your existence, has brought himself to the verge of the grave ?" “Yes, Julia; tell him every thing that you would wish me to say.

Julia flew to the chamber of Miss Granville; her delirium was subsided; but it had left on her languid frame a slow fever, and on her mind a deep and settled melancholy. Miss Cecil, with some difficulty, gained her cousin's attention. Notwithstanding her utmost precaution, the unexpected and blissful intelligence Rendered her almost Frantic with joy. Nothing now was wanting, but the recovery of all parties, to make them perfectly happy. A few weeks gave once more strength to their limbs, and beauty to their features : Health cast her dazzling rays around their forms; so powerful an effect had the serenity of their minds over the composure of their frames. Frederick Cavendish, and Richard Wade, entered the drawing-room together. Serena, overwhelmed with consciousness, burst into tears, and flung herself on the breast of her cousin,

Her lover flew forward : and gently raising her from her bosom, encircled his graceful arms around her yielding waist; and, while his tears mingled with hers, imprinted the hallowed kiss of pardon and affection on her trembling lips.

The sympathizing heart of Julia heaved almost to bursting, and the lucid drops of extatic emotion fell on her ivory arms; when the well-known touch of the soft hand of Richard Wade, roused her from her blissful trance. She raised her swimming eyes, and beheld the man whom she adored kneeling at her feet. His eloquent eyes spoke a thousand tender things; his tongue could only utter, « Beloved Julia !” The crimson blush of delight and confusion suffused her face and panting bosom. She felt sick; and fell, almost fainting, on the arm of the sophạ. Are you offended ?” asked he, in a scarcely articulate voice. “O, no!" was all she could utter, as she gently returned the fervent pressure of his hand.

A week after this happy ecclaircissement gave the hand of Serena to Frederick Cavendish ; and that of Julia to the enraptured Richard Wade.

I shall not attempt to point out the moral of this little tale ; it is too obvious to require an explanation. I shall only add, that as imprudence is almost a constant property of youth, it is a frailty of disposition which ought to be most carefully corrected. A little reflection will convince the mind, that from the slightest failures on that side, the greatest and most dreadful consequences have frequently proceeded.

SUPERFICIAL OBSERVERS.

Watts.

T

THERE are some persons that never arrive at any

deep, solid, or valuable knowledge, in any science, or any business of life, because they are perpetually fluttering over the surface of things, in a curious or wandering search of infinite variety; ever hearing, reading, or asking after something new, but impatient of any labour to lay up and preserve the ideas they have gained; their souls may be compared to a looking-glass, that wheresoever you turn it, it receives the images of all objects, but retains none.

THE WHISTLE.

Franklin.

WHI

for one.

HEN I was a child, at seven years old, my

friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children ; and being charmed with the sound of a whistle that I met by the way, in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money

I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and they laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried

« НазадПродовжити »