Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

and the widow felt an interest in, before she had seen, Corporal Van Spitter, from the account of his “ moving accidents by flood and field.”

But if prepossessed in his favour before she saw him, what did she feel when she first beheld the substantial proportions of Corporal Van Spitter! There she beheld the beau ideal of her imagination—the very object of her widow's dreams-the antipodes of Vanslyperken, and as superior as “ Hyperion to a Satyr." He had all the personal advantages, with none of the defects, of her late husband; he was quite as fleshy, but had at least six inches more in height, and in the eyes of the widow the Corporal Van Spitter was the finest man she ever had beheld, and she mentally exclaimed, “ There is the man for my money;" and, at the same time, resolved that she would win him. Alas ! how short-sighted are mortals ; little did the corporal imagine that the most untoward event in his life would be the cause of his being possessed of ease and competence. The widow received him most graciously, spoke in no measured terms against Vansly. perken, at which the corporal raised his huge shoulders, as much as to say, “ He is even worse than you think him," was very violent against Snarleyyow, whom the corporal, aware that it was no mutiny, made no ceremony in “ damning in heaps," as the saying is.

The widow begged that he would feel no uneasiness, as he should remain with her till the cutter returned; and an hour after the first introduction, Corporal Van Spitter had breakfasted with, and was actually sitting, by her request, on the fubsy little sofa, in the very place of Vanslyperken, with Frau Vandersloosh by his side.

We must pass over the few days during which the cutter was away. Widows have not that maiden modesty to thwart their wishes, which so often prevents a true love tale from being told. And all that the widow could not tell, Babette, duly instructed, told for her, and it was understood, before the cutter's arrival, that Corporal Van Spitter was the accepted lover of the Frau Vandersloosh. But still it was necessary that there should be secrecy, not only on account of the corporal's being under the command of the lieutenant, who, of course, would not allow himself to be crossed in his love without resenting it, but also, because it was not advisable that the crew of the Yung. frau should not be permitted to spend their money at the Lust Haus. It was, therefore, agreed that the lieutenant should be blinded as to the real nature of the intimacy, and that nothing should take place until the cutter was paid off, and Corporal Van Spitter should be a gentleman at large.

Independent of the wisdom of the above proceedings, there was a secret pleasure to all parties in deceiving the deceiver Vanslyperken. But something else occurred which we must now refer to. The corporal's residence at the widow's house had not been unobserved by the Jesuit, who was the French agent in the house opposite, and it appeared to him, after the inquiries he had made, that Corporal Van Spitter might be made serviceable. He had been sent for and sounded, and it was canvassed with the widow whether he should accept the offers or not, and finally it was agreed that he should, as there would be little or no risk. Now it so happened that the cor

poral had gone over to the Jesuit's house to agree to the proposals, and was actually in the house conversing with him, when Vanslyperken arrived and knocked at the door. The corporal ascertaining who it was by a small clear spot left in the painted window for scrutiny, begged that he might be concealed, and was immediately shown into the next room by a door, which was hid behind a screen. The Jesuit did not exactly shut the door, as he supposed he did, and the corporal, who wondered what could have brought Vanslyperken there, kept it ajar during the whole of the interview and the counting out of the money. Vanslyperken left, and as he shut the other door the corporal did the same with the one he held ajar, and took a seat at the other end of the room, that the Jesuit might not suspect his having overheard all that had passed.

Now the Jesuit had made up his mind that it was better to treat with the principal than with a second, and therefore did not further require the services of Corporal Van Spitter. He told him that the lieutenant having received private information that one of the people of the cutter had been seen at his house, and knowing that he was the French agent, had come to inform him that if he attempted to employ any of his men in carrying letters, that he would inform against him to the authorities. That he was very sorry, but that after such a notice he was afraid that the arrangements could not proceed. The corporal appeared to be satisfied, and took his final leave. No wonder, therefore, that the widow and Babette were on the watch, when they saw Vanslyperken enter the house, at the very time the corporal was there also.

The corporal went over to the widow's, and narrated all that he had heard and seen.

“ Why, the traitor !” exclaimed the widow.
“ Yes, mein Gott !” repeated the corporal.
“ The villain, to sell his country for gold.”
“ Yes, mein Gott !" repeated the corporal.
“ Fifty guineas, did you say, Mynheer Van Spitter?"
“ Yes, mein Gott!" repeated the corporal.

« Oh, the wretch !-well,” continued the widow, “ at all events he is in your power.”

“ Yes, mein Gott ”
“ You can hang him any day in the week.”
6 Yes, mein Gott!"

“ Ho, ho! Mr. Vanslyperken :-well, well, Mr. Vanslyperken, we will see," continued the widow, indignant at the lieutenant receiving so large a sum, which would otherwise have been, in all probability, made over to Corporal Van Spitter, with whom she now felt that their interests were in common.

“ Tousand tyfels !" roared the corporal, dashing his foot upon one of the flaps of the little table before them with so much force, that it was broken short off and fell down on the floor.

“ Hundred tousand tyfels !" continued the corporal, when he witnessed the effects of his violence.

Although the widow lamented ber table, she forgave the corporal with a smile ; she liked such proofs of strength in her intended, and

she, moreover, knew that the accident was occasioned by indignation at Vanslyperken.

“ Yes, yes, Mr. Vanslyperken, you'll pay me for that,” exclaimed she ; “ I prophecy that before long you and your nasty cur will both swing together.”

The corporal now walked across the little parlour and back again, then turned to the widow Vandersloosh, and with a most expressive look slowly muttered,

“ Yes, mein Gott !"

After which he sat down again by the side of the widow, and they had a short consultation ; before it was over, Corporal Van Spitter declared himself the deadly enemy of Lieutenant Vanslyperken ; swore that he would be his ruin, and ratified the oath upon the widow's lips. Alas! what changes there are in this world!

After which solemn compact the corporal rose, took his leave, went on board, and reported himself, as we have stated in the preceding chapter.

(To be continued.)

THE SOUTH BREEZE.

“ Piangendo il dico; e tu piangendo scrivi.”—PETRACA.
“ SPEAK to me, breeze of the southern sky,

Passing like light o'er earth.
Of thy wanderings tell me, stranger bright,

In the distant land of thy birth.
I fancy thee spirit! beautiful-

With thoughtful and deep soft eyes,
With tresses gleaming like streams of gold,

With a voice like Love's first sighs.
I image thee with a pale broad brow,

And a smile most sadly sweet;
With a form like the moonlight silver shroud,

And a foot as the roebuck fleet."

A voice from the depth of the south breeze broke,

Like the sound of the distant wave:
Yet musical as the wind-woke harp,

And sad, as from young Hope's grave.
“ Ah! would'st thou ask me from whence I come?

From the groves of yon radiant sky,
I was sent by the 'hest of immortal Love,

To this world where all things die !

I have wandered amid those starry spheres,

Where the holy dead await,
In a dream of rapture, the trumpet-dirge

That shall burst heaven's jasper gate.
I have traversed the wilds of the mighty sea,

I have passed thro' the glad green earth;
I have breathed a smile on the barren land,

And beauty I've called into birth.
I have scattered fragrance and life around,

But youth from my soul has fled;
The lustre hath passed from my weary eyes,

For I have gazed on the loved and dead.
I joyed to flit through the woodlands green,

Where the lambs and the light fawns play:
But with man I have found such misery,

That from his haunts I passed away.
Yet I lingered awhile in the beauty's bower,

'Mid the waves of her raven hair;
For I thought, if peace in this world may rest,

'Tis sure in a shrine so fair !
I showered my sweets on her bridal morn,

As she passed with an ardent lover ;
But I saw by her tearful eye, what her heart,

Though broken, dare not discover.
I passed through a city's crowded ways,

And I heard of victorious fight,
The conquerors bore on a brazen shield,

A laurell’d and steel-clad knight.
But I saw on the vaunted battle-field

Young hearts that at morn beat high
Dead and forgotten-so soon, so soon,

Do love and remembrance die?
I paused to hark to the poet's lyre-

His soul like the glowworm's light
Flings a glory around its darksomeness,

But it warms not, that halo bright.
There are clouds I find on the disk of love,

E'en hatred hath learned to smile;
The lip and eye to the heart are false,

And nature seems wed with guile.
I loathe this earth for its earthliness,

And though I am homeward bound,
I blush to breathe to Eternal Love,

Of the sinful world I have found.
Yet still I have one bright offering

At the mercy seat to lay :
One gem for my Sovereign's coronal

One hope I have borne away.
'Tis the tear of a lowly penitent,

The prayer of a contrite heart;
Farewell, farewell! till for ever we meet
In my land-where no friends shall part.

H. E. H. August 1836.- VOL. XVI.—NO. LXIV.

A

[ocr errors]

STRAY LEAVES FROM THE DIARY OF A COURTIER.

Surely I may number among the brightest years of my existence, the time I spent at the court of our well-beloved sovereign, the Elector of

Small as was the portion that he owned of the German soil, he had invested his little court with a dignity that would have shamed that of Berlin, or even of Vienna. True, the excellent man had his eccentricities, but his heart was a good honest heart, after all; and, if he was a little severe to-day, he would make it up the next by some pension or some privilege, when one least expected it. He had a taste for surprising people in this way, and found an innocent pleasure in it. At any rate, I am sure that when the great reckoning of our sins and virtues comes to be made, the balance of the latter will be decidedly in his favour. But I never moralized in this or any other way at the time I speak of; for a colonel of thirty-two, as I then was, with a tolerably handsome figure, (and one that he perhaps values more than its due,) is not much given to philosophy. I took things as they were, and enjoyed myself accordingly.

My memory still retraces, with the most vivid exactness, all the little events and feelings I experienced at the first ball I went to at court, after the close of a successful campaign, which had bestowed upon me the title I was so proud of bearing. To find oneself thus suddenly, after the toils of war, beneath the gilded roof of a palace, with no other enemy before one than the beautiful eyes that flashed fire from the greatest quantity of lovely women I had ever seen assembled, together with the intoxicating effects of the music, and the powerful charm of novelty, mixed with the consciousness that I was myself looked upon with some degree of interest, each and all of these circumstances were calculated to turn a stronger head than mine. At first, the lights seemed to dance before me, as if they partook of the general hilarity, and I advanced into the room like a man under the influence of a pleasant dream, half reeling, half groping his way. By-and-by, the elector called me to him, asked with concern if I still felt any effects from my wound, if I was ill, and so forth. I hastily recomposed myself, assured him I was not, and after he had graciously bid me take out the princess to dance, when the present waltz should be over, I moved onwards, the circle about him respectfully making way for me on account of the favour I had received, and proceeded to ask the first acquaintance I met, to point out the princess, alleging, as an excuse for my ignorance, that, for the last seven or eight years, I had been garrisoned in the provinces, and that she had, in the mean time, grown up from a child to a woman. After he had given me the necessary information, I waited in a corner of the room till she flitted past me in the waltz, endeavouring

« НазадПродовжити »