« НазадПродовжити »
came on, and in brief space the Atlantic was “speaking Dutch” at the bows of An Torc. The two Gaugers awoke skaithless on the wide sea: fear held them mute ; Dhomuil treated them kindly, stood across the Bay of Biscay, and giving them five pounds in dollars, landed them at Corunna.' By the pilotage of a Highland student going to Salamanca they reached Oporto ; thence to London ; and there ends the story of “ John Rose the Gauger."
THE WANDERING JEW'S TALE.
List awhile, and I will tell
As that which curses me :
(Great God ! 'tis agony!) Spiteful I struck the Lord of lords, And added then these scornful words : “ King of the Jews, support your tree! The vengeance of your blood shall be, If this is crime, repaid on me, And on my
And I a wand'rer lonely;
As I was branded only.
Dwell in my tortur'd soul ;
Prophetic thrill'd the whole
My words were most severe;
The lowly Saviour near!
'Twas I that urg'd and cried, Loudest amid ten thousand tongues, Heaping upon him wrongs on wrongs,
“ He must be crucified !"
When I had spoke, a silence dread
And then a murmuring hum,
And struck the Roman dumb ! To mercy still was he inclined'Twas then I hardened Pilate's mind,
"Twas then again I cried I know not what thus urged me on, To speak against the Almighty's Son
“ He must be crucified!”
Upon the deafened ear;
How had I cause to fear?
I kissed his cheek and bathed his brow;
Methinks I see his horror now:-
If the dread lightning, in its flashes,
This—this indeed is infamy!
Alas ! how dimly set the sun,
And murky rose the shades of night
That told the issue of the fight.
I marked where meteors hovered high,
Seek Herman and Amana's height,
And spare you sorrows infinite !"
The murmuring of despair ;
Whole armies in the air!
Did level and destroy
His chosen seat of joy!
Fair city! how thy princely bowers,
Fell by the Roman hand;
Outcast of every land!
Things ne'er to mortals known;
Appeared the sophist's stone,
Cold-cold within the tomb!
They singly met their doom !
Upon the harp's wild strings-
Oh! death has lent them wings;
THE PLEASURES OF MEAT SUPPERS.
He had bound her hands with a strong cord, and she sat passively upon a low wooden chair awaiting her fate: her long black hair hung damp and matted over her shoulders, and shaded the full symmetry of her unclothed bosom. Though her face was livid, and her eye glassy and fixed, with no expression unless that of uttermost despair, her transcendent, her almost unearthly beauty seemed unimpaired. At a short distance from this unmoving helpless human form was Ferdinand, stooping over the fire, and with his breath fanning the embers into a blaze. His shirt sleeves were rolled up to his shoulders, and every vein of his large muscular arms was swollen almost to bursting. He was busily engaged in watching the progress of a small iron bar, the end of which was thrust among the coals, and was heating to a red heat. Presently he turned towards the female, and in a calm low tone, frightfully contrasting with the maniac glare of his
eye, and livid hue of his face, he said, “Augusta; it is nearly ready. Prepare.” Though the victim appeared wrapt in a deathlike stupor the words of Ferdinand reached her sense.
Her features collapsed, her eyelids closed as if to shut out some terrible object, and a shiver con
vulsed her frame. But she spake not. The powers of volition, of resistance, of speech, were dead within her, and her body was a mass of still passiveness, of motionless inanity. You might have murdered her father or torn her infant into living fragments before her eyes, and, if even conscious of the deed, she would not have opposed it. The misery with which her soul was enveloped, rendered her insensible to the impression of external objects. Wretchedness was concentrated within herself. She was at the point where human nature cannot be conscious to a higher state of suffering. Never did a form in which lingered a spark of the vital principle wear so completely the semblance of death as that of Augusta, when the low husky tones of Ferdinand struck like a death sentence upon The man thought her lifeless, for, starting up, he scrutinized her features closely, exclaiming, “Ha!-by hell, she is dead, and has escaped me.” He seized her wrist, as if to search for a pulsation, but dropped the limb with a shudder of horror,—“Polluted wretch; I cannot touch thee.” He listened eagerly, but could distinguish no sound of respiration.
“ Then she is dead !-Yet let me be sure, quite sure. I would not lose my victim: no, no, she is far too precious.” A small looking-glass was near; he seized it, applied it to her white lips, and after
a while withdrew it. With savage glee he shouted when he saw the polished surface of the mirror faintly dimmed. “Ha, ha! the breath of life is there! right, right, my girl, live on yet longer: I have much need of thee. But how goes on my brave bit of iron?" he continued, as if speaking to himself; and, returning to the fire, he deliberately kneeled down to examine the bar which, for some mysterious purpose, he was heating.
The apartinent was illuminated by no other light than that of the embers in the grate. A red glare fell upon the persons of Ferdinand and his victim, leaving the boundaries of the room in deep shadow, and producing that peculiar effect which Rembrandt alone knows how to convey upon canvass.
The harsh dark features of Ferdinand, as he bent forward in his unhallowed occupation, seemed to quiver in their outline, and to vary into all kinds of monstrous forms and expressions as the flickering uncertain blaze altered the effects of light and shade. Now his countenance was elongated to preternatural and hideous dimensions; and anon its breadth was distorted into some foul shape of which words cannot give a description. Then, as the flame subsided for a moment, or shot
with renewed vigour, the head would vanish, or diminish, and become undefined, like an optical illusion, or the phantom of a sick man's dream, or would dilate and start into dreadful distinctness with some new and fiendish characteristic which left its image stamped in horror upon the brain, You could have fancied the face to be that of a goule, told of in eastern story as feeding upon the corruption of the grave.
The iron was now glowing. Ferdinand drew it forth with a ghastly smile of exultation, even such as we may image to have sat upon the grim visage of Milton's stupendous incarnation of Death, at the moment when the monster heard “his famine should be filled.” He looked at his victim, and at the instrument as if calculating its efficiency for his purpose. “ The heat may be too fierce,” he muttered.