Imágenes de páginas

Correspondence of a Lover.

and loosening my fainting grasp from the tree which had supported me, I flung myself on the earth.



After dinner the ladies retired. It was a beatiful evening -the sun was setting, and while the valley looked cold and gloomy below, there was a warmth and a light on the hills that lingered till a late hour; the obelisk caught the beams of the sinking day, and the variety of rays which the glass presented reminded me of Lord Byron's exquisite lines—

"The very glaciers have his colors caught,
And sunset into rose-hues sees them wrought."

We were not long left to ourselves, when Mr. T, with all that impatience which I knew so well to belong to love, followed them out. A sudden animation-an electric determination flashed through my heart at the moment, and I rushed out precipitately. There was a shrubbery at a little distance-I perceived he directed his steps towards it, and I followed. At length he was lost amongst the trees, but I followed still; I could discern him by the dying light walking hurriedly along, and I followed. At last I saw him pause"Perhaps," thought I," he knows I am here, suspects my attachment to Eleanor, and would have an interview-he shall be gratified." I ran forward towards the place-he stood alone-I passed him-he was silent. A little further on I perceived the object of his search-the ladies had assembled in this little wood, as the safest retreat in the absence of the gentlemen. I joined them that instant he was at my side-I offered Eleanor my arm, she accepted it, and leaning on Julia M— at the other side, we proceeded towards the obelisk. Her acquiescence in my wishes at that moment convinced me of what I never before presumed to thinkthat she loved me. I became nerved with supernatural strength-my heart exulted, and to that moment I owe all my happiness. By some chance Eleanor and I separated from the rest, who were all dispersed in different groups--a small pathway led into another part of the shrubbery-we entered it.

We were alone-the cold twilight made every thing appear more silent, and in that pause from the bustle and merriment we had left, I addressed her, I believe for the first time, with a fixed resolution. She was affected-I perceived her weep-heaven and earth! she wept for me!" Charles," she cried, as I sank on my knees before her, "Charles, we are

[ocr errors]

De Winza.

mutually miserable"-" No, my beloved Eleanor," I exclaimed, "I am no longer miserable, if you cease to be indifferent;" I uttered a thousand words of adoration, and as I caught her hand and pressed it to my lips, I heard a rustling amongst the leaves-I turned-my rival stood before



[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

"And such is the fate of our life's early promise,

So fleeting the spring-tide of joy we have known;
Each wave that we danced on at morning ebbs from us,
And leaves us at eve on the bleak shore alone!"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SECURE in the affection of each other, DE WINZA and IMMALINE were supremely blest. Days, weeks, and months rolled on in one continued round of happiness, and every succeeding day presented some new charm to the eyes of the enraptured lovers. Undisturbed by worldly cares, and free from those anxious solicitudes which destroy the serenity of ordinary life, they lived in that sweet commutation of FEELING and sentiment, which hearts, united like theirs, only can experience: for we may wander through the scenes of sensual gratification-we may sip every sweet, and cull every flower that hangs around the path of our earlier existence, but it is only in the bosom of domestic life we can enjoy the refined sensations of perfect happiness. And though the human heart be an instrument whose chords, like those of the Æolian lyre, vibrate to the breeze of every passion, yet in the calm retirement of wedded life, sweet are the tones of its melody--lovely, even when past, the recollection of its sweetness!

There is a halo of enjoyment round the domestic circle, which sheds a lustre upon all within the sphere of its influence. It presents a little world of its own formation, whose light is love, and whose atmosphere is happiness; and those who breathe it imbibe all the fervency of the one, and all the

De Winza.

purity of the other. In it all the grosser feelings of our nature become refined and softened; and the soul of man, flinging away the baser particles, which prejudice and custom had attracted, becomes purified and regenerated by the powerful effects of its redeeming principle.

To the female heart we are indebted for this mental emancipation. Born for the happiness of man, woman was formed in the express image of the Divinity; in her are concentred all that gives life its charm, and society its value; for him, the power of her genius is exercised-on him the wealth of her tenderness is lavished, and with more than eastern devotion, she kneels at the shrine of her idolatry Society is cold and spiritless where she is not present; conversation tame and languid, in which she is not a partaker. The light of every eye, and the charm of every heart, she circles in her orbit, a splendid luminary, giving life, and warmth, and animation to all around her!

In this state of mutual felicity, lived IMMALINE and DE WINZA. His father, who held a distinguished post under government, was too busily engaged in affairs of state to give any particular attention to the conduct of his son, whose frequent absence consequently escaped his observation. DR MONTFORD, after making some fruitless enquiries after his daughter, was compelled, by particular circumstances, to leave MADRID; so that every source of inquietude was closed, and the lovers enjoyed themselves in perfect security.

But this was of short duration;-war, with all its attendant evils, was about to spread its ravages through the land; and where peace and tranquillity reigned before, was now to become a scene of terror and desolation. The efforts of a foreign ascendancy had long been directed to the destruction of the ancient monarchy of Spain; and the armies of the military conqueror of France were now scattered over the country, holding in their possession every place of strength and importance. The king had abdicated the throne in favor of his son, and Ferdinand either wanted courage or ability to protect the trust that was committed to him. Such was the situation of affairs when the approach of the French emperor to the capital was announced. Immediately, all was terror and confusion; the inhabitants, to the number of fifty thousand, were resolved to protect their city or perish in its ruins; some of the ancient nobility, in whom the fire of patriotism and love of their country were not yet totally extinguished, put themselves at the head of a small body of

De Winza.

troops destined for the defence of the city, and every loyal heart beat with enthusiastic ardor to encounter the invaders of their rights, and avenge the insulted honor of their country.

DE WINZA, who held a commission in the Spanish Guards, was obliged to join his regiment, and committing IMMALINE to the care of a faithful domestic, with the intention of procuring a place of greater security for her within the walls, tore himself away. The day following their separation brought the French army to the gates of MADRID. So rapid and unexpected was their approach, that no regular plan of defence had been adopted; and the citizens in tumultuous crowds, were running through the streets, demanding to be led out to meet the enemy. A sort of provisional government had been formed, of which DE WINZA's father was a member, and every exertion was made to resist the invader.

During this state of terror and confusion, a flag of truce was sent in, calling on them to surrender, to which an immediate answer of defiance was returned, and it was with difficulty the officer who bore it could be saved from the fury of the populace, who threatened to tear him in pieces,-so great was their hatred and detestation of the French. Lines were instantly drawn round the city, and a heavy and incessant cannonade commenced;-in a short time, the suburbs were destroyed, and the city was closely invested. There was a strong party within, in the interests of the French Emperor, and they endeavoured to prevail on the magistrates and heads of the government to consent to a surrender, by representing the uselessness of opposing an undisciplined and unarmed multitude to a veteran army, flushed with conquest and confident of success. Their arts succeeded, and, on the third day, terms of capitulation were agreed on, and possession was taken of MADRID by the French troops.

In the mean time DE WINZA had been agitated by various apprehensions for the safety of IMMALINE;-St. AUBERT too had been absent from home for some time, and he had no one to whom he could communicate his fears. In the evening of the day on which the surrender was made, he left the city on foot, and proceeded with eager anxiety to the retreat of IMMALINE. On his way nothing presented itself but a scene of desolation; on every side the cruel ravages of destructive war were to be seen,-villages burned-vineyards destroyed-and grounds laid waste. With a foreboding heart he approached the home of all his hopes, but there

De Winza.

misery and woe awaited him; he found the gardens destroyed, the walls levelled, and the cottage smoaking in ruins!-Maddened to desperation, he rushed from one place to another, calling on the name of IMMALINE, but no vestige of her or of the domestics was any where to be seen. There was a little bower in the garden, where she was accustomed to sit with him in the cool of the evening; he flew there, but all was desolate and drear; the roses and jessamines which surrounded it were trampled to pieces, and every thing bore testimony of the presence of the destroyer. With an aching heart he was returning from the garden, when he perceived something lying on the walk, and stooping to examine it, recognised the body of his faithful Jaques, whom he had left to protect his beloved wife. He was apparently dead some time, and evident marks of violence were seen on various parts of his body; his left hand was cut off from the wrist, and in his right he grasped a stiletto which was stained with blood;-a pistol ball had penetrated his forehead, and his features were distorted by agony. No longer in doubt as to the fate of IMMALINE, DE WINZA threw himself in a fit of despair upon the ground, and, in the bitterness of his heart, cursed the hour he had left her, and the cruel circumstances that occasioned their separation. Then suddenly starting up, he flew to the neighbouring village, in hopes of obtaining some tidings of his beloved, but destruction had been there before him; all was in ruin,-the inhabitants had fed to the mountains on the approach of the French, or taken refuge in the city. He could meet with no one to direct him, and he returned, broken-hearted and despairing, to the blasted scene of his former joys.

The night was dark, and the wind whistled mournfully round him, as he traversed the well known path; large trees, felled for the purposes of firing, lay on either side, and the trampling of the enemy's cavalry was heard at a distance, mingled with the frequent sound of a bugle, or, at intervals, the solitary report of a cannon. The busy hum of the city had subsided, and a lonely stillness had succeeded to the tumult of the day. He again passed through the gardens, and seating himself on a fragment of stone, contemplated with mingled feelings of madness and despair, the broken memorials of his former happiness. There, on that spot, where devastation laid his darkening hand, he had sat with his beloved IMMALINE, and heard her pronounce those vows of love and fidelity which still hung fondly on his heart;



« AnteriorContinuar »