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I whispered a part of my misfortunes, but all the reply I received from him was—“ Try again, its nothing."
When we arrived in town, the ladies said they had headaches, and retired at once to their rooms; while I reached my house in a perfect fever, and dreamed all night of a lank-haired giant in spectacles, who yawned to devour me. Knowing my propensity to be late, I gave my servant orders to awaken me early, being determined to call in Piccadilly the following morning, at such an hour as should insure me an interview with Alicia.
Morning came, when, without giving myself time to fall into a reverie, I dressed and breakfasted; but, in my over anxiety to be in time, I got out of it altogether, for I paid my visit before any one was up; and in a sort of dogged desperation, arising from disappointment, occasioned in the last instance through my own inadvertency, I threw myself into a stage coach, and kept my appointment in the country.
Reader, canst thou call this Nothing ?
Whether thou canst or not, I would advise thee, if thou art a man in spectacles, in charity to thy fellows, not to thrust thyself on a tête-à-tête with which thine own head hath nothing to do; nor let the gaiety of a stranger's garment disgust thee with the poverty of thine own. The heiress that a man in spectacles thus prevented my marrying, hath since bestowed her riches on another.
REMINISCENCES OF MY LAST MORNING IN
ROME, MAY 26TH, 1834.
BY THE LADY E. S. WORTLEY.
It was in Rome, a glorious morn in May-
More glorious with its lustrous, long array
Of changeful lights, and splendour-streaming dyes,
And smiles of promise kindling earth and skies,
Than is our northern summer noontide, even
Outflashing, at its brightest, from mid Heaven !
It was in Rome, and spring and morning shed
Their smiles o'er that crown'd city of the dead;
Dark pageant of proud ruins, frowning tombs-
Dread, haughty shadows, and unearthly glooms !
And thoughts and feelings on the spirit press’d,
Intensely, yet still voicelessly confess d.
Strange startling contrasts evermore appear’d,
Till all one mystery seem’d, unpierced, unclear’d.
Those mighty contraries perplex'd the mind,
To deep reflection and dim dreams resign'd;
Spring, freshness, glory, dust, death, age, decay,-
Like night encircled visibly with day!
It was in Rome—our careful steps were bent
Unto a proud abode magnificent.
We enter'd a vast palace hall; around
Stood liveried followers; but no whispery sound
Broke on the stillness there, while we climb'd slow
The marble stairs that gleam'd like Alpine snow;
Labouring with many thoughts, those stairs I climb’d,
Yet not one thought irreverent or ill-timed;
For all were with one rigid circle bound,
And chain’d in contemplation most profound.
We onwards pass’d; at length a room we gain’d-
A chamber of some state, where canvass, stain'd
With gorgeous colours, hung around the walls,
And that rich pomp, which first attracts, then palls,
Was, but without profusion's waste, display'd -
Upon a low couch at one side was laid
An aged form—a woman-full in sight,
Propp'd up by pillows, while the laughing light
In all its morning brilliancy was shed
Upon that low, white, simple, humble bed ;
And the pale, venerable being, there
A prisoner bound by sickness, age, or care ;
of strength and hope long since had fled,
Wan was her cheek, and bow'd her stately head;
Yet in her eye a fire and eloquence
Lived still, quick, flashing, glowingly intense.
When I approach'd that bed, and took my stand
Beside it, she out-stretch'd a wither'd hand,
And graciously thus welcoming her guest,
Mine with a cordial courteousness she prest,
And while more bright and fervent grew her glance,
She spoke in the light tongue of distant France,
Though still with difficulty, as disuse
All powers of free expression did refuse
To lips full long estranged, long wean'd from words
That haply jarr'd the bruised heart's feeling chords ;
And sometimes as in half forgetfulness
She gently did her listening guest address
(Who on each low-breathed word attentive hung)
In the sweet accents of the Italian tongue;
And touching and most sad was her discourse,
While now she spoke with energetic force,
Now with a mournful plaintiveness that brought
A heavy, aching trouble to my thought,
And almost tears into mine eyes, that gazed
Now on that wan fine face to mine upraised,
And now to the imaged forms that hung around,
The forms of kings robed, scepter'd, ermined, crown'd,
And of proud women, with their stately brows
All diadem-wreath'd, those to whom this world's vows
Are paid, while in power's glorious flush and prime,
And pride's full sweep, and cancell'd in a time
Of harsh reverse, when they are fallen-undone,
Like that forsaken and forgotten One!
After a pause, she said to me,
Strange things in mine old age have come to pass ;
Oppression hath torn harshly from my side
All those most dear to me-by blood allied ;
And childless, friendless, hopeless, lorn, and drear,
I dwell deserted and heart-broken here,
All helpless and alone.” And as she spoke,
How her majestic sorrows stamp'd her look ;
And, oh! how piercing grew her thrilling tone,
As she repeated, “ I am here alone!
Yea! I am here alone, with none to assuage
The gathering ills and griefs of suffering age,
Unsoothed, unsolaced, wrong'd, oppress'd, bereft,
With none, but one poor child, by harshness left,
(Haply o’erlook’d) mine aged eyes to close,
And see me gather'd to my long repose !
Hopes, comforts, interests, props, and blessings gone.
Yea, I am here abandon'd and alone!”
And Constance, seated on her ground-form'd throne,
Might so have look'd, and spoken even so,
Placed on the summit of this wild world's woe!
Mine ears rang strangely with that dreariest sound,
Mine eyes glanced wanderingly in wonder around.
I look'd on her, who on the verge of death,
Seem'd in a world of dreams to live beneath,
Save when the painful present stung again,
In dark recoil, her fondly-working brain
To torturing recollection, gloom, despair-
Scattering those vision'd pomps of gorgeous air,
That seem'd to float and blaze and kindle round
In glory without parallel or bound !
My thought was of a thousand, thousand things,
And still it soar’d on strong and burning wings;
Nor might the solemn and majestic spot,
Where I beheld her, be that hour forgot!
That wond'rous, awful, consecrated place,
Where she had come to close her mortal race;
That place, the encircled with eternal gloom,
The uncrown'd, the vanquish’d, Oh! the desolate Rome!
The desolate Rome—the widow of a world,
Unto the depths of ruin darkly hurld,
Before her face—the sad survivor's face,-
orld of godlike spirits—that mightiest race, Whose likeness shall ne'er more be found on earth, Too old and worn for such a glorious birth!