صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني



Romantic and Miscellaneous.

AUGUSTUS DARVELL. In the year 17—, having for some time determined on a journey through countries not hitherto much frequented by travellers, I set out, accompanied by a friend, whom I shall designate by the name of Augustus Darvell. He was a few years my elder, and a man of considerable fortune and ancient family-advantages which an extensive capacity prevented him alike from un. dervaluing or overrating. Some peculiar circumstances in his private history had rendered him to me an object of attention, of interest, and even of regard, which neither the reserve of his manners, nor occasional indications of inquietude at times nearly approaching to alienation of mind, could extinguish.

I was yet young in life, which I had begun early; but my intimacy with him was of a recent date : we had been educated at the same schools and university ; but his progress through these

[blocks in formation]

had preceded mine; and he had been deeply initiated into what is called the world, while I was yet in my noviciate. While thus engaged, I bad heard much both of his past and present life; and although in these accounts there were many and irreconcilable contradictions, I could still gather from the whole that he was a being of no common order, and one who, whatever pains he might take to avoid remark, would still be remarkable. I had cultivated his acquaintance subsequently, and endeavoured to obtain his friendship; but this last appeared to be unattainable: whatever affections he might have possessed seemed now, some to have been extinguished, and others to be concentred : that his feelings were acute, I had sufficient opportunities of observing; for, although he could control, he could not altogether disguise them : still he had a power of giving to one passion the appearance of another in such a manner that it was difficult to define the nature of what was working within him; and the expressions of his features would vary so rapidly, though slightly, that it was useless to trace them to their sources. It was evident that he was a prey to some cureless disquiet; • but whether it arose from ambition, love, remorse, grief, from one or all of these, or merely from a morbid temperament akin to disease, I could not discover: there were circumstances alleged which might have justified the application to each of these causes; but, as I have before said, these were so contradictory and contradicted, that none could be fixed upon with accuracy. Where there is mystery, it is generally supposed that there

must also be evil: I know not how this may be, but in him there certainly was the one, though I could not ascertain the extent of the other-and felt loath, as far as regarded himself, to believe in its existence. My advances were received with sufficient coldness; but I was young, and not easily discouraged, and at length succeeded in obtaining, to a certain degree, that commonplace intercourse and moderate confidence of common and every day concerns, created and cemented by similarity of pursuit and frequency of meeting, wbich is called intimacy, or friendship, according to the ideas of him who uses those words to express them.

Darvell had already travelled extensively; and to him I had applied for information with regard to the conduct of my intended journey. It was my secret wish that he might be prevailed on to accompany me: it was also a probable hope, founded upon the shadowy restlessness which I had observed in him, and to which the animation which he appeared to feel on such subjects, and his apparent indifference to all by which he was more immediately surrounded, gave fresh strength. This wish I first hinted, and then expressed : his answer, though I partly expected it, gave me all the pleasure of surprise—he consented; and, after the requisite arrangements, we commenced our voyages. After journeying through various countries of the south of Europe, our attention was turned towards the East, according to our original destination; and it was in my progress through those regions that the inci. dent occurred upon which will turn what I may have to relate.

The constitution of Darvell, which must from his appearance have been in early life more than usually robust, had been for some time gradually giving way, without the intervention of any ap. parent disease: he had neither cough nor hectic, yet he became daily more enfeebled : his habits were temperate, and he neither declined nor complained of fatigue, yet he was evidently wasting away: he became more and more silent and sleepless, and at length so seriously altered, that my alarm grew proportionate to what I conceived to be his danger.

We had determined, on our arrival at Smyrna, on an excursion to the ruins of Ephesus and Sardis, from which I endeavoured to dissuade him in his present state of indisposition-but in vain : there appeared to be an oppression on his mind, and a solemnity in his manner, which ill corresponded with his eagerness to proceed on what I regarded as a mere party of pleasure, little suited to a valetudinarian; but I opposed him no longer-and in a few days we set off together, accompanied only by a serrugee and a single janizary.

We had passed half way towards the remains of Ephesus, leaving behind us the more fertile environs of Smyrna, and were entering upon that wild and tenantless track, through the marshes and defiles, which leads to the few huts yet lingering over the broken columns of Diana-the roofless walls of expelled Christianity, and the still more recent but complete desolation of abandoned mosques --when the sudden and rapid illness of my companion obliged us to halt at a Turkish cemetery, the turbaned tombstones of

« السابقةمتابعة »