صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

which were the sole indication that human life had ever been a sojourner in this wilderness. The only caravansera we had seen was left some hours behind us, not a véstige of a town or even a cottage was within sight or hope, and this “city of the dead” appeared to be the sole refuge for my unfortunate friend, who seemed on the verge of becoming the last of its inhabitants.

In this situation, I looked round for a place where he might most conveniently repose :-contrary to the usual aspect of Mahometan burialgrounds, the cypresses were in this few in number, and these thinly scattered over its extent : the tombstones were mostly fallen, and worn with age. Upon one of the most considerable of them, and beneath one of the most spreading trees, Darvell supported himself, in a half-reclining posture, with great difficulty. He asked for water. I had some doubts of our being able to find any, and prepared to go in search of it with hesitating despondency—but he desired me to remain ; and turning to Suleiman, our janizary, who stood by us smoking with great tranquillity, he said, “Suleiman, verbana su,” (i. e. bring some water), and went on describing the spot where it was to be found with great minuteness, at a small well. for camels, a few hundred yards to the right. The janizary obeyed. I said to Darvell, “ How did you know this?" He replied, “ from our situation; you must perceive that this place was once inhabited, and could not have been so without springs; I have also been here before.”"You have been here before! How came you never to mention this to me? and what could you be doing in a place where no one would remain a moment longer than they could help it?”

To this question I received no answer. In the mean time Suleiman returned with the water, leaving the serrugee and the horses at the fountain. The quenching of his thirst had the appearance of reviving him for a moment; and I conceived hopes of his being able to proceed, or at least to return; and I urged the attempt. He was silent-and appeared to be collecting his spirits for an effort to speak. He began : “ This is the end of my journey, and of my life-I came here to die: but I have a request to make, a command-for such my last words must beYou will observe it?”—“ Most certainly ; but have better bopes.”—“I have no hopes, nor wishes, but this -conceal my death from every human being.” “ I hope there will be no occa. sion; that you will recover, and

“ Peace! it must be so: promise this.”—“I do.”- - Swear it, by all that- He here dictated an oath of great solemnity.—“ There is no occasion for this—I will observe your request; and to doubt

_“ It cannot be helped,-you must swear.”—I took the oath : it appeared to relieve him. He removed a seal ring from his finger, on which were some Arabic characters, and presented it to me. He proceeded—“On the ninth day of the month, at noon precisely (what month you please, but this must be the day), you must fling this ring into the salt springs, which run into the bay of Eleusis : the day after, at the same hour, you must repair to the ruins of the temple of Ceres, and wait one hour."-" Why?"

[ocr errors]

me is


-" You will see.- -" The ninth day of the month, you say?"- “ The ninth.”

As I observed that the present was the ninth day of the month, his countenance changed, and he paused. As he sat, evidently becoming more feeble, a stork, with a snake in her beak, perched upon a tombstone near us; and, without devouring her prey, appeared to be steadfastly regarding

I know not what impelled me to drive it away, but the attempt was useless; she made a few circles in the air, and returned exactly to the same spot. Darvell pointed to it, and smiled: he spoke-I know not whether to himself or to me,—but the words were only, “ 'Tis well!”“ What is well?— What do you mean?”—“ No matter : you must bury me here this evening, and exactly where that bird is now perched. You know the rest of my injunctions.” He then proceeded to give me several directions as to the manner in which his death might be best concealed. After these were finished, he exclaimed, “ You perceive that bird ?"- Certainly." " And the serpent writhing in her beak ?". “ Doubtless : there is nothing uncommon in it; it is her natural prey.

But it is odd that she does not devour it.”—He smiled in a ghastly manner, and said, faintly, " It is not yet time!” As he spoke the stork flew away. My eyes followed it for a moment, it could hardly be longer than ten might be counted. I felt Darvell's weight, as it were, increase upon my shoulder, and, turning to look upon his face, perceived that he was dead !

I was shocked with the sudden certainty which could not be mistaken-his countenance in a few minutes became nearly black. I should have attributed so rapid a change to poison, had I not been aware that he had no opportunity of receiv. ing it unperceived. The day was declining, the body was rapidly altering, and nothing remained but to fulfil his request. With the aid of Sulei. man's ataghan and my own sabre, we scooped a shallow grave upon the spot which Darvell had indicated : the earth easily gave way, having already received some Mahometan tenant. We dug as deeply as the time permitted us, and, throwing the dry earth upon all that remained of a singular being so lately departed, we cut a few sods of greener turf from the less withered soil around us, and laid them upon his sepulchre.

Between astonishment and grief I was tearless.



ADVENTURE OF THE GERMAN STUDENT. On a stormy night, in the tempestuous times of the French revolution, a young German was returning to his lodging, at a late hour, across the old part of Paris. The lightning gleamed, and the loud claps of thunder rattled through the lofty narrow streets—but I should first tell you something about this young German,

Gottfried Wolfgang was a young man of good family. He had studied for some time at Göttingen, but being of a visionary and enthusiastic character, he had wandered into those wild and speculative doctrines which have so often bewildered German students. His secluded life, his intense application, and the singular nature of his studies, had an effect on both mind and body. His health was impaired ; his imagination diseased. He had been indulging in fanciful speculations on spiritual essences until, like Swedenborg, he had an ideal world of his own around him. He took up a notion, I do not know from what cause, that there was an evil influence hanging over him; an evil genius or spirit seeking to ensnare him and insure his perdition. Such an idea working on his melancholy temperament produced the most gloomy effects. He became haggard and desponding. His friends discovered the mental malady that was preying upon him, and determined that the best cure was a change of scene; he was sent, therefore, to finish his studies amidst the splendours and gaieties of Paris.

Wolfgang arrived at Paris at the breaking out of the revolution. The popular delirium at first caught his enthusiastic mind, and he was captivated by the political and philosophical theories of the day : but the scenes of blood which followed shocked his sensitive nature ;- disgusted him with society and the world, and made him more than ever a recluse. He shut himself up in a solitary apartment in the Pays Latin, the quarter of students.

There in a gloomy street, not far from the monastic walls of the Sorbonne, he pursued his favourite speculations. Sometimes he spent hours together in the great libraries of Paris, those catacombs of departed authors,



« السابقةمتابعة »