صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

say not a word, but constantly endeavored to sound a small conch which she had chained around her neck."

As Ali Adam concluded, I sprang on my feet ; large beads of cold dew gathered on my brow, and the hot blood gushed from my nostrils. The Assassin placed his finger on his lip, in token of silence.

“See here, Hásan," he whispered, unrolling å turban stained with blood, which he had concealed beneath his robe. “See how Phirouz has dearly paid for his detestable baseness to those who never injured, but loved and confided in him."

He held, by the gory beard, the head of the renegade. I sickened and turned away from the hideous and fiendlike countenance, which glared, with its glazed and crossed eyes, upon me.

I will now conclude by adding that Ali Adam assisted me in ransoming my mother; but, ere two years elapsed, I was, as I now am, without one liv. ing being who could call me kindred or relative.

" THEN-NOW."

BY I. MERRAN PARKE.

by the melancholy music of a pipe, of which I was musician. The Assassins girded tightly their full robes, and commenced whirling around first slowly, then with incredible rapidity, keeping all the while exact time to the pipe. They would occasionally stop and shout, “There is no God but God, and Mohamined is his prophet.” During this dance, they never raise their eyes; but I saw the Assassins scrutinize the whole congregation by side glances ; and, from their whirling in one part of the mosque particularly, and only occasionally wandering over and about it, I was satisfied that they had discovered some one of interest to us.

It was on the second day after our attendance at the mosque that I saw, near the borders of the island, a crowd collected, and, from their gestures, I was led to suppose the scene one of great excitement. I hastened to the place, and saw, stretched on the sand, the headless body of a man; his dress was such as men of fortune usually wore, and the girdle which bound his pelisse was set with rich and valuable jewels. I also saw, sitting humbly by his side, with folded arms and downcast eyes, the elder Assassin. He appeared not to notice any one ; and, when there was a cessation of clamor, he would repeat passage after passage from the Koran.

He saw me join the mob, and, as usual, receive the deference which, in the East, is always extended to dervises; but he appeared absorbed in funeral and pious prayers, and sat for some time quietly. Presently, he rose, as if about to arrange the corpse for burial, and, elevating his voice, commenced his recitations again, stretching the arms by the side, and placing the feet together, when, most unthought of by me, I saw, for the first time, the short and deformed foot of the renegade. The Assassin again folded his naked arms, bent his eyes to the earth, and walked slowly and composedly to the hut of the fisherman.

I saw nothing of Ali Adam until midnight, when he visited me with a small iron lamp in his band. Looking around the apartment carefully, he set it down, and secured the door and a small aperture which answered for a window; then, sitting by my side, he said, gravely and composedly

“ Hásan, what wouldst thou say wore I to tell thee that thy bitter enemy, the renegade, whom thou didst lately see stretched on the sand, had endeavored insidiously to poison, by the hand of a stranger, thy father? He dreaded his vengeance, and feared, after the detection of his traitorous act, that he would not be enabled to escape from his pursuit. Three days ago, be sold, to the man of the mosque,' as the Copt is called, thy mother and the Fawn, the former as her nurse. "Gird up now thy loins like a man,' and hear firmly what I shall reveal to thee. The black wing of Azriel has overshadowed the child of Zenghi's soul ; spasm after spasm, from her capture until her death, knew but a few hours' interval, and she must have had incessant delirium, for she would

We parted—not when the evening stars

Hung in the ambient airWhen peace had covered the earth with wings,

And rest was everywhere;
Not when the summer suntide

Hung o'er the purple rill,
When the cooing ringdove sought her nest

'Mong the shadows upon the hill; Not in the glory of morning,

When the earth rang jubilee, When music was going up to heaven

From woodland, vale, and lea: But when the chilling snow-flakes

Rushed from the bursting clouds, And danced about the timid flower,

Winding it close in shrouds;
When the wind went moaning along the street

Seeking for children poor,
And found a home in a hovel low

Of a widow, upon the moor;
We stood alone 'neath the roofless trees,

With the snow-flakes falling through,
Falling and freezing upon my heart

As I bade the loved adieu;
We two were there a moment more,

And the worshipped one was gone:
I turned me and crept to the garden gate

With my frozen heart alone.
Long months have passed, and a pleasant light

Is creeping softly across the hill-
And brighter flowers and other birds

Bathe in the purple rill-
And the wind breathes low and wooingly

To the bird on the swinging bough,
For the summer of earth is come again,

And nature is joyful now;
And the shadows lie gently among the trees

Where we stood on that fearful day-
And the icy crust that covered my heart

The Father hath broken away.

MY COUNTRY COUSIN.

BT MI86 MARY E. THROPP.

CHAPTER I.

Though modest, on his unembarrassed brow Nature had written “gentleman."-BYRON.

“News, ladies, news!" said Frank Foster, putting his head into my parlor window, where a bevy of the young girls of the village had collected, one pleasant June morning, to discuss the events of the little party I had given them the evening before.

“What is it, Frank; what is it?" cried all in a breath. (Don't be shocked, my young fashionables, at this want of ceremony; remember, the young people of our village grew up together.)

"Why, there came a letter by mail, this morning, directed to

the distinguished American poet, at this place: besides, I heard through my cousin, Fred. Foster, formerly his college chum, now his correspondent, that he intended spending a month in our village, a week ago; so you see we may expect him certainly—scarcely this week, as it is now Saturday, but soon, as he is already supposed to be here. Now, ladies, I happen to know that he is young, single, good-looking, amiable; and, if I were not disposable myself (a prize, as you all know, well worth securing), I should advise you to set your caps, one and all, without delay.”

Come in, Frank, do, and tell us all about him."

“Not for the universe; I have but half a second left to reach the cars; I shall miss them if I remain here another moment. On, les femmes ! les femmes ! he who lingers is lost: let me resist temptation immediately. Au revoir, ladies, au revoir;" and, bowing gracefully, the gay young man turned away and walked on down the street.

“Oh, Aunt Debbie,” said little Nell Thompson, “what a pity we had our party so soon! If he had only come this week, instead of next!"

“Never mind, my dear; I will give you another.”

“You will! Oh, girls! did you hear that? Aunt Debbie is going to give us another party."

"Is she? Are you, Aunt Debbie? Oh, you darling woman! Thank you! thank you!” and they crowded round in their glee, thanking and caressing

“When? week after next; we will decide on the evening between this and that time.”

“You will invite the poet?" “Oh, of course."

"Let me see: I'll wear my salmon-colored silk, it is so becoming to me," said the handsome Helen Houston.

“I'll wear my blue barege,” said little blonde Lucy Nelson; "it's so delicate, it suits my complexion exactly."

“We will order new dresses of pale pink satin," said the elder of the two proud Sherwood sisters, “and brother Tom will make the poet's acquaintance, and invite him home to dinner."

“And what will the little Annie wear?" said I, bending down to the sweet but silent girl on the footstool at my feet; "you will wish to captivate also ?

“As for clothes, my worldly effects are something like Ichabod Crane's, portable in a pocket-handkerchief; and, as I have no means of enhancing their value at present, I must e'en make the best of matters: but as to captivating the poet, Aunt Debbie, would you have me try?"

“I would have you try to fulfil your promise to spend a few weeks with me, now that I shall have this party to get up; besides, I have a country cousin coming to visit me next week, whom I should like you to help me entertain."

“Oh, with pleasure; and I can come very well, now that my aunt is staying with us. Mother will not miss me while Aunt Ellison is with her.”

“That's a dear obliging girl! Now don't disappoint me; I shall depend on you."

Soon after, the girls left, and after arranging the room, I set about taking up the dropped stitches of my unfortunate stocking, thinking the while of Annie Logan. You shall know more about her, my reader; but first I must premise that, although all the young folks of the village call me Aunt Debbie, I have no earthly right to that title, as I was an only child, and am now a “maiden lady," so far advanced in years that I do not like to publish them. I have a cousin, however, a young cousin, who is "a host in himself.” Excuse me, my reader, that neither you nor my young friends in the village are to know more about him at present. I never boast, my reader, either of relations or acquaintances, never! knowing that where boasting is used, it is needed; though I confess to being somewhat egotistical just now: so let me return from the snow of age to the bloom of youth; to one elegant in manner, culti

357

me.

“There, there, my children, that will do: Nelly, my specks, dear, if you please; there, on that table. Thank you. Lucy, will you gather up my sewing? you have overturned my work-basket. See what you have done, Maggie; you have drawn the needles out of my stocking."

"Oh, pardon, pardon, Aunt Debbie; but when shall we have the party ?"

30*

vated in intellect, noble in principle, and beautiful in thought, feeling, and expression-my little favorite, Annie Logan. She was poor, in the estimation of the world, being the only daughter of a widowed mother, who was obliged to keep a boarding house, and having to teach music for her own maintenance; nevertheless, in all that makes a woman intrinsically valuable, she was rich, abundantly wealthy.

I had taken up all the stitches, folded up my nearly finished stocking, and run the needles through the ball of yarn, when I heard the long, shrill warning whistle of the returning cars. It reminded me of Mr. Cutter's "Song of Steam," and, as I sat repeating to myself that most beautiful lyric, I felt a slight tap on my shoulder, and, turning quickly round, beheld my cousin, carpet-bag in hand. My only living relation! Did he ever appear as handsome to any one as he did to me that morning, when, the first greeting over, I had time to observe him! to watch the ever-varying expression of his fine eyes, and to admire the rich chestnut hair waving over the white, magnificently-developed forehead! I had not seen him since my removal from the country to this village ten years ago, and he was then à quiet, diffident youth, preparing for college. Now, as I sat talking with him, I could not help mentally exclaiming, again and again--How much improved he is ! and what a splendid specimen of manhood !

That evening, after be had drawn my easy-chair to the centre-table and placed a footstool under my feet, he seated himself opposite, remarking how homelike and peaceful my little parlor seemed, with its bright light and cheerful fire, to him, who had so long been deprived of the blessings and comforts of home. I sent for my knitting, and wo spent a pleasant evening together, my cousin and I, enjoying a conversation frank in character, cheering in tone, and rich in old memories.

have bestowed so much care and expense on Florence that I anticipate a brilliant débat for her next winter in our own city. I am confident that she will be the belle of the season. Pardon a mother's ambition, dear Deborah, and forgive me my 'illiberal views,' as you used to do in 'auld lang syne.' If, as Bulwer asserts, our opinions are the angel part of our nature, I fear you will not give much for mine. Nevertheless, I feel assured that, for the sake of our old friendship, you will regard the trust and value the attachment of

Your sincere friend,

FRANCES FEATHERSTONAUGH. “P. S. Please insist upon Florence's wearing a large sun-bonnet whenever she goes out.”

“Poor Fanny!” thought I, as I refolded the letter; "as narrow-minded and conservative as ever." But there are excuses for her, my reader: though an American, as she says, by birth, she was of English parentage and education, and had married a wealthy friend and countryman of her father's, who was as strenuous a royalist as himself. I could not help smiling at the postscript: Did she wish the sunbonnet to protect her daughter's fair face from the sun, or from the admiring gaze of our village beaux ?

This letter was soon followed by Miss Featherstonaugh, who came a few days after my cousin's arrival. I had never seen her before, and when she threw back the long thick green veil that almost enveloped her whole person, I could not but acknowledge that her appearance justified her mother's worldly expectations. She was tall, slender, and stately in figure; distingué, and at the same time fascinating in manner: but when she removed the close travelling bonnet, and I saw the whole contour of her most perfect Grécian features, her large lug. trous eyes, and her magnificent wealth of dark bair, parted smoothly on the centre of her forebead, brushed back, and gathered into soft shining folds at the back of her head, I stood looking at her like one entranced. Never in my life had I seen any one so beautiful, so superb! Recovering myself, I led the way to the apartment prepared for her, and, as she employed herself in various little matters, I could not help following her with my eyes. I was charmed. Well might her proud fond mother say, "My Florence moves like a queen!" Miss Featherstonaugh was somewhat fatigued with her journey, and I left her to rest awhile previous to preparing for dinner. My cousin was out rambling in the woods when she came, but I had the pleasure of presenting him at dinner. I saw by his animated manner that he was as much pleased as myself with this new and delightful acquisition to our family.

Miss Featherstonaugh was rather reserved during the first and second days of ber visit; but, owing partly to the simple cereinonious cu: oms of my household, and much more to the really polite and

[blocks in formation]

DEBORAH," said my aristocratic old friend, Mrs. Featherstonaugh, at the conclusion of her last long letter, “I have determined to let Florence remain one more winter at the north, in order to perfect herself in music and the languages; and, as it is neither pleasant nor desirable that she should come so far south in midsummer for a few weeks, I should like to have her spend her vacation with you. You will take good care of my daughter, my true friend, and will be a watchful guardian, I trust. I do not wish to have her make any new acquaintances. You know well that, although an American, I am no lover of democracy, and I particularly dislike the present levelling system of society. Besides, I

CHAPTER III.

Hers was the brow in trials unperplexed,
That cheered the sad, and tranquillized the vexed.
Young, innocent, on whose sweet forehead mild
The parted ringlet shone in simplest guise.

CAMPBELL.

AFTER breakfast one morning, when I had sent my cousin to arrange a little matter of business for me, left Miss Featherstonaugh promenading in the piazza, and seen Annie seated in the parlor at her drawing, I went up to my room to write a letter. The windows were all open; and, as I sat at my desk in the corner between a front and side window, col. lecting and arranging my thoughts, my eyes resting at intervals on the lovely landscape below, and the blue river winding its solitary way afar off, I heard little feet ascending the steps of the piazza, and then a childish voice supplicating in pitiful tones for a few pennies to buy some bread.

“Run away,” said Miss Featherstonaugh, "run off home, little ragamuffin; no one encourages beg

gars here."

engaging deportment of my cousin, she began to unbend, and soon accommodated herself to our mode of living perfectly. Towards the close of the second evening I opened the piano, and requested her to play. She complied immediately, and played skil. fully and well, with taste, beauty, and feeling. She sang too; and, as the fine full tones of her voice floated through the apartment, my cousin joined in, and I, charmed and thrown off my guard by the softening influence of the music, commenced also; but as my poor old cracked voice did anytbing but add to the melody, I soon desisted, not a little discomfited. But my kind thoughtful cousin insisted upon my singing "Home, Sweet Home" with them, and one or two other old tunes, before we retired.

Next morning, as I had an engagement, my cousin proposed a ride on horseback to Miss Featherstonaugh, which she accepted with pleasure, and soon made her appearance in an elegant blue ridinghabit, black velvet cap, and white plumes. Miss Featherstonaugh certainly understood the art of dressing well: she could not have selected a more becoming costume. I saw my cousin regard her with evident admiration when he entered to say that all was in readiness. I watched them mount from the piazza, and, as they rode off, gracefully bowing their adieux, I could not help building an "air-castle" for them entirely at variance with friend Fanny's injunctions. During their absence, to my great delight, Annie Logan arrived. The sweet girl! there is such an undefinable charm about her that her presence is always desirable. I took great pleasure in presenting Miss Featherstonaugh and my cousin to my little favorite when they returned. While the girls were changing their dresses, my cousin embraced the opportunity to ask me a few questions concerning Annie, adding that he did not care how many more ladies came, if they were all as charming and agreeable as Miss Featherstonaugh. I was about to sound him farther when the door opened, and Annie and Miss Featherstonaugh entered. My cousin arose and offered chairs; but, before they had time to accept, the dinner-bell rang. Never was there a pleasanter dinner party, and never was there a bappier household than mine during the week following. The girls drew or embroidered while my cousin read to them, in the mornings; after dinner, we walked, rode, or sailed; and in the evenings we had music, conversation, games, and very often, visitors. I felt almost young again; my heart warmed and expanded in the genial spring-like influence around me, and there came back over the waste of my existence a breath from the far-off morning-time.

I hastened to the window to see who it was, for I knew, from the boy's earnest sorrowful tone, that he was in distress; and I knew, also, that nothing but real necessity would induce any one to beg in our village; but he was gone.

Just then I heard the side door open, and, going to the other window, I saw Annie come out and go to the child, who was crouching down close to the side of the house crying bitterly.

“There, there, my little man, don't cry so: here's a shilling to buy some bread; run off and get it as fast as you can. But wait: does not your mother live in the little cottage by the old mill ?"

“Yes, ma'am.” “And how is it that you are in need of bread ?"

“Cos daddy got drunk, and Mr. Miller wouldn't give him any more work, and mother was so sick she couldn't do any more washin'."

“What's your name, my man?" “Tommy Dale.”

Very well, Tommy; run away now and get the bread, and take it home to your mother.”

Poor Fanny, thought I, as I ruminated over this incident, I fear she has thought more of the external than the internal, in forming her child's character. I was sorry that this affair had occurred. To be sure, it was trifling in itself, and Florence was recently from a large city, where there are so many mendicants. Nevertheless, such a want of charity in one 80 young impressed me unfavorably. I finished my letter and went down stairs. Miss Featherstonaugh and my cousin were engaged in an animated argu. ment on the propriety and impropriety of acting from impulse when I entered the parlor, but Annie was absent. Some time after, she came in, and I knew, from the radiant expression of her ingenuous face, that Annie had been acting from the impulse I no

of her own good heart, and that the family by the “old mill” had been relieved and comforted. Towards evening, as we wandered through the cool shaded walks of my beautiful garden (I am very proud of my garden, reader, and with reason), Miss Featherstonaugh praised its plan, admired the arrangement of the beds, arbors, and shrubbery in her own peculiarly happy and graphic manner, which lent a charm to everything described not entirely its own, till I was quite delighted, and I felt heartily ashamed of myself for having harbored a thought detrimental to the beautiful being before me. My cousin listened approvingly while he busied himself in gathering and arranging bouquets for us. ticed in the one he gave to Annie white rose violets, heart's-ease, and forget-me-nots; but in Miss Featherstonaugh's I saw, among other symbolical flowers, myrtle, heliotrope, and red roses. As the evening was so charming, and it wanted still an hour of tea-time, we concluded to extend our walk, Annie and I leading the way towards the river, my cousin and Miss Featherstonaugh following. Indeed it always happened, I scarcely knew how, that my cousin was Miss Featherstonaugh's companion, whether in riding, sailing, or walking. As we sauntered slowly along the banks of the river, enjoying the refreshing breeze and admiring the sunset, we saw at a short distance in front of us two little boys, the one fishing and the other watching him. They wero standing with their backs toward us, and, as we peared them, every word they uttered sounded distinctly over the still water.

"Oh, Harry," said the little watcher, "if I only had a line like that, I'd be happy!"

“Well, Jim, why don't you get one? I only givo a sixpence for this at Smith's.”

“How can I, when I haint got the money? I've been at mother to git me one for weeks, and she says she haint got the money to spare."

“Won't your father?"

“He don't come back from work at farmer Ripley's till Saturday night; but I don't believe he'd give it to me if he was home. I must jist go without. I never git anything I want, anyhow."

Come hither, my boy," said Miss Featherstonaugh.

The child turned quickly round, somewhat startled at the presence of strangers, blushed, and obeyed confusedly.

“Will you get me some of those white flowers on the bank there?"

Yes, ma'am.”

The little fellow ran to comply, and in a few minutes returned with a quantity of the flowers indicated. Miss Featherstonaugh took them, and put the desired sixpence in his hand.

“Oh, thankee! thankee, ma'am!" and the delighted boy bounded away to his companion to show bis treasure.

How easy it is to give happiness to a child !"

said Miss Featherstonaugh, her beautiful face reflecting the pleasure she had bestowed; "would it were as easy to obtain it for ourselves!"

The lovely girl, how I had wronged her! I gave her my hand, contrived to get her away from my cousin, walked with her, talked my best to ber; but when I turned round to see why she answered Yes instead of No so often, I found her intently regarding my cousin, who was carefully putting the flower sbe had given him into one of the buttonholes of his coat. Simpleton! I might have known better: was it natural that she should prefer the society of an old woman to that of a young man? I repaired my error, of course. On our way home, we met Laura and Eleanor Sherwood, who invited us to a party at their house for the evening after next. Ah! this reminds me that I had forgotten to mention that the evening for our party came and went by unsignalized some time ago, as the poet had not made his appearance.

As the girls and myself were sitting alone in the parlor early next morning, we heard the ever-welcome postman's ring. Annie flew to the hall, and in a few minutes returned with a couple of letters, which she held high above her head, playfully exclaiming

“Here they are, Miss Featherstonaugh, bearing the motto of thine own true knight, ‘God and my faire ladye.'”

Miss Featherstonaugh sprang eagerly forward and snatched them from her hand; but, on glancing at the superscriptions, and seeing that neither was for her, her brow darkened, and with a sudden burst of passion she dashed them on the floor; then, turning to the startled Annie, with anger glowing in every lineament of her face, exclaimed

Do you consider that a joke, Miss? If you do, let me tell you that I consider it an insult."

“Oh, I beg a thousand pardons! I assure you I did not mean to offend; I only did it in fun." But without heeding, Miss Featherstonaugh brushed past her and left the room.

“Oh, Aunt Debbie," said the distressed girl,"what have I done?"

“Nothing, my dear; at least, nothing to merit such an ebullition as that: think no more about it."

“Oh yes, Aunt Debbie, it certainly was very wrong in me, very; I must go and tell her how sorry I am."

“Not now, my dear; do not go now; it will not avail: besides, I have a commission for you to attend to immediately, if you will, so that you may be back in time for breakfast."

What that commission was, my reader, poor old bedridden Nancy Brown, who lives in the cot in the opening at the head of the glen, may tell you herself, if she chooses; it is enough, for the present, to know that it diverted Annie's mind from the contemplation of a disagreeable subject, pleased Nancy, and left me to ponder uninterrupted over Miss Featherstonaugh's sudden and surprising manifestation of

« السابقةمتابعة »