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it, leaning on his arm, and listening to him with eyes beaming with unconscious affection.
The shock which the poor girl had received, in the destruction of all her ideal world, had indeed been cruel. Faintings and hysterics had at first shaken her tender frame, and were succeeded by a settled and pining melancholy. She had beheld from her window the march of the departing troops. She had seen her faithless lover borne off, as if in triumph, amidst the sound of drum and trumpet, and the pomp of arms. She strained a last aching gaze after him, as the morning sun glittered about his figure, and his plume waved in the breeze : he passed away like a bright vision from her sight, and left her all in darkness.
It would be trite to dwell on the particulars of her after-story. It was like other tales of love melancholy. She avoided society, and wandered out alone in the walks she had most frequented with her lover. She sought, like the stricken deer, to weep in silence and loneliness, and brood over the barbed sorrow that
rankled in her soul. Sometimes she would be seen late of an evening sitting in the porch of the village church; and the milkmaids returning from the fields, would now and then overhear her, singing some plaintive ditty in the hawthorn walk. She became fervent in her devotions at church; and as the old people saw her approach, so wasted away, yet with a hectic bloom, and that hallowed air which melancholy diffuses round the form, they would make way for her, as for something spiritual, and, looking after her, would shake their heads in gloomy foreboding.
She felt a conviction that she was hastening to the tomb, but looked forward to it as a place of rest. The silver cord that had bound her to existence was loosed, and there seemed to be no more pleasure under the sun. If ever her gentle bosom had entertained resentment against her lover, it was extinguished. She was incapable of angry passions; and in a moment of saddened tenderness, she penned him a farewell letter. It was couched in the
simplest language; but touching from its very simplicity. She told him that she was dying, and did not conceal from him that his conduct was the cause. She even depicted the sufferings which she had experienced; but concluded with saying, that she could not die in peace, until she had sent him her forgiveness and her blessing
By degrees her strength declined, that she could no longer leave the cottage. She could only totter to the window, where, propped up in her chair, it was her enjoyment to sit all day and look out upon the landscape. Still she uttered no complaint, nor imparted to any one the malady that was preying on her heart. She never even mentioned her lover's name; but would lay her head on her mother's bosom and weep in silence. Her poor parents hung, in mute anxiety, over this fading blossom of their hopes, still flattering themselves that it might again revive to freshness, and that the bright unearthy bloom which sometimes flushed her cheek might be the promise of returning health. In this way she was seated between them one Sunday afternoon; her hands were clasped in theirs, the lattice was thrown open, and the soft air that stole in, brought with it the fragrance of the clustering honeysuckle which her own hands had trained round the window.
Her father had just been reading a chapter in the Bible: it spoke of the vanity of worldly things, and of the joys of heaven: it seemed to have diffused comfort and serenity through her bosom. Her eye was fixed on the distant village church; the bell had tolled for the evening service; the last villager was lagging into the porch; and every thing had sunk into that hallowed stillness peculiar to the day of rest. Her parents were gazing on her with yearning hearts. Sickness and sorrow, which pass so roughly over some faces, had given to hers the expression of a seraph’s. A tear trembled in her soft blue eye.—Was she thinking of her faithless lover?-or were her thoughts wandering to that distant churchyard, into whose bosom she might soon be gathered ?
Suddenly the clang of hoofs was heard—a horseman galloped to the cottage—he dismounted before the window—the poor girl gare a faint exclamation, and sunk back in her chair ;-it was her repentant lover! He rushed into the house, and flew to clasp her to his bosom; but her wasted form—her death-like countenance-so wan, yet so lovely in its desolation,—smote him to the soul, and he threw himself in an agony at her feet. She was too faint to rise-she attempted to extend her trembling hand-her lips moved as if she spoke, but no word was articulated-she looked down upon him with a smile of unutterable tenderness,—and closed her eyes for ever!
Such are the particulars which I gathered of this village story. They are but scanty, and I am conscious have little novelty to recommend them. In the present rage also for strange incident and high-seasoned narrative, they may appear trite and insignificant, but they interested me strongly at the time; and, taken in connexion with the affecting ceremony which