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curls of dark hair bespoke early youth. I judged him at most to be two and twenty. I began my task of measuring the body, and few can tell the shudder which thrilled my frame as the carpenter's rule passed those locked hands—the vain effort of the living still to claim kindred with the dead : It was over, and I stole from the room cautiously and silently as I entered. Once, and only once, I turned to gaze at the melancholy group. There lay the corpse stiff and unconscious; there sat the son in an unconsciousness yet more terrible, since it could not last. There, pale and cheerless, stood the wife of him, who, in his dying hour, cursed her child and his. How little she dreamed of such a scene when her meek lips first replied to his vows of affection —How little she dreamed of such a scene when she first led that father to the cradle of his sleeping boy' when they bent together with smiles of affection, to watch his quiet slumber, and catch the gentle breathings of his parted lips: I had scarcely reached the landing place before the wretched woman's hand was laid lightly on my arm to arrest its progress. Her noiseless step had followed me without my being aware of it. “How soon will your work be done?” said she, in a suffocated-voice. “To-morrow I could be here again,” answered I. “To-morrow ! and what am I to do if my boy awakes before that time P” and her voice became louder and hoarse with fear. “He will go mad, I am sure he will; his brain will not hold against these horrors. Oh! that God would hear me !—that God would hear me ! and let that slumber sit on his senses till the sight of the father that cursed him is no longer present to us! Heaven be merciful to me!” and with her last words she clasped her hands convulsively and gazed upwards. I had known opiates administered to sufferers whose grief for their bereavements almost amounted to madness. I mentioned this hesitatingly to the widow, and she eagerly caught at it. “Yes! that would do,” exclaimed she; “that would do if I could but get him past that horrible moment But stay; I dare not leave him alone as he is even for a little while :-what will become of me !” I offered to procure the medicine for her and soon returned with it. I gave it into her hands, and her vehement expressions of thankfulness wrung my heart. I had attempted to move the pity of the apothecary at whose shop I had obtained the drug, by an account of the scene I had witnessed, in order to induce him to pay a visit to the house of mourning; but in vain. To him who had not witnessed it, it was nothing but a tale of every day distress. All that long night I worked at the merchant's coffin: and the dim gray light of the wintry morning found me still toiling on. Often during the hours passed thus heavily, that picture of wretchedness rose before me. Again I saw the leaning and exhausted form of the young man buried in slumber, on his father's death-bed: again my carpenter's rule almost touched the clasped hands of the dead and the living, and a cold shuddermingled with the chill of the dawning day and froze my blood. I had just com
will do you good—come.” ing invitation, however, and Henry Richards left
pleted my work and the afternoon was far advanced, when the loud clear voice of Henry Richards struck my ear, as he bounded upstairs, and flinging open the door of the workroom, invited me to come and spend the rest of the day at his father's dwelling, that Sarah would promise to come too, if I would be there to see her home. I turned away from him with a peevish sigh, and pointing to my work, replied that I was obliged to finish and carry it home in an hour. “I should have thought,” said he, “that the people you worked for were less likely to be inconvenienced by delay, than any I know, being past all feeling for themselves.” At any other time or in any other situation, I might perhaps have thought less of this speech, but in the mood in which I then was, it struck me as arising, not from thoughtlessness, but from the most brutal and unfeeling levity. “Richards,” said I, off the coffin with my hammer, “God only can tel how soon one of us may need such a couch as this, instead of resting our heads on our pillows, as we do now.” “Pshaw ('' answered the young man, with a half laugh, “you are really growing quite gloomy, Tom. It’s three weeks to-day since you and I, and Sarah, have had a walk, or drank tea together; and now, just as she and I have agreed to make a holiday of it, you make a solemn speech and refuse to be one of the party. Come, come, lay by your work, and listen for an hour or two to her voice, which is as sweet as a blackbird's. Why, the very sight of her smile I resisted this press
me to my own reflections. As I passed up one of the streets which led to the merchant's lodgings, my head bending under the weight of the coffin I was carrying, I saw my sister Sarah and her young lover a little way before me. I could even hear the sound of her laugh, which was clear and pleasant, and see her pretty face shaded by her dark hair, when she turned to answer her companion. At every step I took, the air seemed to grow more thick around me, and at length overcome by weariness, both of body and mind, k-stopped, loosed the straps which steadied my meloncholy burden, and placing it in an upright position, against the wall, wiped the dew from my forehead, and (shall I confess it?) the tears from my eyes. I was endeavouring to combat the depression of my feelings by the reflection that I was the support and comfort of my poor old mother's life, when my attention was roused by the evident compassion of a young lady, who, after passing me with a hesitating step, withdrew her arm from that of her more elderly companion,
and pausing for an instant put a shilling into my
hand saying, “You look very weary, my poor man, pray get something to drink with that.” A more lovely countenance, if by lovely be meant that which engages love, was never moulded by nature; the sweetness and compassion of her pale face and soft innocent eyes, and the kindness of her gentle voice, made an impression on my memory too strong to be effaced. I saw her once again. I reached the merchant's lodgings and my knock was answered as on the former occasion, by the widow herself. She sighed heavily as she saw me, and after one or two attempts to speak, informed me that her son was awake, but • it was impossible for her to administer the opiate, as he refused to let the smallest nourishment pass his lips; but that he was quiet, indeed had never spoken since he woke, except to ask her how she felt; and she thought I might proceed without fear of interruption. I entered accordingly, followed by a lad, son to the landlady who kept the lodgings, and with his assistance I proceeded to lift the corpse, and lay it in the coffin. The widow's son remained motionless, and, as it were, stupified, during this operation; but the moment he saw me prepare the lid of the coffin so as to be screwed down, he started up with the energy and gestures of a madman. His glazed eyes seemed bursting from their sockets, and his upper lip, leaving his teeth bare, gave his mouth the appearance of a horrible and convulsive simile. He seized my arm with his whole strength; and, as I felt his grasp, and saw him struggling for words, I expected to hear curses and execrations,
or the wild howl of an infuriated madman. I was .
mistaken; the wail of a sickly child who dreads its mother's departure, was the only sound to which I could compare that wretched man's voice. He held me with a force almost supernatural; but his tongue uttered supplications in a feeble monotonous tone, and with the most humble and beseeching manner. “Leave him,” exclaimed he, “ leave him a little while longer. He will forgive me; I know he will. He spoke that horrible word to rouse my conscience. But I heard him and came back to him. I would have toiled and bled for him; he knows that well. Hush ' hush : I cannot hear his voice for my mother's sobs; but I know he will forgive me, Oh! father, do not refuse ! I am humble—I am penitent. Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee—father, I have sinned Oh, mother, he is cursing me again. He is lifting his hand to curse me—his right hand. Look, mother, look! Save me, O God! my father curses me on his dying bed! Save me, oh!—” The unfinished word resolved itself into a low, hollow groan, and he fell back insensible. I would have assisted him, but his mother waved me back. “Better so, better so,” she repeated hurriedly; “it is the mercy of God which has caused this—do you do your duty and I will do mine,” and she continued to kneel and support the head of her son, while we fastened and secured down the coffin. At length all was finished, and then, and not till then, we carried the wretched youth from the chamber of death, to one as dark, as gloomy and as scantily furnished, but having a wood fire burning in the grate, and a bed with ragged curtains at one end of it. And here in comparative comfort, the landlady allowed him to be placed, even though she saw little chance of her lodger's being able to pay for the change. Into the glass of water held to his parched lips, as he recovered his senses, I poured a sufficient quantity of the opiate to produce
slumber, and had the satisfaction of hearing his mother fervently thank God, as still, half uncodscious, he swallowed the draught. I thought he would not have survived the shock he received; but I was mistaken. The merchant was buried and forgotten; the son lived, and we met again in a far, far different scene. It was early in the summer of the ensuing year that my heart was gladdened by the intelligence of my sister Sarah's approaching marriage. Henry Richards himself was the bearer of this welcome news. An uncle of his who had been a master builder and stone mason, had, in dying, bequeathed to him nearly all the little property he had realised; and this, with his own exertions, Richards assured me would support Sally in comfort. “No more drudgery, no more service for her now,” said he, a flush of joy rising on his fine countenance; “she is to leave her place on Monday week, and on the Sunday following we are to be married. “It shall not be my fault Collins,” continued he, “if she is not happy.” That evening was spent in the company of my sister and her lover, and never were plans for the future laid with so eager an anticipation of complete happiness as those discussed by the young couple. Monday came, and with it came Sally; blushing and smiling, to ask if I would walk with her to the house of Henry's father: where she was to remain till after the wedding. The old man greeted her with pride and fondness, and my steps home were lighter and quicker than for many months past. Days rolled on : there remained now but one to pass before they should be united forever. I was working with cheerfulness and alacrity on the morning of that day, when a labouring man pushed open the shop door, and calling me by my name, said, “ you are wanted up at Mr. Richards', sir.” “Very well,” said I, carelessly resuming my occupation. “Beg pardon, sir,” added the man, “you will be wanted, too, in the way of business.” I caught the expression of his eye as he turned and left the threshold, and felt an unaccountable chill at my heart. “The old man is dead,” thought I, and the hammer falling from my hand on the lid of the coffin, sent a hollow-sound to my ear, like a dying groan. I reached the house—inquired for my sister—she was shopping with a female friend—I asked for Henry Richards; they flung open the door of the little parlour where we had all spent that evening together. On a shutter, disfigured, bleeding, lifeless, lay the gay-hearted, high-spirited young man, whom another sunrise was to have made my brother! My head swam —I staggered and fell back senseless. To my enquiries, when I recovered consciousness, they gave short and bitter answers. He had been inspecting an unfinished house, and had fallen from the scaffolding on a heap of bricks and rubbish. No sound escaped his lips; no movement was perceptible when the workmen reached the body, except that a convulsive thrill agitated his limbs. As he fell, so he remained, till they lifted him and carried him to his father. When I was admitted to the old man, his calmness and resig
nation appeared wonderful: to my broken ejaculation of sympathy, he replied, “God’s will be done! he was the last of five; the Lord pity the girl who loved him 1" As he spoke the words he wrung me by the hand, and I left him. “God pity her, indeed!” I repeated unconsciously, as I descended the stairs. Before I could leave the house I met her, and as she stood in the narrow doorway, she bent forward as if to kiss me; smiles played on her lips; love lighted her eyes. I rushed past her into the street; I felt that I could not bear to tell her what she must bear to hear. My master's wife kindly volunteered to go to her, and bring her away, if possible. My master, himself, was ill in bed; I had, therefore, to prepare with my own hands, the bier of my ill-fated friend. Oh! that dreadful night! How like a dream, and yet, how fearfully distinct are its terrors, even to this day ! I had made some progress in my labours, when, overcome with weariness, I fell asleep. I was awakened by a cold pressure on my hand, and I heard the words repeated, —“It shall not be my fault if she is not happy.” In an instant I started up, and beheld, seated opposite me, Henry Richards! He was frightfully pale, and the unwashed wound on his crushed temple seemed still to bleed. He smiled at me, and pointing to the unfinished coffin, said: “I shall be glad to rest there; see how my wrist is shattered " I looked, and sickening at the sight, I rose with the intention of rushing from the room. The figure rose too; as if to prevent my departure, and, in a mournful voice, exclaimed:—“Am I already se loathsome to you?” As it spoke, it pressed onwards, and onwards, till it touched me; it sank into a seat by my side, and when I recovered consciousness, the rich light of a summer's morning beamed on the empty place it had occupied. The wealth of worlds would not have bribed me to touch that coffin again; it was in vain, I repeated to myself the common arguments against nocturnal terrors; in vain I condemned my own feelings as the result of an excited saney; I felt that he had been there, and a feverish desire possessed me to see the corpse, and convince myself of the truth of the vision by the circumstance of his arm being broken or otherwise. The body had been washed and laid out since my visit on the previous day, and the countenance seemed less disfigured. I gazed on it with silent agony for a few minutes, and then slowly, and with shuddering dread, I lifted his arm; it was swollen and discoloured, and the hand hung nervelessly from it. The vision was true! I was interrupted in some incoherent exclamation by a wild shriek, and, with convulsive sobs, my sister Sarah flung herself on my bosom.
That evening, as we sat together, she pressed me for an explanation of the words I had spoken over the body of Henry Richards. I know not how it was, and I have always attributed it to some strange infatuation, but as the horrors of the
other hand, she grasped my arm.
night returned to my mind, I forgot all besides, and I described my vision to the shuddering girl, ending with these words:—“Yes, I beheld him as in life, and he pointed to the coffin I was working at—the coffin in which he was soon to . lie.”
Never shall I forget the expression of my sister Sally's face, when I had concluded. She parted her dark hair with a bewildered look, as if she doubted having beheld me aright, while, with her * His coffin— his "gasped she, “Oh! Tom, had you the heart to work at that "' Slowly she relaxed her hold, and remained with her eyes riveted on my hand. I spoke to her but she did not answer; I addressed her in the endearing terms familiar to her ear in childhood, but it produced no impression. At length her eye-lids slightly quivered; her strained eyes grew dim, and she sank in a swoon at my feet.
From that hour, even to her—my sister—the pride of my heart—my consolation in the city of strangers—whose laugh had cheered me in the gloomiest hour, the touch of whose lips on my haggard forehead had soothed me into loving life, when all was dark around me—even to her my presence became fearful. Strange as it may appear, the manner and suddenness of her lover's death, the fact of its having taken place so soon before the ceremony which was to make them one—all this was nothing in comparison to the horror she felt that my hand should have prepared his coffin. She shrank from my touch; she averted her eyes from my gaze; she shivered and Wept when I spoke to her. I ceased to leave my master's house except when forced by my calling, and, as I mechanically pursued my toil, I felt— how gladly I could die!
THE PRECIous METALs.
IT is stated by Mr. Jacob, in his elaborate and very interesting “Historical Inquiry into the Production and Consumption of the Precious Metals,” lately published, that the quantity of gold and silver coin has decreased no less than 17 per cent. within the last twenty years; and to this cause he attributes the present low profit of the masters, and low wages of the working people. Mr. Jacob estimates the stock of coin in existence in 1809, at 380 millions, and in 1829, at only £313,385,560, for which reduction he . accounts from the fact of the gold and silver mines being less productive than formerly, while the quantities of the precious metals used in the fabrication of jewelry and other articles of plate, have been continually increasing. He estimates that no less than £5,612,611, has been consumed annually since 1809, in utensils and ornaments, and that two millions pass every year into Asia; or, adding both together, in twenty years folò2,252,220, has been thus employed. Deducting the whole amount in existence in 1829 from that in 1809, we find a deficiency of no less than -B66,611,440, or nearly one sixth part of the whole.
THE view we have prefixed is intended to represent the building occupied in Paris as an Hospital, for the reception of patients afflicted with Malignant Cholera. It was originally erected as a School of Medicine, but from certain local causes was never appropriated to that use, nor indeed to any other, until it was selected for the purpose we have mentioned. This building
is extensive and commodious; the rooms used for
wards being large and well ventilated, and the offices attached, of the most convenient charac
ter. When it was set apart by the authorities
for this object, it was liberally supplied with every thing requisitc for the proper treatment of the sick, and placed in charge of a medical staff, composed of members whose reputation for skill and humanity furnished a sure guaranty that whatever could be reasonably expected, in arresting the disease, would be accomplished. The inferior population of Paris is of the worst description. Herding together in immense masses in the narrow and filthy streets of that great metropolis, and abandoning themselves to the vilest excesses, they acquire habits which not only fit them for the reception of whatever malignant disease may make its appearance, but also prepare them to be at all times ready for tumult and revolt. Accordingly we find that soon after the Cholera broke out in Paris, it begun to spread with fearful rapidity among this class, and with a malignity which had not before been witnessed. In one street alone, more than a thousand females of corrupt habits fell victims to it. Where so many were yielding to its influence, of course the hospital soon became crowded, and, as but few, from the very nature of the disease, could be restored, an idea got into circulation among the common people, that the physicians were dealing improperly with the patients under their care. Absurd and unfound
tent with following and reproaching with opprobrious epithets, the innocent objects of their hatred, interfered to prevent the sick from being carried to the hospital, and in some instances committed gross personal outrages. To such an extent was this insurrectionary spirit carried, that the government was compelled to resort to military force in order to suppress it. No disease has committed greater ravages than the Cholera. As its common name implies, it is of Asiatic origin, and from the time of its first appearance in the East, it has been extending itself over all parts of the habitable globe. Passing from Turkey into Russia, it desolated the armies of the mighty autocrat, destroyed his brother, conquered the conqueror of the Sublime Porte, and carried terror and dismay into the hearts of all, while it decimated the splendid capitals of the empire. Throughout Germany it swept with unsparing destruction; in France it levelled the mighty and the mean, and the minister who governed the destinies of the great nation, fell beneath the same blow which annihilated the beggar. In England it produced fear and consternation, and notwithstanding our fancied security, it has traversed the Atlantic, and is now raging in all parts of this continent. Turn which way we please, it rears its horrid front, and in the North, the South, the East and the West is gathering a harvest of trophies. In New York, in Philadelphia, in Baltimore, and other of our large cities, but especially the two former, its course has been marked by the utmost malignancy, nor have the interior settlements escaped its dreadful visitation. The effects of the Cholera—independent of the more immediate sorrow it necessarily produces, by breaking through all ties of social and kindred affections, will long befelt and deplored among us. Business suspended—credit ruined—want and misery and starvation, these are among the consequences which must flow from it. May God be merciful to us all in this season of heavy calamity.
A LETTER To To MI s H A C K L E Fo R D.
“Tragical Melpomene herself will, now and then, put on the comical start-up; sage Apollo laughs once yearly at his own beardless face; the modest Muses have the maddest revels; the darksomest Winter has his gliding streams; and wise men.
will sometimes play with children's rattles.”
My DEAR ToM:—As all the professions, trades, occupations and callings of human life are, at the present moment, so completely overstocked as to offer little or no encouragement to a young man labouring, like yourself, “under an attack of impecuniosity,” and as there appears to be something like an opening in the department of dinner-wag, or professed Merry-andrew—most of the old performers being superanlıuated or used up—I strenuously advise you to turn your attention towards a pursuit which may supply you with five or six good meals during every week of the London season, and, not improbably, procure you a constant invitation to enact the part of Mr. Merryman at some Hall, Park, or Abbey, during the autumn. To one circumstanced like yourself, these are valuable considerations, even if they do not lead to an advantageous marriage, or to the gift of a sinecure or snug appointment from
some old laughter-loving, red-faced, white-waist
coated aristocratical corruptionist. That such benefices will be numerous after the enactment of the Reform Bill, I am not sanguine enough to hope; therefore is it that the privileged classes, who have hitherto had a monopoly of the loaves and fishes, are so bitter against the measure; but some will still remain, and, as they have generally been bestowed upon the most idle and worthless young fellows about town, you will obviously stand as good a chance as any other.
Pleasantry apart—I think you are rather a droll
fellow, and possess decided requisites for the part of a Tom Fool, who is invited to banquets because he can honestly “earn the run of his ivories,” and say a good thing for every one that he devours. Without flattery, I may assert that you are tolerably good-looking; flippant, if not witty; noisy, if not convivial; able to drink two bottles of wine without inconvenience; possessed of no outward or visible means of subsistence, and gifted with a very valuable effrontery. Enjoying such decided requisites, you ought to command success; and as I feel a most disinterested wish to promote it—for your late inroads upon my dinner-table have been by no means like angel visits, and your appetite is rather an unmerciful one—I proceed to give you such hints and suggestions as my longer observation and experience enable me to offer. In the first place, never appear to want a dinner, or you may go without one from January to Christmas; for people cram the plethoric and the fat, not the lean and hungry. Make your acceptance of an invitation a great favour—protest that you are engaged three deep: disseminate the notion that it is the fashion to ask you to dinner-parties; and if you can establish this
point, your fortune is made. You will be asked on this sole account, without any reference to your merits; and your character being once confirmed as a professed wag, it will be impossible for you to open your mouth, even to utter the most common place matter-of-fact, without exciting a roar of irrepressible laughter. To those who are understood not to want any thing, the public are invariably generous. The newspapers, therefore, and the world at large, will father other people's jokes upon you; all the strays and waifs of waggery will become yours by right of their not belonging to you; and the facetious Tom Shackleford, like his fortunate predecessor, Joe Miller, will become a depot and emporium for bon-mots and witticisms. Imagine not that there will be the smallest difficulty in acting up to a reputation which it will be perfectly easy to maintain, although perhaps somewhat difficult to acquire. In this respect, much may be effected by management. Wherever you are going, you must previously endeavour to obtain a list of the parties invited, that you may learn something of their history; prepare yourself to play upon their names; elaborate your impromptus; get your extemporaneous quotations by heart, and work up your off-hand repartees. Sometimes you may find your account in employing a discreet confederate to prepare the train which you are to fire, rewarding him by getting him invited elsewhere; and thus giving him a share of the plunder, as the lion does the jackal. Where you can make the occurrences of the day the basis of your jest, or bring it to bear against any obnoxious personage, it will be more effective; but you will, of course, keep a common-place book, on which you must draw for want of other funds; and it is astonishing how much may be effected by a small capital of this sort, judiciously employed. Novelty is by no means necessary; your reputation will help off an old Joe, where an unacknowledged wag would fail, even with an original bon mot. There is no laying down a general theory for these things: example is better than speech. Suppose, therefore, your dinner-party waiting for some one not yet arrived. You will naturally hesitate to throw away a joke, or even an apposite remark, when your audience is not all assembled; but you may venture to quote Boileau's dictum, that the time a man is waited for, is always spent in discovering his faults; adding that you only quote so trite an observation in order to restore it to its proper author, as it has been attributed to many other writers. At this hungry moment, when most men, if they are at all in health, are sure to be very much out of temper,