صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

to believe, as we looked forward at the track winding before us into the valley, that it could be other than artificial, it seemed so like a fragment of those days when Roman giants walked the earth. All the hills around us, however, were of a similar formation. In some, of a conical shape, the layers were horizontal, and they presented the appearance of huge pyramids, with a succession of broad steps rising to the summit. The doctor had a narrow escape during our day's journey. The mule, as usual, like a member of the skating club, being partial to the “outside edge," the sod that fringed it broke away beneath his hinder feet. There was a desperate struggle for a second or so; but the doctor having instinctively thrown himself from the saddle, and the declivity at that spot not being so precipitous as to deprive the mule of all opportunity of retrieving his hold, a vigorous tug at the bridle preserved Lo Zingaro from a roll and tumble which would probably have spoiled his campaigning.

We slept at Pallazuoli, and again took refuge in the convent, the internal arrangements of which differed in no respect from those we had witnessed the evening before. We had time before sunset to take a hasty view of the excavations of the Baron Judica, who has discovered a great number of tombs. He has also laid open a small theatre, the seats of which are in a tolerable degree of preservation, and command a magnificent though distant prospect of Ætna. What a splendid addition to the stage decorations the old mountain must have been, placed in the very centre of the view! There it was now before us, clothed in the purple light that an Italian sunset gives, its column of smoke rising nearly perpendicular to the upper air, and then spreading like a thunder-cloud over its brindled summit.

“ O Lamprey !" said the doctor sentimentally, as he bade us good night on retiring to his cell, “ only think !" 6 What, doctor ?".

Syracuse to-morrow, you dog;" and off he went along the corridor, holding his candlestick in the one hand, and snapping the finger and thumb of the other, as he muttered to himself something about Tycha, and Epipolæ, and Acradina, and Castra Atheniensium.

WILT THOU LOVE ME STILL ?

BY MRS. CRAWFORD.

Wilt thou love me still, when I'm far away,

And when all are gay about thee,
In the pensive light of thine eye betray

Thou art lone and sad without me?
By the lonely Arno's silver stream,

With a faith that's all unbroken,
Wilt thou sit on the gray moss-stone, and dream

Of the words I there have spoken?
Wilt thou love me still, when the fleeting years

Have come and gone without me,
And oft, in the gush of thy secret tears,

Embalm sweet thoughts about me?
And 0, my beloved, if again we meet,-

Though in anguish now we sever,
Wilt thou bring me a faith as fond and sweet?
Wilt thou still be the same as ever?

MARY AMBREE.

BY THE AUTHOR OF “PHILLIS LEYTON," &c.

CHAPTER I.

“ Soe fares the unthrifty Lord of Lynne,

Till all his gold is gone and spent,
And he maun sell bis lands soe broad,
His house, and lands, and all his rent."

THE HEIR Of Lynne.

now.

That devotion in woman which defies all censure for the sake of him she truly loves, and renounces all other ties to follow him wherever he may wander, we are prone, in these cold days, to regard as a mere fiction of our early poets, beautiful but unreal. They were not so faithless to human nature; but human nature was then of a more poetical, if you will of a more exalted character, than it seems to be

Can we tell a tale of our times so romantic, and yet strictly so true, as the story of Mary Ambree ?

The sun, his daily course now drawing near an end, was welking in the warm and gilded clouds prepared to receive his last smiles in the west, and shot levelly a few broad and dazzling rays through the parted boughs of the stately rank of poplars which" bordered the garden wherein Mary Ambree was leisurely wandering, musing of her lover. Now she stooped to gather a flower, and now she paused to gaze upon a ring she toyed with in her hand, and then, in a mood wherein gentle lovers often feel themselves, especially if they are young and romantic, sighed while she watched the first trembling beams of the moon as her glowing disk was rising slowly from the east, and felt herself sweetly melancholy—why she knew not.

In this garden she had been coyly wooed, but the perseverance of her lover had triumphed, and the ring, her spousal ring, was the sign of his success. And her lively fancy was already enjoying, in anticipation, her wedding-day-that day of triumph to an ardent young woman, beyond which she seldom looks, and, for the gratification it furnishes, often bestows herself. Her garments of the costliest, herself more blooming and far richer even than her garments--the noble figure of her bridegroom, flaunting in gold and velvet-the admiration and ready praise of her bridesmaidens—the merry peal that would welcome her to church-the flowers strewed before her feet, and the greetings of the spectators on every side as she hurried through them to the altar-all rose before her young mind, and made her feel too happy, which feeling is near allied to sadness.

Yet there was not a dim spot in her future prospect, nor any in the brief track of life she had left behind her. She had been used from her infancy to all the indulgences wealth could lavish on her, and had been spared even the little vexations which fall to the lot of the fortunate if they have not some one devotedly watching over them to

Dec. 1838.-VOL. XX111.-NO, XCII,

F F

avert or conceal them. In childhood she never knew a wish ungratified, and when increase of age, and the perusal of an entire library of romances, taught her love might be one, and that a suitor, rich, handsome, gallant, and romantic, would render her existence much less monotonous, a lover arose at her beck. Sir John Major, the young master of an adjoining manor, who had satiated himself with the pleasures of London, came down to live quietly at his countryseat. He saw and sighed, and then he wooed and won. True, he was no Sir Launcelot or Parthenopex, for he wore not armour in common, nor did he ride out on knight-errantry, but he was courteous and well-favoured, could cast off a lady's merlin, and read to her in a meadow under the shade of trees, or serenade beneath her bower by moonlight. Mary first toyed, and then she gave her consent; her happy father approved, the ring of betrothment was slipt tenderly on her finger, the wedding-day appointed, and all her young companions envying her the bridegroom.

The spot where Mary herself stood was shrouded in gloom, but the moon, which had now climbed high in the east, threw upon the whole front of the mansion a broad sheet of silvered light, and played gloriously on every object her beams fell upon. And as she saw emerge from the postern the tall figure of a cavalier, she knew at once the only one it could be who was coming to seek her. The moonlight dilated his stately form, and sported around him, first darting from the hilt of his rapier, and then kissing the dark plume of his bonnet. She forgot the little pride in her character which made her feign to be sought, even by her lover, rather than to seek him, and, with an exclamation of delight, she ran forward.

My own Sir John, this is kind indeed! I wished thou wert with memfor ever, if it might be so. But, in sooth, I dreamed not to see thee again ere the morrow.”

“Perchance, my sweet Mary, you may not see me to-morrow,” replied her lover gravely, as he drew his arm round her slender waist.

“ I have been another time laying out our marriage-day," she ran on, “and all the bridal procession. It will never suit as we planned it: indeed, I am sure it cannot please you. Bridal laces of silver-I myself clad in a white kirtle—the children who lead me all in white ;why, if they throw lilies before me, it will be a perfect funeral for a virgin before marriage. Now, I would wear a chaplet of red roses, and dress the little girls in green, like fairies. But, gracious Heaven! Sir John, why so silent? Alas, I fear you are not heeding me.”

They were now seated in an arbour at the bottom of the garden, formed of a jasmine and lady's bower intertwined, here and there mingled with roses, which had been trained carelessly through it, and gave a richer perfume to the delicate savour of the faint blossoms among which they were scattered. While she was thus addressing him, Sir John Major, unnoticed by her till she was surprised by his silence, leaned with his arms folded upon the table, and his face buried in them, and only replied to her prattle by sighing bitterly.

“ Dream of the future,” he murmured ; “ay, and of a bridal, poor wronged one, but never of a bridal with me. It must be avowed,” he

added, raising his head, and conquering the strong emotion visible in his countenance, “and yet it goes near to break my heart to tell it. For me, can I complain of misery when I have laboured for—yes, wantonly courted—and, wretch that I am, ere I thought it, have earned it ? You, Mary, are innocent, and a victim.”

“ Sir John ” exclaimed Mary, “these are wild words—what mean they? I know not what to ink—do not my ears play me false ?”

“I, Mary, have played you false, listen calmly, my own one, and, above all things, I pray thee, do not, if you can help it, reproach me. I am a guilty man, but my punishment has been no less than utter ruin. În few words, I have deceived thee basely, and now I cannot deceive you longer, am come here to tell thee as much.”

Deceived me, John Major! why, that can hardly be. You have won my heart, and are to marry me. Surely your troth has not been plighted to another erewhile, whom you would now wed, leaving poor Mary Ambrey to weep in secret, and die ere she can well assure you she has forgiven you."

“ There you now wrong me, thank Heaven! I am not so base. 'Tis certain I have deceived thee, but 'twas not when I knelt at your feet, and vowed that I loved you the dearest and best upon earth. But I have been guilty of meaner and less manly falsehood, and, like a player, have palmed myself off for the man I was not. You believe me wealthy and honourable ; I am a dishonoured man, and a beggar. My fortune has been squandered by blazing, like a marquis, in jewels and brocade, reining the fairest steed, and wooing the proudest ladies of the court; my lands are pawned, and, above all men, to the infamous Audley. I have not a denier in the world--I have broken my bond—and to-day he has exacted the forfeiture, and driven me from every rood of the fair domains of woodland and meadow I once boasted all my own.

I am undone! I am undone !" Mary was shedding tears, but she wiped them away that he might not see them, and said very tenderly, as if fearing to wound the proud heart of the man she was speaking to, “ But my father is wealthy, Sir John, and we all know how kind-hearted he is. He will do anything to save his child from sorrow, especially if the favour be for you, whom he has known and fondled from a boy. I fear to name what I would you would permit me to entreat of him.”

“ Mary, you never spoke a word that pleased me less. I am too proud to ask any man to pay my debts, especially one I have wronged, beyond retrieving, in his daughter. Shall I stand over him, like a robber, to extort his gold, and pleading that I have won your heart, and that will shed tears, and make him wretched, unless he now buys me to marry you. Perish the thought, for it drives me mad. Nol to-morrow reveals all, when I, a double coward, shall have fled far from the reproaches of a family my villany has rendered completely miserable ; but I will make the world what amends I can, and in the wars of Flanders seek to atone my follies in the grave. I go thither, and would have quitted thee, Mary, without bidding thee farewell ; but my heart would not rest until I had craved thy forgiveness, and for that purpose alone I have sought you. But tell

you

me you forgive me, and I am gone-never to look upon you again in this earth, although perchance we may reunite in heaven.”

She would have spoken, not to tell him she forgave him, for her looks told him that, but to pour out the devotion of her heart; to reveal to him how her being had become bound up in his, and was never now to be severed from it—that she must live for him and with him, or die. But when she sought for words, tears came in their place, and she could only answer him by laying her head upon his shoulder, and crying bitterly.

“ It is well,” said Sir John Major; “I am indeed a sinner not to be forgiven. Nor shall I ever forgive myself, but, plunged in the hottest fire, and mounted on the most hazardous breach, my life shall pay

the forfeit, and this world thus atoned, a compassionate Heaven have mercy upon my soul ! And now farewell for ever! and not, I beseech

ye,
in

anger-dearest, sweetest Mistress Mary Ambree.” She heard not these his last words, but it seemed he was still speaking to her; nor did she feel him gently put her from him, for she was half senseless with extreme sorrow. At last all seemed still, and she looked up wildly. She saw the cold moon silvering the gray turrets of her father's mansion, and her quiet rays sleeping peacefully in the dark long avenues, chequered with light, that extended as far as the eye could reach down the path wherein the dwelling was seated. And she gazed long, very long and fixedly on the broad shadows of the forest trees which the moonlight cast athwart the grass, for she was watching the figure of a stately cavalier hurrying past them, until at last he was lost in the dimness of the distance; and when she could see him no longer, she went back into the arbour, and there wept as if her heart would break.

CHAPTER II.
" When captains couragious, whom death cold not daunt,

Did march to the siege of the citty of Gaunt;
They mustred their souldiers by two and by three,
And the foremost in battle was Mary Ambree.
A helmet of proofe she strait did provide ;
A strong arminge sword she girt by her side;
On ber hand a goodly faire gauntlett put shee :
Was not this a brave bonny lass, Mary Ambree !"

OLD BALLAD OF MARY AMBREE. The streets of Bruges, at that time the most crowded and lively city in Europe-for she was the staple of the Hanse Towns, and therefore the emporium of the world—were thronged, as wont, by busy thousands hurrying to and fro; but they were not in the peaceful garb of traffic. One of the fiercest sieges in history had exhausted its fury upon her walls for many weeks before the day on which this chapter opens, and the allies had just entered her gates after the capitulation of the Spanish garrison. The churches, and other public edifices, begrimed with smoke, and shattered in all parts by the shot which had fallen thickly upon them, some with their pinnacles and coigns carried away, others with their towers half thrown down, and their roofs gaping open, and exposing the most sacred shrines and altars—those too crushed by the fall of the ruins, and singed by the fire--to the fury of the elements. The dilapidated houses you met

« السابقةمتابعة »