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from it, and of those she had superadded. She had all the advantages of dress : the perfect and exquisite whiteness of her skin was given to view -her full and rounded arm was uncovered—and her bright beautiful hair was fastened with a knot of diamonds. I thought then she never could be so lovely, as when full dressed; I afterwards thought that in simple unadornment she was more lovely still. But I found the reality to be(and in a truly beautiful woman it always is so)—that the dress in which she is before our eyes, is that in which we think she looks the best. At night the brilliancy of dress appears to us most suited to her beauty; in the morning, we become converts to the plain white gown, and that indescribable loveliness of complexion, which a perfect, but still a healthy, pale ness, possesses by day-light; and, when night returns again, she again seems to eclipse her simple self, and we revert to our former creed.
“The spot where we were seated is as present to me at this moment, as if it were before my actual vision. It was by the side of a steep rocky path, which wound, in zigzag lines, up the face of the mountain. Before us, was a deep and narrow valley—so narrow, indeed, that it might almost be called a ravine-which separated the fellow-mountain from that which we were on. In front of this valley, a little to the right, was the sea-the magnificent eternal sea; now spreading its boundless expanse of deep inky blue into the horizon, with an unruffled surface, but a heavy, bulky, swell of the body of its waters. I do not know that there is any state in which the ocean is so solemn and imposing as in this. In a perfect calm, it is dreary and monotonous; in a light breeze, it is dressed in smiles and brightness ; in a storm, it is awful, fearful, terrible. But in the state I have described, we gaze on it with a deep and oppressive sense of its majesty and vastness, which it inspires at no other time. In calm it loses the one, in tempest the other for the rage of the elements always narrows the circle of our view.
“The sun, too, was setting on it now. It was one of those evenings in which the sun goes down almost to the horizon, shrouded and hidden by dense clouds; and then shines forth for a few moments with that deep and lurid brightness, which it sheds at such times. The wide sea was tinged with a dark shadowy tint of red, like that which is produced by looking through obscured glass at an eclipse. Its full heaving acquired a sullen threatening aspect from this blood-coloured hue, and looked, if I may so say, like the face of a guilty man, brooding over fierce and revengeful thoughts. The valley was in perfect gloom, as well as the hill behind us, and three-fourths of that opposite—but the summit of this last caught the only ray of gold which the clouds permitted the sun to shed, and shone in feeble and melancholy lustre, as contrasted with the darkness, or the gloomy light, which spread over all else.
“ We had walked slowly up the difficult path, and sat down here upon a fragment of a rock to gaze on this beautiful and impressive scene. The seat placed us close to each other; our limbs touched, and I was forced to pass my arm round Eleanor, to support her on the rock. Is there any one who was ever thus placed, in such a scene, at such a season, and does not treasure in his heart's memory the sensations of that hour?. Even when alone, mountains—the vast sea-a frowning sun-set-occasion a full deep awfulness which weighs on the heart, and even on the physical breath. There is a tightening of the breast, and a leaden oppression of the nerves,
which, nevertheless, cause a deep moral sensation rather than bodily pain. The most thoughtless pause in their thoughtlessness—the most wicked are softened to repentance, the most callous, for that moment, feel. Upon a heart warm and ardent-untouched, at least untainted, by crime-it is needless to say what the effect must be and is. But when we are with one we love-whom we doat on with all the softness of the tenderest feeling -whom we adore with all the fervour of burning passion ;-when we feel the vital warmth of her frame thrill through us ;—when her breath is mingled with ours—and we gaze into her very soul, which beams in her eyes with inexpressible affection and abandonment—then, indeed, does the heart swell with sensations which have no words to paint them—but which need them the less-as those who have once felt them require no description, and to none but those who have felt them, could any description convey the feeblest shadow of what they are.
“We were thus placed:-my arm supported Eleanor on the narrow seat - her eyes mingled with mine. We did not speak. There are some moments, and this was one of them, when speech is wholly powerless. Nay, more—when to speak would break, as it were, the enthralling spell which is over us—would destroy at once those air-built visions, which, as in the Eastern story, lap our silent spirits in Elysium. Yes! thus we feltthe earth, and sky, and sea, had vanished from our eyes, and there were only ourselves in the world; as if we were but one being—as if we had but one soul !
“But, alas ! there is no scene, however sublime-there is no hour, however solemn-which can long suspend the head-strong wilfulness of passion. I took advantage of the softening and swelling of the heart, which we then both felt, to return to my ceaseless topic—to urge my usual suit. But the heart of Eleanor was not like mine : that which passed away lightly in me was by her far more strongly felt. The holy sensations of that hour outweighed its dangers, and spiritualized and made pure even unlawful affections.
“As I proceeded, though she continued to listen attentively, she seemed to cease to hear; her eye became fixed and unmeaning, and her whole form grew motionless and stiffened. A sort of waking stupor appeared to come over her; I strove to rouse her, but in vain. •I shall be better presently,' was her only answer, and she repeated it to all I said. The continued, unvaried, and mechanical manner in which she repeated this sentence, was more fearful than if she had been wholly speechless. I became alarmed to a maddening degree. There she sat like a stone; her eyes fixed
- her colour gone-her frame rigid. I shall be better presently,' she repeated to every thing I said to her, and even when I did not speak. I was utterly, helplessly, at a loss. A fit, a swoon, hysterics, I should have known how to succour and relieve; but this unearthly statue-like suspension of animation, with the single exception of that one-echoing phrase, made me nerveless and helpless as a child. There was no water on this rocky mountain, and I feared to leave her to fetch it. She remained motionless.
“ At this moment there came singing down the path a little boy of, it might be, ten years old, in ragged clothes, and with bare feet, but skipping along at a merry pace, and carolling forth his ditty, with the gaiety and lightness of an innocent and happy heart. The path brought him close to
us; but, after looking at us for a moment with some surprise, he proceeded on his way. As he passed, I saw, to my infinite relief and joy, expression again begin to spread over Eleanor's face. The tears rose in her eyes, and at last begun to flow freely. "I don't know why it is,' said she, ' I was not thinking of that child-and yet the sight of his poor naked little feet, tripping over the hard sharp stones, brought tears to my eyes, as it were by instinct.' And she wept on, and I rejoiced, for the tears relieved her.
“I have often wondered at this since. I have thought it strange that this merely physical sight should produce tears in one who was in such a death-like state, and who had so much cause and will to weep, but could not. Neither could she ever account for it, more than in the few words which she had employed when it happened, I saw his bare feet on the rough path, and I cried.
“Eleanor continued to weep, and I did not endeavour to check her tears. I feared to renew the unnatural and appalling state from which they had relieved her: and I determined to say no more on the subject which had caused it. To my surprise, however, she begun it herself. After the silence had lasted some time, she strove to dry up her tears, and, turning to me, said, in a voice, firm indeed, but of a low, distinct, sustained intonation, which carried with it something unearthly - If it will give you hap. piness, it-it-it shall be as you wish—but-I could not live after it; and so saying, she sank upon my bosom, and began to weep unrestrainedly.
“Oh, God! what at that moment were to me all the gratifications of passion! How weak, how pitiful seemed to me then, the motive which had actuated me all along !-how cruel and remorseless did it appear, to desire to sacrifice her happiness to my own—no, not even that-for happiness I knew it could not cause, even to myself. Here was this lovely and gifted creature-whom I loved with a love passing all human affection—throwing herself upon my feelings of mercy-yielding, but entreating to be spared. I do repeat, that at that moment all evil passion died within me. No,' I said in my heart, • I will not sacrifice this dear one at the shrine of selfish and impure indulgence. I will cherish her in my inmost heart, but it shall be with the purity of a brother's love-though still with all the deep and overflowing tenderness of my own. I will spare her-and, oh how blessed will the feeling be hereafter, that I have done this good deed, when the temptation to a bad one was so fearfully strong—that I have preferred her happiness to my own enjoyment--her innocence to my triumph!'
“I paused some moments while these thougbts were passing through my mind, and then said to Eleanor, · No, it shall not be, I never will urge it again; and, as I spoke, I stooped my face to her's, and our lips met for the first time. They then met in guiltlessness and purity--yes, purity; for the hiss which a mother imprints upon her new-born infant's brow, is not more free from unholy passion, than was that in which my lips were pres sed to Eleanor's then,
"We were now married. My heart's wildest wish-my imagination's most extravagant hope—were now realized. Our communion was now constant and permitted ; our love was unreproved by man, and sanctioned by heaven. She was mine—mine before the face of the world, as well as on the altar of our own hearts-mine by the ties of lawful observance, as well as by those of irrepressible affection. And were we happy?-Alas! none who have been thus wedded will ask a question, the answer to which
is so sadly certain. Happiness can never be reached through guilt. What would be happiness under other circumstances, ceases to be so in these. The means have destroyed the end. If, six months before, I had been asked what would make me perfectly and transcendantly happy, I should have said without a pause-to be married to Eleanor. And now we were married now she was my wife-and happiness was farther from me than ever. It was then before me—though beyond my reach; now past it, and it was irrecoverable.
“ The last time we were ever out together, was on an occasion of this kind ;--when the sky and the earth seemed alike lighted up by the glories of the setting sun. We paused opposite to it at that time when its radiance sheds a brightness and lively aspect over all within the horizon's compass. As the sun declines lower, there is an air allied to sadness thrown over the landscape ; but it was before this that we stopped to gaze upon its beauties and its splendour. It was a very little way from the house-for she was too feeble to walk far. Alas! what a contrast she now was, to the radiant being I have described. Her form was wasted to a fearful thinness-to a degree of attenuation, indeed, almost unnaturalyet it retained that gracefulness of outline and of movement for which it had been so remarkable. But it was now the grace of languor, not of elasticity and buoyant youth. The deep red spot burned in the centre of her cheek---the rest of which, as well as her brow, was of that clear, transparent whiteness, common to her disease. Her eye--that eye, whose expression I have never seen equalled, and which remains so intensely in my memory–her eye alone appeared unchanged. Yet even this was changed. Its brightness still remained, but it had an unhealthy glassiness superadded ; and it was sunken within its hollow, which took from the power of its glance, and gave to it a more saddened expression. She leaned heavily on my arm, but before we had got far she complained of fatigue, and I supported her to a seat. We watched together the sun decline, and finally sink below the line of the horizon: we saw the glowing and brilliant colours, which he left in his descent, gradually deepen in the sky, till all became shadow ; while, on the other side, the beauties which the heavens wear by night, grew, first vaguely, and then by degrees, more strongly visible. The stars began to glitter one by one, and the firmament became more distinctly and brightly blue. As the chill of the night came on, I pressed Eleanor to go in, but she begged to stay to gaze, for the last time, on the loveliness of night. “I know," said she, I never shall come out again-I am so feeble, I scarcely could get these few steps—I must cease to attempt it altogether. Let me, then, stay, that I may gaze on all that Nature has of soft, and solemn, and enchanting—that the last time my eyes rest on it may be with you. The evening of my life has come, the night is fast approaching-let me look on this emblem of the fate which is so near me; and, Oh! let me hope, that after the agitations of the day, and the shadows of the night-fall, I may wake to the puré, solemn, beautiful serenity of a state like this !". She bent her head upon my shoulder, and laid her cheek upon mine—it was hot even unto burning; and the wasted and fleshless fingers, which I held within my own, were dry and parched. But her spirit was unfevered by the body's illness, and she prayed to heaven with me that night-for the last time in that most glorious and holiest temple, Nature-with that calm resignation, that solemn and subdued, but yet
assured hope, which are the best passports to the blessed immortality for which they implore.
Why do I dwell on these scenes ? Is it that I dread approaching that of death itself? On that, indeed, I cannot dwell.-Life ebbed away in gentle, imperceptible, but sure gradations. Her mind had ceased to suffer sometime before her death, on all points but one —her child. She had no cause for anxiety concerning it, as regarded itself—but yet in the last days of her existence she longed to have with her that being to whom she had given birth-whom she had loved more tenderly, perhaps, if not so fervently --if not so passionately, more purely, than any other upon earth. She would speak of her child more and more often as her death drew near—the last word, indeed, which she distinctly pronounced, was her child's name; but after articulation had ceased, her last look was given to me—her last sigh was breathed upon my lips.”
The model of this tale, without its absurdity, is to be found in the Adolphe of Benjamin Constant.
HENRY THE FOURTH OF FRANCE.
The education which this great man received was calculated to make him fond of woodland scenery, and the sports of the field. Sent to a remote castle, amid the dreary rocks in the vicinity of the Pyrennean mountains, delicacy had no part in the education of the youthful Henry. His ordinary food was brown bread, cheese, and beef. He was clothed like other children of the country, in the coarsest stuff, and was inured to climb and rove over the rocks, often barefooted and bareheaded. Thus, moreover, by habituating his body early to exercise and labour, he prepared his mind to support with fortitude all the vicissitudes of his future life.
Hunting was ever the favourite diversion of this monarch. He often strayed from his attendants, and met with some adventures which proved pleasant to himself, and evinced the native goodness of his heart, and an affability of disposition, which charmed all who had an opportunity of observing it.
Being on a hunting party one day in the Vendomois, he strayed from his attendants, and some time after, observed a peasant sitting at the foot of a tree:-“What are you about, there ?" said Henry. “I am sitting here, sir, to see the king go by.” “If you have a mind," answered the Monarch, “ to get up behind me, I will carry you to a place where you can have a good sight of him.” The peasant immediately mounts behind, and on the road asks the gentleman, how he should know the king. “ You need only look at him who keeps his hat on while all the rest remain uncovered." The king joins his company, and all the Lords salute him: “Well," said he to the peasant, “ which is the king ?” “Faikes," answered the clown, “it must be either you or I, for we both keep our hats on."