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our mother's death. Oh! that she had died ere she had conceived us ! That I should be well provided for, I never doubted, but I was not con. lent. Some busy demon seemed ever whispering, even as in the voice of mine own heart, "the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother:' and they did come. Henry Merville was the possessor of princely wealth for a few fleeting months, and then died by poison. I was the poisoner. Old man, you were on the in. quest. Yes! you were one of those who returned a verdict of Wil. ful Murder' against an innocent stripling-a boy whom my brother out of charity had placed about his person. It was I who strewed the hellish powder in the boy's trunk. It was I who, in exaggerated detail, swore to some passages of anger between my two victims. I knew that the chidden servant had said before witnesses that he would be • even with his master. On this I worked to his conviction. He was hanged, and I - I was above suspicion.
“But a golden cradle rocks not the conscience to sleep. Wealth was mine, and all that wealth could bestow. Friends gathered round me; but I sat in the room where I had pledged my brother in a poisoned cup. He who had lain with me in the womb, whose bed was mine till we were even past childhood; he who loved me as a second self, save that he valued my happiness beyond his own. This generous, this confiding brother, I had murdered! How could I look upon the board where the deed was done? I sold off every thing I possessed in Liverpool, and went on the Continent. It was then you lost sight of me. Oh, how often had I heard the praises of the affectionate brother who could not be happy in the place that reminded him of his loss! It reminded me of my crime—my most unnatural crime! I left England, and France being then open to our countrymen, plunged into the dissipations of the French capital. I hired a château within a short distance of Paris. Splendid were the salons of the rich English stranger. The young, the pure, the intellectual, mingled there with the libertine, the de. praved, the infidel, but pleasure was the object of all; the innocent saw not defilement in the contact, and the vile laughed to mark their prey within the vortex of destruction. I lived in a bewilderment of excitement, and ere a year had quite elapsed from the period of my brother's death, if I had not forgotten him, -forgotten how he died, conscience was unheard amid the revel and the song. And love, too, in all the delirium of passion, had taken possession of my soul— what had I to do with conscience ?—I who would have steeped that soul in twice its guilt to win one smile from Matilde de B. She sat by me at the banquet. It was the hour when the revel was hushed, the loud voice stilled, a few, a chosen few yet lingered. Delicious music wantoned on the perfumed air ; the silken drapery waved in the nightbreeze; and the moon looked in upon our bliss, and paled the lamps that had lit our noisy revelry, as though she came to assert her right to minister in passion's hour. Now, Matilde !' I cried, thou hast kissed the cup, and I have drunk from its brim the sweet poison of thy sigh!' Poison! The word had awakened an echo-whence it came I knew not. None heard it but myself, for Matilde smiled; her hand was ready to receive the goblet ; but, startled at my frenzied gaze, she drew it back, and looked around with dread. Oh! in that moment a whirlwind rush of thought had lashed my brain into a storm of memory. 'Twas the anniversary of my brother's death. It was the hour I saw him drink Good night' unto his murderer! Ere Matilde, seeing no
cause for fear, had turned to chide my jesting with her, a hand had taken the cup. My broiher stood beside me, habited as I had last be. held him. He looked around the banquet hall, replaced the goblet on the table, and fixed his eyes on me.' Then slowly he passed from among us. I fell from my seat in a swoon
When I came to myself I was in charge of my servants. Had all my guests filed? No! I perceived that I was in my usual siceping apartment.
“ Reckless of reputation, Matilde must have remained by me, and for her the state.chamber of the château had been prepared. It was morning
- I would aitend her toilet. The delirium I had been in during the night could not have left me, for, no sooner was I struck with this idea, than I became completely possessed with it. I made my valet dress me. I insisted on his acquainting Madame de B— that I would wait on her. In vain the man opposed me. I listened not to what he had to say, and ere he could prevent me, I made my way into ihe chamber, where, flinging open the curtains of the bed, I beheld --not Matilde-the corpse of my brother! How I became not on the instant irrevocably mad has ever been a wonder to me; but my brain strangely stood the shock; and after a while a dread of impending danger made me bestir myself to dispose of the body. I pretended not to account for its appearance in my bed, and I had it removed, and buried at ight, with little cere. mony, in the consecrated ground of a neighbouring ruined abbey. By Aying into Italy I baffled the inquiries of the authorities respecting the corpse which had been so mysteriously found in my house, and so silently disposed of; and the laiter portion of Louis the Fifteenth's reign was too much convulsed by his arbitrary measures to allow of the public mind dwelling long on private occurrences, however strange.
“ The next year I was in a village at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. I had been a wanderer through Italy, and now a dread carne over me that the anniversary of my crime might again be marked by the appearance of my brother: I therefore sought a scene of desolation, fo: the volcano had been lately in full eruption, and vineyards, and vil. lages, and flocks, and herds, were destroyed; so that if the evil came upon me, it might be in the midst of those who, in alarm for their own lives and property, would not take cognizance of a stranger's actions. The night came. I had chosen it for a nearer view of the fiery throes of nature, and with a single guide I proceeded toward the crater. The eruption had spent its force, but a stream of lava, like a river of hell, was slowly progressing towards a grove of spreading chestnuts. The mighty wood bowed to the power of the sea of flames. We had ap. proached too near its course, and the heat, and the black sulphureous cinders which every now and then fell on us from on high, as the crater sent them forth into the air, warned us to retreat.
"Our way was over plains of pumice and yielding ashes; the fires of Vesuvius seemed to have reached
throat. I turned to my guide, and asked for drink. He handed a calabash to me, and drank. Merciful heaven! a cold and clammy hand received it from me! My brother stood before me; the gourd was at his lips. I uttered a wild scream. The guide looked around. The vision had disappeared, and the wine was mingling with the dust. The fellow muttered an ex. ecration at my carelessness. We had yet more than a mile to walk. When we reached the village, there was a cry that the body of a stran. ger was found stretched on my bed. I once more beheld my poisoned brother. Great was the astonishment of the villagers, but I was this
I have ques.
time free from suspicion, at least of murder, for they had a tradition of what they called. The Devil's Corpse,' which, bury it as you might, would leave the grave again ; still i perceived they considered it an ill omen that the visitation had fallen upon me.
" To quiet the people, I paid a large sum for a religious procession, and by the advice of the priests the supernatural body was consumed, and its ashes, sprinkled with holy water, cast into the sea.
** • Now at least, I may have rest!'I exclaimed. The corpse which exists not but in the ocean slime cannot again become tangible.' Thus I argued, and I thought myself free from my tormentor; but through every city of the Continent it followed me. I have been imprisoned on suspicion of murder, and narrowly escaped condemnation. I have been condemned, and bought life with gold. I have seen others invol. ved in the like predicaments by the curse I had brought upon them, but some special Providence seemed to bring them through their troubles-protecting even me!
“ Still was my heart hardened to my crime. I have spent my awful anniversaries on the ocean. In the privacy of my cabin I have re. ceived my visitant. I have placed the goblet to my lips, and looked for the hand that was to receive it, -and it ever came. tioned the apparition in my frenzy as to what was required of me; but it remained silent, and after a minute's stay, has disappeared by my bed place, and the stark, hideous, naked corpse, was laid out before
Prepared for this, I have lowered the intruder into the waves, and cast it off, saying to myself, Now again can I mingle with the world; for a brief year my ordeal is past. On the morrow I have heard of a corpse being under the ship's bows, and I have had it hauled on deck, lashed in a hammock, with shot at its feet, and then it has sunk, and I was for a while at peace. Time passed on, and I continued still a wretch, without a single earthly tie. 'On whom could I bring the weight of such a curse, -- of such a mystery! I never made a friend, for my fitful moodiness repelled my fellow-creatures.
“ Strange are the changes of the human heart! - I know not how repentance came, but an anniversary did at length arrive, when in a contrite spirit I received my visiter. I prayed, I besought him that this judgment should pass from me; but he spoke not. Yet I hoped my repentance would avail me, and that for the last time I should se. pulchre the restless corpse. But the next year proved the fallacy of such hopes; and the next, and the nexl. I became almost mad with the horrid destiny that clung to me. I shunned society; and, grown weary of scenes in which I had witnessed so much misery, I left Europe.
“ I roamed through distant and strange lands. Not long ago I was in Arabia. The last rays of the desert sun had sunk beneath its sea of sand. The caravan to which I had attached myself halted for the night by the side of a fountain. I would have given ingots of gold to drink, but I dared not. The
The Mo. hammedans smoked their long pipes in silence, and one by one I saw them drop asleep. The very guards slumbered as they sat on the ground, clinging to the shafts of their spears. Ye: I dared not drink. It was nearly midnight; one of these slumberers might look up while the precious draft was at my lips. My brother's shade would surely come; the corpse would be found in my tent. At length I could bear the hell of thirst no longer. I approached the fountain. I dashed in a capacious vessel. I drank, and the cup was taken from me. The
draught was shared. I made a grave beneath my tent in the yielding sand, and buried the eternal witness of my crime.
My health was now broken, my frame became emaciated, as you have seen; and a yearning to finishmy wanderings in my native land brought me to England. While travelling from place to place I came to H, and became the tenant of the abode in which I last saw my brother. It was a secluded spot, tar from cities, and a fitting place for me to die in. I had rented it but six months when the day of my des. tiny arrived. I have little more to tell. I was very ill; but, had I perished in my thirst, I would not have drunk. In my delirium I must have demanded drink, for, when consciousness flashed on my brain, my brother received from me the cup! You know the rest. I have writ. ten these papers at intervals. They may appear unconnected; but let them not be considered the ravings of a maniac. To morrow is appointed for my trial; but I feel that within which tells me I shall be spared further exposure to the public gaze. In this persuasion I have revealed to you the history of my crime, and its recompense.
Thus ended a narration, in which the wild imaginings of a monomaniac were strangely blended with the records of guilt. That the erimes which had maddened the unhappy criminal commenced in the poisoning of his brother, there could be little doubt ; but of his after.career he was the only chronicler. Old Mr. Parr to the day of his death was a firm believer in the supernatural portion of the story; but there were among those admitted into the old gentleman's confidence, matter-offact persons not a little sceptica). Jaines, the servant, never again ap. peared ; and it was thought probable that Mr. Morton, who, it may be perceived, avoided any mention of this man in his narrative, poisoned him with the same drug which effected the first murder of the poi. soner, and, grown madly enamoured of his work, he must have prepared the body of his victim, even after death, to play its part in the fatal drama of a brother's destruction. Slightly worthy of credit as these suggestions may be, in the absence of all proof, such was the only attempt ever made to explain the mystery of the Inquest.
THE MOONBE A M.
BY P. MC TEAGUE, ESQ.
O, WERE I but a moonbeam,
How gently would I creep
When resting in her sleep.
From Cynthia's silver bowers,
To lull her midnight hours.
Where the wavy ringlets play,
'Ere a sigh could pass away.
And tell the spirits there,
There was not one so fair!
THE CITY OF THE DOGE ;
LETTERS FROM VENICE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “A SUMMER IN ANDALUSIA."
Venice, July, 1839. MY DEAR A
The shouts of the postilion, together with the jolt occasioned by the sudden stoppage of the vehicle, awakened me from a doze into which I had fallen, in spite of my efforts to keep awake. On opening my eyes, they rested for a moment on an old gateway in a time-worn and venerable city wall,—then fell to meet the head of a column of soldiers emerging from the gateway, and crossing the drawbridge which spanned the deep fosse, on whose verge we had stopped. Their sallow pallid faces seemed to acquire a ghastly hue from the contrast presented by their white uniforms turned
green. " Ecco Padova, Signore !" said the conduttore, who sat by my side in the coupé of the velocifero.
“Padua already!” I exclaimed in astonishment, as the last thing I remembered was rumbling through the dark streets of Vicenza at mid. night, and I had no consciousness of subsequent slumbers. “ And is this Padua ?”
“Yes, signor ; this is the most ancient city of Italy. When Rome was but a suckling, Padua was hoary."
Padua, the city of the Trojan Antenor,—the birth-place of Livy,-Padua la Dotta, for ages " the nursery of arts," as Shakspeare calls ber,—the fuster-mother of Dante, Petrarch, Tasso, Galileo, and many others well known to fame,the heritance of the Carraras, that race whose lives were a romance, whose deaths a tragedy, — the scourged and trampled city of Eccellino
o immanissimo tiranno
Che fu creduto figlio del domonio.” Padua ! — these walls, this gateway has frowned upon the gallant Bayard, the chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, and perhaps on this very spot he may have gained some of his choicest laurels.
I had time to think of all these things, and much more besides ; for the wild Hungarians continued to pour forth from the gate in an un. broken stream, like the words from the mouth of a garrulent orator, who taxes the patience of his hearers with an unseasonably lengthened harangue. With similar feelings did I regard these troops ; for as day had but just dawned, the morning air was so cool, that I grew impatient, and the conduttore not less so, to attack the hot breakfast which we both had in prospect.
But “soldiers before civilians” is a practical motto everywhere, especially on the Continent, and we were fain to beat time with our loes to the tramp of the military, who, as they marched three or four abreasi, were nearly a quarter of an hour ere they left us in undisputed possession of the bridge.
On we dashed beneath the gate, and entered the city.
Verily Padua has a " learned ”air. It seems one great university. Cloisters, cloisters, cloisters meet the eye wherever it turns. On either