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kind of jollity so natural to desperate Windy Hovel. Whilst I viewed characters, had evidently reached its the scene of desolation before me,
In an hour or two, the up- wherefore, I do not know,—but I roar diminished, the voices became wished the moon away; its light gradually fewer, and at length there seemed to throw a ghastly paleness was total silence. I had now time over the ground, and to discover to to look about me. The apartment me more plainly the forlornness of in which I was confined scarcely al- my situation. Darkness would have lowed me either to stand upright, been preferable. I wished for silence or to stretch myself lying. It had also, rather than such dreary sounds but one small window furnished with as I was compelled to hear. The storm a single pane of glass, vulgarly called coming up, as it were, in waves, a “ bull's-eye.
Some straw, upon against the gable-end of the hut, which a coarse frieze-coat was flung, and then howling disappointed away, lay in one corner of the room. Over- made my flesh creep whilst I listened come with fatigue and anxiety, I threw to it; whilst ever and anon, a midmyself down upon this wretched night snore, or the moan of the nighttruss, somewhat in the form of a dog mare from the robbers' apartment, going to sleep,-not indeed that it echoed deep and drear through the was my intention to sleep, but to building. A total pause would then meditate how I should attempt for a few minutes ensue.-Again the my escape. My situation in itself blast shook the walls, and roared in was perilous, but there was some the chimneys. At one time, when it thing in the accompanying circum- seemed to have collected all its stances which rendered it doubly strength, the outer door burst open terrific. To feel myself alone in this with the violence of the shock, and solitary habitation, amidst these de- I thought the whole mountain was serted mountains, would have been seized with an earthquake. Another sufficiently uncomfortable; to know interval of calm.-One of the sleepmyself in the hands and at the mercy ers within, uneasy perhaps with his of a gang of villains, whose interest previous debauch, now tore up the it was, never to permit one who had silence of night, drawing his breath thus unluckily stumbled upon their ruggedly through his throat and nossecret resort to return alive, was trils, till the noise almost wakened dreadful. That their trade was either himself. A second broke out into an murder, or what frequently led to exclamation of terror, as his conscience it, I had little doubt; and they might pursued him in his dreams; then perpetrate an act of that kind here corrected himself, and slept again. with perfect impunity, as they had A third groaned deeply as the nocnothing to do but let the body of turnal incubus sat heavier on his their victim drop between the rocks, breast, and I could hear him quarwhere a casual traveller would never reling inarticulately as if struggling think of descending. The reflection from under the pressure of the was horrible. I rose and looked out demon. At length a loud yell, like of the miserable window; there was that of a bloodhound when about to nothing before me but valleys of pale spring upon his victim, was uttered rock, and huge solitary pinnacles on in a voice which I could not mistake: which the moon shone with an in- it clove me to the tenderest brain; tensity of brightness that gave them my blood froze into icicles. I listenthe appearance of being clothed in ed—almost choaking with suspense : shrouds, while their shadows looked -all was as hush as death, till anolike long trains of sable sweeping be- ther blast came.—But I have not rehind. The hill on the top of which lated the worst : As I looked down this hovel stood was peculiarly bleak, upon the floor of the room which was and the wind storming about the divided by a column of moonlight corner where my room lay, and puf that came in at the window-pane, I fling at the window,as if endeavouring saw a stream of some very dark lito gain an entrance to this wretched quor crossing the bright reflection, dwelling, rocked it to and fro on its and putting my finger into this foundation. From this circumstance judge my horror, when I discovered I have always called it to myself, it to be blood! I now recollected
that the loaded sack had been placed branches so thickly that it was but against my door, and upon going now and then I could obtain a glimpse there I found that a quantity of of the blue sky above them; this they blood had oozed from under the pan- seemed to touch with their topmost nels, and was spread into a thick leaves. The avenue was perfectly pool in the middle of which I was straight, and so long, that the end of now standing. Doubt, if I had any, it was always lost in darkness, howwas dispelled by this sight; it was ever far I proceeded. Notwithplain that some unfortunate person standing the shade, I could yet see had been murdered by my host or his to a considerable distance before me, gang, who had carried the body hither, but with that kind of unsteadiness to be first rifled, and then thrust into which perhaps the reader has often some deep cavern where it could experienced when, after having tranever be discovered. No time was to ve led rapidly, and seen the hedges be lost: my blood might soon be and other objects fleeting behind mingled with that which tracked the him as it were, he suddenly stops ; floor; so I resolved, at the risk of -everything seems to vibrate before strangulation, to attempt forcing my his eyes. It was thus with me in my body through the window. In the dream. The trees, and even the oblivion of drunkenness they had walk itself, seemed to be in continual, neglected better securing this outlet, but almost imperceptible motion, and perhaps had altogether forgotten and the whole forest appeared dim my existence; so I had one chance and visionary. I walked on alone of escape.
I cut the frame work and in dead silence for several hours. with my pen-knife, lacerating my I attempted frequently to penetrate own fingers dreadfully in my hurry into the forest on either hand, but and trepidation, and finally, hy great was prevented by myriads of owls, exertion, squeezed myself out, head who, the very moment I put my head foremost, through the opening. Just among the trees, took wing, and as I touched the ground, I heard a flying in noiseless confusion amid the burst of voices from within, and a fu- branches, so distracted my sight that rious rush through the door. I flew I found it quite impossible to make down the mountain, heard the door my way through the briars and enof the hut clapped violently several tanglement. Proceeding therefore on times, and a number of people speak- my endless journey, I sought to ing together in great confusion : amuse myself by plucking some some shots were fired which rang in flowers which grew prettily on the repeated echoes through the neigh- way side. Amongst these were sebouring valleys, but I had now gain- veral violets, hyacinths, and hareed the shelter of the next bill, and bells, of the most delicate form and winging round its base, continued my colour ; but what was very strange, flight-till my limbs were no lon- I remarked that each flower as I ger able to bear me. I sank down plucked it immediately withered in in a swoon, from which I did not my hand. Though I selected those awake till it was broad day. A cow of the deepest tinge and the freshest was grazing quietly beside me, and beauty, where they endeavoured to a neat garden-cottage stood at some hide themselves in the grass, they distance. Thither 1 dragged my turned pale the moment I pulled weary frame; too happy, however, them and withered almost into dust. in having so miraculously escaped I knelt down to smell them as they the perils of Windy Hovel.
grew in the sward, but they all Of the above two stories, one is a drooped their heads as I approached, waking and the other a real vision; and tears fell in showers from their I will leave the reader to distinguish leaves upon the grass beneath them. which is the fruit of my own fantas- Their scent I remarked also, was not tical brain, which the inspiration of their own, but that of rosemary. Morpheus. Let me now proceed to Whilst I was meditating upon the relate the prophetic dream which I strangeness of all this, I heard faint spoke of.
sounds as if travelling up the avenue Methought I was in a green towards me. They became gradually avenue lying between two forests of louder; I could distinguish the grand hnge elms, which mingled their and melancholy swell of an organ,
interrupted at intervals by the toll Next morning I thought of my ing of a distant bell. The anthem dream ; but the business of the day was plainly a dirge, and as I walked soon effaced it from my mind. At onwards I fancied I could detect the tea-time, upon opening the window voices of a choir chaunting the of the room where I sat, to admit requiem for the dead. Soon after I the summer-evening breeze, sounds was convinced of this, for upon look- which I had very lately heard, but I ing a long way down the vista, I dis- could not immediately recollect where, cemed something like a funeral pro- saluted my ear;-it was the very knell cession coming to meet me. It ad- which had rung last night, faintly vanced; and was what I suspected. echoing as the sash was raised. My As the head mourners approached, dream returned, like a blow upon however, in two lines, they separated my heart. to the right and left a few paces be The village spire shot amidst fore me, each couple successively dis- the trees at some distance in front appearing behind the trunks of the of my cottage; I put on my hat, elm trees, and being immediately lost leaped out of the window on the in the gloom of the forest. This con- terrace, and crossing the lawn, bent tinued till the body of the cavalcade my steps directly, over hedge and had advanced quite close to me. The corn-field, to the church-yard. I crowd opened into a semicircle, in the entered just as the priest was commidst of which I was surprised to mencing the burial service; the whole find, instead of a coffin with bearers population of our village had colas I had expected, a marriage table lected, and with heads reverentially laid out with the choicest fruits and uncovered, listened in such mute viands, and surrounded by a nuptial, attention, that although I stood at not a burial, troop of both sexes. the very outermost circle, and though There were several maidens in white the minister spoke in an unusually dresses, with garlands and ribbands, subdued tone of voice, I heard alaccompanied by youths in gay habi- most every syllable. He pronounced liments. In the midst of this band the affecting words “ our dearly bestood a girl covered from head to loved sister,” in a tone of parental foot in a long veil, but apparently of love and sorrow, which showed that exquisite beauty; she was in bridal the dearest of his little flock had just array. The choir, however, which been torn from his care. Several consisted entirely of children with the young men around me pretended to faces of cherubs, still continued the wipe the dust and sweat from their dirge, and the passing-bell still con- brows; the elders looked on with tinued to toll. What was meant by tearless eyes and gray indifference, this incongruous mixture of the two as much as to say, “Ay! it is one most opposite ceremonies I could not more to the many we have seen laid divine, and I was still the more per here before her." Yet there was plexed when, upon the damsels scat- perhaps a deeper melancholy in this tering from baskets which they held, seeming apathy. I perceived one a shower of violets over the bride, cottager who held a little girl by she began to weep, and the whole the hand, instinctively pull the child band joined in lamentation. At the away from the grave; and a woman, same instant the greensward took a upon whose apron several little ones deeper tinge, and from the pattering were hanging, spread her arms round amongst the leaves above me, I con- them, like a mother-bird stretching jectured that the sky was likewise her wings over her nestlings, when mourning. It now grew very dark, danger is near. There was, however, and the wind entering within the but one interruption to the service; trees, they began to swing furiously when the earth fell upon the coffin, to and fro, with a violent rushing a convulsive shriek uttered by some murmur over head, like a confusion person in the crowd, created a moof mighty sighs. The cavalcade had mentary confusion. I got upon an totally vanished, but I could still hear elevated mound near me, and perthe faint wail of the organ, choir, and ceived an elderly woman, whom I had bell, mingling with the roar of the known as the mother of one beautiful forest. How this ended, I do not re- daughter, struggling with several of collect.
the village-matrons, who appeared
to be withholding her from rushing been, as I was told, the professed into the grave. The father, an arti- sweethearts, and all the silent adzan of the village, was a still more mirers, of the beautiful girl who had distressing object: covered with the thus disappeared from them for ever. hue of his profession, which was that After this rite was over, a number of of a working, blacksmith, and his young women in white mourning face wrinkled deep with time and care came from behind the head-stones, -(care now alas ! rendered useless where they had stood during the serby the death of her, for whom he vice, and began strewing the grave had laboured so long and anxiously with a profusion of death-flowers. to provide)-he was such a figure The prettiness of this tribute to inof silent, utter despair, as I never nocence and virgin purity, brought before witnessed. He appeared to tears into my eyes; but when I saw have lost all sense of what was pass- that the flowers which were scating without him; he stood with his tered consisted chiefly of violets,hands clasped down before him, and my dream recurred so vividly to my his neck stretched out towards the mind, and I saw it so fatally and grave, into which, however, it was minutely explained by the present evident that he could not see, for his circumstances, that I could not foreyes were literally blinded with tears. bear inquiring more particularly into When the chasm was filled up, he the history of this girl, having a was led unconsciously off the ground; presentiment that there was a still and in passing through the village further coincidence between it and afterwards, I saw the unfortunate my vision. One of the strowers acman sitting, like an idiot, on a bench quainted me that Mary, singular to at his own door, where his offici- relate! had been on the eve of marous friends were endeavouring to riage, but had taken cold, died of a prevail on him to forget his grief, fever, and was buried on the very but in vain. His wife could scarcely day that had been appointed for her be torn from the church-yard, wrest- wedding. Thus was my dream fulling violently with her conductors, filled, even to the very letter! and repeatedly calling on her child ! The crowd now departed, with her Mary! her darling, her beautiful many homely but sincere expressions Mary!
of regret for the death of their young The ceremony of covering the companion, and I walked slowly grave with green sods, a custom still homeward, musing on the fate of observed in this distant part of the this violet of life's spring-time, nor country, was performed by the youths have I ever since felt inclined to riof the village, many of whom had dicule the idea of a prophetic dream.