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In course of time, these new sects become augmented by proselytes, consisting of such as dearly love a touch of the sublime, the sonorous, and the impressive" in oratory—such as think the Church services (whose principle it is “to do all things decently and in order”) cold, and require the aid of their eyes as well as their ears to convey impressions into their minds; in a word, such as make their religion to consist in that spurious excitement, which is more properly an address to the passions than an appeal to reason.
We are sure we are getting verbose, and afraid we are growing tedious. But where can a few words on such a subject be more in place than in a University Magazine ? The Universities are strictly the nurseries of the Church. Many are the undergraduates now within their walls, who are destined to fill the high and sacred offices of Bishops and other Dignitaries. Many, too, there are, who deem it wrong or illiberal to oppose dissent, solely from their ignorance of its true nature. And, surely, to this cause alone we must attribute the advocacy which some members of our University have given to the admission of dissenters within her walls—a fatal proposition indeed, both to the Church, the Universities themselves, and all sound religious education ; as well as shamefully treacherous to the intentions of our pious founders. If a pure stream can flow from a muddy source, then, and not till then, can a body of orthodox Clergy be derived from the mongrel mass of infidels and anythingarians, who will corrupt our discipline while they prey upon our revenues. Let us repel with indignation the impudent claims of these grievance-mongers. Let us imitate the glorious example of Oxford, in unanimously thrusting out the encroachments of dissent from the very vitals of the Church. Keep out apostacy and heresy from the Universities, and the Church can never want a succession of learned and orthodox Ministers.
It was Margaret's birth-day,_and I need only add, that, as the song goes, "’twas in the merry month of May,” to tell you that it was the most delightful day I have ever experienced. I will describe Margaret, and, partial as I am, I am sure that my partiality will not, cannot succeed in doing her justice. Her beauty was that rare combination of Saxon and Norman loveliness so often talked about, so seldom seen; her hair hung down in glossy ringlets of the lightest brown, or rather of that sunny faxen so peculiar to the tresses of our fair countrywomen. With such fair locks, with such a dazzling complexion, you naturally looked for eyes of the lightest blue, and you were taken by surprise, by a glance shot from orbs of the deepest hazel. As to the rest of her features, they were of the purest Grecian mould, regular almost to a fault; her hand, her foot, and ancle, was each a little treasure which a statuary might have worshipped. And this bright creature, whose very presence seemed like sunshine to gladden and inspire, was mine. We had been married a month-and if ever happiness was enjoyed by mortal, I was the man. I had been since my marriage in an ecstacy, a delirium of joy; but I was not perfectly happy. The treasure entrusted to my keeping seemed to me to be too great; I was like the miser, miserable in the consciousness of the value of his charge. The very fascination that spread itself around her, constituted at once my chief felicity, and the only drop of bitter in my cup of sweets. I fancied every body looked upon her with the same eyes as 1; and as I felt that to me her presence seemed to be the spring of existence, that without her the world possessed nothing worth living for. I considered all the rest of mankind must be actuated by the same feeling, that they must all be struggling to wrest from me the prize of which I was the envied possessor. In a word, I was intolerably jealous. If any one of my male friends engrossed her attention, if she smiled upon him, or seemed to enjoy his society, I sat apart in gloomy and sullen abstraction. Every word, look, or action was viewed by me through the distorted medium of my morbid imagination. When I think of the angelic sweetness with which my wife bore with my wayward humours, with what coldness she would receive her nearest and dearest friends, rather than awake the slumbering demon that tenanted my bosom, I bitterly curse the madness which blinded me to such perfection. Why could not I trust her, whose every action was a model of virtue and discretion, and who only swerved from the prudence and discrimination which were her chief characteristics, in bestowing her hand and affections on a selftormenting wretch, who was every way unworthy of her ? But why pursue these agonizing reflections farther? I have told enough to elucidate the following story. I have before said, it was Margaret's birthday. A party of friends had collected together to celebrate the day, and to congratulate my wife and myself on her having arrived at the age of twenty-one years. We were very merry,--the song, the joke, the tale, circulated among us. Margaret contributed in no small degree to our amusement, by assuming an air of bustling importance at having attained her majority; and in truth not without some reason, as on that day she shook off the trammels of an obstinate old guardian, who had by no means conceived a predilection for your humble servant (nor indeed can I wonder at it), and was herself absolute and undisputed mistress of twenty thousand pounds. Was not this enough to turn the head of any girl? She was of course the heroine of the day. All paid to her the homage due to her youth, beauty, and station. By-and-bye, when we of the sterner sex were left to ourselves, the bottle went freely round. We pledged one another in bumpers : each member of our company proposed toasts to which we all did brimming justice. At last the wine began to have a visible influence over the spirits of our party. Those who were at first merry soon became boisterous in their mirth : the old adage “ in vino veritas” was strikingly illustrated in most of us, but in none more strongly than myself. Every one I believe, more or less, in society plays the hypocrite, and keeps himself on the alert to gloss over the more objectionable points of his character, and to make those stand forward in the strongest relief, which he thinks most calculated to ensure his favourable reception in the circle in which he moves. But when the wine is in, the wit is out; this perpetual vigilance is lost sight of, and the true man displays himself. Thus it was with me: my brain became heated, reason tottered on her throne, and for a time all was lost in the giddy maze of drunken insensibility. Would to God I had continued thus! When I came to myself, all my friends had gone : I found myself lying on a sofa surrounded by the remains of the evening's debauch. Glasses, some broken, others turned upside down ; large puddles of claret and champagne flooded the table, mixing in friendly communion with the more plebeian but not less genial streams of port and sherry. Empty bottles, half-filled decanters, corkscrews, remnants of pines, melting ices, &c. were among the disgusting reminiscences of our previous carousal. I roused myself, and found that nearly every symptom of intoxication had disappeared. True, my head spun round and round like a humming-top; but a glass of claret, of which luckily some was still left, soon set that to rights, and I sallied forth making for my wife's dressing-room. This apartment joined our bedchamber, through which I had to pass before I arrived at it. On entering, I was apprised by the sound of voices that Margaret was not alone. This was indeed a strange circumstance. Whom had she admitted at that late hour to an interview, which could not have been granted without dishonour to her husband? The deep tones of the stranger left me not the slightest doubt that her companion was a man: all my jealousy took possession of me with redoubled violence. The previous excess in wine of which I had been guilty, made my blood boil, and lashed me into the wildest fury. My whole body shook convulsed with passion ; my lips quivered with an involuntary motion, my nostrils dilated—I was as a madman. But yet, notwithstanding this insane rage, I had the precaution to steal silently to the half-opened door of my wife's room. Here I saw a handsome man, slightly but strongly built, in a naval uniform, seated by her side: he retained possession of her hand, clasped it with a gentle and endearing pressure between his own, and was gazing with the most provoking assurance on her lovely features. Time," said he, “
my love, has dealt kindly with you : the four years since we last met, have made an alteration ; but it is the gradual change of the bud to the blossom, the expansion of the maiden's youthful charms to the mature perfection of womanly beauty."
And you too,” said Margaret, smiling, though her lustrous eyes were swimming in tears, are again restored to me; again I strain you in my arms, snatched as it were from the rapacious maw of the angry deep. Again I look upon that manly brow stamped with the impress of every honourable feeling : and oh, unlooked-for happiness ! again do our lips meet and seal the sacred kiss of pure affection.”
Audacious harlot! As she said this, she threw her arms around his neck, and pressing her lips to his, their mouths were glued together in a close and adulterous embrace.
I could bear no more. Too much engaged in their guilty dalliance to heed the noise I made, I seized a brace of pistols, which were always lying loaded
in the bed-room; and levelling one with a deliberate aim at the head of my wife's seducer, I fired. The shot was fatal, the ball struck deep into the middle of his forehead: with a convulsive movement he staggered a few paces forward, a slight shudder passed over his countenance, and he sunk down a lifeless corpse at the feet of Margaret. And she, the perfidious associate of his crimes, sat motionless, her unwinking eyes fixed calmly on the ruin she had created. Not more insensate was Pompey's statue when Cæsar bowed before it.
" Adulteress!” shouted I, prepare to join your paramour !"
The spell was broken. Turning her eyes upon me, with a glance compared to which, that of the fabled basilisk would have been powerless, she shrieked in a voice which curdled the very marrow in my bones, “ Monster! you have murdered my brother !"
My wife's only brother had been brought up a sailor. Inured from early life to the hardships of the sea, he seemed to consider it his home, and flew to it after a sojourn upon terra firma, for any length of time, with an eagerness which to a landsman would be incomprehensible: he could never understand what sea-sickness was, but no effort on his part could conquer his constitutional predisposition to be land-sick. One would have thought that a sort of warning presentiment of what his fate would be, (that, after braving the dangers of the ocean for so many years, with but an inch of plank between himself and eternity, he should meet his death upon that land which he so much detested, by the hand of his sister's husband,) had been implanted in his soul. Much as I had heard Margaret speak of her brother, I had never seen him : had it been otherwise, the dreadful catastrophe above recorded would have been prevented. A coroner's inquest was summoned, and my wife's deposition was read. Her's was an unhappy lot. Her brother's blood was crying for justice, but that justice could only be obtained by the sacrifice of her husband. The agitating conflict had weakened her too much to allow her to give her testimony otherwise than in writing. Every part of the horrible transaction was recapitulated with the utmost minuteness. It was indeed deeply and indelibly impressed upon her memory. But, on the other hand, no circumstance that could palliate so atrocious an action was omitted. My previous debauch, my ignorance of her brother's person, the jealousy natural at finding a stranger in such a situation, the rage, nay, absolute frenzy with which I seemed to be possessed, were all duly com. mented upon.
A woman will pardon much, when convinced that it arises from love for herself : and Margaret was woman enough to feel, that without love there could be no jealousy. For myself, I was too much overwhelmed with remorse to fear for the consequences of my rashness, and I was perhaps the most unconcerned of all present, when the verdict of the jury was announced to be “ wilful murder” against myself. The celerity with which the coroner's warrant for my apprehension was issued and put in force, gave me no time to escape ; neither had opportunity been afforded me, should I have availed myself of it. I might fly from justice,—but how could I free myself from the ceaseless gnawing of a guilty conscience ? My fleet-footed steed might bear me from the deadly penalty annexed to my offence,-but could it waft me from myself ? Let me hurry to the extremity of the world, still, in the words of Horace, black care is clinging to my saddle. I was carried to prison. A dungeon is an excellent assistant to the memory. No external objects, which can for a moment divert the mind from the subjects on which it is reflecting, are permitted to intrude. All around is a sombre mass of vaulted masonry; four kindly walls of stone offer their protecting influence to screen you from the follies of the world, and a full and varied scope is given to the powers of the imagination. As the poor famished prisoner, to whom all means of sustenance are denied, will, in the extremity of his hunger, rend his flesh with his teeth, and from his own veins