Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

As we

with which he is denounced who unworthily receives it ; thankfulness when I consider the gracious condescension of God, who invites all men to a free participation in the blessings it affords. But never did I so fully appreciate the glorious assurances of mercy and forgiveness contained in this most beautiful ceremony of our Church ritual, as at that moment, when they were so eminently needful to me. What a consolation was it, when, on pressing the Consecrated Bread with my teeth, I reflected that for me did the body of my Saviour undergo the ignominious agonies of the cross; when, on drinking the Holy Wine, I felt a joyous conviction that his Blood was not poured forth in vain.

And now the last scene of all, which should close my sad eventful history, was to be enacted. The beams of the morning sun shone brightly through the grated window of my cell, and I knew that my execution was at hand. My good friend the clergyman had been with me the whole night, and had only left me in the hope of my snatching a few hours of disturbed sleep. 'Twas in vain-I could not close my eyes; or what need had I of refreshing slumbers, who would so soon be hushed in the deep repose of the silent tomb? He had but just returned, and we were praying together, when the door was opened, and the undersheriffs, with their white wands of office, came to demand the body of their victim. I followed them into the press-room, where my arms and wrists were pinioned by the executioner. I will not, for I cannot, express the loathing sensation that seized me at the touch of this accursed functionary of the law. These preliminaries having been completed, we moved forward across the court, which was bounded by a high wall surrounding the prison. In front of the gaol was the principal entrance or gateway, being a small turreted building, on the front of which the scaffold was erected. proceeded, the black, ominous-looking framework of the gallows caught my view, standing out in bold relief against the bright summer sky. For a moment this gloomy apparition overpowered me, and I thought I should have fainted, but with a strong effort I mastered my emotion, and having reached the gateway, I mounted the stone stairs which led to the scaffold with a firm step. On emerging into the open air, we ascended a small platform, raised about three feet from the roof of the gateway, and almost involuntarily I knelt down and joined my reverend companion in my last prayer for forgiveness to the God whom I had offended. And now I stood upright upon the treacherous drop. I looked around me-not one pitying glance met my own. The thoughtless beholders had gathered together to enjoy the spectacle, and peals of heartless laughter grated on mine ear. The women, who formed a large majority in the crowd, seemed to have lost all womanly feeling. That shrinking from a sight of woe, that compassionate sympathy for the sufferings of the distressed ; the soft and tearful eye that speaks of pity and soothes the miserable, though it cannot alleviate his anguish, were nowhere visible. Mercy, the chief beauty of the female character, dwelt not with such companions. Among the hardened profligate viragoes, who thronged close to the very foot of the gallows, were some mothers; these lifted up their children in their arms high above the heads of the people, lest any part of the scene of death which was enacting should

When we had'risen from prayer, the chaplain grasped my hand, and whispering a parting benediction and exhortation to comfort, he commended my soul to God, and bade me farewell. My last earthly friend having left me, the “ toilette du condamné," the terrible preparations for execution, commenced. My neckcloth was taken off,

nd my throat bared. A white cap was placed upon my head, and the rope adjusted round my neck. When I felt the rough noose graze upon my skin, I trembled, and prayed inwardly for support in this appalling moment. And now one last lingering look at the glorious sun riding high in the south

escape them.

eastern horizon ; one farewell survey of the beauteous meadows glowing with brightness and summer verdure; one pitying glance at the thoughtless crowd beneath, and the world is shut out for ever; the cap is drawn over my face, and the last desperate plunge is at hand. Down fell the drop with a terrific crash.

My first sensation was that of a tremendous intolerable weight pressing upon my head. I strove to lift up my arms and free myself, but they were pinioned. I tried to shriek for help, but my swollen and bloated tongue refused to do its office. I seemed to be floating in an atmosphere of blood. Still, still, the weight increased,-my bursting head could no longer support it, and yet I lived. Heavier and heavier hung the insupportable mass upon my brain. The crimson sea of blood grew deeper and deeper in its dye, and roared within my ears like the din of mighty waters. My eyeballs burnt within their sockets, like globes of living fire. They too kept gradually enlarging, till their cracking fibres could no longer retain them. A flame of blazing light flashed vividly around me, and I became insensible.

The low silvery tones of a wellknown voice breathed thrillingly in my ear, and recalled me to existence. And though I felt myself in some degree still a prisoner, yet my new condition was a great improvement upon the old one. 'Tis true, I found my neck still encircled; but instead of the cutting rope, my necklace was the soft plump white arm of my charming Margaret. Pushing my nightcap off my forehead, which had slipped down rather inconveniently, I fixed my eyes wildly on the beautiful face before me, and exclaimed, “My God'! where am I ?”

“ Be calm, I entreat you, my dear Charles.” As she said this, she placed her cool moist palm upon my throbbing temples.

“ You have been dread. fully agitated in your sleep,—some frightful dream has disturbed you. At one time your struggles were so convulsively violent, and your breathing short and oppressed, that I became quite alarmed.”

“But how came I in bed ?” replied I, perfectly bewildered.

“ The wine you drank last night overpowered you suddenly; and as you fell asleep before our friends left, they carried you quietly to bed, without awaking you.”

“ Thank God !” ejaculated I fervently, “it was but a dream.” How little, dearest Margaret, added I, kissing her with transport, “do we know how to appreciate the blessings God has bestowed on us, till we find ourselves deprived of them.

Go It must have been something very horrible to affect you in this manner,” whispered my wife inquisitively. “Do tell me all about it.”

To-morrow morning, my love, you shall hear it.' On the morrow I performed my promise ; and if my dream was trifling in other respects, it had at least this good and important effect-I learnt to place a proper confidence in my wife, and was never afterwards troubled with my old enemy and tormentor-Jealousy.

SONG.

And hast thou not forgotten me?

For all that I have shewn
Of slight and cold neglect to thee,

Oh! may I yet atone ?
And shall the pledge so lightly given

Be binding still and true?
The ties by time and absence riven,

Shall one short hour renew?
Oh! thou wouldst do me cruel wrong

To think me false or cold,
For floods of passion deep and strong

Have o'er my spirit rolled :
And still, where'er with joyless feet

I've wandered wearily,
My fetter'd heart would fondly beat

For thee-for only thee !
I bless thee for thy faithful love,

That could not know decay ;
And thou'lt forgive me that I strove

To tear myself away:
I dared not hope that thou wouldst keep,

Sweet Lady! such a vow ;
And I for very joy could weep
That I may claim thee now!

Z.

THE BROKEN HEART,

FROM THE SKETCH BOOK.

She sate-in his spell Recollection had bound her :

She sang—'twas the song of her happier days: Abstracted, unconscious of those who were round her,

She courted no pity, and shrank from no gaze. Far away o'er bright scenes that had vanish'd for ever,

Though wing'd for a moment forgetful of pain, Ev'ry look, ev'ry tone, prov'd too plainly—that never

For her could life brighten to sunshine again !
Her form but the shadow of beauty departed;

Her voice but an echo of melody past;
Her aspect, sad, sad, as of one broken-hearted,

With sorrow the brow of the brightest o'ercast.
And many a heart that had bounded in lightness,

And many an eye that glanced tearless before, Was hush'd in its tumult, and dimm'd in its brightness, Ere the heart-broken Minstrel's sad ditty was o'er.

J. T.

CHARACTERS OF FRESHME N.

BY THEOPHRASTUS THINGEMBOB.

No. 1.

THE STUDIOUS FRESHMAN.

The Studious Freshman cometh up red-hot from school, and thinketh much of astonishing the cosines. He considereth himself now decidedly a man ; and hath lurking ideas that he is also a great man. He calleth with the governor upon the College Tutor, who inhumanly throweth cold water upon the governor's confident prediction that his son will be senior wrangler. He hieth forth with the College Tutor, and getteth him becapped and begowned. He getteth a very long gown, vainly supposing that it betokeneth a very long head. He putteth on his gown inside out, and his cap back foremost. Nevertheless, he paradeth the streets considerably that day, nothing doubting that all are admiring him, though he wondereth not a little that the people laugh so at him. He goeth to hall, and requesteth his neighbour to carve for him. He purloineth his neighbour's potatoes. He drinketh small-beer, and sizeth not. He repaireth to

-'s, and spendeth the five pounds his uncle gave him in books. He buyeth one dozen of Cambridge port, and half-a-dozen of Cambridge sherry, and wondereth he cannot prevail on the wine-merchant to let him pay. He keepeth fourteen chapels a-week. He beginneth to read at seven in the morning, and leaveth off at eleven at night; and findeth that he knoweth not what he hath been reading about. He taketh ferocious constitutional walks. He writeth for all the University and College Prizes, and sitteth for all the University and College Scholarships, but getteth none. He pulverizeth the ass's bridge in lecture, and thinketh himself a genius. He respondeth to and argueth with the lecturer familiarly. He goeth to a small bitchparty, and findeth his new gown taken by mistake.” He calleth it stealing, and is laughed at. He seeth not the lions of Cambridge for the first term. He maketh no acquaintance, readeth atrociously, goeth home ill, and ultimately turneth out a Junior Op.

No. II.

THE FLAT FRESHMAN.

The Flat Freshman asketh the Boots at the Hoop to recommend him a good College to go to.* He appeareth in a white choaker, aspiring shirt collars, penurious breeches, and antediluvian cut-away coat. He goeth to Hall in his surplice. He sitteth in the Fellows seats at Chapel. He putteth his cap on the wrong way. He receiveth a note inviting him to wine with his Tutor, and going, findeth it a

* Fact.

hvax. He sendeth a present of a Yorkshire ham to the Master of his College.* He cappeth every big-wig and Fellow-Commoner whom he chanceth to meet. He speaketh deferentially unto his bedmaker. He taketh his walking-stick out when becapped and begowned. He walketh out ten miles into the country in his academical toggery. He calleth his private tutor “Sir.” He goeth out by himself on the fifth of November. He buyeth much wine on the recommendation of a Cambridge wine-merchant, who assureth him he hath very little left of such prime brew. He hangeth out a box of cigars. He biddeth high for books at sales, and findeth he could have got them for half the money at shops. He subscribeth to the "

Symposium.” He ordereth supper whenever his friends require him, and findeth he hath a nice little bill to pay the college cook. He standeth up during the singing at Saint Mary's, and discovereth not his error till the rest rise, when he sitteth down in confusion. He getteth cheated much, but suspecteth it not. He considereth the whigs very respectable kind of people, and Saint John's a very bigoted college. He goeth to sign a petition for the admission of dissenters, but findeth he hath signed one for their exclusion, by mistake. He playeth at cards, and loseth not a little. He think eth his own college the best in the University, and himself the sharpest fellow in it. He goeth home in the vacation, and taketh his

cap
and

gown with him in a blue bundle,* to shew mamma how he looketh therein (which is flatter than he suspecteth). He walketh about the town with only his cap on. He buyeth him a dog, of a gentleman in top-boots and game-keeper's garb, who warneth him not to let it be 'ticed away. Nevertheless he loseth it in a day or two, and is not a little astonished at seeing the runaway brought home by his brother from Oxford, whither he supposeth it must have migrated from a desire to see the world. Being accidentally surprised by a row in the street, he getteth knocked down by a snob, and immediately seized upon by the Proctor and rusticated, sine die, as a disorderly character. And so the flat Freshman goeth home in disgrace.

NO. III.

THE CONCEITED FRESHMAN.

The Conceited Freshman may be known by his pea-coat, long greasy hair, eye-glass, and ante-meridian cigar, these being the accoutrements wherewith he astonisheth the weak minds of the snobs and snobesses daily on the King's Parade.

He nourisheth moustaches, and pretendeth that he really hath not had time to shave that day. He gesticulateth incessantly with an ebony walking stick, having a large silk tassel appended thereunto. He cocketh his hat over his right eyebrow, and twisteth the hair on each side of his face into ropes, wherewith to draw the belles. He goeth to King's Chapel during the service, and strutteth up and down the middle of the

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »