Imágenes de páginas
PDF
[graphic][merged small]

THE ENTHUSIAST.

returned with madame to his castle, A TALE OF THE POLISH WARS. he was a little mortified to find in her

no helpmate to his visions of national The ruinous but beautiful castle of deliverance and prosperity. Let it 1-- in Podolia, once the scene of not be inferred that she opposed them : contest and bloodshed, of jubilee and she was exceedingly fond of her husrevelry, and likewise of words and band, and an exceeding good houseacts of self-devoted patriotism well keeper, and thereto were all her worthy to be recorded, though I do energies bounded ; she had no notion not mean to attempt that task here, of being the heroine of a siege, or of was some time since inhabited by a casting away substantial comforts in widow and her children alone. Maorder to struggle for a national indedame Czialenski was French by birth; pendence, which seemed to her a General Czialenski, when sojourning phantom quite immaterial whether in Burgundy, had been so arrested by secured or not. Much attached to her charms at the age of fifteen, when the general, she was yet more atshe trudged weekly past his dwelling tached to a comfortable home; so, to take to market the produce of her whenever he was on warlike expedifather's garden, that he transformed ditions, she confined herself to mather from the toiling and carolling. ters in the castle more congenial to country girl into the sharer of his her taste. In a few years, however, rank and possessions. He partook, he died, leaving her a son and daughin a large degree, of the self-devoted ter, to whose care, and to that of her enthusiasm for pure and genuine li- little household, she devoted herself berty which distinguished so many of with much assiduity. Of course their his countrymen; therefore, when he personal care is all that is here meant ;

Vol. 1. (18.)

as to forming their principles, or direct to be expressed. The construction, ing their feelings, her own intellect did situation, and associations of the not enable her to fulfil such a task. castle were calculated to excite ro.

Ephene Czialenski had arrived at mantic ideas : the setting sun, and the age of sixteen, her brother Stanis. the pure sky above, feelings of a laus being four years younger, with- higher and more sublime character out any other knowledge of the world Euphene's imagination embraced, and than books could give her ; conse- combined, and revelled in all. When quently with very incorrect ideas of she gazed on the majestic and gloriit. The history of her own country, ous luminary, she was worshipping legends, romances, and poetry, were with the angels in heaven ; when she her treasure ; but especially her heart turned to the cedar grove, and the kindled over the virtues, the suffer- ancient banner waving over the dilaings, the gallantry, and the achieve. pidated tower, she was on the bosom ments of her oppressed countrymen. of a beautiful hero of Poland, more Her mother never interfered with her beautiful perhaps in her fancy than reading, and there was in the library any that ever really existed, and lis. a congregation of such records, which tening to the trumpet which sumhad been hoarded in it for centuries, moned him to fight and fall for her and never opened till Ephene's avi. suffering and beloved country. Tears dity explored them. Her feelings of emotion filled her eyes, and she were all confined to her own bosom ; could not help exclaiming, “ Oh that she had frequently attempted to con. I had been destined for such a husverse on her favourite topics to maband! Oh that I had been born to dame, but her glowing imagination aid in redeeming and blessing my was always opposed by a chilling sar- dear--my persecuted country!" She casm, or a matter-of-fact apathy, knew she was not within madame's which soon silenced her; and those hearing, or she would instinctively undisciplined wanderings of unappro- not have given utterance to this wild priated sensibility, which might have effusion, which would most likely been elicited and tutored by conver- have been visited with a well-meant sation, were left to find food for them. but ill-operating sarcasm. selves, or to prey upon themselves, as Near to one side of the castle was a they might.

by-road, which, from its winding up As to Stanislaus, he was too much a a gradual acclivity, might be seen for child for his character to have deve- some distance. As Ephene stood loped itself so as to be judged of with gazing, she discerned a horseman accuracy. Yet it is said, and with coming slowly down it, a circummuch truth, that the childhood shows, stance that excited her attention, the in some degree, the manhood; and road being very unfrequented, and therefore the traits of character in especially in the evening. As he childhood are interesting. In Stanis- came nearer, she perceived by his laus were observable many tokens of dress that he was an officer of the excellence, but they were such as be- Russian army. Her first impulse longed rather to a girl; he was cer- was a shudder of indignation and tainly devoid of that masculine firm. horror at the very sight of one whose ness and energy which should have hands had, in all probability, been marked his father's son.

dipped in Polish blood; but this was Autumn was far advanced, and the superseded by one of generous pity, sun was shedding his soul-raising when she observed him to be woundlast beams upon the dark pines that ed, and so weak that he could scarcely surrounded castle, when Ephene keep the saddle, while his horse, one evening, as usual, laid aside her covered with blood, was evidently emoroidery, in order to join her almost dying. Ephene hastened to mother and brother at a huge fire and inform her mother, whose hospitable plentiful meal in the hall. She paused good nature prompted her instantly a few moments in the little casement, to give orders that the gates should and contemplated the beautiful scene- be opened, and the stranger desired ry around with a thrilling ecstasy not to alight. Accordingly, a superannu. ated porter, who kept an entrance as one of the men servant's sitting up, decayed as himself, sped to withdraw she would on no account suffer it, for, bolt and bar, bespectacling his visage she said, he would neglect the patient, in order to scan the traveller. The and fall asleep, and set the whole horse had stumbled but a few yards place in a flame. So that she had no from the castle, and the rider, after resource but to apportion the task to vainly trying to raise him, was feebly her daughter, who, she observed, endeavouring to extricate himself; though fanciful, and sometimes rather but the exertion caused his wounds to absent, was a well-meaning girl, and gush afresh, and he sank on the she could trust her in a matter of im. ground exhausted. Madame and portance. Ephene hastened to him with the One of Ephene's first movements whole muster of domestics, by whom was naturally to examine the counte. he was conveyed into the hall. Ma. nance of her charge. It was one of dame disencumbered him of his trap- conspicuous beauty; and though pale pings, in which her daughter assisted and languid by pain, was still strikher, though torrents of tears flowed ingly expressive of a manly and marfrom the eyes of Ephene, who, living tial spirit. Ephene was no physiogin times of war, had yet hardly in her nomist, and surveying only the effect life seen a wound, and who shuddered of the whole, exclaimed, “ What a and trembled almost to fainting, at beautiful face !" But Elizabeth, who the sight of the blood which completely though only a servant and a girl, bathed the unfortunate Russian. He piqued herself upon her scientific was too much exhausted to speak, penetration, added, with the approval and was, indeed, all but insensible. of a critic, “ It is an admirable coun

" He shall be put to bed," said tenance, Miss Ephene; look at the madame, “ and John shall set out open, decided brow, and the generous, to-night for Doctor Kropoff. I'll interesting expression of the mouth. bind his wounds myself, and Ephene I wish you would read Lavater, and and her maid shall sit up with him, you would see what a description he for it always makes me ill. Stanis- gives of such a countenance ; could laus, my dear, leave off crying, and not you love it, Miss Ephene? I give a little help ; go and see that wish I had such a one to love ; I John and Nicholas make a good fire would soon forget Poland then, and in the chamber in the keep; and bring think Russia the dearest country in down my chest of salves. I hope he the world. Do, now, let me get will be better to-morrow, and then Lavater, and we can read it so comFather Timothy shall come to him.” fortably while this poor fellow is

All her directions were put in exe- asleep." cution; and in about an hour Ephene "Oh! no, no," said Ephene; “ we and Elizabeth took their station be- have something else to do than to side the sleeping invalid. It was a read comfortably; would you give rather incongruous office to be de. your attention to a book, Elizabeth, puted to two girls, but madame's when you are commissioned to watch honest impulses and good-natured in- by a dying man? I thought you tentions never weighed decorums, or knew your duty better." anything else, when they obstructed “Oh, I did not mean to overlook the straightforward accomplishment my duty—but you are so particular. of her object. She suffered, as she But you are quite right, dear Miss said, by night-watching, and she was Ephene, and I'll be as good as you not one of those very few who would are." sacrifice their own health to restore Although John set off that night that of another, more particularly of for a physician, so great was the disone whom it was a sin not to look tance, and so many were the obstaupon as an enemy. Still, when she cles he had to encounter, that he did took a good deed in hand, she would not return with one until late on the not fulfil it slackly; there was not following evening. The young Rus. such a thing as an old nurse within sian had scarcely awaked through the two leagues of the castle; and as to day, and was again fast slumbering when the professional gentleman ar- in the patient's convalescence. Ephene rived; the latter declined giving an permitted him his triumph, not apopinion on the state of his patient, prising him that she had given the who he desired should not be dis- invalid no opportunity of benefiting turbed.

by it. He prescribed a quantity “ But he may be fed at such inter- more, as well as several operations, vals as he is awake?” said Ephene. which the fair nurse, who showed un

“By no means,” rejoined Kropoff, usual obstinacy on this occasion, was “ I leave medicine for him ; I shall very unwilling to have put in force. visit him again to-morrow, and till " Mother, I am certain this is not then do not give him any thing be- suitable, and that Doctor Kropoff is sides what I leave ; his life depends not taking the right means to cure upon it."

this poor fellow, and I very much "How?” asked Ephene, doubtfully. doubt if he knows how. You saw

“Nay, young lady, if I were to how much better bis patient was this give you a technical explanation, you morning, and how exultingly he aswould not understand it, and if you cribed the change to his physic, which mistrust me, I had better. not act. he thought I had administered—but I But Madame Czialenski is the best did no such thing." judge, and I flatter myself she does “You did not administer the phy. not.”

sic?" interrupted her mother; "then “ No, no," said madame, “ never you were very unjustifiable, and I am mind Ephene's nonsense ; she is a very angry with you. I will take care self-willed girl, and I will not have it is not omitted to-night, and if you her consulted.”

disobey Doctor Kropoff, I must nurse Ephene, though silent, was by no the Russian myself, though it will means satisfied with the Esculapian's make me ill to sit up, as you very doctrine, and after he was gone,'at- well know.” The poor girl thus tempted to remonstrate with her mo. missed her object, by asserting, in ther on adopting his prescriptions. her earnestness, a circumstance which Dear mother, I am sure that is not she had designed not to betray. right; I am sure no one ought to lie All the prescriptions were adopted in so weak a state without nourish- that night, yet subsequently the invament: and I shall make some jelly, lid relapsed. Kropoff expressed no notwithstanding Doctor Kropoff, and surprise, but ordered additional regive it to the poor stranger when he medies, which day after day were apawakes."

plied ; yet day after day, though the “ I will not have you so opinion. Russian still lived, he seemed, if posative, Ephene,' answered madame ; sible, to grow worse. Ephene im" Doctor Kropoff knows better than plored a discontinuance of the preyou do, and I hope you will not dare scriptions, since it was evident they to disobey him."

did no good; but madame had imEphene was so accustomed to lose plicit faith in Kropoff, who however her point by urging it, that she did began to look more mysterious and not now hope for success from farther significant than at first, and upon one remonstrance. She therefore offered occasion brought with him a brother none. But after her mother was Esculapian to examine the patient. gone to bed, she made jelly and broth They were in solitary consultation for privately, and in the course of the a long time, and at length repairing night administered a good portion to to madame, she, with some difficulty her patient, who rallied so much the culled from out a vast pile of technical, next morning as to inquire where he logic, the information that they conwas, and to express his gratitude to sidered he must inevitably die. his young nurse. Her plan of cure “ Then,” said she, much mortified, seeming thus far successful, she was “ your farther attendance is useless." no way delighted at the reappearance « Yes, madame," replied Kropoff, of Doctor Kropoff, who soon arrived, “ we can do no more. I am truly and, consistently enough, concluded sorry your generous hospitality should his medicine had been the only agent be thus disappointed of its object, but so, I fear, it must be medical skill assiduous nurse, “ I can save him ; I cannot save in this instance." The know it is only tender care and simEsculapian now took his final leave, ple remedies that will do it. Kropoff the lady having first discharged a first- is not an advocate of either, and I rate Esculapian account, with every wish he had never come near him." prospect of a similar outlay shortly, “ It quite provokes me to hear you for the interment of her guest.

dispute Doctor Kropoff's skill. What All this time Ephene was watching should you know about it?". by him, now being given to under “I know very little ; but, dearest stand each hour would most likely be mother, I appeal to you only to see his last. Father Timothy, too, watch- what I can do. Did I not cure Elizaed and prayed, and with deep earnest- beth, when she cut herself by a fall?" ness did she join in his petitions : “Yes, your care and your simples never before had she prayed with such did that, it is true ; but you cannot enthusiastic sincerity : her heart beat suppose they will carry you through for the dying stranger as it would now. However, take your own way. have beat for her mother, or her bro. Simple remedies are all very fine, and ther, or any being most dear to her. you may have whatever you please to She had scarcely quitted the bed-side, get-only, I say, do not expect sucexcept, indeed, sometimes to steal an cess.” hour or two of rest in the day-time, With this cold encouragement for she would never commit her Ephene returned to her occupation. charge for a night to the fidelity and She might have had some misgivings, attention of any deputy, not excepting for she knew nothing of medical scieven Elizabeth.

ence, except what she had gathered She was now permitted to adopt from two or three old books in the her own method of cure, rather as an library. She depended chiefly on her experiment than with any other view, knowledge of herbs, and on a percepfor madame was too implicit a disci. tion that enabled her to adapt to simple of Doctor Kropoff to imagine that ple injuries the simple remedies with the bounds of possibility extended to which she was acquainted. Of course the Russian's recovery, when he had she would never have attempted to asserted to the contrary. According- manage a complicated disorder ; nor lv. Ephene took his treatment entirely indeed would she have undertaken into her own hands, and madame was the task at all, though her patient's excessively puzzled, when, at the end injuries, frightful as they were, were of another week, she found he was yet only flesh wounds, had there been still living. Her still increased per- a physician in whom she could place plexity and Ephene's exultation may confidence. Kropoff was the only be conceived, when the officer, freed one within an immense distance, and from the fever which had oppressed concerning him the truth was she had him, attained sufficient strength to sit her own suspicions, although sbe up, declaring himself almost without dared not even hint them to her mopain. But she was quite convinced ther; and in her own mind she taxed that his ultimate recovery was im- less his ignorance than his wilfulness practicable. “Oh,” she said to her- in leaving, or helping, a wounded self, “ it is only the evanescent rally Russian to die. It may be remarked which often happens before the final that her suspicions were justified by exhaustion : he cannot live—it is im- his own subsequent departure from possible, or Doctor Kropoff would the world, which took place by artifinot have given him over. My dear cial means, in consequence of his child, do not deceive yourself by fan- having, by poison, forwarded that of cying you can cure him; you had six Russians whom he was commisbetter not waste your own health in sioned to cure. nursing him any longer. Go to rest, Ephene's assiduity was unremitting. and I'll take care he is not neglected, All through the rigour of a Polish though I am sure it is foolish to sup- winter, though her cheek was pale, pose he may be saved.”

and her eye dim, she continued to ." No, mother, no," exclaimed the watch and tend the stranger in whom

« AnteriorContinuar »