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from that finger to the heart. It was a foolish superstition, but Cælius was observed to shudder when Julia placed her ring upon the wrong finger.
One of the rejected suitors of Julia was a favourite with the Emperor. When our tale is of a creature so pure and so unhappy as Julia, we cannot waste our time in describing the characters of the wretches by whom her death was effected. It is enough for our purpose to say that Marcius made use of the influence he possessed in such a manner, that the father of Julia trembled for his fortune and his life; he began to retract the engagements by which he was bound to his nephew, and to devise plans for the marriage of his daughter with the Court-Favourite.
Caelius was an Orphan. He had been educated under the same roof with Julia ; and his Guardians had hitherto been amply repaid for the expense of his maintenance by the reflection that they were instructing the husband of their child. Now, however, they began to be vexed by having him always before their eyes; they saw that the accomplishment of their scheme was impossible while he remained with their daughter, and they prepared to remove him. The union of those affectionate hearts was procrastinated for a long time upon various pretences ; at last the young man was sent, in order to complete his education, upon a tour, with permission to return in a year and claim his betrothed Bride.
The year passed sadly away. He was forbidden to keep up any correspondence with his cousin until its expiration. At last the happy June arrived which allowed him to return; which permitted him to meet the gaze of those bright eyes, in whose sight only he seemed to live. He flew to Rome on the wings of expectancy! .
As he approached the dwelling-place of his hopes, his thoughts, his happiness, circumstances occurred which filled him with the gloomiest forebodings. Several of his young acquaintance, when they met him, shook their heads, and endeavoured to avoid his address. As he passed by the mansion of his once-contemned rival, he observed a Slave clad in unusual finery; and “ What!” he said, “ is Marcius to feast the Emperor to-day?” “ Marcius," said the Slave, “ will feast a fairer guest ;-he will bring home his Bride to-night!” Cælius started as if a viper had crossed his path ; but he recovered himself immediately. “ It was but a suspicion ! ” he said, “and I will have done with it !” He said no more, but ran on with desperate impetuosity to the well-known door. He heeded not the malicious rumours, and the compassionate whispers, which were circulated around him : with a fluttering heart and faltering step he hurried to the chamber which
had been the scene of their last parting. As he put his hand upon the door, a thousand visions Hocked upon his brain. “ Then she was good, and affectionate, and beautiful, and true; and she looked upon me so tenderly, and spoke to me so kindly; and now, will her look be as tender, and her voice as kind? I will be in suspense no longer!” He thrust open the door and stood in her presence.
She was sitting at the window, half-shaded from his view by some beautiful orange-trees. She did not seem to have observed his entrance ; for she did not rise from her seat, nor move her head from the delicate white hand which was supporting it. “ Julia!” he cried, in a voice of the wildest passion ; but she did not stir. “ Julia,” he said, coming nearer, and speaking in a calmer tone; still she was motionless. “ Julia,” he whispered gently, bending his head over the orange-blossoms. Their lips almost met ;-she started from him as if a profanation. “ Colius!” she exclaimed, “ this must not be! I have broken the holy cake* with another! to-night I shall be the wife of Marcius.”
He lifted his hands to Heaven ; a curse rose to his lips. “ May the vows you have falsified,may the hopes you have blighted,-may the heart you have broken- but no, Julia,” he continued, as he gazed upon her rayless eye, and her colourless cheek," You have suffered much—and I cannot, I cannot reproach you!” He hid his tears with his hands, and rushed into the street.
She had indeed suffered much! Her face had become pale and emaciated, her step melancholy and slow : she no longer took her wonted care in arranging her dress, or setting in order her luxuriant hair; but this was not the alteration which had shocked her unfortunate Lover ; it was the languor which had succeeded to her natural liveliness,-the despondency in her every accent,—the absence of soul in her every look!
The evening came, and the ceremony was near at hand. Julia suffered her attendants to adorn her, reckless herself of the pains they took, and the decorations they bestowed. They put upon her a long white robe, quite plain ; it would have well set off the bloom of her loveliness, but upon the paleness of her sorrow it seemed to sit like a shroud. They made large masses of her hair to flow dishevelled down her neck, and mingled with it locks of wool, to signify that, in her new station, she was to imitate the purity of the Vestals, whose peculiar emblem it was. The extremities of her long ringlets were curled and arranged with the steel of a lance; and among her attendants there were many pretty flutterings and drawings-back as they handled so terrible a
* The ceremony was rarely, if ever, used in the reign of Tiberius.
comb. Then they suffered her to wait in quiet the approach of the Bridegroom. He was not long in his coming. They threw over her head the crown of vervain, and concealed her deathlike features beneath the flame-coloured veil. They put on too the yellow slippers, which it was the fashion for brides to wear: they were so contrived as to add considerably to the height, but Julia's was so much diminished by sadness and disease, that even with this assistance she did not seem near her usual stature.
It was night; and she was borne to the house of her husband by the light of flambeaux. Three young persons, whose parents were still living, were her conductors. Two supported her, and Julia indeed stood in need of support; the third walked before her, bearing a torch of pine. A distaff and spindle, a child's coral, and other emblems of her future duties, were carried behind her. Her friends and relations also followed, each bearing in his arms some present to the new-married couple. Cælius was among them, but he concealed his face in the folds of his gown, and his smothered sighs attracted no observation.
At last they came to the threshold of the bridegroom ; it was tastefully adorned with wreaths of flowers; and woollen fillets, smeared with oil, were hung round to keep out enchantments. The master of the house stood at the door, and the crowd gathered round it, to witness the conclusion of the ceremony. · They asked her, according to custom, under what title she came? She had opened her lips to answer, when Cælius ran forward and threw himself between Marcius and his beloved." Oh! no, no!” he cried, “I cannot hear it!-do not, do not kill me quite !" " Back, back!” she said, shuddering," shall I not obey my father?” The youth heard not, saw not; he was led away, senseless and unresisting; and the ceremony proceeded. Again she was asked under what title she came; and she answered, as was prescribed for her, in a low but distinct tone,“ Ubi tu Caius, ego Caia!”* They lifted her from the ground, for it was reckoned an evil ornen to touch the threshold in her entrance. They lifted her from the ground, and she spoke no word, and made no struggle. But ere they had set down her foot upon her husband's floor, she trembled with a convulsive quivering, and her head fell back upon the youth who supported her left shoulder. Again they put down their burthen, but it was quite motionless! They tore the veil from her head; her look was fixed and quiet ; her eye open and dull !-she was quite dead!
* This was the customary response, signifying, “ where you are the master I shall be the mistress !”
[Mr. Courtenay is both surprised and grieved to hear that the
unwarrantable curiosity of the Public has cast a sacrilegious eye upon his Private Correspondence; and that his Private Letter to a Brother Monarch has been made the subject of animadversions totally unjustifiable. To prevent mistakes, he thinks it necessary to inform the Public, that his Private Correspondence is—NOT TO BE READ.]
PEREGRINE COURTENAY TO MR. B. BOOKWORM..
MY DEAR BENJAMIN, Allow me to congratulate you upon the happy termination of your literary labours. Allow me to congratulate you, not hypocritically, or sarcastically, or triumphantly, but sincerely, and as a friend. We have been long opposed to each other, as writers; and, although the sword of attack was sheathed by me almost as soon as it was drawn, on your side its point has been constantly protruded in a very threatening attitude. I mean not to complain of this; I will say nothing but what is civil and conciliatory; it would be unmanly in me to do otherwise, now that my adversary is hors du combat. Well then, you have said your say, and we will, if you please,
“Leave this keen encounter of our wits
And fall to something of a slower method.” I have heard it remarked, my good Benjamin, that your last Number is somewhat dear. I must confess, and, I believe, you must confess, that the matter contained therein is somewhat scanty ; but nevertheless, as it is the last time I shall have an opportunity of patronizing you, I have not grudged you my shilling. You have taken leave very decently, or, in the words of the old housewives," You have made a good end!” I must say I rather envy you. But there is one passage in your last scene which rather surprised me :
“ If the ' Etonian' has behaved in a manner unworthy of its Conductors towards the · Salt-Bearer,' there is no reason that I should retaliate a single word upon them!”
My magnanimous rival! let us go over the grounds of our squabble temperately.
I was originally, as you know, the Conductor of a small Miscellany, in manuscript; I was requested to establish a Periodical Publication in its place. I declined it, on the ground that the talent of Eton was not adequate to such an undertaking Soon after, “ The Salt-Bearer” was advertised. I felt a curiosity to know something of its Authors, because, had the work been conducted by any person upon whose discretion and authority I could rely, I should have been glad to have supported him to the best of my abilities. I made inquiries, without effect, among such of my schoolfellows as were most distinguished for genius or industry: it was suggested to me that “ The Salt-Bearer” was not actually set on foot by an Etonian, or, at least, not by one at that time belonging to the School. I made inquiries upon this point at your Bookseller's, and could get yo answer. Was it not natural for me to believe that my suspicions were correct? I did believe so, and I made no secret of my belief. Was I obliged by any motive of justice to withhold my ideas respecting one who voluntarily thrust himself in a mask before the Public? Who has any scruple in expressing his opinions relative to Junius ?-or the Scotch novelist?-or“ John Bull?”
Well! the work appeared, and if I thought that it was not calculated to advance the credit of Eton, my judgment may have been erroneous; but it was the judgment of many persons, wiser far than either Peregrine Courtenay or Benjamin Bookworm. I expressed that judgment, and my reasons for it, very openly ; and again I must ask, by what principle should I have been withheld from doing so ? There were one or two cuts at myself in your debut, but they were so insignificant that I cannot even censure you for making use of them.
The work proceeded, and some friends, who took more interest in my little Manuscript Miscellany than it deserved, wished me to publish some extracts from it, in order to do away the stain which the reputation of Eton had suffered from the writings of “ The Salt-Bearer.” It is needless for me to explain why the project of the “ Selection” was given up, and that of the “ Etonian" substituted in its place. Suffice it to say, that the hearty promises of support, which I immediately received, convinced me that those of my schoolfellows, whose good opinion I wished to enjoy, were not displeased at the steps I had taken.
When the First Number of “The Etonian” was in a state of forwardness, I received from a friend, whom no one can know without esteem, some very witty remarks upon “ The Salt-Bearer," intended for insertion in the King of Clubs : it had been my intention to refrain from any mention of your publication, but the remarks in question amused me so much, that I felt very loth to withhold them from my Readers. While I was thus wavering