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deserter.” He then went out and remained some time alone. When he returned, his appearance was surprisingly changed; his face was of an ashy paleness; his eyes bright, febrile, and eager, and his lip quivered as he said, ““Come, Mary, I can wait no longer; the boat is ready, the river is not so wild, and the rain is over.” *In vain she protested; he was firm; and she had no option, but either to go or to be left behind. The old ferryman accompanied them to the boat, saw them embark, and gave the recruit some instructions how to manage the ropes, as it was still rather early in the tide. On returning into the house, he remarked facetiously to his wife, “I can never see why young men should be always blamed, and all pity reserved for the damsels.” “At this moment a rattling shower of rain and hail burst like a platoon of small shot on the window, and a flash of vivid lightning was followed by one of the most tremendous peals of thunder I have ever heard. “Hark!” cried the old woman startling, “ was not that a shriek 7" ‘We listened, but the cry was not repeated ; we rushed to the door, but no other sound was heard but the raging of the river, and the roar of the sea-waves breaking on the bar.’—The Club Book, vol. iii. pp. 266–270.
The shriek, it need hardly be added, was that of the young woman struggling against her destroyer. The scene produced an irresistible effect upon the mind of the narrator, who, for several years after, had strange dreams on the anniversaries of this dreadful night. Some of these he related to a German gentleman with whom he became acquainted, and who convinced him that there was some inconceivable sympathy which had linked him to the fate of these unhappy persons.
“When the anniversary again returned, I was seized with the same heaviness and objectless horror of mind; it hung upon me with bodings and auguries until I went to bed, and then, after my first sleep, I was a third time aroused by another fit of the same inscrutable panic On this occasion, however, the vision was different. I beheld only Nocton, pale and wounded, stretched on a bed, and on the coverlet lay a pair of new epaulettes, as if just unfolded from a paper. * For seven years I was thus annually afflicted. The vision in each was different, but I saw no more of Mary Blake. On the fourth occasion, I beheld Nocton sitting in the uniform of an aid-de-camp at a table, with the customary tokens of conviviality before him; it was only part of a scene, such as one beholds in a mirror. ‘On the fifth occasion, he appeared to be ascending, sword in hand, the rampart of a battery; the sun was setting behind him, and the shadows and forms of a strange land, with the domes and pagodas of an oriental country, lay in wide extent around; it was as a picture, but far more vivid than painting can exhibit. “On the sixth time, he appeared again stretched upon a couch; his complexion was sullen, not from wounds, but disease, and there appeared at his bed-side the figure of a general officer, with a star at his breast, with whose conversation he appeared pleased, though languid. “But on the seventh and last occasion, on which the horrors of the V O L. III. NO I. IK
visions were repeated, I saw him on horseback in a field of battle; and while I looked at him, he was struck on the face by a sabre, and the blood flowed down upon his regimentals."—The Club Book,Vol.iii. pp. 274–276.
All these dreams the author related to his German friend, who set them down in what he called his “Book of Life.” This gentleman he describes as an “astrologer of the true kind,” who had “a beautiful conception of the reciprocal dependencies of nature,” who “ affected not to penetrate to causes, but spoke of effects with a luminous and religious eloquence.”
‘We had spent the day in the fields, where he illustrated his astrological opinions by appeals to plants, and leaves, and flowers, and other attributes of the season, with such delightful perspicuity, that no time can efface from the registers of my memory the substance of his discourses. In the evening he delighted me with his miraculous music; and as the night advanced, I was almost persuaded that he was one of those extraordinary men who are said sometimes to acquire communion with spirits, and dominion over demons. * Just as we were about to sit down to our frugal supper, literally or philosophically so, as if it had been served for Zeno himself, Dick, the son of the old ferry-man, who by this time was some years dead, came to the door, and requested to speak with me in private. Of course I obeyed ; when he informed me that he had brought across the ferry that night a gentleman officer, from a far country, who was in bad health, and whom he could not accommodate properly in the ferry-house. * “The inn,” said Dick, “is too far off, for he is lame, and has an open wound in the thigh. I have therefore ventured to bring him here, sure that you will be glad to give him a bed for the night. His servant tells me that he was esteemed the bravest officer in all the service of the Mysore of India.” “It was impossible to résist this appeal. I went to the door where the gentleman was waiting, and with true-heartedness expressed how great my satisfaction would be if my house could afford him any comfort. * I took him in with me to the room where my German friend was sitting. I was much pleased with the gentleness and unaffected simplicity of his manners. ‘. He was a handsome middle-aged man; his person was robust and well formed; his features had been originally handsome, but they were disfigured by a scar, which had materially changed their symmetry. His conversation was not distinguished by any remarkable intelligence; but, after the high intellectual excitement which I had enjoyed all day with my philosophical companion, it was agreeable and gentlemanly. * Several times during supper something came across my mind as if I had seen him before, but I could neither recollect when nor where; and I observed that more than once he looked at me, as if under the influence of some research in his memory. At last I observed that his eyes were dimmed with tears, which assured me that he then recollected me. But I considered it a duty of hospitality not to enquire aught concerning him more than he was pleased to tell himself. o ‘. In the mean time my German friend, I-perceived, was watching u both, but suddenly he ceased to be interested, and appeared absorbed in
thought; while good manners required me to make some effort to entertain my guest. This led to some enquiry concerning the scene of his services, and he told us that he had been many years in India. * “On this day, eight years ago,” said he, “I was in the battle of Boow, where I received the wound which has so disfigured me in the ace.” “At that moment I accidentally threw my eyes upon my German friend:—the look which he gave me in answer caused me to shudder from head to foot; and I began to ruminate of Nocton and Mary Blake, while my friend continued the conversation in a light desultory manner, as it would have seemed to any stranger; but to me it was awful and oracular. He spoke to the stranger on all manner of topics, but ever and anon he brought him back, as if without design, to speak of the accidents of fortune which had befallen him on the anniversary of that day, giving it as a reason for his curious remarks, that most men observed anniversaries, time and experience having taught them to notice that there were curious coincidences with respect to times, and places, and individuals, things, which of themselves form part of the great demonstration of the wisdom and skill displayed in the construction, not only of the mechanical §: the moral world, shewing that each was a portion of one and the same thing. * “I have been,” said he to the stranger, “an observer and recorder of such things. I have my book of registration here in this house; I will fetch it from my bed-chamber, and we shall see in what other things, as far as your fortunes have been concerned, how it corresponds with the accidents of your life on this anniversary.” * I observed that the stranger paled a little at this proposal, and said, with an affectation of carelessness, while he was evidently disturbed, that he would see it in the morning. But the philosopher was too intent upon his purpose to forbear. I know not what came upon me, but I urged him to bring the book. This visibly disconcerted the stranger still more; and his emotion became, as it were, a motive which induced me, in a peremptory manner, to require the production of the book; for I felt that strange horror, so often experienced, returning upon me, and was constrained, by an irresistible impulse, to seek an explanation of the circumstances by which I had for so many years suffered such an eclipse of mind. The stranger seeing how intent both of us were, desisted from his wish to procrastinate the curious disclosure which my friend said he could make; but it was evident he was not at ease. Indeed, he was so much the reverse, that when the German went for his book, he again proposed to retire; and only consented to abide, at my jocular entreaty, until he should learn what his future fortunes were to be, by the truth of what would be told him of the past. “My friend soon returned with the book. It was a remarkable volume, covered with vellum, shut with three brazen, clasps, secured by a lock of curious construction. Altogether it was ā' strange, antique, and necromantic-looking volume. The corner was studded with knobs of brass, with a small mirror in the centre, round which were inscribed, in Teutonic characters, words to the effect, “I will, shew THEE THysELF.” Before unlocking the clasp, my friend gave the book to the stranger, explained some of the emblematic devices which adorned the cover, and particularly the words of the motto that surrounded the mirror. “Whether it was from design, or that the symbols required it, the explanations of my friend were mystical and abstruse; and I could see that they produced an effect on the stranger, so strong that it was evident he could with difficulty maintain his self-possession. The colour entirely faded from his countenance; he became wan and cadaverous, and his hand shook violently as he returned the volume to the philosopher, who, on receiving it back, said, * “There are things in this volume which may not be revealed to every eye, yet to those who may not discover to what they relate, they will seem trivial notations.” “He then applied the key to the lock and unclosed the volume. My stranger guest began to breathe hard and audibly. The German turned over the vellum leaves, searchingly and carefully. At last he found his record and description of my last vision, which he read aloud. It was not only minute in the main circumstances in which I had seen Nocton, but it contained an account of many things, the still life, as it is called, of the picture, which I had forgotten, and, among other particulars, a picturesque account of the old General whom I saw standing at the bed-side. * “By all that's holy,” cried the stranger, it is old Cripplington himself!—the queue of his hair was, as you say, always crooked, owing to a habit he had of pulling it when vexed—where could you find the description of all this 2 ° “I was petrified; I sat motionless as a statue, but a fearful vibration thrilled through my whole frame. “My friend looked back in his book, and found the description of my sixth vision. It contained the particulars of the crises of battle, in which,
as the stranger described, he had received the wound in his face. It af
fected him less than the other, but still the effect upon him was impressive.
“The record of the fifth vision produced a more visible alarm. The de
scription was vivid to an extreme degree,_the appearance of Nocton, sword in hand, on the rampart—the animation of the assault, and the gorgeous landscape of domes and pagodas, was limned with words as vividly as a painter could have made the scene. The stranger seemed to forget his anxiety, and was delighted with the reminiscences which the description recalled. * But when the record of the fourth vision was read, wherein Nocton was described as sitting in the regimentals of an aide-de-camp, at a convivial table, he exclaimed, as if unconscious of his words,- * “It was on that night I had first the honour of dining with the general.” “The inexorable philosopher proceeded, and read what I had told him of Nocton, stretched pale and wounded on a bed, with new epaulettes spread on a coverlet, as if just unfolded from a paper. The stranger started from his seat, and cried, with a hollow and fearful voice,— * “This is the book of life.” ‘The German turned over to the second vision, which he read slowly and mournfully, especially the description of my own feelings, when I beheld the charnel visage of Mary Blake. The stranger, who had risen from his seat, and was panting with horror, cried out with a shrill halloo, as it
were, * “On that night I was sitting in my tent; methought her spirit came and reproached me.” “I could not speak, but my German friend rose from his seat, and holding the volume in his left hand, touched it with his right, and looking sternly at the stranger, said, * “In this volume, and in your own conscience, are the evidences which prove that you are Ralph Nocton, and that on this night, twice seven years ago, you murdered Mary Blake.” ‘The miserable stranger lost all self-command, and, staggering from the spot, fell."—The Club Book, vol. iii. pp. 280–289, 14, T $o słok.
This is all capitally managed. There is originality of invention in the story; its parts are neatly fitted together; the incidents are tragically interesting; and the sketch given of those glimpses of a supernatural philosophy, which, “like the summer cloud comes o'er us,” forms by no means the least affecting passage in this
Without particularly characterizing the remaining tales, we may observe generally that they evince considerable talent, and that, taken altogether, “The Club Book” is a very good parlour window miscellany, worthy of all praise in a moral point of view; and, as a source of rational amusement, peculiarly acceptable in the long nights of winter, now so rapidly approaching.
There are some unaccountable mistakes in the paging of the contents of the second volume, which should be corrected if the work reach a second edition.
ART. VIII.—Letters on the Physical History of the Earth, addressed to Professor Blumenbach: containing Geological and Historical proofs of the Divine Mission of Moses. By the late J. A. De Luc, F.R.S. Professor of Philosophy and Geology at Gottingen. To which are prefixed Introductory Remarks and Illustrations: together with a Vindication of the author's claims to Original Views respecting fundamental points in Geology. By the Rev. Henry De La Fitte, A. M. of Trinity College Oxford: and member of the Royal Society of Literature. 8vo, pp. 284. London: Rivingtons. 1831. THE substance of the work which, under the above title, is now presented to the public, has been for some years embodied in our scientific literature. The subject, however, with which it is occupied, and the veneration which every learned and well directed mind must entertain for the memory of the author, together with the great accession of valuable matter which the reverend editor has supplied, give to this brief work all the characters of a new and interesting commentary on some of the fundamental principles of Geology. Upwards of thirty years ago, De Luc published a series of letters in this country, the practical object of which was to esta