shed a soft and cheering ray over the gloom of the future. The scene in which they were placed was peculiarly calculated to cherish the illusions of passion ; not merely from displaying those simple and roinantic beauties the contemplation of which softens whilst it elevates the affections—it had also that local charm which endears to minds of taste and sentiment spots which have been celebrated by the powers of genius. Petrarch, the tender, the immortal Petrarch, had trod those very valleys, had climbed those very rocks, and wandered in those very woods and the two young persons, who both understood Italian, when they read together the inelodious strains of that divine, poet, found themselves transported into new regions, and forgot for à while that revolutionary government existed. From those dreams, those delightful illusions, they were awakened by a letter which a friend and fellow-soldier of young de Mm conveyed to him, in which he conjured him to return immediately to the army, if he would shun being classed among the suspected or the proscribed.

Young de M-considered the defence of his country as a sacred duty which he was bound to fulfil. He instantly prepared to depart. He bid ! adieu to his father and Adelaide with tears wrung from a bleeding heart, and tore hiinself away with an effort which it required the exertion of all his fortitude to sustain. After having passed the cleft which enclosed the valley, he again turned back to gaze once more on the spot which contained all his treasure. Adelaide, after his departuré, had no consolation but in the sad yet dear indulgence of tender recollection; in shedding, tears over the paths they had trod, over the book's they had read together. Alas, this unfortunate young lady had far other pangs to suffer than the tender repinings of absence from a beloved object! Some weeks


after the departure of her lover, the departments of Vaucluse and the mouth of the Rhone were desolated by Maignet. Two proscribed victims of his tyranny, who were the friends of M, de Mand knew the place of his retreat, sought for an asylum in his dwelling, M. de. M-received his fugitive friends with affectionate kindness. But a few days after their arrival their retreat was discovered by the emissaries of Maignet ; the narrow pass of the valley was guarded by soldiers; the house was encompassed by a military force; and M. de M---- was suinmoned to depart with the conspirators whon he had dared to harbour, in order to appear with thein before, the popular commission established at Qrange. This last stroke his unhappy niece had no power to sustain. All the wounds of her soul were suddenly and rudely torn open; and altogether overwhelmed by this unexpected, this terrible calamity, which filled up the measure of her afflictions, her reason entirely forsook her. With frantic agony she knelt at the feet of him who commanded the troop; she implored, she wept, she shrieked; then started up and hung upon her uncle's neck, pressing him wildly in her arms. Some of the soldiers proposed conducting her also to the tribuned; but the leader of the band, whether touched by her distress, or fearful that her despair would be troublesome on, the way, persuaded them to leave her behind. She was dragged from her uncle, and locked in a chamber, from whence her shrieks were heard by the unfortunate old man till he had passed the narrow cleft of the valley, which he was destined to behold no more. His sufferings were aeute, but they were not of long duration. The day of his arrival at Orange, he was led before the popular commission, together with his friends, and from thence immediately dragged to execution.


In the mean time Mademoiselle de M leased by Marianne from the apartment where she had been confined by the merciless guards, wandered from morning till evening amidst the wildest recesses of the valley, and along the most rugged paths she could find

She was constantly followed in her ramblings by her faithful servant, who never lost sight of her a single moment, and who retains in her memory many a mournful complaint of her disordered mind, many a wild expression of despair. She often retired to a small nook near the torrent, where her uncle had placed a seat, and where he usually passed some hours of the day. Sometimes she seated herself on the bench; then started up, and throwing herself on her knees before the spot where her uncle used to sit, bathed it with floods of tears. 66 Dear old man,", she would cry, “ your aged head !They might have left me a lock of his grey hairs. When the soldiers come for me, Marianne, you may cut off a lock of mine for Charles-Poor Charles !It is well he's gone--I see the guillotine behind those trees !-and now they drag up a weak old man !--they tie him to the plank !-it bends-oh heaven!".

The acute afflictions with which young de M heard of the murder of his father was still aggran vated by the tidings he received from Marianne of the situation of his beloved Adelaide. Her image was for ever present to his mind ; and unable to support the bitterness of those pangs which her idea excited, he again found incans to obtain leave of absence for a few weeks, and hastened to the valley. He found the habitation deserted-all was dark and silent; he few through the apartments, calling upon the name of Adelaide, but no voice answered his call.

He left the house, and walked with hasty steps along the valley. As he passed a cavern of the



rocks, he heard the moans of Adelaide--he rushed into the cavern- she was seated upon its Ainty floor, and Marianne was sitting near.--Adelaide cast up her eyes as he entered, and looked at him earnestly, he knelt by her side, and pressed her hand to his bosom -“ I don't know you,” said Adelaide, “ Not know me!" he cried, “ not know Charles !" - If you are Charles,” she resumed sullenly,

you're come too late-'tis all over — Poor old Inan!" she cried, rising hastily from the ground, and clasping her hands together, “ don't you see his blood on my clothes ? I begged very hard for him I told them I had no father and mother but him-If you are Charles, begone, begone ! They're coming--they're on the way--I see them upon the rock !--That knife-that bloody knife !"

Such were the ravings of the disordered imagination of this unfortunate young lady, and which were sometimes interrupted by long intervals of silence, and sometimes by an agony of tears. Her lover watched over her with the most tender and unwearied assiduity; but his cares were ineffectual. The life of Adelaide was near its close. The convulsive pangs of her mind, the extraordinary fatigues she had suffered in her wanderings, the want of any nourishment, except bread and water, since she obstinately refused all other food, had reduced her frame to a state of incurable weakness and decay.

A short time before she expired, she recovered her reason, and employed her last remains of strength in the attempt to console her wretched lover. She spoke to him of a happier world, where they should meet again, and where tyrants should oppress no more--she grasped his hand-she fixed her eyes on his--and died!

With the gloomy silence of despair, with feelings that were denied the relief of tears, and were


beyond the utterance of complaint, this unfortunate young man prepared with his own hands the grave of her he loved, and himself covered her corpse with earth.

The last offices paid by religion to the dead, the hallowed taper, the lifted cross, the solemn requiem, had long since vanished, and the inunicipal officer returned the dust to dust with unceremonious speed. The lover of Adelaide chose to perform himself those sad functions for the object of his tenderness, and might have exclaimed with our poet

" What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face ; .
What the no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallowed dirge be utter'd o'er thy tomb !
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow ;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made."

Young de M-passed the night at the grave of Adelaide. Marianne followed him thither, and humbly entreated him to return to the house. He pointed to the new laid earth, and wayed his hand as if he wished her to depart, and leave his meditations uninterrupted.

The next morning at break of day he entered the house, and callea for Marianne. He thanked her for her care of Adelaide ; he assured her of his everlasting gratitude. While he was speaking, his emotion choaked his voice, and a shower of tears, the first he had shed since the death of Adelaide, soothed his oppressed heart. When he had recovered himself, he bade Marianne farewel, and hastened out of the house, muttering in a low tone, “ This must be avenged !" He told


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »