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The Golden Bodkin, A nannative dated convent or—1835.
“My friends have often wondered why, when, after many crosses and disappointments,"I was at so united to the chosen lover of my youth and heart, we should, at the end of one short year, have separated, he to go to the wars, and } to bury myself in this convent. I therefore write this, that, after my death, they may know the real truth concerning these mysterious passages, and that those who may be tempted, like me, may hereby take warning from my fate. “Above all things, it has been bitter to my soul, that, whilst I bore the guilt of the blackest crime upon my conscience, I should have received the praises of the world, as a dutiful daughter and a virtuous and devoted wife. It has been the horror of shame that must have attended the acknowledgment of how a vile and guilty thing was thus cherished and caressed, that has hitherto restrained the confession which has often trembled on my lips, and struggled for life and utterance. “It is well known to all who are acquainted with me, that in my early youth I received the vows of Laurentio Gonsalvić and that my heart acknowledged the influence of his passion; that our love was permitted until the accursed blight of avarice fell upon my parent's heart, and, led them to wrench asunder those ties which no human power could otherwise have unloosed; and to rivet with fetters upon me a chain which nothing but fetters could have held.' This is the only palliation I have to offer for the awful crime I have perpetrated; and in the degree in which it lightens the load of guilt from me, it throws it upon those who gave me birth. But, alas! it relieves me only in the smallest possible degree. They separated me from the man I adored, and enforced my marriage with another. Let me be just. “The Count Braschi, whose bride I be. came, was young, accomplished, and may have been kind, but that I treated him with loathing and scorn; and tongues were not wanting to tell him that it was for the sake of Laurentio Gonsalvi. We had lived together less than two years,
On account of my marriage, he had gong abroad, that he might avoid all opportuni. ty of meeting me. But now he had ro turned; he cincountered me in public, an saw that the light of a happy heartha left mine eyes; and he saw, too, that th; heart was jū. "A we met in pri: vate, and strong and bitter was the con: flict, and the temptation was almost morg than we could bear. But we did bear it—and we overcame it—and we parted—but not forever, . Before we separated, wé swore an oath, that if ever I became free, we would wed each other; and that nei; ther of us would marry, unless with ong another; and we invoked heaven and all the saints, to give ear to opr oath; and out . hearts bore witness to it. And Laurentig again went away—none knew whither, ‘About two months thereaster the plagud broke out in the city and, the destructio was very great, Friend shunned friend; and the son fled from his subdued and per: ishing father, The streets were deserted, and all kept within their own houses: save, at the dead of night, when the pest carts went round the city to gather the corpse; of those who perished during the day. And the rumbling of the carts sounded dismally through the streets, and the bells that announced their coming, struck awe into ihe hearts of all, and despair into those who were dying. As they approach: ed the door of each house, they sounded upon a bell three times, and called with a loud voice, ‘bring out your dead.’— And those who had dead brought them out, with their faces muffled up, and their mouths stopped with medicated cloths— and the dead were carried away, and they were taken to pits without the city, prepared for their reception. The earth was then thrown in upon them, and all was done in haste, and silence, and in darkness. The time was awful. “In the wickedness of my heart, I wished that my husband might die, that I might be wedded to Laurentio Gonsalvibut the plague fell upon the houses all as round, where it was dreaded, and passed over our's, where. it was prayed for. I dared not breathe to heaven this prayer of hell! I prayed that the plague might strike my husband, and that he might die. “But time waned, and he was yet un
e Laurentio . returned from travelling. - - - WOL. III.-16–3
touched, and I feared that he plago o
might pass away, and leave him whole. *One night as I loy by his side, I was revolving these hopes and fears and wishcs in my mind. I looked upon him as he lay in all the helplessness of repose. He slept soundly and quietly, as in the slumbers of death. “Would, oh, would thal it were " I ejaculated, and then I added to myself, it is but one blow! and I looked around. The night lamp shone upon a olden bodkin, with which I always raided my hair. It now lay upon the toi. let, where I had placed it when I had undressed. “It is but one blow !" repeated l to myself, or rather the evil one suggested it to me. Iarose from the bed and seized the bodkin. I approached the count—i knelt with one knee on the bed and buried the bodkin in his side up to the cye | He É. one groan, and strove to rise, but the lood sponted forth like a fountain. He became wenk—I struck him again; he foll back—a few seconds, and he was dead! • Ch the horror that I felt at the moment, when I beheld my victim dead before me! Ages of pain passed cwer me at that instant.—He would have been good to me. but I spurned him; I thrust from me his P. kindness with every mark of cathing and contempt' and now I had murdered him! I knelt to pray for succor and support; but I recollected what my last prayer had been, and found it impossible to utter a word. I took up my rosary to repeat my usual prayers, but blood had spurted on the beads, and caused them to slip from my hold. ‘Yes,' I exclaimed, “yes indeed, his blood has risen between me and heaven" To conceal what I had done was my next object. I hid, as well as I could, ev. ry thing that was stained with blood—cov. ered the body with clothes, and went out of the chamber at break of day to spread a report that the Count had been taken with the plague, and to seek for medicine. f well knew that none of our domestics would be too ready to face this danger; and when I declared my intention of watching by him myself, they yielded to it most wissingly, and seemed to think that I did so as an atonement for the unkindness I had evinced towards him since our mar
riage. “I announced that he grew worse; towards . night I declared him t
be dead.' I would not permit any of my people, as I said, to incur the danger of infection. I washed the blood from the body, covered it completely with a shroud: and all this 1 did to the stark and blood corpse of that man from whose . while living, I recoiled as from the sting of an adder. “Night came, and with it the pest carts and their bells, and the cry of "bring out your dead;’ and the Count was carried out by his men, with stopped mouths and averted faces: and he was placed among the dead—and I was freel “Yes, free for detection did not reach me, I know no shadow of suspicion sell upon my name. • In six months I was Laurentio's bride! —But ah, how different were my feelings from what they would have been had 1 been married to him in my years of innocence. Now guilt of blood, was upon my soul. Its weight was as lead; and its heal was as fire. “When we had been sometime married, Laurentio could not but perceive the cloud that passed over me. He questioned me concerning it in vain. He thought, I believe, that it was occasioned by the shock my young heart had received as Count Braschi's wise. He strove, by eve
ry means in his power, to comfort and cheer me. Alas! the wound was deep hidden from the leech's cye. How then, could he heal it; yet he often probed it to the quick. ić. day he asked me what had be. come of the golden bodkin he had given me in his first courtship He said he had not seen it since we had been married, and smiling, added, he supposed I had given it to the Count.—My agitation was so extreme that he could not but observe it; he gently chid me for suffering my spirits to give way so much; and changed the conversation. “About a week afterwards, I chanced to be called away, and left my escretoire open.—Laurentio, secking some paper, or a pen, I knew not which, found the bodkin, discolored to the head with the indelible stain of human blood A terrible suspicion flashed across his brain! He rushed to me—questioned me, and discovered
all !! • ‘I cannot dwell upon the agony of this
period. After the first burst of indigna-my old shoe slippers, and my woolen night tion, his anger subsided into a deep—a cap, flew off. The rain that o: deluged sorrowful strain, of condemnation, more my garret floor, informed me that I must dreadful to me than all the violence of not stay to gather them up, the poor creapassion which had, preceded it. He would|ture at the door would be wet. I opened not, he said, he could not betray me; but the door to a young lady—I thought at neither would he ever again take a foul first it had been an angel. She started and spotted murderess to his bosom and back a little. Indeed I had been vervill, his bed... I need not, say what my ago- and my clothes were not quite so good ties of entreaty were... His determina-1 could have wished; she advanced, and tion was irrevocable. We parted never begged me in a trembling voice, to be sure to meet again. He scll in his first battle;
it was a sweet one, that I would let her i am still here; but I feel that I shall not stand in the passage for a moment, an be here long.' - shut the door, for she was apprehensive o being pursued by some rude men, and being a stranger, she knew not how to avoid them. Had she presented me with a roll s: and a red herring instead of that fair sost One night, in the melancholy month of hand, it had not been half so welcome, November, as I was sitting in my garret though I cannot say but I was very hunby the side of a fire with very little heat, gry. I drew her in, and instantly shut the and a candle with very little light, rumi-door. I told her tha', the people belonging nating on the various follies and pursuits to the house did not happen to be at home, of men, reflecting on the riches of some but if she would kindly condescend to and the indigence of others; figuring in walk up into my poor garret she should my mind the waste, riot, and superfluity be very welcome. To be sure, it is but of many among us poor mortals, and of a poor place, continued I, but indeed you my own excessive poverty, sometimes shall be very welcome. Her eyes glistensighing and wishing I had strength suff-ed—she looked as if she had not power. cient for a bricklayer's labourer, at others to deny my request; she sighed. I led, my head reclining on my hand, my toe and she followed. My night cap and slip. tapping, and my mind philosophizing on per were replaced. l handcd her the only the nature of man, how few his real, how chair in the room—I was sorry it had not numerous his imaginary wants, and how a back. I stood by the side of her, and exceedingly happy and charitable 1 could observed her give a timid glance round be, if I had thirty pounds per year, In the my poor garret, then turn her head away, midst, I say, of these my cogitations, I'wipe her eyes, and smother the rising heard a double rap at the door, just as I sign—Indeed, she was an angel! I began was distributing, out of my plenty, half a to wish for riches, youth, and beauty, crown to a blind beggar, and a bone to his while I gazed upon her, Vain and sil dog, My reverie was at an end; a double man is always, wanting, never satisfied. rap was uncommon at the door of the What right had I to be discontented, or poor, the rich seldom called there—I lis-wish for any thing but what I had—But
The Poor Poet or Cripplegate.
tened, My landlady was gone out, and the intercession for admittance was repeated.--I took my candle and ran down stairs. My imagination hurricq me away so fast, that I forgot my waistcoat was unbuttoned, and that my old brown coat had but one lap... I knew not but it might be some lord who had accidently heard of my pov'erty, and merit, and had flown to my relies. There are, doubtless, numberless
lords and great men who would have done however, I will try, and I will
it had they heard of me... It was not their fault-In my haste to get down, one of
man is never satisfied, as I said before.
; She caught hold of my hand as I turned ibout, and almost drowned it with tears É-Pray sir, said she, sobbing with pity and ; ice, as I thought, do not be of. ended that I intrude thus upon you, be }leased to take this, preserting me her Wursé; I am very hungry likewise, pray sir, be so kind as to order them to send mb a fowl, or any thing they have. I}o o be offended ! oh that I could enteraid you according to my wishes! said 1, o do not send all this money by mié, they perhaps may suspect that I o: stolen it. They may pe. ceive; nay, they klipw, that I am poor—I offered the urge, she received it, tho' I thought she |... as if she wished I would keep it. She gave me a guinea, and I did as I was Hesired. The waiter followed me up stáirs. fgannot say, but I imagined he bādā ‘...." kind of look, and rather an inquisitive state—though, to be sure, he might well be surprised to see so beautiful a creature, and so well dressed too, in rhy, poor garret—I was amazed hyself, not could I scárcely, believe I was awake. She gave him a shilling as hown perquisite. He took it, gazed on her, stared at me, cast his eyes round the room, and departed. . . A. Come sir, said she play let me entreat ou to eat a little bit of supper with me. #. eat, indeed, if you sit by without eating. Nay, pray, sir, cóme; I will 'draw the table, and sit upon the corner of the bed. Do, sir, take the chair.
... Her eyes were brimfäl again. Indeed
#he was an angel—I was very hungry,
and she asked in so sweet a manner, that
it was impossible to resist, it was ā fine o and the sweetest I think, I ever tasted in all my life. To be sure I was very ungry. She said at first she was hungry ikewise... I could not see anything that she had eatén, except picking one of the side bones. She seemed to mind nothing, only, the helping of me. . I told her of it. he gave me a smile of the most enchan. ing complaisance, and réplied she was entirely happy to see me 'eat—her hunger as abated. Well, to be sure, every time I looked at t • * * - her, every time, I recollected myself, I bould not help thinking that this was an dd adventure. hen r was over, and little re
maining of the fowl excep the bones, the young creature asked how long I had lived in my present lodging t—I told her fifteen years, but that there was a new landlady come to the house, and I was afraid she would turn me out, for that I had a severe fit of sickness, which had taken the trifle of money which I had, and had likewise unfurnished my garret: and that my quar. ter's rent had been due about a week, which had caused my present lady, as I imagined, to speak in a very sully man|ner to me. I would sell my bed to pay her, continued I, with all my heart, but they give so little for second-hand things, that I am afraid that will not do. Well, to be sure, I thought it very strange, I could not say a word, but this kind angel was wiping her eyes. The waiter how came, as he had been ordered, to fetch away the plates and other things which had been sent over with the fowl.—As he was going out again, he met y landlady entering the door. Heyday! exclaimed she, what are these 1 and where have you, been? Up stairs into the garret, returned the waiter, with a fowl to your lodger; and a fine young lady is with him, Upstairs into the garret, with a fowl ' ' Yes, into the gar. ret with a fowl; and a bottle of wine, td raise their spirits, I suppose:–I think they want it. She is a fine young creature, to be sure, but she has a plaguygueer choice 'A fine young creature, and a bottle of wine! Very well, very well, upon my word —A fowl, too"—up stairs she bolted and began — - -“Why, hark you, Mr. Shabéroon, you Mr. Poet, what is the reason that you doesnt’t påy me my good thirteen shilling, ând two pence halfpenny that you owe me?—A fine way, indeed, to pay your rent, to be jurkéting with your fine mo, dams upon wine and fowls f But I wo have you to know, Sir, that although to be sure I'm but a poor parson, I am hono —There, isn't any parson in Cripplegal parish kéeps a more betterer or a m
decenter house nor I do. I keeps no bad houses.” * The sweet creature was shocked, and
turned aside her head. “Don’t turn up your nose at me. I*.
I keeps no bad houses, nor for the ,
noblemen that ever stepped the king"
ground; so don't think to bring any of your be thanked you have done more than
Rept madäms into my departments, to bring an ill kiracter upon my house.” ‘Madam P. said the young lady, with the utmost timidity—‘Madams!—Yes madāms... You cant take the law of me for that—I did’ht say you was a 9 mind, whatever I may think. And if you, Mr. Farthing Poet, must have your Ma. dams, you shall get eth' in some body el'ses house, and not in mille, I’ll promise you: and if you don’t pay me my rent tomorrow morning I'll take out an executioner, and sieze upon what few rags and sticks you have left.—Thank God, the landlord comes first.’ Nay, pray do not do that, said I:—I will pay you as soon as I can indeed. How much is the rent, said the trembling cherub. Why, thirteen shillings, said she, the rent is, madam, besides two pence half penny that 1 lent him out of my own pocket, at varisum times, at a half penny and afarthing a time, and to be sure its very hard. I has nothing but what I works for, and I can't afford to lend my salt and give my eggs into the bargin. Purvisions are very scarce—then there's rent, and winder money, and poor rates and common shore, and scavenger, and don't know how much; and one can't feed hungry children with bad debts, you know, madam I didn't mean to fend you, Madam, I only want my own. Nobody can be blamed for seeking after their own, Madam. The thirt isn't so near at the skin, you know, Madam, and I hope ye doesn't take any thing amiss, Madam, for when considerates the thing Madam, I can’t say as how you has any thing the appearance of a bad person Madam; to be sure I am a little passionate, Madam, and its soon over with me—and I am shure there's nobody, better naterder, nor betterer temperer'd, nor more readier to do a good turn nor I am, Madam. - All the time during the last harangue the kept softening her tone, which was rather shrill it must be owned at first, while her eye continually glanced towards the purse in the young lady's hand. Pray, sir, said the sweet cherubim, do not be offended with me, I must insist upon paying this small trifle—nay, nay, Foodsheaven! pray rise, sir-I must not
this perhaps for me, sir.—Me! Madam–
when no, no-alas! I have not had the means to do so much these many years: but you are an angel, and I will pray for you. Yes, indeed, she is an angel, rejoined the landlady, and you ought to pray for her, and I hope your ladyship doesn't take to heart what I said; I would not offend her ladyship for the world; but her ladyship knows, that always taking out of the meal tub, and never putting in, one soon comes to the bottom ; and a small leak will sink a great ship, or else am sure I wouldn't have said a word to the gentleman nor your ladyship; but nobody knows where the shoe pinches so well as he that wears it, or else I am sar. tin there isn't a better natered parson on the face of the yarth nor I am, though I say it. * * Perhaps her husband, had he been present, might have contradicted her, if he durst. Well, said the sweet creature, in the most affable manner imaginable, you will not be quite so passionate for the future; perhaps it will all be for the better. Away she now went down stairs, talking all the way about her nature. As soon as she was gone, the sweet creature begged me to tell her whether I had ever been married—The question made my sorrows overflow—Dear, madam, pray excuse, me, said I–I cannot restrain my tears—married—Oh! Lisbon, Oh! Maria!—pray forgive me—'tis now, madam, sixteen years since I lost my dear Maria: alas ! how many heavy sighs, how many melancholy hours, how many restless nights and doleful days has the sad remembrance cost me! my kind, my dear Maria—thy heart was cheerful—and thy soul was tender—thy enlivening con: versation, thy happy disposition, thy mild and alleviating temper, thy innocent and benevolent thoughts, were so many sources of continual pleasure to me, to thyself, td all who knew thee—every body praised, for every body loved thee, and sought thy company; for there the wretched found an open ear, and a tender heart, ever ready to share their sorrows, and the fortunate a cheerful inind that partook of all their joys, without eavying any of their
happiness: alas! thou art gone! my days