Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ever recurring to her own situation. He gave her mind no time to fall back upon itself, neither did he himself wish to think ; the approaching interview with his father offered much that he dreaded, and he would not let his thoughts rest upon it.

At length, however, the evening came, and he again left Julie upon the same errand that he had done the night before. In going to his father's hotel, he walked with extraordinary rapidity, as if he were afraid that reflection should intrude upon him by the way; but on being informed that his father had returned some time, he paused to collect his thoughts, took two or three turns in the court, and then entered the room where his parent was.

Far different from the sprightly lad that long ago consorted with Armand Villars, old Durand, in passing through life, had lost many of the better qualities which had distinguished him in boyhood ; circumstances had so often induced him to glide from one opinion to another, that he had but small pretensions to sincerity. Fortune had made him . proud, and the lesser points of morality had gradually become effaced in mingling with corrupted society. He was still a man of courage, of wit, of talent; and, as he had never cried very loud for any particular party, his changes in political opinion had never been criticised very severely. He was also a man of pleasure, an epicurean, but one that forgot some of the best tenets of his sect. Every thing was to be sacrificed to pleasure except interest, and all was to yield to that. His affection for his son was strong, but there was much of it pride; and though on his return he received him kindly, it was more like the reception of an old companion than a son.

“Well, Charles," said he, after the first few minutes, “so your broken arm is whole again ; and what has become of the beautiful little nurse you wrote to me about? You owe her a good deal, in truth.”

“I owe her every thing, Sir," replied Charles ; "and as to what is become of her, she is at this moment in Paris, and—-".

“Ha, ha, ha! so that is the way you repay her," interrupted his father, laughing. “Charles, Charles, you are a sad libertine. But take care what you are about: you will certainly get your throat cut; that sulky old Roman, her father, will not take it quietly, depend upon it. I remember him when a boy: his anger was not easily moved, but when once excited, his vengeance was not like that of a child."

“I rather think, Sir, that you mistake me," replied Charles. "Julie is purity itself; I love her beyond every thing on earth ; and l'have now come to ask you to sanction my immediate union with her.”

The astonishment, the anger, the scorn, which gradually gathered over old Durand's countenance while his son was speaking, is beyond expression. “Young man !" cried he, “are you mad ? have you become a driveller and a fool ?

Charles had expected opposition, and now he used all the eloquence he possessed, all the entreaties most likely to move. He expressed himself firm in his resolution of marrying Julie, but declared that he never could be happy without his father's approbation. But it was in vain; his father listened to him for a moment, and then, without any answer whatever, but a look of mingled pity and contempt, left the room. Charles's heart burnt with indignation; and, darting from the house, he passed rapidly to the hotel. He did not, he would not think;

and he had entered the room where Julie sat, before the first irritation had passed from his mind. She was sitting directly opposite, and as he entered, she raised her eyes with such a look of glad expectation that it quite overwhelmed him ; and, striking his hand against his forehead, he walked up and down the room for a moment without speaking.

“ In the name of Heaven, Charles,” exclaimed Julie,“ what is the matter ?

Charles took her hand and led her back to the sofa from which she had risen. “Julie," said he, “my father is as cruel as yours. He refuses his consent to our union; but be assured

At that moment the deadly paleness, the wild despair of Julie's countenance, stopped him as he spoke. Charles had deceived himself, and still more deceived her, with respect to his father. She had never imagined the possibility of his refusing, and now it came like the stroke of death. All the horror, all the desolation of her situation flashed upon her mind. It stunned, it stupified her. Every sense, every thought, was overwhelmed in the wild tempest of her disappointed hopes, and she sat gazing in the face of her lover in dumb, inanimate despair.

Charles at first attempted to call her to herself, but in vain : she sat like marble. At length, starting up, “ Julie," he cried, “ I go again to my father, and be sure that I will bring you his consent, or I will die at his feet ;” and he quitted the room.

But Julie heard him not; she sat with her hands clasped, and her eyes fixed upon the door. Her senses were bewildered; a sudden panic seized her, she knew not of what; she started up, and as if she flew from something which pursued her, she ran down the stairs of the hotel into the street. She passed rapidly along the Rue Royale to the Place Louis Quinze.. The cool air revived her, and thought began to return, when some one caught her by the arm with a grasp of iron. She turned and cast herself at his feet. “My father! oh Heaven, my father !" cried Julie. Villars answered nothing, but held her tight by the wrist, while he drew a poignard from his bosom. “Disgrace of your father's name," said he, at length; “if you have a prayer to offer to Heaven, offer it now, for the blood of Villars shall never flow in impure veins.”

Julie strove to speak, but terror left her no voice. At length she cried, “Indeed, indeed, I am innocent.”

"Art thou a liar, too ?” cried Villars, casting his cloak over her head and raising his hand-" thus I wipe out your infamy!”

He plunged the dagger in her bosom-he raised it again—but nohe could not repeat it. There was a faint, smothered cryma shudder like the futter of a dying bird ; and then-it lay a cold, inanimate. weight upon his bosom. It was done. But then the implacable, un.. yielding spirit which had thus far, sustained him, forsook him for a moment, and he stood stupified, without thought, without feeling, without remembrance.

“I have done my duty !” he cried at last; and, hurrying down to the banks of the river, descended to the very edge, and laid his lifeless burden in the water-gently, and cautiously, as if he were afraid of waking her. He gazed upon her-smote his hand upon his breast. Aug.-VOL. XXVI. NO. CIV.

K

“I have done my duty,” he said ; "I have done my duty !" But hell was in his heart, and he fled.

When the Union American merchantman was lost on her passage from Havre to Charleston, there was one man who refused to enter any of the boats. He had taken his passage at Havre the very day the ship sailed; and during the five days which elapsed between her leaving the port ard her being wrecked, he was never heard to proffer a word to any one. He passed the days, and the greater part of the nights, in walking backwards and forwards with his eyes fixed upon the deck ; and at that awful moment, when tempest and destruction surrounded them all, the deadly strife within his own bosom seemed to have rendered him insensible to the war of elements without. Some one kindly pressed him to enter one of the boats: “Leave me, leave me," said he in French, "my grave is made.”

God knows whether it was he, but the passengers who escaped, represent him as of the same age and form as Armand Villars.

On entering the cemetery of Père la Chaise, proceed directly to the foot of the first bill, and turning into the alley to the left, you will find a plain obelisk of white marble, without epitaph or inscription, except the simple name “ Julie !" It stands in a little garden of flowers, inclosed with a fence of iron; and I have myself seen a young officer, with more than one decoration on his breast, removing those that were withered, and binding fresh wreaths round its little boundary.

It never wanted flowers in any season, for he came every day to deck it himself, though the colour gradually forsook his cheek, and pale, corroding care was marked in every feature. One day he came no more, and shortly after he was laid in the earth beside her he loved. But before he died, he expressly forbade his name also, to be inscribed on the monument which he had raised to his lost Julie.

LETTERS FROM NEW YORK, NO. I. Dear D . It is possible, certainly, that by writing a just and generous account of the Americans, I might help to correct the misrepresentations of national prejudice; but with every disposition to adopt your suggestion, I doubt if it be practicable. I mean, if materials exist from which a book, that ought to sell, might be made. : During my former visit to this continent, I collected remarks and observations with the most meritorious and mercenary avidity ; but when I came to examine them soberly and at leisure, they appeared to be mere concretions of civilities. There have, no doubt, been authors, and right good ones too, who have so practised with booksellers, that they have together sent forth, both in quarto and octavo, works of much gravity, and rich with a marvellous semblance of faets, by which they have gained golden opinions for several consecutive months; but such speculations are not reputable when discovered.

Perhaps, by the help of old associations and frequent comparisons, I might have made a magazine article out of the incidents of the voyage; but even in that I must soon have found my pen at fault, for the pride, pomp, and circumstance of the pashawic of his Majesty's quarter-deck were so appeased by the discipline “grown to habitude" of Captain I , that the rude sea grows civil in my recollection of the her quiet crew and gentlemanly officers.

Civility, however, is not a naval virtue. Some of the anecdotes told us of the overture to the late war would seem to imply that Uncle Sam* had really a little cause to complain ; and I am rather inclined to think that John Bull, with all his well-known meekness and suavity, would have hesitated to bold up the other cheek to a repetition of the pranks, which put his kinsman out of temper.

For example, you will allow it admits of doubt, whether any coasting skipper, snugly in his birth, and his schooner at anchor, would think it very pleasant to be ordered on deck in linen, at the dead hour of a cold night, by a voice as hoarse as a hawser in a hawse-hole,—such as is much affected by naval officers, particularly by that important class the midshipmen,-and before he had time to ascertain if the sound was not that of his vessel rubbing on the ground, to hear his rigging riddled by a platoon of marine musketry. Nor was it calculated to obtain a good report among the Yankees, to drag iheir ships to leeward, bows under, because they could not answer signals with quite as much alacrity as a high-in-order man-of-war, although it might be done with the kind intention of teaching them to be more adroit. Moreover, it was not obviously very funny in a frigate honestly cruizing for prizes, when she happened to find herself short of junk, politely to take a slowish American in tow, and having got her hawser aboard, to draw it in till there was no more to pay out, and then order her to cut and he damned.

The main cause of the late American war was, undoubtedly, in these sort of impertinences. There might have been inotives of policy and maxims of state in the views which the Government of the United States took of the right of search, and the claim of impressment; but the popular hostility, which ultimately set the two nations by the ears, had, beyond question, its origin in the annoyance inflicted, in mirth or mischief, by some of our cruizers. The skipper of the schooner, in returning to his port, never, to a moral certainty, spoke in a jocular vein of the molestation he had met with; and it was natural that his sympathising auditors should agree with him that such insults ought to be resisted. Thus the war arose, less from political considerations, than from the indignation of the sailors, merchants, and ship-owners.

The distinction which I would here make is of more consequence than you may be inclined at first sight to allow, for we are not in the habit of regarding the American Government with sufficient reference to the great influence which public opinion has on its movements. With us, the Acts of the Executive, both as to peace and war, often precede any expression of popular feeling, so much, it may be said, is the Government independent of the people. But it is not so in the United States, where the frequency of the elections in every department of the public service, renders the Executive in a much greater degree subject to the popular will. The measures of the Government are, in consequence, more immediately those of the nation ; and I suspect it is chiefly owing to the circumstance of not sufficiently consulting the spirit of the American people, that we stand remoter in their affections than we should otherwise do. If the forms of diplomacy would permit

• United States.

it, (and I can see no good reason why they should not,) the correspondence between the two Governments should be open and public; for that matter, it might be through the newspapers, with considerable advantage, I am persuaded, to our side, and without detriment to the Americans. With Republics, foreign nations should address themselves more to the citizens than to the rulers. Canning's celebrated letter on the colonial question was an admirable instance of the effect of this, and obtained for him on this side of the water a degree of popuJarity quite inconceivable to those who have not witnessed it; especially considering the subject, and that the author was decidedly hostile to the American pretension. But a truce with political disquisition.

My first visit to this city was under circumstances calculated to procure for me a satisfactory reception; but the nature of my business did not then allow me to partake of the ready hospitality with which I was received. I remained but one night, and set out for Albany in a steamboat next morning.

I had heard of the splendour with which the steam-boats on the Hudson are fitted up, and of the liberality of their tables, but I found the descriptions were somewhat too highly coloured. The style of the cabins is rather gaudy-indeed, a predilection for show may be fairly said to be one of the faults of American taste. It is not, however, universal; I have met with pleasing exceptions, and instances where both ladies and mansions were elegant without finery. Still I believe that every judicious American, especially in the State of New York, will allow that simplicity and neatness are not the prevalent characteristics of the productions of the upholsterer or of the dress-maker-perhaps were the workmanship of the former, or the materials of the latter superior, the excess of ornament would be less obtrusive. As they are, the effect tends to lessen that respect for the good sense of the owners and wearers to which shrewdness and beauty are always entitled.

This is the land of abundance, and the steam-boat tables groan with innumerable masses of all sorts of food, closely thrust together, with more consideration for the distribution of variety than for the architec. tural effect. The same defect of sentiment characterises the cookeryit is still primitive. It presumes, that every guest must be sincerely hungry, and that no appetite requires the coaxing of delicacy. “Sasses" long and short, sweet and sour, meaning thereby, vegetables, pickles, and preserves, abound; but no true “ sauce” hath yet been admitted into the union of the federal banquet. A steam-boat dinner is, indeed, a feast of fat things. It must have been a Yankee of Scottish origin, revisiting some of his kin, that first sang

“ This is no my ain house,

I ken by the bigging o't;
There's bread and cheese at my door cheeks

And pancakes the rigging o't.” It has been remarked, that the abundance which prevails here of the necessaries of life, has the effect of preventing the charitable feelings from being called into action to the same degree as in the old country. This notion is, I suspect, more plausible than just ; abundance should tend to open the hand, as I believe it does--and I cannot think the pressure of charitable claims, amidst the privations which have led to

« ElőzőTovább »