« ElőzőTovább »
impeached ere long as the author of the crime, had been conveyed to Philippa; but she was too high-minded to shrink from danger. “It may not be?” said she, at length; “my flight would but furnish proof to them : nor would I, to save my poor residue of life, do aught to countenance such slander.” “Wherefore not retire for a season till the storm be blown over ? Surely the counsel of Constanzo is sincere!” “I have no fears. I would the lords of the council, every one of them, might read the scroll! Come, sit by me, child of my care, —nay, wipe away those tears—and learn if I have cause to dread or repine at reverse, who have known it all my life as a bosom friend! Thine existence, Cara, has passed in the sunshine of a court; thou knowest when my summers were few as thine, I was a stranger to courts and the world. They call me fortunate who know of my sudden rise to wealth and rank from the humble lot of my nativity; their sympathy would weep for me, knew they that I left happiness behind in my lowly valley" Sancha looked up with a wondering gaze into the eyes of her companion. “I say truly. I was the daughter of poverty, yet in the years of childhood did I know my destiny a proud one—for a sybil foretold it me, and I dreamed but of future greatness. Often have I wandered till midnight on the seashore, watching the receding of distant sails, indulging in idle fantasies till my brain burned, and I would have wildly claimed from the winds and the waves the power to burst my spirit's thraldom . I panted for the world—the unknown world—which to my vision showed fair and golden, like clouds emibosomed on the distant sea. I panted for it —though quiet happiness could have been mine in obscurity, and the love of one who would have died for me! The day of my advancement came at last. I was elevated to splendor, to a high post at court; and left my native spot, my father's house, my rustic lover, my betrothed without one sigh of regret, or of remorse for broken faith ! My royal master and mistress loved me, and in proof of their esteem, gave me as a husband, one high in rank and honor, of ancient blood. On the day we were wedded, at a tourney which I attended with my mistress, Queen Violante, my attention was arrested by the antics of a jongleur, who amused the crowd by dancing and leaping to the sound of a viol, at the same time throwing oranges into the air, and catching them one by one. As I looked from the gallery, he suddenly turned and threw one into my lap. The outer rind was scored with the letters of my name;
within was the fragment of a chain of gold I
had shared in days past with my lover, as a pledge of constancy. He had died—died reprobating my falsehood for never, never would he have surrendered the token save with life! “How bitterly my heart smote me as 1 gazed on it! Sancha : that moment of self. reproach outweighed all the gratifications of rank and pomp ! It was the first time, amid my heedless ambition, I had felt the sting; thenceforth it poisoned all life's enjoyments. The thought of him on whose heart s had trampled in my first step to splendor, disenchanted mine eyes forever. I moved amidst . the gaze of wonder and envy, a being of blighted heart! Should my death be in shame and anguish, it cannot wipe away that uilt 1” “Yet faithful hast thou been, O Philippa, in every duty since —,” pleaded the soft low voice of her grand daughter. “I loved my royal foster child, and devoted life to him. Ever shunning the companionship of the court, soon the envy of familiars fixed on me the hateful charge of sorcery. Nay, my mistress herself incurred deep censure for my sake; for, well said Paschal— ‘We must always stoop when we raise people from the ground.” One lesson have seventy years of change and disappointment taught me, the lesson of resignation And now, though l have grown old in watching over the hope of Naples, I wait with patience the blast that may tear up this withered tree by the roots, and destroy its palace forever !” “God forbid " was the exclamation of Sancha, as the door of the apartment opened, and a page entering, commanded their attendance in the grand hall. Small and melancholy of late had been the circle in the queen's apartment; since the dreadful night at Aversa her gaiety was gone. Harrassed by continual anxiety, the more incessant as she was engrossed with the new cares of a mother; vexed by conflicting counsels, her frame attenuated by the wearing of a disturbed spirit; galled by the foul scandals to which she was too well aware her eyery action gave rise; she had yet determined, with the advice of a deputation from the nobility and the governors of the city, to take upon herself the government of the land. Her first act, after forming her council, was to take measures for the detection and punishment of the murderers of her husband. Edicts were affixed to the walls of her palace, and in all public places; and in presence of the assembled barons she signed a commission empowering Hugh De Baux, a noble of high honor and esteemed ability, to seek out and bring to justice all the guilty, “from hall and bower, from hearth and sanctuary, without respect of persons.”
Already had De Baux, in the exercise of his terrible office, seized many of the chamberlains of the court; the wretched victims were tortured in the palace of the Duke of Durazzo—under the very eye of that fierce prince; who can marvel if the testimony wrung from them was such as should be most gratifying to him, who labored to elevate himself by the destruction of his queen The incoherent disclosures of the sufferers were communicated to De Baux; and on that night the haughty Durazzo repaired to the presence of his mistress, secretly exulting in the growing success of his machinations.
Surrounded by the members of her household, and her most familiar friends, whom she had summoned at the demand of De Baux for admission in the prosecution of his office, the queen, on this evening, was wholly unsuspicious of the new and unexpected blow so soon to fall on her. Her robe of deep mourning, destitute of ornament, accorded with the sadness and the expression of care on her beautiful face—the first fruit of her ill-starred royalty She wore a black veil, that could be drawn at pleasure over her Countenance.
A deep silence prevailed through the circle at the entrance of the commissioner; every breath was hushed as he passed through the hall, and having paid his salutation to the sovereign, advanced, and with the customary form of accusation, arrested Philippa, and her grand daughter, the Countess of Murzano.
Amazement, terror, and at last irrepressible indignation, took possession of the queen. She had started to her feet at the first appalling announcement, and stood pale and motionless for a few seconds' space; then, the rich blood again mantling cheek and brow, she hastily advanced, “What is this, my lords?” she exclaimed, in accents of deep feeling and still deeper scorn; “we trow— this touches us too nearly Shame on thee, Sir Hugh " she continued, addressing the commissioner, while her eyes flashed displeasure, “we gave you power, as a true servant of the state, and one zealous for the honor of your sovereign, not as the weak churl who can be swayed by the lightest breath of calumny"
“Fairly and honorably, oh Queen, hath he quitted him of his trust 1” cried the deep hoarse voice of Durazzo; “I pledge my knightly sword in witness —”
“What would your grace?” interrupted Joanna, turning to the Duke, and speaking in tones of bitter irony. “We know your gentleness and courtesy, fair kinsman; aye, and your love to ourself! We should be bounden, sooth, for your vigilance—so far surpassing our own
Scene in the Life of Joanna of Sicily.
Yet pardon if we dis-"
pute your jurisdiction over the ladies of the bed chamber 1" “Your Majesty would not protect the guilty! ... You may not, if you would,” replied the Duke rudely. “Your commissioner holds, at this moment, the recorded confessions of six criminals, who have this day undergone the rack—accusing yonder dames as their accomplices. Surrender them, then, to the just doom that awaits them.”
“Never will I surrender them : Take rather mine own life! Base, base are ye, and inhuman, striving to fix a stain like this upon the fame of your mistress! Never—while the lips of Joanna can unclose to utter a command—while she has vassals ready to start at her bidding—aye, and to smite down tyranny and insolence—NEveR shall they be surrendered to you!”
We know not what the overbearing insolence of Durazzo might have prompted in reply, but the dispute was terminated by Philippa herself. Approaching with her wonted air of majesty, she kissed the hand of the Queen. “Let me depart, O gracious and beloved mistress " she said; “let me depart with your officer, to answer the foul charge before the tribunal. Believe me, it needs but encounter. Truth will—must triumph in the end.” Then turning to De Baux, “I go with you,” she said, “ of mine own free will !”
Durazzo was disconcerted at this ready submission where he expected resistance; he stepped back abashed; but the Queen gave way to the burst of grief, and flinging her arms round her aged nurse, wept so long and bitterly, that the sternest in the circle was moved at the sight of such anguish in one so young and lovely. . There was a general movement; some cried shame upon Durazzo; some ranged themselves round her, as if to shield Joanna from her kinsman. Thrice, silently invoking a blessing, did the old Countess bend over the fair head that lay on her bosom; clasping Joanna in a last embrace, she turned to follow the guard. “Not so!" cried the Queen, yet struggling with emotion; “you shall not go hence in shame, as if already condemned: Nay, in this I will be heard | Let the examination proceed; in the face of all Naples will I proclaim your innocence s” “Alas!” was the reply, “it would but brand with rebuke unmerited a nobler and a holier head than mine ! I will meet the peril; a brief prison will be no hardship even to these aged limbs, if truth prevail through me ! Sancha, my beloved! it is a sorer trial for youth like thine; but our cause is a religious one!” The party moved towards the door; Joanna No. 3.
The Earthquake–To make Home Happy. 73
sprang forward as they stirred, and grasped Durazzo's arm imploringly. “It is in your hands, oh spare an aged and faithful servant! Promise me, her restraint shall be brief—it is but to satisfy the people!” “Madam; it is not I who am judge in this matter,” returned the Duke, assuming, however in his tone and manner, all the authority his words disclaimed. “For your sake” —and the insulting emphasis brought the indignant blood like lightning to the Queen's cheek—“we will hope her acquittal " To save even the life of her only friend, Joanna could not have uttered one word more. The implied imputation was already known to her through the warnings of the deputation of lords, who had judged it fitting to inform her of the slander in circulation. Had she obeyed the impulse of her indignation, it would have been repelled with scorn; but her instinctive delicacy taught her it was unbecoming that a queen should condescend to protect her innocent of a crime so horrible. The exhibition even of a consciousness of being suspected would have degraded her in the eyes of her subjects; and though her bosom burned with just anger, which prompted her to the punishment of the bold traitors who had dared to breathe a calumny against her fame, she silently endured the revolting suspicion, shielded by no bulwark save innocence, from the shafts of malice. Her sole resource was to conform to the sad destiny of kings—which forbids them to trustin any : To be continued.
Aye, prince and peasant knelt in prayer, For grief had made them equal there.
Again!—as at the morn,
Up rose the kneelers then,
One long, wild shriek went up,
On swept the whelming sea—
The morning sun shed forth
Where tower and palace strewed the earth
But of the thousands who were gone,
No trace was left—no vestige shown. 4th mo. 1838. W.
TO MA KIE HOME HAPPY.
Nature is industrious in adorning her dominions; and man, to whom this beauty is addressed, should feel and obey the lesson:Let him too be industrious in adorning his domain—making his home, the dwelling of his wife and children, not only convenient and comfortable, but pleasant. Let him, as far as circumstances will permit, be industrious in surrounding it with pleasant objects— in decorating it, within and without, with things that tend to make it agreeable and attractive. Let industry make home the abode of neatness and order—a place which brings satisfaction to every inmate, and which in absence draws back the heart by the fond associations of comfort and content. Let this be done, and this sacred spot will become more surely the scene of cheerfulness and peace. Ye parents who would have your children happy, be industrious to bring them up in the midst of a pleasant, a cheerful, a happy home. Waste not your time in accumulating wealth for them; but plant in their minds and souls, in the way proposed, the seeds of virtue and prosperity.
This is the interesting title of an article in the Ladies' Companion. It is from the pen of Mrs. Ann S. Stevens, the talented and accomplished editress of that neat Magazine.— Having derived so much real pleasure from reading the article named above, which, for clearness, beauty, strength, and feeling, is not surpassed by any thing of the kind we have ever seen, we feel greatly indisposed to pass it by without taking from it some striking and eloquent passages; and giving them a further circulation. Mrs. Stevens has written on this subject as one only could write who has thought much upon it, and who has identified herself perfected with both the mother and the child. She has gone back, in imagination, to the time when first impressions were made upon her mind, and, by the power of genius, that glorious gift, has been enabled to note the first dawning of thought, to analyse its nature, and to trace its gradual development to maturity. Step by step, has she followed the young mind with a steady eye, in its advance to strength and character, she has noted its errors, and from their perception has drawn her arguments, and enforced upon the mother the deep obligation she is under to give all diligence to her off. spring. To guard well the precious gem contained in the beautiful casket, that its brightness be not dimmed. We have said that she has drawn her arguments—we should have said her inferences, and these from principles which are not so particularly stated, but which from their nature are palpable to the mind. The article opens with the following heart-stirring picture. What mother can read it without a thrill of pleasure? . “Young mother, I have been watching you, seated there, so full of happiness, with your first-born infant sleeping on your lap. What a new and delightful world of feeling is open to you ! Were you, until now, aware of the strong and delicious sensations, swelling up their sweetness in your heart? Do you not feel ennobled, exalted Is there not a dignity in your feelings, a respectability in your station, that you never dreamed of before? I know there is. Often in the stillness of the night, are you awakened from pleasant dreams by the touch of that little hand, by a murmur of that baby voice. Your heart swells with the overflowing of your tenderness, and happiness is stirring within you like a pulse, as you whisper words of endearment over the unconscious infant, and thank God that you are a mother. When the eyes of that loved one, the partner of your treasure, is upon you, how your proud heart exults with the thought, that God has entrusted to you a gem from his
Mothers and Daughters.
now, in the spring time of life, revelling for
the first time, in the fresh and delicious feelings of maternity. “From so pleasing a dream of passive happiness, into active and earnest duties, it is the design of the writer to awaken the fond, young mother. And she accordingly disturbs gently her visions of delight. “In your dreams of the future, your imagination is busy weaving the golden web of hope around that little one, and perhaps forming vague and unfinished anticipations, which, if realized, would be calling down ruin on the child you would bless. It is almost cruel to disturb your happiness; but how would the proud and ambitious feelings be chastened if you thought ! Now you are all feeling, full of warm, undigested wishes: You feel that . you are happy, scarcely knowing why, and without reflecting upon the awful responsibility a just and wise God has sent with that beautiful daughter now waking and smiling in your face.” After charging the mother to look well to the character of her infant daughter-beautiful allusion to the dangerous gift of genius which she may desire more than to mark every shade and graduation of its mental developments, and to be ever on the watch that its young heart be not sullied with vain thoughts, or agitated by wrong desires—she remarks:— “It might have been that you were thinking of a higher, brighter, more divine endowment, than that of genius. You have folded the child to your bosom, looking forward to the time when she, by the force of a powerful intellect, may render your family honorable or your name immortal. The very thought has kindled a brightness in your eye, which the name of beauty failed to light. It is a great and glorious endowment, the brightest from heaven's treasure-house,_that you would ask for your child. But stay —are you prepared to sacrifice the peace of your offspring on the altar of your ambition? How little—how very little—can you, who have rested always in the bosom of domestic quiet, know of the evils entailed upon the female possessing brilliant intellectual qualities — True—the flowers of admiration cluster in the pathway of her destiny; but among them are the thorns of criticism, and under their shadow the serpent of envy coils itself, ready to dart out with its venomous sting. Fame now and then scatters a laurel leafather feet, while away in the distance she holds the green wreath for which her votary must struggle, upwards and upwards, till it fades away like the foam of the ocean, or circles
her brow with its multitude of hidden thorns. [.
The flame of genius kindled in a female heart may illuminate a universe, while it consumes its own throbbing resting-place. It is a fire too bright for the delicate nerves and tender heart of a woman to cherish, unscathed in her happiness. True it is, that she who is possessed of that fearful gift, which so many covet, yet which never brings quiet, must live in a charmed circle, into which friendship and the tender endearments of life seldom come, and where she droops or pants away her life, a brilliant sacrifice. While hundreds may be doing homage to the force of her genius, she may be looking in vain for one kind heart to enfold her as a fellow-being, or be shedding tears of gratitude at a word of remembered kindness, a look of real affection. If wealth be added to intellectual endowment, the possessor may have more hopes of tranquillity. But these hopes lie in her power— to smother the growing spark—to bury her talent, and unsuspected to assimilate with those about her. But if the necessities of publicity come upon her—if she, from any circumstance, be one thrust into the public arena of life—her powers of retreat are gone; she belongs to the public and becomes a subject of so. curiosity. Even when her soul would shrink from observation, its pulsations are counted by the common multitude —her looks, words, and most trifling actions become matters of comment—her right of free action is gone—she lives in perpetual restraint. One by one her social habits die away, and she is left alone, alone in her “charmed circle,” coining her brain, atom by atom, and draining her heart, drop by drop; while the affections of her nature are thrown back upon the heart to crush it, even as the young tree is broken by the weight of its own fruitage. Happy is she if some few can understand and appreciate her—and some may; but as a lonely authoress has said, ‘the power to appreciate genius, is a rare talent in itself.” “Young mother, ask not uncommon genius for your child. It is a fearful and dangerous boon, one not to be sought for lightly. But should God see fit to sacrifice the happiness of one to the gratification of many, and endow your child as you but now wished, then is it for you to strengthen the body and prepare the mind for its glorious inmate. Begin to chasten the exuberance of feeling, or the flight of a too glowing fancy. Let her indulge but sparingly in books of imagination; and teach her the art of concentrating her powers on one subject till she has mastered it, lest, by a versatile and promiscuous reading, she uselessly fritter away on a thousand objects the strength of intellect which should be brought to bear on one.
“Discipline the mind day by day, feed the growing appetite with wholesome knowledge —open to her mind the great and glorious sciences teeming in the bosom of nature.— Let her investigate, compare, and analyze. Teach her to go back to former ages; to understand the foundation, support, and downfall of nations; to trace the progress of histo— ry, to connect causes with effects, and to match acts with motives. This will prepare her for the encounter that is before her; will give her subject for thought when her soul is thrown back upon itself, and will strengthen her for the vicissitudes of a changeful and an excited life. Gradually strip the world's artificial gloss, lest she, in her vivid and youthful imagination, picture it too beautiful, and have her feeling soured by a sudden rending of the veil. Above all, early implant strong moral principles and correct religious sentiments in her heart. All will not be too much for the trials she will be called upon to endure.”
In reading these earnest admonitions how many will be convicted of fatal neglect, in guarding well and directing the minds of their offspring in whom were discovered the dangerous gift of genius. How many who read these extracts have seen the utter prostration of all their hopes, consequent upon a neglect to guide with careful hand the strong impulse of a wayward child, in whom was early seen the outgleaming of a brilliant intellect. Let those who have now no regrets, we might say agonies of heart on this subject, resolve that they never will have any. It is alone for the mother to determine whether her child shall be happy or miserable. In her hands rests its fate for good or for evil.— If she be faithful to her high calling, her child will grow up beloved, respected, admired, useful; but if she forget her duty, and suffer weeds of rank and deadly growth to spring up in the mind of her child, bitterness and sorrow will be her portion and that of her child in after life, and she will have cause to wish that her daughter had never been born. In concluding our extracts from this admirable article, we select a few of its closing passages, and ask for them the earnest attention of those most deeply interested in the subject.
“Young mother, let me advise you. Ask nothing for your daughter; trust her destiny with Him who regulates the destinies of all. He knows best what will contribute to her good, as an individual connected with the living multitude of his creation, and doubt not that he will endow her according to his wisdom. Yet though you may not, with your limited capacities, and your ignorance of the future, presume to dictate what the fortune
or capacities of your daughter shall be, you.