« ElőzőTovább »
The young knight was too sensible of his newly acquired dignity, to delay doing honour to his, illustrious patron. The festivals which were preparing at St. Denis, in honour of Louis II king of Sicily and cousin of Charles, offered him a brilliant opportunity. Tournaments were announced. The proudest of the nobility both French and foreign were admitted. Berenger repaired thither and attracted notice, no less by his youth and gracefulness than the simplicity of his armour.
His shield, without any coat of arms, bore a simple cipher composed of the letters A. and B. which were entwined with a branch of ash. The tournament was to commence after the service which the king had celebrated in honour of the grand constable.
Berenger placed himself in the church so as to hear the funeral oration of Bertrand Duguesclin, which was pronounced by the bishop of Auxerre. We may judge of his surprise and his pleasure, on perceiving Alice, the charming Alice, at the foot of the queen's throne, with her eyes fixed on his shield. Placing himself opposite to her, he raised his visor which he had kept half closed. Alice recognised him, and all that the human heart contains of tender emotion, was at once shown in her angelic form.
On the following day, Berenger, who had enrolled his name in the list of combatants, presented himself first at the place of the tournament, the most brilliant which had been seen for a century.
All the court was present, and by a chance which a lover alone can appreciate, Alice had been chosen by the queen to crown the victor. Who but Berenger could obtain such a reward!
Four times he entered the lists, and four times his triumph was proclaimed. The king wished to be acquainted with this brave youth, and was not less surprised than pleased to learn that this was the same troubadour who composed the Chant Royal.
Berenger came to receive from the hands of the trembling Alice, the scarf which was decreed him: in putting it on his neck, she whispered these words:
"In three days-at eight in the evening-at the fountain of ash trees."
The duke of Berri, who witnessed the triumphs of Berenger, could not hear without emotion a name, which recalled to his mind
an injury: his position near the king whose displeasure he had incurred, and the little favour he enjoyed in the public opinion, did not permit him to pursue his revenge openly; but he concealed not his plans from d'Amauri, lord of Beaume, one of the most powerful noblemen of the court, to whom the king had partly promised the hand of Alice.
How long these three days of delay appeared to Berenger! At last the third was closing; 'tis seven o'clock; the day fades; the lover advances, trembling with fear and hope, to the banks of the Oise, where every step awakens in his mind some delightful recollection.
He stops a moment beneath the walls of the abbey of Maubuisson, at a short distance from the castle of Neuville, to await there the precise moment of meeting. Eight o'clock sounded from the abbey clock; he runs, he darts through the thick underwood with which the foot of the hill is covered; he arrives at the fountain of ashes. He quenches his thirst in its waters, he kisses every tree where he finds his name carved by a dear hand;-he goes, returns, stops, he trembles at the least rustling of the leaves. Some one approaches; 'tis she. Berenger is at the feet of Alice.
Her emotion takes away her strength; she trembles; he supports her; he presses her in his arms.
What a moment in life, or rather what life in a moment! After some moments of silence, of which no language can express the charm-Alice, in few words, informs her lover of the misfortune which threatened them!
“My father,” she said, "to whom the king himself has made the demand, has promised my hand to the lord of Beaume; but he is yet ignorant of a secret, which will again give you all his affection,a secret which the prior on his death-bed has just revealed to my mother."
"Your merits have made you known to the king: I will acknowledge, if necessary, before him, the love which I have for you, and he will not condemn me to the pain of disobeying him, for I give you my word, Berenger, my life shall only be devoted to you or to God."
Such a promise, in the face of heaven, in a retreat which had been the mysterious witness of so many sighs and tears, between
two young lovers united from their infancy,—such a promise was without doubt half fulfilled. But I hasten to the catastrophe of this fatal history.
Some days after the interview in the grove, Berenger, at the entreaty of Alice, and with the consent of her father, to whom the confession of the prior had been made known, went to throw himself at the feet of the king, whom he interested so strongly by the representation of his misfortunes and his love, that the monarch gave his formal consent to the marriage of Alice and Berenger, and promised the latter an honourable situation near his person. Armed with this precious writing, Berenger fears to lose a moment; it was eleven o'clock at night, his impatience would not allow him to wait for day; he flies back to Alice.
Already he discovers the lantern which beams at the summit of the castle tower. As he passed the foot of the hill of ashes, several assassins, completely armed, sprung from the midst of the coppice, and pierced him with many mortal wounds.
To the cries of the unfortunate youth, the nearest sentinel answered by a shout of alarm which roused all the castle. They hasten to the spot; Alice whom a mournful presentiment warned of her misfortune, flies to the fountain; she finds there Berenger extended lifeless, and pressing with his lips the scarf which had rewarded his exploits in the tournament.
The unfortunate Alice did not abandon herself to vain grief. The day after this dreadful event, she retired to the abbey of Maubuisson; where she took the veil, and died in a few months.
Her last wish was regarded; her body was intered near that of Berenger, in the grove of the fountain of ashes, which was afterwards called the FOUNTAIN OF OVE.
ART. X.-Life of Hugh Williamson, M. D. L. L. D. Abridged from a Memoir, read by David Hosack before the New York Historical Society.
(With a Portrait.)
HUGH WILLIAMSON was a native of the state of Pennsylvania; he was born on the 5th day of December, 1735, in West Nottingham township, near Octorara river, which divides Chester from
Lancaster county. His parents were natives of Ireland, but their earlier ancestors, it is believed, came originally from Scotland.
His father, John Williamson, was an industrious tradesman, who had pursued his business, that of a clothier, in the city of Dublin. He came to America, and settled in Chester county, about the year 1730.
The mother of Dr. Williamson, Mary Davison, was a native of Derry; with her father, George Davison, she came to this country, when a child about three years of age: on their way to America they were captured and plundered on the coast, by Theach the noted pirate Blackbeard; upon being released they arrived in Philadelphia. She died about fifteen years since, having attained her 90th year. The parents of Dr. Williamson were married in the year 1731, shortly after his father's arrival in this country; and ten children, viz. six sons and four daughters, were the fruits of that connexion. Hugh was their eldest son.
His father, observing that Hugh was of a slender, delicate constitution, and that he was not likely to attain to that vigor which would enable him to support himself by manual labour, resolved to give him a liberal education. After having received the common preparatory instruction of a country school, near his father's house, he was sent at an early age to learn the languages at an academy established at New London, cross roads, under the direction of that very eminent scholar, the Rev. Francis Alison, justly entitled, from his talents, learning, and discipline, the Busby of the western hemisphere.
In the prosecution of his studies, while at school, he distinguished himself by his diligence, his love of order, and his correct, moral, and religious deportment; for, even at that early age, he had imbibed from his parents and instructors, a due sense of that "intimate connexion which subsists between letters and morality, between sensibility and taste, between an improved mind and a virtuous heart."* Accordingly, under the impulse of these first impressions, through life, he
Thus prepared under the care of his eminent teachers, he retired from the seminary of Dr. Alison, and, at his father's house, applied himself to the study of Euclid's Elements, of which, in a short time, he became master.
The father now proposed to send his son to Europe to finish his education that had been so successfully begun; but as a charter had been obtained for the academy in Philadelphia, about the time he was to have sailed, it was concluded that he should immediately proceed to that city. Accordingly, he entered in the first class in the college of Philadelphia, where he remained four years; and at the first commencement held in that college, on the 17th day of May, 1757, he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. It is an evidence of the talents, the industry, and of the success, with which Mr. Williamson prosecuted his collegiate studies, and of the high estimation in which he was held by the professors and trustees of the university, that during the time he passed at college, he was successively employed as a teacher, both in the Latin and English schools, connected with that institution. A little anterior to this period, his father and family had removed to Shippensburgh, Cumberland county. His father died in the same year that kis son received his first degree.
Hugh was appointed his sole executor, and, upon the event of his father's death, took up his residence with his mother at Shippensburgh, where he remained about two years, during which period he, in a great degree, devoted himself to the settlement of his father's estate, personally collecting the debts that were due to it, and which were very much scattered.
As has already been intimated, Mr. Williamson's mind was early impressed with a sense of religion.
During the period of his residence with his mother, he devoted all his time not occupied by the business of his father's estate, to the study of divinity, frequently visiting Dr. Samuel Finley, an eminent divine, who preached at East Nottingham township, and who then directed his pursuits. In 1759, Mr. Williamson went to Connecticut, where he still pursued his theological studies, and was licensed to preach the gospel. After his return from Connecticut, he was also admitted a member of the presbytery of Philadel