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“It was only after the hurried excitement had ceased that the dreadful and soul-appalling horrors of the atrocious act sunk with a cold and deadly chill into my heart. Then it was that my guilty mind became overwhelmed with terrors unutterable. Nightlythose dreadful nights !-nightly in my dreams I saw the wretched victim, pale and bloody, at my bedside, upbraiding me with my
infernal deed. Such visions were frequently followed by fits of par. tial insanity,-if I may so term them; in one of which my gentle wife learnt my dreadful secret. Its horrors soon overwhelmed her ; and in less than a month the tomb had closed upon her seared and blighted heart.
"Although I lived in a thousand daily terrors, suspicion had never for a moment been directed towards me. Though I had, as it were, bartered
my soul for one cursed deed, still I had never touched a shilling of the plundered gold. The fact that most maddened me is to come. Saunderson had scarcely been buried a fortnight, and my wife on the point of death, when news came to say an uncle in the East Indies had died, and left me a handsome fortune. Oh, how I cursed it in my heart !-and, wretch that I was! I rashly accused Providence of betraying me into the commission of the most revolting crime.
“Glad of a pretext to leave Scotland, and disdaining the now proffered smiles of menial parasites, I departed with my two children. The curse of the Almighty seemed to pursue me; my
children within a few months of each other died: I was left alone-a branchless and scathed trunk upon the world's waste! What language can do justice to my horrors and remorse! Time, instead of alleviating, seemed only to strengthen the gloomy and harrowing feeling that I was peculiarly marked out as an object of Divine wrath in this world, and that more dreaded world to come. I sought to appease the Divine anger by works that, emanating from other hands, might have been considered virtuous. But it seemed fated that I should never cease to feel bitterly the curse of an accusing spirit.
"I have nearly done,” pursued the dying man, his sudden ex citement yielding to the feelings of exhausted nature,—“I have left the remnant of my property to be applied to certain purposes* which you will find specified in that paper,” and he pointed to a packet lying on the table.
His voice, during the latter part of his confession, had sunk into a low, half-articulate whisper, that intimated a state of complete exhaustion. His senses were yielding to the influence of delirium. Placing his gaunt and bony hands across his forehead, he began rambling for several minutes in an unconnected strain, that was painful to hear.
As I perceived that his late excitement had indeed in a great measure caused this imbecile state, I immediately administered an opiate draught, which shortly had the effect of throwing my patient into a quiet and undisturbed slumber. This induced me to seek a temporary rest in the easy arm-chair I occupied. I was soon in a kind of restless and uneasy doze.
* To be invested in certain charitable institutions. A trust that was scrupulously fulfilled by the late esteemed writer of this paper.-Ep.
When I awoke, the first cold light of another day was stealing through the curtained window, giving a sickly hue to the tall flame of the unsnuffed taper on the table. I listened eagerly, but in vain, to catch the respiration of my patient. All was still, save the monotonous ticking of the house clock.
With a dread of the worst I hastily drew aside a part of the curtain of the bed. To my surprise and horror I beheld my patient kneeling up in bed, his bony hands clasped together, and his head thrown back, while the glassy eyes seemed directed upwards. But there was neither movement nor pulse in the frame before me! the penitent and sorrow-stricken wanderer had breathed his last sigh in prayer to the Almighty !
H. J. M.
JUDGING BY APPEARANCES.
MISTAKES IN A DRAWING-ROOM.
I have always entertained a good opinion of myself, at least upon one point; but, unfortunately upon this point, none of my friends would ever agree with me,- I have always flattered myself that I was a man of nice discernment, and that my forte lay in a felicitous deduction from appearances, which, however slight or few, would enable me to penetrate character, dive into plans, and prophesy consequences. I have studied Lavater and phrenology, and have by heart those malevolent authors, who lay down that man is by nature a mean rogue, and who teach how to see through his hypocrisy. Let the sequel testify whether I have been too arrogant with respect to my own abilities.
I was at the splendid party of my friend, Sir George Railtravers, - for, though small, and termed a family party, it was given with a magnificence
that bordered upon ostentation. The reasons were obvious. Sir George's affairs were going down hill with a steamengine velocity; whilst his sons and daughters were growing up in geometrical proportion,-for every season witnessed the debut of à son, or the introduction into fashionable life of a daughter. A man of rank and fashion in ruined circumstances, aud with a nume. rous family, must keep up appearances. His extravagance concerns only his creditors, and cannot make him worse ; whilst appearances are his only chance of saving his family by advantageously settling them in life. The party, moreover, like many other parties that make a figure in history, was got up for an object, which, in the eyes of the persons concerned, would justify any means for attaining the end.
In fact, the entertainment was a scheme of Lady Railtravers to secure to her daughter the hand of Sir Larry Balooney, whose father, Sir Perkins Balooney, had transferred an immense capital from Lon. don to an estate in Yorkshire, and who dying soon after the transfer was made, had left his son-in his twenty-first year-the joyful successor to his property. Miss Matilda Railtravers was un peu passée. She had been the star of fashion for some years ; had moved in the highest circles at Brussels, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Florence,
and Naples; her mother now thought that she was standing in the way of her younger sisters, and that she might by good management have a chance of captivating Sir Larry, the son of a broker desirous of a fashionable connection. Sir Larry, with his tall, lanky person, his large round face, full cheeks, and vacant eyes, was the admired of all beholders. But in vain did Miss Railtravers exert her fascinations upon Sir Larry. She was everything by starts, and nothing long. She varied from the skittish to the matronly, from the lively to the innocent, and even descended to the childish. She was by turns prudent, gay, fashionable, domestic, fond, and coquettish. Had Sir Larry's heart been of bell-metal he could not have been more insensible. Throughout the scene his broad, tawny face, was directed to the other extremity of the room, towards which his large lack-lustre eyes seemed to be spell-bound.
And, what was there at the other end of the room that coul entrance this unfortunate youth? In a recess, upon a couch shaded by drapery, sat the juvenile sylph, Rosa Railtravers. Poor Rosa's face was pale, full of anxiety, pensive, and melancholy. She was too young to conceal the sympathy between the heart and countenance; too pure to practise disguise. Here was the very personification of one who never told her love, and let concealment prey on the damask cheek ;" yet the damask cheek told the story more powerfully to the heart than could ever love-letter to the eye, or parental negotiation to the ear.
The cause of Rosa's melancholy was fathomable to a man of my penetration ; for, in the opposite recess, on a couch shadowed by similar drapery, was Mr. Doveways, who gazed on Rosa, looking unutterable tenderness, while he seemed to blush and tremble at his temerity in gazing. Lady Railtravers was sensible of Rosa's exquisite beauty. She counted upon her as the retrieve point of the family fortunes, and predicted that when brought out next season she would immeasurably outstrip all rivalry. Her determination was that Rosa should marry a man of first-rate rank and fortune. Now Mr. Doveways was not a man of title; but, as his uncle, though married, was childless at sixty-seven, he was heir-presumptive to an earldom ; and, though as yet a minor, he was within four months of being of age, when he would come into the possession of one of the finest estates in England, with the immense accumulations of a long minority. Oxford and London boasted of him as a well-governed youth,- for though spirited and fashionable, he had always been discreet, and had kept himself within the bounds prescribed to him by his guardians and the Court of Chancery. No stripling of aristocracy could be better adapted to Lady Railtravers' ambition, or to Sir George Railtravers' dilapidated affairs, or more calculated by nature to win the heart of the delicate Rosa. Mr. Doveways was rather tall, finely formed, of elegant manners, and with a face intelligent and handsome, though somewhat effeminate ; whilst a tone of sentiment in all he spoke was in unison with all he looked and acted. “And this,” said I," is to be the husband of the beautiful Rosa ? The affection is clearly mutual, and may heaven prosper the unison of their young and ardent loves!”
Rosa was the most perfect of human beings, and I had a strong influence over her, from a friendship of thirty years' standing with her father, and from my intimate acquaintance with her sweetness
of temper, her affectionate, ingenuous, and playful disposition. Rarely had Nature blended in one person so many admirable qualities. She was only in the beginning of girlhood, with every promise of a perfect maturity:
“And, Rosa," said I, after prefaces artfully contrived to lull sus. picion, and to draw from a girl the secret of her love,—“who, dear Iittle Rosa, is the best dancer in the room ?"
“You surely must know that,” said Rosa.
“My dear little Rosa, no man on earth is more ignorant of such subjects. At the Opera, when I hear one dancer spoken of with ecstasy, and another with equally fervent dislike, I look at both, and can discover no difference."
“But here,” said Rosa, “ the difference is so plain ;” and poor lit. tle Rosa spoke with an approach to a sigh, that showed that her heart trembled on her tongue.
“And who, Rosa, is the best dancer? for I am still in ignorance."
“Captain Bruen, to be sure ; is is impossible not to perceive that," said she, with an energy I had never before witnessed in her.
I cast my eyes on Captain Bruen, who was then going through a quadrille.
Never was there a finer specimen of the militaire. Captain Bruen was the beau idéal of a soldier. He was six feet two without his shoes; but, though his shoulders and limbs were the most admirable I had ever witnessed for a charge against Napoleon's cuirassiers, they were but little adapted to a drawing-room, still less to a quadrille. He beat the ground with stamps so furious that a modern floor might have quaked under his exertions, and seemed as if inspired by reminiscences of riding rough-shod over the enemy.
Rosa, thought I, is not quite so innocent as I imagined. She is slyly directing my attention from her Mr. Doveways; but it would be odd if a man of my penetration were not a match for a girl of seventeen.
After a little chat, artfully managed on my part, I said, “ Dear Rosa, I would be your lover, but for two causes.
“ What causes ?" said the sensitive and tremulous Rosa. “I am too old, and too poor.”
“ The last is no objection to a generous heart or disinterested mind.”
“Ah, Rosa, but your silence on the first point is the most cruel of expressions. My poverty, as I get older, I shall get rid of by the death of my relations; but my former sin must grow with my growth, and strengthen with my years. But come, tell me, Rosa, who is the finest and handsomest man in the room ?”
“ The finest and handsomest man,” said the simple unsuspecting girl, "is unquestionably Captain Bruen."
“If immense stature, and a robust frame,-if powerful limbs constitute the finest man, Captain Bruen is unquestionably-”
“ But he is so handsome!” said Rosa.
I looked at Captain Bruen, and, as far as a profusion of coal-black curls over his forehead—as far as immense whiskers, huge tufts of hair under his chin, and over his eyes and upper lip, would allow one to get a peep at his face, I was enabled to come to a conclusion that nature, in so handsomely endowing his person, had balanced the account in the formation of his face. He was a hard-featured man,
and his countenance advertised that he had seen much service in climates not favourable to beauty. Captain Bruen was dancing vigorously with a fat lady of forty, who scarcely reached his hip; and whilst the lady's sympathy of exertion made her fat cheeks of the colour of an autumnal gooseberry, the stalwart Captain's face was as dry as parchment.
“But who is the most elegant man ?" said I to the lovely rose-bud Rosa, determined to discover the secret. Rosa coloured, seemed distressed, and made no reply. “Mr. Doveways, Rosa ?” said I archly. " Pshaw !” said the lovely girl, with almost rudeness.
Oh, oh,” said I to myself; “is the girlish simple Rosa already so cunning ?" The quadrille had ended, and another was to be arranged. Rosa, will
you dance ?" I asked, with a determination to procure Mr. Doveways for her partner. “ No-yes
I don't know, I can't say now---perhaps I may-not this dance; perhaps I may the next," said little Rosa, her cheeks changing colour, and her beautiful eyes and lips varying in expression at every no and yes
“ But beautiful little Rosa, the no or yes depends on the partner, and I can”
“Oh, I will dance," said Rosa, in a voice too tremulous to be understood; but her emotion spoke her meaning.
· Rosa, you must positively dance," said Lady Railtravers, as I left Rosa to procure for her the partner of her choice, and the future partner of her life.
“My dear mamma, pray leave me alone ; I don't think I can dance the next two. I am not well.” And Rosa looked at me as if her whole soul depended on my success.
“ You will dance, of course,” said Sir George to Lady Macedonia Grizzle, who had been eyeing the juvenile dandy Doveways with as much passion as he had been exhibiting towards the lovely Rosa. Lady Macedonia, you will of course dance ?"
Faith, I dinna ken ; but sence you are so very poleete, I have na muckle objiction to dance the twa next kadreeles.”
“ You will dance ?” said I to Mr. Doveways, and Mr. Doveways' cheeks coloured like fire.
“ Yes,” said Mr. Doveways, his eyes beaming with delight at Rosa.
All might have been happy,-Rosa might have danced with Mr. Doveways,—but Lady Macedonia marred all my arrangements. The high stalwart figure of this lady of fifty, her broad shoulders and projecting wing.like shoulder blades, with hands, ankles, elbows, and cheek.bones to match, did credit to the aboriginal breed of her native mountains.
“Faith, and I will dance the twa," said Lady Macedonia.
Never was man so put to a non plus. When Sir George asked Lady Macedonia, he had conceived that it was as absurd as asking the Monument to dance. But here was a dilemma ; a partner must be found ; and Lady Macedonia soon cut the gordian knot. Taking Sir George by the hand, and leading him as a victim up to Mr. Doveways, adroitly giving to the company the appearance that she was the lady introduced, she addressed poor Doveways, and said,