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another from such a distance. For some hours, then, even under the most favourable circumstances, it was evident that no exertion on my part could enable me to overcome the obstacles which separated me from my beloved; and exhausted with anxiety, fatigue, and cold, and hunger, I was prevailed upon by some friends who had now joined me, to retire to a neighbouring tavern for refreshment. Night was now closing in, but it was in the unclouded beauty of a rising moon, and the clear atmosphere of a returning frost, so that I was cheered with the hope, on my part, and certainty on that of others, that, ere nine o'clock, the passage to the foot of the Saltmarket would be practicable. Some of my companions even asserted that that street would be almost as soon drained as the bowl in whose brimming contents they pledged my mistress, and the wish, at the same time, that I might never suffer so much from drought as I had done from moisture. Though anxious, I became almost cheerful, but was again at my post by the time of high water. And there to and fro did I pace, marking and measuring the recession of the slimy flood, whose retreat had now obviously, though slowly, begun. At eight o'clock, I conceived it practicable to reach the entrance to Mr. Oswald's dwelling, by driving a cart through the water. When the owner of it, however, found that it sunk beneath the trams, he refused to proceed. Another hour of feverish watchfulness was mine, and another attempt, although nearer successbecause coming closer to the mark-yet did not reach it. At length, just as the first chimes of the ten o'clock bells were inducing the few uninterested stragglers who lingered upon the spot to turn homewards, a loud cry was heard to proceed from the lower part of the street, near to which we could now advance. Lights were seen at many windows; casements were hurriedly opened; and in the tenement for whose security alone I cared, a singular bustle and confusion was observed. Suddenly there ran
along the line of gazers that defined the dry street and the water, the broken whisper, whence communicated I have never learned, that the foundations of the houses farthest down had been sapped and were giving way. The flags of the pavement, it was said, were starting up upon their ends, and the screams were occasioned by the inmates observing fearful rents in the walls of the buildings, from the lower flats of which the water was now hastening with rapid and destructive suction, I saw nothing of this, for I waited not to look. It was enough that I had heard. Throwing myself into a cart, I seized the halter of the horse, and, hardly waiting for the driver, forced it onwards through the still deep, though receding flood. The water was over the flooring of the car before it reached the gateway leading to Isabella's dwelling; and was up to my breast as at one bound I leaped over the wheels, regardless of the snorting capers of the affrighted horse. In one minute I was under the archway, and in utter darkness; but I half stepped half floated onwards towards where I guessed was the entrance to the stair. In a moment I was over the eyes—plunged into a hole occasioned by the breaking up of the pavement-but in another, dripping at every lock, I had struggled, I hardly knew how, but instinctively, to the turnpike, and was above the water-mark on its steps. A second showed me a frightful rent in the wall of the stair; and almost with but one bound, I was by the side of Isabella. Less alarmed than I, she was, however, like all the inmates of the land, greatly terrified, and anxiously waiting the assistance for which her father was by this time making signals at the window. A word served to explain that the means of succour and escape were near at hand, in the cart I had ordered to wait my return. The old man was grateful-my beloved silently but fondly submitted to be lifted up in my arms; and, followed by the servants with papers and other valuables, I proceeded down to the still half-choked up archway. As we proceeded, a loud crack from the timbers of the building, and a visible widening of the rent before noticed, together with the fall of masses of plaster from the roof, increased their terror, and quickened our speed. Bearing aloft my precious charge, and exclaiming that I should lead the way, I plunged into the water, which now reached no higher than my middle. Taking care to avoid that side where I had stumbled as I entered, I cautiously advanced, pressing my dear burthen to my breast with one arm, while the other served to pilot me along the walls with I still remember~-unhurrying care. The father and domestics hesitated to follow, and the lights they held in their hands threw a dazzling glare upon the dismal waters as I turned round to inquire the cause of their delay, and encourage their advance. In one instant of time I was plunged into a dark and narrow gulf, which had yawned open for my destruction as I advanced. I felt myself sink in a moment, and graze against the sides of the chasm as I descended; and she was with me-clinging to me-locked in my arms! One dreadful scream from her -a gurgling groan from myself—and the feeling of intense pain in my temples for a moment—is all that I remember of this dreadful hour. Dim recollections I have, indeed, of flaming torches-coils of ropes and ironspiked drags-bleeding temples, and draughts forced down my throat-oaths exclamations-wailings and tears; but these I dare not think upon--for I was mad, they tell me, for a time, when, weeks after, I inquired where I stood-and for my Isabella. I then learned that it was presumed she-more severely bruised than even I had been, in the descent to the cellar beneath the gateway, whose arch had fallen in-had sunk with me, while her body had not instantaneously risen to the surface of the horrid gap, as had mine, and had perished-half stricken and half drowned—beneath this low-browed vault, and amid these slimy waters! Her father died broken-hearted. It has been my award to live so. Lunatics are mad when the
moon is at the full; I am only so when again the hateful waves of the spate are in the streets of the city, and, it may be, sapping more foundations--and drowning more earthly hopes of happiness and Isabellas. It is but then only that I can speak of her name, or tell her fearful and untimely fate.
AFFECTING CIRCUMSTANCE. BETWEEN William Kelly, a well-doing tradesman, and Helen Henderson, a respectable servant, a tender attachment had subsisted for years. Both resided in the parish of Urr, and, little anticipating the calamity that followed, they, with joyous hearts, fixed their wedding-day for Friday-week, the 10th current. A number of mutual friends were invited, and the ceremony was to be performed at Meikle Dalbeattie, the residence of the family with whom the bride lived, and who were desirous of paying her every attention. On Thursday preceding, she became suddenly indisposed, and, on someone asking her to lie down a little, touchingly replied, “ Yes, but it must be in a soft place, for, oh! I feel as if I would never rise again.” In the course of the day she became worse, and a doctor having been sent for, he declared the complaint to be of a serious nature, and indicated, from the first, his fears as to the issue. Next morning the wedding-party began to assemble; the worthy clergyman also arrived; and, then, alas! the house of joy was unexpectedly turned into the house of mourning. The unhappy bride, whose sands of life were well nigh run, was humanely made aware of her situation; the heart-broken bridegroom was also warned that death was in the cup; and, amidst the tears and sobs of all present, they were mutually interrogated whether, under such an awful dispensation of Providence, the proposed ceremony should proceed or be delayed. A question so trying, was, perhaps, never put under similar circumstances, and after communing with their own hearts, the bride expressed a wish to close her eyes as an affectionate wife, the bridegroom to discharge the duty of a sorrowing widower, by laying the head of his betrothed in the grave. This resolution added not a little to the agony of the scene; the mournful party approached the couch of the dying woman, the Divine favour was most pathetically invoked, amidst many interruptions from hearts that seemed ready to burst from the bosoms they agitated; the bridegroom grasped the burning hand that was languidly extended in token of assent; the worthy clergyman pronounced a blessing, and in faltering accents made those one whom in less than twelve hours death had severed and sundered for ever. We cannot dwell on what followed. The eyes that affection had for a moment lightened, gradually waxed glazed and dim, the bridal bed became the couch of death; and she, who but a day or two before had been rejoicing in the prospect of conjugal felicity, was stretched a lifeless but lovely corpse, before many of the wedding party had resolution to tear themselves from a scene so distressing.-Dumfries Courier, June, 1825.
BY JOHN HOLLAND,