Графични страници
PDF файл

the tears and lamentations of all the women, and even the men of the surrounding country. The chamberlain and footman, hearing of the catastrophe, made their escape. The Bishop, desirous of showing every honor to her remains, as she could not be buried in consecrated ground, had a sepulchre of bronze made for her near the place, on which a marble pillar was raised, inscribed with the fatal story. This hallowed memorial still exists on the banks of the river, and is often visited by the peasantry, who relate with unaffected sorrow the melancholy tale.

AFFECTING MURDER IN THE ISLAND OF GUERNSEY. The following story, on which the Tragedy of “ Julia” was founded, was related by the clergyman of the place where the facts happened.

About the year 1726, John Andrew Gordier, a gentleman of French extraction, and of considerable fortune, in the island of Jersey, was upon the point of marrying the daughter of a wealthy merchant of Guernsey: but, on a sudden, he was lost to his friends and relations, as well as to the lady who was to have been his bride; and, notwithstanding the most diligent inquiry in both islands, with every possible search that could be made, not the least intelligence could be obtained, either of his death or his retreat.

It happened, however, that, after a time, when all discourse concerning him had subsided, his body was accidentally found in Guernsey, by some boys, in traversing the beach, with two wounds on the back, and one on the head, thrust into the cavity of a rock, whose mouth was so small, that it must have been with considerable difficulty, that the body could be made to enter it.

This discovery, with those evident proofs of murder, alarmed the two families; the former inquiries were in vain renewed; not the least light, either to countenance suspicion, or to ground conjecture, could be gathered, to trace out the murderer; and all that could be done, was, to pay the last duties to the remains of the unfortunate youth, by solemnizing his funeral with all the marks of unaffected sorrow.

The mother of the young gentleman remained inconsolable ; and the lady, to whom he was to have been wedded, pined in secret for the loss of the only man in the world whom she could love. She was, indeed, courted by a young merchant; but though she was, in a manner, constrained by her parents to admit his addresses, she was inwardly resolved never to give him her hand.

The mother of Gordier, who never ceased to ruminate on the catastrophe which had befallen her son, was not a little solicitous for the welfare of the young lady, whom she looked upon as her daughter-in-law, and whom she regarded with the greater tenderness, as she heard how severely she was affected by the sudden disappearance of her intended husband.

Some years afterwards, being told that the young lady's life was in danger, she resolved to cross the sea that divides the islands, in order to afford her every consolation in her power, by condoling with her, sharing her griefs, and thereby endeavouring to alleviate the sorrows of her heart. As attendants in her voyage, Mrs. Gordier took with her a beloved brother and an only surviving son. When they arrived, they were advised by the apothecary, who attended the young lady, not to surprise her by an unlooked-for visit, till she was prepared by degrees to receive it; but, notwithstanding all the care that could be taken, the sight of the mother brought to her mind the full remembrance of the son, and the shock was too great for her weak spirits to

bearshe fainted on the first approach of Mrs. Gordier, and it was with difficulty that she was brought to herself

. The mother was curious to know every little circumstance that attended the last interview of the young lovers, and of all that had passed since the discovery of the murder of her son ; and the young lady was no less anxious to prolong the conversation, but her fits returned at almost every period, and she could only say how tenderly they parted, and with what ardency she expected his promised return the next day. It was no small concern to the afflicted mother, to see the poor lady in this weak state, dying, as she plainly perceived she was, of a broken heart; and the company present could not forbear vehement execrations against the author of this double distress.

Mrs. Gordier, all on a sudden, burst into a food of tears, on seeing a jewel pendant to the young lady's watch, which she knew her son had purchased as a present to her, before he left the island of Jersey. The violence of her grief was observed by the young lady, who had just spirits enough to ask her the immediate cause. Being told that the sight of a jewel, the presentation of which to his beloved bride was to be the pledge of their mutual happiness, revived in her mind her irreparable loss; the young lady was seemingly struck with horror and astonishment at the declaration, and, touching the jewel, as with an expression of contempt, sunk into the arms of her weeping visitor, and without uttering a single word, except only M. Cl-a-s, breathed her last. The manner of her expiring seemed to involve a mystery.

All present were astonished. The confusion which her death occasioned, stopped, for a time, all further utterance; but when every means had been used to restore her, without being able to bring her to lífe; and when the effusions of sorrow, poured forth at her death, had for a while ceased, all who were present began to speak what they thought of her behaviour in her last dying moments. Mrs. Gordier, who was totally unacquainted with the soft and delicate temper of the deceased, could not help dropping some unfavorable expressions concerning her manner of leaving the world, which she thought plainly enough indicated a knowledge of the murder. Her own parents, who were present at the last affecting scene, fired with indignation at the insult offered to the unspotted innocence of their darling child, could not help resenting the ungenerous interpretation put upon the last closing moments of her blameless life. A scene of trouble and mutual reproach ensued, which is easier to conceive than to relate. When the commotion, however, was a little abated, and reason began to take place, the friends of both families very cordially interposed, and endeavoured to reconcile the mothers by a cool examination of the circumstances that occasioned the unseasonable heat.

Young Mr. Gordier recollected, that he had heard his brother deciare, that the jewel in question was to be presented to his bride on her wedding day; and, therefore, as that had never happened, his mother might be justified in ber suspicions, though perhaps the lady might be innocent. The sister of the deceased calmly replied, that she believed the warmth that had happened to be founded on a mistake, which she thought herself happy in being able to correct. The jewel, she said, which her sister wore, was not presented to her by Mr. Gordier, but was a present to her some years after his unhappy death by Mr. Galliard, a very reputable merchant in Jersey, who had very assidiously paid his addresses to her, encouraged so to do with a view, if possible, to relieve her mind, by diverting her affections to a new object; that as many jewels have the same appearance, that purchased by Gordier, and that presented by Mr. Galliard, might probably not be the

same, Mrs. Gordier very readily acquiesced; and, having had time to recover her temper, fell again into tears, and, in the most affecting manner apologized for her late indiscretion, adding, at the same time, that if it was the jewel purchased by her son, his picture was artfully concealed within it, which, by opening, would put the matter beyond a doubt. The sister, nor any of the family had ever seen it open, and knew nothing of such a contrivance. Young Gordier in a moment touched a secreted spring, and presented to the company the minature enclosed, most beautifully enriched. The consternation was now equal to the discovery. The mystery was unravelled. It was instantly concluded, that the horror of the murder must have struck the deceased, and the detestation of the murderer overcame her. The contempt with which she wanted to spurn the jewel from her, and her desire to declare from whom she had it; all these circumstances concurred to fix the murder on Mr. Galliard, who having been formerly her father's clerk, the last word she attempted to utter was now interpreted to mean the Cl-a-r-k.

The clergyman who was present, and who gave this relation, being the common friend of Galliard and the family where be now was, advised moderation and temper in the pursuit of justice. Many circumstances, he said, may concur to entangle innocence in the snares of guilt ; and, he hoped, for the honour of human nature, that a gentleman of so fair a character as Mr. Galliard, could never be guilty of so foul a crime-he therefore wished he might be sent for, on the present melancholy occasion, rather as a mourner, than as a murderer; by which means the charge might be brought on by degrees, and then, if innocent, as he hoped he would appear, his character would stand fair ; if guilty, care should be taken that he did not escape.

The greatest part of the company seemed to approve of his advice and reasons; but it was visible, by the countenance of Mrs. Gordier, that she, in her own mind, had prejudged him guilty. However, in conformity to the advice that had been given, Mr. Galliard was sent for, and in a few hours the messenger returned, accompanied by Mr. Galliard in person. The old lady, on his entering the room, in the vehemence of her passion, charged him abruptly with the murder of her son. Mr. Galliard made answer coolly, that indeed he well knew her son, but had not seen him for many days before the time of his disappearance, being then out of the island upon business, as the family in whose house he now was could attest. “ But this jewel,” said the mother, shewing him the jewel open as it was, " is an incontestible proof of your guilt: you gave the deceased this jewel, which was purchased by my son, and was in his possession at the time of his death." He denied ever seeing the jewel. The sister of the deceased then confronted him; and taking it in her hand, and closing it, “ This jewel,” said she, “ you gave to my sister in my presence, on such a day, (naming the day, thé hour, and the place) you pressed her to accept it; she returned it, and was not prevailed on to take it, till I placed it to her watch, and persuaded her to wear it.” He now betrayed some signs of guilt; but looking upon it when it was closed, he owned the giving it, and presently recollecting himself, said he knew it not in the form it was first presented to him. “ But this trinket,” said he, “I purchased of Levi the Jew, whom you all know, and who has travelled these islands for more than twenty years. He, no doubt, can tell how he came by it." The clergyman now thought himself happy in the counsel he had given; and, addressing himself to Mrs. Gordier" 1

hope, madam, you will now be patient till the affair has had a full hearing Mr. Galliard is clear in his justification, and the Jew only, at present appears to be the guilty person—he is now in the island, and shall soon be apprehended.” The old lady was again calm, and forced to acknowledge ber rashness, owing, as she said, to the impetuosity of her temper, and to the occasion that produced it. She concluded with begging pardon of Galliard, whom she thought she had injured.

Galliard triumphed in his innocence, hoped the lady would be careful of what she said, and threatened, if his character suffered by the charge, to refer the injury to the decision of the law. He lamented the sudden death of the unfortunate young lady, and melted into tears when he approached her bed. He took his leave after some hours stay, with becoming decency; and every one, even the mother, pronounced him innocent.

It was some days before the Jew was found; but when the news was spread, that the Jew was in custody who had murdered young Gordier, remorse, and the fear of public shame, seized Galliard, and, the night preceding the day on which he was to have confronted the Jew before a magistrate, he was found dead, with a bloody pen-knife in his hand, wherewith he had stabbed himself in three places, two of which were mortal.

A letter was found on the table in his room, acknowledging his guilt, and concluding with these remarkable words :-“ None but those who have experienced the furious impulse of ungovernable love will pardon the crime which I have committed, in order to obtain the incomparable object by whom my passions were inflamed. But thou, O Father of mercies! who implanted in my soul those strong desires, wilt forgive one rash attempt to accomplish my determined purpose, in opposition, as it should seem, to thy Almighty Providence.”

REMARKABLE EFFECTS OF COLD. The following remarkable effects of exposure to intense cold, are related by the narrator of the Arctic Expedition. “ John Pearson, a marine belonging to the Griper, who was the last that returned on board, had his hands severely frost-bitten, having imprudently gone away without mittens, and with a musket in his hand. A party of our people providentially found him, although the night was very dark, just as he had fallen down a steep bank of snow, and was beginning to feel a degree of torpor and drowsiness, which, if indulged, inevitably proves fatal. When he was brought on board, his fingers were quite stiff, and bent into the shape of that part of the musket he had been carrying ; and the frost had so far destroyed the animation in his fingers on one hand, that it was necessary to amputate three of them, in a short time, notwithstanding all the care and attention paid to him by the medical gentlemen. The effect which exposure to severe frost has, in benumbing the mental as well as corporal faculties, was very striking in this man, as well as in two of the young gentlemen who returned after dark, and of whom we were anxious to make inquiries respecting Pearson. When I sent for them into my cabin, they looked wild, spoke thick and indistinctly, and it was impossible to draw from them a rational answer to any of our questions. After being on board for a short time, the mental faculties appeared gradually to return with the returning circulation, and it was not till then, that a lookeron could easily persuade himself that they had not been drinking too freely. To those who have been much accustomed to cold coumtries, this will be no

new remark; and I cannot help thinking, (and it is with this view that I speak of it), that many a man may have been punished for intoxication, who was only suffering from the benumbing effects of frost ; for I have more than once seen our people in a state so exactly resembling that of the most stupid intoxication, that I should certainly have charged them with that offence, had I not been quite sure that no possible means were afforded them on Melville Island, to procure any thing stronger than snow-water.”

AFRICAN WARFARE. In the southern districts of Africa, their usual warfare is carried on with a sanguinary ferocity of which Europeans can hardly form an idea. Contending armies consider the possession of their opponents' heads as the rarest trophies of victory-as standards with us. Take the following picture from the relation of a modern traveller :

The government finding a pretext to invade Banda, the king of Odrasse vigorously opposed the Ashantee army; but at length, seeing he must inevitably fall into their hands, to prevent his head being found, which circumstance he knew would sorely disquiet the enemy, and solace his own people, ordered, just before he killed himself, a woman to be sacrificed, and the abdomen being ripped, his head to be sewn up in it, and her body afterwards to be buried in a heap of slain ; it was discovered, bowever, by bribes, and is now on one of the king of Ashantee's great drums.

“ In 1742, Sai Aquissa was made king. During his reign a subordinate king Akim, desiring to go to war with his neighbours, was obliged to obtain permission from the Ashantee government, which he did, by the promise of half the spoil; but gaining little or nothing, he did not fulfil his engagement. He soon afterwards, however, heard of Aquissa's intention to demand it, and knowing that the king's word is irrevocable, he summoned his ministers, and desired them to sacrifice his life for the quiet of his people; his ministers insisted on sharing his fate; and a barrel of powder being brought for each to sit upon, they drank a quantity of rum, and blew themselves up by the fire from their pipes !—an instance of devotion surpassing even the Greek and Roman name.'

The sanguinary indifference with which they sacrifice themselves and their dearest relations, under any reverse of fortune, is equally repulsive and horrible.

On the death of the late king of Amanhea, two competitors for the stool, or sovereignty appeared, one called Suikee, the other's name I am ignorant of. Both collected their slaves and adherents, and fought; Suikee was obliged to fly, and hide himself in the forest, or bush as it is termed ; but the people being dissatisfied with the conqueror, Suikee re-appeared against the the town. When his rival was reduced beyond all hope, he threw all his gold, which filled several jars, into the lake; and then collecting his wives, and the different branches of his family, went with them into a remote part of the bush, and cut all their throats, with the exception of one son, whom he reserved to assist him in burying the bodies. He then made his son swear on bis fetish to kill and bury him, and never to discover where the bodies were laid. The son fulfilled his oath, and returned to Apollonia. After Suikee had seated himself firmly on the stool, he by some means or other discovered where the bodies were concealed; he caused them to be dug up, and taker

« ПредишнаНапред »