« AnteriorContinuar »
little, she might break down, and never reach the end of her journey.
But, with feverish impatience, she counted the lapse of every minute, and watched the waning light of the short winter after
Sad and painful images filled her mind, and the bleak, savage nature of the surrounding scenery oppressed her with a still greater sense of gloom and desolation.
Heavy grey clouds, just coloured with a yellowish line, were piled up in the sky in strange, fantastic shapes.
On either side, the road, which wound at this point through a valley, rose up hills, almost mountainous in their height, but rugged and bare, not a tree or a shrub breaking their barren uniformity. Here and there the snow, whirled away by the north wind that swept over the Fells, left dark patches of stone; but in other places, where the drifts lay deep, the naked rock lost its unsightly, rugged appearance as it lay entombed beneath that dense white shroud.
Over this dreary, melancholy tract, sweeping through the openings in the hills, the wind came in wild, fierce gusts, dying away in the distance, till it sounded in the ears of Teresa like the wail of a departing spirit.
Beyond the dusky forms of Okey, the postilions, and a couple of labourers from the cottage, delving away in the snow, all seemed lifeless and inanimate. The stillness of death appeared to linger over the Fells during those intervals when the wind had died away sobbing and moaning amongst the hills. The waters of the beautiful Trent, winding onwards to Kendal, were now ice-bound, and lay, a frozen track over the boulder-stones, amidst which they had leapt and sparkled in the bright days of summer. As for Teresa, she appeared like a breathing statue, ouly that now and then there fell from her white lips broken prayers and earnest aspirations for that man whose image had still remained graven in her heart when the shrine had been despoiled and ravaged.
Once again they were on their way, and at length, with a longdrawn sigh of relief, Teresa saw, glittering like stars through the darkness which had suddenly fallen on the snow-covered hills, the lights in the town of Kendal, laying, in picturesque beauty, at the foot of a mountain as lovely in all its surroundings as the Ship Fells were grim in their desolation.
THE WRITING ON THE WALL.
IN California's garden, on wide Sonoma plain,
Where flowers bloom around, as if dropped there by the rain,
Where all day long the woodpecker, and at night the katy-did,
In the manzanita bushes, where the red contrasts with green, Dodge and dart the humming birds with their gold and ruby sheen,
And underneath the chapparel, the rabbits hide and run,
And the many-coloured lizards lie basking in the sun,
And in the rich madsona trees, where the darkest shadows fall,
Inside the lonely cabin, on a little wretched bed
As if searching to do something that he always would forget.
"Mother, darling mother," whispered he so very faint,
You'd have thought it but the sighing of some little rustling plant;
"Mother, darling mother, why don't you come to me?
Or are you here, and is it then so dark I cannot see?
Then, though the room be dark to me, your love will make it shine.
She does not answer me, alas! and does not see this tear,
For I know she'd not refuse my dying hour to cheer;
No, she is in the old homestead, and I am here alone;
And the voice that I once loved so well, I'll never hear its tone. Mother, tell me, is it true? am I ill? and must I die?
And in this little cabin till the last alone must lie?
"Then, who will close my eyes for me? who will breath a prayer ?
And who will tell my mother, and will my mother care?
Oh, yes, for mother loved me well, how sweet she was and mild!
Yes, she will grieve to know he's dead, her son-her only child.
Mother! oh, my mother! must I die here all alone?
I do not care so much for that, I am not afraid to die ;
It's growing very cold, mother, and no one comes to me.
It was morning in Sonoma, the birds in millions throng,
And nothing showed in Nature that a man was dead so near.
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE,
THREE days after the event related in the last chapter, the inspector called on Darcy. He began to talk of the Théâtre Français, and the piece which was then being enacted. He had been there the night before, and had admired it highly. "This is the plot," said he :"Sir John Valdemar, an Englishman about the tenth century, went to Italy to make the grand tour, and in Apulia he became connected with the Conde Aquapendente--"
Darcy interrupted him-" I shall go to the Français to-night, and see the play; so don't tell me the plot. Rather tell me how your own little drama has progressed. How is our friend Eugéne? and has he given you the information you asked? Has he told you where his brother is ?"
"That was what I was coming to." "Indeed; rather, I think, in a round about way. Is it necessary you should go over the five acts of Scribe or Jules Simon?"
"You will see," said the inspector.
"The Conde Aquapendente-I pray you, recollect the names— had a son, Osric, a brother, Father Benedict, and a daughter, Alicia."
"Well, well," said Darcy impatiently.
"Sir John Valdemar," continued the inspector, heedless of the interruption, "falls in love with Alicia. The Conde won't allow the marriage. There is a scene-a quarrel-the pit are in tears. Sir John goes to the Crusades, with your Richard Lion Heart-or Joan of Arc-no matter which. Alicia marries Baron Furioso. But the Baron dies in childbirth-I mean, he dies leaving his widow and a child. Sir John is not killed by the Turks, but June.-VOL. VII., NO. XLI.
Disguised as a troubadour, he sees the widow Furioso, recognises his Alicia, and they are married by a Roman priest. The story does not turn on the marriage, though Sir John is a Protestant
"That will do," said Darcy, breaking in; "I don't want to hear more of your play."
"Then," said the inspector, "I fear I cannot tell you anything about Eugène Bazas or his brother; and the latter, I am convinced, had something to do with a little incident which happened on Westminster Bridge, not in the tenth, but in the nineteenth century."
"I see," said Darcy, "you are fond of tormenting. Go on with your cursed play."
"After Sir John's marriage to the Lady Alicia, he returned with her to England, and was President of the Board of Control in Richard's First Parliament. For several years he lived happily with his wife, but there was a curse on Sir John. His great grandfather had murdered a Druid, and the consequence was Sir John become jealous of his wife, and with some reason, for he surprised her in the arms of Petro Rienzi. He did not kill Petro, but he divorced his wife before Sir Cresswell Cresswell, and then he went away from England, back to the Holy Land. Meanwhile, Apulia had been swallowed up by an earthquake, and no one escaped but young Count Aquapendente, and his uncle the Priest. Having no property, Apulia, as I said, being swallowed up by an earthquake, the young Count had gone to London under a borrowed name-John Smith, or something like that. Latterly, he got another name and a title, and appeared in quite a different character. Sir John comes back a second time from the Crusades, meets Petro Rienzi, and with the assistance of Gurth, the swineherd, murders him and throws him into the moat of his castle and vanishes. Some one else is suspected of the murder; is tried, but gets off. This is one of the most telling scenes in the drama, and would have interested you much—' Verdict, not guilty.' Accused party goes to the Crusades, meets Sir John Valdemar, and Father Benedict; something is discovered. Very likely somebody murders somebody, and, I suppose, after all, the story ends tolerably well."
"Really," said Darcy, "this farrago is tiresome. It is not worthy of your genius, Mr. Inspector, and I am glad it is over; but what has it to do with Eugène Bazas?
"That I will now tell, and, to begin, there is no such play in existence as the one I have sketched, but you must recollect the names and the leading incidents-Sir John Valdemar, his servant Gurth, the swineherd, the Lady Alicia, Count Aquapendente,