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himself suddenly on his elbow, recoiling slightly, at the same time, from the edge of the bed, from which he had just been about to spring. The colour faded from his olive cheek, his eyes became dilated, and his looks expressed mingled horror and wonderment.
His gaze was fixed steadfastly on the round cypress table with the great chair before it, and yet there was no vision of bloodstained Cavalier or Roundhead trooper. The object upon which the priest seemed compelled to gaze, by a species of horrible fascination, was a human head resting on the table-the head of a female, from which long fair tresses floated about the snowy throat just visible, with a red streak around it, and partially veiled the pale, beautiful face-a face, indeed, of rare beauty, and one which, once seen, could never be forgotten, The priest clasped his hands wildly together, and struggled and groaned as one would do who was under the influence of some awful nightmare, for the face was that of Marie Duchastel.
He asked himself aloud if this were not some horrible illusion, some cunning machination of Satan to tempt him, one of God's anointed priests, with thoughts of an earthly love? He extended his hand, and, calling upon Heaven, bade the tempter begone; but still the same awful vision confronted him, and the eyes, seeming endued with life, gazed at him with a mournful and imploring look. Turning on his other side, that he might no longer confront this dread spectre, he asked himself was he really awake? and if so, was he not the prey to a strong optical illusion? That he was wide awake he became assured the next moment, by hearing the stable clock strike eight, and, to test the truth of this supposition, he gazed intently at various objects in the room, counted the figures on the tapestry, and the flowers and leaves embroidered on the cushions, and examined minutely the carving of the walnut-wood bedposts; and, at length, when he felt calm and composed, he turned once more to the cypress table. But lo! there still reposed the head, and the broad beam of sunlight falling on it, lit up the fair tresses with a red glow.
As though impelled by some sudden resolve, De Lessart drew himself towards the edge of the bed, and, with a look of determination, stretched out his arm as if intending to touch the head and see whether it were a tangible substance or thin air, but even as he did so, his arm fell nerveless by his side, and drops of cold perspiration stood on his forehead. What does it mean?" he murmured in a tone of inexpressible anguish. "Oh, Marie! poor Marie! what can I do for thee?”
As if in answer to his question, he heard faintly, as though from afar off, more like the faint echo of a sound than the sound itself, the words "De Profundis."
Pale, cold, and exhausted, the priest sunk back on his pillow, joined his nerveless hands together, and slowly and solemnly recited, in Latin, the psalm De Profundis, the customary prayer for the dead used by members of the Roman Catholic faith.
As he prayed, the pallor on the face seemed to increase, and the eyes to grow filmy, then gradually the features and the outline of the head began to grow fainter and less distinct, till, as he uttered the words "requiem æternam, dona ei Domine," nothing was left but a dark and pale mist, which quickly dissolved into air.
Some few days after that eventful morning of "All Souls," when M. De Lessart emerged from his chamber, looking as pale as any ghost, though he distinctly denied having seen either Cavalier or Roundhead trooper in the ghost-room, he went to pay a visit to his friend, the Rector.
Mr. Foljambe, in their many conversations, had heard the story of his life, and had heard, also, of Marie Duchastel; and thus he received the exile, on this occasion, with more affectionate and tender solicitude than ever, for he had that to tell him that which he knew would wring his heart with sorrow and anguish.
"You have news from France-recent news?" said the priest when seated; "and it is unusually bad to day, if we can say so of that which seems ever to have reached the acme of human misery."
"Alas! yes; the Republicans, these miserable fanatics! have risen up against each other; they have commenced shedding the blood of those of their own party in Lyons."
The Rector paused for a moment, and the priest started and
They have brought many to the guillotine;" and here the Rector hesitated again, and cast a look of sorrowful sympathy on the priest.
"And amongst them poor Marie Duchastel," said De Lessart, with a deep sigh.
"How have you had earlier information than mine at the Hall?" asked the Rector, in some surprise.
"I knew that Marie Duchastel ceased to live on the morning of All Souls."
"Impossible! My dear Monsieur, it was on that very morning her bead fell on the guillotine. But one comforting statement I have for you the Republican papers state that the wife of Citizen. Duchastel had returned, for some time before her execution, to the memories of her priest-ridden childhood, anl would have had ghostly aid if she could."
"Yes; she asked me to pray for her on All Souls," said the priest, mournfully. Then seeing the perplexed look on the Rector's
face, he told him shortly, but graphically, of the strange vision he had seen' in the ghost-room at Harborough Hall. "I suppose," he added, in conclusion, "you will laugh at me, and say that I was dreaming, or a prey to my own diseased imagination; but I assure you I was wide awake, and the execution of Marie Duchastel, on the very morning on which I saw her severed head before my eyes, makes me loth to believe that what I saw was a mere optical illusion."
"I shall not laugh," replied the Rector gravely, "nor say you were dreaming, or the victim of your own distempered fancy, but will rather say, with our great poet,
"Is not this something more than phantasy!"
MARY CLEMENTINA STEWART.
The principal feature of this story-the apparition of the head—is no fiction; and the writer, in relating it, has adhered closely to the facts, as she received them from an aged priest of her acquaintance, who was the subject of the optical illusion.
A TALE OF STRACUSE.
THE feast is on the table spread,
But where is Syracusa's lord,-
In syndon and symar arrayed,
The feast is at its joyous height,
And Dionysius, Lord of all,
Again the regal health goes round-
Again the many-twinkling feet,
Where voice and soul have seemed to meet,
Answer the alternate strain,
While the mimic sovereign
Smiles on the moment of his pride,
In spirit almost deified.
He speaks-and all is silence, till
A narrow shade-a wavering line
Hangs naked o'er the regal chair:
With sudden start
Back ran the blood from cheek to heart;
When thus the King:
"In that dread steel
Behold the fate which monarchs feel;
The daily doubt, the nightly fear,
Which quell their pomp and mar their cheer!
Could Dionysius cast aside
His regal care from regal pride,
He would not seek a subject's ease,
Aud quit the throne to Damocles."
EDMUND LENTHALL SWIFTE.