« ZurückWeiter »
doubts of liberty has never loved it in his ed more ridiculous to him, in the Koran, heart. It distresses me to hear a public than the aërial voyage of the Prophet. Acfunctionary profess such opinions. “How cording to the Koran, Mahomet, being in can you justify them, citizen?”
bed one morning, was suddenly transported “That is not so difficult,” said Stryk. by the angel Gabriel through paradise, the
Athens, once free, became accustomed seven heavens, and hell : he saw and obfirst to Pericles—then to a king of Mace- served all their wonders, and held with the donia. Rome had first the Triumvirs——then Deity ninety thousand conversations; and Cæsar—and at last, Nero. England, who all in so short a space of time, that when beheaded her king, endured Cromwell, and the angel laid him down again in his bed, returned under the dominion of kings." it was still warm ; and the water of a ewer,
“What do you mean with your Romans, which he had accidentally overturned in and Athenians, and English? I hope you setting out, had not yet ceased to flow. do not compare them to the French. But The sultan was one day ridiculing this narI pardon you your mistakes ; you have not rative in the presence of a dervish, who had the honor of being a Frenchman.” the reputation of working miracles. The
The pardon was not complete, for Stryk latter promised to cure the sultan of his inlost his place. He even had to undergo credulity, if he would but do as he should some degree of persecution for his suspect- desire him. The sultan took the dervish at ed language.
bis word; and the Commander of the FaithSome years after, Bonaparte became first ful was conducted to a tub which was filled consul; then consul for ten years ; consul with water to the brim. All the court were for life; and at last, emperor and king. present, and surrounded the tub with curiStryk was immediately restored to his em-osity. The dervish enjoined the monarch ployments, because he was well known to to plunge his head into the water, and withbelong to the moderate party. He enjoyed draw it again instantly. But scarcely had more credit and consideration than ever; the prince put his head under the water, his prediction had again been accomplish- than he found himself at the foot of a mouned; and he passed for a consummate poli- tain on the sea-shore. Just imagine his tician.
surprise! He cursed the dervish, and swore be would never forgive him. But it was absolutely necessary that he should conform
to his destiny. Fortunately, he espied CHAPTER IV.
some men in the wood : their directions enabled him to reach a neighboring village. He found he was far away from Egypt, on
the borders of the Caspian Sea. Nobody Napoleon changed the face of the world, knew him ; he durst not say who he was. and gave away crowns. Stryk became the After many an adventure, he contrived to servant of one of these crowns, and obtain- please a rich man, and married his daughed honors. There was no longer a repub- ter. He had fourteen children by her. At lican left ; every one worshipped the new last, his wife died; and, after several years master. No one was even willing to be of misfortune, he sunk into the depths of thought to have shared in the republican wreichedness. He was forced to beg his mania ; and each pretended to have singly bread in the streets. He often shed bitter resisted the torrent. It was considered dis- tears, on comparing his miserable condition graceful not to have always belonged to the with the sumptuous life which he had forpartisans of royalty.
merly led in his palace; and he regarded “ I see no disgrace in that,” said Stryk.; his sufferings as the punishment of his infi" the epidemic prevailed, and you were af- delity. At length, he determined on doing fected with it; let it once more appear, and penance, and to perform a pilgrimage to you will feel the effects of it again. It is Mecca, begging his bread on the way. He possible.”
completed his pilgrimage; but, before be “What! do you take us for weak men, approached the holy mosque, he resolved ready to change incessantly ?” said they. to purify himself by a general ablution. He
“I always remember," answered Stryk, repaired to a stream, pulled off his clothes, “ that sultan of Egypt who is described by and plunged into the water. But, lo! as Addison. This sultan was very desirous of he rose out of it, he found himself, not by passing for a free-thinker. Nothing seem-J a river, but standing before the tub into
which the dervish had told him to plunge shoulders, according to custom, and replied, his head. He was still standing in the " It is possible.” This answer was not formidst of his courtiers. He could not re- gotten, and his name disappeared from the frain from expressing his resentment at the list of counsellors of state. When the aldervish who had caused him so much misery; lied powers penetrated into France, and the but bis astonishment knew no bounds, when créations of Napoleon tottered on all sides, he was assured by his whole court, that he people began to cry, “Stryk is a prophet!" bad not quitted the spot where they stood, He has shared the fate of all the sages. and that all these events had taken place in His disgrace under the government of the the instant of time which was required to usurper, as the fallen emperor was now plunge his head into the water, and to draw called, secured hin the favor of the new it out again.
and legitimate sovereign. But it was not “Gentlemen," continued the old coun- long before his maxim drew down a new sellor of state,
you are in the condition storm on his head. The Prince hinted to of the sultan of Egypt. If any one had him, one day, in council, that his attachtold you, before the revolution, what you ment to so many successive governments would do in the course of it, you would rendered his words a little liable to suspinever have believed it. And now that
cion. I have always endeavored to be a have withdrawn your heads from the tub, good subject,” said the old counsellor, you cannot remember anything that you“ by always serving the country, whoever thought, did, or experienced, during the might be its master. The state has a right season of miracles. If the Bourbons and to the services of its citizens; and to serve the emigrants should ever return into France, it faithfully, under all circumstances, is to they would look upon history, from the year do one's duty.” 1789, as having had no reality; and would “The state," said the prince, “is the see themselves like the sultan of Egypt by sovereign. How can you think of separatthe side of the tub, and consider their years ing his person from the state ?” of adversity as a deceitful dream.”
At these words he cast a stern look on His audience laughed. “Well,” said the counsellor, and signed to him to retire. some of them," the counsellor is not so far It was his last disgrace; and whenever he wrong, after all. But can it be supposed was asked whether there would still be pothat the poor Bourbons will ever be restored? litical changes, he answered—“ It is posThat, indeed, would belong to the history sible.” of miracles.”
“ Hem! It is possible,” said Stryk. And, in fact, it was not long before he saw ROYAL LITERARY FUND.-The annual dinner was it accomplished, and the ancient political lately held at Freemasons"-hall the Duke of Nororder resume its place.
thumberland in the chair. The Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Campbell, Mr. Baron Parke, and a number of eminent literary gentlemen were present. The report stated that thirty families of educated
men had been relieved by the society during the last CHAPTER V.
year, involving an outlay of £1,230. The chief toasts of the evening were “ Lord Campbell and the biographers;" "Mr. Thackeray and the novelists;"
“Mr. Lovell and te dramatisis;" "Mr. Les er and This change brought with it no danger the literary and scientific men or toreigo countries; to a man of the counsellor's principles, es- Ebrington and the stewards." The great fact of the
"Mr. St. John and the travellers; " " Viscount pecially as he bad fallen into disgrace to- evening was the announcement of subscriptions to wards the end of the imperial domination. the amount of £700, including donations of £100 It is said that Napoleon, having heard of trom her Majesty, and £100 from the Duke of
Northumberland. One of the daily papers notices his political foresight, had sent one of his it as remarkable that no allusion was made to the staff to ask bis opinion of this expedition press, though the toasts were sixteen in number.The old counsellor, much surprised at such Britannia. a question, would rather not have answered it. The general thought there was some- seized a younger companion, and in a joke bound
DEATH FROM Fright.-Two Edinburgh youths thing singular in this reserve. I hope, him with cords and took him towards the Police-ofsaid he, that we shall celebrate the new fice on a pretended charge of stealing some trifle year at St. Petersburg ; but you seem to rom bis aunt. The poor boy became so agitated apprehend unfavorable results from thi went home, was put to bed, and in a few days died of
IT IS POSSIBLE.
that a passenger interfered and set him at liberty: be The old counsellor shrugged his the fright.
From'the New Monthly Magazine.
TIME-TABLE OF A RICH SEPTUAGENARY.
God will not take this for a good bill of reckoning-, ful and funereal in the tone: it seems to Item-Spent upon my pleasures forty years.
strike upon my heart and chill it: I could
almost fancy that I am listening to my own Ten minutes to midnight! In that short passing knell. How the clock lingers, as if space of time, for I have been told that I the hammer were afraid to strike the bell. was born as the clock was striking, I shall Twelve at last. Thank Heaven that is the exactly have completed my seventieth year; final blow. Midnight has come and gone, I shall have lived the threescore years and and I am seventy years old. ter, which, according to the Psalmist, are the Incontestable as is the fact, I can hardly days of man's age, so soon passeth it away realise it to my mind, so easy is it with a and we are gone.” Even when ensconsed in single backward glance, and in half a second this safe and sheltered study, a midnight of time, to recall the whole of my long life
а storm has ever oppressed me with a feeling of -infancy, childhood, manhood, old age, awe, dot unmingled with a sense of indefinite with all their myriad hopes, fears, and danger. That invisible giant the wind, changes. Strange! that we can thus combowling as if in triumph for the shipwrecks press an entire lengthened existence into a and ruin he bas occasioned, and shaking the passing thought; nay, not only our own inearth with his footsteps as he rushes on to dividual history, but that of the whole huspread wider terror and destruction ; the man race. In a moment the mind's eye lightning flash; the deafening peal of tbun- runs over six thousand years, yet we cannot der ; the violent plashings of the storm- look forward even for a day, an hour, a driven rain ; and the fury of the elements m ute. What power over the past, what fighting together in the dark, can seldom be impotence as to the future ; what illimitaheard, even by the bravest, without a deep table retrospective vision, how absolute our and anxious emotion. To me, however, prospective blindness! sitting as I now am, in the very centre of This utter stillness, the midnight stillEngland's mighty metropolis, infinitely ness of a vast metropolis, the living death, more affecting, more soul-subduing is the as it were, of its countless inhabitants, is intense silence which at present reigns more than solemn, it is awful. It is not so around me. A million and a half of hu- much the total absence of sound as the acman beings simultaneously enjoying peace, tual presence of a silence so deep that it is fellowship, and oblivion, by the single felt-1 bad almost said is heard by the touch of Nature that “makes the wbole thrilling heart. Ha! was that a cricket's world kin;" old and young, rich and poor, the chirping? No, nothing so cheerful. 'Tis beggar and the peer, the sleeper upon straw the expiring fire elicking its own deathand upon eider down, the happy and the watch." See ! a fresh coal flares up for a wretched, all brought to an absolute equality a moment, casting spectral gleams that when once they have“ steeped their senses flutter about the books as if they were the in forgetfulness," forms a consoling fact, spirits of authors, bovering around the vowhich may well reconcile us to the apparent lumes in wbich they are entombed. A li. inequalities of human condition. During brary is a cemetery of intellects, and if disone third of their lives, for such is the embodied ghosts may haunt our churchaverage portion of our sleep, the whole of yards, why may not this burial-ground of mankind are on a perfect level.
minds be visited by similar apparitions. Hist! hark! the parish clock is striking. Now they flit away; they melt into the How slowly and with what a thrilling so- gloom; but inethinks I am still surroundlemnity does the sound vibrate through the ed by spiritual emanations. still night air, as if every pulsation were A man's seventieth birth day is seldom a conscious that many a human pulse was very cheerful one, and upon mine, at the simultaneously and finally ceasing to beat present moment, everytbing conspires to Yes, so it is. With the throb of every new cast a gloom not less depressing than if my second scores of human hearts are throbbing last hour were come. It cannot be far off. I for the last time. Dong ! dong! dong ! have passed life's customary limit, and am Surely there is something unusually mourn- now a trespasser on the domain of death,
whose steel-traps and spring-guns are lying was neither more nor less than the dark in wait for every foot-fall. Nor are these shade of my own body thrown down by the his only weapons. He may be flying to- suspended lamp. I despised myself for wards me on the wings of invisible mias- having paused aud shuddered, still more for mata ; he
may be secreted in my veins ; an having been deceived, for most men had ra. apoplexy may smite me in this arm-chair, ther be frightened out of their wits, than and so the anniversary of my birthday may outwitted by a fancied cause of terror. be my day of death. How can I resist the I turned round, the imaginary grave had contagion of such fears when I look around disappeared, the shadows being now behind me ?
me, and I could not help exclaiming, The dim and waning lamp seems to inti- “What a poor, nervous simpleton have mate that its last hour is at hand ; that, I been! I am not usually superstitious, like myself, it has nearly reached its allot- never was a believer in omens, have alted bourne. There is a mournful significance ways felt a contempt for those who credit in the warning, and lo! bebold ! I see two theexistence of apparitions, goblins, spectral gigantic numerals darkly shadowed on the manifestations, and all the raw-head and opposite side of my study; they are the bloody boies of the nursery. Ridiculous figures 70! Well, I know that I am three-trash! fit only for brain-sick old women of score and ten ; 1 have just been recording either sex, and chicken-hearted girls.”
" it; there needs no ghost to tell me this. Scarcely had these words escaped my Why, then, is it shouted to mine eyes wih lips when with an involuntary cry, and a such Stentorian rudeness? And what por shuddering start, I stood transfixed and tends this preternatural bandwriting on aghast, my eyes distended, my teeth, chatthe wall? Perchance to apprise me that tering, the perspiration oozing from my the empire of my life is about to pass away: brow. Another living being stood in the but, why am I to be bewildered and ap room, or rather beyond the room, palled by so miraculous a notification : distinctly visible, for it seemed to be starPshaw! how the doubtful light has befool-ing at me out of the dim vacuity beyond ed mine eyes! I now see that the inagin the walls of my study. 1 rubbed my yes, ed numerals are only the shadows of the to assure myself that I was not dreaming, chains that sustain the lamp. What a re- and leaned forwards, fixing my looks pierclief to discover the real nature of these ingly upon the phenomenon before me. phantom figures, for their aspect was start. The apparition moved, it appeared to be ling and fearful: and yet, what weakness, advancing towards me, and as my boasted what cowardice, to be thus overcome ! disbelief in spectres begau to be converted
To shake off such idle and unmanly ap- into a vague but intense terror, I will prehensions, I arose from my arm-chair, and frankly confess that I felt strongly tempted walked away from the table by which I had to make an immediate escape from the been sitting ; but at the very first step, the room. Deciding, after a moment's further disturbance and alarm of my mind were deliberation, upon instant Alight, I moved confi med, instead of being allayed, for, as towards the door at the opposite extremity I looked downwards, methought I stood of the room; but as the figure did the upon the edge of my own dark grave, at ihe same, with the manifest intention of interbottom of which I could discern the faint cepting me, I suddenly drew up and stood gleam of a coffin plate. So palpable did still, utterly paralysed by conflicting emothe yawning aperture appear, that I cau- tions, and my spectral antagonist made no tiously put forward one of my feet, to as- further approaches. My retrcat cut off, sur myself of its existence; but, feeling and my suspense becoming intolerable, I the soft carpet beneath me, I slowly ven- exclaimed, in a faltering voice, tured to take three successive steps, the “Who are you? Why do you thus grave appearing to recede as I advanced. baunt me? Avaunt begone unreal At the third movement, my foot thrust mockery, hence !” away the supposed coffin-plate; it did not The lips of the vision moved, but I could give forth a metallic sound, and as it caught bear nothing except the faint echo of my own the light, 1 perceived that it was a gilded words. It has spoken, thought I to myself, envelope-case, which had, doubtless, fallen but as a spirit, I presume its revelations are on the ground when I moved the table. not audible “to ears of flesh and blood.” Emboldened by this discovery to seek the To be made desperate is to be frightened
of the receding grave, I found that it out of fear, and such being my plight, I determined to meet my supernatural visitant Heaven a vigorous and healthy frame, and face to face, and solve the mystery of its more than an average share of mental nature, whatever might be the result. For faculties, however I may have neglected to this purpose, I summoned all my courage, cultivate and improve them. At the age of and took three steps forward. The spectre twenty-one, my father having died when I did the same, eyeing me all the time with was a minor, I succeeded to a landed esa keen and startled scrutiny, as if it were tate of 30001. a-year, and as I always lived scarcely less bewildered tban myself. Three up to my income, I have actually spent upon steps more; we were within an arm's length the enjoyments and luxuries of life nearly of each other, I panted with agitation, so 150,0001. Even as a child I was petted and did the phantom, this was somewhat en- spoiled, so that it is almost impossible to couraging; I slowly put forth my hand, estimate what the world bas done for me mentally ejaculating now shall I know since my birth, in the multiform and inceswhat thou art.” My trembling hand en-sant tribute that it pays to the individual countered a cold gleaming substance, the demands of wealth and civilization. Hardly very touch of which revealed its nature, and would it be an exaggeration were I to ex• I recovered the self-possession which had so claiin, strangely deserted me when I beheld before
Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine! me a large cheval-glass, which had beep placed in my study a few hours before, pre- for it has offered up sacrifices to me as if I paratory to iis beinz removed into one of were its absolute lord and master. In South the bedrooms. In the excited and dis America, miners have been digging the ore ordered state of my mind, and in the dim- for my gold and silver plate, and for the ness of the room that reudered everything minor magic coin that supplies almost every indistinct, I had actually been haunted by want; in North America, innumerable lathe reflection of my own figure !
borers have been producing rice and other Relieved from the oppression of this self-edibles, and cotton and tobacco for my food, created nightmare, my heart leap d up, 1 raiment, and cigars : African nations have breathed more freely, and would fain have made war upon each other that slaves, smiled at my own folly, but I felt both in- transported to the West Indies, might supdignant and ashamed, and petulantly turn- ply sugar and coffee for my delectation : ing round the glass with its face to the wall in Asia, millions have toiled, during their so that it could not again delude me, 1 whole lives, that I might never have a mothrew myself back into my arm chair. ment's want of tea, silk, spices, and other
But my mind could not recover its se- products: wbile Europe bas lavished upon renity, nor could I altogether, even when we all the luxuries which her arts, her my eyes were shut, shake off the impression science, and her manufactures have enabled that a figure from the world of spirits was her to pour forth with such unbounded still standing before me. Nay, as I gazed, or prodigality and in such inimitablc perfecseemed to gaze at it through my closed lids, tion. Upon every sea, and upon every methought that its lips again moved, and road, and with every wind, by night and by that a deep and solenin voice distinctly ar- day, have the purveyors to my pleasures ticulated the following words,
been hurrying towards me with their offer“ Man of seventy! what have Heaven ings. My victuallers are ubiquitous. The and the world done for thee? What hast cattle on a bundred bills are mine ; so are thou done for Heaven and the world: the corn, milk, and houey of our English Render unto thyself an account of thy valleys ; so are the grapes that empurple stewardship !”
the sunny slopes of France and Germany. Although the silence and the reflection of Air yields me up its tenants; so does the a few minutes convinced me that this occan, from the turtle of the Western Isles, imagined mandate was the mere illusion of to the humble herring of our British coasts. my own excited senses, it weighed heavily How many droves and flocks of cattle, upon my miod, and my self-accusing medi. how many flights of birds, how many shoals tations assumed the form of the following of fish, buve been entombed in this omnireply to the injunction In answer to the vorous body, 'twere vain to calculate ; but first question, this is my deposition. reckoning my consumption of claret at only
Born at a lucky and interesting period, a bottle per diem, commencing with my enin the freest, happiest, and most civilized trance at college, where rst learnt to be country of the worl, I received froin a tippler, I find that I must have swallowed