Abbildungen der Seite

Intent on

ject. He heeded nothing; he saw nothing in the great thoroughfare; the main artery of the great commercial metropolis. Many passed him who knew him, but saw him not. their own purposes, hurrying from their dwelling places to South-street, Water-street, Pearl-street or Wall-street, to the store-house, counting-house, bank or exchange. Others, to whom he was known as the favourite comedian of the day, laughed as they looked at his care-worn face, and thought it very comical; while some, pointing to the man whose talents had delighted them, while he gave life to the clowns of the poet, which are to live when he is forgotten, said, “ that's Spiffard ! how pale he looks.”

He heard not, he saw not, when suddenly, “ Ho! Spiffard!" was shouted in his ears, so loud and discordantly, that he could pot but look up to see whence the salutation came.

He saw, a few paces from him, crossing the street, and adyancing to place himself in his path-way, a man much taller than himself, with his eyes glaring on him, and his face glowing through a mask of dirt. His mouth was distended by a smile as he shouted the name of " Spiffard,” but the smile contradicted the expression of the eyes, which was wild and ghastly. He lifted aloft and swung round his head a piece of hickory, plucked from a load of fire-wood recently thrown on the pavement; which enormous club he wielded with the strength of a giant. He stood directly in front of Spiffard, obliging him to stop. With arm uplifted, and rags fluttering in a north-west wind, he repeated, “ho! Spiffard !” and added, “ stand at my command !" The

young man looked mildly but firmly in his eye, nd said quietly, “ how is it with you, Knox? I am sorry to see you thus-so thinly clad in this biting wind.”

The poor wretch, who thus barred his passage, and accosted him, had been last seen by him in the lunatic asylum, as has been noticed. He had escaped, and found means to exchange the decent apparel which had been supplied by the liberality of George Frederick Cooke, (and which, of course, he wore at the time of his escape) for the motley tatters in which he now appeared. The exchange was effected at the “ Fivepoints,” and he imagined his present dress a disguise. Those who had robbed him, administered the poison that wrought him to the lamentable frenzy in which he now presented, himself.

His miscellaneous apparel was composed of all manner of decompositions. Part of a check handkerchief round his close

shaved head, and straws fantastically entwined with it. The debris of a surtout coat, formed a waistcoat for him, covering one thigh to the knee. The remnant of what is commonly called a plaid cloak, was thrown over his shoulders, like a Roman toga, or a Mohawk's blanket. Coat he had none. A pair of tattered nankeen pantaloons, hung a little below the knee on one leg, and to the ankle of the other; otherwise, his unhosed legs and feet were seen through the rents of an off-cast pair of short boots. His toes were at perfect liberty.

Soothed by the calm and familiar manner in which his boisterous address was met, he dropped his ponderous staff, and said: “Is it not an excellent dress for Edgar ? · Poor Tom's a cold. Tom will throw his head at them.' Would you

believe it, Mr. Spiffard, the manager refused me an engagement; four nights—as a star. I only asked a clear benefit. Spiff! I want money! I must be obeyed! I want brandy !"

This man had been well educated: had prided himself on being a gentleman. Showed scars obtained as a duellist in his own country. Talked of the infamous climate of “ this country." Came from home as one of the theatrical corps for the New-York Theatre, and had been discharged for excessive intemperance. He had been known to drink two quarts of unmixed brandy to prepare himself for acting. Cooke lectured him, and pointed out the evil and its consequences, and after his discharge, supported him. But what was given for food or raiment, was bartered for poison ; madness followed, and he was consigned to the hospital. *

[ocr errors]

* This wretched victim of intemperance resided at one period in a garret room in Courtlandt-street, before his final discharge from the theatre; and has been known to go to the business of the stage, after a preparation of the kind above mentioned. He would find his way to his garret--drink again that he might sleep-what a sleep! and then in a species of raving somnambulism, escape by means of the garret-window, and ramble the streets, until exhausted nature deposited her loathsome burthen in some cellar, or some bulkhead. He died of apoplexy. In connexion with this case, I subjoin an extrast from Doctor Francis's letter, before mentioned.

As medical witness in our courts of criminal judicature, I have often been summoned to give testimony in cases of death occasioned by intemperance, or by other causes which have eventuated fatally: and for the better discharge of this duty, have, within the period of the last twelve or fourteen years, examined many bodies deceased by accident, or other causes, Operating suddenly. The details, therefore, which I now communicate are derived almost

entirely from autopsic examinations thus made. The body of the dead inebriate, often exhibits in its external parts, a physiognomy quite peculiar, and as distinctive as that which presents itself when life has been terminated by an over dose of laudanum. Sumetimes

Spiffard endeavoured to soothe him, and persuade him to return to the asylum. He offered to call a coach for him; and, as he appeared for a moment to listen, represented the comfortable state in which he had seen him in the hospital. Suddenly he broke out :

" Return! Return to the house of bondage! Ha! ha! I'm free! No chains! No wife! You are married ! ha, ha, ha! Huzza for liberty and brandy! Go to your wife! To your wife! Ha, ha, ha!”

Shouting with violent gesticulations, he brandished his club ; and the poor creature rushed past, crying—“Go to your wife ! Your wife! To a nunnery go! To a nunnery go!"

the surface, more especially at its superior parts, as about the head, neck, or face, betrays a surcharged fullness of the vascular system; and the cutaneous investure of these parts, and of the extremities, is characterized by the results of an increased action of the exhalents, by blotches, &c.; and this state, the consequence of previous over action has so impaired the vital energies of the surface, that effusions of a serous or sanguineous quality are to be observed. I remember a most striking instance of this last circumstance, occurring about eighteen months ago. The individual, a middle aged adult subject, had long indulged freely in the use of distilled spirits. He died of universal dropsy. Some few days previous to his death, hemorhagic discharges from the surface of the inferior extremities, were noticed in several places, and they continued until the close of his life. Nor would creosote, or pyroligneous acid, or any other means, modify in the least the sanguineous discharge. I have also known old cicatrized wounds to bleed anew in such subjects previous to their decease ; and blistered surfaces to become extremely annoying.

“The brain of the intemperate is the rallying point of much disorganizing action; but to notice the morbid changes min would be too technical for your purpose. Dissections have shown preternatural fulness of a venous character. The membranes of the brain over distended with blood. Effusions of serum, to a great extent, between the substance of the brain and its immediate coverings; and in the lateral ventricals large quantities of

Dr. Cooke, of London, in his work on nervous diseases, has recorded the case of a man who was brought dead into the Wesminster Hospital, who had just drank a quart of gin for a wager. The evidences of death being quite conclusive, he was immediately

examined; and within the lateral ventricles of the brain was found a considerable quantity of a limpid fluid, distinctly impregnated with gin both to the sense of smell and taste, and even to the test of inflammabilitý. Dr. Kirk of Scotland, has demonstrated a like truth, by the dissection of the dead body of an inebriate. The fluid from the lateral ventricles of the brain, exhaled the smell of whiskey; and when he applied a candle' to it, in a spoon, it burnt with a 'lambent blue flame.'

"I have repeatedly had cases of a similar character within my inspection. Upon removing the bony covering of the brain, the exhalation of ardent spirits, on several occasions, has been strongly manifested to the olfactories of the by-standers; and the effused fluid conspicuous for its quantity and quality. On one occasion, some spectators who were entering the room while the anatomical examination was going on, asked what puncheon of rum we had opened.”



Even these words from a maniac-but in madness selfinflicted-sounded portentous to the ear of the husband, and recalled the scene of the past night. His new raised hopes sunk, and he continued his walk with a sickened and despairing spirit.

On entering the house, his hopes could not but revive upon seeing Emma Portland, with her book in her hand, sitting by a cheerful fire ; and the breakfast-table ready for the family, as usual. He was welcomed with smiles, which showed that she was unconscious of aught amiss.

She supposed that Mr. Spiffard had gone to take a morning walk. Mrs. Epsom, she knew, had gone to market. Mrs. Spiffard, as is usual with most players, passed the morning, until late, in bed.

To look on innocence and beanty, is quieting to man's spirit; and innocence and beauty were united in no common degree, with taste and intelligence, in Emma Portland.

[merged small][ocr errors]


The denouement of a tragedy.

s Sorrow ends not when it seemeth done."

these external manners of lament, Are merely shadows to the unseen grief

Which fills the soul."--Shakspeare. Mercy is seasonable in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the time of drought."-Ecclesiasticus

" Against self-slaughter
There is a prohibition so divine,
That cravens my weak hand." --Shakspeare.

So lovely fair,
That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now
Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained,
And in her looks.”—Milton.

[ocr errors]

THERE is a charm in simplicity of dress, a conviction of which ought to be deeply impressed on the mind of every female. It is confessed by all, that when they look at a beautiful Madonna, by Raphael, where the silken hair, parted on the forehead, falls in natural ringlets on either side the face, adorning that which it shades. Yet, what fantastic forms have been adopted by females between the time of Raphael, and that of Emma Portland, who sat now before the hero of our story, as she might have sat before Raphael or Guido, for a saint or a muse.

But even the presence of beauty, taste, purity, and virtue, could not long quiet the troubled spirit of Spiffard. The appearance of his wife, as he last saw her, was as vividly present to him, although but in his " mind's eye,” as that of Emma Portland, and attracted more of his attention. He sat down. The circumstances under which he had parted from Mrs.

« ZurückWeiter »