Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

himself the trouble of asserting his knighthood by a certificate. Knight and gentleman were stamped on his every look and motion. The battle was fierce, and for some time doubtful. The enraged French knight, unexpectedly thwarted in his plans of revenge, fought with uncommon fury, and had once nearly unhorsed his opponent by driving the lance through the bars of the Castilian's helmet. But the latter kept his saddle, in which for a few moments he had appeared to totter; and roused by the blow to a decisive effort, laid the Frenchman at his feet. Nuñez, upon raising his beaver, was found to have lost an eye, according to his own prediction.

The presents which the gratitude of the lady's family forced upon the Spanish pilgrims, afforded them means of prosecuting their journey with more comfort than hitherto. The romantic fidelity which they had evinced in their whole conduct towards their lord, and the self-devotion of Don Pero Nuñez in saving the life of the French lady, had now preceded the travellers to the court of Castile. The king felt proud of such subjects, and announced his determination to receive them with the most marked honours. A messenger was despatched to meet the noble pilgrims before they reached the Castilian territory, with the king's commands that they should cross the frontier in the humble and worn-out clothes which they had upon them before they arrived at Toulouse. At the distance of five Spanish leagues beyond the divisory line of Aragon and Castile, the three knights were met by the king, who, attended by the grandees of his household, had gone out, on foot, to receive them. The bones of Count Rodrigo were conducted without delay to Osma, whither the king and his suite followed them; adding no common solemnity to a funeral which, from all its circumstances, was one of the most impressive ceremonies ever beheld in Spain. To the honour which the king, by his reception of the knights, had conferred on their persons and families, considerable grants of land were added, which their descendants possessed in the time of Don Juan Manuel.

The picture of manners and feelings exhibited in the preceding narrative, would be incomplete without the anecdotes connected with the return of two of the knights to their homes, which our royal author subjoins.

On the arrival of Don Ruy Gonzalez, as he sat at table for the first time with his wife, she raised her hands to Heaven, and thanked God that she had seen the day when she could again taste meat and wine. Ruy Gonzalez felt surprised and grieved at what he heard, supposing that some calamity had compelled his wife to undergo the greatest privations. “No; it was not poverty,” replied the lady, “ that forced me so long to abstain from the pleasures of the table. But remember, Ruy Gonzalez, that the day we parted, thy last words were, ' I have vowed not to return without Count Rodrigo, whether alive or dead. Be thou a true Castilian wife; and, I trust God, bread and water will never fail in thy house.' Such were thy

words; and they fell too deep into my heart for me to forget them. From that moment I made a vow to live upon bread and water till I saw you again.”

In the conjugal love of the wife of Don Pero Nuñez we have such a striking illustration of that vehemence, bordering on savageness,

which is still found in the best feelings of a Spaniard, when too much exalted, that the reader will, we hope, excuse us for the shock which we cannot spare him in relating our concluding story.

A crowd of relatives had flocked to receive Don Pero Nuñez. The joy which his return, and the meeting of so many near relatives had kindled, made the whole house ring with jokes and laughter. This riotous mirth, however, had the effect of wakening a suspicion in the knight's mind, which seems to have disturbed him

since his battle with the Frenchman. In consequence of a national prejudice, which time has scarcely weakened, a person who is blind of one eye, becomes an object of scorn among the Spaniards. The appellation of Tuerto adheres inseparably to his name, and he is subject to a certain degree of suspicion, as if so visible a mark were intended to caution others against something mischievous and unsafe in his disposition.* Don Pero Nuñez became more and more uneasy at the continual laughter which prevailed among his visitors ; till, unable to bear a mirth of which he suspected he was the object, and in which his own wife seemed to join, he retired to his chamber, and threw himself on the bed, hiding his head under his cloak. The wife, observing Nuñez's long absence, went after him, and was alarmed to find him in this state. Being assured that he was not ill, she would not leave him till, though with shame, he had confessed the cause of his grief. She then left the room, and had not been out many minutes, when, entering again, she hung upon her husband's neck, her face discoloured with blood. “My husband," she said, “ if any one should be so dead to honour, so heartless, as to be jocular on the subject of your lost eye, I shall be sure to share the scorn: for my hands have done that on myself which you

suffered from the lance of your enemy.”+

B. W.

SONNET.
Answer to " The Rhine Revisited," in a contemporary publication.

'Twas not a dream-a golden lustre played
On the pure bosom of the western sea,
And gently from the calm wave's deep-blue shade
There rosé a swell, which sounded mournfully
As low it trembled o'er the shipwreck'd shore,
Or echoed midst the trees which darkened near,
Charming the eye, that soon would gaze no more
Upon its loveliness, its witchery there.
It was no dream. The sun-beam slept profound
On the wide main, and from the murmuring grove
Borne onwards, came the wild soft note of love,
While sea-birds flew the rocky caves around :
And though so fair, so beautiful, this scene,
Still Memory whisper'd-all is not a Dream.

L. The reader will observe that one of the three Regents during the minority of Don Alfonso XI. whose names we mentioned at the beginning of this article, is called Don Juan el Tuerto. Neither his royal descent, nor his power, could exempt him from this scornful surname.

+ As a literal translation from antiquated Spanish would preserve nothing of the original style but its quaintness, we have used considerable freedom in rendering it into English. The story, in the words of the Spanish author, will be found in No. IV. of the Variedades o Mensagero de Londres, published by Mr. Ackermann, in the present month.

REMINISCENCES OF A LOVER,

[ocr errors]

“ Margarita first possest,
If I remember well, my breast,-

Then Joan, and Jane, and Andria,
And then a little Thomasine,
And then a pretty Katharine,

And then a long et cætera."-Cowley's Chronicle. When, at the mature age of five and forty, a man reviews his past life, and retraces in memory the course of that stream which admits no voyager's return, he will generally discover ample materials for wonder, ridicule, gratitude, and regret. As opinions once warmly advocated, pursuits once madly followed, errors long since abandoned, wishes long since recalled, rise in review before that being, another yet the same, who sits in sober judgement on his former self, he will be almost tempted to doubt his own identity, and will scarcely credit the power that a few short years have exercised over his mind.' How the heedless, pertinacious youth escaped the ruin so often courted, and gained the blessings so often repelled, will be matter for grateful astonishment; and whatever misfortunes may have attended him, he will, perhaps, thankfully acknowledge that but for the disappointment of his own wild wishes, and the rejection of his own earnest prayers, their number would have been trebled.

When I look back upon the escapes of my youth, there is one which is peculiarly surprising. I cannot comprehend how I reached five and twenty without being married. A more susceptible being than myself never existed. Before I was fourteen I had fancied myself in love with two or three of my partners at children's balls, and had made many ineffectual attempts to seduce good little girls in muslin frocks and coral necklaces into talking sentiment. Alas! young ladies of my own age rejected my hand, and aspired to older admirers; while to the children who would condescend to dance with a boy, manly gallantries were quite unintelligible. True, while I brought them cakes and negus with a lover's alacrity, they thought me very agreeable; but if I gazed at them earnestly, they told me it was rude to stare ; and I made one pretty, blue-eyed creature cry by squeezing her hand, and sent another in angry complaint to her mamma, because I insisted on carrying away her beautiful new fan.

I would gaze, too, at that time, with inexhaustible delight on handsome women, who, when they detected my artless admiration, would mortify me by unblushing cheeks, and by a good-natured smile, which seemed to say,—“ Pargoletto, non sai che cosa è amore.”

At eighteen I had been guilty of twenty flirtations. I never went to a dance without seeing some one pretty enough to keep me awake halfan-hour after I was in bed ; and even the bright eyes and blooming cheeks which passed me in the streets, set my breast in a flutter, and I would love to nurture the romantic idea that the fair visions would again cross my path. As yet, however, my fancies had been fleeting, my passion unacknowledged and unreturned. Many a flaming loveletter had been written, but timidity or inconstancy had consigned them unsent to the flames. I spent the vacation after I left school, at the country-seat of one of my father's intimate friends. For the first few days I was very uncomfortable—there was not a woman in the house

with whom I could fall in love. Two were old, two married, one engaged, and another inexcusably plain. I was just making up my mind to be very much smitten by a widow of twice my age, when I was informed that Miss Emily B. was expected. Her name was much in her favour, and I was in love with her before she arrived. My heart palpitated violently when I heard that she was in the house, and the moment I saw her face I told myself that my fate was fixed. Emily was just the beauty that boys admire, a skin all lilies and roses, laughing eyes, dimpled cheeks, high spirits. She was in the first riotous delight of coming out, ready to dance all night and every night, in that happy state between girl and woman so attractive even to those who are old enough to mourn over its vanity and brevity. Natural tastes, childish pleasures had not lost their charm; she loved battledore and shuttlecock, and delighted in long rambles, and in being lost in woods. If she tore her best gown, she laughed with infectious gaiety; if she had an elderly partner, she tried to tire him by the violence of her dancing; and if any thing ridiculous occurred, no power on earth could keep her risible museles in subjection. This gay creature and myself were soon on the most friendly terms. She netted me purses, and tied on my watchribbons ; I wrote her out new waltzes, and puzzling charades. She wore pink to please me, I learned the flageolet to please her. We seemed made for each other; for we thought alike on several important subjects—we liked the same songs and the same novels—and each doted upon the Boulanger, and considered it almost sinful to leave off dancing before the sun rose. Eight hours' dancing could not subdue Emily's buoyant spirits; when every one else was tired and languid, she was ready to laugh and to dance with all around, and I verily believe never left a ball-room till she was fairly carried off by her exhausted chaperon. My attentions and devotions soon won upon Emily's regard, while her beauty and vivacity made me desperately in love. I offered her my heart, which she willingly accepted. I believe she thought marriage would be one long country-dance, for she plighted her faith for life with the same careless gaiety with which she gave me her hand for "Sir Roger de Coverley." I was all joy and transport for two or three days; but, alas ! fathers on both sides interfered ; Emily wept, I raved, but all would not do ; we were parted—she was taken to a watering-place, I was hurried into Scotland to shoot

the anxieties of a sportsman superseded those of a lover, and I was astonished to find that I did not drink poison. Ten years afterwards I saw Emily again. I was passing through Southampton, on my return from a tour in the Isle of Wight, when a lady, leaning on the arm of two officers, accosted me by my name. She was altered beyond recognition; but an explanation ensued, and she informed me that she had been married eight years to a Captain of infantry, had accompanied him abroad, had given birth to six children, and buried three. She had lost her colour and her beauty; she was smartly but tawdrily dressed ; her spirits seemed changed into an habitual titter, and her temper to have acquired a fretfulness once unknown. I gazed upon her with astonishment. Vanished were the graces and sportiveness once so attractive nothing recalled to me the Emily of earlier years, till at length she laughed heartily and naturally at a prank of her eldest boy, who was with her, and I again caught the jocund notes which ten years had not

grouse ;

quite effaced from my remembrance. The Emily I had loved in her early bloom rose before me, a thousand frolics and pleasures accompanied the image, and scenes and feelings long faded, started into vivid colours at the sound.

While in Scotland I fell more than half in love with a young Highland beauty, in silken snood and robe of plaid, whom I met at an Edinburgh ball; but as this was only three months after I had assured my father that my attachment to Emily could end but with my life, I thought I should look rather ridiculous if I broke my resolution so soon. I checked, therefore, my budding passion, and sighed and looked miserable a little longer. During the Christmas holidays I had to subdue another threatening penchant towards an agreeable cousin; and set off for Oxford without having regularly forfeited my reputation for constancy.

Within a few miles of my new residence lived a clergyman and his wife, who had one fair daughter, just returned from a fashionable school, her head full of novels and nonsense, and her heart, like a highly charged electric jar, ready to explode at the slightest touch of a lover's finger. Chance threw me first in her way. One fine evening in spring I helped her over a stile, and this was obliged to suffice instead of rescuing her from a ruffian or a mad bull. In love we fell most romantically, and nursed the flame by concealment and stratagem. This was a most sentimental, serious concern; I soon learned to despise the merry-making style of my former attachment, to consider a smile as high treason against the doubts and anxieties of love, and to think that “all lovers should look melancholy mad.” We sighed to the sighing groves, sate pensive under trees, quoted Petrarch, preferred the moon to the sun, and gave many other signs of eternal affection. Of course I became a poet, at least (I beg pardon of half a dozen living authors) I began to write in rhyme. I read my verses to my charmer, who was celebrated in them by the name of Fiordelisa. She was delighted with my effusions, compared them with the compositions of our best poets, requested copies of them, which she kept in a rose-coloured satin French pocket-book trimmed with silver, and urged me incessantly to show my extraordinary talents to the world, and publish a volume of poems. I did not love my Fiordelisa the less for her favourable opinion of my infant muse, and my flattered vanity soon persuaded me that her judgment and taste were peculiarly correct. I began to prepare my verses for the prers, and for all the immortality which fine wove paper can bestow. "Al eady I heard in fancy the wonder, the suspicions, and admiration which would follow their anonymous publication, and Fiordelisa was evidently most impatient for the time when her charms would be recorded in print. We never met without my reading to her some new addition to the tiny bulk of my future volume. How well can I remember the spot, the scene of the lover's and the author's delusions. It was a small wood, from which the brushwood had been cleared, and the extreme unevenness of the ground denoted that it had at some distant period been dug for chalk or gravel. Now, however, every miniature mountain and fairy valley was covered with a fresh green turf, and shaded by trees of fifteen or twenty years' growth. The lively verdure of the grass was here diversified by the deeper,

« ZurückWeiter »