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The dirge being ended, and silence being restored throughout the mansion, the spouse of the deceased, sustaining his head between her hands, next resumed the melancholy strain. She mourned his fall, which so suddenly, so irrevocably dissolved their loves, left her and her children helpless, and exposed them to the horrors of captivity. She dwelt upon his bravery amid the perils of the field, his virtues in the bosom of his home, and, above all, she lamented that he had not resigned his last breath in her arms, and had left her on his warrior death-bed no last sad memorial of his affection. The sobs of the female train around her expressed their sympathy in her grief, and she was succeeded by the mother of the deceased, and perhaps a favourite sister or dear female friend, who smote their bosoms when their grief rose to its most poignant intensity.
In this manner that sex, whose principal earthly delight it is to lavish its endearing and generous offices on man, mourned the dead for nine successive days; while his military associates attended occasionally, and, in honour of him, having stripped off their armour, sometimes led their released horses round, or by, the place where he lay, in procession. In the mean time a spot was fixed upon for the funeral pile, and a large quantity of timber having been cut down fresh from the forest, it was conveyed to the ground which was marked, and which is expressly said, in one instance at least, to have been a hundred feet square. The wood and all the other necessaries being prepared, on the tenth day they proceeded to the funeral. A military array was formed, the charioteers going before-next the body, borne by friends of the deceased, and followed by the chief mourner, and in the rear a band of infantry. The body was covered by the tresses of the supporters, which they eut off, and thus dedicated, in token of their sorrow. A similar offering was made by the chief mourner; but to signify his deeper grief, and more intimate attachment, he placed the locks in the hands of the deceased. When the procession arrived at the appointed ground, the body was laid down, and the attendants directed to dress the funeral pile, heaped up the wood in a square commensurate with the prescribed space. They then placed the body on the summit, and in order that the flesh might be consumed as speedily as possible, they overspread it with the fat of oxen and sheep slaughtered for the purpose, and disposed the carcasses around it. With the same view, they placed on the pile jars of honey, inclining the mouths of the vessels towards the dead. To these were added four steeds and the headless bodies of two dogs, favourite animals doubtless of the deceased. But these bodies, as well as those of the sheep and oxen, were placed so far apart from the object of the solemnity as to prevent his bones from being mixed with theirs. The pile was then set fire to, and when the flesh was consumed, the embers were extinguished, the bones of the deceased carefully collected, and deposited in a golden urn; and to secure them from crumbling to dust too soon, they were thickly covered with lard.
The urn was taken away by the chief mourner, who, after carefully covering it with a veil, or piece of fine white drapery, deposited it among the most sacred possessions of his household. Finally, a circular space was marked out for the tumulus or tomb, the boundary fortified with stones, and the inclosure filled up with loose earth. The eleventh day was devoted to the funeral banquet and games. Such were the honours which were paid to the remains of an illustrious warrior.
The funerals of less distinguished persons were conducted upon a scale of less magnificence, and very humble members of society had these last offices performed for them with little or no ceremony at all. The body was burnt with the arms of the deceased; in the same spot the bones were interred, and over them was raised a small tumulus, on which some monumental tokens were erected, indicative of the pursuits that had employed the lifetime of the departed. Round these graves, asphodel and elm-trees were sometimes planted.
The funerals of illustrious men were not the only occasions which gave rise to the celebration of public games. They were often ordered by princes of a hospitable turn, in honour and for the amusement of distinguished guests. They were the favourite entertainments of the age, and whenever an idle crowd was assembled, whether at the solemnization of a funeral, or a marriage, or a religious festival, they usually devoted some hours to these trials of strength and skill. They also played at dice, and sometimes for such heavy stakes as excited not only deep interest, but sanguinary conflicts among the parties engaged. A very popular amusement was this :-A proficient in horsemanship selected four steeds of equal height, and well matched in their paces. These he connected together by traces, and urged at full speed from a
neighbouring plain to a town along the public road. As they ran he vaulted from one to the other; a feat which required great dexterity, and attracted vast crowds of spectators, male and female, and of all ranks and ages.
But perhaps the most general and fascinating amusement of the age was that of dancing. It prevailed equally among all orders of society, from the palace to the cottage, and seems to have been very successfully cultivated, upon principles not only of agility but of gracefulness. The movements were sometimes solemn and slow, sometimes extremely rapid, according to the subject of the vocal or instrumental music to which the figures were adapted. One of these was called the varied dance. It was arranged on the idea of the famous labyrinth of Crete, and according to the fashion which Dædalus of old invented for Ariadne.
There were as yet no public theatres, but a striking approach towards them, as well as towards the amusements which the drama and ballet afford, appear to have been made. The stage was the floor of the forum. A number of professional and youthful dancers assembled at the command of the prince, or on a public festival. The bard also attended, and took his station in the middle of the floor. Nine chosen superintendants arranged the entertainments, and restrained the spectators from breaking the circle set apart for the performers, who took their places around the bard. When the floor was sufficiently smoothened, and the circle made wide enough, under the direction of the superintendants, the dance commenced to the sound of the harp.
The festivals of religion were already solemnised with considerable splendour. Temples were erected on an extensive plan, to the expense of which several states contributed. The inhabitants of such states had a right to be present on occasions of extraordinary solemnity. Accordingly, we find that a large concourse of both sexes, who came from different parts by sea, attended sometimes at Delos, where Apollo was worshipped with great pomp, and which, in fact, was then the Delphi of the islands. But this gay crowd came, not less to participate in the sacred rites, than to witness the entertainments which were connected with them. Among these, the principal charms were the hymns which were sung to the god by the choir, accompanied with musical instruments. The love of novelty, so natural to vivid imaginations, invited the bards of the age to compose new verses in honour of the tutelar deity of the place. Prizes were given for the best specimens of sacred poetry, which produced the most animated contentions among the tuneful tribes. Such entertainments were fascinating, beyond all other pleasures, to a people warmed with so much poetic fire as the Greeks, and they were enhanced in no small degree, we may presume, by the interest which the people of each state felt in the victory or discomfiture of their native bards. Homer often assisted at these contests, as a candidate for the prize. Similar meetings took place at Chalcis in Euboea, where the palm of song was on several occasions borne away by Hesiod. Delphi was yet famous only for its oracular temple. It was not until a later age, that, in imitation of those of Delos and Euboea, the Pythian games were established; which soon became so celebrated through the then civilised world as to throw the parent institutions into the shade.
LOVE IN ABSENCE.
As sounds of sweetest music heard at eve,
A LOVE MATCH.*
Ir is surprising how many different stages people may pass through in the course of their lives, and yet preserve their identity. The Lintons were always spoken of as very worthy people. They were industrious and economical, and then they were called wealthy people. They purchased an elegant house, and furnished it with French furniture, and mirrors to the floor; then they were called fashionable people. At length they gave dinners and balls, and brought out their only child, who was a belle and a beauty, and then they were called stylish people. This is the very acmé of praise in the aristocratie vocabulary.
and after the Lintons became wealthy, fashionable, and stylish, they stood still.
Was it not a great mistake, in abolishing titles in this country, that we did not abolish the desire for them? Now, with a certain class, nothing is left to distinguish them but what can be procured by vulgar coin; and all the wealth in the country cannot turn one American citizen into a duke, or even a three-tailed bashaw. Emma Linton, the heroine of our tale, and the only child, though ambitious, possessed no vulgar ambition. Many a youth sued for her fair hand. She smiled upon them, talked with them, waltzed with them, and accepted their bouquets; but her heart remained untouched. She had her secret aspirations, and determined never to marry unless she could see them accomplished. It was not wealth she sighed for, nor such rank as our republican country affords, but for what she considered its true nobility-talent, There were many young lawyers, physicians, and divines, who gave fair promise of future eminence in their respective professions; but this was not Emma's idea of talent. Talent was a magic word that embraced every thing. The man who realised her beau ideal, was to charm by his eloquence, dazzle by his wit, convince by his arguments, and conquer by his energy. To find him it was not easy, yet it had been her dream for years. She had heard of such, and read of such; but they were like wandering comets that never crossed her path.
It is extremely difficult to know where to seek for our distinguished men. Every party has its demigods, and poor Emma was kept in a state of feverish vicissitude. One position, however, she resolutely adopted, that they were only to be found in public life; and she therefore sought her future husband in all the newspapers. She read whig speeches and democratic speeches, tariff speeches, and anti-tariff. She turned from the frozen zone of the north to the fiery tropics of the south. She wandered from the far east to the still farther west, and her heart found no restingplace.
At length, however, one star seemed to rise above its twinkling associates. All the world began to talk of Mr. Merville, "When he spoke in public," the newspapers said, "every eye was fixed upon him, and every tongue was mute." All parties acknowledged his talents; but only the party to which he belonged gave him credit for virtue and principle.
Mr. Linton happened to be on an excursion to Washington when Mr. Merville's fame became so transcendent, and therefore had the good fortune to hear him make a speech six hours long, during which it seemed doubtful whether he once stopped to breathe. All this Emma learned through the newspapers, and waited with the utmost impatience for her father's return. She had ascertained that Merville was a bachelor, and, if disengaged, he was the very hero of her aspirations. All in time Mr. Linton arrived, and Emma inquired, with no small degree of agitation, what he thought of the distinguished senator.
With surprise she learned that he was an early friend of her father's. They had met, with a glow of feeling that carried them back to youth, and in the fulness of communication Mr. Linton expressed his astonishment that Merville had never married.
It would be surprising," replied his companion, "if mine had not been an occupied life; but I begin to grow weary of the strife of politics, and tired of gazing, year after year, on the hard, unyielding visages of my constituents. I want different specimens of creation; its corals, its pearls, and its roses;-the truth is, Linton, I am determined to marry and live for myself."
"I wish," replied his friend, "you could take some fifteen or twenty years from your age; and then, as far as my influence and consent could insure success, you might become my son-in-law." "And why not now?" said Merville eagerly: "do you see in
*From the Token for 1840.
me any of the imbecility of age? Is my arm feeble to protect my wife, my heart cold in its pulsations? Where is the man, on whom you could bestow your daughter, who would insure her less chance of vicissitude and change? You may obtain for her youth, but you must take with it the uncertainty of worldly success, of moral character, and of disposition. Perhaps you may see her breasting the storms of life with a man who has nothing but his youth to recommend him, an advantage of all others the most perilous and the most fleeting."
As he spoke, his eye sparkled with the vivacity of youth, and certainly at that moment there was little to mark the accumulation of years. His hair was slightly bleached, but the manly dignity of his form was still unimpaired. Mr. Linton became a proselyte to the eloquence of his friend, and consented that he should try his influence with the young beauty. His surprise was great when he returned home to find her mind already engaged upon the subject; and, when he opened the negotiation, she lent a ready and willing ear.
Mr. Linton communicated to his friend the favourable intelligence, with the permission to hasten on and make his own impressions. Mr. Merville was too important a man easily to get leave of absence. His name was on various committees; and petitions signed by many a Harriett, Mary, Eliza, &c., were daily coming in, which he felt bound to denounce or to support. At such a juncture, he could only write at first to the father. By degrees a correspondence was commenced between the parties. Had aught been wanting to confirm the fair Emma in her favourable impressions, these letters would have been sufficient. The flame was kindled, and burned brightly. Every newspaper that contained his name was preserved. "Mr. Merville made a motion," " Mr. Merville sat down," "Mr. Merville rose," were all words of magic import; and now and then a speech of four columns in length, to be continued in the next, and concluded in the one after, by Mr. Merville, gave her employment till the next appeared. Emma no longer troubled herself to keep up appearances. Instead of wearing the numerous bouquets that were laid at her shrine, and which often made her resemble "Birnam wood coming to Dunsinane," she left them to fade and die on her dressing-table. The consequence was, that the passion of the inamoratos faded and died with them, and Emma Linton ceased to be a belle. At length, however, the long session was over, and Merville, crowned with honours, and his party triumphant, was speeched and feasted through all the principal cities and towns, till he arrived at too late at night to visit the lady of his love. The first notice she received of his vicinity was through the newspapers, those important agents in the present love affair. It was announced in capital letters, that Mr. Merville, the great senator, the great speaker, the great statesman, had arrived, and that he had already received an invitation to a public dinner, which he had graciously accepted. Now did Emma's heart flutter, her cheeks glow, as she thought, "This man, whom all the world delights to honour, is engrossed solely by me." She walked before her Psyche glass, scanned her slight and youthful figure, and felt a degree of wonder that anything so diminutive could set the world in motion.
At an early hour she was prepared to receive the senator. But he was detained by calls, and shaking of hands, and accepting the homage of half the city.
At length, however, the august moment arrived, and Mr. Merville was introduced to the elegant and classic apartment of the young lady. Emma was an only daughter, and had the privileges of one. Though Mr. Linton had no great taste for pictures or statues, Emma had cultivated an ardent love of the fine arts. She had collected around her specimens of Italian sculpture; and a Cupid, beautiful as day, surmounted the pillar which rose in the centre of the crimson divan, against which she reclined. On either side were placed upon pedestals an Apollo and a flying Mercury. The walls were ornamented with the finest copies of Raphael's Madonnas, the St. John of Domenichino, the Magdalen of Guido. The furniture was in the simplest style of Grecian beauty; tabourets and divans, and the slight modern cane chair, that looks as if it was hardly made to support one of mortal mould, had excluded the French comfortable bergère and fauteuil. This apartment, so beautifully arranged, was exclusively her own, and was reflected on every side by superb mirrors, which produced the effect of a suite of rooms. It was an agitating moment to its youthful mistress when the great Merville entered,-great, we regret to say, in more senses than one. "The waving line of beauty" has long been celebrated, but seems difficult to define when brought into real life. Fanny Kemble, we think, illustrated it, who never stood erect, but bent, like a graceful sapling, with
every emotion of her mind. If it means merely a curve, Merville illustrated it, for time often gives a surprising rotundity to the figure. Emma had been too much engrossed in her worship of talent to ask a description of the temple which enshrined it, or she would have learned that he was what we Yankees call a portly man, with a comfortable share of the bones and sinews of old Kentucky.
Emma had placed one of the light cane chairs near the divan, on which she meant to give audience; thinking it would be a convenient seat for her lover. Even the elephant is guided by instinct or reason, and refuses to cross a bridge that may totter and sink under him; how much more a man of talents would avoid such a snare. Merville had real good sense, and none of the affectation that belongs to a little mind. He paid his respects to Emma in a manly and graceful manner, and, as he considered the cane chair wholly out of the question, he took a seat on the small circular divan upon which she was sitting. This was unfavourable for first impressions, it brought them nearly back to back, reflected from the magnificent mirrors, and the light and graceful Cupid, with his bow bent, rising above them, and ready to take aim. It however was only a first meeting, and it was of short continuance, for Merville was a public man, and had many engagements on hand. Perhaps he was too wise to make a long visit. His allusions were tender and respectful, as to the object for which he came, and yet not so pointed as to alarm the fair one. She felt that he still considered her the mistress of her own destiny. When he took leave, she watched his retreating form in the mirror opposite, and, as the door closed, her beautiful head drooped, and she burst into tears.
At that critical moment the door was again gently opened, and Merville appeared; he had left one of his gloves, and returned for it, What a spectacle for a lover,-his fair mistress, after the first triumph of a meeting, half suffocated by sobs, and bathed in tears!
His quick and comprehensive mind at once caught the meaning of her distress, and he determined to let his engagments wait, and set her heart at rest.
"My dear Miss Linton," said he (he had been used to addressing her thus in letters)," why this agitation, this causeless distress? You have incurred no responsibility, you are entirely your own mistress; whatever encouragement or hope I may have cherished, has been the result of my own sanguine wishes. This excursion, without so powerful a motive, would have been desirable to me. Much as I had heard of your beauty and sweetness, and truly as I read your mind in the letters I have received, I do not hesitate to say, that the reality far transcends my expectations. I feel that it was presumption in me to expect to win youth and beauty, Recover your cheerfulness, and put me wholly out of the question; consider me only as the friend of your father."
The soothing tones of his voice, his manner so tender and respectful, at once produced the desired effect; her tears ceased, and by degrees furtive smiles dimpled her cheeks. Their conversation grew more interesting, yet that odious divan! There was but one way of settling it; Emma arose and seated her slight figure in the slight chair, and then they could talk face to face. Merville gained wonderfully by this arrangement. There is no old age to intellect,-it diffuses over the countenance the animation and brightness of youth. Emma saw all her dreams realised. Whether the little Cupid drew his bow or not, it is difficult to say; but, before they parted, another appointment was made for the evening, and, when he a second time dissppeared, the mirror reflected to her eye "a port like Jove." Mr. Merville had no time to lose, and their engagement was soon settled and announced. Strange as it may seem, Emma was deeply in love; and we verily believe, if she had heard all the spiteful things said about their difference of age, it would not have given her a moment's uneasiSome tried to make it out a mercenary match on her side; but, as she had rather more wealth in expectation than Mr. Merville in possession, this did not go well. They next endeavoured to prove that it was for an establishment she was forming the connexion, to be mistress of a house and of a carriage; but all this she enjoyed under her parent's roof. Finally, they contented themselves by saying, "she had thrown herself away;" a conclusion that settles all difficulties, and is a wonderful cordial to the ill-natured.
In a few weeks Mr. Merville led his young bride to the altar. He was the happiest of husbands, Emma the happiest of wives, and Mr. Linton the happiest of fathers; but there was one quiet unobtrusive being, that we cannot rank among the happy, and this was Mrs. Linton, the tender mother of Emma. She was neither
talented nor gifted, but her heart was true to nature; she had from the first been averse to the match, and ventured to remonstrate against it. Emma listened respectfully to her objections; they were entirely based upon the difference of years. "How is it possible," said she, "that the young and the old can assimilate ? Your husband will soon want quiet and retirement, while you are yet sighing for gaiety and amusement." "Never, mother," said Emma, and she fully believed what she said. "His pursuits will always be mine; there is a perfect assimilation of mind, and time has no power over intellect." "And yet," said Mrs. Linton, "I have known such disproportioned matches end unhappily, and what you call intellect crumble away before old age.' it ceases to be intellect," said Emma, triumphantly, "and cannot apply to our subject. We are all liable to the casualties of life; I too may become an invalid, but we can only provide for the present." Mrs. Linton was always silenced by Emma's ready wit; she ceased to oppose, and, when she parted from her beloved and only daughter, made every effort to suppress her rising tears. Emma repaired to the pleasant mansion of her husband, and for three whole months was the happiest of human beings, though far away from her parents and early companions, and comparatively among strangers. The intellect and talent to which she paid homage were devotedly hers. Her husband suffered the wheels of government to revolve as they might; it mattered little to him which part was up, or which down. His beautiful bride absorbed all his thoughts. He accommodated himself to her youth, her fancies, and even her whims. They had promised a distinguished artist to sit for their pictures, and Emma insisted that they should both be put on the same canvas. Merville's good judgment led him to oppose this fancy, but the young wife would not be contradicted. Notwithstanding the skill of the painter, the contrast of age was strikingly preserved. Emma was unpleasantly affected by it, and she protested they were neither of them likenesses.
Hitherto Mr. Merville's world of politics had gone smoothly on; but who expects stability in our new hemisphere? Electioneering times were drawing near, and the husband began to arouse from his slumber. His brow was sometimes thoughtful, and Emma grew anxious lest he loved her less. She had a modest and painful consciousness of intellectual inferiority compared with him, which sometimes disquieted her. Her husband was in the habit of calming these solicitudes by assuring her how much beyond compare were her native and intuitive perceptions, to any dull acquisitions of his own. Her genius and taste were amply and justly alleged, and always with feeling and eloquence. But this could not last in electioneering times. Merville was a determined politician, and whigs and democrats were in motion. One evening the petted wife actually found herself alone in her drawing-room. The French clock struck nine, and he did not arrive; she tried to read, she walked the room, she rang the bell, she poked the fire, and whiled away another hour. At length the clock struck the deep funereal notes of ten. At that moment he entered, and found his beautiful Emma in tears.
"What is the matter with you, my dearest?" said he, tenderly; "no bad news, I hope, from our dear father or mother?" It must be confessed he had the affectation of calling his early friends by their parental titles. Emma shook her head. "What then has happened?
"Where have you been all the evening?" said she, with a rising sob.
"To a caucus, my love," replied he. "Promise me, then," said she, throwing herself into his arms, "that you will never go to another."
It was easy for him to restore Emma's serenity for that time. But, alas! caucus after caucus followed; his whole time became engrossed. He was the leading man of his party; and the very popularity that had won her heart now made her wretchedness. The chosen friends of her husband were politicians, and of his own age. He urged her to invite friends to her house, and to visit; but he was always too much engaged to be with her. At length he proposed her making her parents a visit, and promised to hasten to her the first moment of leisure. Emma received this proposal as a wish to be relieved from the little restraint her society imposed upon him, and made her preparations with the air of a martyr. His engrossment did not prevent his attending to every proper arrangement for the journey of his wife. Her father joyfully welcomed her, talked of the popularity and success of her husband, of his high standing among his constituents, and congratulated her on having chosen so wisely. The mother's eye soon detected a cloud on the fair young brow; and when Emma seated herself on
a low cricket by her side, Mrs. Linton did not repress the confidence that was trembling on her lips.
"O mother," said she, "all you predicted has arrived. interested in nothing-I enjoy nothing-I have no society-I am alone in the world. My husband has become indifferent to me." "You shock me," said Mrs. Linton.
"Indeed, mother, it is too true; but little more than three months after we were married, his alienation began."
"My dear child, Mr. Merville is a man of honour and principle; I fear your conduct has been injudicious."
"I have been the most devoted of wives," replied Emma; "I wanted no other society than his. Only three months after we were married, he left me for
"My child," interrupted the mother, "beware of suspicion, and do not expose any faults you may have accidentally discovered."
"Surely may speak to my own mother," replied Emma. "Three months after we were married, he left me a whole evening entirely alone, and I discovered that it was for nothing but a caucus!"
"I am rejoiced," said Mrs. Linton, smiling, "that it was for nothing but that. But now do tell me, Emma, why you married Mr. Merville?"
"You know, mother, it was for his talents; they first secured my affection."
"Then he has lost his talents; he is no longer an honour to his country?"
"Indeed, you are mistaken," said Emma, warmly; "he is more popular than ever." "Then it is you that have changed; you love him no longer for what first won your affection. Had he grown indifferent to the public good, and passed his time in attendance upon you, you might have justly complained that you had thrown yourself away upon an imaginary greatness."
Emma had good sense enough to feel that her mother's representations were just, and she only added, "Well, great talents are for the world, not for domestic life." Yet when her friends thronged to see her, and all spoke of her husband, she felt her former enthusiasm revive. Week after week she expected him, but the delinquent did not arrive; and at length he wrote to her, that he was so much occupied that it would be impossible for him to come for her till a certain day of the month, when the electioneering would be over. The letter was written in the hurry of occupation, and under darker views of his political horizon than had yet taken place. His wife imagined there was a peculiar coldness about it, and she became quite wretched, and announced her intention of immediately returning. There is a restlessness in unhappiness, that will not allow the subject to wait patiently for the unravelling of events. Emma, notwithstanding the remonstrances of her parents, who did not understand the state of her feelings, actually took passage in the stage-coach, and arrived at her own door just at night, after two days of rapid journeying
She hastened to her room; it was cold and cheerless. The servants were surprised to see her, and she almost regretted that she had come back. She would not unpack her trunks, but seated herself on one of them, thinking bitter thoughts.
"How soon will your master probably be at home?" said she
to one of the servants.
"Early to-night, madam," said he; "he has a party of gentlemen to sup."
"No wonder," thought Emma, clasping her hands in a theatrical style," that he could not come for me, that he does not wish me back! I will no longer blight his prospects; I will return, for ever, to my parents.' She seated herself at her writingtable to pen a farewell epistle to her faithless husband. In the mean time, he returned just in season to receive his friends, and did not learn till the late hour of their departure that she had arrived. The servant then put a letter into his hands, with the information; but added that Mrs. Merville was very much fatigued, had retired for the night, and requested not to be dis
Mr. Merville opened the letter with real anxiety, and with the intention of at least watching by the bedside of the invalid, after he had ascertained the cause of her sudden return, which he presumed the letter would explain.
"TO MR. MErville. "Where the feeling of affection exists no more, it is useless to recriminate; it neither suits the dignity of your character, nor the forbearance of mine.. I should think it my duty to continue
to endure indifference and neglect, did I not feel that, in returning to my father's roof, I relieve you from a responsibility that, with your sense of justice, must weigh heavily upon your conscience. Your time will now be wholly your own; and you may devote it to the public weal, or to such convivial pleasures as have been the occupation of this evening. It would have been generous in you not to have awakened me so early from my dream of happiness, which for a very few months seemed to me a blessed reality of all I had ever hoped to enjoy. The painful lesson I have received of my own insignificance, is one that no doubt I required. We measure ourselves by those around us, and, brought up as I have been, I had but little to lower my self-esteem. Though we part, it is still my earnest wish to bear your name. It is an honour to myself and to my family. "EMMA MERVILLE."
Twice the husband read the letter without comprehending the tenor of it. He then directed her waiting-maid to go to her with a message; but the girl said the door was locked, and, as no answer was returned, her lady must be asleep. Upon further inquiry, he found she had made arrangements to set off early in the morning. Again Merville read the letter, and not, as before, with a total unconsciousness of its meaning. His own quick intellect supplied the explanation she had withheld, and a generous tear bedewed his eye. "She is but a child," thought he; "a lamb that I took from the fold; I placed her in the green pasture by the flowing brook, but I ought to have carried her in my bosom. He thought over her youth and her beauty, and some humiliating contrasts rose to his mind as to his own claims. He felt that her happiness ought to have been his first care, and when, after giving orders to his servant, he threw himself upon his bed, it was in the spirit of confession and contrition.
times regretted that she had thus sealed her own destiny, but an In the meantime, Emma passed a restless night; she someheroic feeling, that she had relieved her husband from a burden, for her departure. It was a cold, cheerless morning, not a star in supported her resolution. Before the dawn of day she was ready the sky, and still so dark that not an object could be discerned.
Poor Emma hurried to the room where the portraits hung; it was not to look at her own, radiant with happiness, but to take dered she had not thought it a likeness; there was his high broad a last view of her husband's, by a glimmering lamp. She wonforehead, his dark piercing eye, beaming upon her with a tenderThe servant came to say that the carriage was at the door. Placness that she should never see again. Her tears fell in torrents. ing her handkerchief to her eyes she left the apartment; and, with a feeling of despair, as if she cared not who witnessed her sorrow, ascended the steps of her carriage, and with a convulsive sob threw herself back,-not on the seat, but into her husband's arms! Fondly and tenderly he pressed her to his bosom. "Could you think, my Emma," said he, "that I would let you a second time leave me? Where thou goest, I will go too."
they travelled alone in the carriage. Never had the powers of He had secretly countermanded her orders the night before, and Merville's mind been so fully called forth; not as a statesman or a politician, but as a husband, lover, and friend, blending with all a tenderness almost parental. No allusion was made to the heroic epistle, and Emma hoped he had not received it.
Two days of travel, devoted to conversation, passed rapidly with information. away. Merville had the happy art of mingling useful reflection His mind was stored with experience, and many a little narrative called forth her sympathy. As they enpered, "Am I now in a dream, or have I awoke from a miserable tered the city and drew near to her father's, Emma faintly whisone to happiness?"
"We have both awoke," said he; "God grant we may dream no more!"
they were much surprised at Emma's speedy return. Merville had They were received with great delight by the parents, though always entertained an instinctive feeling that Mrs. Linton was opposed to their marriage; and, though he had treated her with filial respect, there was less of warm-hearted confidence than he had evinced for her husband. He now, however, took an early opportunity to request a private conference, and candidly communicated to her all that had passed. "Henceforth," said he, "Emma shall have no reason to complain of neglect, neither shall you find any maternal anxieties you may have felt, arising from the difference of our ages, fulfilled."
"I have always thought," said Mrs. Linton, good-humouredly, "and still think, notwithstanding Emma's griefs, that hers bids fair to be among the few happy matches. But my sentiments are
not changed; and, if I were ever to write a dissertation, it should be against such alliances."
"It would do no good, my dear madam," replied he; "L as long as there are human motives and sympathies, such alliances will take place. Rather turn your attention towards mitigating any evils that may arise from them." Emma remained a week at her father's, and still her husband said nothing of returning; at length she proposed it herself, and he at once consented. On their journey home the reconciliation was so perfect, that Emma did not hesitate to discuss her grievances. The shock she received on her arrival, at finding preparations for a supper party was alluded to, and she learned with some confusion that it was the regular meeting of a club of Merville's ancient compeers.
From this time the aspect of things seemed to have changed. Emma began to dabble a little in politics, and assisted in writing votes for distribution. Just as she had made up her mind to become a real politician, the election took place, and the opposite party obtained the victory. Perhaps Merville bore this disappointment with more philosophy from his new views of domestic duty; and, when a second Emma came to brighten his existence, and awaken parental affection, nothing of political party mingled with his love for his country; but, with his earnest desire for its prosperity and happiness was united general philanthropy towards his fellow-citizens. Emma realised more of her dreams of happiness than perhaps belongs to the lot of most of her sex, and always professed herself a warm advocate for disparity of age in a matrimonial connexion; not, however, exceeding the thirty-five years, exactly the difference between her husband's and her own. "Such matches," she said, "were the happiest in the world when they were real love matches."
EARTHQUAKE OF CARACAS.
thronged the churches, that nearly four thousand persons were crushed by the fall of their heavy vaulted roofs. The sacred edifices which bore the names of La Trinidad and Alta Gracia were more than one hundred and fifty feet in height; the naves were supported by pillars of twelve or fifteen feet in diameter; yet of these strong and massive buildings there only remained a mass of ruins, not exceeding five or six feet in elevation. The ground at this place afterwards sunk so much, that scarcely any vestiges of pillars or columns remained visible. The soldiers' barracks, a large and substantial building, almost wholly disappeared. A regiment of troops of the line that was assembled under arms, ready to join the procession, was, with the exception of a few men, overwhelmed beneath the ruins of this great edifice. In short, nine-tenths of the fine town of Caracas were completely reduced to a heap of rubbish. The walls of such houses as were not thrown down were so rent and shattered, that no one would run the risk of inhabiting them. The effects of the earthquake were somewhat less violent in the southern and western parts of the city than in the others. There the cathedral, a massive building, supported by enormous buttresses, remained standing.
The scene of desolation and misery which followed this dreadful visitation has been painted in such lively colours by the great traveller mentioned, that we shall quote his words.
"The night of Holy Thursday presented the most distressing scene of desolation and sorrow. A thick cloud of dust, which, rising above the ruins, darkened the sky like a fog, had settled on the ground. No shock was felt, and never was a night more calm or more serene. The moon, nearly full, illumined the round domes of the Silla, and the aspect of the sky formed a perfect contrast to that of the earth, covered with the dead, and heaped with ruins. Mothers were seen bearing in their arms their children, whom they hoped to recal to life. Desolate families wandered through the city, seeking a brother, a husband, a friend, of whose fate they were ignorant, and whom they believed to be lost in the crowd. The people pressed along the streets, which could no more be recognised but by long lines of ruins. calamities experienced in the great catastrophes of Lisbon, Messina, Lima, and Riobamba, were renewed on the fatal day of the 26th of March, 1812. The wounded buried under the ruins implored by their cries the help of the passers by, and nearly two thousand were dug out. Never was pity displayed in a more affecting manner, never had it been seen more ingeniously active, than in the efforts employed to save the miserable victims, whose groans reached the ear. Implements for digging and clearing away the ruins were entirely wanting, and the people were obliged to use their bare hands to disinter the living. The wounded, as well as the sick who had escaped from the hospitals, were laid on the banks of the small river Guayra: they found no shelter but the foliage of trees. Beds, linen to dress the wounds, instruments of buried under the ruins. Every thing, even food, was wanting during the first days. Water became alike scarce in the interior of the city. The commotion had rent the pipes of the fountains; the falling in of the earth had choked up the springs that supplied them; and it became necessary, in order to have water, to go down to the river Guayra, which was considerably swelled-and There remained then vessels to convey the water were wanting. a duty to be fulfilled toward the dead, enjoined at once by piety and the dread of infection. It being impossible to inter so many thousand corpses, half-buried already under the ruins, commissaries were appointed to burn the bodies; and for this purpose funeral piles were erected between the heaps of ruins. This ceremony lasted several days. Amid so many public calamities, the people devoted themselves to those religious duties which they thought were the most fitted to appease the wrath of Heaven. Some, assembling in processions, sung funeral hymns: others, in distraction, confessed themselves aloud in the streets. In this town was repeated what had been remarked in the province of Quito, after the tremendous earthquakes of 1797; a number of many years to sanction their union by the sacerdotal benediction. Children found parents by whom they had never till then been acknowledged; restitutions were promised by persons who had
THE most awful convulsion of nature which has occurred in any part of the world, since the commencement of this century, was the earthquake of Caracas, a city of what is now the independent republic of Venezuela, in South America. It is situated about fifteen miles from the Caribbean Sea, from which it is separated by a chain of mountains, at an elevation of 3,000 feet above the ocean. It was well-built, possessed many spacious and beautiful edifices; the private houses were noted for the richness and costliness of their furniture and decorations-an unequivocal indication of great wealth-and it contained, at the time of the catastrophe, a population of 50,000. On the fatal 26th of March, 1812, it was reduced to a heap of ruins in a few seconds, and twelve thousand of the inhabitants perished together in an instant. The prince of travellers, M. Humboldt, has supplied us with a vivid and affecting account of this appalling calamity, to which we shall have recourse in drawing up the present notice of it. Shocks of earth-surgery, medicines, and objects of the most urgent necessity, were quakes had been felt previously to the fatal day, particularly on the 7th and 8th of February, when the earth was kept in a state of perpetual oscillation day and night. A great drought prevailed at this period throughout the province. Not a drop of rain had fallen at Caracas, or for ninety leagues around it, during the five months which preceded its destruction. The 26th of March, the memorable day, was remarkably hot; the air was calm, and the sky was one sheet of unclouded azure. It being Holy Thursday, a great part of the population was assembled in the churches. Nothing in the earth or in the sky gave awful presage of the approaching calamity; it seemed a holiday with nature too. But at seven minutes past four in the afternoon a shock was felt, sufficiently powerful to make the bells of all the churches toll at once. This lasted five or six seconds, during which the ground rolled to and fro like an agitated sea, and heaved upwards like a boiling liquid. The danger was supposed to be past, when suddenly a tremendous subterranean noise was heard, louder and longer than the most terrible roll of thunder that ever pealed within the tropics, but resembling that phenomenon. This sound preceded a perpetual motion of three or four seconds, followed by an undu-marriages were contracted between persons who had neglected for latory movement somewhat longer. The shocks were in opposite directions, from north to south, and from east to west. Nothing could resist this combined movement from beneath upwards, and the undulations crossing each other. As two contending waves meeting break each other into fragments, so was Caracas shattered to pieces by this opposite rolling of the earth; and about twelve thousand souls were buried beneath the houses and churches.
There was of course a grand procession to take place that day; it had not yet set out, but so great was the concourse which
*The earthquake of Riobamba, in Quito, which happened in 1797, produced as frightful, and at the same time as singular effects, as any on record. Forty thousand persons perished in a moment; and the earth so opened, that opposite sides of the same street were in some instances removed to a great distance from each other, and occasionally to a considerable height above their former level.-E.