페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

dom; and, if it extend to the whole impression, a kind of massacre ; whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at the ethereal and fifth essence, the breath of reason itself; slays an immortality rather than a life.' (Milton's Areopagitica, vol. ii. p. 55, Bohn's Standard Library.)

If History repeats itself, an ancient extract of an unknown date may not inappropriately be here introduced. It is as follows:

• It is to be lamented that a market of such importance as the present state of the nation has made theirs (viz. that for Stocks and Shares) should be brought into any discredit by the introduction of bad men, who, instead of serving their Countree, and procuring an honest subsistence in the army or the fleet, endeavour to maintain luxurious tables and splendid equipages by sporting with the public credit.

• It is not long since the evil of Stock-jobbing was risen to such an enormous height as to threaten great injury to every actual proprietor; more particularly to many widows and orphans, who, being bound to depend upon the Funds for their whole subsistence, could not possibly retreat from the approaching danger.

• But this evil ... was, like many other, at length subdued by its own violence; and the reputable Vortexbrokers seem now to have it in their power effectually to prevent its return by not suffering the most distant approaches of it to take footing in their own practice, and by opposing every effort made for its recovery by the desperate sons of fortune, who, not having the courage of highwaymen, TAKE 'Change-alley rather than the road, because, though more injurious than highwaymen, they are less in danger of punishment by the loss either of liberty or life. • With respect to

the proprietors of the Public Funds, who are busy in the improvement of their fortunes, it is sufficient to say—that no motive can sanctify the accumulation of wealth but an ardent desire to make the most honourable and virtuous use of it, by contributing to the support of good government, the increase of arts and industry, the rewards of genius and virtue, and the relief of wretchedness and want.

6" What GOOD, what TRUE, what FIT we justly call,

Let this be all our care, for this is all :
To lay this TREASURE up, and hoard with haste
What every day will want, and most the last.
This done, the poorest can no wants endure;
And this not done, the richest must be poor." POPE.'

YE VAMPYRES!

I Legend.

INTRODUCTION.

And many strokes, though with a little axe,
Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak.'

SHAKESPEARE.
The year's A.D. one million. I once abode on earth ; but now
I'm never seen except at nights, nor even then unless I choose.

A poor and wretched Spectre, with limbs so lank and so attenuated, eyes sunken, features wasted, and toothless lantern jaws, I scarcely show a trace of my once luxuriantly splendid growth of hair. Ab, shades of Rowland, in vain would ye restore !

I'm ever on the wing; now here, now there, and then I'm gone afar. Sometimes I visit Courts and Palaces. Again I lodge beneath the humble cotter's roof. Tis one to me, so I perform the mandates of Creation. Few make of me a friend ; none care to have me for their enemy. Ne'er do I pine from noontide heats, nor pestilence, nor frigid zone's recoil.

Time long with me had lapsed - Eternity begun--when many, many thousand years ago I wandered amongst the. Spheres. I had come from far-distant Space, myriads of spaces off-you cannot tell the number—and once again was on the earth. А

cry of anguish which haunts me even yet had brought me down; one wild, piercing shriek from pretty lips-ab, so pretty!

All had been seen long, long before. I proceeded to take Spectral notes of what I witnessed during my stay in the Countrees far and near, for I desired to treasure everything. I also wished at starting to meet with some persons, interested in the object of my sojourn, who would assist me in my work. It is due indeed to the memory of such kind friends to say that regions of Space, far, far remote from earth, have fully occupied my time since then, or else this little book would not have tarried so.

B

Part the first.

CHAPTER I.

Strike while the iron is hot.' Of all the old Countree's beauteous counties, none was, in the days I'm speaking of, so justly celebrated for richness of foliage and undying delicacy of tint as Heartshire. It was quite as noted too for the warmth and ever-renewing lights and shades, which, despite all weathers and changes of whatever kind, hovered and danced over its variegated scenery. The morning was changeable, the month your April ; showery at times, then bright and clear—but what was weather to a Spectre ?—and I stood waiting, for I had knocked at Welcome Grange-a noble mension, new to me--as was Heartgate, a pretty little town close by; yet misgivings had I none.

Could all the servant maids who opened the door to you in Heartshire be buxom ? Selina was. She started; for I was so lank. I grieved, but would not budge an inch. Instead, I breathed into her pretty ear, "Are the Women of th' Old Countree at home ? The buxom maid now smiled; for I had smiled; it did me good—and her no harm, I think. "The Ladies are,' the buxom maid replied.

“I'd rather see the women,' I told Selina, and handed her my Spectral card.

Oh, Sarah! Sarah! Kate! do come; here's a—a—&— Spectre ! Oh! oh!

And Selina had left me dangling in the wind with the hall door

open. She looked hysterical; how I grieved again!

Oh, never mind,' I now implored, “I'll see the ladies.' Up came the cook and kitchen-maid.

•You foolish thing, Selina ! cried stout Sarah; “the Spectre's quite “respectable;" how could you now! She's new you know to Heartshire,' she said, turning to me; ain't she, Kate ?

They all then blushed, and talked so fast together that I could not understand a word. The buxom maid had quite come-to, and led me to the drawing-room.

I never could stand tears, and when Selina told me she was

6

« 이전계속 »