페이지 이미지

in the vault which held many members of their ancient family. I was not the only one whose feelings overpowered him during the ceremony, and unfitted me, in some measure, for the duty which awaited me on my return, of ministering professionally to the heart broken sisters. Swoons, hysterics, sobs, and sighs, did I move amongst du ring the remainder of the day! Nearly all the attendants of the funeral left the Hall soon afterwards to the undisturbed dominion of solitude and sorrow: but I was prevailed upon by Lord, their brother, to continue all night, as Lady Julia's continued agitation threatened serious consequences.

It was at a late hour that we separated for our respective chambers. That allotted to me had been the one formerly occupied by Sir Henry and his lady, and was a noble, but, to me, gloomy room. Though past one o'clock, I did not think of getting into bed, but trimmed my lamp, drew a chair to the table beside the fire, and having brought with me pen, ink, and paper, began writing, amongst other things, some of these memoranda, which are incorporated into this narrative, for I felt too excited to think of sleep. Thus had I been engaged for some twenty minutes or half an hour, when I laid down my pen to listen-for, unless my ears had deceived me, I heard the sound of soft music at a little distance. How solemn was the silence at that " witching hour!" Through the crimson curtains of the window, which I had partially drawn aside, was seen the moon, casting her lovely smiles upon the sleeping earth, all quiet as in her immediate presence. How tranquil was all before me, how mournful all with in! The very room in which I was standing had been occupied, in happier times, by her whose remains had that day been deposited in their last cold resting-place! At length more dreary thoughts-of Somerfield -of its wretched insensate tenant, flitted across my mind. I drew back again the curtain, and, returning to the chair I had quitted, resumed my pen. Again, however, I heard the sound of music; I listened, and distinguished the tones of a voice, accompanied by a guitar, singing the

melancholy air," Charlie is my darling," with exquisite simplicity and pathos. I stepped again to the window, for the singer was evidently standing close before it. I gently drew aside a little of the curtain, and saw two figures, one at a little distance, the other very near the window. The latter was the minstrel, who stood exactly as a Spaniard is represented in such circumstances -a short cloak over his shoulders; and the colour fled from my cheeks, my eyes were almost blinded, for I perceived it was-Sir Henry, accompanied by the wretch whom he treated as "the king!" I stood staring at him unseen, as if transfixed, till he completed his song. He paused. "They all sleep sound," he exclaimed with a sigh, looking up with a melancholy air at the windows"Wake, lady-love, wake!" He began again to strike the strings of his guitar, and was commencing a merry air, when a window was opened overhead. He looked up suddenlya faint shriek was heard from above

Sir Henry flung away his guitar, and, followed by his companion, sprung out of sight in a moment! Every one in the house was instantly roused. The shriek I had heard was that of Lady Elizabeththe youngest sister of Lady Annewho had recognised Sir Henry; and it was providential that I happened to be on the spot. Oh, what a dreadful scene ensued! Servants were sent out, as soon as they could be dressed, in all directions, in pursuit of the fugitives, who were not, however, discovered till daybreak. Sir Henry's companion was then found, lurking under one of the arches of a neighbouring bridge, half dead with cold; but he either could not, or would not, give any information respecting the Baronet. Two keepers arrived post at the Hall by seven o'clock, in search of the fugitives.

It was inconceivable how the madmen could have escaped. They had been very busy the preceding day whispering together in the garden, but had art enough to disarm any suspicion that circumstance might excite, by a seeming quarrel. Each retired in apparent anger to his apartment; and when the keepers came to summon them to supper, both had disappeared. It was sup

posed that they had mounted some of the very many coaches that traversed the road adjoining, and their destination, therefore, baffled conjecture.

Advertisements were issued in all directions, offering a large reward for his capture-but with no success. No tidings were received of him for upwards of a week; when he one day suddenly made his appearance at the Hall, towards dusk, very pale and haggard-his dress in a wretched state and demanded admission of a new porter, as the owner of the house. Enquiry was soon made, and he was recognised with a shriek by some of the female domestics. He was, really, no longer a lunatic though he was believed such for several days. He gave, however, une quivocal evidence of his restoration to reason-but the grief and agony occasioned by discovering the death of his lady, threw him into a nervous fever, which left him, at the end of five months, "more dead than alive." Had I not attended him throughout, I declare I could not have recognised Sir Henry Harleigh in the haggard, emaciated figure, closely muffled up from head to foot, and carried into an ample travelling chariot and-four, which was to convey him

1 J 1,1


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

towards the Continent. He never returned to England: but I often heard from him, and had the satisfaction of knowing that for several years he enjoyed tolerable health, though the prey of unceasing melancholy. The death of his son, however, which happened eight years after the period when the events above related occurred, was a voice from the grave, which he listened to with resignation. He died, and was buried in Italy, shortly after the publication of the first of these papers. I shall never forget that truly amiable, though unfortunate individual, whose extraordinary sufferings are here related under a disguise absolutely impenetrable to more than one or two living individuals. They will suffer the public to gather, undisturbed, the solemn instruction which I humbly hope and believe this narrative is calculated to afford, as a vivid and memorable illustration of that passage from Scripture already quoted, and with which,nevertheless, I conclude this melancholy history

[ocr errors]

And in my prosperity, Isaid,I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong thou didst shide thy face, and I was troubled k?? endi otar bsd audT .q9sts to Honds of batis 4941 9 10 11 6996909 0996 pine,wod as tied 70 8910m of -asted of asq ya mwob am hazisneɓ bad ×189 7**


How 16 buvo× 5.1

02 70H

1990 to t

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


No. II.


WE British-born are certainly, of all the inhabitants of earth, the most highly-favoured children of heaven. Let us feel that we are so, not in pride, but in humility; let our gratitude be love, and our love sympathy with the character and genius of all our brethren of mankind, of whatever colour, and under every climate. Our character and genius, in this the most fortunate of all the Fortunate Isles, have grown great under the sacred shelter of Trees and Towers, planted or built by the holy hands of Liberty and Religion. The sun has not been suffered to hurt them by day, nor the moon by night, so tempered has been the spirit of our beautiful native sky even in its tempests. Wars have been among us, long and loud, and blood has flowed like water; but for intervals, neither short nor far between, have the regions assigned us by Providence, enjoyed the sunshine and the airs of peace-sunshine sometimes settling down as if it would endure for ever-airs often wandering in their joy, as if every spot they visited were itself a home fit for the very sweetest in a perpetual paradise. Renovation has been ever accompanying decay and out of death, and the ashes of death, have arisen, brighter and bolder, new forms of life. In the spirit of each succeeding age the good and wise have still felt there was much over which to mourn; but Hope never left our patriot-prophets; their gifted eyes, piercing the thickest gloom, saw "far off the coming shine" of some destined glory; and now, after all those alternations, and revolutions which darkened the weak-eyed and astounded the faint-hearted, who dare say that we are degenerate from the ancestors whom all the world called a heroic race-that our present is dimmed by their past-or deny that it gives promise of a still greater future? Imagination dead! You may as well say that all our oaks are doddered, and that not a

primrose now at peep of Spring shakes its yellow leaflets to gladden the fairies dancing round their Queen, in annual celebration of the melting of the last wreath of snow. This is an age of poetry, and therefore must take delight in poetry-let the strains it loves, whether of higher or of lower mood, come whencesoever they may-whether now first rising from isles shadowing the remotest seas of the sunset, or born long ago in the kingdoms of the Orient, but their music brought now over the waves to mingle with that of the sweet singers native to the West. Shall we not delight in the inspiration of genius that two thousand years ago won the ear of Asia, and charmed, with a sweet reflection of their own country's life, the hearts of the Hindus, whose whole history seems to us a kind of glimmering poetry, in which interesting realities are too often shrouded in elusive fancies, but which, in their Drama, shews how Fiction can embody and embalm Truth, and preserve it from decay, for ever lovely in all eyes that desire nothing lovelier than the lineaments of nature?

[blocks in formation]

debasing superstitions which they thought had killed all genius, had there the happy and heaven-taught art to beautify nature-and that the Hindus have a Shakspeare in their Kalidasa-such a Shakspeare as was possible to humanity so existing-for as the people are so must be their poet-his inspiration coming from communion between his heart and theirs and though we call it heavenly-and though in one sense it be even so yet of verity born of earth.


That Drama was of the loves of an Apsara, or one of the Nymphs of Heaven, sentenced by a heavenly curse to become the consort of a mortal; that mortal was Sun-andMoon descended; his chariot could cleave the sky-instinct with spirit-like an eagle on the wing and in his course Pururavas accompanied the Sun. But now we are on the soil of the common earth, in the light of common day," among the life of common creatures --and you will wonder to feel that you are yourself a Hindu. Yes, you are a Brahman-your name is Charudatta-and you are the hero-no great hero after all-of the Toycart. Nay, what is better-a man, and a good one-and fit to shew your face either by the Hoogley or the Ganges, the Tweed or the Thames. For on the banks of one and all-in spite of all jugglery-it is felt that "An honest man's the noblest work of God."

But who wrote the Drama with the magnificent name of the Toycart? A King. For hear the Manager in the Prelude. "There was a poet whose gait was that of an elephant, whose eyes resembled those of the chakora (the Greek partridge), whose countenance was like the full moon, and who was of stately person, amiable manners, and profound veracity; of the Kshetriya race, and distinguished by the appellation SuDRA; he was well versed in the Rig and the Sama Vedas, in mathematical sciences, in the elegant arts, and the management of elephants. By the favour of Siva he enjoyed eyes uninvaded by darkness, and beheld his son seated on the throne; after performing the exalted Aswamedha, (the emblematic sacrifice of a horse

one of the most solemn rites of the Hindus in ancient times,) having attained the age of a hundred years and ten days, he entered the fatal fire. Violent was he in war, and ready to encounter with his single arm the elephant of his adversary; yet he was void of wrath; eminent among those skilled in the Vedas, and affluent in piety-a Prince was Sudra."

He wrote the Toy-cart; and when did he flourish? Some think about the end of the second century after Christ; the traditional chronology places him about a century before our era. But Professor Wilson rightly observes, that the place which the Mrichchakati holds in the dramatic literature of all nations will be thought matter of more interest by most readers than its antiquity or historical importance. That it is a curious and interesting picture of national manners, every one will readily admit; and it is not the less valuable in this respect, that it is free from all exterior influence or adulteration. It is a portrait purely Indian.

The Manager, in the Prelude, tells us that in Avanti lived a young Brahman of distinguished rank, but of exceeding poverty-by name Charudatta. Of his many excellences, a courtezan, Vasantasena by name, became enamoured; and the story of their loves is the subject of King Sudra's Drama, which will exhibit "the infamy of wickedness, the villany of law, the efficacy of virtue, and the triumph of faithful love." What better ends can the legitimate drama have in view? And it is a legitimate drama, in Ten Acts, giving a picture of Hindu domestic life-its manners and its morals-in much different from ours, but exhibiting the power of the same passions, for good or for evil, and the authority of Conscience presiding over them all-and that, too, majestically, in the midst of the most trying and appalling miseries. The state of society represented is one, Mr Wilson says, "sufficiently advanced to be luxurious and corrupt, and is certainly very far from offering a flattering similitude, although not without some attractive features." There is meanness, baseness, cowardice, and cruelty; but generosity

own poverty, and believes that he is despised; a natural mistake in the mind of a magnanimous man, who had once been munificent. For knowing that the source of his bounties bad been dried up, and that the streams could flow no more, he doubted not, from his knowledge of the ngratitude of human nature, that the past would be forgotten, and contempt accumulate on the head of one once so rich and now so poor. For public opinion is shaken by such a change. Yet he is as far as may be from a misanthrope; and it is manifest that were he again wealthy, his hand would be as lavish as ever. He is very sensitive, but not in the least soured; and his strength of mind under all trials shews that misfortune had not taken away the props on which his character had been borne up, but merely the means of being in outward act what he still is in his own inward spirit—a man whose happiness lies in making others happy-and what higher happiness can there be either for Brahman or Christian on that side of the grave where all miseries grow rankly, and their seed seems sometimes to be scattered far and wide over the fairest fields where what we call joys are trying to grow-even by airs so soft and sweet, that one might well believe they were breathed from heaven!



Here is the Brahman:

too, honour, courage, and a forgiving spirit; and at the close, we cannot but feel that Sudra deserves to stand high among Royal authors—and that happy must have been the subjects of such a King. Gibbon, we think it was, who sneeringly said that 'twas not easy to believe that the wisdom of Solomon could have been possessed by one who was a Jew and a King. Sudra was a Hindu and a King, and lived in a palace; but of his own high heart he had learned the same wisdom, that "from heaven descended on the low-roof'd house of Socrates." He taught in the Toycart, that nothing was good but virtue. The character of Charudatta is throughout preserved in all he says, does, or suffers, and without the slightest tendency to exaggeration; the charm of the whole being a simple single-mindedness, and at trustful integrity which never for a moment is he in danger of let ting go, and which being in him religion, appears in worst extremities sublime. Environed with death and its s most fri frightful accompaniments, he appears-Hindu as he is-supported by the resignation and faith almost of a Christian martyr. Whenever he appears, during the progress of the drama, all ranks of men, and all kinds of characters, do honour to his virtues; and his name is never once mentioned from beginning to end but with praise. Yet he is depressed by the consciousness of his 27--erstmal istikemadi 918

(The scene is supposed to represent a street on one side, and on the other the first court of Charudatta's house. The outside of the house is also seen in the part next the street.)

MAITREYA enters the court with a piece of cloth in his hand.

Truly, Maitreya, your condition is sad enough, and well qualified to subject you to be picked up in the street, and fed by strangers. In the days of Charudatta's prosperity, I was accustomed to stuff myself, till I could eat no more, on scented dishes, until I breathed perfume; and sat lolling at yonder gateway, dyeing my fingers like a painter's by dabbling amongst the coloured comfits, or chewing the cud at leisure, like a high-fed city bull. Now in the season of his poverty, I wander about from house to house, like a tame pigeon, to pick up such crumbs as I can get. I am now sent by his dear friend Churabuddha, with this garment that has lain amongst jasmine flowers, till it is quite scented by them: it is for Charudatta's wearing, when he has finished his devotions-Oh, here he comes; he is presenting the oblation to the Household Gods.




Enter CHARUDATta and Radanika.

Char. (With a sigh.) Alas, how changed; the offering to the Gods,
That swans and stately storks, in better time
About my threshold flocking, bore away,
Now a scant tribute to the insect tribe,

Falls midst rank grass, by worms to be devour'd. Mai. I will approach the respectable Charudatta:


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

(Sits down.)

Health to you, may you

« 이전계속 »