He, therefore, having withstood the impulse about a quarter of an hour, at length gave way to his impetuosity, and, springing from his friends, found himself in a dark passage, at the farther end of which he perceived Madam Clement coming out of a chamber with a light, which, at sight of him, she set down, and vanished in a moment. This was the star that pointed to his paradise; he hailed the signal, entered the apartment, and, like a lion, rushing on his prey, approached the nuptial bed, where Serafina, surrounded by all the graces of beauty, softness, sentiment, and truth, lay trembling as a victim at the altar, and strove to hide her blushes from his view — the door was shut, the light extinguished — he owned his lot was more than mortal man could claim. Here let me draw the decent veil that ought to shade the secret mysteries of Hymen. Away, unhallowed scoffers, who profane, with idle pleasantry or immodest hint, these holy rites; and leave those happy lovers to enjoy, in one another’s arms, unutterable bliss, the well-earned palm of virtue and of constancy, which had undergone the most severe refinement. A more deserving pair night’s curtain shrouds not in its dark extent. The thoughts of Renaldo’s felicity threw a damp on the spirits of Valentine, who saw the term of his probation protracted a few days longer, and could not help wishing in his heart that he had achieved the adventure which would have abridged his expectation, though at the expense of the old gentleman’s displeasure. He filled a bumper to the health of the bride and bridegroom, and throwing up his eyes with marks of admiration, exclaimed, “How happy is the Count! alas! five days longer must I rein my impatience!” “It is but reasonable, you rogue, that your betters should have the start of you,” said the merchant, who did him justice in the glass, and counselled him to drown his impatience with good claret. The youth followed nike air max 1 his advice, and it was late before the company retired to rest. These citizens, however, resolved to seize an opportunity of rallying the new-married couple, according to custom, and with that view arose early in the morning, on the supposition of finding them still asleep; but they were not a little surprised, when they entered the breakfasting room, to see Renaldo, and his amiable bed-fellow, already dressed, and awaiting to do the honours of the house. The old gentleman would fain have cracked a joke upon their extraordinary despatch, but he was so much overawed by the dignity and tamed by the sweetness of Serafina’s carriage, that he durst not give utterance to his conception; and Valentine stood silent and abashed, as in the presence of a superior being. After breakfast these gentlemen and Charlotte again expressed their sense of the obligations they owed to this happy family, repeated their invitation, and, taking leave, returned to London in a coach that was provided overnight. Our friends being thus left to themselves, Don Diego turned towards Melvil: “Now,” said he, “that I have yielded to the impatience of your love, as well as to the eagerness of my own desire to make you happy, I must beg leave to interrupt, for a little while, the stream of your mutual pleasure, and propose a melancholy excursion, which, however, will not be wholly void of enjoyment. I have too long delayed the performance of my duty at Antonia’s grave — let us spend the forenoon in that pious pilgrimage — I will drop a few tears to the memory of that excellent woman, and never afterwards shall my friends be troubled with my grief.” The proposal being universally approved, they set out for the place, which had oft been visited by the gentle Serafina, who conducted her father to a black marble stone, which Renaldo had ordered to be laid over the grave; and, as he kneeled to kiss the monument, he perceived this plain inscription in the Spanish tongue:— Antonia de Zelos primera en todo lo que es ser bueno, y sin segundo en todo lo que fue ser desdichado, quedad con Dios! that is, Antonia de Zelos, unmatched in virtue, and unequalled in misfortune, adieu! “O faithful record!” cried the Castilian, smiting his breast, while his tears distilled upon the marble, “thy goodness was the gift of Heaven, but thy misfortunes were derived from the guilt of Don Diego; yet his sorrow shall expiate his offence, and his penitence find favour in the sight of Heaven! Rest, rest, ill-fated virtue!— eternal peace shall guard thy tomb, and angels minister to thy unspotted shade; nor shall thine ashes lie in dark obscurity here will I raise a monument, more suited to thy excellence and name.” Serafina melted with filial nike air max 90 tenderness; nor were the rest unmoved at this affecting scene, which Don Diego did not quit without reluctance. The Longest and the Last.The nature of this visit had softened every heart, and saddened every countenance; and they walked in solemn silence to the other side of the church-yard, in order to regain their carriages; when, at the turning of the stile, they saw a young woman, in wretched attire, running out of a poor habitation, wringing her hands in all the agony of despair. Notwithstanding the distraction in her countenance, and the meanness of her apparel, she discovered a regularity of features, and a delicacy of air, which did not at all correspond with the misery of her equipage. These exhibitions of extreme distress soon attracted the notice and compassion of our company, and Melvil’s beauteous help-mate, accosting this forlorn damsel with a pity-breathing aspect, asked the cause of her disorder. “Alas! dear lady,” cried the other, with all the emphasis of woe, “an unhappy gentleman now breathes his last within this inhospitable hovel, amidst such excess of misery as would melt the most flinty bosom. What then must I feel, who am connected with him by the strongest ties of love and conjugal affection?” “Who is the unfortunate object?” said the physician. “He was once well known in the gay world,” replied the young woman; “his name is Fathom.” Every individual of the company started at mention of that detested name. Serafina began to tremble with emotion; and Renaldo, after a short pause, declared he would go in, not with a view to exult over his misery, but in order to contemplate the catastrophe of such a wicked life, that the moral might be the more deeply engraved on his remembrance. The young Countess, whose tender heart could not bear the shock of such a spectacle, retired to the coach with Madam Clement and the Jew, while Renaldo, accompanied by the rest, entered a dismal apartment, altogether void of furniture and convenience, where they beheld the wretched hero of these memoirs stretched almost naked upon straw, insensible, convulsed, and seemingly in the grasp of death. He was worn to the bone either by famine or distemper; his face was overshadowed with hair and filth; his eyes were sunk, glazed, and distorted; his nostrils dilated; his lips covered with a black slough; and his complexion faded into a pale clay-colour, tending air max 2013+ to a yellow hue. In a word, the extremity of indigence, squalor, and distress could not be more feelingly represented. While Melvil perused this melancholy lesson, and groaning, cried, “Behold the fate of man!” he perceived a letter in the right hand of the unfortunate Fathom, which lay fast clenched across his breast. Curious to know the contents of this paper, which the young woman said he had kept in that position for several days, he drew nearer the wretched couch, and was not a little surprised to see it addressed to the Right Honourable Renaldo Count de Melvil, to the care of Mr. Joshua Manesseh, merchant in London. When he attempted to disengage this billet from the author’s hand, the sorrowing female fell upon her knees, entreating him to desist, and telling him, she had promised, upon oath, to communicate the contents to no person upon earth, but to carry the letter, upon her husband’s decease, to the gentleman to whose care it was directed. Renaldo assured her, upon his honour, that he was the very Renaldo Count de Melvil, for whom it was intended; and the young creature was so much confounded at this information, that, before she could recollect herself, Melvil had opened the billet, and read these words: “If this paper should fall into the hands of the noble Renaldo, he will understand, that Fathom was the most execrable traitor that ever imposed upon unsuspecting benevolence, or attempted to betray a generous benefactor. His whole life was a series of fraud, perfidy, and the most abominable ingratitude. But, of all the crimes that lay heavy upon his soul, his being accessory to the death of the incomparable Serafina, whose father he had also robbed, was that for which he despaired of Heaven’s forgiveness, notwithstanding the dreadful compunction and remorse which have long preyed upon his heart, together with the incredible misery and deplorable death which by this time he hath undergone. Though these sufferings and sorrows cannot atone for his enormous guilt, perhaps they will excite the compassion of the humane Count de Melvil; at least, this confession, which my conscience dictates under all the terrors of death and futurity, may be a warning for him to avoid henceforth a smiling villain, like the execrable Fathom, upon whose miserable soul Almighty God have mercy.” Renaldo was deeply affected with the contents of this scroll, which denoted such horror and despair. He saw there could be no dissimulation or sinister design in this profession of penitence. He beheld the condition air max 90 hyperfuse of the writer, which put all his humane passions in commotion; so that he remembered nothing of Fathom but his present distress. He could scarce maintain those indications which might have been justly deemed the effect of weakness and infirmity; and having desired the physician and clergyman to contribute their assistance for the benefit of that wretch’s soul and body, he ran to the coach, and communicated the letter to the ladies; at the same time drawing a picture of the object he had seen, which brought tears into the eyes of the gentle Serafina, who earnestly entreated her lord to use his endeavours for the relief and recovery of the unhappy man, that he might, if possible, live to enjoy the benefit of mature repentance, and not die in that dreadful despair which he manifested in the letter. Renaldo, returning to the house, found the pious clergyman reading prayers with great fervency, while Don Diego stood with his right hand upon his breast, looking steadfastly upon the agonising Fathom, and the young woman kneeled, with her streaming eyes lifted up to heaven, in an ecstasy of grief and devotion. The physician had run to an apothecary’s shop in the neighbourhood, from whence he soon returned with an assistant, who applied a large blister to the back of the miserable patient, while the female, by the doctor’s direction, moistened his mouth with a cordial which he had prescribed. These charitable steps being taken, Count de Melvil entreated the apothecary’s servant to procure a tent-bed for the accommodation of the sick person with all imaginable despatch; and, in less than an hour, one was actually pitched, and Fathom lifted into it, after he had been shifted, and in some measure purified from the dregs of his indigence. During this transaction the ladies were conducted to a tavern not far off, where dinner was bespoke, that they might be at hand to see the effect of their charity, which was not confined to what we have already described, but extended so far, that, in a little time, the apartment was comfortably furnished, and the young creature provided with change of apparel, and money to procure the necessaries of subsistence. Notwithstanding all their care, the wretched Fathom still remained insensible, and the doctor pronounced a very unfavourable prognostic, while he ordered a pair of additional vesicatories to be laid upon his arms, and other proper medicines to be administered. After dinner, the ladies ventured to visit the place, and when Serafina crossed the threshold, the weeping female fell at her feet, and, kissing her robe, exclaimed, “Sure you are an angel from heaven.”  
Zaloguj się, aby oddać głos
0