« EelmineJätka »
chamber; and on the twenty-second of Febru- no excuse for “ thee" and "thine" in the same ary, 1810, he died, having just finished the sentence with “you” and “yours." He makes thirty-ninth year of his age.
“adore” a synonym for “love” or “respect;" The distinguishing characteristics of his “ somewhat” for “something,” and “ rumiworks I have already noticed. The faults of nate” for “meditate,” occur constantly; and their construction doubtless were in some de- the ear is offended by “museful,” “deliquiem," gree owing to the great rapidity with which or other unusual or pedantic words in almost they were written. The author and the printer every page. were engaged at the same time upon nearly If his works were pruned of their redunevery one of them; and he sometimes had three dancies, if their needless episodes were erased, or four under way at once. In all of them and a judicious proof-reader should make the are indications that he grew weary before they requisite occasional changes of words, extrawere finished. His style is not good ; in a ordinary merits, which are independent of these majority of his works at least it lacks simpli- blemishes, would secure them a popularity city and directness, and has numerous verbal they have never yet possessed. faults. " Thee,'
thou,” “thine," are rarely Brown was a man of unquestionable genius admissible except in addresses to the Deity. and a true scholar. His works are original, Brown was educated a Quaker, and it was no powerful, and peculiar, and with all their affectation in him therefore to use what this faults will continue to be read by educated sect calls the “plain language;" but there is | and thoughtful men.
THE DEFENCE OF WIELAND. Think
that malice could have urged me to this deed? Hide your audacious fronts from the scru
tiny of Heaven. Take refuge in some cavern unTHEODORE WIELAND, the prisoner at the bar, visited by human eyes. Ye may deplore your was now called upon for his defence. He looked wickedness or folly, but ye cannot expiate it. around him for some time in silence, and with a Think not that I speak for your sakes. Hug mild countenance. At length he spoke :
to your hearts this detestable infatuation. Deem It is strange; I am known to my judges and me still a murderer, and drag me to untimely my auditors. Who is there present a stranger to death. I make not an effort to dispel your illuthe character of Wieland ? who knows him not sion; I utter not a word to cure you of your sanas a husband—as a father—as a friend ? yet here guinary folly; but there are probably some in this am I arraigned as a criminal. I am charged with assembly who have come from far. For their sakes, diabolical malice; I am accused of the murder of whose distance has disabled them from knowing my wife and my children!
me, I will tell what I have done, and why. It is It is true, they were slain by me; they all pe- needless to say that God is the object of my surished by my hand. The task of vindication is preme passion. I have cherished, in his presence, ignoble. What is it that I am called to vindicate ? a single and upright heart. I have thirsted for and before whom?
the knowledge of his will. I have burnt with You know that they are dead, and that they ardour to approve my faith and my obedience. were killed by me. What more would you have? My days have been spent in searching for the Would you extort from me a statement of my revelation of that will; but my days have been motives? Have you failed to discover them al- mournful, because my search failed. I solicited ready? You charge me with malice; but your direction; I turned on every side where glimmer. eyes are not shut; your reason is still vigorous; ings of light could be discovered. I have not been your memory has not forsaken you. You know wholly uninformed; but my knowledge has always whom it is that you thus charge. The habits of stopped short of certainty. Dissatisfaction has his life are known to you; his treatment of his insinuated itself into all my thoughts. My pur. wife and his offspring is known to you ; the sound- poses have been pure; my wishes indefatigable; ness of his integrity and the unchangeableness of but not till lately were these purposes thoroughly his principles are familiar to your apprehension ; accomplished, and these wishes fully gratified. yet you persist in this charge! you lead me I thank thee, my Father, for thy bounty! that hither manacled as a felon! you deem me worthy thou didst not ask a less sacrifice than this! that of a vile and tormenting death!
thou placedst me in a condition to testify my subWho are they whom have devoted to death? mission to thy will! What have I withheld My wife—the little ones that drew their being which it was thy pleasure to exact ? Now may from me—that creature who, as she surpassed I, with dauntless and erect eye, claim my reward, them in excellence, claimed a larger affection than since I have given thee the treasure of my soul! those whom natural affinities bound to my heart. I was at my own house; it was late in the
evening; my sister had gone to the city, but pro- moment, burst upon my vision! I was dazzled. posed to return. My mind was contemplative My organs were bereaved of their activity. My and calm; not wholly devoid of apprehension on eyelids were half-closed, and my hands withdrawn account of my sister's safety. Recent events, not from the balustrade. A nameless fear chilled my easily explained, had suggested the existence of veins, and I stood motionless. This irradiation some danger; but this danger was without a dis- did not retire or lessen. It seemed as if some tinct form in our imagination, and scarcely rufiled powerful effulgence covered me like a mantle. I our tranquillity.
opened my eyes and found all about me luminous Time passed, and my sister did not arrive; her and glowing. It was the element of heaven that house is at some distance from mine, and though flowed around. Nothing but a fiery stream was her arrangements had been made with a view to at first visible; but, anon, a shrill voice froin beresiding with us, it was possible that, through for- hind called upon me to attend. I turned. It is getfulness, or the occurrence of unforeseen emer- forbidden to describe what I saw; words would be gencies, she had returned to her own dwelling. wanting to the task. The lineaments of that be
Hence it was conceived proper that I should ing, whose veil was now lifted, and whose visage ascertain the truth by going thither. I went. On beamed upon my sight, no hues of pencil or of my way my mind was full of those ideas which
language can portray. As it spoke, the accents related to my intellectual condition. In the torrent thrilled to my heart. of fervid conceptions, I lost sight of my purpose. « Thy prayers are heard. In proof of thy faith, Sometimes I stood still; sometimes I wandered render me thy wife. This is the victim I choose. from my path, and experienced some difficulty, on Call her hither, and here let her fall." recovering from my fit of musing, to regain it. The sound, and visage, and light vanished at The series of my thoughts is easily traced. At
What demand was this? The blood of first every vein beat with rapture known only to Catharine was to be shed. My wife was to perish the man whose parental and conjugal love is with- by my hand. I sought opportunity to attest my virout limits, and the cup of whose desires, immense tue: little did I expect that a proof like this would as it is, overflows with gratification. .... The have been demanded. · My wife!" I exclaimed; Author of my being was likewise the dispenser of “() God! substitute some other victim. Make me every gift with which that being was embellished. not the butcher of my wife. My own blood is The service to which a benefactor like this was cheap. This will I pour out before thee with a entitled, could not be circumscribed. My social willing heart; but spare, I beseech thee, this presentime:ts were indebted to their alliance with cious life,or commission some other than her husband devotion for all their value. ....
to perform the bloody deed !" In vain. The conFor a time, my contemplations soared above ditions were prescribed; the decree had gone forth, carth and its inhabitants. I stretched forth my and nothing remained but to execute it. I rushed hands; I lifted my eyes, and exclaimed, Oh! that out of the house and across the intermediate fields, I might be admitted to thy presence! that mine and stopped not till I entered my own parlour. were the supreme delight of knowing thy will, My wife had remained here during my absence, and of performing it! The blissful privilege of in anxious expectation of my return with tidings direct communication with thee, and of listening to of her sister. I had none to communicate. For the audible enunciation of thy pleasure! What a time, I was breathless with my speed. This, task would I not undertake, what privation would and the tremors that shook my frame, and the I not cheerfully endure, to testify my love of thee? wildness of my looks, alarmed her. She immeAlas! thou hidest thyself from my view; glimpses diately suspected some disaster to her friend, and only of thy excellence and beauty are afforded me. her own specch was as much overpowered by Would that a momentary emanation from thy emotion as mine. She was silent, but her looks glory would visit me! that some unambiguous manifested impatience to hear what I had to comtoken of thy presence would salute my senses ! municate. I spoke, but with so much precipita
In this mood I entered the house of my sister. tion as scarcely to be understood; catching her at It was vacant. Scarcely had I regained recollec- the same time by the arm, and forcibly pulling her tion of the purpose that brought me hither. from her seat. « Come along with me; fly; waste Thoughts of a different tendency had such abso- not a moment; time will be lost, and the deed lute possession of my mind, that the relations of will be omitted. Tarry not; question not; but time and space were almost obliterated from my fly with me!" understanding. These wanderings, however, were This deportment added afresh to her alarms. restrained, and I ascended to her chamber. I had Her eyes pursued mine, and she said, " What is no light, and might have known, by external ob- the matter? For God's sake, what is the matter? servation, that the house was without any inhabit- Where would you have me go ?" ant. With this, however, I was not satisfied. I My eyes were fixed upon her countenance while entered the room, and the object of my search not she spoke. I thought upon her virtues; I viewed appearing, I prepared to return. T'he darkness her as the mother of my babes; as my wife; I required some casion in descending the stair. I recalled the purpose for which I thus urged her stretched my hand to seize the balustrade by which attendance ; my heart faltered, and I saw that I I might regulate my steps.
must rouse to this work all my faculties: the danHow shall I describe the lustre which, at that ger of the least delay was imminent.
I looked away from her, and again exerting my « Fly then and procure it; but I charge you, force, drew her toward the door—“You must go linger not. I will await for your return." with me-indeed you must.”
While she was gone, I strode along the entry. In her fright she half-resisted my efforts, and The fellness of a gloomy hurricane but faintly reagain exclaimed, “Good heavens! what is it you sembled the discord that reigned in my mind. mean? Where go? what has happened? have omit this sacrifice must not be; yet my sinews you found Clara ?”
had refused to perform it. No alternative was * Follow me and you will see," I answered, still offered. To rebel against the mandate was imurging her reluctant steps forward.
possible; but obedience would render me the exe** What phrensy has seized you? Something cutioner of my wife. My will was strong, but my must needs have happened. Is she sick ? Have limbs refused their office. She returned with a you found her ?"
light; I led the way to the chamber; she looked * Come and see.
and know for round her; she lifted the curtain of the bed; she yourself."
saw nothing. At length, she fixed inquiring eyes Still she expostulated, and besought me to explain. upon me. The light now enabled her to discover I could not trust myself to answer her; to look at in my visage what darkness had hitherto concealed. her; but grasping her arm, I drew her after me. Her cares were transferred from my sister to myShe hesitated, rather through confusion of mind self, and she said in a tremulous voice, “ Wieland! than from unwillingness to accompany me. This you are not well; what ails you? Can I do noconfusion gradually abated, and she moved for- thing for you?” ward, but with irresolute footsteps, and continual That accents and looks so winning should disexclamations of wonder and terror. Her interro- arm me of my resolution, was to be expected. My gations of “what is the matter?” and “whither thoughts were thrown anew into anarchy. I are you going ?” were ceaseless and vehement. It spread my hand before my eyes that I might not was the scope of my efforts not to think; to keep see her, and answered only by groans. She took up a conflict and uproar in my mind in which all my other hand between hers, and pressing it to order and distinctness should be lost; to escape her heart, spoke with that voice which had ever from the sensations produced by her voice. I was swayed my will, and wafted away sorrow. « My therefore silent. I strove to abridge this interval friend! my soul's friend! tell me thy cause of by my haste, and to waste all my attention in furi- grief. Do I not merit to partake with thce in thy ous gesticulations. In this state of mind we
Am I not thy wife?". reached my sister's door. She looked at the win- This was too much. I broke from her embrace dows and saw that all was desolate—“Why come and retired to a corner of the room. we here? There is nobody here: I will not go in.” courage was once more infused into me. I re
Still I was dumb; but opening the door, I drew solved to execute my duty. She followed me, and her in the entry. This was the allotted scene; renewed her passionate entreaties to know the here she was to fall. I let go her hand, and press- cause of my distress. I raised my head and reing my palms against my forehead, made one garded her with steadfast looks. I muttered somemighty effort to work up my soul to the deed! In thing about death, and the injunctions of my duty. vain; it would not be; my courage was appalled; At my words she shrunk back, and looked at me my arms nerveless. I muttered prayers that my with a new expression of anguish. After a pause, strength might be aided. They availed nothing. she clasped her hands, and exclaimed—O WieHorror diffused itself over me. This conviction land! Wieland! God grant that I am mistaken; of my cowardice, my rebellion, fastened upon me, but surely something is wrong. I see it—it is too and I stood rigid and cold. From this state I was plain—thou art undone-lost to me and to thyself.” relieved by my wife's voice, who renewed her sup- At the same time she gazed on my features with plications to be told why we came hither, and what intenscst anxiety, in hope that different symptoms was the fate of my sister.
would take place. I replied to her with veheWhat could I answer? My words were broken mence—Undone! no; my duty is known, and and inarticulate. Her fears naturally acquired I thank my God that my cowardice is now vanforce from the observation of these symptoms; but quished, and I have power to fulfil it. Catharine ! these fears were misplaced. The only inference I pity the weakness of thy nature ; I pity thee, but she deduced from my conduct was, that some ter- must not spare. Thy life is claimed from my rible misfortune had befallen Clara. She wrung hands; thou must die!" her hands, and exclaimed in an agony, “O, tell Fear was now added to her grief. « What me, where is she? what has become of her ? is mean you? Why talk you of death? Bethink she sick ? dead? is she in her chamber? O let yourself, Wieland; bethink yourself, and this fit me go thither and know the worst !"
O, why came I hither? Why did you This proposal set my thoughts once more in mo drag me hither ?"" tion. Perhaps, what my rebellious heart refused “ I brought thee hither to fulfil a divine comto perform here, I might obtain strength enough mand. I am appointed thy destroyer, and destroy to execute elsewhere. u Come, then," said I, “ let thee I must.” Saying this I seized her wrists. us go."
She shrieked aloud, and endeavoured to free her“I will, but not in the dark. We must first self from my grasp; but her efforts were vain. procure a light.”
“Surely, surely, Wieland, thou dost not mean
In this pause,
FROM ARTHUR MERVYX.
it. Am I not thy wife ? and wouldst thou kill These feelings were the growth of selfishness.
Thou wilt not; and yet I see—thou art Of this I was not aware, and to dispel the mist Wieland no longer! A fury-resistless and hor- that obscured my perceptions, a new effulgence rible-possesses thee-spare mc—spare-help and a new mandate were necessary. help"
From these thoughts I was recalled by a ray Till her breath was stopped she shrieked for that was shot into the room. A voice spake like mercy. When she could speak no longer, her that which I had before heard—Thou hast done gestures, her looks appealed to my compassion. well; but all is not done—the sacrifice is incomMy accursed hand was irresolute and tremulous. plete—thy children must be offered- they must I meant thy death to be sudden, thy struggles to perish with their mother!"be brief! Alas! my heart was infirm; my resolves mutable. Thrice I slackened my grasp, and life kept its hold, though in the midst of pangs. Her eyeballs started from their sockets. Grimness, YELLOW FEVER IN PHILADELPHIA. distortion, took place of all that used to bewitch me into transport, and subdue me into reverence. I was commissioned to kill thee, but not to tor- As I drew near the city, the tokens of its calamint thee with the foresight of thy death; not to mitous condition became more apparent. Every multiply thy fears, and prolong thy agonies! farm-house was filled with supernumerary tenants; Haggard, and pale, and lifeless, at length thou fugitives from home: and haunting the skirts of ceasedst to contend with thy destiny !
the road, eager to detain every passenger with inThis was a moment of triumph. Thus had I quiries after news. The passengers were numesuccessfully subdued the stubbornness of human rous; for the tide of emigration was by no meanis passions; the victiin which had been demanded exhausted. Some were on foot, bearing in their was given : the deed was done. I lifted the corpse countenances tokens of their recent terror, and in my arms and laid it on the bed. I gazed upon filled with mournful reflections on the forlornness it with delight. Such was the elation of my of their state. Few had secured to themselves an thoughts, that I even broke into laughter. I asylum; some were without the means of paying clapped my hands and exclaimed, “ It is done! for food or lodging in the coming night; others, My sacred duty is fulfilled! To that I have sacri- who were not thus destitute, knew not where to ficed, O my God! thy last and best gift, my wife!" apply for entertainment, cvery house being already For a while I thus soared above frailty. I ima- overstocked with inhabitants, or barring its inhosgined I had set myself for ever beyond the reach pitable doors at their approach. of selfishness; but my imaginations were false. Families of weeping mothers and dismayed This rapture quickly subsided. I looked again at children, attended with a few pieces of indispenmy wife. My joyous ebullitions vanished, and I sable furniture, were carried in vehicles of every asked myself who it was whom I saw? Methought form. The parent or husband had perished; and it could not be Catharine. It could not be the the price of some movable, or the pittance handed woman who had lodged for years in my heart; forth by public charity, had been expended to purwho had slept, nightly, in my bosom; who had chase the means of retiring from this theatre of borne in her womb, who had fostered at her breast disasters; though uncertain and hopeless of accomthe beings who called me Father! whom I had modation in the neighbouring districts. watched with delight, and cherished with a fond- Between these and the fugitives whom curiosity ness ever new and perpetually growing; it could had led to the road, dialogues frequently took not be the same.....
place, to which I was suffered to listen. From I will not dwell upon my lapse into desperate every mouth the tale of sorrow was repeated with and outrageous sorrow. The breath of Heaven new aggravations Pictures of their own distress, that sustained me was withdrawn, and I sunk into or of that of their neighbours, were exhibited in merc min. I leaped from the floor; I dashed my all the hues which imagination can annex to peshead against the wall; I uttered screams of hor- tilence and poverty. ... ror; I panted after torment and pain. The bick- The sun had nearly set before I reached the crings of hell, and cternal fire, compared with what precincts of the city. I entered High street after I felt, were music and a bed of roses.
night-fall. Instead of equipages and a throng of I thank my God that this degeneracy was tran- passengers, the voice of levity which I had forsient, that he deigned once more to raise me aloft. merly observed, and which the mildness of the I thought upon what I had done as a sacrifice to season would at other times have produced, I duty, and we calm. My wife was dead; but I found nothing but a dreary solitude. reflected, that though this source of human conso- The market-place, and each side of this magnifilation was closed, yet others were still open. If cent avenue were illuminated, as before, by lamps; the transports of a husband were no more, the but between the Schuylkill and the heart of the feelings of a father had still scope for exercise. city, I met not more than a dozen figures; and When remembrance of their mother should excite these were ghost-like, wrapt in cloaks, from betoo keen a pang, I would look upon them and be hind which they cast upon me glances of wonder comforled. While I revolved these ideas, new and suspicion; and, as I approached, changed warinth flowed in upon my heart, I was wrong. their course to avoid me. Their clothes were sprinkled with vinegar; and their nostrils defended session of it. In the chapter which precedes the followfrom contagion by some powerful perfume.
ing extract, Welbeck relates to Mervyn his adventures I cast a look upon the houses, which I recollected since their separation.] to have seen brilliant with lights, resounding with Tais narrative threw new light on the charac lively voices, and thronged with busy faces. Now ter of Welbeck. If accident had given bim posthey were closed, above and below; dark, and session of this treasure, it was easy to predict on without tokens of being inhabited. .... I ap- what schemes of luxury and selfishness it would proached a house, the door of which was opened, have been expended. The same dependence on and before which stood a vehicle, which I pre- the world's erroneous estimation, the same devosently recognised to be a hearse. The driver was
tion to imposture and thoughtlessness of futurity seated on it. I stood still to mark his visage, and would have constituted the picture of his future to observe the course which he proposed to take. life, as had distinguished the past. This money Presently a coffin, borne by two men, issued. was another's. To retain it for his own use was The driver was a negro, but his companions were criminal. Of this crime he appeared to be as inwhite. Their features were marked by indiffer- sensible as ever. His own gratification was the ence to danger or pity. One of them, as he assisted supreme law of his actions. To be subjected to the in thrusting the coffin into the cavity provided for necessity of honest labour, was the heaviest of all it, said, “ I'll be damned if I think the poor dog evils, and one from which he was willing to escape was quite dead. It wasn't the fever that ailed him, by the commission of suicide. The volume which but the sight of the girl and her mother on the he sought was in my possession. It was my duty floor. I wonder how they all got into that room. to restore it to the rightful owner, or, if the legal What carried them there?”
claimant could not be found, to employ its conThe other surlily muttered, “Their legs, to be tents in the promotion of virtue and happiness. sure."
To give it to Welbeck was to consecrate it to pur“ But what should they hug together in one poses of selfishness and misery. My right, legally room for ?"
considered, was as valid as his. “ To save us trouble, to be sure."
But if I intended not to resign it to him, was it " And I thank them with all my heart; but proper to disclose the truth?.... My underdamn it, it wasn't right to put him in his coffin standing had been taught, by recent occurrences, before the breath was fairly gone. I thought the to question the justice, and deny the usefulness of last look he gave me told me to stay a few secrecy in any case. My principles were true; minutes."
my motives were pure; why should I scruple to * Pshaw! he could not live. The sooner dead
avow my principles, and vindicate my actions ? the better for him, as well as for us.
Welbeck had ceased to be dreaded or revered. mark how he eyed us, when we carried away, his That awe which was once created by his superiorwife and daughter? I never cried in my life, ity of age, refinement of manners, and dignity of since I was knee-high, but curse me if I ever felt in garb, had vanished. I was a boy in years, an inbetter tune for the business than just then. Hey!” digent and uneducated rustic, but I was able to continued he, looking up and observing me, stand- discern the illusions of power and riches, and abing a few paces distant, and listening to their dis- jured every claim to esteem that was not founded course, “What's wanted ? Anybody dead ?" on integrity. There was no tribunal before which
I stayed not to answer or parley, but hurried I should falter in asserting the truth, and no speforward. My joints trembled, and cold drops cies of martyrdom which I would not cheerfully stood on my forehead. I was ashamed of my embrace in its cause. own infirmity; and by vigorous efforts of my rea- After some pause, I said, “ Cannot you conjecson, regained some degree of composure.
ture in what way this volume has disappeared ?"
“No;" he answered with a sigh. - Why, of all his volumes, this only should have vanished,
was an inexplicable enigma.” INTERVIEW BETWEEN MERVYN AND • Perhaps,” said I, “it is less important to know WELBECK.
how it was removed, than by whom it is now possessed.”
Unquestionably; and yet unless that know(WELBECK, to avoid his creditors and an arrest for ledge enables me to regain the possession it will marder, has secretly quitted Philadelphia. Subsequently be useless." Mervyn, sick with the yellow fever and fearful of being “Useless then it will be, for the present poscarried to the hospital, finds his way to the house he had
sessor will never return it to you.” inhabited, in the hope of dying there alone. He is dis
“ Indeed,” replied he, in a tone of dejection, turbed by the reappearance of Welbeck, whose return
“your conjecture is most probable. Such a prize had been caused by a suspicion that twenty one-thousand
is of too much value to be given up.” dollar noies are concealed between the leaves of a MS.
“ What I have said flows not from conjecture, volume which had belonged to a young foreigner whom he had attended in his last moments, whose property he
but from knowledge. I know that it will never had seized, and whose sister he had ruined. Mervyn
be restored to you." has already discovered this money, and, in the hope of
At these words, Welbeck looked at me with being able to return it to the unfortunate girl, taken pos- anxiety and doubt.—You know that it will not !
FROM ARTHUR MERVYX.