Imagens da página


[ocr errors]

(Continued from Vol. LXXX. Page 537.) ON the morning of the third day decypher it's contents ; and then, at afier the receipt of the heart-rending my urgent entreaty, thus cominenced intelligence from England, I was sud- her interesting recital, denly awakened out of an unrefresh “ This morning, not long after our ing slumber, into which I had fallen morning meal. I was informed that from mere exhaustion, by an unusual a gentleman, stating his name to be clamour of voices, apparently pro Sir Charles Kenyon, had come to the ceeding from the convent parlour. convent, and desired to see Miss TemI started up; I listened; for a mi- pleton ; but on being told that it was nute it grew louder; then, in an in- impossible to comply with his request, stant, was husbed into silence; and in consequence of the young lady havthe circumstance passed from my ing sworn herself a mun, he had utmind,

terly refused to credit the intelligence, That day was nearly spent, yet still and I was accordingly summoned to Josephine came not; but in the dusk bear my testimony to the fact. The of the evening, a female with a light previous, and as I had decmed them, step entered my cell; who having care exaggerated, descriptions of your fully secured the door, took her station lover, which I had 'so often heard near me. I instantly recogpized, with from your lips, had greatly raised a shriek of delight, my beloved friend! my curiosity to behold such a pabat she interrupted my transports by ragon of perfoction, and I bastily again bitterly animalverting on the descended to the parlour ; but acfolly of which I had been guilty, until tually stopped short on the threshold having at length succeeded in depre as I caught the first glance of the cating her displeasure, she kissed my godlike figure that stood before me! cheek in token of amnity; and then, in The impression produced by the reala cautious whisper, proceeded to ask ity far transcended the most vivid conme, “ If I had been disturbed by any ception which my mind had formed. unusual noise in the course of the His majestic form ; his expressive day ?” I replied in the afirmative, countenance, glowing with emotion ; and requested an explanation. She his eye beaming with--but you have hesitated; was silent for more than seen him! you know how I laugh at a minute; and then, instead of an the idea of a girl's sighing and pining swering my question, enquired of me, for love; but positively if there ever “ If the last letter from iny aunt had was a man who was worth a woman's not taught me to expect the arrival of dying for, it is Sir Charles Kenyon. Sir Charles Kenyon?”.

Waving all greeting or introduc“ Merciful powers! is he come? tion, he immediately on my appearHave you scen hin? Where is he? ance renewed his enquiries for you ; Let me dy to him!” cried I, eagerly and never shall I forget the look of starting up, but should have fallen dismay, consternation, and despair, again from an excessive languor and with which he listened to my condebility, had not Josephine's arm sus firmation of the fact of your incarceratained me.

tion. For nearly a minute he regarded “I protest, Torriana," said Madame me with a look of speechless horror; Garniér, with some asperity, “ that if then violently seizing my arm, he you do not promise to be more col- asked, in a hoarse and hollow tone, lected and composed, I will not en . Woman, do you tell me truth?' gage to serve you; you must learn to and when, by my solemn asseveracurb this impetuosity, or you will tions, I removed all doubt of the betray and ruin all.” I implored matter, his rage knew no bounds. forgiveness, and declared that in fu- He cursed his own untoward fate, ture I would be all passiveness and --he denounced the monastic law as forbearance. She kindly took my inhuman and absurd,--he execrated hand, and placed in it a slip of paper, your guardians as the worst of fools, bidding me keep it securely till I could in having permitted your departuro meet with a sale opportunity to pe- from England,-- he blamed your own fuse it ; for it was now too dark topad precipitaney,– he vented a largo



portion of his indignation against me, withstanding that Sir Charles Kenyon for having, as he supposed, connived and myself' debated the subject for at such a proceeding ; -nay, the whole nearly four hours, contemplating every sisterhood fell under his malediction; possible mode of emancipation, yet we he vowed that he would raze the edi- could come to no satisfactory concluhice to it's foundation to procure your sion. Sir Charles proposed that you freedom ; and was actually on the and I should exchange dresses; but point of rashing up stairs, when the the total dissimilarity which there is in Lady Abbess, highly incensed at hear- our features, our figures, and height, ing sach a disturbance, sent to com- would never bear us out in this imposmand bis immediate dismissal; a man- ture. Nay, he even suggested the desdate with which he felt himselfobliged, perate expedient of setting fire to the however reluctantly, to comply; at the convent, and making the consequent same time conjuring me to accompany confusion a cover for your flight; but him; which, in order to appease his I immediately negatived such a proire, and to set forth my own justifica- position with horror: there may, postion, I consented to do.

sibly, exist subterranean passages, * We chose for our walk a se- through which an escape might be questered spot by the sea-side. And effected; but of these I am totally here did Sir Charles lay open his ignorant; and I would not, for the whole heart to me ; imploring me universe, startle the wistful car of to grant him my counsel and co-ope- sasptcion by instituting any enquiry ration, in his endeavours to rescue on the subject; the situation of your his adored Torriana from the iron cell too, in the very centre of the grasp of superstition and bigotry. building, is greatly adverse to the Bat I represented to him the very execution of any scheme that we extreme peril, if not the utter im-, might decide upon to adopt ; in short, practicability of any such under- I have racked my invention to the taking, and entirely declined any uttermost without having been able interference. He protested, that no to furnish any plan that presents even difficulty, however formidable, could a probability of success. Yet whatdiscourage him; that he was ready ever is done, must be done quickly; to encounter all hazards, provided a contagious fever has appeared in that I would befriend bim; but I the convent, which is daily gaining again refused my aid. On this he ground, and assuming a more alarmbecame desperate ; besought me, al- ing aspect; insomuch, that I have most with tears, to revoke my resolu- thought it advisable to remove my tion; appealed to my own heart, if two little charges from within the I bad ever loved, to plead for him ; reach of it's baneful inBuence." threw himself on my pity and com- Just at this instant the bell for vespassion ; raising his clasped hands pers began to toll, and Josephine in supplication to me to relent. rose to leave me ; for as the estrangeThere is a tone in his voice that inent which existed between us had reaches the very soul; there is a' been generally known in the convent, language in his eye, there is a kin- she was fearful lest our hasty redling enthusiasm in his manner, while conciliation, combined with the transconversing on any subject in which actions of the morning, by awakenhe is deeply interested, that alto- ing mistrust and surprise, might sabgether appears like the effect of in- ject me to such rigorous restrictions, spiration; in short, his cloquence as should frustrate every attempt to proved irresistible, and I have pro- regain my liberty. mised to serve him to the utmost of As soon as I could procure a light to my ability."

be brought to me, I hastened to pe* Blessings ! thanks ! generous, ruse the billet delivered to me by best of friends! how shall I ever be my kind Josephine. It contained able to repay your kindness ?" cried only a few lines, written in pencil ; 1, enraptured.

but through the agitation and diffi* Rather bless your lover's rheto-" culty with which they had evidently ric,” replied Madame ; “ but prithee been traced, I could distinguish the let the consideration of the extreme well-known characters of Loftus' uncertainty of success teach you to hand-writing: he gently reproached Moderate your wansports ; for not- me for the basty sacrifice that I had



made ; bade me not to despair, as case of laneets in his hand, snatched he was resolved to encounter all ha- them from him, and, without further zards for my sake; and concluded by hesitation, precipitated the point of assurances of the most unalterable one of the instruments into my right faith and affection,

arm ; when, having sutiered the blood A thousand times I pressed the to tlow copiously for several minutes, precious scroll to my lips and to sbe skilfully bound up the orifice, and my beart; then, baving carefully se- coolly returned the case to the astoçured it in my bosom, attempted to nished father, bidding him begone, take a review of the events of he and leave all care of the patient to day. But my mind was at that time her. The mortified friar replied, with incapable of reasoning and reflection; a sneer, " that he would not for the my thoughts ran vividly from one world interfere with her practice, nor subject to another ; the most wild divide with her the merit of so miand visionary schemes appeared prac- raculous a cure ;", and, bowing obticable to my heated imagination ; scquiously, turned on his hecl, and scenes of love and bliss, sketched quitted the cell. by fancy's airy fingers, fitted, as it From this period my senses failed

a phantasmagoria, before my me, and I became unconscious of mental vision; and the happiness of all that was passing around me, distant years seemed already in pos- for the space of three days, as Josephsession. In this perturbed state I ine afterwards informed me; indeed it traversed my cell during the live- was entirely to her kind care and caulong night, nor even for a moment tion, in fumigating the confined apartattempted to seek that repose of which ment, keeping it's narrow casement I stood so greatly in need. But the constantly open, and various otber intellectual functions would bear no judicious measures, that I am inlonger the unpatural exercise ; my debted for the preservation of my brain grew dizzy almost to delirium; existence. On my return to recolwhile the parched lip, bloodshot eye, lection, my first thoughts were of my and burning band, but too plainly lover, and of liberty : my prudent indicated that my frame bad caught friend, however, only, at that time, a fever from my mind; so that when partially satisfied my enquiry ; nor Sister Ursula brought to me, as usual, was it until I had gained sufficient my morning meal, alarmed at my be strength and fortitude to support the wildered and disordered aspect, she disclosure, that she communicated to ran back in terror, and brought me in full the result of numerous Josephine to my bed-side ; who, im- conferences which she had held with mediately on beholding me, cried out Sir Charles Kenyon; and, having first in agony, “ Merciful Heaven ! you received my repeated assurance, that have caught the contagion !” and, I was willing to embrace any means, after asking a few questions to satisfy embark in any enterprize, however herself that my symptoms really assi- perilous, which might accomplish the milated with those ascribed to the end so devoutly desired, submitted to fatal malady, hastened out of the cell; my approval the following desperate but quickly returned again, laden scheme. with such medicines as were wont Sir Charles Kenyon, on a minute to be administered to the infected, inspection of the exterior of the con-. and accompanied by a friar, who vent, bad discovered a low iron door, ofliciated as a kind of physician on situated immediately underneath the the occasion. The father gaped on great window at the eastern extreme for more than a minuto in stupid mity of the chapel ; which, after havsilence; shook his head, shrugged his ing had recourse to Madame Garniér's, shoulders, and, having prescribed knowledge of the construction of the some simple palliative, was moving interior of the edifice, he judged to be away, when Josephine indignantly the entry into a vault that was used as detained him, suggesting the expe a place of interment for the successive diency of bleeding. The monk most superiors of the convent. It had the vehemently expressed his dissent; appearance of not having been opened Josephine urged her notion ; but he for a great length of time, and, at utterly refused to comply ; when a short distance, was scarcely distinNadame, perceiving that he held a guishable from the black rock out of

[ocr errors]

which it had been hewn, and which death, as to readily be mistaken for formed the basement of St. Agatha's it. ancient pile. Excepting the great por But the most material point in the tal in front, this was the only medium stratagem, indeed the circumstance on of egress that was visible around the which it's whole success binged; was whole bnilding; and Kenyon, with a this; that, antecedently to my supview to render it instrumental in aid- posed demise, I should, in presence ing the meditated escape, resolved on of the friar, the domestics, or some forcing it open; which, after an exer- other uninterested party, express an tion of several hours, he was enabled anxious desire that my remains, into do. But, having gained an entry stead of being committed to the ordiinto the dreary charnel-house, he was nary cemetery, should be deposited greatly disappointed and vexed, to in the identical vault which was to lind that an iron grating, at the same serve as the medium of my liberatime forming part of the roof of the tion; should this request be denied vault and of the floor of the chapel, to me, I was to appear to gradually afforded the only communication with recover my health, and trust to some the inhabited part of the building; better manæuvre for success. which grating being secured by a se When Josephine had concluded her cret spring, resisted the united efforts relation, I not only declared myself of Josephiue and Kenyon to raise it. delighted with her contrivance, but

" I wish from my soul that your expressed an anxiety to lose no time Lady Abbess would please to die, if in commencing operations. it were only that we might discover Accordingly, on the evening of that the biuges, fastnings, and machinery, day, Josephine took an opportunity, of this infernal grating,” cried Sir with well feigned sorrow, to express Charles, as he reluctantly abandoned her apprehensions of the precarious the fruitless attempt: "Is no one ever state of my existence, and beg the buried here but your superior ?" attendance of one of the fathers, to

" No one that I ever heard of;-- perform the last duty of the confesbut suppose,-unless indeed,--that is, sional, and so forth. Two or threo -- Torriana buried,--dead, - yes, I of the lay sisterhood also came to have it!-Sir Charles, I have started a visit me; and, in compliance with the notion which I am anxious to digest instructions that I had received from in private ; 'tis time we separate, the Josephine, I seized these moments vesper hour approaches ; farewell, my to signify my desire respecting the friend; and trust me, the sharpness mode of my interment; at the same of a woman's wit can .cut through time, taking care to intimate, that stone walls, and sever iron bars, where I had made a bequest of the greater love or mischief is concerned." proportion of my large estates to the

From the commencement of my at. funds of the establishment of which tack, Josephine had been almost my I had enrolled myself a member. sole nurse and attendant; the nuns On my request being made known having been forbidden, on pain of to the Abbess, she required to have penance, to hold communication with four and twenty hours afforded her the infected; she was, therefore, ena to deliberate on the question ; in orbled to make whatever report of the der tbat she might have time to conprogress of my disorder might best salt the records of the house, and to accord with her views. She proposed, confer with the superior of a neightherefore, as soon as she believed me bouring convent on the propriety of to be free from any real danger, to acceding to the measure. These hours assert, that my fever had grown ra. were passed in a state of the most pidly to it's height; that it's crisis painful anxiety by me and my dear had proved unfavourable ; and, with Josephine ; whose every limb tremmuch wailing and lamentation, to de bled with agitation, as, at the time plore the prospect of a speedy dissolu appointed, she obeyed the summons tion; and, in confirmation of the truth to receive an answer to my applicaof her fears, she intended to administer tion. a powerful narcotic drug, with the pro The Abbess, however, received her perties of which she was well ac very graciously, and, after detaining quainted, that should produce a deep her with a few questions, she, to the inseusibility, so ucarly resembling inefable delight of Josepline, ac


corded her permission that the cere- between the edges, 'so as to make znony of sepulture should be per an opening sufficient to admit of formed as I had desired.

respiration ; and, as soon as ever Josephine flew back to me to com she was left alone, she set to work, municate the result of the interview. and, with much ingenuity, perforated Nothing now remained but for me mumberless small holes in the sides to die ; and, soon after miduight, and lid of the coffin. Josephine presented me with an opi In the course of the day, Ursula, ate, which she had herself carefully and some of the boarders, came to prepared, calculated to operate for take a last look at me ; but, fearful the space of four and twenty hours. of the effects of the tainted atmoI drank it off, with a fearful and sphere, did not stay to make a mipalpitating heart, and in a few mi- . nute inspection; though Josephine nutes sunk into a deep, heavy sleep. apprehended nothing from mere spetWhatever transpired, therefore, dur- talors; for the ravages that the dis-, ing the period of my unconscious- temper bad wrought in my whole apness, I can only narrate, as it was pearance were yet so visible, that the detailed to me by Josephine ; who : cheat might weil have escaped detecprotested, that these four and twenty tion, even under more suspicious cirhours were the most painfully in- cumstances. teresting she bad

passed. In the evening of the same day, the The next morning, Josephine, with coffin was conveyed into the chapel ; the most vehement demonstrations of whither Josephine, who had never lost grief, gave information of my death; sight of me for a moment since I was and, according to the hasty burial.become insensible, still anxiously folthat was adopted on simiiar occa lowed. sions, the same day, at noon, a shell The mass was said ; the requiem was brought for the reception of my was chanted ; and Josephine conremains; Josephine insisted that the fessed that a kind of superstitious fear mouroful task should be left solely struck upon her heart, as she listened to her; which was assented to, with to the solemn mockery; and, but for a out much opposition, on the part of moment, she felt sorry for the decepthe attendants ; had it been other- tion she had practised; but the kerwise, the vital hent that was yet chief pressed to her face, which seemed in my limbs must have betrayed our to administer to her grief, served to secret. Josephine, however, had screen the workings of her breast another, and more arduous, point to from observation. The grating was carry ; namely, that no lid should now raised ;. Josephine rushed forbe affixed to the collin. A propo- ward, to inspect, as far as possible, sal which was strongly combated, on the mysterious mechanism ; or, as it the ground that the contagion was appeared, to watch the lowering of more likely to spread, so long as the corpse into the vault beneaths the body remained exposed ; and the and, when the object of her solicifatal covering was in the act of be- tude was hidden from her view, overing placed, when Josephine, horri. come by a variety of sensations and fied to phrenzy at the idea of inhu- feelings, sank fainting into the arms of mation, threw herself on her knees; some one near; nor recovered her selfand besought with such frantic energy possession and composure for the space for at least a few hours delay, that shie of several minutes; her excessive emomight be permitted to behold the tion, however, was attributed, merely, features of the friend so loved, so to the poignant regret which the death long as they remained on earth, that of so dear a friend might be expected the persons employed on the occa. to call forth. The chapel was shortly sion were induced to consent, that afterward cleared ; and before midthe lid should not be screwed down, night, the whole sisterhood was locked though it must remain shut during in sleep. Not so Josephine : the apthe performance of the funeral obse- prehension lest the full effect of the quies. With this Josephine felt her- soporific should have been abridged self compelled to acquiesce ; and has- by the revolution of position that I tily drawing the pall over the in- had undergone, kept her on the rack ; teresting receptacle, she contrived, and, soon as sbe deemed it safe, she at the same time, to insert a wedge sallied forth to explore her way to the

Teenage year

« AnteriorContinuar »