Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

heart was,

though the flowers had bloomed sixteen times that of themselves one should swiftly be since the strong man departed with his grief. chosen, to bleed before the offended God of

Silently they watched him, as with folded Battle. hands he bent his steps to the wigwam of the Around the altar of their bloody god they Eagle-eye. He paused, his dark shadow trem- stood to choose his victim—and the lot fell bled in the sunshine-he entered, and a mighty upon Meratoo, lord of the troubled waters. cry uprose through the quivering leaves.

At the feet of Aynlah the beautiful did the strong man cast himself, and the voice of his

CHAPTER III. Mine! mine!” He drew forth The discomfited warriors sat long that from his treasures the fiery ruby and the pur- evening around the wigwam of Kareeka, lisple amethyst, and bound them on her slender tening to the tale of his wanderings, and very arms; and amid the darkness of her floating high did he stand in their esteem, as they hair he twined the silver glory of the eastern curiously handled his glittering treasures, and pearl.

heard of the dangers braved and privations “Oh! chieftain of the Eagle-eye,” said he, endured in amassing them. casting himself beside the old man's couch, In the centre of the tents, at the foot of a

once thou didst bestow upon Kareeka a glo- rude altar, had been raised that night a rious flower that opened at thy feet ; ere with stained and blackened pole, around which tender hands he could transplant it, the north were heaped the tangled branches of the pine wind blew roughly on the bud, and it closed. and fir, with the grass and brushwood of the The Great Spirit has permitted it to spring up plain. anew by thy side, and lo, I am here, with gold It was strange, knowing what crimson drops red as the sunset, and gems bright as the bow ere long would rain upon their petals, to see in the clouds, to claim that which surely is the gorgeous forest flowers clinging round mine own.”

that spot of blood and anguish; and none Then the old men answered, that Kareeka could wonder that the tender Aynlah was pale had spoken well ; and the Eagle-eye said that as the prairie under the snow-moon, when her it was even so, and that the flower would eyes rested upon it. blossom and bear fruit fair to look

upon,

in She lay down that night long before her rich a soil.

wont, that, feigning sleep, she might muse in The maiden spoke not; she was as the silence. drooping willow when the thunder rides “And they would fetter thee, my beloved!” through the sky; yet still did her heart whisper, she said; amongst the feathery maple and the that when Meratoo returned he would save stately cedars they would see thee stand, thyher from the wild love of the strange man. self more beautiful than they, to die by the

They came at last, not with the song of cruel fire. No grief would stain thy deathvictory and the dance of triumph, but sullenly, song; bravely wouldst thou bow thy noble with thinned ranks and broken bows.

head, with its glossy tendrils, to the scorching Travel-worn and weary, they sat down flame. But it shall not be! Though thou silently amongst their squaws; and then an mayst never rest thy brow upon my bosom, old warrior, starting to his feet, told the tale nor drink in the love of mine eyes, yet shalt of their sorrows.

thou live, Meratoo-live to see the flowers The God of Battle had hidden his face fade and bloom, and fade again.” from them. Not the feeble tribe against whom Carefully she raised herself, and smiled a they had lifted their spears, not the barbed wild smile to see that all were sleeping so arrow of the Indian, had prevailed against calmly around her throbbing heart. She tore them ; it was with the hated white man their from her hair Kareeka's gems, and then careenemies had leagued, and his weapon, speak- | fully adjusted a faded chaplet of scarlet feaing the thunder and breathing the lightning thers, which once had rested on her sister's of heaven, had swept them down as the grass. head. She bound on her arms, and around Not a single prisoner had they by whose her throat, glittering circlets of the golden blood to appease the anger of the God who fishes' scales, which Kareeka long since had had forsaken them. And with a wail of grief, strung for the lost Aynlah ; then she gathered they bowed their dusky faces to the earth. around her the fringed skin of the white goat, Then arose a tall chieftain whose hands

and, dropping over her head and face the were dyed with another hue than the deep misty folds of a white veil, she sallied forth. crimson of the war-paint, and he cried aloud, Has he not said that I have my sister's

[ocr errors]

voice, her eyes, her very look?" she muttered. journeyed eastward, at the bidding of the mid

Now, in the dim light, bearing these relics night voice, to find a home for Aynlah the of his past love, shall he dream that I am she, beautiful. come from the darkness of the spirit-land, to Years sped by, and there came a lone pour my words into his ear.”

woman, holding a little child by the hand, to With soundless steps, she drew near the the wigwams of the red men. She asked for wigwam of Kareeka; he slept, but she laid the chieftain of the Eagle-eye, and his wife a chill hand on his lips, and his dark eyes Cora, and she learnt that they had been opened.

gathered unto their fathers. Then she trem· Kareeka,” she said, “from the silence of bled as a reed in the wind, and with a hushed the spirit-land come I unto thee: once thou voice she demanded if Meratoo, lord of the didst love my voice, hearken unto it now. troubled waters, yet dwelt among them. They Thou hast returned unto thy people; thou answered, yes; and they led her to his tent. lovest her whose soul has budded on the same He was little changed by the peaceful years of stem with mine. It is well. Yet thus much toil and sport that had passed him by; and would I say unto thee. Hitherto thou hast when her soft eyes rested upon him, the trodden the earth blameless; to-morrow's sun woman smiled, and the squaws with one voice will see thee standing by, while the fresh exclaimed that surely this was Aynlah, the leaves of the young sapling are scorched and beautiful ! seared by the fire, and his noble head laid in “ It is indeed Aynlah, the beautiful no the dust! This must not be. Oh! my be- more," answered the lone woman;

" and this, loved ! if thou wouldst indeed take the twin oh! mothers! is her child. My husband blossom of my soul unto thy bosom, if thou passed from me in the moon of storms, and I wouldst one day greet thine own Aynlah on the came hither, oh, Meratoo! to lay my son at banks of the crystal river, hearken unto my thy feet and die. Thou wilt surely be a father words ! On the morrow arise, and unloose unto him; for did I not give my life for thine?” without a wound the fettered deer; then, but And then Aynlah told him how she had not until then, take thy wife unto thine heart, arisen at midnight, in the garb of the shadowy and bear her far away unto the land whence Anylah, long dead, and had promised Kareeka thou camest! In her soul, will I be with his bride, if he would redeem from the cruel thee !” She glided from the tent, but not flames Meratoo, her beloved. until Kareeka's voice had answered—“Oh! “Oh, Aynlah! to me still the beautiful,” Aynlah! my once beloved, I hear, and I obey said Meratoo, come at length unto my thee.”

bosom. Enter into my wigwam, which the Then she lay down again, and sleeplessly step of woman has never crossed, and I will awaited the dawn. “A hard price have I love thee now as I have loved thee ever, as paid for thee, Meratoo,” she whispered, as man never loved woman before.” the golden sun rose above the cedars; “for But she answered, “Nay-the stricken have I not given myself?” Another sun, and deer has returned to her mate but to die. I shall have passed from thy sight like the The arrow was in my heart when I departed; last year's corn, and thou wilt remember me too late, my beloved ! wouldst thou heal the

wound. The voice of my sister calls me from Ere the shadow of the blue mountain lay afar-I go unto her.” upon the prairie, Kareeka and his bride were Then Aynlah, the beautiful no more, laid far away

from the forest of the cedars. He her head upon the bosom of Meratoo, and had paid a heavy ransom of the white man's ceased from her sorrows. gold for the life of Meratoo, and now he

VIOLET.

no more.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT “JANE EYRE."

SOME eight years since, a novel, in three could agree in their opinions of it, so full volumes, emanating from the shelves of, if was it of contradictions. Miss A. was dewe mistake not, Messrs. Smith and Elder, lighted with it, Miss B. as much disgusted found its way, by their influence, into the -Miss C. heard it so talked of, that she was circulating libraries; and, in due course of most anxious to read it; but her married time, met with readers, and became famous. sister, Mrs. D., said, “No woman under But the strange thing was, that no two people thirty ought to open it.” Then, it was such

man.

a woman.

a strange book! imagine a novel with a little written such a book. Parties ran high about swarthy governess for heroine, and a middle- it; there were Jane Eyre-ites and Anti-Jane aged ruffian for hero. As well perform a Eyre-ites : had the work been religious, two pantomime with a wooden-legged cripple as sects would have sprung up, hating each other Harlequin, a rheumatic old maid as Columbine, for the love of God, as only sectarians can hate. and a Methodist parson for Clown. Then, But being fortunately secular, the controversy the characters used such language; the mid- did not stir up any very deep feelings of dle-aged ruffian—we mean the hero-swore, animosity, although the surface of cærulean not the usual melodramatic paraphrases “By society was considerably ruffled. But when Heaven, sir, this language is unbearable- men's minds became sufficiently agitated to fiends and furies ! do ve mean to insult me?” warrant such an interposition, an oracle spoke; -but real wicked oaths, like a bold, bad, live the "Quarterly " reviewed Jane Eyre--light

All this was very odd and incorrect ; flowed in upon the darkness—the oil of certhe novel-reading public had become accus- tainty tranquilized the waves of doubt and tomed to the “fiends and furies style; conjecture. It was, confessed the mighty believed in it as the language common to the Rhadamanthus, to common intelligences, an aristocracy of nature, and associated all plainer enigma hard to discover, whether this book speaking with pot-house company, skittles, proceeded from a man's pen, or from that of and wlimited beer and tobacco. So the

But Rhadamanthus had looked public clamored at this glimpse of nature through the millstone at a glance, and seen thus unceremoniously revealed to them, very beyond it the very man who had done the deed much as they would have clamored if the -- who had inadvertently afforded a glimpse writer had chosen to go to the opera sans

of his toga virilis, by his appalling ignorance culottes; and, having clamored, they philan- of female manners and customs, and, above all, thropically wished to remonstrate with the by his thoroughly masculine, false, and ridiauthor on his improper innovations—but who culous notions in regard to female attire. was the author ? Ay, there was the rub. How Charlotte must have chuckled over this The title-page ran thus :-“ Jane Eyre; by judicial blindness in the little parlor at HaCurrer Bell." Yes; Currer Bell. Nobody worth. The “Quarterly” having spoken, had ever heard of Currer Bell-nobody be- the public mind became tranquilized, and lieved in Currer Bell ; and very soon the the tumult was allayed; a strange man had only fact which obtained universal credence in written a strange book—that was all. So regard to Jane Eyre was that, be it written by society sat down to dinner without its appewhom it might, it certainly was not the pro- tite being impaired any longer by oppressive duction of Curer Bell. This was enough; curiosity. Then followed other books by here was a strange book, written in a strange other Bells-books also peculiar, clever, and style, by-and this was strangest of all-a interesting (especially the “Tenant of Wildfell mysterious stranger! In those days, events Hall”), though inferior in each particular to were 'few-Louis Philippe dozed in false Jane Eyre. When the nine days (the period security on the throne of France, nor dreamed popularly assigned, we wish we knew why, to the hand of destiny was drawing it from be- evanescent excitements) of this wonder were neath him. Sebastopol was then building ; nearly accomplished, gradually and stealthily and British youth learned geography, yet a rumour began to gain ground, that in spite of remained blissfully ignorant of its name and the “Quarterly," and the profound ignorance nature. Lord Raglan was innocuously em- of mantua-making, Jane Eyre was written ployed at the Horse Guards, his own, being by a young lady, after all, and the name of the only arm of the service he had then had Charlotte Bronté was repeated with daily inthe opportunity of sacrificing ; for at that time creasing confidence, until the authorship of we had a real commander living, though years the work ceased to be a moot point any were fast conquering the invincible Wellington. longer. Our limits forbid, nor is it the intenThus the public was easily excited, and a Jane tion of this notice, to enter on any review of Eyre furore spread rapidly and raged like the authoress's writings, although much yet wild-fire. Jane Eyre was written by a man ! remains both of beauty and of blemish, on no—Jane Eyre was written by a woman. Of which the critical faculty has not been excourse it was a man's writing, no woman ercised; but as the mystery which attended would have written such a book. Look at this lady's public debit has in some degree the details of woman's inner nature--photo- enshrouded her, even to the moment when graphs of her very soul; no man could have the thousands to whom she has afforded pleasurable interest and excitement are lotte herself, quitted it with the seeds of conlamenting her untimely decease, we imagine sumption in their constitutions, fostered by the following particulars, obtained from a the cruel privations they underwent. The private and we believe authentic source, food was horrible, and of it, bad as it was, though we do not pledge ourselves to their they obtained so little that often they were accuracy, may not prove unacceptable to our literally half starved. Frequently has she readers.

“crept under the table to pick up the crumbs On the northern side of one of the wildest others had dropped.” At the time of the and bleakest moors of Yorkshire, stands the lit- fever the doctor examined the food, he put tle village of Haworth, consisting of a church some in his mouth, and hastily rejected it, and a few grey stone cottages. One of these, protesting it was not fit for dogs.

“So hunscarcely superior to its fellows, and distin- gry was I,” said Charlotte, “that I could have guished only by a sort of court-yard surround- eaten what he threw away.”

The three sured by a low stone wall, and overgrown with vivors returned to Haworth with broken grass (shrubs and flowers refusing to vegetate health ; but there fresh trials- awaited them. in so ungenial an atmosphere), is the parson- “At nineteen,” continued Charlotte, “I should age. The architecture is of the simplest de- have been thankful for a penny a-week. I scription-a straight walk leads up to the asked my father ; but he said, “What do front door, on either side of which appears a women want with money?'”

She was yet window, that of the sitting-room looking into only nineteen when she advertized for and the church-yard, well filled with gravestones. obtained a situation as teacher in a school : On this parsonage, until within a few months not finding it turn out as she had hoped, she since, not a touch of paint, nor an article of waited until she had saved money enough to new furniture, had been expended for thirty pay her passage to Brussels, where she had years, the period which has elapsed since the secured a position as school-teacher-she death of Miss Bronté's mother. Some six or started alone, never having previously quitted seven years antecedent to that date, an Irish Yorkshire. When she arrived in London it clergyman, the Rev. Patrick Bronté, then re- was night; she became alarmed, and, not sident at Penzance, espoused a young lady, knowing where to go, and fearing to trust contrary to the wishes of her relations, who herself with strangers, she took a cab, drove

to .

, ing the perpetual curacy of Haworth, took officer in command refused to take her on his bride to his new residence, where she board till the next morning, but on learning spent the remainder of her days, dying in a her desolate situation recalled his prohibition. rapid consumption after the birth of her sixth In Brussels, she remained two years; her exchild, Charlotte. Mr. Bronté, who, though periences there are detailed in “Villette." advanced in years, is still alive, is described The character of Adéle, in particular, is drawn as a man of studious and solitary habits, and from life. On her return she found that the of a singular and highly eccentric turn of health of her two remaining sisters was demind, which, together with a very peculiar clining, and that her father's eyesight was temper, must have rendered him anything becoming affected, and she considered it her but a suitable guardian to a youthful family. | duty to remain at home. She tried various Nor can we wonder at the mother's dying ex- ways of increasing their income, but failed in clamation,

“ What will become of my poor all. Without mentioning her project to her children?” Engrossed by his own pursuits, father, she wrote Jane Eyre, a work of which the father never even dined with his family Messrs. Smith and Elder had the good sense nor taught them anything, and the children to perceive the merits, and were courageous learned to write and read from servants only. enough to publish it, in spite of its peculiariWhen Charlotte was twelve years old she ties, which might have alarmed any but a (even then of an original and self - reliant really spirited publisher. About three months nature) asked and obtained her father's

per

after the appearance of her novel, and when mission, that her sisters and herself should be its success was no longer doubtful, Miss placed at the clergy-school at Cowan Bridge.

Bronté resolved to screw up

and This, as it then existed, she has described to inform her father of the step she had taken. the life in Jane Eyre. Two of her sisters died Mr. Bronté, it appears, did not then join his of the fever which at one time devastated the family, even at meal-times. At dinner, Charschool; the two others, and probably Char- lotte announced her intention to her sisters,

her courage,

But, papa,

adding, that she would put it into execution that I had time for a good look at her.

She before tea! Accordingly, she marched into had soft lightish brown hair, eyes of the same his study with a copy of her work, wrapped tint, looking straight at you, and very good up in a Review of it, which she had received, and expressive; a reddish complexion, a wide and the following conversation ensued : mouth-altogether plain; the forehead square,

Papa, I have been writing a book !" broad, and rather overhanging. Her hands “Have you, my dear ?” (He went on read- are like birds' claws, and she is so shorting.)

sighted that she cannot see your face unless I want you to look at it.” you are close to her. She is said to be fright“I can't be troubled to read manuscript.” fully shy, and almost cries at the thought of “But it is printed."

going amongst strangers." “I hope you've not been involving yourself Such are a few particulars concerning this in any such silly expense !"

remarkable woman; with the broader features “I think I shall gain some money by it; of her history, especially her marriage with may I read you some reviews of it?" "She Mr. Nicol, her father's curate, and her read the reviews, and again asked him if he melancholy death six months after she (prowould look over the book; he said she might bably for the first time in her strange eventful leave it and he would see-later on that same life) knew what it was to enjoy domestic hapevening he sent his daughters an invitation to piness—the daily press has already made drink tea with him. When the meal was everyone familiar. That she has been taken nearly concluded, he said—“Children, Char- from among us in the full vigor of her inlotte has been writing a book, and I think tellect, ere the sunshine of a happy home had it is a better one than I expected.” For fostered and developed the brighter and more some years he never mentioned the subject genial portion of her nature, must ever be a again.

source of regret to those who, admiring as we A lady, who afterwards became intimate admire the works she has left as her lasting with Miss Bronté, thus describes her first in- memorial, hoped for yet nobler proofs of her troduction to her. “I arrived late at the remarkable powers of invention, when time house of a mutual friend, tea was on the and an increased knowledge of life should table, and behind it sat a little wee dark per- have corrected the eccentricity, without lessson, dressed in black, who scarcely spoke, so ening the originality, of her genius.

THREE JUNES AT CHAUNCY MANOR.

BY SILVERPEN.

It has risen a hot June morning. Pleasant The truth is that both steward and houseare the wooded glades round Chauncy Manor ; keeper are in a desperately bad humor. Lady still lie its shadowed pools; unruffled rests Chauncy, their mistress, finding her eye-sight the fern above the harebell and the violet ; failing, her steps growing feeble, her days a and far away, across the open stretches of the little long and wearisome, has resolved upon ancient park, the golden sun falls golden on taking “a young person as companionthe buttercups of June.

to escort whom, from town to Chauncy Manor, It is about eight o'clock. Lady Chauncy is their errand this day. Hence the vicioushas not yet breakfasted, for it is with her a ness of their tempers—though the morning meal of great pomp and state ; but Tidd, the breathes divineness and peace around. housekeeper, has; and so has Tippins, the But though Miss Tidd is thus exquisitely steward. Indeed, the latter may be strongly frigid, her morning potations have not been suspected of having anticipated a certain por- wholly confined to the best Pekoe—already tion of his dinner or supper, as his eyes are a has she had some four glasses of the very little hazy, his voice a little muffled, and the choicest sherry; whilst, in the small basket end of his nose as red as any autumn mul- she carries, nestles a pint bottle of the same, berry. But Miss Tidd is in a particularly together with a well-roasted fowl, bread, frosty state--at all times icy, her blood and a cream-cheese, and some appetizing grapes, temper are at zero on this hot June morning. which Mellow, the gardener, has contributed.

« AnteriorContinuar »