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and envied his speed. His triumph appeared complete: Reynard already lost ground: the dogs were close
his haunches : more than once the hunted animal had looked round,“grinned horribly” at his cruel pursuers, and again fled for his life.
At this eventful moment, the fore feet of the horse sunk into a deep hole, which had been overgrown with weeds and rushes ;-he stumbled, and fell, while his rider was hurled, with incredible violence, against a large oak at a few yards distance.—His heart
“ Heav'd but one groan, and for ever was still.”
“ Beauclerk is unhorsed!”—burst at once from a dozen lips, and instant aid was rendered him; but, alas! it was of no avail.-his career ended. He had been summoned, thus unexpectedly, to render his account at the tribunal of God, for the deeds done in the body.
With all possible dispatch, he was conveyed to Hugglescote, and medical assistance procured; when it was discovered that his head had been dreadfully fractured, and that his neck was dislocated by the fall; so that whatever human assistance could have been supposed available, even on the spot on which he fell, all would have been in vain.
As the distance from Hugglescote to Leicester is only eleven miles, no surprise can be excited from the fact, that two hours had not elapsed after the accident, before the intelligence had spread through a large number of families in the town. Poor Beauclerk was highly and deservedly respected. He wanted but one thing, it was said by many,--but wanting that, he wanted every thing,—to render him all that a human being could desire to be, --Religion! That, indeed, he had not. He was a fashionable of the day, without either the ridiculousness of the dandy, or the loose profanity of a professed gallant. His correct views of true gentility preserved him from the one, while his natural habits induced a repugnance to the low and degrading vices which are bedizened with the epithets of gallantry and spirit, on the other. Perhaps it might be said, that a misconception of the nature of religion,--judging of it only by the imprudent conduct of some of its unholy professors, and not from the statute-book of truth itself, the Bible,-led him to be more indifferent to its paramount claims, and inconceivable importance, than he otherwise might have been.
The sigh of regret, and the tear of sorrow, burst from the hearts, and fell from the eyes of many, as the tidings reached them that the young and amiable Walmer Beauclerk was killed. But there was one family to which the busy report soon reached, to describe the grief of which, would require language such as has not yet been employed by human tongue. It was frenzy itself, and frenzy in its climax : it assumed a wildness of the most desolating order,—and there was ONE of that family who heard the tidings as though she heard them not. A stupor at first fastened upon her finely cultivated mind, as if the fountain of consciousness was suddenly dried up. She sat unmoved, where first the information had reached her,
“ Pale, as a marble statue pale,"
until the tide of powerful feeling, rushing with impetuous devastating violence through her stricken heart, she raved aloud, demanding, with a cry which affected by its wildness, her own, her dear, dear Beauclerk; and then sunk awhile into the arms of unconsciousness, by continued swoonings.
This was the lovely,—the BETHROTHED Georgiana. The day of the espousals of Beauclerk and herself had already been fixed. The bridal attire was prepared; cards of invitation to an extensive circle, had been dispatched: one week and a few days, only, intervened betwixt the solemnization of the rite, which the town stood on the tip-toe of desire to witness. On the morning of the present day, Georgiana had rode on a visit to the seat of Lord W-, a near relation, where Beauclerk was to have joined her in the evening, at a splendid ball.
The day was fast declining, and busy preparation was making for
“Mad revelry's own reign,—the waste of time,
The idle romp, and sacrifice of health,"
when the crushing intelligence reached the ears of the fascinating fair one. As soon as she had so far recovered from her swooning, as to express her wishes, she insisted upon being instantly assisted to her carriage, and driven home. Every means resorted to, to induce her to change her mind, was to no purpose: her determination was fixed, and therefore, complied with. Lord W. himself accompanied her to her father's, and, with all the soothing expressions of friendship, strove to calm the alarming paroxysm of her agony; but,
“Who can minister to a mind diseas'd,
Or pluck from memory a rooted sorrow ?”
Week after week passed away, and each suc.ceeding period left the widowed Georgiana-for so in fact she felt she was—as it found her, a prey to consuming sorrow. Health no longer gamboled on her cheek; her pointed and ready wit, no longer threw around its fascinations, or dealt out its sarcastic repartees; nor did her form, beautiful as if intended for a model of symmetry itself, grace the ball-room, or pass down the mazy dance. Her mind had retired into itself, and, during the hours of solitary and lonely seclusion, she had made discoveries, which never could have been conceived of amidst the fashionable groups from which she had but recently been separated. The sorrow under which she laboured, had not merely given her a transient disrelish for the enjoyments of parties, routs, and revels, but appeared to have broken up her very power of participating in such enjoyments. Some alarming, yet indistinct conceptions of her moral character, threw her mind into a state of inconceivable anxiety. She strove to turn from the unwelcome impression, but it pursued her, or rather, she bore in her own person the positive evidence of her depravity: her conscience had been roused from its torpidity, and now clammered, in accents of condemnation, against the things which she had formerly allowed. A course of amendation was proposed in her own mind, and under secret purposes of renouncing the world, in its "pomps and vanities," she soothed herself awhile into the belief, that her future conduct should make reparation for her former errors.
Leicester was, at this period, favoured with the ministry of the eminent Mr. Robinson, whose piety, zeal, and ministerial qualifications have seldom been exceeded. The church in which Mr. Robinson dispensed the word of life (St. Mary's), was that in which Georgiana and her friends held their family pew; and to it, when they did visit the church, they went. Of the enthusiastic views of Mr. Robinson, they did not highly approve; but then, his character was unimpeachable, and seemed as an impregnable bulwark against any attack which even the foes of truth might feel disposed to make. They did indeed, not infrequently, in the fashionable circles which they visited, deplore most pathetically, that the Church