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even in the obscurity of the night, to recognise the objects around him, and conjectured from this that the remainder of the journey could not be long. In the mean time he judged from the march of the constellations, that the ocean of darkness which daily makes the circuit of the earth, had nearly ebbed away, and that the waves of that of light were rolling rapidly towards them. At length his practised eye perceived in the distance a huge irregular shadow, relieved against the sky, and his heart beat violently, for he knew it was his mountain city, towering above every thing around it towards heaven. A little farther on, upon a green knoll in the desert, he ordered the cavalcade to halt, this being the spot from whence the city could be contemplated to most advantage; and requesting Ramghur and the princess to alight, they walked about together, a little in advance of their retinue, impatiently awaiting for the dawn. The breezes which precede, in the east, the breaking of day, and scatter along the earth the faint, but delicate odours which the champar, the ixora, the mussenda, and a thousand other flowers, exhale during the night, now began to agitate the leaves and slender branches of the trees, and to produce that rustling sound, which appears to awaken the birds from their dreams. Ramayuna, whose heart was beginning to open under the influence of delight, as the rose-bud expands under that of the sun, was literally in an ecstatic vision, caused partly by her hopes, partly by the influence of spring upon the animal spirits. And Hurchund himself, like the statuary of old, who saw the beauteous marble warm into life before him, beheld the stars grow pale, and the grey dawn spreading over the sky, calling forth one by one the glorious features of his city, with a joy and a delight not to be expressed. Now an obelisk of white or black marble came forth, as it were, out of the darkness, – now a swelling dome, or slender tower, was tipped with light, and now, as the swift forerunners of a tropical sun bounded up the sky, a thousand pinnacles, spires, temples, palaces, battlements, arches, and walls, burst at once upon the eye, and overpowered the soul with their magnificence. The hill, or rather mountain, which supported this mighty city, extended right and left, in a line slightly fluctuating, to a considerable distance; but like the curve of an arch, was highest in the centre, and upon its apex stood the palace of Hurchund, constructed entirely of white marble, in the sublimest style of architecture, and flanked on both sides by a lofty pyramid of black stone. From this point, on either hand, the eye descended over a range of terraces to the plain, upon which the line of pillars, domes, and pyramids still continued, until they dwindled, by the effect of distance, into fairy dimensions, or seemed to mingle with the air. The view of such a city might well make the heart proud, if any thing on earth could; for while gazing upon it, the soul of the spectator seemed to be ennobled, as it would in the presence of mountains towering above the clouds, or of the ocean, tossed and
agitated by a wintry tempest. Hurchund now appeared to have reached the summit of human felicity. From his palace, the most equisite creation of human art, his eye turned upon Ramayuna, the loveliest of nature's works, whose beauty was to be to that structure, what the soul is to the body. The sun was not yet above the horizon, but the soft light which precedes his appearance, clothed every object upon earth with inexpressible beauty.
It seemed to be destined, however, that the pleasure of Hurchund should not be unmixed. While he was standing with Ramayuna's hand in his, pointing out the various structures, and describing to her the internal splendour of that glorious palace, which already blushed in the red light of the morning, and of which she was that day to become the queen, a small cloud, not larger than his turban, appeared in the northern sky, and swelled and darkened with astonishing rapidity. At the same moment the breezes, which had been sporting about among the flowers and trees, died away, and the air suddenly became still and heavy, and congealed, as it were, like the blood of a human being when touched by the finger of death. Every body experienced a difficulty of breathing, and a damp fell upon the mind, as if the light of the spiritual as well as of the physical world were clouded. Meanwhile the scene grew darker and darker every moment ; the clouds came lowering and booming along the sky; a few big, heavy drops fell from them, and sprinkled the earth; the wind roared, and died away by fits, the
rain fell in torrents; and in another moment a crashing, deafening noise, passing over head, told that the awful thunders of a tropical tempest were begun. All the attendants of the princes immediately fell upon their faces ; the horses trembled, the camels put their noses to the ground, as they do during the passage of the simoom, and everything on earth was filled with an inconceivable terror. Hurchund, however, the princess, and her brother, stood where they were, gazing towards the city, over which the clouds were now gathering and thickening into pitchy gloom. The thunder increased every moment in violence, and Hurchund by degrees drew Ramayuna nearer and nearer to him, and at length clasped her unconsciously to his breast. In another moment a motion was felt in the earth beneath their feet, undulating, rapid, quivering; like the shudder which runs through the human body, when some sudden pang is caused in the heart. The motion proceeded from the south, and passed from where they stood towards the city. Before their feet were yet steady, another movement followed, and then another, still more violent. Not a word was uttered; every heart beat thick with fear, every eye was directed towards the city, which was now invisible, wrapped in clouds, tossing, whirling, and eddying in the wind. Presently a fierce wind arose in the east, a small patch of sky, on the edge of the horizon, became clear, the sun burst up, and his rays penetrating the gloom, shewed the loftier pinnacles of the city still struggling, as it were, with the clouds. At that instant the earth was shaken again more terribly than ever; and Hurchund and his bride lifted up their eyes, and looked towards the city, and beheld its walls, shivered by the thunderbolt, and shaken by the earthquake — part-totter - thunder in glittering fragments towards the plain. The clouds then closed round the scene for an instant; and the next they looked again, and behold! city and tower and mountain had disappeared, and in their stead a broad lake spread its quivering waters before their eyes.
It is fortunate for man that his capacity to suffer, like all his other faculties, is bounded. Hurchund had, perhaps, felt the severest pang which such a mind as his could feel; for in the grief which he experienced for the loss of his capital, his palace, his treasures,— but, above all, the companions of his youth,—his younger brothers, his sisters, his mother, there was some mixture of remorse; and there is no sorrow so keen, but that a sense of guilt can make it keener. Ramghur, who knew that at such a moment all attempts at consolation are but so many insults, and that the most friendly service you can perform for a man, is to leave him to himself, commanded the tents to be pitched upon the spot where they were, and telling Ramayuna that he should leave her for a moment with her future husband, mounted his horse and rode toward the lake. His tent being pitched, Hurchund led in the princess, and as soon as they were alone, he said:-“ Ramayuna, you