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it was above as brilliant as ever; I looked around me, and a fair land, and eastern trees, and solid rocks, met my eyes: could it be? was I alive and on land? My heart swelled and beat in my bosom, my eyes overflowed, and, releasing myself from the raft, I sank upon my knee, and breathed one prayer of thanks to Him who had wafted me to the shore. While in this posture I touched something human: I looked down, and there, stretched at full length, lay a fellow-man—one of my recent comrades in danger. His presence occasioned a thrill of delight to shoot through my frame. But was he alive''. His eyes were glazed, his skin was sallow and clammy, and his limbs were stiff. I took his hand and squeezed it, but his lingers returned not my pressure; I raised him up, but his frame was inactive. I tried his pulse, but the current of life was still. Alas! he had perished; but there was something in the presence of even a dead countryman which, in a strange land, attached me to him, and during the whole day I could not withdraw myself from this poor remains of humanity.
Around the place was the silence of death; the land appeared uninhabited; and though it was filled with fruit and water I did not know but, like another Crusoe, I should make in it a long sojourn. In the evening, however, a sail appeared in sight: I hailed it, a boat put off towards me, and the sight of Christian men, and the sound of the English language, overpowered me. I sank upon the ground, and when I had recovered I found myself on board the • Nancy,' of London. My comrade, t understood, was decently interred, and the island on which they found me was one of those small ones west of Sumatra. Indue time we arrived in England, and my father hastened to forgive the prodigal.
Notwithstanding their savage harharity I was grieved to hear that my companions who took refuge on the rock perished, and from ihat day to this the recollection of the shipwrecked has never left my memoir.
AN EXECUTION IN PARIS.
The newspapers having announced that a man who assassinated a wine merchant was to be executed, at four o'clock, on the Place de Greves, I determined, having never seen a guillotine, to be present. As I approached the place, the current of people carried me along to the space which the police maintained unoccupied around the fatal instrument. An immense multitude was assembled; it consisted solely of people of the lowest class—great numbers of women and children swelled its ranks! While die blood-thirsty rabble pressed on behind, and the feet of the horses and the waving sabres of the gens tVarmes restrained them in front, an officer of the police noticed me, and politely desired me to take a place amongst the soldiers, who were privileged to occupy the vacant space around the scaffold. Here, then, I stood within five steps of the instrument which, though it was now brought out to work the vengeance of society on one of its guilty members, had, not many years since, Berved the mad, harharous anger, of an infuriated mob, let loose on the innocent supporters of antiquated prejudices and interests :—but those scenes are passed; the ebullition which occasioned them has been tempered by the triumph of reason, and, in France at least, they can never be acted again.
The clock from the neighbouring town-hall pealed forth the hour appointed for the execution. A dreadful pause seemed to follow each heavy stroke as it fell, with a dull and apparently lengthened sound, upon the ear. For a moment, the crowd was silent; for a moment, a slight shudder appeared to steal over its discordant and rushing billows. A supernatural chill seemed to pervade the air; the white flng on the tower _ of the Hotel de Ville seemed to float in more hurried and ominous folds upon the rushing gale; the clouds above were dark and lowering: for one short instant, all nature seemed to wear a becoming aspect, to be in accordance with the deed it was about to witness. But soon the clock was again silent; a new rush was made by the crowd; the harsh voices of the guards were again heard endeavouring to repel them : and the whole square again presented a scene of hellish passions, and hellish curiosity.
Heavens! -what can occasion that burst of laughter 1 a general burst of laughter at such a moment! His hat had fallen from the head of one of the crowd, who, without having been able to recover it, was pushed away by the current; a ruffian near, seeing advantage in the change, seized upon it, and threw his own high in the air above the surrounding multitude: another, actuated by the same calculation, exchanged it for his own, which he cast from him; and ihus, for some seconds—when every second seemed an age—the sight of this succession of flying hats occasioned a discordant and jarring mirth.
The clock again strikes the quarter! On occasions like the present, how slow the moments roll past!— and such, I am convinced, must be the feeling of every anxious breathless culprit, though he well knows that his existence will have ceased before the evening hour shall have tolled from his prison-clock.
He comes. I know not, but I think the crowd is silent. With what a hollow sound the wheels of the cart pass along the pavement! how heavily they roll over each hitherto unheeded stone! To the tenant of the cart, each stone they pass is past for ever—each stone they leave behind diminishes the distance that separates him from eternity. With an air of respectful sympathy, an aged priest sits beside him. But he himself is young—young, indeed, for such a death! Nor does he gaze on the multitude around ; his eye is bent upon the bottom of the cart that bears him; anguish and resignation are painted on his fine features— those features that must soon be fixed in horrid deformity. But is it a human being endowed with a living soul that I now see? what shall it be ere five minutes are added to the ages that have preceded them? how shall the knife of the guillotine separate the spirit from that body ?—What a mystery is death!