Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

and kissing her more fondly, if pos- had led him to attempt his life. It sible, than before. « We shall not was written in a most extravagant be apart long, I dare say !"

and incongruous strain, and acquaintWe set off on our walk towards ed me with the writer's intention to town; and Mr Dudleigh conversed “ bid farewell to his troubles that with great calmness, speaking of his evening.” It ended with informing affairs, even in an encouraging tone. me, that I was left a legacy in his At length we separated. *Remem- will for L.5000--and hoping, that ber me kindly to Mrs ,” said he, when his poor daughter died, “ I mentioning my wife's name, and would see her magnificently buried.” shaking me warmly by the hand. By the time I had arrived at the

The next morning, as I sate at house where he lay, I was almost breakfast, making out my daily list, fainting with agitation: and I was my wife, who had one of the morn: compelled to wait some minutes be. ing papers in her hand, suddenly let low, before I could sufficiently reit fall, and looking palely at me, ex- cover my self-possession. On enterclaimed -" Eh, surely-surely, my ing the bedroom where he lay, I dear, this can never be-Mr Dud- found him undressed, and fast asleep. leigh !”-I enquired what she meant, There was no appearance whatever -and she pointed out the following of discomposure in the features. paragraph :

His hands were clasped closely to“ATTEMPTED SUIcide.—Yesterday gether-and in that position he had evening, an elderly gentleman, dress- continued for several hours. The ed in deep mourning, was observed medical man who had been sumwalking for some time near the water moned in over-night, sate at his bedside, a little above Chelsea-Reach, side, and informed me that his paand presently stepped on board one tient was going on as well as could of the barges, and threw himself be expected. The treatment he had from the outer one into the river. adopted, had been very judicious Most providentially this latter move- and successful; and I had no doubt, ment was seen by a boatman who that when next Mr Dudleigh awoke, was rowing past, and who succeed- he would feel little if any the worse ed, after some minutes, in seizing for what he had suffered. All my hold of the unfortunate person, and thoughts were now directed to Miss lifting him into the boat-but not Dudleigh; for I felt sure that if the till the vital spark seemed extinct. intelligence had found its way to her, He was immediately carried to the it must have destroyed her. I ran public-house by the water-side, every inch of the distance between where prompt and judicious means the two houses, and knocked gently were made use of -and with suc- at the door with my knuckles, that I

He is now lying at the might not disturb Miss Dudleigh.

public-house, but as there The servant girl, seeing my discomwere no papers or cards about him, posed appearance, would have creathis name is at present unknown. The ed a disturbance, by shrieking, or unfortunate gentleman is of middling making some other noise, had I not stature, rather full make—of advan- placed my fingers on her mouth, and ced years—his hair very grey,--and in a whisper, asked how her mistress he wears a mourning ring on his left was? “Master went home with you, hand.”

sir, did not he ?"-she enquired with I rung the bell, ordered a coach, an alarmed air. drew on my boots, and put on my “ Yes-yes"-I replied hastily. walking-dress; and in a little more Oh, I told Miss so! I told her than three or four minutes was hurry- so !" replied the girl, clasping her ing on my way to the house men- hands, and breathing freer. tioned in the newspaper:

A two- Oh, she has been uneasy about penny post-man had the knocker in his not coming home last night-eh? his hand at the moment of my open- -Ah-I thought so, this morning, ing the door, and put into my hand a and that is what has brought me here paid letter, which I tore open as I in such a hurry,” said I, as calmly as drove along. Good God! it was from I could. After waiting down stairs -Mr Dudleigh. It afforded unequi- to recover my breath a little, I repairvocal evidence of the insanity which ed to Miss Dudleigh's room. She

cess.

[ocr errors]

$0.

was awake. The moment I entered, they arrive, and meet them. Come, she started up in bed,--her eyes come, Miss Dudleigh-this is weak straining, and her arms stretched to absurd !” said I, observing that wards me.

what I said seemed to make no im“My-my-father!"-she gasp- pression on her. I ordered some ed; and before I could open my lips, port wine and water to be brought,

i or even reach her side, she had fallen and forced a few tea-spoonfuls into back in bed, and-as I thought-ex- her mouth. They revived her, and pired. She had swooned: and during I gave her more. In a word, she rathe whole course of my experience, pidly recovered from the state of utI never saw a swoon so long and termost exhaustion into which she closely resemble death. For more had fallen; and before I left, she than an hour, the nurse, servant-girl, said solemnly to me, “ Doctor and I hung over her in agonizing and I—IF you have deceived me! If breathless suspense, striving to de- any thing, dreadful has reallytect her breath-which made no im- reallypression whatever on the glass I I left, half distracted to think of from time to time held over her the impossibility of fulfilling the promouth. Her pulse fluttered and mise I had made her, as well as of acfuttered-feebler and feebler, till I counting satisfactorily for not doing could not perceive that it beat at all. What could I do? I drove ra" Well!” thought I, at last removing pidly homewards, and requested my my fingers,—" you are gone, sweet wife to hurry down immediately to Agnes Dudleigh, from a world that Miss Dudleigh, and pacify her with has but few as fair and good”-when saying that her father was riding a slight undulation of the breastround with me, for the sake of exeraccompanied by a faint sigh, indi- cise, and that we should come to her cated slowly-returning conscious- together. I then hurried through my ness. Her breath came again, short few professional calls, and repaired and faint-but she did not open her to Mr Dudleigh. To my unutterable eyes for some time after.

joy and astonishment, I found him “ Well, my sweet girl,” said I, up, dressed-for his clothes had been presently observing her eyes fixed drying all night-and sitting quietly steadfastly on me; why all this? by the fire, in company with the me What has happened ? What is the

dical man.

His appearance exhibitmatter with you ?” and I clasped ed no traces whatever of the acciher cold fingers in my hand. By dent which had befallen him. But, placing my ear so close to her lips alas ! on looking close at him-on that it touched them, I distinguished examining his features - Oh, that the sound" My fa-father !" eye! That smile! They told of de

“ Well! And what of your fa- parted reason !- I was gazing on an ther ? He is just as usual, and sends idiot! Oh, God! What was to behis love to you.” Her eyes, as it come of Miss Dudleigh ? How was were, dilated on me— her breath I to bring father and daughter face came quicker and stronger—and her to face ? My knees smote together, frame vibrated with emotion. “ He while I sate beside him! But it must is coming home shortly, by-by- be done, or Miss Dudleigh's life four o'clock this afternoon-yes, four would be the forfeit! The only proo'clock at the latest. Thinking that ject I could hit upon for disguising a change of scene might revive his the frightful state of the case, was to spirits, I prevailed on him last night hint to Miss Dudleigh, if she perceito walk on with me home-and-and ved any thing wild, or unusual in he elept at my house.” She did not his demeanour, that he was a little attempt to speak, but her eye con- flustered with wine! But what a tinued fixed on me with an unwa. circumstance to communicate to the vering look that searched my very dying girl! And even if it succeeded, soul! “ My wife and Mr Dudleigh what would ensue on the next mornwill drive down together,” I conti- ing? Would it be safe to leave him nued, firmly, though my heart sunk with her? I was perplexed and conwithin me at the thought of the im- founded between all these painful probability of such being the case; conjectures and difficulties ! * and I shall return here by the time He put on his hat and great-coat,

*

*

and we got into my chariot together. ing-now, gazing into vacancy with He was perfectly quiet and gentle, “lack-lustre eye"--and then sud

“ ” conversed on indifferent subjects, denly kissing her hand with childand spoke of having had “a cold ish eagerness, and chattering mere bath” last night, which had done him gibberish to her! It is her idiot much good! My heart grew heavier father! Yes, be proves an irreand heavier as we neared the home coverable idiot—but is uniformly where I was to bring her idiot father quiet and inoffensive. We at first into Miss Dudleigh! I felt sick with tended to have sent him to a neighagitation, as we descended the car- bouring private institution for the riage steps.

reception of the insane; but poor But I was for some time happily Miss Dudleigh would not hear of it, disappointed. He entered her room and threatened to destroy herself, if with eagerness, ran up to her and her father was removed. She in, kissed her with his usual affectionate sisted on his being allowed to con. energy. She held him in her arms tinue with her, and consented that for some time, exclaiming,—" Oh, a proper person should be in confather, father! How glad I am to see stant attendance on him. She heryou !-I thought some accident had self could manage him, she said ! happened to you! Why did you not and so it proved. He is a mere tell me that you were going home child in her hands. If ever he is with Dr -- " My wife and I trem, inclined to be mischievous or obstrebled, and looked at each other.de- perous-which is very seldom-if spairingly.

she do but say " hush !” or lift up " Why," replied her father, sitting her trembling finger, or fix her eye down beside her, “you see, my love, upon him reprovingly, he is instantDr recommended me a coldly cowed, and runs up to her to bath.”

" kiss and be friends." He often “ A cold bath at this time of the falls down on his knees, when he year !” exclaimed Miss Dudleigh, thinks he has offended her, and cries looking at me with astonishment. I like a child. She will not trust him smiled, with ill-assumed nonchalance. out of her sight for more than a few

“ It is very advantageous at-at- moments together-except when he even this season of the year,” I stam- retires with his guardian, to rest; mered, for I observed Miss Dud- and indeed he shews as little inclileigh's eye fixed on me like a ray of nation to leave her. The nurse's lightning

situation is almost a sort of sine« Yes—but they ought to have cure; for the anxious officiousness taken off my clothes first,” said Mr of Mr Dudleigh leaves her little to Dudleigh, with a shuddering motion. do. He alone gives his daughter her His daughter suddenly laid her hand medicine and food, and does so with on him, uttered a faint shriek, and requisite gentleness and tenderness. fell back in her bed in a swoon. The He has no notion of her real statedreadful scene of the morning was that she is dying; and finding that all acted over again. I think I should she could not succeed in her efforts have rejoiced to see her expire on the gradually to apprize him of the spot; but, no! Providence had allot- event, which he always turned off ted her a further space, that she might with a smile of incredulity, she gives drain the cup of sorrow to the dregs! in to his humour, and tells him

poor girl !--that she is getting better! He has taken it into his head

that she is to be married to Lord Tuesday, 18th July, 18 I as soon as she recovers, and am still in attendance on poor un- talks with high glee of the magnifortunate Miss Dudleigh. The scenes ficent repairs going on at his former I have to encounter are often anguish- house in Square! He always ing, and even heart-breaking. She accompanies me to the door ; and lingers on day after day and week sometimes writes me cheques for after week in increasing pain !-By L.50—which of course is a delusion the bedside of the dying girl sits the only—as he has no banker, and few figure of an elderly grey-haired man, funds to put in his hands ; and at dressed in neat and simple mourn- other times slips a shilling or a six

a

*

*

[ocr errors]

pence into my hand at leaving- Saturday.-Mr Dudleigh is hard thinking, doubtless, that he has given at work making his daughter a cowme a guinea.

slip wreath, out of some flowers Friday. The idea of Miss Dud- given him by his keeper! leigh's rapidly approaching marriage When I took my leave to-day, he continues still uppermost in her fa- accompanied me, as usual, down ther's head; and he is incessantly stairs, and led the way into the little pestering her to make preparations parlour. He then shut the door, and for the event. To-day he appealed told me in a low whisper, that he to me, and complained that she wished me to bring him" an honest would not order her wedding-dress. lawyer,”-to make his will: for that

“ Father, dear father!” said Miss he was going to settle L.200,000 upon Dudleigh, faintly, laying her wasted his daughter !--of course I put him hand on his arm,-“ only be quiet off with promises to look out for a little, and I'll begin to make it!- what he asked. It is rather remarks I'll really set about it to-morrow!” able, I think, that he has never once, He kissed her fondly, and then eager- in my hearing, made any allusion to ly emptied his pockets of all the his deceased wife. As I shook his loose silver that was in them, tell- hand at parting, he 'stared suddenly ing her to take it, and order the ma- at me, and said "Doctor Doctor! terials. I saw that there was some- my daughter is very slow in getting thing or other peculiar in the ex- well-is'nt she ?” pression of Miss Dudleigh's eye, in Monday, July 23.-—The suffering saying what she did—as if some sud- angel will soon leave us and all her den scheme had suggested itself to sorrows !-She is dying fast: She is her. Indeed the looks with which very much altered in appearance, she constantly regards him, are such and has not power enough to speak as I can find no adequate terms of in more than a whisper—and that description for. They bespeak blend but seldom. Her father sits gazing ed anguish-apprehension--pity- at her with a puzzled air, as if he did love-in short, an expression that not know what to make of her unhaunts me wherever I go. Oh what usual silence. He was a good deal a .scene of suffering humanity-a vexed when she laid aside her “weddaughter's death-bed watched by an ding-dress,"--and tried to tempt her idiot father!

to resume it, by-shewing her a shilMonday:-I now knew what was ling !-While I was sitting beside Miss Dudleigh's meaning, in assent- her, Miss Dudleigh, without opening ing to her father's proposal last Fri- her eyes, exclaimed, scarcely audible, day. I found, this morning, the poor - Oh! be kind to him! be kind to dear girl engaged on her shroud !-- him! He won't be long here! He It is of fine muslin, and she is at is very gentle !" tempting to sew and embroider it. - Evening. Happening to be The people about her did all they summoned to the neighbourhood, I could to dissuade her; but there was called a second time during the day at last no resisting her importunities. on Miss Dudleigh. All was quiet Yes—there she sits, poor thing, when I entered the room. The nurse propped up by pillows, making fre- was sitting at the window, reading; quent but feeble efforts to draw her and Mr Dudleigh occupied his usual needle through her gloomy work,-- place at the bedside, leaning over her father, the while, holding one his daughter, whose arms were claspend of the muslin, and watching hered together round his neck. . work with childish eagerness. Some- “ Hush ! hush !”-said Mr Dudtimes a tear will fall from her eyes leigh, in a low whisper, as I apwhile thus engaged. It did this proached,—“Don't make a noisemorning. Mr Dudleigh observed it, she's asleep !"-Yes, she was ASLEEP and, turning to me, said, with an -and to wake no more !-Her snowarch smile, " Ah, ha!-how is it that cold arms,-her features, which on young ladies always cry about being parting the dishevelled hair that bid married ?” Oh the look Miss Dud- them, I perceived to be fallen-told leigh gave me, as she suddenly drop- me that she was dead ! ped her work, and turned her head aside!

She was buried in the same grave as her mother. Her wretched father, His favourite seat was a rustic contrary to our apprehensions, made bench beneath an ample sycamoreno disturbance whatever while she tree, in the green behind the house. lay dead. They told him that she Here he would sit for hours together, was no more-but he did not seem gazing fixedly in one direction, toto comprehend what was meant. wards a rustic church-steeple, and He would take hold of her passive uttering deep sighs. No one interhand, gently shake it, and let it fall fered with him ; and he took no

; again, with a melancholy wandering notice of any one.-One afternoon stare that was pitiable !-He sate at a gentleman of foreign appearance her coffin-side all day long, and laid called at the asylum, and in a hurried, fresh flowers upon her every morn- faltering voice, asked if he could see ing. Dreading lest some sudden Mr Dudleigh. A servant but newly paroxysm might occur, if he was engaged on the establishment, imsuffered to see the lid screwed prudently answered -“ Certainly, down, and her remains removed, sir. Yonder he is, sitting under the we gave him a tolerably strong opi- sycamore, He never notices any ate in some wine, on the morning of one, sir.” The stranger - young the funeral; and as soon as he was Dudleigh, who had but that morning fast asleep, we proceeded with the arrived from America-rushed past last sad rites, and committed to the the servant into the garden ; and cold and quiet grave another broken flinging down his hat, fell on one heart!

knee before his father, clasping his Mr Dudleigh suffered himself to hands over his breast. Finding his be soon after conveyed to a private father did not seem inclined to noasylum, where he had every comfort tice him, he gently touched him on and attention requisite to his circum- the knee,and whispered—“FATHER!" stances. He had fallen into profound - Mr Dudleigh started at the sound, melancholy, and seldom or never turned suddenly towards his son, spoke to any one. He would shake looked him full in the face-fellback me by the hand languidly when I in his seat, and instantly expired ! called to see him,—but hung down his head in silence, without answering any of my questions.

VOL. XXX, NO, CLXXXII.

F

« PreviousContinue »