Page images

ters or chains : he talks to his iniquitous judges,, leaps the fifty miles which part us; I fancy my he makes the voice of truth heard, he confounds relations have assenibled a band of musicians to his accusers, and returns triumphantly to his celebrate my arrival, I remain immovable; I home to wipe away the tears of tenderness and hear without listening, without seeing any thing, friendship. A loud noise resounds through these or rather without looking. I am afraid by taking vaults, the bolts are drawn back, the door creaks | another step, of removing from the concert. V. on its rusty hinges; the illusion is dissipated! A with his violin, C. causing the strings of his harp harsh and brutal jailer brings the daily loaf; the to vibrate under his fingers, and B. who suspends unhappy prisoner takes it and sighs. Silence all respiration with the ravishing tones of her returns; be anew gives way to the delusions of voice, would not have enchanted me more. I imagination, which calm his sorrows and lend behold at my side my mother tenderly affected ; wings to time. To that consolatory power he my good old father likewise moved. The concert owes his courage, his hopes, and that kind of ends abruptly. A little Savoyard ragamuffin who ideal happiness which makes some amends for appeared to rise out of the earth, cried with a the sad reality.

shrill voice: “ The magic lantern !" And that As I was returning home last night after dark, medley of instruments was an organized hurdyI slackened my pace, and at last stopped, to | gurdy. Listen to delicious music, it was the tune which I Thus our imagination becomes as it were, tho sball always love, of which the words express 1) magical comfort of our lives; unhappy those in that we cannot be in a better situation than in whom it is paralysed; I pity them, I do not envy the bosom of our family. limmediately think | their frigid and gloomy reason; their enjoyinents of my own, my imagination in a moment over- ll bear no comparison with mine.


« The canker galls the infants of the spring, 1, was not only forced to abandon all hopes of " Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd; uniting herself to the man whom she thought “ And in the morn and liquid dew of youth, most worthy of her, but even the consolation of “ Contagious blastments are most imminent.” talking about him, or pronouncing his name,

Hamlet, act i. s. 3. was forbidden in her new and sorrowful dwelling.

The Baron loved his daughter, but it was after MARY FEDEROUNA, was the only daughter his own way, and he never had an idea that the of a Russian nobleman, of high rank and great love of a young woman, vught to cause the least fortune. Just at the time when the charms of alteration in his arrangements or his prejudices. youth were beginning to show themselves in her Mary lived in continual anguish; obliged to person, she had the misfortune to lose an ex. || hear every day expressions of aversion and concellent mother. Her father immediately retired | tempt for Markuf and his family, she passed her with her to one of his distant estates, situated solitary moments in making him amends for such in the midst of the deserts of Russia. Thus she injuries, by cherishing the most tender thoughts, was suddenly obliged to quit the pleasures of the and by the tears with which she moistened her capital; the amiable societies which her mother silent couch. The freshness of her complexion had formed; and what was most regretted, that faded ; instead of her former sprightliness and the of the young Count Markof, who had offered amiable carelessness of youth, a melancholy her his respectful homage, and whom she had smile was sometimes seen. In vain she united thought not unworthy of her affections, lico a beautiful person, and natural wit, the treasures

It was even said that the young nobleman was of an excellent education, and even the noble the chief cause of the Baron's abrupt resolution sentiments with which she had been inspired by to retire into the country. The Count, as much her virtuous mother. She had no communicae distinguished by his knowledge, his talents, and tion with any persons except her father, the serhis amiability, as by his birth, had risen rapidly vanıs, and a few peasants, who in those countries at court, and was possessed of such places, and are coarse and vile slaves. such credit, as the Baron, notwithstanding his || In the mean time the love of Markof, far age and long services had never been able to ob- from being enfeebled by the remoteness of its tain, although he fancied they were his due.object, acquired by its very means a new force, Jealousy is implacable, above all when it believes He quitted Moscow; and although Mary at their justice to be on its side. So that his daughter last interview had given him to understand, with

[ocr errors]

tears in her eyes, that they ought to resolve on postscript, in which he was informed of the an eternal separation; he came incognito in the dangers of the least attempt. He had placed environs of the Baron's castle, and having bribed || himself under the windows of the chamber inone of the servants, he informed his beloved of habited by his mistress. “My dear Federouna !" his secret arrival. Ai the first moment Mary was said he, in a supplicating voice; “ my dearest exceedingly concerned. She forgot that her Mary!” and by the aid of some branches of father and her governess were in the castle; she || trees, nailed ag iinst the wall he clambered up to wrapt herself up in her cloak, and notwithstand the window and entered the room. The young ing the intense cold of the season slie went out, Baroness was so terrified that she could neither and directed her steps towards the place where Il speak nor act. He assured her he would depart she expected to meet her friend. All at once | directly, that he only wished to fold her ance in the idea of her father struck her, and froze all her i his arms and to touch her mouth with his lips, members, she fell senseless on the road. She | He supported her, and placed her on a chair. was found and brought home without any one's | In this vast castle, the apartment of Mary was guessing the reason of her fainting; but next very distant from that of the Baron. That of the morning she wrote to Markof hy the person he had l governess was nearer, but the melancholy of himself employed. The certainty that they should Mary had long kept that governess at a distance, never see the accomplishment of their vows, the and she was accustomed to the solitude in which order she was going to send him to cease all pur Mary chose to reinain for hours. Nothing was suit, inflamed her imagination. The heart guided attended to; the moments flew, till at last the the pen, the expression of her love appeared to | Baron surprised to find that his daughter did not burn on the paper; but, little able to write with as usual come to wish him'a good night, caine to any order, in that letter, which was hardly legi knuw the reason... ble, and wherein she recounted her impotent. The two lovers heard him; they trembled. cfforts to meet him, she added in a scrawl which || Mary, in terror, opened an empty chest which could scarce be decyphered, her commands that happened to be in a corner of the room; although he should leave the place without delay; she rather strait, Markof jumped in, laid close, and told him that the whole province was subject to Mary shut it. The Baron entering his daughter's her father, and the hatred he manifested for him room, sat down, enquired tenderly after her was more outrageous since he resided in the healah, her melancholy state, and having for some country ; and, lastly, that it would endanger his time conversed with her, he retired without any life as well as that of his love, if he remained suspicion. any longer. She concluded with saying, in a As soon as he was gone, Mary ran to the fatal postscript on the other side of the page, that a trunk, she opened i-She thought Markof slept. secret foresight warned her that the moment of He was indeed asleep, but never to wake! their interview would, be very soon followed by . He was smothered. He might, without doubl, cruel misfortunes :

as soon as he found the danger of his situation, have As soon as she had sent away her letter, she made some motion which would have delivered repen ed having written it. She reproached her him; but the dread of exposing to the Baron's self with having destroyed all Markof's hopes. resentment a woman whom he loved more than She had never longed so much to see him, as just life, had resigned him to death. after she had forbidden his coming. Her agita | We can form no adequate idea of the terrible tion was extreme; whilst moving about, her condition of Mary at such a sight. She at first apartment, she loudly exclaimed, “ Can he love thought the Count affected to sleep; she even me, und obey? Will he go without making at i reproached him for so doing; after which lifting least some sign to me; without waving his hand. || him up with some effort, the body fell agaio. kerchief :" Then she approached the window, She uttered piercing cries. Alas, had it pleised and casting her eyes round the country which the God the Baron bod heard those cries! Mary's last rays of the sun continued to enlighten, she situation was dreadful, and the idea of her father's sighed, and retiring precipitately : “Imprudent! anger, even of the excesses which his fury might what dare I desire? what dare I wait for? My li make him commit on the body of his enemy, ruin and his-An! may he not come !"

| filled her soul with terror. In those delirious At that mustant she hears a timid voice from moments, she pressed her dead lover's head to her without, calling her by name. She listens, runs i bosom; in calmer instants, she tried all the means to the window, opens it, and in the dress of all she could think of to restore him to life. The peasant she discovers Markof.

whole night was passed in this manner; the He had read Mary's letter with transport, bei break of day added to her anguish; she had covered it with ardent kisses; but in his de- thought on the scenes which that day would enlirium he had entirely neglected to observe the lighten,

In Rusia every considerable house keeps all But the villain knew his own advantages tuo man, whose business is to watch all night. He well to obey; he was in possession of her secret is commonly one of the meanest slaves; in the and threa:ened to go to the Baron, Mary cast her. daş-time he is employed in the vilest offices, and self at his feet; promised him his freedom, offered his lodging is litile better than a dog.kennel. her fortune; all her efforts were in vain; he still Mary, in her distress, applied to this wretch. He persisted in his execr:ble design. Then Mary enters her chamber, prostrates himself, and begs | pretended she would consent to his desires ; she her protection. She raises him, promise it, and conjured him only to do what she required, and likewise promises him a sum of money, if he swore she would wait for him in her chamber. will do her a piece of service, and faithfully keep The «lave did as she wished. Nobody was yet the secret. She then discovers her misery, and stirring in the castle. As soon as she saw him intrats him to take the body of her lover and beyond the walls, she went'and knocked at the bury it in the wood.

li door of her governess, commanding her to go to The man sullenly listened to her; he imme-li the Baron, and to intreat him to come that indiately perceived the importance of the service stant to his daughter, whose life was concerned. which was required, and from that moment. She then returned to her a partment and fastened affected the insolence of a clown who finds him herself in. Her father arrives, finds the door self necessary. Mary gave him some rhoney, shut, speaks to his daughter, and asks her the which he received with indifference, and gave her reason of this proceeding. She raises her faint to understand that the Burun would give him voice as much as she is able after what she has more to betray her. This rascat, who a few' suffered, and without opening the door, she tells minutes before dared not lift his eyes to the 1: her father the whole story ; she reproaches him daughter of his master, and who was accustomed with having contemned her love, and the irreto lack on them both as divinities on whom his sistible passion she had felt; then, in a more fate, his life depended, who thought himself affectionate tone, she swears she has forgiven him happy to sleep in the corner of a stable, and to all, but that she could no longer live after such escape the chastisement which the meanest ser horrors. vant might daily inflict on him for his negligence; The terrified father calls his servants, they this monster dared to wish to possess the person | break open the door ; but it was too late; she of May. He explained himself sufficiently, and had stabbed herself, and was no longer living. begin to behave himself with impudent audacity. The Baron, was then sensible how dearly his inThe young Baroness, although overwhelmed / veterate cruelty cost him, and the vile slave rewith grief, found strength to repel him, and with ceived the jusť punishment of his villany; he was becoming dignity ordered him to get out. . ll on the same day empaled alive.



When a publication of any description is ,, virtue, which alone give honour to rationality, sent into the world, it is the privilege of each and dignity to humanity. individual to examine its contents, and state his The leading feature which is observable in Opinion of the degree of merit or demerit that every, publication, is always the most illustrative Ought to be attached to it; and in proportion as he of its true character and real tendency and deavail; himself of this privilege with a view to pro sign. When therefore we find ourselves disposed mote the true interests of society, the task he per to compare a few publications of a peculiar de. Fonns becomes interesting, useful, and acceptable. scription, and of a recent date, with each other,

In a communiry celebrated for refined taste, we cannot but observe something so much like for polished manners, for the endearing felicities a systematic design to destroy, in the estimation Sf domestic intercourse, and for all the engaging of the people, that due respect for those who accomplishments and fascinating elegancies of move in the very first circles of life, that we cansocial life, any attempt, consistent with truth and not reflect on the tendency of those publications propriety, that can be made to rescue characters without experiencing sensations of terror arising of acknowledged eminence from the destructive !l from a consideration of the consequences to effects of calumny and detraction, must be highly | which such diabolical liberties, ji countenanced gratifying to every person who possesses a mind and encouraged, must eventually lead. It is ovr influenced by those solid principles of genuine interest to respect virtue above all things; and it No. XXIII. Vol. III.

Il Aa

is equally our interest to respect virtuous cha- | not to add to the deformity of o: hers. For ob racters for virtue's sake. It is also highly ex- ||jects and for subjects on which to exercise a pedient to respect rank, as a link essentially ne malignant disposition, he who is disposed to decessary in the chain of social and political life, | fame can never be at a loss. From the exercise without which mankind cannot exist with com of a disposition diabolical in its nature, and beyond fort or security. Rank is a prize which stimulates all calculation dangerous in its tendency, nothing many a one to the achievement of deeds of but disaffection, discord and rebellion can will heroism, which perhaps nothing but rank would be expected to take place. Detraction is the have roused him to perform. At the prospect of produce of a soil that is never barren; and in honour thousands disregard dangers, and brave the proportion as we weaken, either by this or any terrors of death with a fortitude that nothing can other vice, the moral and political influence and appal or surpass; of this manly and laudable salutary operation of public respect, we open the spirit of rational enterprise, which may be render door to public calamity. Every avenue that ed subservient to the noblest purposes of life, leads to disrespect leads to disaffection; and if nothing can deprive i he possessors but a certainty | pursued will terminate in batred. When the and conviction ihat the honours they are zealously conduct of mankind is influenced by opinion emulous to deserve and ubtain, will never be instead of principle, the greatest villain is likely conferied,

to obtain the greatest confidence and the greatest Consistent with the respect in which rank patronage. It is a melancholy trait in the cha. ought ever to be held for its salutary influence racter of man that he is much less ready and on the public mind, a reflecting person cannot | zealous in defending and protecting a character but consider every attempt that is made to lessen Il that report may have loaded with suspicion, than or destroy such infuence, either in public or he is to receive and admit suspicion as a proof of private life, as derogatory to the true and essen guilt. Nor can his pride stoop to the acknos. tial interests and permanent felicity of every ledgment of what is good in others so readily as enlightened and civilized establishment. Nor is bis meanness can descend to the belief and proour respect for rank to be confined to characters mulgation of what is not so. This is a defect of our own sex. The female character has equal | arising less from mental debility than from menclaim to all the deference and respect to which tal indolence, gross corruption or conscious de the rank she may move in entitles her. And he, ll pravity. All nature is defective in some point; who by calumny, slander, or defamation of any and all the operations of nature collectively taken description, attempts to lessen or destroy that re are intended to co-operate for the purpose of supe spect which is properly due to any individual, is plying such defect, providing a remedy for it, an enemy to the community to which he belongs. or counteracting its influence. Man is a defecTruth is not defamation. It is the manner in tive being, and when his defects are multiplied which, and the intention and design with which, or exaggerated for the purpose of generating or for which truth is circulated, described, and mischief, the circumstance becomes too seriously impressed upon the attention of others, that and too conspicuously dangerous to be treated attaches defamation to the publication of it. | with indifference or inipunity. The design of a Crime may be correctly stated without being publication constitutes the character of its author. liable to the imputation of defamation. When Either he is a friend to the community before it is so stated, it evidently carries with it nothing whom he makes his appearance, or he is an of that spirit which is calculated to infilame the enemy. If he is a friend, evident traits of that public mind, to excite resentment, disaffection, friendship will be readily recognised and generally disrespect and contempt; a practice which in the ackouwledged. If he is an enemy, bis cunning, present age is not only extremely fashionable, but I his sophistry, bis asperity, or his malevolence apparently highly gratifying to the peculiar taste will form some of the characteristic features of of the day. These refinements of morality can never be introduced as appendages to happiness. of the defects of men, none are more extenInflammatory publications are no criterions of the sively, none are more universally in ischievous thao sound state of the public body. When those those which are calculated to create a supposi'ion publica'ions are circulated for the purpose of de of the certain existence of crime or deformity, grading female characters, and when we perceive where no such supposition existed before; or to them to be countenanced or even connived at by heighten the degree and the effect of it where is men, we are almost induced to ask if the latter | unfortunately might have existed, although oncan possibly be rational beings ! To the weight attended with extensive publicity. To a mind of truth, whatever that weight may be, the actuated by the principles of goodness, a more generous mind adds not a single grain of suppo- | painful duty cannot be perforned than that of nitionary demerit. Beautiful in itself, virtue loves publishing the misconduct of another; and it

his work.


han con

then only becomes a duty when it is undertaken , a mind awake to the diabolical influence of for the purpose of preventing a repetition of calumny on the one hand, and to the refined crime, or an extension or continuation of injury. | sensibilities arising from a possibility of existing In both these cases, painful as the duty is, it is | innocence on the other; of a mind influenced neither more nor less than a duty arising froin by the commiserative operations of sympathy, the nature, influence, and operation of the true under a presumptive probability of frail y; and principles of genuine love and good-will to all of dignited respect and admiration under the mankind. By the influence of these principles || possible inference of malicious and unfounded it is that I would wisli io examine the performance accusations. A respect due to the public ought of Diogenes; but in conformity to the influence to have had, and certainly would have had, some of these principles it is that I am deprived of weight with a writer who was not more under giving him any merit for the productions of his the direction of passions not altogether compen. Whether the “Royal Eclipse" is a fabrica mendable, than under the direction of affections tion from newspapers, or whether it is an original calculated to produce regret and reforination production, cannot affect the propriery or impropriety of its publication. If it be asked what One exalted character Diogenes bas unequigoud can be expected to arise to the community vocally attempted to destroy in the estimation of from a publication of this description? I should | the public, without any real or apparent benefit reply, none whatever. It is neither calculated | arising to the community from the attempt. He to promote the interests of virtue, nor to prevent has at the same time intruded on our notice the practice of vice. It carries with it all the another exalted character, with a wantonness malignity of unqualified censure, and all the altogether irreconcileable to every known prin. malicious impudence of unblushing exposure. ciple of justice, candour, and consistency.-Where the succession to the crown is not likely Nothing betrays the influence of malignity in a to be affected, where national harmony and se. writer more forcibly than a decided propensity to curity is not likely to be disturbed, the interference eradicate the very appearance of all existence of of the public can' be neither necessary, useful, ll virtue and of excellence in those against whom nor political. It can have no tendency to do the overflowing torrent of abuse is directed. He good, but it may have a very powerful one in who loves truth and sincerity for virtue's sake, producing mischief. The private domestic tran loves candour and impartiality for truth's sake. sactions of persons in the very highust rank in | He who writes for the public good, writes for life, should be held as sacred as the private domes ages to come. He writes as he feels; and if he tic transactions of persons moving in any of th: feels as, a rational being ought to feel, the feel. inferior stations in society. Where is the family ings that he describes will be recognised with who would willingly have all the whims and ca pleasure and acknowledged with gratitude. By prices to which at times, and under peculiar cire such a one the prevalence of report will never be cumstances, it may occasionally or accidentally considered as a substitute for reality of guilt. be subject, exposed to the eye or the ear of the The value of character will never be diminished public? Where is the family who will not, for by the determinations of political expediency, its own peace and security, come forward to re- || wherein ration I harmony and rational confidence press a writer that should thus insolently trespass || are, and ever ought to be, peculiar objects of on a privilege that is interwoven with the very considerative attention. On either side prevalence principles of domestic liberty. The liberty of of opinion is no criterion of guilt or of innocence; the press I would by no means infringe on; but much less is a spirit of vehement condemnation the liberty of publishing malicious and unne a proof of exemption from error of decision. cessary representations, even of real facts, that do || The public accusations of an upright writer are not concern the public as a community, I would || founded only on facts that are indisputable. He endeavour to crush with all the firmness of cool, I trusts not to the accuracy of report; he listens deliberate and persevering disapprobation. Never || not to the levity of humour; his ear is deaf 10 can the hands of the common hangman be better || the voice of slander; and his heart, in a case or more usefully employed than on occasions like like the one under consideration, is open to conthese. To sacrifice the fuel of malevolence at || viction only on the evilence of his senses. In the footstool of disgrace, must be highly gratify- Il publishing the crime of another he will not subing to all the votaries of virtue.

ject himself to the possibility of a mistake. No. It certainly might reasonably have been ex thing less than positive conviction, and that conpected that the discussion of a subject like that viction the result of the evidence of his own of the “ Delicate Inquiry,” if entered into at senses, will induce him to take froin another all, would, at least, have been entered into with || that which he can never repay him, or return the feelings of a delicate and sympathizing mind; || him an adequate compensation for. Character

« PreviousContinue »