“ Well,"said he, after a minute or two Father Gosbeck sat unmoved, in his , of profound silence, during which I scru- chair, by the fire-side. He bore a strong tinized him closely, “do you esteem it resemblance to the statue of Voltaire, as nothing to penetrate thus into the deepest seen of an evening under the peristyle of and innermost folds of the human heart, the Theatre Français. ; He slightly to insinuate oneself into the very existence lifted his old and worn-out cap in return. of others, and to see them as it were to the young man's salutation, and obnaked! In these spectacles the passions served, “ I have got no money for any.. are always varied - hideous wounds, one but my regular customers. fearful sorrows, miseries, that are buried “You are angry, then,” rejoined the under the waves of the Seine; the enjoy young man, laughing, “ that I have been ments of youth, which pave the way to to any one else but you to ruin myself?" the scaffold, the fearful laugh of despair, " Ruin yourself ?” responded Father and the sumptuous festivals of reckless Gobseck, in a tone of irony. “ You extravagance, I have heard much talk come to me because Girard, Palma, of the eloquence of Mirabeau ; in fact, Werbrunner, and Gigonnet have their I have listened to him in my time. He pocket-books crammed with your bills of never moved me or But, sometimes, a exchange. They offer them to every.. young girl in love, an old tradesmsn on body at a loss of fifty per cent; but as the verge of bankruptcy, a mother trying they only gave you about half the value, to conceal her son's guilt, a man without they are not worth twenty-five , bread, a noble without honour—these “ Your humble servant ! people have made my heart quiver by the “Can I with any decency," asked the energy

of their language. Sublime old usurer, "lend a single sou to a man actors, playing their parts too for me who owes thirty thousand francs, and has only. But they cannot deceive me. not a ceut in his pocket? Why, you My look in these affairs is like that of lost ten thousand francs the night before the Deity! He 'reads all hearts, and last at M. Lafitte's ball!" they cannot hide anything from me. I “Sir," observed the viscount, with rare want for nothing. I have everything impudence and bowing to the old nian, within my reach. Nothing is refused to my private affairs are no concern of him who ties and unties a purse string; yours. A man does not owe anything It buys ministers and consciences-and till his notes have arrived at maturity. that is power; it buys women, and their “Well-that's true." warmest caresses, and that is pleasure “My bills will be honoured when they and beauty.

We are the silent and fall due.” secret kings of life; for money is life. “ Perhaps.” Do you think, now, there are no enjoy- “ And at present the only question inents beneath my palę mask, whose between us is, whether if I offer you frigid apathy has so frequently surprised sufficient security, for the sum I have JOSEPH Price. come to borrow, you . ..."


The noise made in letting down the When we reached the Rue de Grès, the steps of the backney-coach, was now young man looked round him with an heard. anxiety and disquietude that surprised “I will just step out and bring a

His visage became livid, and was guarantee that I have no doubt will be red and yellow by turns. His agony satisfactory,” added the viscount. was intense, for I noticed large drops of “Ha ! ha!" said Father Gobseck to perspiration on his brow as we approached me, as the young man left the roomM. Gosbeck's door.

“Werbrunner and Gigonnet thought to As we alighted from his tilbury, a have played me a trick--I shall have a hackney-coach drove into the Rue de fine laugh this evening at their expense. Grès. The lynx eyes of the young man But, pray have the kindness to stay by distinguished a female figure in this my side, for, although I am well armed, vehicle, and then an almost savage ex- and am sure of my aim, yet I distrust pression of satisfaction irradiated his this young man most fearfully. But I features. We went up stairs to the old hear a woman's steps in the passage, and miser.

I have a presentiment that a personage, The viscount bowed to the usurer, of whom I have formerly spoken to you, seated himself by his side, and assumed is about to make her first appearance on one of those courtly attitudes of listening, the scene." the graceful ignominy of which it is im- In fact, the viscount returned leading possible to portray.

[ocr errors]




a lady by the hand, whose are appeared suffused, þis eyes sparkled with a sụperto be about five or six and twenty, Her natural fire, he rose from his seat, went beauty was overpowering, and I easily to the window, and held the gems to his recognised in her that countess whose toothless mouth, as if he intended to bite distress and the scene in whose bed- them. The flashings of that wonderful chamber. Gobseck had described to me. diadem seemed to be reproduced in his As she entered the dark and damp room eyes, while he muttered incoherent and of the usurer, she threw a glance of alarm unintelligible words. : He lifted in turn at the viscount; she was so lovely that, the bracelets, the drops, the necklaces, the spite of her faults, I could not help tiaras, the ferronieres, and held them to sympathizing with her. It was evident the light to mark their cut, their water, that her internal suffering was great, and and their sparkle. He took them from that a terrible anguish devoured her the case, put them back again, examined heart. Her noble and haughty features them anew, one by one, waved them wore a cunyulsive expression.

before his eyes as if to enjoy their dagI guessed that this young man had zling brilliancy, more like a child than become her evil genius, and I admired an old man, or rather child and old man the sagacity of Gobseck, who had fore- united in the same person. : seen this result three years ago. He, “ Fine diamonds! They would have probably, I said to myself, governs ber been well worth three hundred thousand by all manner of ways-vanity, jealousy, frangs before the revolution ! What the love of pleasure, the force of habit, water! Very fine diamonds! Are you and the irresistible influence of all around aware of their value? No, no ; there is her. The virtues, even, of this woinan no one in Paris but Gobseck who could are converted into arms against her; he appraise such a clustre. In Napoleon's makes tears of devotedness burst from court it would have required at least two her eyes-he infames in her soul that hundred thousand francs to purchase generosity so natural to her sex, he such a collection." He gave way to a abuses her tenderness, and makes her movement of disappointment,, as he eja: pay dearly enough for every hour of culated, as if to himself: “ But now the transport. I will confess that if I did diamond loses its value every day: since not weep for the fate of this unhappy the peace, we are deluged with them creature, so brilliant in the eyes of the from Brazil and Asia ; and they don't world, but so shocking to those who can wear them now at court." But, while scrutinize the heart, it was because I was uttering these depreciating comments, he horrified at the sight of her assassin ; that examined, with a greedy and inexpress: young man whose brow was so noble, ble satisfaction, each rich and Aashing open,


whose lips were so fresh, gem. “ Without spot- ah! there's his smile, so graceful, his teeth so flaw; there's a speck : fine diamond, dazzlingly white, his skin so soft, and though .... whose outward show was that of an “Well!” said the viscount, slapping angel.

him on the shoulder. The old man “Sir,” inquired she of įhe usurer, with started : he dropped his toys, which a faltering voice, " is there any means of seemed to him almost like an infant's obtaining the value of these diamonds ? " coral and bells, laid them on his table, and she handed a to him, seated himself, and became again the "reserving, however, the right of re. usyrer. “How much do you want for purchasing them?”

them?" Certainly, madai," replied the “ One hundred thousand francs for usurer, that is what we call a sale with three years." equity of redemption."

. Well, we'll see.” The yiscount knit his brows; for he He then drew from a case a pair of considered that the usurer' would only steel scales, whose nicely was calculated advance a lesser sum for the diamonds, to the weight of a grain of dust, or the clogged with this condition, 'tliản he influence of the breath, in which he would have done for their unreserved weighed each gem, estimating by sight, sale,

(and heaven alone knows how!) their Gobseck was motionless. He had mounting. During this process there taken his eye-glass, and was minutely was a strange alternation of satisfaction examining the contents of the case. and severity in his countenance; and his

Were I to live a hundred years, I could cadaverous sisage, on which the splen: never forget the wonderful picture pre- dour of the jewels was reflected, had sented by his face. His pale cheeks were something awful in it.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

The Countess did not (move, but still more striking, “I will complete the seemed to be overcome by a sudden sum by thirty thousand francs in bills of stupor ; it appeared to me that she was exchange, the value of which you will still aware of the horror of the precipice 'not dispute!" to whose brink she was dragged ; there So saying, he presented some drafts was remorse in the woman's sool, and drawn by the viscount, and all protested perhaps there was only an effort neces. thc preceding evening by other usurers, sary to save her; a hand charitably ex- of whom he had bought them up for å tended might rescue her from the abyss: mere trifle. I determined to try.

The young man's face assumed the * Of course these diamonds are yours, expression of a tiger. He absolutely madame!" ;I inquired, in a clear and yelled, as he said, "You old scoundret!" steady tone.

Not a muscle of father Gobseck's face She trembled; but ' replied with a moved, as he drew a pair of pistols from haughty air, " they are, sir."

a box, and calmly said: “As you have Will you draw out the condition of insulted me, I have a right to the first redemption ?" said Gobseck, rising, and fire." offering me his seat at the desk.

“ You must apologise to the gentle «Madame is doubtless a married man,”. said the terrified Countess, lady ?" I added. She nodded.

soothingly "I shall not draw the deed," I ob: "Sir," said the young man, stammerterved.

ing, "I had no intention of affronting ti "And why not ?" inquired Gobseck, you." hastily.

“I know that very well," said Gob1. Because," I answered, drawing the seck quietly; “your only intention was usurer to the window, and speaking in not to pay your drafts." a low tone, “this woman is under her husband's authority, and the sale would be pull without his participation or

MISCELLANIES.. consent. You could not plead your ignorance of the fact, as her description

DIGNIPTED REPROOY. must be expressed in the instrument of A brief sentence of dignified reproof, is sale or loan

often far more effectual than whole pages Gobseck interrupted me by a gesture of precepts.

The records of history and turning to the guilty couple, he said, furnish us with numerous examples in 4 eighty thousand francs in' ready mo- illustration of this axiom. I need not ney, and you will leave the diamonds quote the instance of Canute's reproof with me?"

to his courtiers, which must doubtless « But," interrupted the young man- be familiar to every class of readers.

“ Take my offer, or reject it,” said The following anecdote is, probably, not Gobseck, handing the to the so universally known. Countess.

A situation of some responsibility I leaned toward her, and whispered under the Persian government being in her ear: . For heaven's sake, throw vacant, the Shah desired his chief minisyourself at your husband's feet and tell ter would recommend a competent per him all !"

son to fill it. The minister mentioned } The usurer, doubtless, comprehended the name of one whose abilities be the purport of my observation, and he thought suitable to the office; "The glanced at me with an expression almost man you mention," answered the Emdiabolical.

peror, " is a Jew, 'and, of course, by our The young man's face turned livid, for laws, ineligible to the situation." He the Countess's hesitation was evident. was, please your majesty, but has lately He drew close to her, and although he embraced our faith, and may, therefore, spoke very low, I heard him say: be employed.”_"Speak of him no more,"

Adieu, Emily! May you be happy! was the reply; "he who has been false As for me, to-morrow I shall be ben to his God, will never prove true to his yond the reach of care or sorrow. sovereign."

“Sir," said the young woman eagerly to Gobseck, “ I accept your offer."

“Ha, ha!" said he, drawing a check for fifty thousand frants, which he handed to the Coontess : "and now," with a grin which made his resemblance to Voltaire

Published by Effinghan Wilson, Junior, 16, King William Street, London.Bridge,
Where commonications for the Editor (post paid) will be received.

(Printed by Manning and Smithsou, Ive Lane.)


[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]

MANORIAL ARCHIVES; its fancied treasures of lead ore; and

which now remains an awful monument THE ROMANCE OF OLD MANSIONS: of man's daring speculations, and nature's

dread and arbitrary interdict. DescendSTORY THE SEVENTH.

ing a long flight of steps, black and THE WATER TOWER.

slippery with shining moisture, a boat

worthy of Charon himself, received us at BY HORACE GUILFORD.

their termination, and we found ourselves (For the Parterre).

ferried along a shaft, or tunnel, of appa

rently interminable length, so narrow Montecelso.--Miserable creature !

and so low, that it reminded one of Duke If thou persist in this, 't is damnable ;

Pietro's cave in “ The Malcontent :"
Dost thou imagine thou canst slide on blood,
And not be tainted with a shameful fall ?

“Where all at once one reaches, where he Or like the black and melancholick yew-tree,

stands, Dost think to root thyself in dead men's graves, With brows the roof,—both walls with And yet to prosper? Instruction to thee

both his hands :" Comes like sweet showers to overhardened ground;

add to this, that the sullen blobbing of They wet, but pierce not deep. And so I leave

the subterranean flood against its rocky thee With all the Furies hanging 'bout thy neck,

channel, and the dismal hue of its welterTill, by thy penitence, thou remove this evil. ing waters, as our boat disturbed their Webster's White Devil.

melancholy sleep, were enhanced by the

equivocal lustre of the boatman's lamp, It was in a tour through the Peak, in which served only to make so much of the May of 1825, with my amiable and darkness visible as shewed us the dreary intellectual friend John Lewis Little, length before and behind us in all the that I first saw the Speedwell Mine, exaggeration of unknown limits.

It was which proved not along ago the sepulchre when we were far removed from the dayof a large fortune, embarked in exploring light and fresh air, on the one hand, and

apparently as far as ever from the end of It has not the slightest architectura, our Stygian voyage on the other; and ornaments; no beauty of proportion, no just as I was picturing to myself the elegance of form; but there is that about feelings of some state criminal thus its cumbrous walls, grim with age, till ushered at once to his punishment and every tint of years has mellowed into tomb, that the dull distant crash of a one dusky stain of greenish gray, its cataract first moaned on my ear. When antique battlements resounding with the miners were blasting their way jackdaws, its hoary chimneys monstrous through the rock, in order to form their and turret-like, — its strange winking shaft (for such this dreary canal originally windows dotted up and down-its corwas), they heard in the silence succeed- niced and pillared portal, utterly disproing one of the explosions, the sudden roar portioned to the gaunt, ungainly height of water ! A limestone one inch thick, of the house—its soaring gables, deeply as it was subsequently discovered, was indented ; in short, the massive character the sole obstacle between them and the of its sheer bulk closely bordering on the torrent thus mysteriously rioting in the majestic, that inspires the visitor of bowels of the earth. What a moment of Darkelms with respect, if not admiration. horror! they were then seven hundred And this effect was not a little enhanced yards from the outlet! no wonder they by the solemn grove of elms, limes, and quickly abandoned the barrier behind beech trees; between whose black trunks, which they were awaiting the effects of and through whose mantling leaves its the blast, and fled with all their speed to ivied walls disclose their gloomy countethe mouth of the shaft, with the idea that nance, as well as by the close greensward the water was pursuing them. As we of the pleasant meadow in which it stands, approached, the roar increased, until we and whose velvet verdure spreads unmoentered, and landed on a circular area, lested to the very threshold of the porch. soaring upward in a cleft like the interior A clamorous sanhedrim of sable rooks of an enormous spire, but of such prodi- debate and fight, build and breed still, as gious altitude, that rockets have been they have done for centuries past, in sent up four hundred and fifty feet, those dark and huge tree-tops; and without rendering its extent visible. though a wealthy yeoman now occupies They call this “ The Hall of Satan!" the chambers of Darkelms, with his and we thought it deserved the title ;- prolific dame, and hordes of hob-nailed for on one side was an abyss into which rustics, in place of the stately family that an actual Phlegethon roaring, howling, once swayed there in patriarchal pomp of and bissing, tumbled into a fathomless maintenance, still Gaffer Rook looking darkness—while, on the other, the fan- askance at the smoking chimneys and tastic broken sides, and nameless height golden granaries, finds as yet no reason of the subterranean spire, were illumi- to forsake the leafy citadel where his nated by the phantom splendours of a noisy coburghers have so long set up the Bengal light, which imparted a fearful staff of their rest. s. characteristic to the mad cataract below. About a bowshot's distance from the

On our return, as the boat moodily house, and darkening majestically upon plashed through that water gallery, the sunny slope that sweeps upwards from roar of the cataract behind us was abso- the Derwent, a vast and venerable wood lutely appalling! I could scarcely divest marks, by its patriarchal oaks and elms, myself of the panic the original disco- the ancestral dignity of the abode to verers experienced; so exactly did it which they have long been proud appen. seem as though the sweltering monster dages, and over which they still wave was rushing after us, to choak and beat their guardian arms, although its dead about our drowned bodies, in that narrow, are in their tombs, and its living lord has dark, endless water-passage!

abandoned its hearths for fairer halls, After supper time, while taking our There is not a more gorgeous spectacle, ease in our inn at Castleton thai evening, upon a brilliant autumnal day, than to indulging indolent, luxurious talk, my gaze upon Darkelms wood at noon, when friend Little imparted to me the follow- the sunlight floats softly over the mani. ing narration, arising from the turn our fold colourings of the mighty trees, disfireside conversation took respecting the playing a sheet of animated tapestry, of day's adventure:

which Gobelin's liveliest tints are but a Just where the brown and transparent shadow :Derwent whirls itself round a smooth, “ The burnished livery of receding suns, green knoll of old turf, the ancient hall Ere yet their fires grow pale !” of Darkelms soars in venerable seclusion. Serene and solemn in their deadly mag

« VorigeDoorgaan »