Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Let go thy earthly hold

Fain would I fly; Voices with love untold

Call from on high.

Farewell — the dregs are drank

Of life's sad cup;
It proved but poison rank;

Life's lease is up!

N. P. WILLIS.

OFF-HAND SKETCHES,

SINCE my friend Morris joined me, we've been as busy as Wall street brokers in a gold panic-eyes and ears, and every sense filled with the novel sights and sounds that greet us on every side in this most delightful, charming, incomparably beautiful summer land.

Whom have we not seen, from Napoleon down to the last suicide?

I have a memorandum which would reach from here to Idlewild, filled with the names of notables and celebrities, whom I have met in the short space

of a year.

We do matters quickly here, among the celestials. I used to think life sped fast in the great cities of London, Paris, and New York, but we live faster here. With every means of travelling which human ingenuity can invent-flying machines, balloons, the will and the magnet, we fairly outdo thought and light, which you consider emblems of rapidity on earth.

Morris and I made a point of visiting Byron, Moore, IIunt, Scott, and that clique. You must bear in mind that we do not all live on one point of space here; among so many thousand million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, sextillion, and countless illions, there must be some persons who are further apart than Morris and I, who are side by side!

It is a peculiarity which you Yankees seldom think of, that Englishmen can't endure to live in America. Well, that peculiarity is just as active after they “shuffle off the mortal coil.” They must have their little England, even in the spirit world.

So I telegraphed to that quarter of the celestial planet that two strangers from the great emporium of intellect, and civilization, New York City, were about to visit that locality. We so arranged our journey as to arrive about a day after the dispatch had reached them.

It was proposed that we should meet at the beautiful villa belonging to the Countess of Blessington.

I can assure you that on arriving there it was with a slightly palpitating heart I ascended the noble steps of her residence. The Countess met us graciously, and by lier vivacity and charming candor dispelled the feeling of modest diffidence as to our merits, naturally awakened by the thought of being presented to those illustrious persons who so long held sway over English literature.

Ere we were aware, we were ushered into the midst of a hilarious group of authors, who welcomed us in a most cordial manner.

I did not need to have them introduced to me by name, as I recognized each readily from likenesses I had seen on earth.

Lord Byron's countenance is much handsomer and

more spiritualized in expression than any portrait of him extant. I noticed that the deformity of his foot, which had been a severe affliction to him on earth, was no longer apparent.

Scott looked as good and as jovial as ever, and Tom Moore, the very pink of perfection and elegance.

As for the Countess, when I last saw her on earth I thought her incomparable. But whether it was through the cosmetic influences of the spirit air, or from other causes, she had now become bewitchingly beautiful.

After we had conversed awhile on general topics and I had answered their questions in regard to the changes which had occurred in certain terrestrial localities with which they were familiar, the Countess invited us out to survey the landscape from her balcony.

The view from this point was extremely romantic. Just beyond the spacious park extended a lovely lake, whose waters were of a rich golden-green color. Upon its limpid bosom several gondolas floated, and gay parties waved their handkerchiefs to us from beneath the silken hangings as they passed.

“ Countess," said I, after my eye had surveyed the fine landscape and noble residence, "I am but a wandering Bohemian, and you must excuse my audacity if I ask how it is possible that in this world of shadows" you have surrounded yourself by so much that is beautiful and substantial ? You could not bring your title and your lands with you from earth. Your jewels and costly raiment you must have left behind; then whence comes all this wealth and luxury? The Countess smiled. "Ah,” said she, roguishly, “you did not study your Bible lesson well if you did not learn that you could “lay up treasures in heaven. Why, all the time I was living on earth I had friends working for me - admirers who had been drawing interest from my youthful talent and had laid it up to my account. We go upon the tithe system here, and 'render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's.””

She told me that works of interest which are pub.. lished on earth are reproduced in the spirit world and the author credited with a tithe of what accrues from them.

Byron, Scott, and Moore have also been doing double duty while on earth, and have been recompensed for their industry in the spirit world.

Byron, she privately informed me, had been united to the Mary of his early love, and under her sweet womanly influence had lost much of the misanthropy which had annoyed his friends in this life.

As my stay was short, I had only opportunity to converse with these men of mark on general topics.

On the whole, we spent a very interesting morning, and, after partaking of refreshments, we left, having inquired after Count D'Orsay, whom we learned was then on a trip to earth. Bidding adieu to the Countess and her friends, we started for the celebrated island called the “Golden Nest," which lies in a south-westerly direction from the Countess's villa.

After having travelled some hours in our own diligence (i. e., driven through the air by our own will), moving along quite leisurely that we might survey the country beneath us, we reached a group of beau

« VorigeDoorgaan »