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the Evil One, who had endowed Faust with a | length the dawn of the last day of the three second springtime of life, but in vain. months came. He called Gretchen to him, that she might be a witness of the glorious transformation.
At length one night he was aware of the presence of a stranger in his chamber, although doors and windows were bolted and barred. Terror mingled with joy as he watched a tall figure coming towards him from the darkness of the farther end of the room.
His mysterious visitant was clad in the dress of a notary. Obedient to the old man's gesture, he sat himself beside the fire, the warmth of which he seemed to enjoy excessively. Stooping over it, and rubbing his hands together, he glanced out of the corners of his eyes at the student.
It seemed to the old man that neither of them spoke aloud, but that their conversation was carried on by unuttered thoughts.
"You would be young again?" was the mysterious stranger's first communication.
The old man bowed his head.
"You need not trouble to do that," came from the stranger's brain to his, "I can read your thoughts. The thing you require is no light matter. The cost is great."
The old man shuddered.
"There be cheaper means," the stranger conveyed to him. "We can work your purpose by a charm. For that charm I shall require the head of a woman-of a woman who loves you. Oh! I see you will not have that mode of procedure. Well, I will bestow renewed youth on you at the price specified in this document," here he laid a parchment before the old man.
"In three months from this time your youth shall be renewed if you sign that. You object to the delay? I cannot manage the affair in less time. You agree!
Then in three months be it!"
How slowly those three months stole on! How feverish and anxious did the student become! How pale and weary grew the maiden, who was dying of the wound that killed her lover!
Gretchen," the old man would say, "do you not think I grow younger? Does there not seem to be much less difference between our ages than there used to be?"
And Gretchen, who was sadly conscious that she was growing a year older every day, sighed and said, 66 Yes, it was so. He spoke truth!" As the end of the three months drew near he could not rise from his couch. But he persuaded himself that he was but passing like a butterfly through a torpid stage before coming out in all the freshness of renewed youth.
He had counted the days carefully. At
'Sit beside me, heart's delight!" he said to her in a faint whisper.
She looked into his face and, behold, there was a change there. She started!
"Ha! you see it then? Oh joy, joy!" She clasped his hand, and said softly "I see it!" and wept.
"It comes at last, then! Oh, youth! regretted, wasted, longed-for youth, do you return to me at last? Welcome, welcome, long-absent! Yes, it is here-it is here! This, this is renewed youth!"
With those words he sprang from the pillow, flung up his arms in ecstacy, and fell backdead!
The change which Gretchen had seen and recognized was the change that comes before death!
What was there for her to live for now? She flung herself on the student's body, and with one long sob breathed her last.
While the old man was telling me this strange legend, I had not attempted to begin my sketch, for I was too much interested.
The sun was still sinking slowly, flinging lengthening shadows toward the east. The shadow of my companion fell, as I told you. upon my note-book-with the decline of the sun it had lengthened, until it stretched along the sward before me towards the ruined tower.
All at once the shadow vanished. I looked round to see what the old man was doing. There was not cover enough within a hundred yards to conceal a rabbit. But he had vanished!
I have never made a sketch of The Young Tower.
WHAT LOVE IS LIKE.
Love is like a lamb, and love is like a lion;
Love is ever sick, and yet is never dying;
THOMAS MIDDLETON (1602)
It was for me.
My Yesterday, thy sorest pain
Were joy, couldst thou but come again, Sweet Yesterday.
All red with joy the waiting west;
Canst thou tell me which road is best?
I hear the swift blades dip and plash
On unknown lands the waters dash:
Venetia's boatmen lean and cry;
Upon the twilight sea.
The cry of the gondoliers in Venice whenever they approach a corner of the canals.
BY JOHN MALCOLM.2
"They ate and slept, good folks-what then? Why then they ate and slept again."
In one of those small towns, situated no matter where, which, by some fortunate circumstance in past times, have been elevated from the rank of village to that of Royal Borough, I passed some of my early years.
The place might be about a mile in length, and consisted of one street, which meandered away through some low grounds, until its progress was somewhat abruptly stopped by the
The houses, which were low, were built with their gables facing the street, and exhibited many other infallible symptoms of antiquity, both without and within; but some venerable old ruins, like chronicles of departed grandeur, gave an interest and an air of solemnity to the Borough.
The streets, which were extremely narrow, sloped down at each side in such wise as to render it expedient for the pedestrian to keep the "croun of the causey." They had no regular pavements, and lucky it was that they had not, for the few flags which here and there lay along the dwellings of the aristocracy seldom failed to resent the insult of being trodden upon, by squirting up a quantity of black venomous-looking matter into the face of the unwary intruder.
This sort of salutation they seemed to have a particular pleasure in bestowing upon such ladies and gentlemen as were proceeding in full decoration to the scenes of "feast and song;" and many a poor wight to whom fortune, in her capricious dealings, had assigned
2 He gained some reputation as a poet by the publication of The Buccaneer, Scenes of War, and other poems. His Tales of Field and Flood, with Sketches of Life at Home-from which we quote-were received with much favour.
only one dress-suit, and that often none of the best, have they sent back, even from the very threshold of the ball-room, affording a striking proof "that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards."
In walking along the streets the olfactory nerves were continually regaled with the most pungent odours, calling up, by the power of association, images of the most varied kinds. In illustration of this effect, I need only remind my poetical readers of the many sweet recollections of gardens and summer glories, lapped, up, as it were, in the perfume of a rose; and, in like manner, the effluvia arising from the heads of stale fish (the predominant smell in the streets of the Borough), presented to the susceptible imagination a vision of its dinnertables and civic feasts, at which, by the way, fish were never relished until they were in the above-mentioned state.
It must doubtless have been highly gratifying to the stranger who visited the Borough, to find himself, perhaps for the first time in his life, the object of universal interest; and while progressing along the streets, to see doors and windows flying open at his approach, and heads popping out, some with their hair in papers, others with no hair at all,-some covered with Welsh wigs, and still more with Kilmarnock nightcaps.
Such marks of attention, however, were only preparatory to others of a more substantial nature; for the inhabitants of the Borough were remarkable for their hospitality to strangers; respecting whom their conjectures were often but too favourable, since it frequently happened that the unknown persons, whom it was their pleasure to entertain and honour with all the attentions due to gentlemen of family and fortune, turned out after all to be mere canaille.
Their liability to deceptions of this kind was the more surprising, as they professed to have an intimate acquaintance with high life, and it was a common saying among them, that no person could reside for any length of time in the Borough, even though he were a native of the west end of London, without acquiring a greater elegance of manner and a more polished address.
Family pride, as it exists in society, seems to involve an absurdity, inasmuch as the honour of being descended from a great man increases exactly as the degree of consanguinity to him diminishes; for his immediate descendants are as mere upstarts compared to such of his remote posterity as can trace their origin to their great progenitor, back through a period
of five hundred years; so that the honour increases with the distance from the fountain thereof. But the pride of ancestry with which the inhabitants of the borough were infected more than usually absurd, having no foundation whatever whereon to rest, and, like the world, "hanging upon nothing;" the fathers being of a lower grade in society than the sons, and the grandfathers lower still, until an obscurity, deep as that which involves the origin of nations, in mercy spread out an impenetrable pall.
The magistrates (Heaven bless them if still alive, and rest their souls if dead!) bore a strong family likeness to their brethren in other royal boroughs; having the same corpulence as a corporation, the same sleek solemnity, and the same pomposity arising from "pride of place."
Methinks, even now, I see the venerable guardians of the city marching in heavy procession to church, heralded by their guard of honour-the town-officers, arrayed in long light-blue broad-bottomed coats, faced with yellow, and having triangular cocked hat perched upon one side of the head, which gave additional effect to the martial frown with which, in all the "insolence of office," they strutted along the church-aisle, and finally took post behind the great easy-chairs where the civic body reposed during divine service, in all the dozing dignity of lethargy and fat, immediately opposite to the pulpit.
The pulpit was a fine specimen of the antique. illustrative of the taste of the times in which it was made. Carved on its wooden canopy, over the head of the preacher, like so many cupids with outspread wings, hovered a whole flock of angels, to whose infantine and chubby faces a chastening solemnity was imparted by the overshadowing dignity of large full-bottomed wigs, such as decorate the Lords of Session while on the bench.
The clergyman was a judicious and benevolent person; but, not dealing in that terrific sort of eloquence and violent gesticulation which, with certain classes, have ever been considered the tests of orthodoxy, was rather undervalued by some of his flock, one of whom, a member of the kirk-session, gave him the definition of a good preacher, in the following panegyric on his predecessor:
"Ah, sir!" exclaimed the elder, in the tone of pathetic recollection, "our late minister was the man! He was the poorfu' preacher, for i the short time he delivered the Word amang us, he knocked three pulpits to pieces, and dang the guts out o' five Bibles!"
The magistrates, however, were well enough
the best quarters in the towns, and carrying female hearts by storm.
Upon this alarming occasion patriotism seemed to have inspired every heart, and all distinctions of rank and wealth were for the
satisfied with their pastor, the quiet tenor of
The only public amusements of the Borough were its assemblies, where youth indulged in the folly of dancing, and old age in that of cards; and where the great men of the place would occasionally honour the company, and create a delightful surprise, by popping in about the eleventh hour in top-boots and
scarlet vests, and lead to the head of the country-dance the blushing modesty of seventeen, almost overpowered by the honour conferred.
But it most frequently happened that the dance was opened by some lady of ton, who had lately returned from Edinburgh, and whose very soul sickened at the old hackneyed figures, and delighted and luxuriated in those of whose complicated evolutions she had acquired a knowledge in the metropolis.
But, alas! we are not all equally gifted"great heights are hazardous for the weak head"-errors generally ensued among the uninitiated in the newly-imported mystery, one blunder produced another, till the performers, reeling about, and jostling against each other, were making what billiard-players denominate the cannon," and it seemed as "Chaos had come again."
Hitherto the good people of the Borough had never been molested by a foreign foe, their only wars being civil ones; but at length their latent energies were called into action by a most alarming and unexpected event.
During a severe snow-storm a French frigate, having on board a considerable number of troops, was wrecked upon the coast at no great distance from the Borough; and there being no military force of any description in the county, the citizens made a general turn-out; and a stirring sight it was to see them mustering upon the " Broad Street," in order to be drilled by an old gentleman, who, in his hot youth, had served his country at home, in a corps of Fencibles, which had marched in triumph from one end of the kingdom to the other, most gallantly scaling the hills, deploying into the valleys, taking possession of
"Groom stood by noble, squire by knight;"
the highest with the humblest.
assembled for the defence of their country.
Yet, notwithstanding all this promptitude of purpose, and chivalrous feeling, the appearance of the recruits would, I fear, have been far more appalling to a drill-sergeant than to an enemy. Drew up in line
"A horrid front they form."
"Shoulder arms!" exclaimed the captain, in a voice intended to resemble thunder; but the execution of the order was anything but simultaneous, and one man, it was observed, was still "standing at ease.' Upon being challenged by the captain, and asked why he had not "shouldered" along with the rest, "What the deil's a' the haste," quoth he, canna ye wait till a body tak' a snuff?"
This single circumstance will enable the reader to form a tolerably correct estimate of the attainment of the citizens in the art of war.
Fortunately for themselves and their country their services were not required, in consequence of the arrival of a detachment of Volunteers from a neighbouring county, which had been sent for on the first alarm, to whom the poor Frenchmen, already half-dead with cold and hunger, surrendered themselves prisoners at discretion; and thus the cloud passed away, and the borough was restored to its usual state of tranquillity.
At the time of which I speak there existed, and, for aught I know to the contrary, there may still exist, a more than usual proportion of elderly unmarried ladies. The cause of this melancholy fact I cannot pretend to explain, for many of them I have heard were great beauties in their youth. Taken as a body they were as free from the peculiarities incident to single blessedness as any other class of society;
yet true it is, that a few of the sisterhood took such a warm interest in the characters and concerns of their fellow-citizens as had on several occasions well nigh set the town on fire; and such was their unquenchable hatred of scandal, that they would not for one moment allow it to sleep, or even to die in peace.
At the head of this Suppression-of-vice Society was Miss Tabitha Primrose, a lady of a certain age, which, according to Byron, is of all ages the most uncertain. She had long made a dead halt at that of thirty, beyond which stage in the journey of life nothing could induce her to budge a single step.
One of the slowest movements in nature is the approximation of the nose and chin, these neighbours requiring the greater part of a century to effect a meeting, by travelling over the short space which divides them in youth; and in Tabby's case they had gone over fully half the distance, pointing like the index of a clock to a pretty late hour-but all in vain. Suns and seasons might roll away-moons wax and wane-sands might run and shadows sail, till dials grew green and tresses gray-but amidst this moving scene Tabby remained immovable, in protracted youth, with a bloom of that blessed kind which never fades, and a wig that bade defiance to the "snows of time."
Tabitha had been a great beauty in her youth, the evidence of which (as few people could speak of that period from their own recollection) rested on the best of all authority —her own, but having, it seems, had a tendency to corpulency, she had indulged rather too freely in the use of vinegar, to which ought probably to be ascribed a certain expres sion of sourness about the corners of her mouth, which she still retained. In common with all other fair ladies, she had been "beseeched and besieged" by a host of admirers; but, being remarkably fastidious, and perhaps not finding among her swains a perfect Sir Charles Grandison, and, moreover, the age of chivalry being past and gone, when men sighed seven years for a lady's smile, it somehow or other happened that Tabitha was left to
"Waste her sweetness on the desert air."
We have all heard of those wise ancients who wept when a child was born; but Tabby went a step beyond them, and, with a more prophetic philosophy of feeling, actually shed tears whenever she heard of a marriage; and, in the midst of her sorrow and pity for the unhappy bride, thanked Heaven for having preserved herself from such a fate.
She was such a determined enemy to every
kind of youthful levity, that the very frisking of lambs seemed to displease her. Pure as new-fallen snow-severe as justice—and unerring as mathematical sequences-she stood alone-a woman without a weakness, and a very personification of prim propriety.
"But who can stand envy?" or when did ever such superhuman excellence escape the breath of calumny?—against that even Tabitha's virtue was no protection; and there were not wanting ill-disposed persons who called her severe reprobation of derelictions from virtue downright scandal, and by whom the tears which she shed for young brides were shrewdly suspected to flow from the regret she felt at not being one herself. But to return.
The evening entertainments were of that kind denominated "Tea and Turn-out,”—a mode of treating one's friends, having the show of hospitality, but denying the power thereof. Tea and Turn-out!-gentle readers. only think of such a hoax-my blood yet runs cold at the thought-Tea and Turn-out!
Early in the forenoon a maid-servant, all smiles and roses, would enter and present a gilt paper card, whereon the eye caught the words, "Compliments-company at tea-spend the evening," &c.-the last words seeming to insinuate a delicate hint of supper: but thus it is that our feelings are cruelly sported with. and hopes are excited which are never intended to be realized. In consequence of such promissory notes, how often have I risen from a comfortable fireside at home, have adjourned to a cold room above stairs, and dressed for supper, when, alas! supper was not dressed for me!
The festivities of the evening commenced about six or seven o'clock, according to the rank of our entertainers; and as it seldom happened that any waiters were in attendance to hand about the tea, an excellent opportunity was afforded to our Lotharios of showing their attention to the ladies in that way; but in doing the thing with an air the consequence frequently was, that the fair ones received into their laps instead of their hands the elegant china vases, together with their scalding contents. Next were presented various kinds of rich sweet-bread, pleasant indeed to the eye, but, upon a nearer acquaintance, betraying an air of antiquity not altogether agreeable.
As soon as the refreshments of the evening were over, the conversation became general, and occasionally particular: our absent friends were not forgotten, nor were their most private and delicate concerns overlooked.
About nine o'clock a general rising took place, which, not being resisted on the part