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UNIVER6IP»' OF 

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THE 



STORY OF A LIFE. 



BY IHE author of 

SCENES AND IMPRESSIONS IN EGYPT AND ITALY, 
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE PENINSULA, &c. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOL. IL 



LONDON: 

PRIKTED FOR 

LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN, 

PATERNOSIER-ROW. 

1825. 



THE 



STORY OF A LIFE 



It was the custom, at certain seasons, for mer- 
chants of the city to ask permission of the Dey, 
to buy some of his slaves for their own garden 
labour. Several of them came into the yard of 
the khan one day for that purpose. 

I had often endeavoured to attract attention, 
for I thought that any change would be for the 
better — I had never, however, succeeded. 
The tale of my trick, as they termed it, was al- 
ways related ; and none of them would have 
any thing to say to me. This day, as they pas- 

VOL. II. B 



2 STORY OF A LIFE. 

sed down, an old man in a Jewish garb, with 
a long red beard, that hung low upon his 
breast, took his long pipe from his mouth, and 
striking me with the bowl of it slightly, as we 
do some vile article we wish to cheapen, as yet 
viler, he questioned about my qualities and 
price. To what they told him of my tale, he 
replied, It was all well, he would answer for my 
playing him no tricks : he knew how to treat 
these Christians ; he had lived among them, 
and owed them a heavy debt of hate ; he would 
look to me. He purchased me, and led me 
out, and got upon his ass, and bade the curly- 
headed, coarse, black slave drive me after him ; 
he ambled quickly on, and the slave beat me 
with a thong, and I ran. My heart misgave 
me. 1 anticipated a cruel servitude, and ty- 
ranny the most cold and vindictive. 

We came to the little garden gate in the lofty 
and jealous wall ; and he drove me in, and into 
the house, and through the court, to an inner 
chamber ; then, as he closed the door behind, 
— ^* Chj'istian," said the old man, " have you 
forgotten Lisbon and the awful day ? — and 



STORY OF A LIFE. 3 

me ? — Your wealth, where is it ? — How ? — 
Why are you here ? — I saw you the other 
day as I passed the mole, and thus alone could 
I safely serve you." 

How great was my astonishment, my delight, 
my thankfulness ! — I told him all. 

" I will befriend you," said he, " but it all 
needs caution — As house and garden slave I can 
better protect you for the present, than in any 
other manner. Be patient ; I will serve you ; 
you shall yet be free." 

I knelt to him, in my happy agitation, and 
my heart knelt within me to the Most High, and 
after it leaped in my bosom rejoicingly ; and my 
step was light, and my blood flowed quick. 

The old man raised me with great eagerness, 
and said, " Surely I must repay good with good. 
I gave you wealth, because you were a Chris- 
tian. I wanted to pay, and to forget you ; but 
my wealth has not served you, and I have found 
you, bowed down under the lash of the task- 
master; and shall I not break your chain ? Lie 
down, my son." He pointed to the carpet, and 
B 2 



4} STORY OF A LIFE. 

pillow, and went forth — again he returned, 
and with him a woman, such as Raphael loved 
to paint. The forehead and the eye of sainted 
beauty ; the parted hair of a queenly black- 
ness ; the lips, that in silence spoke ; and the 
strong contour of her race softened, by the de- 
licate proportions of her sex, to loveliness ; 
mantled she was ; of a deep, and purplish red, 
the mantle hung down in large Madonna folds; 
and a robe of pale lemon colour she wore be- 
neath, girdled with a silver zone ; and in her 
hand she led a little black-eyed boy, with jetty 
locks, that fell out, thick and curling, from be- 
neath a little, black, brimless cap, and the nose, 
even at that tender age, marked with that eagle 
curve, which still, in whatever country they 
mourn, stamps the proud features of a race, 
once the chosen, and long the haughty. 

" Christian," said the old man, " behold the 
child you saved, and my daughter the grateful 
mother. It was our handmaid who was slain ; 
our blessed Rachel, as the stronger, bore safe 
the mother of our race, who lay bed-ridtlen, and 



STORY OF A LIFE. 5 

still lives within, the most aged person of all our 
tribe." 

The child shrunk back from my slave garb, 
and my matted hair, and dirty labour-stained 
skin ; but the mother came close, and mourn- 
ingly regarded me, and spake thanks and com- 
fort in sweet words, and hastened out; and 
again she came, and a hand-maid with her; 
they brought a vessel of water that I might 
purify, and delicate food, and wine to refresh 
me. " Was it," I asked myself, " a reality ? — 
Was I indeed to be thus blessed ?" Voices all 
kind around me, — my fetter loosened by an old 
man's hand, — my foul dress cast off, — and 
the bath, that lay in cool shadow beneath an 
oriental plane tree in the garden, — and oils and 
cloths, — and white linen left for me, who had 
been two years a beaten slave ! 

Yes, another sun-beam shone out upon my 
life's dark path. 

To save appearances, I was clothed as a do- 
mestic slave ; but, as Benjamin gave out that he 
should employ me in copying his European cor- 
B 3 



6 STORY OF A LIFE. 

respondence, little was seen of the favor which 
he showed, and that little, though thought 
strange in such a Christian hater as this old man, 
was soon disregarded. Here then I lived a stran- 
ger, within the gates, among a family of God's 
ancient people — an old man for a kind master ; 
a boy that learned to climb on my knee — and a 
woman, whose countenance was all light and 
compassion — a something to live near and feel 
3afe. 

In a garden too I might walk, where flowers 
grew, and little painted birds built nests, and 
fluttered and chirped on green branches. 

Here would I walk for countless hours, and 
think ; and again my heart swelled, and my 
mind rose, and my fancy kindled ; I seemed, as 
it were, purified by misfortune. To all at home 
I should be an object of more than common 
family affection; and what a deepened interest 
would be felt by the gentle Maria for the wild 
and wilful being she had loved ! 

These things were my daily dreams, nor did 
they forsake me in my sleep ; bright images were 



STORV OF A LIFE. / 

always there, and the fair form of Maria was 
ever in the groupe. 

Much of my time, within the house, I passed 
in the study of Arabic, with a view to kill the 
heavy hours of the long listless day; and I lis- 
tened to the Hebrew, and taught myself many 
of their sayings, and learned their sentiments, 
and looked on, with reverence, at customs old 
as the days of Jacob and his children. 

It may be supposed, that one who had suffered 
much in his intercourse with Christians, who 
had moaned in their prisons, shrieked under 
their torture, and escaped only by one of those 
awful judgments, which, though general in its 
effects, may be rationally esteemed particular 
in its interventions, hated them with no common 
hatred. 

It was strange to observe how, in his tender 
treatment of me, the man struggled with and 
overcame the Jew; but every thing in his 
house or family bore the mark of his deep re- 
verence for the customs of his forefathers. 

In the morning, before the child went forth 
to school, the mother always gave it bread 
B 4 



8 STORY OF A LIFE. 

sweetened with sugar and honey, and as she 
did so, used these words, " As this is sweet to 
thy palate, so let learning be sweet to thy 
mindf* and she further counselled him with 
such directions as became a mother, especially 
warning him that God is a lover of "clean lips." 
The sacred fringe, the hallowed phylactery, 
the frontlets, and the arm amulets inscribed with 
sentences from the law — all these things the old 
man venerated ; you could see, in the common- 
est actions of his daily life, that he felt or fan- 
cied (it is the same) that an angel stood on his 
right hand, and another on his left. To mark his 
qiiiek pace as he hurried to the synagogue, and 
his slow returning step ; to observe him, as with 
the mantle falling over his eyes, he prayed 
alone ; the bowing down of his head ; his hands 
upon his heart ; the exulting rise of his body at 
the utterance of that benediction, which, in the 
opinion of the Jew, he alone is entitled to offer; 
the wailing confession ; the low prostration; 
and then again the cheerful blessing of their 
lot, as a chosen people; their loud thanks- 
giving for the delivery of their law, and their 



STORY OF A LIFE. 9 

imploring prayer for the restoration of the 
temple. 

You saw the Jew, whom it were impertinence 
to pity, and on whom you could not smile. I 
remember one scene, at this period, that I 
revolve with admiring wonder, to this very 
hour. 

There was held one evening in the hall of my 
host, which opened on the garden, a meeting 
of many elders of their tribe; there might be 
twelve or more. They were men in years, as 
varied in feature as their peculiar national con- 
tour ever allows. I say not that they all looked 
interesting, or sorrowful ; but three there ^v€fre, 
mourners in their hearts — my host was one, 
and there was a younger man with sallow 
cheeks, and sunken eyes, and beard uncombed 
and black ; and there was an aged man, who had 
been fair, with eyes of a light grey, rayless, and 
a wan complexion, and white hairs thinly falling 
from a wrinkled chin. 

They sate, and communed together, and dim 
lamps hung over them, and presently a Rabbi 
came in, and led a stranger ; a man of middle 



10 STORY OF A LIFE. 

age ; the youthful side of it. I thought I had 
seen the face before, but yet I knew not, for 
care can pencil deep and alteringly. He bowed 
submiss and sad, and sat him on a carpet at 
their feet, and the wan aged elder spake with 
him ; his voice was tremulous and low. 

" What cause, stranger, hath moved thee to 
this wish ?" 

"The love of truth." 

" Knowest thou the strictness of our law ?" 

" I do." 

" Hast thou any worldly interest to forward 
by this act ?" 

" None." 

" Has the love of any of our daughters taken 
thee?" 

" I have loved one of the daughters of Israel, 
but she is dead." 

'' And is it then the indulgence of a vain 
fancy — is it to cherish a lover's sorrow, thou 
wouldst defile our sanctuary ?" 

" No — I reverenced your faith long before 
I saw her. 'Twas first as a daughter of that 
fiiith I loved her. Your faith is mine. You 



STORY OF A LIFE. 11 

look up with awe to the ruliog planets ; when 
your star shines bright, confidingly you gaze ; 
and when it pales, or reddens, you tremble — 
the like do I. You deem that angels walk w^ith 
you, and watch you ; aye, and that some war 
against you — the like do I.'* 

"But, stranger, these are the beliefs of mil- 
lions. The Moor, the madman, and even the 
Christian may think with us in these things. If 
thou art indeed desirous to be as one of us, listen 
to our faith, and to my warning. First, then, 
let me remind you that we are a scattered, 
oppressed people ; that we have no temple, 
no altar, no country ; that we are accounted 
abject, vile, despicable ; that we are smitten on 
the face ; spurned with the foot ; beaten with 
the rod ; that we cry, and find none to deliver 
us ; that Messiah is yet to come ; that our hope 
standeth strong, and green, and tall as the palm 
tree; but it is a palm tree standing alone in the 
desert. Our eyes, indeed, are ever fixed on it, 
but we lie parched, and fainting upon the bar- 
ren sand around ; wilt thou, sti'anger, cast in thy 
lot with such a people?" 



12 STORY OF A LIFE. 

" It is for these things you are dear to me ; I 
see you hug your bitter portion : jealous lest 
any one should seek to share your sorrows ; I 
see you court contempt, and crouch beneath the 
lash ; but I see your eye look up hopefully to 
heaven ; and my heart has told me the hope, 
that breeds such constancy, hath sure though 
unseen foundations, and is pinnacled to reach 
the skies. Yet stay, (arid he looked out wildly 
upon the sky), I am not worthy — see — look 
where my evil star hangs dim and. sickly near 
yon sullen cloud. Thus looked it en the night 
they gave Mariam to a kinsman of her tribe, 
and spurned me; I will bethink me of this 
matter ; I will go upon the mountains, and get 
nearer to the heavens, and come to you again 
when I am less mad." 

Just at this moment there was a loud and 
violent knocking at the gate. It was opened 
instantly by a slave, and immediately the cham- 
ber was filled with Moorish soldiers, accompa- 
nied by an Aga, and a Mahometan priest. The 
entrance door, and the curtained recess were 
secured by some ; while the others encircled the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 13 

trembling, synod, and stretching forth their 
ready hands, looked in eager silence to the 
Aga for the signal to capture or slay. In this 
scene of confusion, the offered proselyte had 
risen from his carpet and stood erect with un- 
daunted eye, and the still settled aspect of a 
calm, resolved defiance. 

" Whom seek ye ?" he asked. It was in fury 
that the Aga answered him, " The Mussulman ; 
the apostate ; the worthless Turk, who hath 
stolen hither to abjure his faith ; to deny our 
holy prophet, and to join himself to these 
accursed Israelites. You should be he; art 
thou he? — yes, it must be so." 

" There are none such as you describe 
among us. I am no Mahometan." 

."Whence then this Turkish garb ?" — *' A 
mere dress for travel." — "A disguise, then ?" 
" Not so." As he spoke, he raised and threw off 
his turban ; the thick tresses of his dark brown 
hair fell lordly on his shoulders ; and he stood 
avowed to the eye, a Christian. It was now 
that I recognized the German youdi, with whom 
I had an interview of so painful a nature, after 



14f STORY OF A LIFE. 

dining at the merchant's in Lisbon. With a 
deep interest, but a helpless anxiety, I leaned 
forward into the chamber. 

The MooUah held up his beads, and called 
aloud to the Aga, that the insult on their faith 
could only be expiated by an immediate embra- 
cing of it, or by death." 

" Dost thou hear ?" said the Aga. " Cry now, 
and lift up thy voice, and shout with joy. There 
is no God but God, and Mohammed is his 
prophet." 

The German stood silent for a moment, and 
raised his eyes ; and his thoughts seemed to 
wander — far away they wandered, back, long 
years back too ; and thus he answered. 

" When this brown and seamed forehead was 
white, and tender, and nestled in a mother's 
bosom ; she bore me at her breast, to the 
baptismal font, and it was signed with the sign 
of the cross, in token that I should never, in 
after life, be ashamed to confess Christ crucified ; 
and should continue his faithful soldier, and 
servant till death. Thus was it with my father, 
and my father's father. I will die rather than 



STORY OF A LirE. Ifi 

deny my Saviour." The Jewish elders started 
as he spoke ; and the Moor taunted him, " Did 
I not find thee praying with the Jew ? thou 
hast no faith ; thou art not fit to live — the 
bowstring, Hassan." 

Two sturdy Moors advanced with the fatal 
cord. 

" A minute I give thee yet, miserable — con- 
fess Mohammed." 

, He knelt, and the tear of penitence fell upon 
a cheek unblanched by fear ; and he looked up 
to heaven, and unutterable pra3'ers flew warm 
from his smote heart. In his short exclaims, 
something I caught of the arch-fiend that had 
sought to sift him as wheat ; something of his 
shame, his awe, his hope. " Remember me, 
Lord, when thou comest to thy kingdom." I 
know not whether an angel whispered him, 
" This day thou shalt be with me in paradise ;" 
but I remember, it was with a smile, calm as 
that with which confiding courage bends to 
the healing hand, that he sat him down, and 
leaned back his head against a pillar of wood, 
and the strong executioners pulled steadily ; and 



16 STORY OF A LIFE. 

he gave one quick convulsive writhe, and with 
blackened face, and starting eye-balls, fell down 
a strangled corpse. 

The curse of the Aga, and the driving forth 
of the stranger Jews, and a threat to my host 
of a fine, or the bastinado on the morrow, 
followed close upon this scene ; then the rustle 
of robes, and the shuffle of slippers succeeded. 
In a few minutes these retiring sounds died 
away in the distance ; and Benjamin and myself 
were left with the body in that chamber now 
again still, and so dimly lighted. We 
thought, and spoke not ; he, that the God of 
Abraham had destroyed him, as a judgment, 
for defiling the sanctuary ; I, that the Redeemer 
had snatched him from the prince of the power 
of the air in tender mercy, had punished him 
with a bitter death, but that an invisible seraph 
had placed upon his dying lip the live and puri- 
fying fire. " How shall we do," said Benjamin, 
" with this sinner's body ? — it were defilement 
even to touch it ; even Whanga (a black) will 
fear to come near it." " Let that care be mine," 
said I. " Impossible ! you would not put your 



STORY OF A LIFE. 17 

hands on it." "I will dig it a grave," I rejoined, 
" and lay it in the earth." " Without then — 
without the gates." I did so — scooped by the 
torches' light a shallow grave ; on broken 
ground, among ordure and ofFal ; and I dragged 
forth the heavy corpse, and placed it smooth 
within ; and closed the straggling limbs ; and 
straightened down the bended arms ; and 
opened the clenched hands ; and pillowed the 
deformed head ; and threw over the loose 
earth; and houseless dogs came snuffing round, 
and howled ; and I watched it till the sun rose. 

I bathed, and passed the following day in 
piling heavy stones upon that poor, unsheltered 
grave. I was much agitated by this awful 
event, and ere I had well recovered my spirits, 
new scenes and new trials opened on the 
peaceful mansion, where I had found so kind a 
refuge. 

Rachael was a widow ; but the fame of her 
beauty was very great, and she was sought in 
marriage by many. So honourable is marriage 
esteemed among the Jews, that she had accepted, 
through her father, the proposal of a kinsman, 

VOL. II. c 



18 STORY OF A LIFE. 

and, according to the plenty of his fortune, he 
had called a master to draw up the articles of 
marriage, and the covenant of dowry. The 
dowry was settled, and the affiancing was past. 
The day of marriage was appointed ; the pre- 
parations of the bride were duly made ; the 
eight days' bathing ; and the last bath, at the 
going down of the sun, on the marriage eve, 
when, accompanied by matrons, the bride im- 
merses even, every hair of her head in a cistern 
of the purest water, had been duly observed. 
She had been elegantly attired; her hair adorned, 
and curiously curled, and plaited ; and Rachael 
sat in a green arbour, in the garden, with a 
virgin on either hand, and the guests gathered 
in ; each (as they entered), saying, " Blessed is 
he that cometh ;" and the bridegroom, and a 
choice company of his friends, followed ; and he 
put the wedding-ring of pure gold upon her 
finger, and the Rabbi said aloud, " Thou art 
sanctified to this man with this ring, according 
to the law of Israel ;" and with a solemn cheer- 
fulness of voice, he added the prayer of the 
nuptial blessing. " Blessed art thou, O Lord 



STORY OF A LIFE. 19 

our God, who has created mirth and gladness, 
the bridegroom, and the bride ; charity and 
brotherly love, rejoicing and pleasure, peace 
and society. I beseech thee, O Lord, let there 
suddenly be heard in the cities of Judah, and 
streets of Jerusalem, the voice of joy and glad- 
ness ; the voice of the bride and the bridegroom. 
The voice of rejoicing in the bride-chamber is 
sweeter than any feast, and children sweeter 
than the sweetness of a song." The prayer bad 
been said, and the cup crowned with wine, and 
tasted, and blessed ; when again was heard the 
knocking at the gate ; the bride and the bride's 
maids fled in to the inner rooms of the house ; 
again the men of violence entered, and took 
away the agitated Benjamin, and led him to 
the Dey. 

In an hour he returned alone : he did not 
speak ; but he sat down, and seemed very 
faint; and there was a clammy dew upon his 
wrinkled forehead, and his hands and his 
whole frame trembled. 

I eagerly asked his sorrow, and his will, and 
how I could serve him. " Fetch Isaac, my 
c 2 



20 STORY OF A LIFE. 

neighbour, and call Simeon, my son-in-law, tliat 
I may speak with them." 

I' brought them; Isaac was a little, square, 
strong man, with a cheerful, but a cunning eye, 
a beard of curling black, and in the stained and 
rusty habit of a retail trader. Simeon, a man 
of middle age, and grave beauty ; black eye, 
and flowing locks ; no beard. 

" Simeon," said the old man, " I must alarm 
and afflict you even as myself. Isaac, thy wit 
must serve us. The hog of a Moor — my 
daughter ; thy wife, Simeon ; my daughter — he 
lias heard that she is passing fair; — we must fly 
— a few days we may evade his will : but v/e 
must fly." 

" We wear no swords or daggers," said 
Simeon, " but we are men ;" and he looked as 
though he could stab. 

But Isaac cursed the hog, and laughed and 
said, he would find something else for him to 
think of. " Stay quietly in your houses both 
of you;" he added, "I will go fan a flame, shall 
burn before the set of to-morrow's sun. There 
are two of the fierce fellows, who came the 



.«TORY OF A LIFE. 21 

Other day from Istamboul, now drinking at my 
house ; they bear the Dey ill will. I will go 
back and give them brandies." I asked to follow 
Isaac. 

On a low divan, with dirty cushions of a 
coarse stuff!, and a worn carpet, in a room 
floored with mudj and lighted by an earthen 
lamp, sat two bulky Turks, with glazed faces, 
and dull fierce eyes ; and the one had put off" 
his turban, and a single long lock hung wild 
from his shaven crown ; and they held bottles 
in their hands, and lifted them up, and held 
them above their upraised mouths, and poured 
in the wine, gulping it with brute eagerness. 

" Here, thou Jew dog, wine, wine ! Allah 
forgive us, Mahommed Resoul Allah." 

" Here is wine for my lords," said Isaac, 
bringing forth two bottles, "but if the Dey hear 
of it, it may be." 

** The Dey — we care not for your Dey." 

" He hath bastinadoed the like of you — aye, 
and hath used the bowstring on men of Istam- 
boul for less than this ; and three times he has 
emptied my little coffer of all my monies, that I 
c 3 



22 STORY OF A LIFE. 

had gained, and under his own licence, — only 
he forbids me to let the soldiers drmk here, and 
that is his pretence. My lords know I cannot 
help it — I cannot say nay ;" and he cringed 
low to them — and they gave a ferocious smile, 
and poured down large draughts of wine. 

'' Why, the fellow was only a water-carrier at 
Ismyr." 

" So I have heard, lords ; but he has the 
green turban." 

" Ah ! but he has no right to wear it; they 
would tear it from his head in Istamboul." 

" That none dare here." 

" Give me wine, thou Jew dog, what dost 
thou know of men's daring ?" 

" They say too he had his fortune predicted 
to him; and that he is born under a lucky 
planet. I remember the day he was pro- 
claimed." 

"How fell it out?" 

" Why, the soldiers murmured for their pay, 
and he started forward as the spokesman, and 
he fired the first shot ; then many rushed on, 
and they seized the Dey Mustapha, and stabbed 



STOIiY OF A LIFE. 23 

him in many places, and dragged him through 
the streets dead, and mangled, and threw away 
his body." 

" Ah ! ha ! that was well done," said the 
bare-headed Turk, and he drank again, and he 
rose up large ; " do not the men of thy nation 
read the stars ? I remember, at Kahira, there 
was one, who said I should be a great man in 
seven years — and this is the seventh year." 

" It is elsewhere then,'* said Isaac, " thy good 
fortune awaits thee ; for the life of our Dey 
is charmed ; they say no arm can slay him, 
save one that hath a mole in the inner bend at 
the elbow ; and one so placed none ever saw ; 
and moreover it must be a Turk, whose mother 
was a Greek slave ; and the hair of his head 
and of his beard must differ in colour ; and 
he must have been wounded by a sword." 

" Allah Akbar, — look here, thou Jew dog, — 
look here," and he showed a mole upon the 
inner bend of his hairy arm, and he pulled 
down his thick, wiry, red mustaches, and 
threw round the loose lock of jet black hair 
upon his fore-shoulder, and pointed to a deep 

C 4; 



S4 STORY OF A LIFE. 

scar seamed in his broad burnt forehead, " my 
mother too, my mother was of Chios ; surely 
thy brother spoke true." 

" I pray thee, my lord, fly ; for when the Dey 
sees these things he will take thy life." He 
looked savage, and called for wine, and turned 
again, and sate by his companion, and they 
i>moked, and drank, and chewed opium, and 
talked together in Turkish; many times they 
gave the hand, as the oath is taken among 
them, and, at the dawn of day, they went away 
together to the Khan of the soldiery, with hag- 
gard faces, and wild looks ; and I tell you at 
noon that day we heard shouts and fire-arms, 
and drums in the city ; and, an hour after, we 
saw a furious mob, advancing through the nar- 
row lane, with angry gestures, and exulting 
cries ; and, as they passed by, we saw a bleed- 
ing and a mangled corpse, lying exposed 
naked, thrown across a poor staggering ass, and 
they led it out of the city, and threw it to the 
dogs under the wall; and it was the body of 
the Dey ; and a new one was proclaimed, and 
I saw him in the market-place, on the morrow. 



STORY OF A LIFE. ^5 

on a gray war-horse ; it was one of the Turks 
whom I had seen at the vintner's ; not the 
spokesman, on whom Isaac had practised ; for he 
had been slain, but his comrade had triumphed 
amid the tumult, and risen by the voice of 
the soldiery, to be their ruler, and their slave. 

Such are the Turks, and such was the 
fifovernment of Aloriers. 

The disturbances and outrages in the city, 
for many days after the election of the new 
Dey, v»^ere excessive; the exactions heavy, 
particularly on the poor oppressed Jews ; and 
the aged Benjamin, trembling at the prospect 
of a turbulent and tyrannical reign, determined 
to withdraw secretly, and take refuge among 
his brethren in Egypt. This intention he 
communicated to me, and promised me, that 
he would arrange with a captain of a Sicilian 
vessel, then in the harbour, to smuggle me off 
when she sailed, and would supply me with 
money sufficient for my need, until I could com- 
municate with Venice, where he had no doubt 
I should find my pj'operty secure, and un- 
touched. 



26 STORY OF A LIFE. 

He determined on flying across the desert, 
and, having secretly provided dromedaries, and 
guides, and made all other arrangements, it now 
became necessary to break it to the aged De- 
borah, and prepare her for the effort. 

It was on this occasion, that for the first 
time I was admitted into the chamber where 
she lay. On a narrow pillow, in a narrow bed, 
with a coverlet of fine wool, there lay a little 
mantled head ; the mantle was of a yellowish 
white, and a few white hairs might be seen 
straggling over the forehead ; the complexion 
was bloodless and deathy ; the skin pursed, and 
shrunken; and the whole thing frail, and fragile, 
as the last leaf of a wintry autumn. 

" Deborah, our mother Deborah,*' said 
Benjamin. Her eyes were closed, and she 
answered not ; louder he called, and Rachel 
on the other side moved her with tenderness, 
and kissed her cheek. 

" Well," said the aged phantom, " it is 
under the palm-tree. Let me sleep, it is under 
the palm-tree — Judith will show you." 

** Dear Deborah," said Rachel, " listen — 



STORY OF A LIFE. 27 

we have news for you," — a sort of ray] ess 
gleam, broke out from her unclosing eyelid, as 
she turned her to Rachel. 

"News ! is Messiah come ? is there a ga- 
thering of our people ?" 

" No, my dear Deborah, but we are going 
up towards Jerusalem, that we may live and die 
there, and leave it no more." 

" My blessings on you, Benjamin ; you will 
then take my bones in a chest, and lay them 
under the shadow of the wall of Rama." 

" Do you think you can bear the journey ?" 

" Can dry bones feeJ, my son ? ten, twenty 
years, a hundred years, a watch ; a little watch 
of the night, and then you will carry up my 
bones." 

" She does not heed," said Rachel, her large 
eyes dim with pity. " She does not understand, 
father," and then again she leaned down her 
face of beauty, and kissed that withered cheek, 
and whispered that dull ear. 

** Mother, we are going a journey, a long 
journey over the desert." 

It was in a shriek, a piercing, irritated, 



28 STORY OF A LIFE. 

agitated shriek, that she replied ; and she re- 
peated it often, and wildly, and would not listen, 
and would not be pacified, till at length ex- 
hausted, she sunk again into stillness. Rachel 
stood anxiously trembling over her, and Benja- 
min plucking his beard with nervous fear. But 
the angel of the Lord came down, in mercy, to 
that narrow bed, and the aged Deborah sate 
lip, and in sobered feebleness she spoke, and 
opened her sightless eyes, and they glimmered 
as struggling to behold. 

." My children, an hundred and twenty years 
have been my days of sorrow. Five generations 
have I seen ; and of the evil under the sun have 
I tasted, in many wanderings, among strange 
people ; and, for many years have I now lain 
still, in darkness, and the Lord has heard my 
prayer. I feel cold, my children, and I die. 
Swear to me, that you will carry up my bones, 
and lay them in the cave of my father's house, 
over against the wall of Rama, near to the 
palm-tree." 

They leaned down to her, and swore itj 
and she touched them with her skinny hands, 



stohy of a life. 29 

and blessed them; and a strange wild light 
shone over her restless eyes ; and her voice be- 
came strong ; and its tones were like a tremu- 
lous chanting ; and she cried out, " I see it, my 
children, the pleasant land; it is green and 
watered. I hear the songs of women as they 
weave ; and the voices of young children : and 
shoutings on the mountain top ; and the bleat- 
ings of a thousand flocks ; and the hum of 
bees : and the vineyards are full of laughing 
labourers. And a city shines bright with tem- 
ples and flowers, and its gates are open, and 
white- bearded elders are riding on tlie way, 
upon white asses ; and the light is, as the light 
of the sun, ten-fold ; and I see an angel sitting 
under an oak tree. Surely the bitterness of 
death is passed. The earth is changed, as a 
vesture ; it is a new earth ; it is the Lord's ;" 
and she sunk dow^n exhausted on her pillow, 
and in a little, fell asleep, and so died. 

Immediately we came forth, and left Rachel 
and a handmaid with the body. They called 
the tiring women, and they came and washed 
the corpse in water of roses, and orange flow- 
ers, and embalmed it ; and sowed it in a white 



31 STORY OP A LIFE. 

sheet, and tied up the jaws with a linen cloth ; 
and put it in a coffin, on a bier? in the garden ; 
ten elders came, and earth was thrown on it, 
and they compassed the bier seven times, and 
they sung the psalm* appointed ; and cried out, 
" From the earth thou camest, and to the 
earth thou art returned:" — and Benjamin, and 
all his house, went muffled for seven days ; at the 
close of the seventh day, they went to the bier, 
and said this prayer, — " Judge of the truth, 
whojudgest truly, be judge of the truth ; for all 
thy judgments are justice and truth ; pardon her 
sins, and receive her into the garden." Then 
they plucked up grass, and cast it behind them, 
signifying their hope of the resurrection ; and 
they nailed down the chest. On the following 
night, when all was hushed, and sleep was on 
the city, they brought dromedaries and asses 
to the waste ground, near the garden wall, 
and they lifted up the chest, and bound it 
on a dromedary; and they packed their 
goods on the other beasts ; and I placed Ra- 
chel on her ass, and the boy with her ; — 

* The 49tli. 



STORY OF A LIFE. SO 

her face was bound up, but her large eyes 
looked a kind and silent farewell as I pressed 
her foot, and kissed her garment. The bribed 
Arabs moved noiselessly about, and last the 
aged Benjamin came to me. At this moment I 
felt such sorrow, that I longed to accompany 
them, and I prayed him that I might do so ; but 
he said " No, my son, but go back to thy father's 
house, and take a wife to thy bosom, and may 
the God of Abraham prosper thee in all thy 
ways. It is right for thee so to do — but us 
thou couldst not serve, thou wouldst embarrass 
and betray." So I stood silent. Then the 
dromedaries rose up, and moved away slow, 
and tall, and dark ; and I watched them by the 
stars' light, and listened to their soft tread, till 
sight and sound were lost in the shades, and 
silence of the night. 

Thus closed another scene of my desultory 
life. With those, who live in one country and 
on one spot, and in an even tenor, with the 
common share of joys and sorrows common 
to all, the links of society are not many, but 
the same, and we grow old, looking year by 



32 STORY OF A LIFE. ' 

year on faces, we have always known, and 
with whose loves and hates, fortunes and afflic- 
tions, we are more or less mingled up, nay a 
part, as it were, till we die. Even if there has 
been any peculiar destiny ; any deep disappoint- 
ment; any bitter bereavement; any change of 
circumstances, such as loss of fortune, or 
of the blessings of health ; still with the 
wasted purse, or the withered limb, we live 
on, completing the story of our life, among 
those with whom we began to tread the flowery 
opening of the early path, and who are still ac- 
companying us on the thorny way, with faces 
we have always known, and voices to which we 
have always listened ; this it is which, if over the 
lives of many it throws a sameness, gives to 
those of others a deep, continuous interest, con- 
nected closely with the few beings among whom 
they act, whose destinies are bound up with 
their own, and who receive and impart colour- 
higs of character and of fate. 

It is not so with the loose roamer on the 
world. Scenes shift before him. Persons ap- 
pear, and pass away. The smiles of one day 
liave little to do with the smiles of yesterday, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 33 

or the morrow, and little connection can he 
have with them, beyond the cheering sympathy 
of benevolence, awakened to contemplate, but 
dead, and barren in its influence. 

Better for him is it to look upon the house 
of mourning ; there a tear he may chance to 
dry ; a dying pillow he may chance to smooth ; 
want he may feed ; nakedness he may clothe ; 
but the scene shifts ; the objects of his 
sympathy pass away ; and leave him alone, 
with none to look on him but strangers. 
His hermitage, though like a shepherd's tent, 
he may remove it at will, is the dreariest, the 
most lonely of any ; cut off from thai connection 
with the small circle of his fellow men, as- 
signed to him by providence, he strays like a 
lost sheep, and finds no happy little flock, in 
whose green pasture he may lie down lovingly ; 
but he wanders through the tumult of crowded 
cities; trembles at every roar in the desert; 
and finds no shelter, no peace, no stay. He 
hunts for it with panting hopes, runs here, 
runs there, rests for a minute near the gen- 
tle, or stands hid while the turbulent pass 

VOL. II. / D 



34? STORY OF A LIFE. 

him by. If he sees a something green, he 
devours it as he goes, and he laps at the desert 
pool, or the city puddle, and hurries on. 

To return to myself, it were idle to say all I 
felt, as that little caravan of fugitives vanished 
from my sight. I had tasted again, under 
their sheltering roof, of repose ; a mother's eye of 
gratitude had shone kindly on me ; a child had 
learned to love me ; an old man had treated 
me with parental tenderness ; and all these 
were Jews ; the ancient people of God ; the 
persecuted outcasts, who suffer, and have suf- 
fered far more for their despised faith, than any 
sect or people under heaven. The scenes too 
I had witnessed there, I revolved them more 
and more in my mind ; and felt many disturb- 
ing notions, mingling with the remembered 
lessons of my boyhood. 

For a few days I lay concealed at Isaac the 
vintner's, and when the vessel was ready to 
put to sea, I escaped to her by night. 

The morning breeze blew fresh, and curled 
the blue waters, which tumbled billowy and 
buoyant, without rising into waves, ere I ven- 
tured on the deck ; and when I did so, and 



i 



STORY OF A LIFE. 3^ 

found that we were far out, and free — no land 
in sight, no Corsair flag — no crescent-crowned 
mast — Italian sounding from lip to lip — re- 
deemed and ransomed captives singing the 
matin hymn ; and captain, crew, and passen- 
gers all Christian, why, my heart burned, and 
as I leaned, with closed lips over the vessel's 
side, my spirit offered thanks and prayers. 



The sun looked down on Naples, and its 
Bay, the morning that we entered it, with 
rays so piercing, so bright, so golden, that it 
seemed an atmosphere only for curly-headed 
joy, and laughing loves, and youth eternal. 
The shores, the islands, white dwellings in 
green gardens, white sails upon the shining sea, 
all smiled. 

We neared the little harbour, and passed in. 
I see them now, the gaunt and ghastly men, 
who came with boats to us. I hear the hollow 
voices with which they asked our cargo ; and 
the hollow cry of hope, with which they hailed 
the reply so welcome. 



36 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Famine was in the city. At palace portals, 
and church steps, at convent gates, at the doors 
of theatres, people lay famishing. 

The busy chatter of the idle poor was hushed. 
Dead lay among the living; and dogs tore 
human flesh, all heedless of the feeble cries that 
cursed them . 

I saw women young and fair feeding upon 
ofFal ; and dogs snatching at it, and disputing it, 
as their accustomed food. Children I heard 
cry, and mothers rave, and strong men I saw, sit- 
ting silent, with rolling eyes, and hunger mad. 
And yet I tell you, amid all these things, I 
heard guitars, and ladies stood in balconies with 
lovers, and rich men feasted, and the gay fed 
full, and went, and laughed in theatres; and 
painters, from their windows, made studies of 
sunken cheeks, and hollow eyes, and wasted 
forms. I too, I hurried through the miserable 
groupes with sickening but with haste. To 
some indeed I gave alms, as I passed along, 
free, liberal, as much I could spare, (what a 
word is that spare,) and then I went into the 
rich Albergo, and fed on full and dainty dishes, 
and rose up from them as it were a crime, and 



STORY OF A LIFE. $7 

took plain bread, and drank of water but ; still I 
felt as if I were guilty of some crime, to eat 
my fill of bread — bread — unbroken with 
another — and this, too, among the dying and 
the dead. 

Plague in the tainted air, hanging with its 
menace, over a sickening city, — the enemy at 
the gate; — these are evils terrible to man, but 
light to famine. Those whom the pestilence 
may spare, eat food, and give it to their children. 
In the pauses of the battle thunder, the full feast 
is spread, and the wine cup is gaily pledged ; 
but famine is a yet more awful scourge. The 
infant cries at the dry, unyielding breast of its 
pining mother. Children of the romping age 
sit still, and colourless. Men move about as 
wolves, and prowl for prey ; tear food from the 
feeble ; fight for it with the strong ; and go apart 
with the prized morsel, and face some lonely 
wall, and with an eye glancing all restlessly, 
from side to side, in ravening haste give it all 
to their own wild craving, I remember, that in 
the square of the palace there was a daily dole 
of bread by order of the king, but it never 
D 3 



38 STORY OF A LIFE. 

reached the lame, the blind, the sick, the aged, 
or the helpless child. These lay afar, and died 
in the sun, while ruffians black-bearded, and 
strong, with bludgeon or with knife, forced in 
their way, and bore off the given loaves, and 
lived. Many too played usurers, and sold a 
day's more life to the slowly dying for their 
little all. 

My heart was sick with looking on such 
scenes. Strange it may sound, yet true it was, I 
almost wished myself again a chained and toil- 
ing slave, eating black bread, and sleeping sound 
at nights. T proposed to myself to leave the city, 
and quit this theatre of woe; but conscience said 
" No, it will be base." Here you cannot doubt 
your power to serve, to save ; some wretches 
— your purse — draw wide the strings, and feed 
the hungry. I had gone far out, by Portici, 
planning with myself some course of ac- 
tion ; pressing my hand upon my aching tem- 
ples, and fearing that my brain would break 
from its narrow cells, if I lingered among these 
harrowing scenes ; till, as I came near the long 
garden wall of a villa, I observed a row of 



STORY OF A LIFE. 39 

beggars, squalid indeed, in rags, in pain, crip- 
ples, and sightless eyes ; and mothers wan with 
new-born babes in arms, and little children 
among them, who played in the dust. But all 
were silent and uncomplaining, and I observed 
that not one person of youth, or middle age, or 
vigour was among them. As I gazed on them, 
and drew near, the gate of the garden opened, 
and they all rose as quickly as their sad state 
would suffer them, and were received within. 

I remained near the spot for an hour ; again 
they came forth, and again spread out their torn 
blankets, and lay down, and basked in the warm 
sunshine. 

I asked if they were fed there regularly. 
" Yes," they told me ; " we are seventy souls ; 
all halt and maimed, except the children ; and 
the lady here has fed us from the commence- 
ment of the famine. Ah! if all did the like — 
the poor would eat bread and live ; but now, 
Senhor, the little loaf costs a ducat of silver, and 
the poor man's coin buys nothing in the market, 
and the sweepings of the market-place are 

D 4 



40 STORY OF A LIFE. 

fought for at the knife*s point ; and the dead 
lie about unburied." 

" And who is the lady ?" " The wife of an 
English lord, a minister here at our court, and 
has two children. May St. Januarias and the 
Holy Virgin bless her then; she is a good 
lady." 

I hastened back to the city, and went in- 
stantly to my banker, whom as yet I had not 
visited. 

There is always, there must be in bureaus, a 
cold reserve, a quiet, methodical transaction of 
business. The eager haste, the hesitating utter- 
ance, the glow and blush of feeling; the 
money dealer looks at you with doubt, or with 
contempt. 

" Alvarez, look in book D, 1760," said the 
cold stiff merchant, (as he raised his eyes from 
a letter, and, without recognising me, deemed 
it a mere enquiry after effects of a person in 
whose name he remembered money to have 
once been lodged) ; " book D or G ;" and a 
little, thin faced, white-lipped clerk took down 
a heavy tome with a weak strained arm. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 41 

" Alvarez ! — no effects — paid to order his 
balance of four thousand crowns, 18th of March, 
1760; received by Giacomo Brunelli, his gen- 
tleman." 

The truth which ought long ago to have 
suggested itself to me, now flashed upon my 
mind ; — my servant had robbed me, and fled 
with my money; a thousand thoughts came 
terrifyingly over me — was that all ? Had he 
done me no greater evil? had he concealed my 
captivity ? Had I so suffered, and so suffered in 
vain ? I discovered myself to the merchant as 
the Alvarez whom he had once known — he 
recognised me, but slowly ; however, he did 
at length identify me. Rapidly I told him 
what had befallen me, and begged to see the 
bill ; it was produced — an evident forgery, 
which nothing but a careless neglect of the 
clerk, in not comparing it with my former bills, 
could have allowed to pass. 

He spoke of concern, but stated chillingly 
that there was no remedy. It was not a mo- 
ment to give vent to anger, though I felt boiling 
with indignation. I drew a bill of large 



42 STORY OF A LIFE. 

amount on Venice. He took it, turned it over 
many times with doubting and suspicious eyes, 
and was long before he seemed to decide on 
its transmission even. At last he bade me, in 
three weeks, call again. Although I had plenty 
for my own personal need during the inter- 
val, yet the thought of succouring the helpless 
and the famishing, had possessed me with a 
strength which could not brook disappointment. 

I reminded him of my former dealings with 
him ; I pointed out to him the object, for which 
I needed the supply, and my readiness to pay 
any interest for the loan ; and I boasted, as a 
last hope, of my wealth, my large funds at 
Venice. He dipped his pen in his inkstand, 
and looking at me, as to dismiss me, and return 
to his occupation of entering dates ; — he calmly 
said, " We have only one way of doing business, 
Senhor ; I cannot give you money. As to your 
wealth at Venice, I must remind you, that 
you either have, or tell me that you have been 
plundered of what you left here, why not there 
also?" 

" Tell you !" I replied in fury, — " have I not 



STORY OF A LIFE. 43 

shewn you the ckimsy forgery ? How know I 
that it was my servant who received these 
crowns? Bankers have before now failed in 
their trusts." 

His passion nearly choked him : he was a 
spare, consumptive man ; his cheek became 
deadly pale — he flew to the door, and called 
his servants; — they came ; but my stern look, 
and strong frame, and outstretched arm awed 
them all ; and it was only a torrent of abusive 
words they poured upon me. At last the little 
clerk whispered something to his master, which 
seemed to make him pause ; — it did not pacify 
his violence ; but turning to me, he said an- 
grily, and with bitter contempt, " Ah, yes — 
very right — I recollect — if the Senhor is the 
gentleman, and the man of honor he speaks of, 
there is one in the city, who must know him. 
But I think the adventurer, whom reports says 
her father drove away with threats, will never 
dare to face such a noble person. The Senhora 
Frankland, the lady of the English Secretary, if 
she acknowledges you to be what you call 
yourself, we will give you money." 



44f STORY OF A LIFE. 

" My sister," thought I, for the wild notion 
came swiftly to me. — I considered not exactly 
what he said — it seemed to me, when I heard 
the name of Frankland, however great my sur- 
prise to find him here, and an official cha- 
racter, yet it seemed to me certain that my 
sister was his wife ; and I thought, perhaps, that 
some strange and falsified tale of a son, pro- 
digal, and lost, and driven forth by an angry 
father, had been circulated at Naples, where 
doubtless they would have inquired for the 
Alvarez, who had disappeared so unaccount- 
ably ; though, in a very different spirit from 
that, in which the enraged banker seemed to 
imagine. In a little moment this passed within 
me ; and I said, " I shall rejoice to shame 
you for your want of courtesy ; I know the 
name of Frankland well, and I doubt not his 
lady too." 

" Oh yes, we suppose you have not forgotten 
your robber- like attempt to run off with the 
fair daughter of the noble Senhor Cecil." 

" Cecil I — Maria Cecil !" I tell you that 
tlie old banker's voice was loud — perhaps he 



STORY OF A LIFE. 45 

laughed, perhaps he cursed, perhaps he kicked 
me ; I do not Know — passively I was hurried 
down the slippery staircase by several coward 
hands, which struck, and pushed me. I wander- 
ed down narrow streets ; among dead bodies 
and dogs, who snarled at me as, with paws and 
teeth, they tore the flesh from human bones; 
and the glaring eyes of cannibal concealment 
looked out on me from sitters-by cloked, and 
with a bony gauntness of visage just shown above 
— on, on I went regardless ; with a heart 
emptied of every hope. I did not feel as if I 
could live ; — I gained the shore of the sea — 
blue it looked, and beautiful — I could not bear 
its smile — I turned away — I wandered to Ve- 
suvius, and reached its ashen side, and lay me 
down breasting that black, and barren bed. 
Till the night came I lay there moaning — and 
then I climbed to the summit, heedless of the 
path — careless if I perished, and I gained the 
little plain above, over ground, perhaps, before 
untrodden. I meditated self-destruction — to 
plunge into the crater — it seemed a fitting 
doom for me. It was with a strange and 



46 STORY OF A LIFE. 

wild complacency I looked upon the red lava as 
it slowly rolled down the -rfiountain's side ; 
mass above mass thickened, and fell over hea- 
vily, like huge waves sluggishly tumbling ; and 
there was a noise, — a low, deep roaring, — 
and a light — a flameless, fiery glare, and 
heat scorching. 

The oppression from the surrounding scoriae 
became excessive ; all I had undergone in mind 
— and my toil upon that, and my exhaustion 
for want of food, overcame me, — I swooned 
away — how long T may have lain insensible I 
know not ; but I awoke, as from a sleep, and, 
when I looked around me, I found that I was 
lying on loose cinders, greatly heated, and not 
many yards from a wide flow of lava, which 
now, subdued and colourless in the sun's rays, 
rolled in a very slow, dark body of black matter, 
with a whitish hue, the crust of molten fire 
streaking it here and there in lines, or broader 
surfaces. I rose, and staggered faint from my 
resting place ; my eyes swam, as I looked down 
the mountain, and again I sunk exhausted. 
There came a peasant, and a friar, and a tra- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 47 

veller to that spot, and they succoured me with 
milk and fruit; and, after an hour or two, I 
felt recovered and strengthened sufficiently to 
return. I would not satisfy their curiosity 
about me, though I most cordially thanked 
them, and, after the path was pointed out to 
me, I descended alone. 

And was it possible to look upon the scene 
below me, and ask to close my eyes on it 
for ever ? Sorrento's mountain arm encir- 
cling that blue bay ; and isles towards the 
ruder ocean, checking its saucy waves, bid- 
ding them break, and flow in soft and hush- 
ingly ; and the white and sunny city ; and 
the green and villa-studded plain below. 
I paused, and gazed, and wept. Famine 
was on the city — and in my heart was 
hunger — the most aching, the most insatiate — 
the hunger of affection — that asked for looks, 
and tones of love, — that was ready to pour out 
all itself in answering love ; but now the garner 
in which I had stored up my life's future nourish- 
ment was another's, and I, again famished in my 
hopes, a beggar in my very day-dreams, for I 
could build up no visionary home of happiness 



4-8 STORY or A LIFE.' 

now, or again ever. I moved forward, lost in 
melancholy thought, till I found myself once 
more near the villa, where I had seen the disabled 
beggars, — there they lay still — what need to ask 
the angel lady's name ? I knew it without asking 
— Maria Cecil — Frankland now — to see her 
once again — just see her — hear her voice, if it 
faltered any — look on her cheek, if it were 
paler grown ; — vain thought ! — I communed 
with myself; and fathomed the abyss of my 
name's fall. It was clear to me that I was 
thought a wayward, wilful, selfish, heartless 
being, who had fled again, on wings of restless- 
ness, and laughed at broken vows, and breaking 
heart-strings. My family, and my wooed love, 
wantonly deserted again, in a moment of ca- 
price, and without an effort or a sigh. She 
thought me this being, and, with maiden pride, 
uprooted me from her young bosom ; and 
chose an honorable man, and married him, and 
was the wife of his bosom, and the mother of 
his children. Thus thinking, she had pro- 
bably found peace; "should I come then to 
vindicate my worthless self, and plant a thorn 



STORY or A LIFE. 49 

in that bosom? — never — never" — that inward 
vow I made, and have for ever kept most sacredly. 
I hastened home to my lodging, and called for 
food, and refreshed myself, and waited im- 
patiently for the night. It came — I took a 
mask, and wrapped myself in a cloak, and took 
my arms, and hastened to the banker's. I 
watched, and saw him in his room alone, read- 
ing by a lamp. I entered the portals — the 
careless servants were idle, or absent, or sleep- 
ing — I made my way to his chamber — un- 
masked myself, and held my dagger to his 
lieart. In speechless terror he listened to me 
— I drew forth a crucifix, and made him swear, 
npon his bended knees, that he would never 
again mention to human being our late inter- 
view — that he would not suffer it to be spoken 
of by any of his household — and that, if per- 
chance it had been, or ever should be, he would 
deny, or explain it away. I worked strongly 
alike upon his superstitious feelings, and upon 
his animal fears ; compelling him to invoke the 
wrath of heaven on his head if he violated the 
oath, and menacing him with instant death from 

VOL. II. E 



50 STORY or A LIFE. 

my sure hand ; telling him I would come back, 
were it from the farthest Ind, to shed his blood, 
if he proved faithless. Cold sweat stood upon 
his forehead, and his lips were pale when he 
kissed the crucifix, and swore to observe what 
I enjoined. 

I went down, and out into the dark street, 
calm and comforted. My own happiness was 
gone, but Maria's, such as it might be, should 
not be troubled or lessened through me — al- 
though I would have thrown down the wealth of 
worlds, had it been mine, to tell her all, and see 
her tears, and listen to her sighs, and know 
they fell, and heaved in pity and in love for 
me. — I forbore. — I gave up the guilty bliss ; a 
worthy sacrifice to the peace of her whom my 
very soul adored. 

Until I could either go to, or communicate 
with Venice, I began to discover that I should 
be embarrassed. I immediately changed my 
lodging, and my garb, and appeared as a fo- 
reign sailor, waiting for employment. The 
famine was still felt throughout the city in all 



STORY Of A LIFE. ^1 

its bitterness, and hundreds upon hundreds 
were daily perishing. 

I have said that, after having seen how the 
lady (whom then I knew not to be my beloved 
Maria) had arranged so tenderly and consider- 
ately to assist those, who were unable to help 
themselves, an idea of directing all my efforts 
to succour the like objects had taken full pos- 
session of my mind. 

The failure of my application to the banker 
for money had left me without the means of 
such charity as 1 had intended. Daily I shared 
my food, and a part of my light purse, with the 
sufferers ; but the relief it was in my power thus 
to give was little, and to few. A strange 
thought came across me, as I lay awake in 
the night — I will go daily to where they 
issue the dole of bread, and I will struggle in 
my strength, and get food for the helpless, and 
give it them. 1 did so for ten successive days : 
I regularly repaired to the grand square, and of 
all the strono; men there assembled, none ever 
obtained half the quantity of the bread distri- 
buted that I did. To the aged and sick, the 
E 2 



52 STORY OF A LIFE. 

blind and lame, the woman and the child, the 
first whom I saw, I gave this food, and then 
again returned, and rushing amid the throng, 
with violent strength, I forced my way to the 
door where it was issued, and got more, and 
gave it away — and more, and again gave it 
away. It is surprising, with what light and 
grateful boundings of the heart, I went home to 
my couch, on all these days. Many times my 
bruises were severe — twice I was cut with a 
knife. My face, roughened by the toils of 
slavery, and very deeply bronzed by the sun of 
Africa — together with my mean garb, and a 
bandage, which I had placed on my forehead 
so low as almost to conceal my eyes, made me 
feel safely disguised. It was therefore fearlessly 
that I walked about the city, and suffered my- 
self to be pointed at, as a pardoned felon, ful- 
filling some holy vow : certainly I daily felt as 
though I were fulfilling a holy duty ; as if I 
were the honoured, though mean instrument of 
God's mercy to the perishing. 

An accident, which had nearly discovered me 
to Maria, determined me to leave the city. It was 



STORY OF A LIFE. \^3 

the very last day that a public dole of bread was 
given to the people, and every thing was be- 
ginning to wear a better aspect for the miserable 
population. 

I had fulfilled my accustomed task with my 
usual success, and was returning from the pa- 
lace square, through the Strada de Toledo, 
when, among the crowding and rapid carriages, 
I observed an open one with a gentleman and 
lady, a nurse and children. I marked the car- 
riage before it came up to me, for I always loved 
the sight of children. Just as it passed opposite, 
one of the little creatures, in a playful struggle 
with its nurse, escaped from her hold, and fell 
over out of the carriage. I instantly darted 
forward, and seizing the horses' heads of the 
closely following chariot, succeeded, at the ha- 
zard of my life, in turning them from the 
course in which they must certainly have tram- 
pled over the child. I was severely bruised, but 
had still power to lift the little girl in my 
arms, and run with her to the safe side wall, 
ere the carriage was stopped, and the father 



E 3 



54 STORY OF A LIFE. 

and mother by my side— Maria Cecil! and 
Frankland ! 

I did not, could not look up ; but the hands 
of Maria touched me, as she took her child out 
of my arms; — and when she saw that it was not 
harmed, she turned with eagerness to ask if I 
was, and she thanked me very tenderly, and 
her heart, the mother's heart, was in her grate- 
ful tones. The manly Frankland, too, was warm 
in his acknowledgements ; not, as we often see 
a noble to a slave, but full and freely thankful 
as man to man. He saw that I was hurt, and 
sent for a surgeon. He saw that I was poor in 
garb, and he gave me a purse, without a word 
of reward ; but asked where I lived, and some 
others told him. I never ansv/ered him a word, 
— never dared to look up. My breast heaved, and 
shook with the strong quick throbbings of my 
my troubled heart. 

I drew lower the bandage on my forehead. 
I rose from my leaning posture. I threw his 
purse among the gathering crowd ; and, without 
once suffering my eyes to glance towards any 
of those well-loved beings, or to steal one mo- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 55 

mentary look at her whom my soul loved with 
an adonng veneration, I hurried hastily down 
the street, was soon lost in the crowd, and re- 
treated to my poor little chamber weeping — 
happily weeping, — as we may when we have 
done well. 

How did I lie awake that night, and think 
over the every trifle of that hurried scene 1 How 
often, again and again, in after life have I 
called it up ; — how to this hour I find comfort 

in doing so ! The child of Maria Cecil! I had 
pressed my brown cheek upon it — had seen its 
eyes — its little fairly curling hair. Ah me ! 
I did not merit her. The God who loved her 
as a father gave her to another, and a better. 
I knew Harry Frankland was a noble-hearted 
man — a worthy lord for her ; and I took com- 
fort from the thought. 

The following morning I quitted Naples, and 
took the road to Rome on foot. I had written 
to Venice to beg that I might find letters, and 
a remittance at Rome, whither I stated my de- 
sign of going. 

I set forth, wiih a staif m my hand^ and witii 
E 4 



56 STORY OF A LIFE. 

barely money enough in my purse for a few 
days' scanty bread. Blighted as were all my 
hopes — desolate as was the cheerless prospect 
of my future life, — nevertheless, as I trode 
along the pleasant way, I almost forgot that I 
was wretched; and I blessed God that the sun 
shone bright, and that the morning air blew soft 
upon me. At every step I met cars, and con- 
voys of mules laden with corn ; and the carmen 
and the muleteers sung cheerily, as if they felt 
how they should be welcomed in the city ; and 
the labourers in the fields and vineyards looked 
up, at the sound of their mules' merry tinkling 
bells, and shouted joyfully as they passed along. 

It is a fine balm for our sorrows, to see the 
sunshine of happiness breaking out from clouds 
which have long hung over others. It nurses 
our sick hopes — it does more; — we cannot 
rejoice to see others blessed, without, in some 
sort, sharing in their joy% 

I was six days traversing the country between 
Naples and Rome. I bought my food in the 
market-places ; I ate it, in quietude, by spark- 
ling waters or under shady trees ; and I sle[)t 



stohy of a life. 57 

soundly at nights upon the bare earth; and 
awoke light, refreshed, and grateful. On the 
evening of the sixth day I sat me down at the 
foot of that tall obelisk which stands before the 
noble church of St. John Lateran ; and I took 
from my wallet the last morsel of my bread. 

" Give me," said a pale and perishing wretch, 
as he crawled forward at the sight ; " give me, 
I pray you, a mouthful only of that bread. For 
two days I have not tasted food, and I am dying. 
They drive me from the church doors, and the 
convent gates ; and the very beggars will not 
share with me, because I am of Venice." 

" And you ask succour of me ! Do you 
know me ?" 

His eyes dilated ; his lean, and melancholy 
jaws stood agape ; his flesh trembled ; he could 
not speak. — It was Giacomo Brunelli, my faith- 
less servant, who kneeled before me in con- 
victed guilt and dying terror. 

I threw him down the bread; "Eat, miserable 
being — eat, and strengthen yourself to tell out 
to me the tale of your crimes. Eat. — I will 
go pray." 



58 STORY OF A LIFE. 

1 entered the vast aisle of St. John Lateran. 
I threw me down at the foot of one of those 
colossal statues of the apostles, and I bowed 
down my head to the altar of the holy sacra- 
ment, and asked strength to forgive the tres- 
passes, which this wretch had committed against 
me ; and, as a calm came over my subdued 
spirit, I felt that to forgive, was to share for- 
giveness. Never could the sternest Roman 
have risen up from before the columns of 
gilded bronze which now gleamed on me from 
that altar, as erst on him from the shrine of 
Jupiter, with a mind so firmly knit to virtuous 
resolve ; for, the endurance of the stoic, what 
is it to the resigned and peaceful submission of 
the natural will, by the mourning and the hum- 
bled spirit of the shamed and imploring Chris- 
tian ? Alas ! with me these emotions, however 
delightful; however salutary at the moment, 
were ever transient. Some ignis fatuus glim- 
mered through the fog of night ; and, with eager 
eye and outstretched hand, I followed the fleet- 
ing good, till again and again I fell whelmed in 
the miry waters. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 59 

Never was strength of mind more necessary 
to me, than at this moment ; for I had to learn 
what shook me like the stripping wind of icy 
winter — what left me like a lone bare tree, leaf- 
less, my roots quivering — my black trunk 
bending to the fail. 

My father and my mother were dead : they 
lay in one grave — here — in Rome. They had 
followed after their son. They had pined of 
broken hopes. The mal aria had seized my 
father. He sunk under it. The mercy of heaven 
had spared my fond mother the bitter life of 
widowed loneliness : within a little month she 
was again united to him in the tomb. 

From the confession of this wretch, I found 
that he had appropriated my money at Naples ; 
and given it out that he was ordered to follow 
me to Sicily, whither I had suddenly deter- 
mined on going. 

It seems that the year after, my father and 
family came to Italy; and they every where in- 
stituted the strictest inquiries about one Alvarez. 
He heard of it accidentally; and, having gambled 
away all liis money, thought he might turn the 



60 STOHY OF A LIFE. 

money to his advantage : so he presented Iiim- 
self as the servant who accompanied me to 
the city of Aleppo, and in whose arms I died. 
"In the morning," said Giacomo, "if I live, I 
will show you where they lie buried." He fainted; 
and appeared to be sinking fast. Was it on the 
brink of the dull vault where he was to be soon 
cast in among the bones of thousands ? Was it 
on the eve of that sleep, from which he was to 
be roused, by a summoning trump, to the bar of 
Heaven, that I was to tread down the writhing 
worm ? — No. — There are many ways of mur- 
dering ; I was myself a murderer, a parricide. 
I went to a vintner's, and sold my cloak for a 
trifle, and bought wine ; and came back and gave 
him a draught. I started as if an adder had bit 
me, as I felt his lips kiss my hand ; but then I 
checked myself, and asked pardon of Heaven 
for that crime of pride. 

I never closed my eyes throughout that bitter 
night. I walked about the waste ground near 
the obelisk, till the dawn of day ; and then I 
would have awakened the poor criminal, to 
make him lead me to my father's grave. But, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 61 

as I looked down upon a thing so wretched, and 
saw it sleeping, it had seemed revenge in me 
to waken it. 

I met a dusty-footed, sturdy capuchin, and 
asked him where they buried strangers. " Of 
what nation ?" " English," I said. " The here- 
tics, what matters it? They lie by the pagan, 
near the gate of St. Paul." 

I went there with quick steps. It was a green 
and solitary place — waste — near the city wall. 
A pyramid, a tomb of a proud size, built by the 
Romans, was the only striking object that 
marked the spot, where a few memorial slabs 
of stained marble lay flat upon unconsecrated 
graves. 

With what deep agony I stood over the white 
stone ! " Beavoir," " Beavoir," twice sculp- 
tured on it. Beavoirs, who should have lain 
beneath the barred helm of marble in the old 
church of Beaulieu. My eye read on, " Placed 
as a plain memorial of her grief, by Harriet, 
the wife of Harry Howard, captain in the Royal 
Navy, and sole surviving child of these her 
lamented parents." 



62 STORY OF A LIFE. 

'* How rich those English are !" said a poor 
fellow, with a spade in his hand, as he paused 
a minute by my side. " Now the two old people 
that lay here, there came a young man, and 
had their bodies taken up, and carried down 
to the sea, and put into a ship, and took them 
home to England — as if they could be the 
better of that, poor devils !" 

The man passed on, not heeding my emotion, 
and left me. 

" Then Howard, I thought, has been to them 
a son. Howard is a brother — a husband to 
my sister — yes ; — I kneeled down, and thanked 
Heaven that it was so. In early life I had seen, 
though but for a short time, the noble promise 
of his boyhood ; yes — there were men for 
Heaven to favour — Howards and Franklands. 
Such a being as myself only cumbered the 
earth. 

Surely my cup of woe was full ; surely I had 
drunk it to the very dregs. 

I mourned ; but I grew restless as I mourned, 
and tried to break away from my own accusing 
thoughts. It was clear to me, or I fancied it 



STORY OF A LIFE. 63 

SO, that honour and duty alike forbade me ever 
to resume the name of my father. I was 
ah'eady considered dead — gone out of mind : 
be it so. I must not dwell, methought, upon 
my situation ; — it will madden me. I must 
seek a something to fill, to occupy, to beguile 
the mind ; to heal the bleeding heart From a 
distant niche near the gate, the crucifix, with 
its sad lamp, looked on me. Ah ! no — 
although the very night before I had found 
comfort in my prayers ; it seemed to me now 
that it were mockery in me to hope for conso- 
lation there. A something hung over my 
spirits like the menace of despair. Now this I 
dreaded, and was resolute to chase away. Would 
that, at that hour, and, in my then state, I had 
resolved never more to touch gold ; but had en- 
tered on a life of busy toil, and eaten only of 
that bread which the sweat of honest labour 
would have given. — How much should I have 
escaped of after woe and crime. 

When I returned to the obelisk, Giacomo 
Brunelli was gone. I never saw him after. I 
could not but indulge some hope, that I had 



64. STORY OF A LIFE. 

saved his miserable life for a few years longer; 
and that, perhaps, he lived repentantly, and 
blessed me for my act of mercy. 

A letter was given out to me, from the post 
office, to the address of the Senhor Alvarez ; 
and it was with a sort of doubting wonder, that 
such a rough poor-looking messenger should be 
sent for it, that it was, after a long pause, at 
length committed to me. 

As I had exactly described my state of desti- 
tution to my Venetian banker, he had consider- 
ately enclosed a note to his correspondent in 
Rome, to save me from any embarrassment. To 
receive a sum of money, to clothe myself, and 
to provide a carriage to convey me, forthwith 
to Venice, was the work of a few hours ; — and 
I left the city, which I had entered the night 
before as a beggar, again restored to all the 
comforts of a gentleman's condition ; but with 
no heart to enjoy them. It was indifferent to 
me what wind blew, or what course I was to 
be driven ; — and a sudden direction was given 
to my mind, by one of those accidental encoun- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 65 

ters, wliich, in my melancholy mood, it was not 
surprizing that it should produce. 

The day I arrived in Venice, as I was standing 
up to get out of my gondola, it swayed ; and I 
caught the arm of a person in the boat adjoining, 
to steady myself. There was a cry instantly, 
which, at the moment, I did not understand. 
Being ignorant, as a stranger, of the flag and 
the costume of the gondoliers in the Lazaretto 
boats, I had accidentally touched one ; and, as 
the quarantine laws in Venice were most strictly 
observed, I had to pay the penance of my in- 
caution by a confinement of twenty days in the 
Lazaretto. There were two travellers in the 
building, into whose company I was thus un- 
avoidably introduced. The one wore the tur- 
ban, the beard, and the oriental robe ; and spoke 
in rapture of the Mahometan and the Arab. 
He had traversed the Holy Land, Egypt, Ar- 
menia, Persia, and Arabia. The morals, the 
virtue, the hospitality of the Arab were his con- 
stant themes. The simplicity, the reserve, the 
seclusion of an Eastern manner of life, he pro- 
nounced alike dignified and rational. He 

VOL. II. F 



66 STORY OF A LIFE 

should return, he said, and pass his life in the: 
East, where he might be solitary, and unques- 
tioned ; where he might live, and clothe him- 
self after the manner of the most ancient among: 
mankind. 

It was in vain I related the hardships of my 
captivity in Algiers, and the scenes I had wit-;^ 
nessed there. He denied that. the Moor of 
Africa resembled the Mahometan of Asia Minor, 
and contended that their treatment of the cap- 
tive was only imitated from the cruel example 
of Genoa and Venice. He appealed to me, how- 
ever, as to many customs even there ; and askedj^ 
if, to the reflective and contemplative life of a 
thinking being, the silence and seclusion of 
the haram and the garden were not congenial. 
Nothing was more mistaken, than supposing that 
all the hours of seclusion in the haram were de- 
voted to idleness and dalliance. It was in such sa- 
cred retreats that the Arabian sages, the glory of 
Cordova and Grenada, had penned their noblest; 
works. He contended that the better Mahome- 
tans were enlightened Deists ; that their wor- 
ship, and their lives, corresponded, in all things. 



STORY or A LIFE. ifff 

with the patriarchs and the prophets. He 
praised them as far before the Christians of any 
sect ; — but at the same time, he spoke with such 
an admiration of all virtue, and of all virtuous 
characters and modes of life, that he irresistibly 
caught my attention, and made a deep impres- 
sion on me. He slept upon the ground ; he 
drank only of pure water; he partook of nothing 
but plain boiled rice ; his only luxury being the 
long Turkish pipe, and the cup of the strong 
coffee of Mocha. 

A something in the consistent self-denial 
of his life, and in the quiet self-government of 
all his actions, increased and strengthened my 
prepossessions in his favour. 

The other was a younger man, in European 
dress, who had traversed the East rapidly — had 
looked only on the surface of things, — but 
seemed to have formed very different notions, 
and to listen with anxiety to representations he 
felt to be erroneous ; but which it were difficult 
for him, with very slender knowledge, con- 
fidently to correct. He observed my eagerness, 
my aspect of unhappiness, and my readiness to 
F 2 



68 STORY OF A LIFE. 

catch at any thing which offered a diversion to 
painful thought, and gave prospect of a new, 
exciting, and unaccustomed mode of life. 

As we sat together one evening on the steps, 
which led down to the water, when all was 
mellow and soft at the sun-set hour, he thus 
addressed me — " You are unhappy. A some- 
thing weighs upon your spirits. A something 
sits heavy at your heart. Recollect, that go 
where you will, that sorrow will still bear you 
company. Your heart will ache whatever vest 
may cover it; and whether the sun rise and 
set on you in Arabia or in Italy, it will shine 
on the same miserable being that it now so 
gently looks upon, as it sinks to its glorious 
rest. 

"I say not, that if you go forth in a proper 
spirit of contemplation, your danger or your dis- 
appointment will be great. No; such a spirit 
is balmy to the wounded heart ; and gives life, 
and health, and strength, to the weak and de- 
caying mind. 

" I myself have gazed upon the sad scenery of 
the Arabian desert, with a solemnity of feeling 



STORY OF A LIFE. 69 

no language could depict ; no description could, 
impart ; a feeling, the very sublime of melan- 
choly. It does not depress ; it awakens, it ele- 
vates, it inspires. You complain of being alone 
in the world ; thousands are so. There is at 
times a darkness on your brow, which speaks 
of hidden things I would not know ; — but re- 
collect, I pray you, that guilt has no stain 
which the fountain of mercy cannot wash away. 
Perhaps you are only a man of sorrow, with a 
broken heart; the early promise of your life 
has fled you ; you have failed in some noble 
aim, some high pursuit ; or you have loved in. 
vain. Whatever be the cause of your depres- 
sion, I can feel for you. I am myself a solitary 
and almost a sad man. True, you have seen me 
smile and gaily pledge you ; have heard me 
talk with life and animation ; but the habit of 
my soul is lonely, mourning, meditative. To 
me, musing is no idle relaxation ; it is my life ; 
and I have so taught myself to sweeten solitude 
by thought, and have so struggled, with heaven's 
kind aid, to guide those thoughts to the praise 
of God, the love of man, and the peace of my 
F 3 



70 STORY OF A LIFE. 

own soul, that I will tell you of my past and 
present life, as much as may woo you to a 
smile and sooth you. 

The Mtisers Tale. 

•' Wisely, most wisely has it been said, that 
the sport of musing is the waste of life. The 
happy consciousness of being useful in his gene- 
ration, the high reward of after praise, of the 
cherished memory, and the venerated tomb, 
were never yet granted to that man who turned 
aside from the labour of thought, to dally with 
a dreaming fancy. 

** There is no more bitter consideration that 
now presses on me, than the gloomy conscious- 
ness that I was born with a mind which I have 
neglected to improve, and the powers of which I 
have expended in the selfish and unproductive 
pleasure of silent thought. You may smile at 
a regret, the utterance of which seems prompted 
by a vain estimate of fancied capacity. There 
is an ancient proverb, which says, ' If every one 
would mend one, the whole world would be 
better.' The connection between mental power 



STORY OF A LIFE. 71 

and moral influence is known, and undisputed* 
— Picture to yourself what our earth would be, 
if all minds were cultivated to their utmost, and 
if, on every side, there were the abashing eye of 
wisdom, the persuasive voice of truth, and the 
grave frown of virtuous power to operate as 
moral checks upon mankind. I look not, how- 
ever, to what I might Jiave been, but to what I 
am. I cannot act as pilot in the sea of life ; but I 
can still wave my little pennant from the shoal, 
where I am stranded ; and, until the breaking 
surf overwhelms my frail bark, my warniog 
shout shall be heard above its sullen roar. 

I turn, and gladly, to a lighter vein. I will not 
detail the trifling though not inconsequent events 
of my early childhood. I was little more than 
eight years of age whan I first began to build 
my airy castles. I went to a little grammar 

. school in the town of , as a day scholar. 

i/Here the Latin usher always patted me on the 

'head for my eager and willing attention, while 

the writing-master beat about my poor little 

knuckles with his ruler, sponged out my bad 

summing, and awkward figures, and gave up all 

F 4 



72 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Jiope of exhibiting a fair copy-book of mine, or 
of teaching me to mend a pen, with frowning 
vexation. As a natural consequence, I hated all 
copy-books, and slates, and found even the dry 
rules of syntax, which I could easily commit to 
memory, delightful. I often staid away from 
school on the writing and ciphering mornings, 
and would prance about^distant fields on a stick 
alone. Here it was that to keep my faults and my 
punishment out of sight, I first began to think, 
Mother Bunch and the wishing cap of Fortu- 
natus assisting me. An elder brother had once 
asked a holiday for me ; I afterwards, several 
times, made his name an excuse to my master, 
which was always readily admitted. At length 
the master detected me playing truant; my 
father and mother had been always most ten- 
derly indulgent to me; I knew, and then shared, 
and do, to this hour, their abhorrence of a lie. 
How great must have been the irksomeness, 
how goading the vexation, of the hated task 
which I sought to evade at that early age, by a 
deception ! The disgrace seemed to me greater 
than it was possible to bear, — to look my fa- 
ther and mother in the^ face, a something I 



STORY OF A LIFE. 73 

could never do again. I ran away, not only 
from school, but from home. With shame — 
with fear — with a heavy, but yet a hopeful 
heart I went off, at six o'clock, one fine summer 
morning, and ingeniously contrived to make a 
detour of fourteen miles, and find myself, after 
the mighty exertion, at a small town only seven 
miles from my home. I can remember, as it 
were yesterday, the kind of awful fear which 
beat in my little bosom, as, in the course of my 
wanderings that morning, I came out upon a 
wide .lonely common. The exploring traveller, 
remote and unfriended amid the desert solitudes 
of Africa, never felt his heart sink with heavier 
terror, or conquered that feeling w ith a vaster 
effort of resolution. I was a pretty, clean-dressed 
child ; but it was foot-sore and dusty, penniless 

and hungry, that I stood in the streets of , 

in the middle of the day — what do ? — I* saw 
die sign of a large white horse dangling in the 
wind, I went timidly into the yard, and asked 
an ostler if he would give me work — said I was 
young, and willing to learn. But, in truth, a 
horse was an animal I hud never touched. 



74 STORY OF A LIl-E. 

(for my father was old ; had left off' riding ; and 
laid down his horses). I trembled, therefore, at 
the clatter of their iron hoofs, as they stood 
cleaning in the yard, and when the large stable 
dogs came smelling about me, I tm*ned red; — 
the ostler gave me a sort of wondering smile, 
and pointed to a big man, his master. By this 
portly personage I was good temperedly but 
pressingly cross-examined — so closely, indeed, 
— that out came the whole truth, told, I re- 
member, confidingly, as if I had met with one 
who would engage me, befriend me, and keep 
my secret. He took me into the bar, and gave 
me a dinner with himself and his wife, — a kind, 
handsome woman, who filled my plate, mother- 
like, and scolded me with those looks and 
tones that attach and win us. 

" It may be supposed, that a message had 
been immediately dispatched to my home. The 
arrival of a post-chaise, and the well-known 
livery, announced to me my fate. I was carried 
home, got out of the chaise red and blubbering, 
was questioned, talked to, kissed, forgiven, and 
sent to bed. The next morning I was taken, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 75 

in my father's hand, which trembled, I re- 
member, excessively, to the pedagogue. There 
was a little speechifying between them, of which 
I heard no more than does the culprit, at the 
drop, of priest, or executioner. The door 
closed behind my affectionate, nervous father, 
and I immediately received twenty-five lashes 
with a new birch rod. I could not sit on my 
little rump for a fortnight ; but I thought little 
of what I had suffered from my flogging, when 
I learned that I was to be sent to a boarding- 
school, in a cathedral city, twenty miles from 
home. The year I passed there was among the 
brightest of my young existence. The master 
was a clergyman, and the classical improve- 
ment of his boys his pride. I was always at the 
head of my class — I had property too — my 
little weekly rent of pocket-money. I made 
young friendships, ran about, played, slept 
sound, and was never flogged ; but, to this year, 
I may trace back the sowing of many weeds, 
which, although I have gathered from them 
flowers of some beauty and some perfume, did 
yet entirely choke all healthier growth in a 



76 STORY OF A LIFE. 

mind of some fertility. All the boys were taken 
once during the season to a play. This enter- 
tainment so delighted and captivated me, that 1 
could think of no higher enjoyment. I wrote 
home, and obtained leave, kindly but incon- 
siderately granted, to go as often to the theatre 
as the master might approve, provided I kept at 
the head of my class. With such a stimulus I 
was always senior, and every week, therefore, I 
was permitted to witness a performance. There 
was one trumpery melo-drama which greatly 
caught my fancy, and of which I never tired — 
banditti, and benighted travellers — a forest 
hut- — a broken ladder — a lone sleeping cham- 
ber — a blood-stained pillow — the ghost of a 
bleeding nun — an attempted murder; and a 
kindly rescue by the sweet cunning of a pretty, 
tender, peasant girl. 

" There was a strange wild spot, I remem- 
ber, to which we used to walk on half-holidays, 
and where we used to play. The Castle Hill, 
they called it ; an old, bushy, uneven knoll, 
with the remains of walls, and passages, and a 
ditch. Here, the elected manager, I marshalled 



STORY or A LIFE. 77 

my little playfellows ; and we acted not one, 
but a hundred different things ; spouting ex- 
tempore : fighting with wooden swords, &c. &c. 
— to be sure, now and then, some of the 
stronger, and less intellectual boys would come 
and throw stones at us, and charge us, and roll us 
down the banks, but, upon the whole, I was a 
great favourite even with them. I gave of every 
thing I had freely ; I helped the more stupid ; 
and as I used to get story books, such as the 
abridgements of romances, and Arabian tales, and 
plays, why, I was listened to, and sought after, 
and gathered little dark groupes round the one 
candle at which I read, or leaned down with a 
little fond friend on either side looking over 
me. I used to be taken also to all the monthly 
concerts in that city, by some kind friends of 
my family, and learned to love sweet sounds. 
" I must hasten to the end of this happy year ; 
telling nothing about our pastry-cook, our 
roll shop ; the spectacled and wig-wearing 
barber, that lived opposite to us ; or the lame 
raven, said to be a hundred years old, and 



78 STOKY OF A LIFE. 

which, at my early age, was to me an object of 
strange and fanciful veneration. 

" The remembered details of this year would 
make a volume, tiresome enough, though not 
to me. 

" The scene was now to change. I was 
taken to a public school, a little candidate for 
the dignity of a black gown and a white sur- 
plice, and the band, the proud band ! • 

" My heart rose to my very throat, as F 
wound my way up the stone stair-case to the 
election chamber, and found myself standing 
before six black-robed, grave men ; and was 
interrogated with grave hems, by a kind and 
reverend old warden, and asked if I could sing ; 
and answered with a stammering effort at har- 
mony, * All people that on earth do dwell, 
sing,' and was smiled upon, and bid go down 
again. 

" What a day that was to me ! The awful 
form gone through, my examination, as it was 
called, over; I had nothing to do but to won- 
der and enjoy. The arched gateways, the 
stone quadrangle, the tall buttresses of the 



STORY OF A LITE. 79 

stately chapel, the grated windows of the cham- 
bers, the crowding ascent up the lofty steps to 
the high hall, the many tables, long, and nar- 
row, and white; the solemn silence, the parent- 
guests, the gowned-boys, the servitors, all 
standing reverent, and the deeply chanted 
grace ; how well I remember it — and then, 
the busy bustle of the feasting boys, the rows 
of shining-crusted pies ; and the full portions of 
some dainty sent down from the great guest ta- 
ble, with the kind wink of the kind old fellow, 
watching it ; and the bright eye of the receiving 
boy laughing out his thanks ; and the good 
tempered servitor delivering it with a chuckle, 
and the indulgent under master, who walked 
the hall, turning his head away. 
. " Then, between the courses, the lesson read, 
and after, the sweet dish of ancient times, the 
stuckling — all this in a vast hall, with saw-dust 
covered floor ; and trenchers on the tables, and 
the beer in stiff black leathern jacks, and a 
chained tub for broken meats sent always to the 
poor, or to the captive ! Yes, it was a very 
happy day ! Some young college boys ran down 



80 STORY OF A LIFE. 

with me that sunny evenmg, and showed me 
the prison meadow, and the chalky ball court, 
and the school-room, with its master's throne- 
like chair, and the strange tablet on the wall, 
with the painted admonition ; the inkstand, and 
the sword beneath, and below again the rod — 
learning, or war, or stripes. 

" It was a dull, dark evening, when, after the 
vacation, all the boys assembled within the col- 
lege walls from their widely scattered homes. 
Heavily closed the ponderous gate upon us, and 
heavily tolled out the Cathedral bell. In truth, 
had I not been supported by a sense of pride 
and manliness, the year that followed would have 
sickened me. I was put into a class, all the 
business of which I could already do ; neverthe- 
less I was abundantly flogged (that was how- 
ever but form) : my trials were out of school. 
I was a severely beaten fag ; a little faggot- 
lighting, shoe-polishing, bason-cleaning, towel- 
drying, bread-toasting, chocolate-making, gai- 
ter-buttoning varlet. 

" For study, or for play, I could never com- 
mand an hour. I had always to watch some- 



STORY OF A LITE. 81 

thing ; and many a long, cold, wintry hour 
have I passed, leaning against the iron-cased 
gate, to give warniog of ttie master's coming- 
step. What wonder if, with a full fancy, I 
learned to muse, and make a little wai'm para- 
dise within me ? I did so, and it grew on 
me. Still after my year of juniorship, that sea- 
son of frequent blows and hurried hungriness, 
still the sickly taste clung closely to me. 

" About this time my father fell very ill ; and 
long remained so. The last, the least, the most 
indulged of all his children, the only little one, 
when all the rest were grown up, I loved him 
very tenderly. The misfortune shook my little 
heart. I mourned, and mused upon him much. 

** Melancholy, and conscious that I was a very 
weak child, timid, too, from a saddened and 
broken spirit, I loved and sought all quietude — 
all solitary places. Never, unless compelled, did 
I join in the brave foot-ball play ; no active skill 
had I at fives, or cricket, or bold leapings, and 
bolder climbings. I looked on at all these 
things, wistfully, admiringly, and always with 
enjoyment, if none pained me by reproach or 

VOL. II. G 



82 STORY OF A LIFE. 

taunt. Few did so ; the happier and stronger 
of my class-fellows, were fond and kind — they 
raised my broken spirit. One only battle I 
ever fought among them : it was with a bigger, 
hardier boy. He beat me soundly, and liked 
me ever after. 

** The solitary walk round the mead, the lone 
stroll upon the hill with its black tuft of firs, or 
the saunter by the river side, and up the double 
arbour-filled hedge — the lying in the long 
grass — sitting under the tree — sunning in the 
ball-court corner, and reading any thing, every 
thing that cost no trouble — all well-learned 
passages perused, and reperused, and spouted 
to myself — these were my pleasures 1 Thus 
I fed my imagination with beauties only, and, 
like a fool, I made myself a colouring glass of 
rich and Claude-like tints, through which to 
look at this our world of trial. I found the 
business of the school easy. Some happy four of 
us would learn together ; one read the text ; 
one dug the lexicon — (I, never) ; one plainly 
construed ; and I, when they shewed me the 
roots of those glorious compound epithets, gave 



STORY OF A LIFE. BS 

richer and stronger English. Thus happily I 
idled on. 

** I liked my masters ; one especially ; — and 
before I was myself a senior, my youthful tutor 
— as for this last, the most gifted youth in that 
young world — his countenance was a sun to me. 
Manly and active in his own habits, he was yet 
most considerate for the weakly and the quiet. 
It was rare to give any boys leave out of bounds, 
who did not join in the badger hunts, and all 
stronger and social exercises. I remember his 
calling me — (aye, the very spot, and time 
of the day, and aspect of the hill and the hea- 
vens), and bidding me always use his name ; and 
that, with a kind tone, and a countenance that 
beamed out benevolent beauty. I always loved 
him, wept when he left the school, and after 
when we met as men ; to this hour, I think of 
him with a swelling and a grateful heart. 

^* But time wore on, and I mingled, though 
not sixteen, with things above the school-boy ; 
felt the love of country ; read all the speeches 
of our statesmen ; talked politics, and procured 
new works. One I remember, that banished 
G 2 



84 STORY OF A LIFE. 

all classics for weeks — itself a classic — a me- 
trical romaunt ; the lay of an aged minstrel. 
I could say it all by heart, and see it all ; each 
spot, each personage ; and, more, — could hear 
each wild and warlike sound. 

" At this time I passed a vacation which gave 
a strong impulse to my choice of life, in a small 
and romantic circle of war-like foreigners, — 
Swiss, exiled from their troubled homes, and 
serving England with their swords. 

*' They were kind to me; I saw them at 
all times. To me their hidden, honourable 
economy lay open. I was an acute boy, and 
saw it clearly ; I was a feeling youth, and I 
venerated them. I recollect the small, and 
struggling fires; the close-buttoned, worn, 
great coat ; the drawings of their loved moun- 
tains hung around; the flute, the violin, the 
mathematical instruments, the out-spread 
maps and plans, the speaking with each other 
of battles long past, and lost, but bravely 
fought; and the frequent, sighing mention of 
their distant country; — and then the changing 
of their spirits ; the lively song, the light 



STORY OF A LIFE. 85 

waltz, the masks, the foils and warming stamps ; 
and, at night, their glittering garbs, and cheer- 
ful smiles, at the concert or the dance ; and the 
love that women seemed to bear them. 

*' Now was it that I wanted freedom, and an 
ushering into life — and glory, glory was my 
idol. In a feeble frame the heart beat warm. 
I looked up at the painted tablet. ' Open your 
lexicon,* said the inkstand; ' Come,' said the 
naked sword, ' come to the battle-plain and the 
moimtain.' As I read the minstrel's lay I had 
revelled, in imaginary pride, on barbed steeds, 
and felt harnessed in a heavy panoply of 
polished steel, and gratified my fancy with 
what I knew to be an impossible, an unattain- 
able enjoyment. Now I blessed that change 
in warfare which I had then despised; blessed 
it because I knew that in the death-shower 
of modern battle, the weak might stand among, 
— aye, and before the strong ; that to a high 
mind and a hot spirit, the soldiers, all brave 
and brawny as they may be, will point with a 
loving and confiding pride, though cased per- 
chance in a weaker frame. 
G 3 



86 STORY OF A LIFE. 

" Well, I followed the visionary good, and 
threw away the inkstand, and buckled on the 
sword. Let me not call it visionary ; I have 
lived, and reaped my little harvest of grasped 
hands and pledged cups, and the rough soldier^s 
rewarding smile ; but the high glory of renown 
and rank has fled my fooled, ambitious hopes ; 
and the calm comforts, which grow up beautifully 
in private life out of young, requited love, and 
early wedlock — the husband's happiness, the 
rising race — all have fled far away. I che- 
rished such golden visions once — when I was 
young, quite young ; but I do not now. 

" 1 love to be alone. The dull detail of a 
mere parade life yields me no pleasure. I think 
of the forest bivouac, the tented plain, the ban- 
nered array of battle. I sit at the crowded 
board ; I look for the features, and listen for 
the voices, of the distant and the dead. 

"*' The cup is filled high on the proud anni- 
versary, and in silence we drink to the memory 
of the slain ; and a pause succeeds — short — 
and then again the jest or song — and this is 
fame! for those who bloomed and smiled 



STORY OF A LIFE. 87 

among us, who fought by our sides, and whom 
we saw pant with the death-thirst, and perish in 
their warm gore ! Well, it does not do to think 
too deeply of such matters : — 'A merry 
heart is a continual feast:* — I would I had one. 
" But I have something learned which soothes 
me, cheats me of my care, peoples my soli- 
tude with airy forms, and soft young voices of 
other days. Many countries have I visited, 
and many scenes distant, and far removed by 
space, I can call up at will. They come like 
those shown in the old enchanter's glass. I 
gaze, and am beguiled. 

" Musing, it is true, can only be called a 
sport ; yet it is an art. By it we may warm our- 
selves to the deepest gratitude for every bless- 
ing, and feel our bliss enhanced. We may fan 
the faint spark of charity and love into such 
flames as cheer the cold, lone bosom ; and stir 
the benevolence of our nature to look out far, 
and lovingly, from our solitude, on all mankind. 
" Wherever we turn, there is food for this 
innocent indulgence of the fancy. When I 
have walked the streets of the great capital of 
G 4 



88 STORY OF A LIFE. 

my native country mid fog and sleet, I 
have found it in the orange vended on the 
stall, the cocoa nut by its side, and — perhaps, 
shivering at a corner — the African beggar, who 
was born among these sunny things ; gathered, 
for aught we know, some luscious fruits we may 
have eaten, long years ago, at cheerful tables; or 
sailed home with them in storms, and watched 
while we were sleeping in warm beds. 

" Again, in the brilliant circle of the drawing- 
room; — the gem that sparkles, set in gold, upon 
white bosoms, — a thing that was dug for by 
dusky men deep in the caverned earth, who 
shall say when? who where ? worn by how 
many ? in what ages ? in what countries ? — the 
muslins, too, woven by Indian maids ; and the 
carved fan, on which the quaint Chinese may 
have bestowed long days of ancient labour; and 
the huge elephant, that was hunted in some 
shady forest by bold and naked men, to yield 
the fair material — I love such idle thoughts ; 
and love to muse upon the social fabric and its 
blessings — and on wonder-working commerce ; 
how every petty coin we spend spreads among 



STORY OF A LIFE* 89 

our fellow creatures, builds cottages, and peo- 
ples them with singing industry ; to follow the 
trifling gift, too, which aids the village school, 
which puts the bible on the parent's shelf, to 
register the births and names of their young 
offspring, to note down their wanderings, set- 
tlings, or deaths, in the blank leaf before the 
sacred page, in which they read about God's 
love, care, and mercy, and go confidingly to 
sleep on Saturday nights, and bless him for the 
Sabbath rest of the expected morrow. Such 
thoughts I love and cherish. 

" Yet often do I weep to think upon my use- 
less life. How little can I benefit my fellows ! I 
burst, half educated, into the world without one 
ray of science. I was never taught to trace the 
bright courses of the glorious stars. I was 
never taught to know, at a grateful glance, each 
wondrous animal that walks the earth, or swims 
in the wide, deep sea; each proud, or pretty 
thing, that soars, or flutters in the buoyant air; 
each tall aspiring tree, or tender plant, that 
spreads a shadow, or that bears a flower; nor 



90 STORY OF A LIFE. 

all those various herbs that yield us food, and 
the many green sweet grasses for cattle. Little 
I know of the many treasures of the mine, of 
the varied strata of the wondrous earth, of the 
noble secrets of the husbandman, of the mighty 
powers of the chemist. I look at the little 
sailor lad as he takes his lunars ; at the architect 
as he designs the bold and solid bridge, or 
rears the lofty cupola ; on the machinist, who 
lightens labour; the informed mechanic; the 
very cotter who reclaims one barren acre, and 
gives increasing means to the increasing wants of 
his fellow creatures ; — on each and all these I 
look with a respect, a regard, and a generous 
permitted envy. I am too old fully to school 
myself in any of these matters for more than 
a moral pastime. I must live and die the useless 
thing I am ; help the old beggar ; smile upon 
the young ; and walk this world lovingly, though 
lonely; thankfully, though sad; lift my bold 
eye to a higher and a better; and pray always 
for that guiding Spirit, which writes in charac- 
ters of light the will and the mercy of that God 



I 



STORY OF A LIFE. 91 

who rules, redeems — who knows, and therefore 
pities man. 

" Though grovelling I appear 
Upon the ground, and have a rooting here 
Which hales me downwards, yet, in my desire. 
To that which is above me, I aspire 
And all my best affections I profess 
To Him that is the Sun of Righteousness. " 

" Not altogether will this mourning confession 
of a wasted life be without its use, if it 
prompts you to a worthier course. A younger 
light sparkles in your eye ; a younger strength 
swells in your manly limb. It ill befits you 
to recline upon the couch of pleasure; or to 
moulder in a gloomy cell, or to wander about 
the world without object or end : arouse your- 
self! — to needful arts, to honest actions, to 
holy study, or arms — the arms of patriot 
warriors — give up your span of being. So shall 
you taste of sleep and peace, of fame and high 
reward. Above all things, clasp close to your 
bosom the faith of the Christian ; bind it 
about thee, walk with it, lie down with it, talk 



92 STOKY OF A LIFE. 

with it. So in the hours of toil, of pain, of 
peril, you shall not be alone ; you shall be 
guided, upheld, comforted. You wonder that 
a thing like rae should offer counsel ; that a 
dreamy child of fancy should reprove the idle 
and the murmurer. Yet take it of me : it is 
good, as that of wiser men ; for it is the fruit, 
the bitter fruit, of sad experience." 



It was dark night when he closed his tale. 
I could not see his features, but from his tone I 
thought he wept. I asked him "Had he friends?" 

" Dear ones." 

" Had he ever loved ?" 

" Love is a sacred thing — do you think, 
stranger, that I have laughed and shed tears, 
like other men, and lived till gray hairs are 
mingling with these brown locks, and never 
loved?" 

" What, then, is it you fear for me ; where- 
fore have you thus opened out your heart — 
surely travel is innocent, is profitable." 

" I fear to see you caught by every wind of 



STORY OF A LIFE. 93 

man's poor breath. As you listened to the old 
traveller within, I could see the kindling of 
your affections, easily impressible. Cameleon- 
like, you take the colour of the moment. I 
tell you, that, if you wander in search of truth, 
you will not find it; in search of happiness, 
it will fly from you. Within, look steadily 
within, and up to the high heaven with prayer; 
— a dove shall visit you." 

We were released on the following day from 
our confinement, and the strange muser left 
Venice instantly for his native country. The 
elder companion remained behind, and for some 
weeks I was almost constantly in his society. 
He was an even-minded amiable man. At times, 
indeed, I thought I could discover a tone of 
pride in his discourse — as if the world was 
stumblino: on in darkness, and he one of 
the philosophic few who walked above it. It 
is evident to me, as I look back upon him, 
that he was one of those deluded men, who, 
kindling their own fire, and compassing them- 
selves about with sparks, walk with- a proud 



94 STORY OF A LIFE. 

complacency in its light, till they lie down in 
sorrow. 

Such, however, was not my feeling at the 
moment. I listened to him with dehght; his 
cultivated taste, his well stored memory, his 
exhaustless anecdotes, his descriptions of all 
that seemed rich and magical in eastern climes, 
fired me with an eager desire to go and dwell 
among the people and the scenes he so fairly 
pictured. We soon learn to regard the nature 
of our temptations, and the peculiarity of our 
situation, as such that none but ourselves can 
understand, or make allowance for; we soon 
learn to dismiss those subjects that give us 
pain. My birth-right had been sold — my loves 
had withered. I was an alien, an exile, an 
outcast, — any change of scene or life which 
should bury the memory of these things, was 
welcome. 

On the same day, on which this chance-com- 
panion parted from me, I embarked on board a 
vessel for Alexandria. Nor did I forget the poor 
Neapolitan sailors who had been captured with 
me by the Corsairs ; I left directions with my 



STORY or A LIFE. 95 

banker to ransom them. He gave me letters, 
instructions, advice ; and promised me, that we 
should meet again, as soon as ever the ne- 
cessary arrangement of his affairs would allow 
him to return to the city of Cairo. 

There is no finer restorative for the languid 
mind than the pure wind of heaven, as it blows 
freshly over the white breaking crests of the 
blue waves, and fills the swelling sail, and drives 
you laughing onwards to the wished-for haven. 
It seemed, for a time, as if I had left my cares, 
my sorrows, my disappointments all behind me, 
chambered among dark city dwellings. Never 
was a voyage more swift and prosperous than 
that which bore us to Alexandria. 

The mountain, the cliff, the chapel on the 
rock, are the common objects for the seaman*s 
land-mark ; and hues of black, and slaty blue, 
and a red-brown, first meet the sight of home- 
returning men, or eager travellers. It is a long 
pale line of faintish yellow on which your eye 
first rests in Egypt. Down as you bear, a 
slender thing rises, as it were, out of nothing — 
" La colonna" is the glad shout : — the pillar of 



96 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Pompey is before you. And now the citadel," 
and now the white city, and the palm trees ; and. 
now the mole ; the Pharos, and tall masts 
beyond ; — and boats come out with turbaned 
pilots, bearded, swart, and bare-necked. I 
was no captive here; — a free, a fearless, a de- 
lighted gazer ; a man of wealth, with purse, 
and servants, and plans of pleasure. 

My welcome was cordial at a wealthy mer- 
chant's. He was young, luxurious, voluptu- 
ous ; had indolently sunk into all eastern cus- 
toms. His conversation was all about the 
Arab and his tales, the seraglio and its se- 
crets, the brave Mamelukes, and their fiery 
steeds. How soon, how very soon, cameleon- 
like, as the muser had called me, I yielded to 
the influence of all the seductive colouring he 
threw" upon eastern life. 

As he enjoyed high favour with the Beys, 
especially with the governor of Alexandria, he 
had been allowed the use of horses for him- 
self and his own friends. Coursers of Arab 
breed, gentle, that nuzzled playfully the touch- 
ing hand, were led out for us ; creatures that 



STORY OF A LIFE. 97 

stood, like dogs, with quiet eyes ; but mounted, 
you scarce had known them, as they pawed, 
and snorted eager, and swished the long tail of 
pride, and tossed the streaming mane, and flew 
•with fiery eye and outstretched neck before the 
loosened rein. 

Encamped upon the sandy desert, we passed 
a body of those Mamelukes ; and paused to see 
the jereed play. I felt my heart leap with a 
new joy : their gorgeous robes of white^ 
and crimson ; and the rich harness of their 
steeds ; all in a bright caparison of velvet hous- 
ings, glittering wi^h embroidery of gold; and 
their arms, the curving blades of the crescented 
Saracen ; and the shouts — Arabic. 

My companion was known to them, and 
greeted; and when their course was done, invited 
to dismount ; it was a green pavillion that we 
entered, and sat on silken cushions ; and 
coffee was brought, and pipes, and iced sher- 
bets ; and they asked me of my country ; and 
their black eyes flashed bright and intelligent 
upon me; and, from under the proud mousta- 
chio, shone the white, and firm set teeth of 

VOL. II. H 



98 STORY OF A LIFE. 

powerful and handsome warriors. Their ques- 
tions were of our horses — our arms — our modes 
of fighting — of our slaves — our women — and, 
with smiles of pride, they looked at each other, 
and spoke more rapidly together, as they learned 
that we had no haram, — that women walked 
unveiled among us, and that free men did the 
work of slaves. 

Among these Mamelukes there was one, 
youthful, with large fair eyes, and lighter hair 
upon his upper lip curling on it, and giving 
beauty instead of fierceness ; he sat with an 
eager observing air — listened, and smiled as if 
he would like to know me better. Malek was 
his name. 

A direction so entirely new, and so absorb- 
ing, had been given to my fancy that day, that, 
when I returned with the merchant to his 
evening repast, I supped cheerfully, and drank 
freely of his Greek wine, and devouringly lis- 
tened to all his amusing tales. On the following 
day I engaged a house near his; in a little 
walled garden plot, upon the ruined site of the 
old city. I procured the robe, and turban, and 



STORY OF A LIFE. 99 

the slipper of the Turk. I purchased horses 
and arms ; every thing on my establishment 
was now strictly after the fashion of the Ma- 
hometan. I gave myself up, heart and soul, to 
acquire a knowledge of their history in all its 
wild romance, and magical attractions — new 
images, new feelings, new thoughts, new enjoy- 
ments, new hopes opened upon me. — It seem- 
ed as if I had cast off the mourning, melancholy, 
conscience-stricken character, as the serpent 
does his dull, discoloured, wintry skin. 

I was lavish in my expenditure ; my admira- 
tion of the Mahometan was flattering even to 
his haughty soul, and they came to visit me ; — 
lounged, and laughed — forgot their grave taci- 
turnity in replying to my eager questionings ; 
and sat wondering at an enthusiasm, at which 
they could smile, although they could not un- 
derstand it. My object was to pour out all my 
energies of mind — all my tastes — all the ca- 
pabilities of my fancy into a new direction. My 
pursuits became absorbing. Sad and silly as 
all this may sound, it arose from the very ex- 
cess of my sufferings, whenever I looked back 
H 2 



100 STORY OF A LIFE. 

upon the past events of my strange, and fatal 
course ; neither did I sink as the voluptuary — 
no — it was with me far otherwise. The day 
had scarcely dawned ere I was up, and out ; 
away, upon my fleet Arab into the sandy desert. 
The heat of noon was passed, not slumbering 
on a couch, but in a study, chosen, and there- 
fore sweet — delighted in. 

The Schieck of the coiFee-house story tellers 
was my daily visitor. A learned Arab of the 
happy Yemen was my revered instructor. The 
wife of the merchant, my neighbour, was a Greek 
lady of Aleppo. She was skilled and eloquent, 
and passionately fond of all the tales and poetry 
of Arabia — and she had beauty, dark, mind- 
lighted beauty, and I was wont to listen to her 
for hours. 

Malek too, the soft, yet sunny Malek, 
would come flying to me across the sands, at 
eager speed, upon his moon-coloured courser 
" Saladin," — and we rode and played together 
as warriors play, with jereed, and with spear, 
and with strong Tartar bow, and flashing pis- 
tol, and gleamy blade. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 101 

Maiek, too, was of all the Mamalukes the 
mildest, when by your side he sat in sweet, ob* 
serving silence. He would read for me the 
Arab scroll, and tune the kitar, and sing, in 
strains new, wildly new, the love songs of the 
desert. To Malek, moreover, I was an object 
of deep and lively interest ; for, as a youth he 
had been, as he called it, in the Christians' 
land. 

Sometimes when I was busily engaged with 
books and papers, he would come and sit op- 
posite me, and gaze ; and call upon me to for- 
give him. 

" Let me," he would say, " let me only look 
at you. I trouble you, but it makes me happy, 
so happy. I can think better about the Chris- 
tians' land. Sometimes I wish that I had never 
seen it. I had heard that it was a land of gloom, 
and clouds. It was not so. It was green, with 
tall and shady trees, and many waters ; and 
your cities, all chrystal covered houses ; and by 
night, all festival lamps; and beautiful women, 
walking unveiled in your streets; and rosy 
children. 

H 3 



102 STORY OF A LIFE. 

" My master, the Bey, despised these things, 
but I a beardless boy, who had only numbered 
fourteen years, I loved to look upon them — 
and I remember too, your saloons, lighted with 
a thousand colours ; and your soft breathed 
music, and your white bosomed dancing-girls, 
and one, who used to smile upon me, and teach 
me words of her strange language. " Heart," 
and he would press it — " love," and his eyes 
would fill with the light of past-gone joy — and 
he would sigh, and let fall his head upon his 
young bosom. 

He had gone, it seems, in the suite of a 
Bey to France and England, and unlike the 
generality of Mahometans, he had seen all 
things with admiring eyes ; moreover he often 
told me that he w^as captured as a child, and 
had faint images of forms and faces ; of dresses, 
and of looks and sounds like those he saw and 
heard in Europe. 

His love for every thing European was re- 
markable ; he would examine again and again 
every thing I had of European manufacture. 
My books and prints — like a child he would 



STORY OF A LIFE. 103 

turn them o'er and o'er ; and some small name- 
less miniatures, which I had bought in Venice, 
out of charity to a poor artist — he hung over 
them for hours. 

Though youthful, he seemed to be indifferent 
to youthful pleasures. He had a loving heart, 
which the purchased beauty of the harem could 
not satisfy or even soothe. 

He had, too, a feeling of reverence for the 
Christian name. I never saw him spurn the 
meanest of them. From others he concealed 
this sentiment, to me he spoke of it; 
never, sCs one who sought instruction: but 
he told me of a melancholy gentleman, who 
had sailed from England in the same vessel 
with them, and who was one of our holy 
persons, and always read our book, as he 
called the bible, and who used to walk the deck 
alone at nights ; whom he heard dispute once 
with a learned Imam, with a grave and meek 
sweetness ; and who spoke Arabic and Persian, 
as he had never heard any other Christian, and 
who used to talk inquiringly and delightfully to 
H 4 



104 STORY OF A LIFE. 

him about the poems of the east, and the cus- 
toms of his people. 

It may be supposed that I found the young 
and attached Malek a companion to my heart. 
We were much together. My progress in the 
Arabic was rapid; and there was hardly a 
question my mind could frame, but he, or my 
Arab instructor, or the story teller, or the mer- 
chant's lady, would fully answer for me. 

Nothing, perhaps, is more desolately dreary 
in its aspect than the sandy, and barren plain 
around Alexandria. 

Who could look upon it and live, if the chill, 
and gloomy vapours of a northern climate 
frowned above it ? But in Egypt, a sky eter- 
nally serene — an air dry and pure, give 
life and lightness to the spirits and the 
frame. Often 1 went out on long solitary 
rides far from the city walls ; and, though alone, 
I was never, never sad. I had my noble horse 
to talk with, and was answered by a fond, proud 
arching of the crest, as he half turned the 
starred head of beauty; and, when I would rein 
up in the lone plain, the pricked ear of asking 



STORY OF A LIFE. 105 

wonder, and the loud neigh were pleasures to 
me ; and my hand, as I patted the high-lifted 
neck, seemed answered by the pressure of a 
friend. 

This indulgence was not without its dangers, 
as I was often warned, but I know not what of 
romantic fearlessness possessed me. I felt a con- 
fidence, as if I bore a charmed life. The fire, 
the speed, the strength of the glorious animal 
that bore me — his rare colour — black of the 
blackest — the Arabic characters, that, in burnt 
gold, were traced upon my old and curved Da- 
mascus blade, of a temper tried in many a field 
by men of other days — all these things gave to 
me a wild exhilaration of spirit, as if I had 
drunk from some enchanter's cup. 

I was full of notions of high adventure, and 
chivalric encounter. The desert was the birth- 
place of chivalry ; and how sublime the scene 
for the lone combat of turbaned Saracen and 
helmed Knight. 

The rock, shivered, and stained black, as 
though lightnings had rifted it, and falling from 
a fiery heaven, had scorched it — the sand, wide- 



106 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Stretched, sterile — still — one tree to die un- 
der — a solitary tree of thorns — in such a spot 
first I met the wandering Arab. Upon the sky- 
girdled plain, afar, a moving speck rose slow, 
and brave men might have trembled as the 
cloudy thing took form : — Of giant size, a war- 
rior on his steed, with tall lance piercing the 
sky, paused for a moment, and then came ca- 
reering on. The " Salaam aleikum" was ready 
on my lip, but, before I could give it utterance, 
" Revenge and no shame" was the cry I heard; 
and the poised lance, in menace, held aloft, he 
galloped close to me. 

I drew my scimitar, and reined up my steed, 
and rode wide of his course, and watched his 
lance with a quick eye, that I might parry off 
his thrust. 

" Salaam aleikum," he hoarsely uttered, as 
he dropped his lance's point, and drew up his 
bridle, and stood in peace before me. He had 
taken me for a Turk, who had lately shed the 
blood of one of his tribe; but his eyes sparkled 
kind, and his white mouth smiled upon my 
horse. He knew it, its name and race, and how 



STORY OF A LIFE. lOT 

a neighbouring Sheick of a friendly tribe bad sold 
it to Fakih Achmed, of Yemen, for a noble stran- 
ger ; and he asked me to turn to the tents of his 
tribe — and we rode side by side, and he placed 
nie on his left hand. A Sheick he was — a 
shepherd king ; yet his vest was of a coarse blue 
cotton — a small dark turban, and a loose, outer 
haicke of a thick white serge. His face was thin, 
his form was spare ; yet wiry were the starting 
sinews of his bare brown neck ; one of his small 
hands held light the bridle of his lean, clean- 
limbed, and blood-veined mare, and his lighted 
pipe was between the fingers ; his other grasped, 
firm and strong, a lance of prodigious length. 

We had not rode far when I saw the tops of 
a few palms, their fan-like crowns seemed to 
touch the sand ; but, as we passed over the 
little wave-like hill, their tall stems, with ca- 
mels under them, and horses, and black tents, 
and goats, and dogs, and children, formed a 
sweet picture of a desert home ; and women 
stood with urnlike pitchers at the well ; brown 
Arab maids, who threw over their coarse veils, 
at the sight of the coming stranger, and hur- 



108 STORY OF A LIFE. 

ried to their tents. It was the evening hour ; 
I alighted, and they spread a cloth of goat's 
hair beneath a tree, and they gave me the place 
of honour, ahd looked, unwonderingly, unen- 
vyingly on my rich garb, and the adornments of 
my arms, but spoke to and praised my horse ; 
and then they brought dates and cheese, and 
newly baken bread, and a bowl of camel's 
milk, and I ate with them ; and they broke the 
bread, and mixed it with butter and honey, and 
with their hands they served me from their por- 
tions. 

As night fell, I willingly agreed to remain 
with them ; and we all gathered round a fire 
in a circle. The red embers threw a glow upon 
their eager features, and it was with a surprising 
pleasure that I listened to one of those wild 
tales, which, a thousand times repeated, have 
still the power to charm, and to rouse the ima- 
ginative and the kindling Arab. 

In no scene, among no people, is the triumph 
of fiction so complete, as in the sandy solitude 
of the barren desert, and among the rude, and 
wandering Bedouins ; moved by the simple ma- 



STORY OF A LIFE. t69 

gic of the tale, these happy child-like men 
lend themselves to the illusion of romance, with 
all the warmth and sincerity of their natures, 
and seem touched and transformed by the 
wand of the enchanter, at the will of the nar- 
rator. 

As this wild, and dreary-looking groupe with 
unsmiling faces, and coarse sad garbs, drew 
nearer to each other; and shuffled away the 
dust from between their naked feet, and the 
red ashes ; and drew closer round them the 
large haicke, as the night wind came dull over 
the dew-moistened sand ; little was I prepared 
for the animated scene that followed. 

Here was no aid of dazzling lights, and 
painted beauty, and soul-subduing music. 

It was the gloom of night — the stillness of 
a fearful waste, broken only by the shifting 
tread of the horse among his cords, or the slow 
contented sound of the kneeling camel, as with 
closing eye, and nose thrust forward on the 
shoulder of his master, he ruminated over his 
last feed. 

The story-teller was but a common driver of 



110 STORY OF A LIFE. 

the camel, sun-wrinkled, and worn with long 
journeyings in the desert, and he had a hoarse 
husky voice ; but as he spoke — with fixed eye 
and parted lip, the listeners hung intent on 
every word he uttered. 

He painted his young hero as a foundling of the 
tribe of Ad, suckled by a she camel, near a so- 
litary spring; as growing up in the tent of a 
noble sheick, with lustrous eyes, and comely 
cheeks, and raven hair; strong and beautiful as the 
young hart, leaping among the green hills, and 
drinking of the bright water-brooks in Yemen 
the happy — a wielder of the heavy sword ; a 
bender of the mighty bow ; a far caster of the 
javelin; a fierce thruster of the lance. Of his 
loves he told ; of the damsel Zillah, the daugh- 
t-er of that sheick ; straight and graceful in her 
form as the tall and shapely palm, with eyes 
like the soft gazelle, and lips like a crimson 
thread, and smiling teeth like white lambs, as 
they come back even shorn from the washing; 
and with young breasts of beauty round and 
firm like the well grown pomegranates of Egypt, 



STORY OF A LIFE. Ill 

and her maiden step light as the slow and 
prancing amble of the unbacked filly. 

" Praised be God," said the listeners, '' who 
hath made beautiful women;" and their eyes 
glistened, and there was a kind of placid de- 
light, which played about their grave and 
bearded mouths, and from the tents, where 
the concealed women lay, female voices called 
out «« Taib — Taib." (" Good — Good.") 

Then, as the narrator went on to paint a 
vale of waters, and groves of the luscious date^ 
and the shady tamarind, and the proud cedar, 
and orchards of pleasant fruits, and beds of 
beautiful flowers, and the perfume of gardens, 
and the sweet smell of incence, and the sinmni^ 
of birds, and the voice of Zillah, soft as the 
gentle dove — again they interrupted him with 
smiling looks of quiet pleasure, and said " Taib 
— Taib." ("Good— Good.") 

But when he pictured the hero as going forth 
to a life of trial, and drew him as a child of 
bold adventure, with lifted scimitar, and loos- 
ened rein, rushing down brave upon out-num- 
bering foes — they called aloud " Bismillah" 



112 STORY OF A LIFE. 

(in the name of God) for his success. Did the 
enemy beset and entangle him ? Was he 
vainly trying to hew back his gallant way ? 
They would half raise themselves in eager 
sympathy, and grasp the hilts of their swords 
upon their armed thigh. 

At each of his victories they shouted " Praise 
God, the Lord of battles." " Praise God, praise 
the Lord of battles," was again the cry, as the 
tale told of the prey and the spoil ; of the gold 
and the jewels; the damsels, and the black slaves, 
the silken robes, and the fine raiment. 

And their eyes flashed delight as he was 
shown proudly prancing on a white war-horse, 
with a golden saddle, and pearl embroidered 
reins, a favourite of a mighty King, with pur- 
ple robe, and chain of gold, and his rewarded 
love. The procession of the marriage, his 
veiled bride, perfumed and jewelled, smelling 
like precious myrrh, and fragrant spices, and 
radiant as the sun, and the dancing women, and 
the song, and the merry timbrels. When again 
the scene changed, and he was represented as 
decoyed by the Moggrebyn magician into a stony 



STORY OF A LIFE, 110 

wilderness, and fierce and tawny lions of Numi- 
dia, with shaggy manes, and loud roarings, 
came bounding down with eager springings, 
hungry to destroy him — they all started, and 
with a trembling eagerness, cried out aloud — 
" La, la, la, — Istagh fer allah." — (No, no, 
no, — God forbid — That be far from him.) 

And when the good genii saved him, and 
bore him safe to a holy place of white tombs, 
and black cypresses, and he performed his ablu- 
tions in the clear fountain of that sacred garden, 
and spread out his prayer cloth, and fell down, 
and worshipped, and good angels were seen ho- 
vering over him with bright faces and downy 
wings; they would bow the forehead, and touch 
the dust of the desert with their hand, and put 
it to their head, and say, as in thanksgiving, 
" Allah kareem." — ( God is merciful.) 

Again, as, in after trials, he was nearly slain 
by treachery, they frowned, and called for the 
curse of God upon the traitor ; but when, in 
the sequel, which, contrary to their more 
usual hking, the relater made a sad one — 
when he was drawn as heroically defending 

VOL, TI. I 



114 STORY OF A LIFE. 

himself in a lost battle, borne down and 
pierced by the swords and lances of numer- 
ous enemies, surrounding him on every side, and 
shown at the last dying under trampling horses 
— they let fall their heads on their bosoms 
and with sorrow grasped their manly beards, 
and said in deep, low tones, — " May God pity 
him — May he rest in peace." And they were 
silent, and solemn, as though they had heard 
the awful rushing of Azrael's dark wing, and 
seen the cup of the sherbet of death, and felt 
the icy arrow. 

I was delighted as these wonders of our com- 
mon nature were thus powerfully presented to my 
eager mind. I loved those tempests of the soul ; 
the smiling and the weeping of those fierce, 
bearded, armed men ; the brow burning with 
noble anger, the flesh trembling with a cold fear ; 
and the heart melting with a soft tenderness ; 
and all for a mere phantom of the brain — 
a creation of the desert bard — wonderful ! 

O blessed art ! permitted, surely — surely 
smiled upon, by heaven ; an art that spreads 
before the poor wandering child of the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 115 

(lull and desolate desert, green vales, and 
shady trees, and blushing fruits, and bloom- 
ing flowers, — things he must never see ; - — 
that makes soft music to his ear, on silent 
sands, — music of falling waters, and of singing 
birds, — things he must never hear, — that, for 
his sackcloth tent, and haicke dusty and 
coarse, gives him the palace bright with gems 
and white raiment, and garments of glorious 
dye, and golden arms, and silver-hoofed steeds, 
and camels white and winged, with glittering 
saddles: — 

That gives him higher things than these, — 
Hopes, fears, loves, hates, strong sympathies, 
and throbbings of the heart, that wake the im- 
mortal soul ; woo it to think of death, and God, 
and an hereaftei' : — that whisper the rewards 
of faith and virtue — that promise, to fear, and 
love, and patient hope, the succour of high 
heaven, in angel aids, and genii armed with talis- 
mans so holy, that Eblis, and all his sorcerers, 
fly foiled to their cavern depths beneath old 
ocean's bed. 

It was very late : far into the night had this 
I 2 



116 STORY OF A LIFE. 

long tale lasted, with all its trifling details, so 
minutely given, and so eagerly received. 

It was succeeded by a long pause of stillness 
and silence. As yet the Arabs had not risen to 
betake themselves to their tents, but they sat 
in the close circle with their eyes resting on the 
dyinij embers, and white ashes of the exhausted 
camel-dung. The late moon rose red ; a faint 
hue of solemn colouring spread over the white 
sand. The rocks were black, and the tall palms ; 
— and black their mournful and melancholy 
leaves ; — and they rustled moaningly to the 
rising niojht wind — and the black tent walls 
flapped heavily. 

Suddenly one of the Arab horses neighed; 
and, far off* in the darkness, a neigh replied. In 
a moment were these wild children of the rein 
fast in their saddles. I too was about to mount, 
but they forbade me, and only two or three of 
them stole off, at a creeping canter, into the 
gloom, in the direction where the distant sound 
was heard. The rest sat upon their horses, in 
a close-clustering irregular groupe, while their 



STORY OF A LIFE. 117 

tall lances bristled dark above them, like an islet 
clump of lofty reeds on some lonely lake. 

The women, too, came forth from their tents, 
wrapped in thick mantles, and stood near their 
husbands, in inquiring, listening attitudes ; and 
the camels rose disturbed. 

Presently the Sheick himself came speeding 
back. " Stranger," said he, " mount and fol- 
low me." Then he spoke to his people, and 
they got off their horses, and again fixed their 
light tethers, and planted their lances in the 
sand, — and quickly did many of them throw 
themselves down for slumber. A few stood 
around me, and they held the rein and stirrup 
for me, as for one who had eaten of their salt, 
and sat round their fire, and listened with them 
to the tale they loved. 

" It is Malek of the Mamlouks, he of the 
fair hair, and dove eyes, that rides on the moon- 
coloured courser. He seeks thee. He is a friend 
to thee ; and our tribe know the youth, — by 
the beard of the prophet, it is well for you that 
he came not with a company of Spahis. They 
I 3 



118 STORY OF A LIFE. 

have shed blood of our people, and we seek to 
wipe out our shame." 

We now reached the spot, where he had left 
the two posted, whom he had taken out with 
him, and, beyond these some twenty paces, 
a white enveloped figure reined in an eager bit- 
champing snowy steed. He was alone, and the 
moon now shone out silvery on them; and I 
knew Malek and Saladin. " Salaam Alei- 
kum," said the sheick and his fellows, as they 
turned back. As briefly I replied, and a bound 
of my spurred steed brought me to the side of 
my young friend. As I had taught him, we 
grasped the hand. 

He told me that he had been in great alarm, 
and feared that I had been taken by these Arabs 
for a Turkish Spahi, and fallen a victim to 
their stern notions of honourable revenge. 

" I have had dealings," said he, " with the 
tribe, and know them ; therefore I thought it 
best to come first alone, to see if, by some blessed 
chance, you were safe, or if I could explain 
matters, and satisfy them. But they are a very 
wild, fierce tribe ; llieir robberies are most 



STORY OF A LIFE. 119 

daring ; and only a few days since they raised a 
tumult in the very bazaar of the city, and were 
driven out, leaving one of their people slain in 
the streets. 

" Had they however harmed a hair of your 
head, I had provided myself with means to pu- 
nish them." — As he said this, we passed over 
a shadowy sand hill, and, on the little plain 
below, lay a band of horsemen ; some leaning 
with an arm upon the saddle ; some seated on 
the ground ; some reclining with the cheek rest- 
ing on the hand. Bright and many coloured 
were their garments, and they were encumbered 
with arms, and the housings and caparisons 
of their horses stirred a little with faint sluggish 
sounds, as when shaking off the heavy slumber- 
ing — and the light on them was very bright, 
and calm, and peaceful — and these men and 
horses were lying ready for the work of battle 
and blood. 

They rose up as we came near, and slowly 
clambered on to their lofty saddles, and wound 
silently after us, back to the city. 
I 4 



120 STORY OF A LIFE. 



This adventure among the Arabs quite warm- 
ed and strengthened my enthusiasm about all 
eastern manners, and ancient customs; and en- 
gaged in pursuits which I found so delight- 
fully absorbing, my time rolled happily, or ra-^ 
ther easily away. I never thought, I would not 
think, upon the past — the present; I lived but 
for the passing day. By this means I had ac- 
quired a kind of serenity, which produced a 
speedy, and pleasing effect in restoring me to 
the full possession of all bodily health and 
strength; what with exercise and temperance, 
and the luxurious bath, I recovered my lost 
comeliness ; no longer indeed was I youthful, 
but yet in the very prime of manhood, — and it 
was not altogether without pride that I gazed 
on the glass which reflected back my turbaned 
head, and features of a warrior beauty ; and the 
moustachioes long, black and silken ; and the 
lower cheek, and chin, and throat, clean shaven, 
and soft, but with the blue clear show of man- 
liness in the trained shade. Nowhere is the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 121 

skin kept so beautiful, and pure, and free in 
every pore, and clear from every hair-root, as 
in the East : such trifles I should scarcely men- 
tion, but I do it as a prelude to another scene 
in my disastrous life, — ii scene, from which my 
reader may turn in anger, or contempt, or pity, 
according to his nature. 

It was my habit to embrace as many oppor- 
tunities as were offered me of visitin<j in 
the houses of the higher and w-ealthier 
Mahometans ; very few indeed they were, 
for, in general, they were not rich, or dis- 
posed to receive strangers. The short morn- 
ing lounge, the seat on the divan, the pipe, the 
cup of coffee ; or perhaps one game at chess, or 
a chance ride in company; all ended here. 
One merchant, however, there was, a Turk of 
Constantinople, a particular friend of the 
young merchant my neighbour, who was very 
courteous, and social, and had travelled much ; 
and as he was rich, and considered, I was often 
invited to his house in the evening. 

He was anxious to please me, and he would 
often send for some famed story-teller, or, to 
satisfy my curiosity, let the paltry puppet-show 



122 STORY OF A LIFE, 

be exhibited in his apartments, or hire the most 
celebrated dancing girls at that time in Alex- 
andria. On these occasions, not unfrequently 
the exhibitions took place in a large chamber, 
where, from behind a veil of separation, neither 
heard nor seen themselves, the women of his 
faaram were allowed to witness the performance. 
The dialogues of the puppets are, in general, 
very indecent; but, as they are uttered with 
quaintness and laughter, and the whole thing 
has an air of poorness and puerility, however 
we may be surprised that the grave Turk should 
allow his women to listen to the ribaldry, we 
cannot suppose them to excite or influence the 
passions. 

With the dance it is far otherwise : the 
dancing-girls, indeed, are in general gipsies of 
a separate and despised class ; and the yellow 
skin, the coarse person, the face with its blue 
pricked stains, and the greasy hair, together 
with their awkward, and noisy jingling orna- 
ments, have little attraction for the vulgar, even ; 
but, it so chanced that a superior set of these 
girls had been lately brought hither, in the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 123 

suite of a voluptuous Turk, about to make the 
pilgrimage to Mecca. They had never been 
actually a part of his domestic establishment, 
but had been so liberally paid, and encouraged 
for their performances before him, that the 
merchant, who farmed out their talents and 
their charms, brought them to Eg}-pt as a spe- 
culation ; thinking to delight the Beys, and the 
great lords of Cairo, and trusting tahis Turkish 
patron for a favourable word at the palace of 
the Pacha. 

These girls were one evening hired to dance 
at the house of the merchant; and I was pre- 
sent. I was richly clothed, and had a seat on 
the left hand of the master, so that, according 
to custom, in all their songs and dances, — the 
eyes and words, — the movement and gestures, 
were all directed towards me. 

They were three ; their dresses rich ; of a 
flowered transparent gauze ; their fine muslin 
veils upthrown, floated lightly and carelessly 
on their shoulders, — broad gemmed girdles, 
bound close round their slender waists, were 
fastened in front with large round clasps of 



124 STORY OF A LIFE. 

gold ; and, as they moved with slow voluptuous 
grace, each delicate limb was given to the eye, 
— a sight impure ; and their dark braided hair 
lay half concealed beneath the veil, like a 
beautiful and laughing sky of blue beneath a 
light and fleecy vapour ; — and they sung, with 
pleasant voices sung, from the love bards of the 
Persian, and from young Turkish minstrels, 
strains of soft wooing ; and one, a young, fair, 
bright-eyed thing, sung out an improvised de- 
scription of such a lover as she sought, and 
lightly rung the golden bells on her small ancle, 
and waved her willing arms, and smiled in 
winning wantoness on me. I did not, could 
not, frown upon a girl so beautiful, so young, 
and taught to be the thing she was; — but here, 
the thought of broken loves, of her I virtuously 
loved and lost, came o'er my spirit, and, like a 
talisman, it changed the scene ; chilled the 
warm blood, and though it made me wretched, 
kept me pure. My lonely lot — my unblessed 
couch — my childless chamber — I mourned, as 
I thought of these sad things, and hung my 
drooping head. My parents, too, in their graves, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 125 

brought down to them with sorrow before their 
natural hour. I felt the want to go and weep 
alone ; to groan, where none might hear. I 
whispered to my host that I was ill — I gave 
the purse of bounty for the damsels to the old 
matron, who sat playing the tambourine near the 
door : — reproachfully that young one looked on 
me, — unheeding I hurried forth, and home. 

The morninfT ao^ain brought with it that 
routine of exercise and study, to which I had 
so enthusiastically devoted myself. I tried to 
forget the past, and by constant occupation I 
succeeded. 

Not only was Alexandria interesting to me 
as a city of the Mahometan ; here too, as among 
the ruins of ancient Rome, I found abundant 
food for the indulgence of that taste for idle yet 
busy contemplation, which had become ne- 
cessary to conceal or to divert all painful 
thoughts. It was pleasure to me to rein up my 
steed under the shadow of that pillar, which 
stands tall and tower-like without the gates, 
speaking to the eye of the imperishable fame of 
the valiant but luckless Pompey — pleasure to 



126 STORY OF A LIFE. 

me to tread the breezy shore, where the queen 
of beauty and the fool of love, unhelmed and 
happy, had rode in the garlanded and peaceful 
car, frowned on by the old, and envied by the 
young. 

And it was with no common emotion that I 
looked upon the deep waters of that harbour, 
which had once borne the world's great master 
swimming for his life, with the rolled volume of 
his martial fame, held high above its saucy 
spray. 

Often, too, I would walk forth alone among 
those narrow paths, which intersect the deso- 
late site of the old city in every part — here 
passing between brown and shapeless heaps of 
sand and rubbish ; there near the pointed 
obelisk of Cleopatra, and past^ts prostrate 
fellow ; or else leading among ruinous walls, or 
columns ; or between the well carved marble 
mouths of those ancient cisterns, which run far, 
wide, and deep below; or past the high and 
jealous inclosures of garden houses, o'er which 
the dusty date-leaf looked on you ; or near 
some place of Moslem tombs to see the mourn- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 127 

ing visitors, as apart I stood, favored by my 
Turkish garb. 

It chanced one day, between two lofty garden 
walls, that I met on the narrow path, two women 
riding on mules. Their large and cumbrous 
robes of a deep violet colour entirely concealed 
their forms : — nor foot — nor hand — nor 
any thing was visible, save through the sight- 
holes of the thick white veil, — the eyes. A 
slave ran before; and a black slave by each 
stirrup ; and one led each animal by the 
bridle. 

They slackened their rapid amble, at sight of 
. me, and came more slowly on. I saw that they 
were of the family of some Turk, wealthy and 
respectable, and, as I seldom met in my walks 
with any women but those of the lowest class, 
or, at least, in the dirty garb of yellowish white 
that marks it, my curiosity was excited; and I 
. felt all the witchery that forms and features, 
jealously and mysteriously concealed, so natu- 
rally gave biith to in a lively fancy. 

The eyes of the first of these veiled ladies 
looked out upon me, and met my gaze steadily 



128 STORY OF A LIFE. 

without a turn or fall ; and the slaves, perhaps 
accustomed to such stolen glances between 
theh' mistress and the passing admirer, kept 
their eyes unheedingly before them. Just as 
the second lady came up, her mule stumbled 
over a pointed stone, — and fell — and she from 
it. Entirely forgetting country, custom, si- 
tuation, every thing, I flew to raise her up, and 
did so, ere the heavy and surprised blacks had 
recovered from their alarm. The lady was not 
hurt — the form I raised was the rounded love- 
liness of youth — the envious veil sat fast ; but 
large and dewy eyes looked out from it ; and 
she breathed hurriedly, as all gentle things do 
when they are startled. The glittering of a 
slave's khanjar, as he rushed upon me, roused 
me to a full sense of my imprudence and peril. 
— "La, la," — said a voice like flowers and 
music. Warding off the stroke with my raised 
arm, I set down my panting and pretty burden. 
I now drew my scimitar, and assuming, as an 
only hope, a high, bold tone, I menaced them — 
told them but for me their lady might have 
been killed, — threatened that I would speak of 



STORY OF A LIFE. 129 

their blind carelessness to their master, and get 
them bastinadoed soundly, and then they 
prayed nie not, and their good ladies too ; and 
lifted up their young mistress, and placed her 
on her saddle, and moved on again ; but they 
gave those large eyes, a look soft, languishing, 
and almost fond. 

I returned to my home, and ordered out my 
horse, and took my lance, my jereed, and my 
bow, and I played until the sun set, crimsoning 
alike the sand and ocean. I played alone ; 
and the young Nubian slave flew, light and 
laughing, for my far-shot arrows. 

Love — beauty — they were words to me, — 
mere words. What were the charms, or smiles 
of any being, — to one w ho had so loved and 
mourned as I had? — Nothing. What was a 
look from woman's eyes ? — Nothing. And was 
it fond ? — perhaps not ; — or why ? — we 
look kindly on the meanest slave, that picks up 
the fallen shawl. 

That niorht I affain went to the Turkish 
merchant's, just to wile away the evening. 
There was a story-teller there — a young Greek 

VOL. II. K. 



130 STORY OF A LIFE. 

slave-boy with a lute, or lyra, and whose voice 
was very clear and melodious. He told us a 
little tale of love, so prettily, and with such 
pathos, — and he sung in it one or two airs so 
sweetly, that I felt subdued to a softness I had 
not thought to feel ever again. 

It was of a young Persian maid he told, who 
sighed and sickened for a youthful noble of Da- 
mascus ; and she was without hope, for that 
youth was a stranger in the land, and of the 
Sunni sect, which her grave and proud father 
hated. She struggled with her passion vainly, — 
— vainly, for the youth knew not of her love, — 
had never seen her even ; and she could not live 
on in sorrow. But she conquered her maiden 
pride, and, in humble guise, she fled to his silken 
tents, and kissed his feet, and asked to live with 
him a slave, a gazing slave in the bright sun- 
shine of his smile. And he raised and kissed that 
loving maid, and took her to his heart and home. 
Every body present was moved with that 
artless tale, and from behind the curtain of 
separation we heard soft murmurs of soft ap- 
plause, mingling with the shrill cracked voices 
of aged fair-sex, exulting. 



STORY OF A LIFE. ISI 

I returned to my dwelling, thoughtful and 
anxious. Surely, said I, after all that has 
passed in my miserable life, all that I have 
loved, all that I have lost, I am proof against 
the allurements of sense, and the assaults of 
passion. Woman is to me — nothing : — wo- 
man within a haram wall — a sacred thing be- 
longing to another ; — without, a public shame 
spurned by the slippered boy, and less than 
nothing. 

I took pleasure in the reflection that I lived 
in a land, where only men were seen, where the 
customs were confining, secluded ; the de- 
meanour of all composed and grave in their 
houses, grave and warlike abroad. Yet I could 
not entirely dismiss a fear, that my accidental 
rencontre with those Turkish ladies would lead 
to a something embarrassing, and perhaps dis- 
astrous. I say, I feared this — it is true : — yet 
curiosity strongly mingled with my fear, and, 
as the changing spirits rose and fell, I felt my- 
self eager again to behold those bright eyes, 
which I had thought looked fondly on me ^ or, 
I was shudderinff at the base wish, all idle as 

K 2 



132 STORY OF A LIFE. 

it was, all innocent too, which seemed a kind of 
infidelity to the dead and the distant. In Eu- 
rope I am certain I should have passed unre- 
gardingly the assembled beauties of a court, or 
a city; but here, the veil, the mystery, the 
high-walled haram, the surly eunuch — these 
things stirred and troubled my easily excited 
fancy. 

A few evenings after, as I was standing alone, 
examining afallen column of white marble, which 
lay bedded in the sand, not far from my residence, 
there rode np to me a little black slave boy. — 
The top of his little skull cap glittered with em- 
broidery, — his tu rban was rose-coloured, — 
his vest and trowsers, gaudy and silken ; and 
the furniture of his ass showed that he was in 
good service, as a young, petted, and favourite 
eunuch. 

He paused, and looked all round, keenly and 
suspiciously ; then, with the broad white smile 
of his people, he drew forth from the bosom of 
his doliman a small nosegay, first raised it to 
his own forehead, — then put it into my hand, 



STORY OF A LIFE. J 33 

which he kissed, as he bent down upon it, 
gracefully. 

Instantly he turned his sprightly ass of Bar- 
bary, and galloped away. Not a word had 
been uttered. The stamp of approaching camels 
warned me to conceal the flowers, and I placed 
them in my bosom. I was not a master of their 
secret language ; but, well I knew that they told 
a little tale of love. The rose of beauty tells — 
the rose to secrecy enjoins. Roses were al- 
ways wreathed about the altar of Isis ; and, with 
a crown of those fragrant, blushing flowers, the 
high priest of that goddess officiated in her 
jealous temples. 

When 1 had gained my chamber, and took 
out this mystic love-letter, which the garden fur- 
nishes ; and looked on the soft leaves, written 
on by no sibyl hand, but by young lips ; graved 
by no iron pen, but sweetly stained by the 
balm of dewy kisses, I trembled — what had 
I to do with the throbbings of romantic passion? 
They came, nevertheless, and found friends 
within, who awoke from their long sleep, and 
hailed them; and all was tumult in my bosom. 
K 3 



IS"!- STORY OF A LIFE. 

I had thought it impossible for a trifle, and 
of such a nature, to so entirely seduce, be- 
wilder, and disturb me. For many days I 
thought of nothing else ; all was doubt, curiosity, 
and restlessness ; when should I hear again 
of the mysterious fair one ? — who was she ? 

— surely the one, whom I had lifted in my 
arms — whose eyes I had seen — whose voice I 
had heard. Ah ! my conscience smote me — 
had I not looked ardently, admiringly, in those 
eyes ? — had I not spoken with eager tender- 
ness? — had not my gentle pressure praised 
the fair form, which leaned its lovelj^ weight 
on me? 

Once only, for a moment, I fancied that, 
perhaps, the fair Almeh might be practising on 
me, but to her I felt a kind of proud, and pure 
indifference. 

Ten days passed by. Nothing occurred : I 
never met those ladies on their mules — I never 
saw the little slave. It was well over — it was 
wrong, silly, — an idle, a weak, a wicked wish, to 
lure a Turkish girl to perilous love. Love too, 

— there was nothing in my feeling, that de- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 1S5 

served the name ; and to the inmates of a haram 
our higher love is all unknown. It was a wild 
fancy — the suggestion of an idle brain. I would, 
and should most easily forget. 



It was a Friday, I remember, a day on which 
the women usually go abroad, and walk among 
the tombs, and deck the graves of those they 
mourn over with flowers. 

In veiled groupes, or in couples, you see 
them on such occasions, walking unnoticed ; — 
their shrouded forms all carefully concealed. 
It was also a festival day in the city, and all 
the Mahometans in my service were gone 
there. I was walking in my garden alone, and 
the gate stood open. With as quick a step as 
their cumbrous garments would allow, two fe- 
male figures glided in at the gate, and passed on 
swiftly to the house. 

I was startled, and taken captive at the pros- 
pect of adventure, whatever it might be. As I 
came down the garden walk, I closed, and made 
fast the gate, and followed them into the hall. 
K 4 



136 STORY OF A LIFE. 

One immediately unveiled, and discovered to 
me a Nubian woman, with the tawny skin and 
plain features of her country. The other stood 
at the farther side of the apartment, and was 
closely enveloped in a. common white mantle ; 
but she had put off her slippers at the edge of 
the carpet, and a foot, small, snowy-white, and 
veined with beauty, shone up from the dark 
gi-ound. 

I approached her with a gentle eagerness. 
She shrunk all timid and trembling, and leaned 
against the wall ; her mantle fell open, and 
showed thin gauzy trowsers of a cloth of gold; 
a girdle studded with jewels ; a vest of blue with 
flowers of gold wrought delicately in. Slender 
was that glittering waist ; and the dark vest 
was buttoned with bright gems to where the 
bosom's ivory pride forbade its further aid. Still 
she kept the veil over her face with a small 
hand ; — henna-tinged, but slightly, were the 
delicate fingers ; the arm was rounded marble, 
that outshone the dazzling bracelet. 

I took that little hand, and with a tender 



STORY or A LIFE. 137 

force withdrew it from its envious office, and 
threw aside the veil. 

A face of blushing loveliness bent down in a 
child's pretty shame — a cap of a pale red cloth, 
broidered and bound with pearls, hung its 
square top, tastefully, on one side, over glossy 
curls of the darkest brown; and a long tress of 
her silken hair fell down in a full braid behind. 
Her forehead was of alabaster smoothness, her 
eye-brows black, beautiful — but below, the 
broad soft lids ; and the long lashes that cur- 
tained the downcast eyes; and the line of beauty 
which marked the bent profile ; and the crim- 
son lip, and pretty chin — you could not look 
upon her steadily, she was so lovely. 

Timid she stood, for all that she had dared ; 
timid as terrified, and half-repentant — as doubt- 
ing, fearing — like a child that has suffered it- 
self to be passed from the arms of its own mo- 
ther to one who has looked kindly on it, but 
then colouring and silent hangs its little head. 

A soft enquiring word I spoke, and she 
raised her large loving eyes ; dewy they were, 
and of the very deepest blue; and they fell 



138 STORY OF A LIFE. 

again as she opened her mouth of melody, and 
murmured lowly out, " I have seen and heard 
you, stranger, — let me live in your haram — 
let Fatima be your slave." — And then, with 
a returning courage, she again looked up, and 
those large blue eyes smiled with a soft im- 
ploring, and her pearly teeth shone smilingly 
between her parted lips. 

I stood silent, but strongly moved, and 
pressed her to my heart. It was broken, that 
soft silence, by the loud voices, and the shuf- 
fling tread of a noisy crowd ; and the sound of 
a gathering tumult spoke fiercely at my gates. 

The blood fled fast from the cheeks of the 
beauteous Fatima, and pale she looked as mar- 
ble from the tomb, and like a startled dove, or 
a sobbing hare, her heart beat big — speechless 
and panting she clung to me. 

An Italian servant, who had a strong attach- 
ment to me, and my Arab gardener, to whom 
I had shown kindness, made their way over a 
back wall, and now hurried to the apartment. 

At the sound of their coming feet Fatima rose 
up from my bosom, hastily replaced her man- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 139 

tie and veil, and sunk in silent terror upon the 
divan. 

I met them at the door. 

" The girl, the girl," said the old Arab, " turn 
her forth — give her up to them." " For 
God's sake," cried the Italian, " lose no time, 
they are furious — they will burst the gate — 
they will take her by force, and we may then 
be slain in the affray. You cannot save her — 
turn her out. — Why did she come ? — Did 
you beckon her ? — She must be a common 
worthless creature — turn her out — all will be 
well — a few purses will make up the matter for 
you. — You have nothing to fear — you cannot 
save her — She must die." 

She rose, that youthful being. '' I will go — 
It is my hour — God is merciful. — I have 
brought you into danger. Christian — forgive ;" 
and she bowed down her veiled head, and 
touched my feet. At this moment the gates 
burst open with a violent crash, and the tur- 
baned crowd forced their way into the garden. 
They were the common mob of the city — in 
coarse robes, with dusky faces; eyes that 



14^ STORY OF A LIFE. 

glared yellow and savage ; and they hoarsely 
called for the daughter of Mohammed. I went 
with the Arab to the outer door — he kept them 
back from entering the house ; luckily he was a 
sheriffe, and though humble of condition, wore 
the respected turban of green. I looked at the 
fierce monsters, I listened to their furious cries, 
and already the little dove within seemed given 
to their cruel grasp. I saw the ready sack, 
and I thought upon her watry grave — her 
early grave. 

" Allah Acbar," I cried aloud, with a strong, 
a frenzied energy, — *' Allah Acbar — Mo- 
hammed Resoul Allah — la Illah Illalah." 

I turned, and rushed in, and closed the door. 
I was a Renegade — an Apostate — an Is- 
lamite. 

I fell upon the divan exhausted, and in bitter 
agony of spirit. " Fair one," I said, " I have 
bought your young life, — bought it with a 
price of shame ! — go, I pray you, go within." 
— The Nubian slave led her away to the inner 
apartments. 

I still heard the voices of the mob loud talk- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 141 

ing, as in doubt, and wonder. My Arab came 
in, and with him a Moollah. 

'« You know," said the Moollah, " what you 
have done." 

I looked up pale and stedfast, and repeated 
the Moslem's short confession. He went away, 
and I heard the crowd disperse; some with un- 
heeding laughter, others with the surly mur- 
murings of disappointed cruelty. I lay still, 
and prayed (to whom ? and how ?) for death, I 
would have sought it among those cruel men, 
who had stood thirsting for blood before my 
threshold — but Fatima, the innocent young 
Fatima, must have sunk into a gloomy gi^ave of 
dark, cold, stifling waters. 

Was it her beauty that I thought of? — her 
youth ? — her love ? — perhaps they clothed 
her in a lovelier gentleness ; but she was a wo- 
man — weak but not wanton — pursued to the 
very death, and helpless — yes, this it was : for, 
when yielding to that dread alternative, I dared 
deny my Redeemer, I felt all love, all passion, 
all admiring delight die blasted, as it were, 
within me, and I shuddered averse, and cold, 
and lonthin££. 



142 STORY OF A LIFK. 

I lay all night on the divan. In the still, dark 
hour of morning, the deep voice of the Muezzin, 
from the minaret of a neighbouring mosque, 
called aloud to prayer, in that solemn chant to 
which I had been wont to listen with a strange 
romantic pleasure. 

Now, alas ! how changed it found me! It fell 
upon my ear a mournful, melancholy, mocking 
sound. It was like the reproaching voice of 
that crowing cock, which awoke the fallen St. 
Peter to the heart-piercing consciousness that 
he had basely denied his Lord. But he went 
out, and wept bitterly ; and so, in repentant 
tears, found comfort, strength, and a safe, a 
sweet return to faith and hope, 

I could not shed a tear ; there was a fire in 
my heart, a fire in my brain. The enemy of 
my soul had conquered. I was thrust forth 
from the green garden of believers, and a flam- 
ing sword forbade my return. 

My first visitor was a secretary from the Bey; 
who governed Alexandria, to tell me that it was 
his pleasure I should take a name as one of the 
faithful. He directed that I should thenceforth 



STORY OF A LIFE. 14'i 

be called " Osman !" I put my hand to ray 
breast, and bowed my humbled head. He left 
me. 

Osman, the name of my childhood, my 
happy, indulged, protected childhood, my 
Christian name, given to me at the Holy Font, 
where sponsors vouched for my stedfast faith. It 
was an old family distinction of the Mowbrays, 
given to a great and valiant ancestor, who had 
slain a renowned Saracen chief of that name, in 
a single combat, under the walls of Damietta, 
in that very country, where I, an unworthy, de- 
generate descendant, was now sunk to the abject 
condition of a renegade. 

Of all who had a few days before delighted . 
in my society, only one came near me in my 
misery and my degradation. 

As I sat widiout in the Verandah, that 
looked on my garden, I heard the proud neigh 
of Saladin. I knew it; and I thought that Ma- 
lek, too, was passing by me with contempt. 

Closer came the horse tramp, but the pace 
was no longer the strong, resounding, rejoicing 
hoof of a generous steed, rode free by a happy 
light-hearted youth ; — quiet was the walk, and 



144 STORY or A LIFE. 

the gate was softly opened, and Malek came 
silent, and, with sad eyes, embraced me; sat 
down by me, and did not speak ; but his every 
look and motion was the eloquence of a true re- 
gard, a generous sympathy. 

That silent visit was a joy, an uplifting to my 
broken heart. 

I dared not for a many days trust myself to 
look into the apartments of Fatima, for I asso- 
ciated her name, and form, and beauty, with 
all my sin and woe. The young Italian mer- 
chant, a profligate, a voluptuary, who thought 
and spoke but of the coarse pleasures of earth 
and sense, had a corner of his unclean heart for 
the superstition of his indulgence- selling priest, 
and he crossed himself in devout horror, when 
he heard of my turning Turk, and would nei- 
ther visit or meet me after. 

The father of Fatima tore his beard and 
cursed her. He would have sought to slay me 
and her, but the Bey was a devout Mussulman, 
with a great rage for conversion, and was de- 
lighted to hear of any proselyte, no matter how 
worthless. I was rich too — rich. Protection 



STORY OF A LIFE. 145 

— smiles, guests, were all things as purchasable 
as slaves and asses among these haughty 
Moslems. 

Seven days passed by with a mournful same- 
ness. At length I walked nervously into the 
apartment of Fatima ; she lay reclined upon 
an ottoman of a dark blood crimson; white 
and unadorned were her light robes, and she 
was pale as grief; her long hair fell, in loose 
and shading tresses, upon her face and form, 
and her hand supported her sunk cheek. She 
rose quickly, and fell down, and bowed upon 
my feet and kissed them. 

" Kill me. Lord, kill me, you have saved my 
life. I do not prize it now. Why should I 
live? for what? I have made you unhappy 

— you hate me. Fatima has lost all, — all 

— home — a fether and love — pray kill me." 
I raised that lily — pressed it to my heart — 

kissed the pale cheek, and tenderly embraced 
that lovely mourner. Her large eye, all filled 
with happy tears, looked at me as if it thanked 
that natural act with grateful love. I gazed 
upon her long. Tempter, that bade me pierce 

VOL. II. ' L 



146 STORY OF A LIFE, 

that angel frame with the shaft of death — that 
bade me give her to a ruthless throng of mur- 
derous fanatics, — well didst thou aim thy 
poisoned dart at me. The chain, the whip, 
the loathsome dungeon, and the scanty food, — 
I had borne tliese things ; — here, here I fell — 
to save this being's Ufe, for another day, per- 
haps — or year — of gilded prison I threw 
away my faith, and took the badge of infamy 
and shame. I now feel that I should then have 
died, — died, though in vain defending, and 
perished with her; letting her die — why, 
what could have been better ? 

The world was now before us both ; — both 
outcast — both despised. I took her in my 
arms; and my big tearsfell down upon ray 
open breast, and she wiped them with her hair, 
and clasped me with the fondling look of an 
affectionate, forgiven child. 

For that day I left her ; but, on the morrow, 
1 took her as the wife of my bosom, and I loved 
and cherished her. 

Yes, Fatiraa, — thy innocent fondness — thy 
simple, single, child-like love to me, saved me 



STORY OF A Lli^E. 1 4Y 

fi'om despair and madness. I removed in- 
stantly to Cairo, and taking a house in that 
city, I lived the secluded life of a Mahometan 
in easy circumstances. The better to disguise 
ray wealth at Venice, I associated myself with 
an Armenian merchant, feigning myself to have 
lost all that I possessed by my late act, with the 
exception of a small sum large enough to live 
quietly on ; and which sum I sought to increase 
by engaging in commerce. 

Here there was no Malek. I had looked for- 
ward to my visit to Cairo with the wildest ex- 
pectations of enjoyment, during the whole 
period of my sojourn at Alexandria. In all my 
studies — in all my day-dreams, I had been pre- 
paring for it, as a rewarding end — as the city 
of enchantments, of mosques, bazaars, and 
story-tellers ; where Turk and Moggrebyn, 
the Tartar calpack, the snowy turban of Surat, 
the fair Circassian, the black daughter of Abys- 
sinia, the lively Greek, the dull- eyed Copt, 
and the huge and hideous negro of Darfour, 
met and mingled, bringing with them the 
features, and the dresses, the tongues and the 
L 2 



148 STORY Of A LIFE. 

tales of their distant lands. Ah ! yes, — then 
I was free ; self-exiled, in truth, from home and 
country, but still a citizen of the world, stand- 
ing, as I fancied, on a little height, and looking 
down on toil, and trouble, on divided coun- 
tries, and on different faiths with an eye of 
philosophic pity ; yes, all wretched as I was, 
a. philosopher I called myself, and held Chris- 
tian, Jew, Turk, and Infidel, alike blind wan- 
derers in the path to heaven. 

Oh ! how bitterly my spirit struggled, when, 
in the mosque, I was compelled to kneel, — to 
fall prostrate, to rise, to kneel again, — my hands, 
my fingers, my thumbs, to turn, and bend 
them at certain moments, while performing the 
prescribed devotions, with the tame, tedious, and 
imitative servility of a petty posturer; to re- 
ceive with reverence (and pay for it) the amulet, 
for my arm, and my horse ; to make way and 
bend to the Santon, naked, and foul, and in- 
decent; to carry the beads, and as I passed 
them over my fingers, to mutter low hypocrisies. 
This then was the glittering deism of the Ma- 
hometan ! in which so many have seen a sin^ 



STORY OF A LIFE. 149 

gleness and a beauty. Had it, however, been 
a million times simpler in its forms, and more 
pure in its injunctions, and more kindly in its 
practice, I now saw what I had lost ; — my 
heart smote me at every thing I met which re- 
minded me of Christianity. The mean and 
uarrow- vested Frank, with shrunken form, and 
rusty hat, who started aside, submissive, as my 
horse approached him, was to me an object of 
envy, — the missionary capucin with his white 
beard, his black robe, his leathern girdle, and 
rude cord, an object of reverence ; and, I had 
well nigh called out in the anguish of my soul, 
for the impaling stake, when, on the morning of 
Easter-day, I chanced to ride through the 
quarter of the Greeks, and I heard them, from 
house to house, from door and screening lattice, 
hailing each other with the glad salutation, 
'' Christ is risen.'* 

No wonder that I seldom stirred abroad — 
that I passed the long day in my haram. Fa- 
tima had no mind — no converse — no know- 
ledge of — no thought about, the world. I was 
her world, and Hilla, her faithful Nubian, and 
L 3 



150 STORY OF A LIFE. 

little Mesrour, the eunuch boy who had brought 
-me those fatal flowers, and afterwards fled to 
us ; a little world, and she loved all in it ; me 
as its divinity. And she would sit at my feet, 
and look up in my face, and listen to me as I 
spoke to her of things she knew not, with eyes 
of innocent pretty wonder ; then rise, and play 
before me, as a child might do, with gems, and 
bells, and toys ; or sing, in slow and graceful 
measure, dancing to her Turkish lute. 

Oftentimes when I was sad and weary, she 
would come, sit on the divan, and pillow my 
aching head on her lap, and lean over me with 
a kindly throbbing bosom, and look down 
smilingly on me, and tell me an Arabian tale ; 
and Hilla, and little Mesrour would draw near, 
and listen with delight. I had a garden for her 
of fragrant flowers and a marble fountain, 
a gilded aviary of pretty birds and fish with 
gold and silver scales that sported in crystal 
vases and fed from her lily hand. Sweet 
gentle being ! I did not tell you what I might, 
and should have done; a child I found yjou, 
and a child vo« died. — Yes; die died — this 



STORY OF A LIFE. 151 

fair young thing — soon, very soon. Two years 
we lived toojether. She bore me a beauteous 
boy : it was not that she merely nursed it ; it 
grew on her as the bud upon the parent 
rose-stalk. I loved it, as though it had been a 
little winged cherub sent on earth to live with 
me and sooth me ; I did not love its mother 
less; nay, more — but anew feeling was planted 
in my heart — parental love. Long years of 
woe, of trials, and of tears, had softened the 
hard soil, and the plant sprung up, in size and 
strength like the enchanter's tree. Fair little 
silken curls fell over its young eyes of blue. It 
stammered — toddled — dealt its pretty blows, 
playful and laughing ever. It lived a life ca- 
ressed, and we caressing. There was some- 
thing very like happiness in this ; but I had 
other thoughts when these innocent beings lay 
sleeping. Memory was to me as the beak of 
the fabled vulture, and in the still silence of the 
night her voice was sounding in my ear like a 
raven croak — 

" Deep written in my heart, with iron pen, 
That bliss may not abide in state of mortal men." 

L 4 



152 STORY OF A LIFE. 

It was a day of light and life, I remember, — 
sunshine and singing. Fatima was more than 
usually gay ; her tales were the short and silly 
jests which move to laughter, you scarce know 
why. She played with her lute, and fed her 
birds, and stirred the waters of her fountain, 
to make them flash more brilliantly. Hilla 
chirruped at her light labours, — and an old 
Arab matron, who had been added to our 
haram group, sat happy against the wall ; the 
little Osman playing with and kissing her 
wrinkled cheeks; for children will press their 
loveliness against withered age most fondly, if 
age be kind to them. 

• I leaned on the divan, and looked on all 
these things. 

What a wild piercing shriek that aged woman 
gave ! — How every smile fled, how every 
sound ceased at it ! I ran across to her — still 
wild she cried, and would not answer me. At 
last she caught the rosy child, who stood still 
and wondering; — she raised its little rounded 
arm of health and beauty, and pointed to a 
gentle swelling, and the infant smiled up in 



STORY OF A LIFE. 153 

my face. The plague-spot was on my precious 
babe ! — Yes ; — but I would not — could not 
credit it. I rebuked the old woman, and bade 
the child go play ; and Fatima, the terrified and 
tender mother, I scolded her too, and Hilla; 
and I went abroad. In the bezestein I met my 
partner — " Touch not,'* said he, " that cloth — 
it is only yesterday from Rosetta that we re- 
ceived it. I have just got a letter from that 
city ; — the plague has broken out with a sudden 
violence, — the first day some twenty died." 
- But I had touched it ; — on the yesterday, had 
granted a suit of it to the litde Mesrour ; and he 
had taken a pattern-piece of it to show at home. 
Gaudy the colour was ; and my child had played 
with it. 

I flew back to my dwelling — I rushed into 
the haram. The little fellow lay shivering and 
sickening on his young mother's bosom ; his 
beautiful eyes were cloudy and confused. I sent 
for aid — Jewish and Frank doctors ; — they came, 
and stood afar, and gave their dark uncertain 
counsel. I took him from his mother, — I lay 
down with him on the coolest spot. The mild 



154 STORY OF A LIFE. 

emetic, the gentle cordial, — I administered 
these things with hope, with prayer. It w^ould 
not do ; — pain^ violent pain, convulsed his little 
trame. A thirst, too, a raging thirst, tormented 
him ; and, at last, his little mind went stray- 
ing. The wild delirium of manhood is less 
shocking to the sight than the dawning reason 
of a child closed up again, or scared by sickness. 
Then he swooned ; often dying to my fears, 
before he did. In six and thirty hours my 
fondling lay cold, and spotted with the livid 
pest, in my trembling arms. Fatima, whom I 
had frequently sent away from the sad scene, 
and who had returned as often for the first 
twenty hours, had not, during the close of 
my babe's struggle, been near us. Fully en- 
gaged with the dear nestling, — thinking of 
notiiing else, — the time roiled by with a terrific 
swiftness. Now I remembered Fatima; and 
the peril of that dear young being flashed upon 
me. Ah ! — yes — in the outer apartment — the 
busy bending forms of Hilla, and the old Arab 
woman, and little Mesrour lying dead upon a 
mat, confirmed my terror. Fatima lay dying ; 



STORY OF A LIFE. 155 

— her dull eye knew me — her hand waved me 
away — to save me — angel love! — and I fell 
down, and kissed her paling lip ; and lay upon 
her body, I remember, long after it was cold ; 
and black men tore me from it, and others held 
me as they took away my Fatima and my 
sweet child, and laid them somewhere with 
corruption. 

A fever of the brain, violent but short, at- 
tacked me. In less than a week I was lying 
with recovered reason on a couch ; — a Moollah 
with his beads sat mumbling near me ; two of 
my black slaves stood with white eyes silent 
on either side ; and, at the bottom of the 
chamber, I saw Hilla and the old woman. 

There are situations of sorrow which the 
power of language is all unequal to describe. 
I never can say what I endured. Oh ! what a 
relief it was to my mind when I could rise, and 
move, and be restless. 

I went forth into the city, and wandered all 
about, looking for some spot where the pesti- 
lence was deadHest in its aspect, in the hope 
that, among the fouler poor, and the filthier 



156 STORY OF A LIFE. 

dwellings, contagion might yet do its desired 
office on me, and spot me, too, for the grave. 
Vain my longing ; vain my search ; — wherever 
I walked, I saw the dying. In every narrow lane 
I heard, in the tall house, the mourning cry, and 
the wailing of women for some one dead ; and 
I met at the gates, the frequent bier borne 
out with a hurried shuffle by gloomy silent 
men. 

With a cold patience and an unmurmuring 
apathy, the Mahometan fatalist walks sternly 
on his way ; when he feels the poison — he 
turns, and goes with a grave resignation to his 
home to lay him down, and die. 

The ravages of the pestilence in this crowded 
city were dreadful ; but I never heard the de- 
fying shout of revelry — I never saw any 
hastening to live — no busy plunderers — no 
poison bowls were drugged — no wild and 
wanton kissings in the very house of mourning. 
If we condemn that passive indolence, which sits 
down sad and unresisting, and sees the taint 
spread without an effort to arrest its progress, 
we may at least be instructed to endure the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 157 

arrows of affliction, to drink of the cup of death, 
or still to lift to the mocked lip the bitter 
waters of a life prolonged when no fonger 
valued, by observing the still resignation of the 
Mahometan. 

" Why," said an aged Turk, with a beard of 
silver, " why do you wail like a girl ? Is it for 
yourself? or for those who are gone to pa- 
radise? I have lost five sons — sons who rode 
with me in battle ; they have died, as dogs die, 
in their bed. Shall 1 reproach the Lord? — he 
gave — he takes away ; blessed be his name." 
Well I went away within to my chambers, 
where I might shed my tears, and sigh my 
wild reproaches to the unconscious walls. 

I rode without the city on that side, where 
the desert spreads ; — there I murmured and 
raved, unheard, save by my starting steed. 

One evening as I was returning to the city 
by the pilgrim's pool, I saw a man lying under 
a date-tree alone ; an ass stood dull and drowsy 
by his side. I rode up to him ; and, as I ap- 
proached, was startled to hear the sound of 
English : moaningly and mournfully he prayed 



158 STORX OF A LIFE. 

a broken prayer — for death it was. I dismounted, 
and came close to him. He was a man, many years 
older than myself, and seemed in extreme agony. 
He knew his situation — he was dying of plague. 

" Water!" he cried to me in Arabic, "water!" 

"It may kill you," I said in English ; —"per- 
haps you will recover." 

'* Ah ! no — I do not wish it : but oh ! how 
merciful, how very merciful of my Heavenly 
Father, to send a Christian, and a countrj^- 
man to close these wearied eyes — to receive 
my last sigh, and tell my gray-haired father 
where I died ; and, stranger, that I died in peace 
— happy — very happy." 

I saw indeed that he was past hope, and I 
wept over him, envyingly wept. I ran to the 
pool, and wetted my handkerchief, and came 
and put it to his burning lips and his tongue, 
white and parched with the death-thirst. 

" Thanks, charitable stranger. It relieves 
me for a moment ; listen, I pray you. But oh ! 
I have forgotten your danger ; — stand back 
from me; on that side the wind will save you. 
It blows past me from that side." I did as he 
desired, that I might not check his confidence. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 159 

I concealed from him that I was a Turk — a 
renegade ; for why embitter his dying hour by 
the selfish indulgence of pouring out my own 
sorrows and paining him by the confession of 
my shame. 

" Hear me, stranger ; these papers," and he 
took from his bosom a small packet, " take 
them with you when you return to England; 
and if you can, go, I pray you, to Ireland. En- 
quire in the county of Donegal for an aged 
gentlemen of the name of Nugent ; he lives in 
a retired country house, not many miles from 
the village, and rock of Bundoran. Tell him 
that you saw his son Henry die ; tell him I was 
not alone. I speak not of your presence; tell 
him, I say, that I was not alone. Nay do touch 
them yet, fumigate them ; there are dying 
embers and loose straw but a few paces off." 

Exhausted by this effort he closed his eyes, 
and without uttering a sound moved his pale 
lips. Again he opened them, and looked on me. 
The disease was fast subduing him. His dull 
eyes began to wander in their gaze, and their 
expression was that awful one of a change from 



160 STORY OF A LIFE. 

life to death. He did not, could not pray 
again ; but there fell from him imperfect broken 
words, such as delirium murmurs — " again," 
" grave," " my heart," " Agatha." The last 
word that fell from that dying lip was " Aga- 
tha." Ah ! was it indeed so ? was this lone 
wayworn man, with hollow eye and haggard 
cheek, lying in all the sad and foul neglect of 
diseased and helpless nature — now, too, a corpse 
all stained with those poison speckles, which 
livid pestilence shakes from its dank wing, — 
was this the early, and the latest idol of the 
beauteous Agatha ? 

It was. 1 took from the saddle of my 

horse the lancet that I always carrie^. I 
pierced the blue and swollen gland upon his 
groin ; and then, with a frantic hope that it 
could not fail to bring the death I sought, I 
opened a vein in my bared arm, and inocu- 
lated myself with the dark matter. 1 threw a 
cloak upon the body, and left it, unburied on 
the plain. I knew the sun of heaven would 
suck its moisture up. I knew that sun would 
bleach the naked bones. What better end were 



STORY OF A LIFE. 161 

coveted for clay ? The prowling jackal, and 
the ravening vulture ; there was no fear of them ; 
a body tainted with the plague even they, in 
greediest mood, would pass it by. 

I returned hastily to my melancholy home 
with the papers that the expiring Henry had 
confided to my care, eager to peruse them and 
die. It was a mournful, but a stroncr consola- 
lion to have been reminded by the late scene, 
that a life of loneliness and woe had been the 
lot of yet another, and doubtless a more inno- 
cent, being than myself. It was impossible, too, 
that I could ever forget the deep impression 
Agatha had made upon my youthful heart. — 
True it is, that time had sobered down the 
grief of that eai'ly disappointment into a aalm 
and solemn remembrance of her looks, her 
voice, her words, which rather awakened a 
feeling of sweet and cherished sorrow, now un- 
mingled with regret. Regret of a more bittei- 
character had marked thoLD first hours of aching 
wretchedness when I discovered that Maria 
Cecil was lost to me, and for ever. But all 
these sorrows, heavy as they were, came not 

VOL. II. M 



162 STORY OF A LIFE. 

nigh my last grief. Oh ! the bond of the nup- 
tial couch how strong it is : innocent beauty that 
has lain lovingly upon one's bosom and whis- 
pered natural hopes, and kind schemes, and 
fond confidences in the dark night. The mo- 
ther of one's child — to be torn away from one's 
embracing arms, and laid in the cruel grave. 
The bereavement of the father too — what it is; 
the cherub form that we have lifted, fondled, 
taught to open its little arms, and clasp our 
neck — the brightening eye, the speaking smile, 
the stammering struggle of its little tongue, and 
the ventured totter, that we have watched as 
only parents can. Flower and bud rudely 
snapped, both of them, and under foot. 

All husbands, all fathers, so blessed, and so 
bereaved, demand our pity. Even I may claim 
it of the merciful ; although, in truth, I little 
merited that any thing should love me as did 
these things of innocence, therefore, perhaps, I 
lost them, and was left again alone — alone 
with my apostacy — a renegade without a God 
to pray to. 

I opened the small pacquet of papers with a 



STORY OF A LIFE. 16S 

strange and thrilling curiosity. Many years 
had rolled away since the burning of that ma- 
nuscript which Agatha had sent to me, when 
she fled from Lisbon, and which was so pro- 
vokingly consumed before I had made myself 
master of the contents. The very first paper I 
took up was in the well known hand of Agatha. 
It was impossible for me to resist my natural 
and strong eagerness to peruse it. Could the 
dead have known me, — known me as one to 
whom Agatha was dear, to whom the story of 
his early love had been already in part revealed, 
he would himself have sanctioned my bold act. 

Notefr'om Agatha to Henry, 

" Henry, — My mother wishes you not to 
call just at present. In a few days she will speak 
to my father. How vei7 fond my dear mother 
is of you, Henry — how I love her. I hope it 
will be in a very few days. It is quite strange 
to me that a day should pass by without our 
meeting. I think my father likes you, Henry — 
I never saw him look at any othei* person as he 
M 2 



164 STORY OF A LIFE. 

does at you. My father is much kinder than he 
was the last visit. He is my father : I am sure 
I shall love him very fondly vi^hen we are mar- 
ried, Henry. I cannot write : when I think 
of you I want to talk. I hope it will be in a very 
few days. 

" Your Agatha,*' 

IProm. Henry to Agatha, 

" My dearest, dearest Agatha, 
" There was only wanting this painful injunc- 
tion to shew me how very precious was the 
blessing I enjoyed — daily with you — looking 
on you — listening to you. " Y(ym\ Agatha," 
how my heart thanks you for that word. Yes, 
you are mine — the spirits of the air have heard 
and registered our vows — mine now, for ever 
mine. 

" You are before me at this moment. I drop 
my pen with transport, with delight I gaze upon 
your lovely face. You speak to me — yes — 
it is your silver voice that falls melodious on my 
ear. How I thank that mighty mercy which 



STORY OF A LIFE. 165 

gives to man the power to image forth the ab- 
sent — to paint — nay, stamp with one swift- 
willed thought her whom he loves : but ah ! it 
is a shadow only, rich in most beauteous colours, 
but still a shadow ; — we stretch out the eager 
arms ; they cross our lone bosom mocked and 
empty ; the vision fades into thin cold air. 

" Agatha, it was only when I first saw you, 
that I began to live. True, as a child I lived 
before, pleased with the picture of this green 
and flowery world, but my young heart ached 
for something ; what, I did not know. I would 
lie for hours in my boat alone, and look up at 
the blue sky. Some habitant of that pure re- 
gion — some fair and winged thing with seraph 
eye ; ' if,' I was wont to think, ' if it would 
only come above me, visibly near, that I might 
look upon and love an angel form.' 

" Fancy, they say, has a bright deceitful co- 
louring; can picture beauties fairer than any 
seen ; it is not true. The eye is fancy's cradle, 
it is * by gazing fed.' Did poet ever paint, 
ever image to his language-failing thought 
loveliness like yours ? No. Ah ! when it burst 

.M 3 



166 STORY OF A LIFE. 

on me, all beautifully pale with tender terror ; 
as in my first and throbbing wonder I looked 
on you, I saw that human beauty was then most 
angel-like, when feeling shone sad in eyes all 
dimmed by tears of sorrow, and God wiped 
away those tears, and chased that pale fear 
away by my poor agency ; and, on me you looked 
soft, gratefully, sweeter than any smile could 
be. Agatha, from that moment of our first 
meeting I felt that I had found the gem I sought 
— an angel nature in an angel frame — yes — 
you are mine, write to me, my love — write, as 
you would speak. I cannot endure this sepa- 
ration. Write, if it be only a line ; tell me what 
you do from hour to hour. Why does your 
mother delay to speak? That noble-looking fa- 
ther can never refiise to make us happy. How 
cordially, how kind he spoke to me at our first 
meeting. Tell your dear mother to ask his con- 
sent; or to let me, at once, make my proposal 
to him. I shall be wretched till I again have free 
access to your happy dwelling. Why this con- 
cealment? Why this hesitation ? I implore you, 
Agatha, be urgent with your mother; you know 



STORY OF A LIFE. l67 

she never could refuse a simple look of yours 
that spoke a silent wish. 

" Your fond unhappy Henry." 



Agatha to Henry, 

*' Beloved Henry, 
" How shall I ever thank you for this letter of 
your love ? I will not trust to words, but when 
again we meet, the throbbing of my happy 
heart shall tell you truly what I feel. Do not 
blame my mother : I am sure from her strange 
earnestness about your not calling, that she has 
good reasons for not acceding to my eager wish. 
Believe me, Henry, that every hour of separa- 
tion is to me a little age of agony. You bid me 
tell you what I do from hour to hour — nothing, 
my Henry, but think — of you, with love, with 
hope ; sometimes I fear, I know not what, or 
why — but we have been so very happy — 
well, it is no crime to be happy, and to love. — 
But why, Henry, have we so many tales of 
true love crossed Forgive me, I am a child. 

My tears fall upon my paper ; I cannot shake 
M 4 



168 STORY OF A LIFE. 

off this heaviness of spirit ; it is the excess of 
my love for you ; my heart is too full ; and now 
that we do not meet my fancies are sometimes 
gloomy ; they take, you know, their colours 
from all trifles — the day, the hour, the cloud, 
the scene. 

" We were yesterday at Devenish — in the 
evening, at the red sunset hour. The season 
and the scene were the very same, as when you 
came, Henry, to my wild cry, and saved th^ 
life of the mother on whom I doted. It was the 
wish of my father to show the tall tower to the 
Padre Ignazio, who has accompanied him from 
abroad. I do not like that Padre, and yet his 
conversation is very striking, pleasant I might 
call it, if I could listen to it with you ; — his 
manners too are very gentle and polite, but 
then his look, it is so searching and so cold. 

" How different was our visit of yesterday to 
this spot to those, Henry, we have been so often 
accustomed to make together. My mother felt 
it, and looked tenderly at me, and put her hand 
upon my forehead, and said that I was feverish ; 
but my father did not hear her ; he was busy 



STORY OF A LIFE. 169 

explaining something connected with the ruins 
to his Italian friend ; and there was a gloom in 
his eye and tone, such as I had never before re- 
marked. 

"' That castle/ said he, pointing to the naked 
and crumbling ruin, which you see from De- 
venish on the opposite shore — (on which we 
have so often gazed together, Henry) that was 
the lord Maguire's. He was hung by the En- 
glish Elizabeth — his crime, that he had a cas- 
tle, and he loved it, and the green fields about 
it, and tlie people who laboured in them. The 
night bird has it now, and the walls that have 
resounded to the harp of Erin, and heard the 
loud pledge of hospitable cups, echo to nothing 
now but melancholy whoops, and rustling 
ivy. 

" ' Here, too, in this old roofless chapel, where 
the princes of Tyrone have kneeled in penance 
and in prayer, Elizabeth mocked with a tribunal 
of appeal, a ravaged, oppressed, and bleeding 
land. In arms they came ; in arms they sat 
among these ruined shrines of the true faith, 
and tried the men who loved it ; — and thev 



170 STORY OF A LIFE. 

callt^d up the tottering, trembling steward of 
the destroyed Maguire, and made him drag 
forth from his bosom, where he cherished it 
next to his heart, the rent roll of those wide de- 
mesnes, which, with his life, his lord had for- 
feited ; and they smiled unfeelingly upon his 
gray affection.' ' Your good Queen Bess,' he 
turned, and said tauntingly to my poor mo- 
ther. She trembled and leaned her face upon 
my shoulder. He walked apart with the Padre 
for an hour between the graves and the lofty 
tower. They seemed very earnest in their dis- 
course, and I thought it must be of us, they 
looked so often towards us ; at least my father 
did; — but when they rejoined us they were ap- 
parently engaged in a serious and learned dis- 
cussion about the date and origin of the tower ; 
and my father and he seemed to differ greatly 
in their opinion, even to warmth ; and yet the 
Padre ^rather, I thought, encouraged than 
shai'ed the anxiety of my father. 

" In the evening, after our return, my father 
asked me to play upon the harp. I did — but 
ah ! Henry, where were you to listen ? I felt 



STORY OF A L1F£. 171 

that I never struck the chords with power ; nor 
could I trust myself to shig any one of those 
airs which you had ever praised. However, it 
all passed oflPwell. My father was inattentive, 
and did not mark my trembling failure, while 
the Padre encouraged and complimented me, 
and was himself so full of gaiety and anecdote, 
and was so very attentive and polite to my mo- 
ther, so studious to amuse, and to make him- 
self agreeable, that I felt as if I had wronged 
him by my idle dislike, or rather quite grateful 
at the moment for the relief which his uncon- 
cerned and unnoticing manner had given me. 
Write to me again, my dearest Henry, to-mor- 
row. Again and again I peruse your precious 
letter; I have placed it in my bosom, my 
heart is lighter and happier; it is a talisman of 
peace. 

" Your fondly attached 

" Agatha.** 



172 STOHY OF A LIFE. 

Hem'y to Agatha, 

«* I write, my angel, in haste and anxiety — 
I am bewildered — terrified — I have just seen 
your father — I checked my horse to salute 
him, and would have spoken. — He returned 
my salute with a haughty unbending coldness, 
and rode away, spurring, as if moved to sudden 
anffer or aversion. What can this mean ? — 
my faithful boy Brian w^ill wait for your answer 
at the bottom of the lane, if it be all night. — 
Bid Dennis be careful. 

" I saw you, my dearest Agatha, yesterday, 
many times. I was far off on the green hill 
above the slate-roofed cottage. What a delight 
it was to catch your moving form ; you came 
often to the window, that looks on the lake, and 
stood there long; you ^went in and out 
of the house often, watering your plants, 
and walking to and fro on the^ lawn by your- 
self, unbonnetted. Dear girl, soon, soon we 
must meet to part no more — but this father, 
Agatha, it cannot be that he will frown 



STORY OF A LIFE. 173 

upon our loves, he has loved himself: — to my 
family he cannot object ; and, though I am not 
rich, my means are ample; my professional 
prospects excellent. I know that a country life 
will be congenial to your soft, retiring nature : 
and for me, I shall never feel a want or wish 
unsatisfied if only you are with me ; bound to me 
by those hallowed ties, which can make of an 
earthly home a Httle heaven below. I will che- 
rish, worship thee as my household deity. 
Farewell ! I kiss the lines that your eye will 
rest upon, and repeatedly do I press to my 
heart and to my lips your dear letter. 

" Yours devotedly, my love, 

" For ever yours, 

" Henry.'' 



Agatha to Henry, 

" We are undone, my Henry — ruined. Oh ! 
for strength to tell you. Oh ! for counsel, com- 
fort, hope. No sooner did the servant leave the 



174- STORY OF A LIFE. 

room after dinner, than my father, abruptly ad- 
dressing my mother, asked if it was true that 
she had been in the habit of receiving you as a 
constant visitor at the cottage, on the footing of 
an accepted friend. She confessed that it was, 
reminded him that you had preserved her life, 
and closed with a hope that the door might 
again, and always be open to you. ' You 
mean,' said my father, * that you would have 
him for your son — for the husband of Agatha. 
I would sooner see her in her grave than in his 
arms. He is a Nugent, I hate th e name; he is 
a protestant, I hate the sect — and now that 
I have seen him with the orange lily at his 
breast, I hate the boy himself.^ I heard no 
more ; I rose ; 1 do not know how I managed 
to gain my chamber, for my whole frame was 
trembling, my head sick, my heart faint. I 
lay for several hours on my bed. My mother 
has been sitting by my side in tears. I cannot 
weep. I do not even sigh. I seem stupefied, 
frozen — I cannot gather any thoughts in or- 
(Jer. — It is all dark and dismal, like a moonless 
niffht in winter. I cannot stir ; I stand cold 



STORY OF A LIFE. 173 

and silent, waiting for the light of heaven. Oh ! 
Henry, that fatal flower. I am sure my father 
liked you ; he will relent, he must. How very 
wretched I am. What has love to do with 
names, or faith, or festal flowers ? Oftentimes 
my nurse has put in my bosom, when a little 
child, the very flower, and called me her 
orange lily; and on July days, I remember, in 
the neighbouring cottages, some wore the flower 
and others not, but they were cheerful to each 
other, and their children played together ; and 
old Dennis would laugh and gather the lily for 
me ; and yet they say it is a badge of bloody 
hate. It was not always so ; it is not now — 
why, let my father look into your face, that ra- 
diant mirror of your noble nature; where will 
he see hate, or scorn, or tyranny, or thirst of 
blood? As well might he look for their dark traces 
on the soft features of the babe, cradle-rocked 
and smiling. And yet, Henry, my heart is 
heavy ; sorrowful as the grave ; and my brain 
breaks with the weight of care and terror. 

" Adieu — not that you will be a moment ab- 
sent from the thoughts of 

" Your fond Agatha." 



176 STORY OF A LIFE. 

There were no dates to these letters. Lovers 
think not of time and place. The next too was 
without a date, but I should judge there must 
have been a lapse of weeks. 

" Your Honor, 

" I come to the lodge twice, but I would'nt 
see your honor, I would'nt be let. I am sint 
away from the cottage, and what will I do ? I 
that have lived there man and boy, thirty year ; 
— and the young jewel lies sick, and your honor 
that loves her in a fever, and what will I do ? 

" Sure the madam has give me all her mo- 
ney, bad luck to it, what will it do for a lone 
man ? 

" I am thinking they're making a Roman of 
the young cratur, and I am glad of that, any 
way, for her sweet sowl ; but the divil be with 
that pale priest, that talks Frinch. I thought 
no ffood would come of him. Sure I never see 
him take an honest sup of potcheen since he 
come. Och, then. Father Cassidy's worth a do- 
zen of the like of him ; though ould Cassidy, 
that's his uncle that was, was the divil for 



STORY OF A LIFE. 177 

screwing out therint; a good man — but he must 
have his rint. I mind he drove Biddy Henessy's 
cow, all one as if he had been a bloody orange 
boy, — bad luck to them; — save your own Honor, 
that picked me out of the water, where I'd bin 
drownded only for you ; and the mistress that 
you saved that same day, and that wouldn't 
hurt a fly ; and the young one, that has loved 
you ever sin — Och ! then what a heart it is — 
and she sick at this present. I wished your Honor 
was a Roman, but whither or no, may be it 
will be a wedding — why then it should be — 
isn't your Honor made for her? and as clever a 
boy as ever I see at the fair — but some how 
the master's not agreeable — all along o that 
bit of a flower — bad luck to it then, and 
to the colour, and all colours, — wasn't it my 
own sister's brother, that was murthered at 
Bally James Duff, all along of their ribbons, 
and it was a green one he wore that same day ? 
But sure I'll be let see your Honor soon — its 
for that I'm longing, for I'm a lone man, and 
what will I do ? And the master, that's an 

VOL. II. N 



178 STORY OF A LIFE. 

O'Neil himself to do this thing. — It's with a 
heart for you — didn't you save me then ? 
" Your dutiful Dennis, till death — and 

that's no sin, for all that father O'Leary said 

only I wished you were a Roman." 

From Colonel O'Neil. 
« The Rock, October 11th, 1741. 

" Dear Sir, 

"I have received your letter of this day; 
your sentiments, Sir, do you honour; — I wish, 
I could believe, that they were so common 
among those of your persuasion, as you seem to 
imagine ; but that. Sir, taught by a bitter ex- 
perience, I deny. Your warm and liberal ex- 
pressions convince me, that, at least, you are 
sincere in your feeling of respect for that per- 
secuted church, to which I, and a long back- 
ward line of princes of my name, have been 
always devotedly attached. 

" I cannot look upon my daughter, and 
wonder at vour lovp — nor, when I consider 



STORY or A LIFE. IV.I^ 

the circumstances under which you first made 
acquaintance with my family, can I feel surprise 
that you should have won an interest in the 
innocent affections of a very young and se- 
cluded girl. 

" I observe, from your letter, that you are, as 
yet, ignorant of a late, and a very important 
change in the sentiments of my daughter. 

" I must inform you that she has embraced 
the Catholic faith, and is now a member of 
the Church of Rome. Under these circum- 
stances you will understand that I cannot enter- 
tain your proposals. I have bound myself by 
obligations of a most solemn nature, never to give 
her hand in wedlock to any but a Roman Ca- 
tholic protector, or at any altar but that of the 
Mother of God, our most blessed Lady, the 
Holy Virgin. 

" In rejecting you, as my son-in-law, I must 
distinctly say that I have here stated my sole 
objection. I have found in my own case, the 
misery of a union where the faith is not one 
and the same. You will tell me that such 
marriages are common ; that they have been 
N 2 



180 STORY OF A LIFE. 

happy ; and that, in essentials, the pious of 
both persuasions may embrace with a common 
love, and a common hope. This is error — 
pestilent, heretical error ; besides. Sir, there are 
other considerations, and I would that others 
weighed them as I do — never will I give a 
daughter in marriage to perpetuate from her 
teeming womb the race of those who have spoil- 
ed and oppresed us — me, I may say, a prince 
of Tyrone, from whose loins she has sprung. 
— Again, Sir, I repeat that my sole objection is 
to your faith. You may draw the inference with- 
out my speaking more clearly ; or perhaps it 
were better to say at once — that if you enter 
the pale of holy mother church, Agatha (for 
she loves you, and she is my child), Agatha 
shall be made happy — she is yours. 

" Fortune 1 disregard ; it is little that you 
now have ; and that little you probably would 
lose. I can ensure you a noble exile, and a 
high, and honourable employ. There are 
enoughof Christian courts, enough of Christian 
camps, to welcome warmly such wanderers as 
you. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 18 1 

" But I am forgetting myself — this was a 
kind of dream — I have almost permitted my- 
self to like you as a patriot boy; but no — when 
did man ever yet quit the side of the rich, the 
triumphant, and the rejoicing, to range himself 
with the poor, the oppressed, and the mourn- 
ing ? Love is strong ; but never yet was found 
strong enough to work a wonder like this. 
" Yours truly, 

" Bryan O'Neil." 

Agatha to Henry, 

" My dearest dear Henry, 
** My hand trembles as I write. What a sad 
melancholy blank now for many weeks past ! A 
fortnight ago I had penned a letter to you — 
poor Dennis was to have been the bearer ; but I 
have never seen him since. My nurse says, that 
she saw a letter taken from him, and burned by 
my father, and that my father was very angry. 
I have not been allowed to see my mother alone 
for many weeks ; she always comes with my 
father, and they sit by me for an hour every 
N 3 



182 STOllY OF A LIFE. 

day. Padre Ignazio is often of the party, and 
he also visits me every morning for an hour, or 
more — and speaks to me, and reads — and 
leaves books for me ; but, I cannot fix my at- 
tention — my thoughts wander — always, always 
to you. — I have been very unhappy — I do not 
think I shall live long — I am sure, I hardly 
wish for life, if I am not to see you. Henry, — 
my beloved — another time — " (Here the letter 
was broken off, and seemed to have lain by for 
some time and again resumed, and continued.) 

" I was forced to leave off, my head was so 
giddy from weakness, and, from that hour, 1 
have never had an opportunity of getting a pen 
till to-day, and must continue it on the same 
sheet; but I am much better, dearest Henry, 
and you, I am told, have been ill ; thank God, 
I did not know that: you are well, and out 
again ; thank God for that blessing. I find too 
that my father and you have been writing to 
each other. Oh ! if it should be so — perhaps 
they told me so to fool me— and yet it may be. 

" They have made me a proselyte to the 
church of Rome. — The Padre told me he was 



STORY OF A LIFE. 183 

sure my father would give his consent to any 
thing on earth I asked, if I embraced the same 
faith ; but it was not that ; at least God knows 
that was not all. — It is very good ; I see not 
why they differ with such bitterness ; — to love 
God, and to love man, and to trust in a Re- 
deemer's blood. Why this is what my mother 
taught me, and what the Padre teaches me : and 
he speaks soft and gentle ; and he is old and 
learned, and I do think good, though I did not 
like him at first ; nor dare I trust him now — 
though I scarce know why not. It is not he who 
has caused me pain, but my father. He tells me 
that my father was resolved to break off my at- 
tachment (for he knows and charged me with 
it) ; that if he failed, he intended to take me to 
a nunnery abroad, and immure me for life : 
that my conversion there would be forced on me . 
that here, if I were cheerful in the act, my 
father might relent, and give me to you. 
He has promised all his influence, and it is 
great I see. The Padre is a very holy man — 
my dear mother has never spoken to me on 
this subject — she is sorry, I see by her eyes. 

N 4 



184 STORY OF A LIFE. 

They would never let her talk with me albne ; 
but she has kissed me since so very tenderly ; 
you cannot think how very full of hope I feel. 
" I shall ask my father to let me be your wife. 
He must — he will. My mother was a pro- 
testant, and he a catholic ; I am their child, — 
they both pray for me, and, though at different 
altars, it is to the same Saviour ; — and I pray to 
Him for them, and for you, my Henry, every 
day and every hour. Farewell, or — no ; that 
sounds too mournful — adieu. To God I com- 
mend you till we meet, or till I see again your 
precious handwriting — always, and fondly 

" Your Agatha." 



Henry to Agatha, 

" Meet me, my angel, meet me I pray. I 
have seen you for three days past in the garden 
— you are pale, my Agatha. — I was very near 
you ; — you were on the lake yesterday with your 
mother. Entreat her to go with you to De- 
venish to-morrow at noon ; I must see you, 
and her; I cannot write what I would say; 



STORY OF A LIFE. 185 

the weather is mild, wrap yourself well up ; your 
health, your life is mine. 

" Your tenderly attached 

« Henry." 



Henry to Arnold, 

On this letter was written, " Returned to me 
with some other papers, on the death of my dear 
lamented friend." 

" My dearest George, 

" Your affectionate letter of enquiry breathes 
the warmth of that which, alas ! is to me of all 
men, at the present moment, most necessary, a 
dear, a tender friend. Hitherto I have been 
quite unequal to the task of writing a reply ; I 
have, more than once, attempted it. The pen 
fell from my hand ; my tears flooded the paper, 
and I gave up the effort. 

" The sun of my existence is set, and for 
ever •, — Agatha never can be mine. You have 
seen her, George, and I remember what you 
then said of her; but you cannot know what 
I have lost. — It was the least of her perfections 



186 STORY OF A LIFE. 

that she was the loveliest of her sex. Her 
image, pictured in my brain, will be at once my 
torment and my solace till I die. 

" I tell you that I have lost her ; but I must 
relate the mournful circumstances as they oc- 
curred. 

" I wrote to you after my last illness, and then 
acquainted you with the sad interruption of our 
happiness, and the cloud that seemed gathering 
over those enchanting prospects, which I had 
gazed on with the fond and foolish belief 
that they would surely and easily be realised. 
Alas ! they have proved like those blue masses 
of golden-tinged clouds, which take such shapes 
at eve as mock the form and the solidity of the 
mountain ; but human foot did never yet scale 
their heaven-lighted summits. The whole but 
a gorgeous vision that has no stay. Faint 
image of the promised joy which I would picture 
— what have suns and mountains to do with 
the form and heart of her I love ? 

" You may remember what I told you about 
the unfortunate chance of my meeting Colonel 
O'Neil, as 1 was returning from the annual 



STORY OF A LIFE. 187 

procession at Enniskillen, perfectly unconscious 
that an orange lily still remained at my breast ; 
of the first letter I wrote to him, which he 
never replied to ; of the illness of my adored 
Agatha and her confinement ; of the communi- 
cation I received fiom Dennis ; of my second 
letter to the Colonel ; of his reply ; the agitation 
and terror it caused me; and my request 
of a meeting with Agatha and her mother. 
They came at the hour agreed on to our loved 
haunt. I had been there with Dennis from 
sunrise, that no suspicion might be excited. 

" I watched the approach of their boat. I re- 
ceived her again into my arms — Agatha — 
from whom I had now been separated months. 
She fell into them faint, and weeping ; I trem- 
bled with love and apprehension ; I bore her 
to a seat upon a grave-stone beneath the 
southern wall of the priory. As soon as she 
recovered herself a little, we mingled our 
tears, and were hap})y — what had passed, 
what threatened us, forgotten, or no longer 
thought of; we were again together. The 
time rolled on ; her mother sat silent by ; 



188 STORY OF A LIFE. 

we murmured to each other lowly and fondly. 
It had been my intention to propose to her 
that she should fly with me ; that we should 
marry, and brave the vengeance of her father, 
relying on the sympathy and protection of 
mine ; but it seemed to me, in that delight- 
ful moment, when we met, a wasting of the 
precious present, to be thinking, with anx- 
iety, about the future. I was gently press- 
ing her fair hand, and tenderly looking into 
her kind eyes — I was reading over all that 
she had suffered, in the paleness of her dear 
cheek, and marking, with grateful rapture, 
the faint colour of returning health, that gave, 
at times, a soft brilliancy to her beauty, still 
more enchanting than the radiance of her 
wonted bloom. How terrific, how wild, how 
piercing was her shriek; as, at that smiling 
moment of security, she raised her eyes, and 
beheld her father ! He had suddenly turned 
the angle of the ruin, and stood, with a pistol 
levelled at me, and a look of livid, deadly anger. 
" You have never seen him, I think. He is a 
tall man, stately, — of noble features, an eye 



STORY OF A LIFE. 189 

black, fiery, and proud ; a complexion sallow 
as death ; lips that have no fulness, and are 
not red. He pressed them, as though he was 
striving to conquer the demon in him, and, 
drawing forth another pistol from his bosom, 
presented their butts to me, and bade me take 
my choice. 

" ' r will not,' said I, ' meet you thus, and 
now, or in such gentle presence ; why ever ? 
and for what ?' ' I know,' he rejoined, ' your 
object, you would rob me of my child, rob me 
of her affections ; are we to have nothing, we 
poor exiles ? no country ? no home ? not even 
the smiles of those we have begotten ? You 
come to steal away my one poor lamb ; what 
if it does not love me ; it is mine, and I love 
to look upon its innocence, and feel it mine.' 

" She clung to his knees — Agatha — in sup- 
pliant beauty. Her hair floating loose and 
wild upon her shoulders ; her eye uplifted and 
fixed, with that beseeching earnestness upon 
him, which, when sinners fix the like on God, 
wins for them heaven. 



190 STORY OF A LIFE. 

" He threw her ojfF: I raised, and clasped her 
to my bosom. 

" He smiled cruelly, and came close to us ; 
— * Agatha,' said he, ' I grant the boon ; let 
this true lover but embrace our faith as you 
have done ; — here, now, — by the buried saints 
around us, I swear he shall be yours and mine — ^ 
your husband and my son ; — and I will cherish 
both of you, for I am wretched, and want some 
things to love.' 

" The noble Agatha averted her fine eye 
from mine, and loosed her from my close 
embrace. 

" ' Father,' said she, * I will go with you, and 
think no more of this.' 

" *He gives you up, this faithful lover, then !' 

" ' It is not over the bleeding heart of his 
white haired father that I would have him 
chariot me to deny with the lip all that he holds 
most sacred in his inmost soul. Henry,' 
and she turned towards me, * I spare your 
feelings ; thus spare you the pain of speaking 
out your thought.' Then she came close, and 
whispered, ' Beloved of my soul, we shall meet 



STORY OF A LIFE. 191 

hereafter in another, Henry, and a better 
world, where there is no giving in marriage ; we 
shall be spirits, Henry, loving God, and each 

other. Farewell.' And she threw her arms 

around me, with the fearless fondness of such 
partings as are for ever, and, sad and seraph- 
like, she looked, and kissed, and left me — with 
my face bowed to the dust, and my heart 
broken. 

" And I am to see that vision of light no more 
on earth ? Well, it is something to have seen 
it ever — but it might have been mine ; have 
walked with me through the vale of life, an an- 
gel of good, ever at my side. Union with 
Agatha was a thought dear to me, as was his 
youthful Isaac to the faithful patriarch ; my sa- 
crifice was required at my hands. I kiss the 
rod. I do not murmur; but I may surely 
mourn; yes, 'George, even till I die. 

" I lay all night upon the island ; in a coffin 
of stone I lay, pillowed by the cold granite, 
which once supported a head wrapped about 
with the grave cloth ; and, when at midnight 
the moon shone bright and chill, I rose, and 



192 STORY OF A LIFE. 

paced in the ruined aisle : and stood among the 
flat tombstones without, where the nettles were 
waving to the night- wind, now silvery, now black: 
restless I climbed the tall tower ; and looked to 
where on the rocky bank, in the distance, that 
white cottage lay asleep, as it were, in the 
moon's soft light; and thought, even to mad- 
ness, on Agatha ; and knew that she, too, was 
waking with sorrow, and mourning over our 
broken loves. 

" For a month I lay in my chamber, more 
like a dead than a living being. 

" When I again came out they told me that 
the family of the O'Neils had left the country. 
Agatha had again been alarmingly ill, and from 
the nurse I learned, that, in an access of deli- 
rium, she had escaped from the house, rowed 
herself to the island of Devenish, and had been 
found there frantically calling on my name. 
She was, however, the nurse said, perfectly 
recovered before they left the cottage ; only 
she was sorrowful and looked thin. 

" There are those in the world who would 
say, ' Rouse yourself, Henry ; shake off this de- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 193 

pression ; take up with some active and stirring 
pursuit; conquer this disappointment ; think of 
Agatha no more ; forget her/ Forget Agatha ! 
Heavens ! forget her ! You, George, will never 
speak thus to me. You have seen her, and I 
have told you that her lovely form but feebly 
images her lovelier mind. You know, too, that 
although she did spare me the pain of uttering 
that mournful, melancholy, and eternal fare- 
wel, which was already forming itself on my 
trembling lip, and which, as my burning brain 
conceived it, and my heart bled with the cruel 
wound, shook my whole frame : you know that 
such would have been my course, when the 
dread alternative was placed before me. I 
should have, — I have resigned for ever, those 
hopes of happiness below, on which my soul 
fondly hung. 

"You recollect, my dearest George, how 
we used as boys to wander round that sloping 
field at Portora together, at the soft hour of 
dusk, and talk over our future schemes of hap- 
piness ; and jou remember, on the Sabbath 
evenings, how at the hour of prayer our afFec- 

TOL. II. o 



194 STORY OF A LIFE. 

tionate, father-like master used simply to ex- 
pound to us the truth, the intent, and the pro- 
mises of the Gospel, while we sat with our 
Greek testaments, wondering, but yet reverent, 
before him. You remember how he told us that 
the scaffold, and the axe, the wheel, the stake, 
and the fire had passed away, but that the cross 
remained, borne by thousands of the bowed 
down and broken hearted, yet faithful unto 
death ; and sorrowing, not without hope, and 
not without love, the fruit of a simple faith. 

" Little we thought, George, as happily we 
talked together, that, to one of us, a trial bitterer 
than death was so soon to come. 

" There has, moreover, been one thing in this 
my trial which has deeply afflicted me. My 
innocent, my angelic, my Christian Agatha, 
she knows not, she may never know that the- 
martyrdom I have endured is the fruit not of 
a narrow, superstitious fear, but of a wide-em- 
bracing grateful love ; not of a blind, confined, 
or intolerant prejudice, but of a clear, expanded, 
brotherly feeling for the countless families of 
mankind. Little is it that women exercise 



STORY OF A LIFE. 195 

themselves with the ao:itatinfi: councils and con- 
flicts of senates or of camps ; but we know, for 
we have together pored over the page of history, 
we know with what civil and religious liberty 
never yet did, never can consist ; and while we 
have mourned with a patriotic feeling over the 
penal curses poured upon our Catholic fellow 
countrymen, and have longed for their repeal, 
and have always felt that Heaven opens as wide 
for the true Christians of one sect as another, 
and that they who are born and bred in a path 
which they conscientiously pursue, in the exer- 
cise of faith, hope, and charity, are objects ra- 
ther to be admired than persecuted ; yet we 
look back to the noble daring of protesting mar- 
tyrs with an affection and a reverence, which 
neither in time, nor in eternity, shall be sub- 
dued. It were ao^ain to lif^ht the faogrots around 
their venerable and sainted forms ; again to bow 
down before the Pharisaic priesthood ; again to 
seal the holy pages of light and life from the 
sight of the ignorant and the perishing ; again 
to close the fountain of living waters from the 
thirsting lips of men, and craftily to sell out 
o 2 



196 STORY OF A LIFE. 

the bitter waters of destruction to a deluded peo- 
ple ; again to crucify the Son of Man, who died 
that all might live, and who gave us the truth 
to make us free, if we voluntarily replaced upon 
our degraded limbs those iron chains which 
hands from Heaven have Joosed. 

" O there are battles more deadly than those 
fought with the naked sword ! There are part- 
ings more bitter than those, where the devoted 
warrior turns away from the fond embrace of 
her he loves, and whom he knows that he is 
leaving to be numbered with the slain. 

" George, life is the trial — to live on when we 
have lost all that coloured it with hope. You 
will smile at what I now tell you : — Warner 
has written to me a long, kind, well-meant 
letter ; he tells me that / must not grieve ; that 
it is sin *, that, if I truly love God, I shall count 
all things on earth as dross, as dirt; the loss 
of them as my gain ; that I may never mourn 
for any thing, but my own sins, or rejoice for 
any thing but the means of grace, and the hope 
of glory. Warner you remember ; he was 
bigger than us ; a most excellent, worthy, cha- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 197 

ritable youth. He is a clergyman, a very ex- 
emplary one; he has a pretty parsonage in a 
most beautiful spot. About three years ago he 
married a charming woman, to whom he had 
been long attached, and he has two sweet 
children. Ah, George, how little can Warner 
judge of what I have suffered ! Who shall 
ever, in this world, presume to judge of the trials 
of another? The highest consolation, both to the 
sinner and the sufferer, is, that God alone is 
the searcher and discerner of hearts, and the 
ever-present recollection, that he gives peace 
not as the worid giveth, is our most powerful 
support. 

" I am about to leave Ireland ; I propose 
travelling for a few years, and I sadly fear that 
I shall never be fit to take orders : I cannot 
apply to any thing; my mind breaks away. 
Think not that I have the most distant inten- 
tion, or even wish, to follow Agatha. If I could 
hear that she was well ; that she was treated 
kindly ; had recovered tranquillity of spirit, — 
yes — I feel that I could even bear to learn that 
she was married : what a mother Agatha would 
o 3 



198 STORY OF A LIFE. 

make ! and liow great are the consolations of 
the mother. The glow which the thought of 
her happiness would give me forsakes my sick 
heart — I weep — my mind wanders — I feel 
that I can never, never be happy again. 
" Your friend, 

" Henry Nugent." 

There v/as an unfinished letter to his father, 
and many from his father to him. These, as 
my eye caught the commencement and signa- 
tures, I folded up again. It was alone the tale 
of my Agatha for which I had dared commit 
a breach of my more faithful duty. There 
were other scattered memoranda, notes or re- 
flections, dated in various places, and in coun- 
tries widely separated. It appeared, from them, 
that he was continually exercised with sorrow ; 
that he derived great consolation from religion : 
that his different pilgrimages were generally 
connected with some christian or philan- 
thropic object : that he visited dungeons and 
hospitals, the abodes of poverty and wretched- 
ness, with ahui, and with the voice of comfort : 
16 



STORY OF A LIFE. 199 

that, in many cases, he had, both among the 
Moors and the heathen, spoken words in season, 
and left an impression on their hearts which 
put to silence the voice of scoffing, and humbled 
the haughty brow. 

One note I observed without a date, which 
must apparently have been written in Italy; and 
it was the more remarkable, as coming from 
one who rather than embrace the faith of the 
Catholic, had given up all his hopes of earthly 
bliss. 

" I frequently enter the open churches at the 
hours when there is no service. It is a custom 
most praiseworthy, most hallowed, to leave wide 
the gate of the temple ; where are the poor in- 
habitants of narrow and of noisy dwellings to 
find the privacy and the silence so assisting, so 
necessary to prayer? There are always, I 
observe, some human forms kneeling about, 
solitary, near gloomy shrines ; the grave-stones 
are fitting hassocks for the aged and the widowed. 
Want and woe look on them as the promises of 
peace. They are generally the miserable, who 
steal in for moments of repose under the shadow 
o 4 



200 STORY OF A LIFE. 

of Almighty wings, and leave the healthy and 
the happy, forgetting God in the sun, 

" The garbs I see are generally mean, or the 
faces are wrinkled, or they are wan. I 
love to mingle my woes with theirs ; and, 
though it is not at the sacring bell that I kneel, 
— and it is not before the picture, or the image 
that I cross myself, in the gloomy aisle of an 
old, a silent, a venerable church, my spirit al- 
ways more freely prays." 



" Who ever yet stood among the solemn 
ruins of some mouldering pile, where men have 
kneeled, and sobbed, and tears have fallen on 
their gray beards, without a heaving of his 
bosom, or an upward glancing of the eye ? 
How many reverend histories attach to the 
damp green stones you tread upon ! The broken 
scutcheon, and dark ivy mantling over it, where 
the red banner hung. What a sublime object 
for the eye of contemplation ! temples for 
thought, such roofless ruined places ; whence 



STORY OF A LIFE. 201 

we come out humble, and hopeful — in charity 
with all the dead, and the livin^^." 



The last note seemed to have been written 
not long before his death. 

"Strange that, after twenty years, my heart, all 
heavy as it is, should feel so young in that sad 
power of loving. Hapless — hopeless has been 
my love, still is it strong, as when, in early 
youth, I daily fed it with a lover's gaze. So- 
litary as has been my desert path, through the 
wilderness of life — thy image, my beloved 
Agatha, has soothed my lonely hours. This, 
heaven has permitted here ; an earnest that we 
shall meet hereafter. Yes — we shall meet 
again — where there can be no more separation, 
no more sorrow, — no more death ; — Even now, 
perhaps, the messenger of mercy awaits me — 
the plague is begun — that terror to so many ; 
but which brings only hope to me." 

And his hope was now possession — his faith, 
sight — his body, alone, lay rotting here below 
— his spirit had flown up, swifter than any 



202 STORY OF A LIFE. 

wing to the God who gave it; and he was 
bowing down before the King of glory with such 
tears, as the pardoned shed ; such love as the 
pardoned alone feel. 

How mean — how poor — how base — how 
utterly despairing I felt as I contrasted my life 
and my loves with his. Death would not come 
to me ; I bore, as it were, a charmed life. 
Again I was bitterly tormented by the thought; 
of my apostacy ; and yet I asked myself what 
would this Henry have done, situated as I was ? 
Would he have given up the gentle Fatima? 
Could he have seen her die ? Vain questions 

— in a course hke his, such temptation would 
never have assailed him; or if it had, a way of 
escape would have been made for him by that 
mighty hand, to which he daily looked, on 
which he daily leaned. 

I had hoped that the poison in my veins 
would spread itself, and destroy me. It did not 

— my pulse beat quick — my blood boiled — 
my skin burned — I rested ill — I scarce broke 
bread ; and yet I lived, and moved strong ; and 
my mind was full, seeming to have a clearer, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 203 

and more increasing capacity for wretchedness. 
— I walked about haggard in the bezesteins. 
One day as I was returning homewards, not a 
week after the death of Henry, I saw a crowd, 
with anxious faces, hurrying towards the palace 
of the Pasha. Turks, Arabs, and Greeks were 
all mixed together ; but, there were more 
Greeks than I ever remember, on any other oc- 
casions, to have seen assembled in public at 
Cairo. The Turks and Arabs were talking 
loud, and hoarse, and looking savage at the 
Greeks ; these last were grave, and sad ; 
yet I thought there was an air of triumph 
about them, melancholy and mournful, but still 
of triumph ; such as that with which con- 
quering soldiers look upon their own slain and 
wounded. 

In the middle of the crowd I now discovered 
the object of their interest ; a fine tall young- 
man, with one of those pure Grecian faces, which 
have certainly a more dignified and more beau- 
tiful expression than the features of any other 
race on earth. He was clad in the habit of 
a monk, and he was now on his way to the 



204 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Turkish judge, to declare his resolution, rather 
to die a Christian, than to live on as an apostate. 
The Turkish judge was in the court-yard of the 
palace, and, mounted on his gray mule, was 
just coming forth after an interview with the 
Pacha. He silenced the reviling crowd, and 
endeavoured to reason the unfortunate out of 
his extraordinary purpose. I pressed near ; 
and looked steadily, and eagerly on the oft'ered 
victim. He lifted his eye and fixed it calmly 
on the venerable looking Turk. 

" I come," said he, '' from the desert of 
Sinai. For months have I fasted on that holy 
mountain, in preparation for this hour. The 
rock my bed ; the water of that scanty rill, 
from which the forty martyrs drank, and the 
daily dole of the convent-beans, my only sub- 
sistence. I have prayed to my offended saints 
for strength to bear this hour. I am ready." 

The judge evidently wished to save his life; 
he remanded him to his dungeon, for he was 
already a surrendered prisoner. I followed 
him back to the spot where the prison stood ; 
all the way he was repeating aloud his firm re- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 205 

solve, and declaring his eagerness to suffer. I 
returned home, and all night I thought with ad- 
miration on this noble young Greek. I, too, 
resolved like him, to abjure the faith of Ma- 
homed, and to ask the blow of the executioner. 
Yet, as I walked my chamber, I, that had al- 
ready courted death, I that had embraced the 
corpse spotted with the pestilence, that had 
opened my vein for the black poison, and bade 
it mingle with my healthful blood, in the sincere 
desire that it might corrupt what is the life ; 
I felt that I shuddered at the idea of a martyr's 
death. 

I threw myself down, and tried the prayer of 
preparation : it would not come. I could shape 
no form of words : my heart could conceive no 
prayer, — my mind's eye saw nothing bright 
or hopeful in the dreaded future; and my 
flesh, my coward flesh, trembled. 

I rose with the dawn and went out ; I 
hastened to the prison — the execution of the 
young Greek had been decided on. He was 
led forth with his hands tied behind him, and I 
learned, among the crowd, that during the 



206 STORY or A LIFE. 

night the Turks had made great efforts to shake 
his resolution; especially his former master and 
patron, a wealthy and warlike bey, at whose 
incitement he had turned Turk about two years 
before. He was deaf to every promise — every 
allurement He had turned from the offers of 
wealth, women, land, horses, all the fondest 
objects of his early and known ambition, with 
contempt. They had finally tried the effect of 
torture ; he endured it. His countenance, in- 
deed, showed, from its extreme paleness, what 
he had undergone ; but though he looked weak, 
he walked firm. It was in the large open space 
before the mosque of Hassan, that the expecting 
multitude was collected to witness the awful and 
cruel death, to which, by order of the Pacha, 
he was doomed. Many attempts had been 
made by his former master to get the dreadful 
punishment changed for the quicker and milder 
one of beheading; but they had not been attended 
with any success, for the Pacha was a cruel 
man, and a bigot. 

He was stripped naked ; a cloth around his 
loins was the only covering that concealed 



STORY OF A LITE. 207 

any part of a naked frame, which might have 
furnished a perfect model of manly beauty for 
the imitation of admiring sculptors. 

I looked upon this form of life, and glory — was 
it indeed to die ! — and thus ? — and so young? 

The dark executioners threw him down on 
his belly, upon the sand, and with a razor they 
gashed a deep wound for the impaling stake. 
Before they had time with their ready paste 
to staunch the flowing blood, a dozen Greeks, 
wounded and beaten as they did so, had broken 
into thestill circle, and dipped theirhandkerchiefs 
in the stream, to them so naturally sainted ; but 
the Turkish guard instantly threw buckets of 
water all about to wash up the precious flow, 
and many of his countrymen were driven back 
with the blows of staves, and sabres, disap- 
pointedly. 

It was a long and pointed stake they now 
brought, thick as a man's arm, and they thrust 
it into his writhing body far, yet nowhere out ; 
they had fixed a stay upon it to prevent this. 
And now, with a barbarous yell from all around. 



208 STORY OF A LIFE. 

it was raised aloft in the air, then planted firmly 
in the earth. 

Oh ! God — it is a dreadful passage to the 
tomb ! It was very horrible — his moans — his 
quivering lips — his eyes upturned in agony. 
The sweat that stood upon his forehead — his 
call upon the name of Christ ; repeated oft with 
that fervour of belief, which showed a mourning, 
penitent, imploring heart. 

Three hours he hung a piteous spectacle, and 
there came close to the stake a man of a great 
age, with white hairs, and feeble steps, and lean» 
ing on a veiled woman. The Turk struck the 
the elder, and would have driven him back. 

" I am his father," said the old man, " do 
riot strike me, without it be to kill — then, wel- 
come. I am his father, let me look upon my 
dying child ; and this his wife : suffer us, I 
pray." 

Then the captain of that Turkish guard was 
moved, and he spoke kind to them, and asked 
them for one minute only to turn aside, and he 
gave the signal to dispatch him : so they took 
their mallets and knocked off from the stake the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 209 

transverse stick ; and it pierced, and broke 
througli his white breast, and he bowed his 
head upon it and died with a loud (and it 
sounded a happy) sigh. 

Notwithstanding all the agony, sympathy, and 
shuddering, shrinking terror, with which I had 
witnessed this dreadful scene ; although I had 
felt the night before that I had a fear even of the 
sword of the executioner, yet now — strange revo- 
lution of the feeling ! my every nerve was strung 
up to a like sacrifice. I ran forward — I called 
aloud, that " there was no God, but God, but 
that the Messiah was the Son of God, and Mo- 
hammed a lying prophet." I clasped the im- 
paling stake, and asked to be its second victim. 
The crowd would have destroyed me on the spot, 
but for the guard : while here I stood wound up 
to the sacrifice, and awaiting the sentence of the 
judge, who was in the mosque of Hassan, and 
to whom some of the crowd had run, demand- 
ing my immediate execution — unthought of at 
the moment ; unexpected — not seen even since 
I left Alexandria, — at lightning speed ad- 
vancing, I saw, and knew the noble Malek, 

VOL. II. p 



210 STORY OF A LIFK. 

He did not speak to me ; he looked at me 
indeed with an expression of deep interest ; but, 
to the soldiers and the crowd he stated that t 
was mad, quite mad, and knew not what I said. 
It was in vain I, first calmly, — then ravingly 
denied it, and stated my desire to suffer. The 
judge rode up at the moment, and after hearing 
what Malek continued to repeat, he pronounced 
upon my fate, and directed that I should be led 
away, and placed among those poor wretches 
regarded as holy, who are kept in the large 
khan devoted to that purpose in the very heart 
of the city. I have said that I had strung my 
nerves up to endure the bitter and tormenting 
death of impalement, that I had boldly and 
loudly called for it, — and yet — and yet I freely 
own, that when I was led away, I had a something, 
nay much of an inward feeling not to be defined 
— a sensible, warm hugging of my dastard flesh 
-r- it was not to be torn theo. — not pierced — 
and my soul, my spirit not yet to be cast down 
upon that desolate, and solitary shore, from .the 
gloomy aspect of which we are always so fear- 
fully turning, and trimming our torn sails, and 



STORY OP A LIFE. 211 

bearing back again into the tempestuous ocean 
of life. 

Here, however, in the new scene of my ex- 
istence, there was no roaring of the wave, no 
rushing of the blast. It was a state of being 
to be likened only to the moveless ocean of the 
frozen north, when the long drear night of a 
polar winter broods over a still waste of tower- 
ing iceberg, and snowy shore, and waves sunken 
to sleep ; black, smooth, silent, chained up by 
frost. Here, for fourteen moons, to me they 
seemed as years, I lay upon a bed of straw in 
a narrow den with a grated front ; in chains I 
lay ; they tended me as I have seen a keeper 
with the tameless tiger ; through the bars they 
gave me bread ; — blows too they would have 
added, but superstitious fear forbids. 

The gate of the sad court is ever open. The 
pious and the tender; the heartless and the 
grinning ; the wondering and the timid walk 
hourly in, and round the strange menagerie. 
Man, the melancholy show : here, laughing at a 
straw ; there, babbling to the heedless wind ; 
here, looking and uttering curses in maniac hate, 
p 2 



212 STORY OF A LIFE. 

there raving after some lost joy ; and all in 
words the wisest listener cannot gather meaning 
from ; or, sometimes couching sullen and 
silent, but with eye that menaces the gazer. 
Oh ! it is a fearful sight to look upon ; a man, 
whose thoughts have gone before him to the 
tomb, beyond it rather, scared but not perished, 
waiting for him in another world — immortal 
things conceived by human hearts, and which, 
as we entertain them into wishes, shall rise 
trumpet-tongued, and in one silver note, or 
blast terrific, wake at one mOTnentall — all the 
memories of a life below ; and, in the same short 
moment, picture to the startled conscience, all 
that it may hope or dread through an eternity 
of bliss, or vain bewailing. 

Wretched indeed, was my existence here ; 
the sights and sounds appalled me ; in the night 
they were very awful ; often did I envy these 
poor creatures ; for in one respect even they 
are to be envied ; they cannot sin ; they cannot 
suffer from the silent stripes of busy conscience 
lashing the bleeding heart. With me, too, this 
was yet more in exercise than ever, for it is 



STOKV or A LITE. 213 

ihe custom every Friday to lead out the insane 
and take them to the mosque at the hour of 
prayer. At first I raved, and uttered such wild 
sayings, that I hoped they might confine me 
more closely, but on the contrary they seemed to 
regard me as a person, so stricken of God, that 
for me they numbered over their beads ; for me 
they gave the larger alms ; to my grated cell 
they came in larger numbers, and brought all 
the strange Mussulmans who arrived from any 
distant country. How often did I accuse Malek 
of barbarity, to 'have saved my life only to 
abandon me to a living death ; still there were 
moments even then to me of some soothing, 
and many of such fear, that I will not, dare not 
say I would again have asked the impaling 
stake. After a while I ceased to disturb the 
worshippers in the mosque, and it became a 
pleasure to me to see them devout, and pros- 
trate. I listened to the Koran with eagerness, 
and where I caught from its page the reflected 
light from our holy Scriptures, I dwelt on it for 
days with thankfulness. There was a fountain 
in the centre of the court which played con- 
p 3 



21 4 STORY OF A LIFE. 

stantly. I became as much attached to it as if 
it had been a Hving thing ; it moved, and 
sparkled, and spoke. There was a sweet com- 
panionship about it ; from the bars of my den I 
could catch a small angle of the sky ; for hours 
and hours I would gaze up. — Did a bird fly 
over it? I scratched a longer line upon my 
black wall. The sun, the moon, the planets, 
such as in their course might pass it. I watched 
for them, and felt the brief moment of their 
hurrying passage one blessed to me, and 
stolen from the cruel tyranny of that evil 
angel, who had conquered me, and seemed to 
reign over, and control my miserable destiny. 
Thus cheerlessly, fourteen months had passed 
away, and hope had utterly forsaken me, when 
as they were leading me back from the mosque 
one Friday, a common Arab of the desert came 
near, and after looking at me very intently, 
broke off a bit of the sugar cane, that he was 
himself eating, and gave it me, uttering a 
" Bismillah" aloud, but closer in my ear he 
whispered " Malek ;" then, mingling with the 
crowd, he withdrew. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 215 

I took with me the piece of sugar cane to my 
cell in wonder — what could the Arab mean ? 
Malek was near perhaps ; some kindness was 
intended me, I felt certain ; Malek was 
about to effect my release, but how ? it mattered 
not, I should learn more — enough I knew to 
build an airy castle on. The hope of freedom 
awoke, and filled my heart with joy. Sugar 
cane was a common thing for one poor Fellah 
to give to another in kindness, and there was in 
its juice a pleasant sweetness, that helped me to 
pleasant thoughts ; soon again, perhaps, I should 
look some field green and gay with them. As 
thus I thought, a hollow juiceless joint broke 
between my teeth, and instead of the soft pith, 
something tough resisted them; it proved a 
small scroll of thin parchment, I durst not read 
it then, I hid it till the night, and it was by the 
bright light of a full moon, which hung, for a 
few moments that happy night in its passage 
over my cell, that pressing close to the bars I 
read the following note in Arabic : — 

" I am far from you, and my soul has been 
r 4 



216 STORY OF A LIFE. 

in darkness for you, for it loved you; have no 
fear ; trust yourself with the bearer, he will 
guide you to me ; — come, we will dwell in a tent, 
and ride together in battles — come quickly. 

<' Malek." 

I thought that long suffering had too severely 
schooled me, for any thing again to move me as 
this did. I shed tears of joy, my heart leaped in 
my bosom as though I were young again. The 
next day I was all eagerness, and expectation ; 
eveiy moment I thought the Arab would come 
and visit me. I examined every face that en- 
tered the gate, with earnestness, and turned away 
with disappointment ; the day following, and 
the day after again, in like manner, I looked and 
longed, and still it wore away in hope deferred. 
When a week had passed by, I thought that, 
deterred by the difficulty or danger of the under- 
taking, the Arab had shrunk from the attempt. 
Certainly he risked his head upon it, for they 
watched me with extraordinary jealousy. My late 
partner, too, had procured a Firman from the Pa- 
cha to take possession of my property as an incur- 
able, firstr eceiving the half of it himself in fee. 



STOUy OF A LIFE. 21T 

I was just again entering the gloomy gates 
of our Khan on the following Friday, when a 
loud disturbance was raised in the bazaar near, 
by the violent quarrel of some Arabs ; every 
body's attention was called by the language of 
bloody menace, and a crowd gathered rapidly. 
My attendant turned, and went a yard or two 
for a nearer view. At this moment the " Bis- 
millah" was whispered in my ear, and the name 
of " Malek," and the same Arab, whom I 
had seen before, caught me by the arm, and 
led me hurriedly down a lonely lane; two 
dromedaries were kneeling there. To wrap 
round me a common brown zaboot, to place 
me on one of them, to leap on his own, and 
to set forward, was the work of an instant. 
We passed forth out of the Victory Gate, and 
making a circuit by the desert, came down to a 
retired spot just opposite Ghizeh. Here, at 
the voice of the Arab, our dromedaries kneeled 
down under a date tree, and we alighted. 
He took bread, and dates from a bag, and 
gave me to eat, but he would not speak, or in 
any way, as yet, satisfy my curiosity. Towards 



218 STORY OF A LIFE. 

evening 1 observed a boat with a party of 
Arabs ; the moment they came to shore, my 
companion embarked me and the two dromeda- 
ries. As we were crossing to the opposite bank, 
they spoke thick, and laughingly to each other ; 
and as I looked upon their features stained with 
dust and sweat, I found that the disturbance 
had been raised by them, and that the violent 
quaiTelling was only a blind the better to favor 
my escape. 

The very instant that the boat made the 
land, — we got out of her. He again placed me 
on my beast, and rode forward, at the rude 
rough trot of the dromedary, until we had 
past through the cultivated tract, and gained 
the desert. It was already dark when we 
reached a small well close to the pyramids ; 
here again we alighted. Not far from the 
spot there was a small natural arch in the 
face of the rock ; he led me in, and striking 
a light for a torch with which he was provided, 
I found myself in a cave-like chamber, with 
a mat, a gourd or two, and an earthen cooking 
vessel. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 219 

" Ibrahim will not return to-night," said my 
conductor, "I saw him passing in at the Victory 
Gate, as we came out of the city ; we may sleep 
here." 

I found this Ibrahim was a Sauton ; this his 
hermitage, and never, perhaps, was any situa- 
tion better chosen for a life of seclusion, and 
penance. 

My anxious desire was now to learn some- 
thing from my conductpr, concerning Malek, 
and our present destination. He was pro- 
vokingly brief. " Malek is at Djidda. I have 
sworn to him by the black stone of Mecca to 
bring you safe to him ; what need you know 
more ?" 

I have never met with a man so taciturn. He 
did every thing as silently as a mute ; if he 
spoke to me, 'it was with the eye, or the wave, 
or beckon of the hand. His look was ever 
very expressive ; his form spare, and lean ; but 
his limbs all sinew, and strength. He made a 
large fire at the door of the cave with some 
wood that lay near ; put bread before me ; and 
then seating himself close to the fire, he smoked 
in silence. I too drew near ; to my questions 



220 STORY OF A LIFE. 

I got no Other reply than a shake of the head, 
or that backward bend, which is with them the 
assenting nod, and at last, he pointed to the 
cell as intimating to me to retire, and laying his 
own liead back upon a stone fell asleep. I 
could not sleep for very happiness : God knows 
the past was melancholy enough, anxious 
enough the future; but the present was sweet, 
and refreshing to my soul. I, but yesterday the 
chained tenant of a grated den ; its narrow 
floor, its low roof of stone, my earth, my sky, 
my world ! was now free. I stood upon the 
wide and boundless desert ; the vast blue con- 
cave of the starry heaven above me ; and near 
an awful pile of giant steps, Titanic, made to 
scale that field of light ; and a broad brilliant 
moon pouring on every object her silver flood 
of peaceful glory. 

I climbed the pyramid ; that " everlasting 
hill" of stone. Weak from disuse, my limbs 
could scarce perform for me their office ; but at 
length I gained and stood upon the lofty 
summit. It was as if I had left the world. Where 
ivasikeijcoildF — was thai it, that white cloud 



STORY OF A LIFE. 221 

of vapour which hung long and narrow below ? 
— was that it, that dull, that desolate plain ? • — 
afar so dark and dreary, and near, shining with 
no life, no gladness, but reflecting back the 
white rays of the kind moon, just as some 
corpse might the taper's light, that scares from 
its silent bier, darkness, and those fiends who 
love it; — surely it had vanished — there was 
no sound, no sight of man — chaos had come 
again, or rather that happy day, when the lights 
rolled in calm state in the high firmament, be- 
fore man was. 

A sigh of the night wind burst from between 
two loosened masses of the huge stones. " Fool,* 
theyseemed to say, "we are the world: — kings 
swelling in their pride — slaves fainting in their 
toil, dug us from the dark quarry and reared us 
here ; a hundred thousand of such things as 
you lived only for this object; for us they earlier 
waked, they later slept ; — they cried over us 
with bitter tears ; the blood of their lashed 
skins has stained us ; they cursed, they groaned, 
they sickened, and they died ; and then he 
died, for whom they had so laboured — all 



222 STORY OF A LIFE. 

rotted. They, at our base, close crowded in 
their sandy graves, — he, in the deep dark 
centre of this mighty monument, alone, in sad 
solitary pride. The winds have ages since 
scattered the dust of all. Here they are no- 
thing; but their shades together stand where 
thou shalt stand, and all men. In chillness and 
in darkness they await the inevitable hour. — 
you look up to the shining stars, as if you 
sought to join them — art fit ? — can you 
dare to desire your death ? — do you indeed, in 
all the fearlessness of an innocent and firm 
hope, look upwards ? — if not, down, down to 
the world again ; it is your element, your 
heaven — yon pure and holy region would be 
to you a hell." 

Such was the voice of the sighing wind, and 
down, in humble mood, I trod with cautious 
steps, — felt, at each timid stagger of the foot, 
or grasping of the outstretched arm, that I 
clung to life ; nor when I laid me down upon my 
mat, and closed my eyes, did I dare to hope 
that again they might never open. In the 
morning I awoke to look upon the world, from 
which I had been for a time exchided, or rather 



STORY OF A LIFE. 223 

to begin life again — yes, and to find that it had 
still charms. There is no sadder looking animal 
than the dull dromedary- ; there is no scene more 
drear, or naked than the Lybian desert; and 
yet, as I journeyed on behind my brown and 
silent guide, and thought that I was again to 
see a human being, to whom I was dear, I did 
feel happy, and I looked around, at the free and 
open space on all sides spreading, with an ex - 
ulting transport. 

We travelled all the day parallel with the 
line of the Nile, but so far from the cultivated 
land as to avoid all observation. Towards even- 
ing we bore up (even as ships do) for the green 
coast, which skirts this ocean of sand ; and the 
old Arab leaving me near a small rock about a 
mile from a date grove in which I heard the 
shout of the cattle-driving peasant, went towards 
it to water the animals, and get food — then re- 
turning he gave me a few dry dates, and a coarse 
dhourra cake, and, with a smile of triumph, as 
having catered sumptuously, a gourdful of 
camel's milk; and then he lighted a fire, and 
sat silendy stirring its ashes, and smoking till 
overcome with slumber — I, in imitative quiet- 



224 STORY OF A LIFE. 

ness doing the like. — A few hours' repose, 
and again we mounted, and rode forward. 

In this manner we travelled for some days ; 
by day shaping our course in the desert, 
in the evening coming near again to the 
inhabited country, — once only did we meet 
any persons on that waste ; and those were only 
a few swart Moggrebyns, in white cloaks, 
having white and peaked cowls; and they looked 
out darkly from them, and uttered the hoarse 
salaams, as they passed us by. 

I shall always remember this strange, silent 
journey with pleasure ; there was a calm about 
it very sobering to my poor spirit, after all I had 
gone through. It is thus, that when the couched 
eye again receives from the skilful leech the 
power of seeing, for a time the chamber is dark- 
ened, that it may not be dazzled, to its injury, 
by too sudden a glare of bright and attractive 
objects. So with me : I could not have borne 
to gaze again, at first, upon the busy world ; but 
the yellow sand, and the grey rock, were objects 
suited to the mind, just loosed from chains like 
mine, and from the looking on sights, and listen- 
ing to sounds, which had well nigh broke it down 



STORY OF A LIFE. 225 

for ever. On the evening of the eighth day we 
arrived at the foot of some white hills, not far 
from the river, and nearer to a village, if such 
it could be called, than we had ventured hitherto. 
The dwellings seemed all caverned beneath tall 
banks of soft stone, or in the face of loftier rocks, 
and two or three persons only were visible, and 
these looking about suspiciously. At last, one 
approached my guide, and, after a short confer- 
ence between them, my companion bade me get 
off the dromedary, and follow the stranger, say- 
ing, that he would show me a safe place of con- 
cealment for a day or two, as there was danger 
abroad, and an order had come to search for 
and seize me if I could be found. The Arab to 
whose charge I was now committed brought 
out an ass for me to ride, and walked swiftly 
a-head of me. He led me for some miles 
through desolate and lonely places ; not a weed 
grew on them ; white sand, or brown gravel, or 
slaty rock ; over which no insect even hummed 
or buzzed, to break the stillness. At last, in a 
deep and narrow ravine he stopped, and clapped 
thrice with his hands : I looked around in won- 

VOL. II. Q 



226 STORY OF A LIFE. 

der ; not a person was to be seen, not an object 
that had Hfe ; no path, save that by which w^e 
had entered. There was a pause : I gazed upon 
the scorched soil, and on the sterile banks, that 
rose on either side, and asked him why we 
stopped in such a spot. He smiled. Two men 
now suddenly started from the earth, it seemed, 
and joined us: they spoke together; then my 
conductor motioning me to get off the ass, 
mounted it himself, and rode away from the 
place by the path at which we had entered, and 
left me alone with these dark-looking, savage 
men. They both wore daggers : I was unarmed, 
so I felt myself at their mercy ; yet knowing the 
faith of the Arab, remembering that I had eaten 
with and slept with the one who had guarded 
me from Cairo, I was unwilling to believe that 
I should be betrayed. But it was with a strange 
anxiety that I stooped at their bidding, and crawled 
under a huge mass of rock, through a narrow 
opening, — which, seen even from the distance of 
a few yards, appeared only as an uneven broken 
place, the bottom of which you might? touch with 
a stretching arm, — and found myself in a lofty 



STORY OF A LIFE. 227 

passage, at the feet of another Arab, who stood 
erect in it, and held a blazing torch, that lighted 
all the walls, and showed them bright with many 
colours of a gay and dazzling vividness. Just 
coming from the open glare of day and the 
blinding desert, I was too bewildered to see 
any thing distinctly; all thought or reflection 
concerning what it might be, or whither I was 
brought, escaped me; and so long and so often 
the sport of Fortune, the tales to which I had 
listened at Alexandria and Cairo came over me 
with all the power and the force of some terri- 
fying reality. I stooped down, and would have 
gone forth again. I felt persuaded that all was 
magic around me; some dread illusion of an 
enchanter. The other Arabs were entering, and 
they rose and hoarsely laughed together, and 
led me on. " Fear not," they said, " it is the 
palace of Pharaoh" — " Pharaon, Pharaon !" 
they loudly repeated, and invoked Allah with 
a low muttering. Still reflection refused to come 
to my aid. All my latter studies had been 
Oriental; with them my mind had been im- 
bued ; and of the ancient Egyptians I did not, 
S2 



228 STORY OF A LIFE. 

at the moment, think even ; nor did the name 
of Pharaoh reassure me, for with them all won- 
ders, all strange ruins, all lone pillars, all trees 
of large or of strange growth in solitary places, 
are Pharaohs: so with the mine, the gem, the 
shining mica in the glittering sand, the fire fly 
of the night, all Pharaohs ; and from the spirit 
of some restless Pharaoh, the mighty flood, the 
stone that fails from Heaven when lightnings 
menace, and the big hail, are thought to come ; 
blessings or curses, all alike they trace to that 
dread source. 

The man who held the torch now led the way 
down the long passage and through painted 
chambers. All horrible things were pictured on 
the walls ; serpents, bright spotted, writhed in 
never-ending folds, and naked men upheld them, 
and headless victims knelt before them. Long 
rows of bending captives, with their arms behind 
them bound, were figured : and upon couches, 
like to biers, lay the swathed bodies of the dead, 
while human shapes, with monster heads of dog, 
or bird ; of ape, or crocodile; leaned over them, 
or in a black boat, conveyed and guarded them. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 229 

And, here and there, on wall and pillar, large as 
the life, was seen a kingly form, in rich garb, 
and with him the fio^ure of a smilinoj sorceress : 
from his forehead there sprouted a serpent head, 
hooded as in wrath and pride, while above hers, 
a large orb, with horns unsightly, rose, and 
seated on a throne, was an awful personage in 
white robes, with skin and features of an unna- 
tural and ghastly blue ; and a thousand things 
were depicted all about, in small diminutive 
shapes, but all strangely and brightly coloured ; 
birds, beasts, and crawling things ; the parrot 
and the owl, the hawk, the wolf, the bull, the 
hare, the snake, the beetle, and the locust; and 
bodiless arms, and legs that walked alone, and 
bodies without arms, that stood or squatted; 
others that kneeled, and poured libations ; and 
often the solitary single eye glared bright and 
black from the white wall, amid axes, and altars, 
and chains, and cabalistic characters. 

Tremblingly I followed on, and shuddering 

stopped, as the wild notes of a shrill pipe pierced 

my startled ear: it was a shrieking sound of 

glad mocking squeaks. The Arabs did not laugh 

o 3 



^30 STORY OF A LIFE. 

now, but urged me on with a graver look. In 
a dark corner of the inner apartment, on which 
a feeble light was thrown by a small lamp of oil, 
there sat a grey and aged man. He was clothed 
in a light blue garment, and had a deep red tur- 
ban. A white beard fell upon his breast ; and 
with shut eyes, and the noddings and waving 
action of a kind of phrenzy, he was playing on 
a rude pipe : while before him, with long and 
lifted necks, and crests out-shooting, and spread 
hoods, three large living serpents moved in quick 
circlings, and hissed as obedient to and rejoicing 
in the sounds. 

I felt my mind almost giving way. I had 
been long among the mad, and had listened to 
their ravings when terrors all ideal menaced 
them ; here, there was a something of a reality, 
such as I had never dreamed of ; it took me by 
surprise ; feeble, exhausted in mind and body, 
I thouffht I was to be the victim of some hor- 

C5 

rible incantation, and the sweat stood profuse 
upon my forehead. 

How sweet a thing is the sudden going away 
of fear. How very grateful do we feel to God 



STORY Of A LIFE. 231 

for it ! How, in a kind of humble mood we look 
in with a sort of shame, and pity, and contempt 
for ourselves, that we should be so very weak, 
so easily the captured slaves of terror, so un- 
confiding to mercy already often experienced ! 
Judge what I felt, when a thick curtain on ray 
right hand was drawn aside, and, in a small 
side chamber, fully lighted ; seated upon a car- 
pet with his pipe in hand, and a book open 
before him — I beheld my friend — my only 
friend — Malek, — and he sprung up, and 
clasped me to his manly bosom, and kissed my 
cheek, and laid his head upon my shoulder. 

I wept for gratitude and joy, and smiled too, 
at my own late weakness ; still was I lost in 
wonder. The manly Malek, and his glittering 
arms immured in this strange awful place, I 
could form no guess of his intents, and purpose; 
kind I knew they were — that only. 

He now explained to me that he had been 
unfortunate enough to excite the hatred of the 
Pacha at Cairo; and that he had been ordered 
to Djidda, the very day after he had succeeded 
in rescuing me from the stake; that he had 

Q 4 



2a2 STORY OF A LIFE. 

only lately had an opportunity of attempting 
my release, and that, even since, a plan had 
been discovered to him by which he was to 
have been murdered in Djidda, during the 
feast of the Bairam, which they were now cele- 
brating in that city ; that the reason of this 
enmity was his popularity among the soldiery, 
and his chance pre-eminence of skill in all 
warhke exercises ; that he felt if he remained 
any longer under, or near this murderous 
governor, his life would be the sacrifice ; that 
he was not strong enough to beard him in a 
revolt, without risking the fate and fortunes of 
all those comrades and soldiers most attached 
to him; that he had accordingly determined 
on flight and taking service with a Mogul 
Prince, in India; that he had twice, while 
at Cairo, received from a wealthy native of 
Surat offers of high command and riches if he 
would join the army of a Nawab or Sultan in 
that land, who was most anxious for Turkish 
commanders to his numerous body of horse. ' 

'* The tent," said Malek, "I have ever loved; 
and wars such as here I read of, pointing io 



STORY OF A LIFE. 2SB 

the large scroll on his carpet, I have never 
seen. A friend and companion in this my en- 
terprise, is all that I desire ; you must be that 
friend ; we have rode together ; played to- 
gether with all warlike weapons, and talked 
together, aye as I never talked with any other. 
Your converse and your manners won me. I 
can never forget them ; I have never tried in- 
deed ; I have thought of you continually ; I 
would not have asked you to leave a home of 
happiness. Your beauteous Fatima, your 
pretty babe. I heard of those things, and was 
liappy when I learned your consolations. I 
would not have stayed you on the shore had I 
seen the white sail spread that was to bear you 
back to your own fine country, but you told me 
that you could never revisit it. You seem to 
have lost every thing you loved in life. I have 
found nothing worthy of my love, save the 
hope of friendship, and the pride of such glory 
as may be won in battle. Come — our sad 
equality shall bind us to each other ; you 
shrink at the thought that you are a Mahome- 
tan — why ? Mahommed and Messiah, — it 



234 STORY OF A LIFE. 

is all one — Prophets are they both — Allah 
alone, he is great — he is good — he is above 
all, let us worship him and love each other. 
Do you know where we are ? It is a tomb, this 
painted place ; a tomb of very ancient people. 
There was a pale wanderer here from the West, 
a learned man, who told me of them, how that 
they lived before any prophet, and worshipped 
Allah even as we do now, with fear, and rever- 
ence; but, as none have ever seen him, they 
veiled his symbols in strange forms like these, 
and all their smaller imaged things are but the 
painted language of their praise to him, — their 
faith — their hope. He read me many words, 
« Joy," "Power," " Stability," « Life," "Eter- 
nity," " Immortal ;" and he showed ine how 
they had pictured — a tear ; and, he read too, 
" God powerful," " God Judge :" what more, 
Osman, need we know ? 

I listened to him, all bewildered with de- 
light to think that I was again near a being, 
who had served, and saved me, and offered me 
his heart, and hand, and to tread the path of 
life by his side. I was prepared with no other 



STORY OF A LIFE. 235 

answer than that of the grasping hand, and the 
tearful eye. We sat down on the carpet ; he 
clapped his hands, and the Arabs brought 
coffee, and we refreshed, and talked quietly- 
together. These chambers in the bowels of 
the earth were then the chambers of death. 
These forms and figures on the coloured walls ; 
the gods and hieroglyphics I had learned and 
read about as a boy, and the old man, and his 
serpent brood, who had filled me with such un- 
accountable terror, was one of the common 
descendants of those far-famed ancient Psylli, 
whose easy sorcery procures for them a liveli- 
hood without labour, and a sort of reverence 
among the vulgar, and the timid, I laughed 
with blushes of shame at my late fear, as when, 
by night, in the tapestried chamber, our hearts 
throb at the fancied moving of the arras, and 
with an effort having risen and touched it, we 
turn back to our couch with a more free and 
even-beating pulse, and lay ourselves down 
again with a smile. 

Relieved from all present anxiety — looking 
into'Malek's kind eyes — and resolving in my 



236 STORY OF A LIFE. 

own mind to link my fate with his, and let my 
heart live close to one so warm, and generous 
as his, I said nothing to him about those doubts 
as to whether I was acting right, which, 
although I chased them down again, rose 
whisperingly within me, not loud enough to 
destroy my peace, but sufficiently so to make 
me distrust its continuance. 

On the walls of the small apartment, where 
we sat, the representations were all of a lively 
character, such as flowers, and fields, and 
waters, cattle, and festive peasants, and boats 
with many coloured sails. It was well lighted 
too, and they brought us in fine bread and 
honey ; butter, and milk, and luscious fruits — 
so we feasted together happily. 

At a very early hour on the following morn- 
ing, before the break of day, the Arab, who 
had conducted me from Cairo, returned, and 
we left the tomb with him, and, mounting 
asses, rode away to a place on the river's bank, 
where, he said, a boat was ready to ferry us 
across to our camels. 

Just as we reached the spot we found that a 



STORY OF A LIFE. 23? 

party of Turkish soldiers had seized upon our 
bark by force, and were filling it with their own 
baggage to carry them down the river. — This 
was embarrassing, for we could not now pass 
back by the road, by which we had come 
without being discovered and questioned by a 
party of horsemen, whom we had observed to 
cross in that direction ; but one of the men 
who had been with us in the tomb offered to 
lead us to a secure hiding-place for the day, if 
we would not fear to pass it there. Malek 
bade him lead on ; we followed him to the near- 
est hill's side ; where, near a small rude cavity 
in the broken ground, again lighting a torch he 
crawled into the earth, and we after him. With 
the knee and hand we felt ourselves pressing 
upon substances, that crunched under our weight, 
as leathery parchment, and rotten sticks might. 
It was not at first that I was aware of what 
broke beneath me : they were cofEnless bodies, 
dn-y hoTies that are to live again ; — it was very 
horrid. At last we got into a sort of chamber, 
where we could stand upright; and, where 
there were ranged, on either side, twelve of 



238 STORY OF A LIFE. 

those painted coffins, in which the wealthier 
dead lie embalmed. We lifted one of these 
lids ; the mask painted on it was that of a female. 
Rude as was the portrait, the artist had con- 
trived to give a roundness, as of youth, to the 
cheek and chin — a bright blackness to the eye, 
and to put a smile on the red lip ; within there 
was a strait stiff form ; narrow, and shapeless 
with its hundred linen folds, and the dark mummy 
mouth was gilded o'er, and the hands gilt. A 
branch of the sacred sycamore lay on every 
coffin ; perfect it looked, but, at the gentlest 
touch, fell to a formless dust. Here we passed 
the long, long day impatiently, and said but 
little to each other. I thought of death, and of 
the world when it was young, and of the world 
to come. Glad was I, when, at the dusk even- 
ing hour, they let us out again. Our trusty 
Arab had contrived to get a small raft of reeds ; 
Malek and myself would have swum, but he 
prevented us, saying there were many croco- 
diles in that part of the stream ; so sitting still 
upon this wet, and almost sinking contrivance 
we crossed the river ; found our kneeling beasts ; 



STORY OF A LIFE. 239 

jumped on them ; they rose eager and lofty, and 
bore lis away with quick willingness on their 
well-known desert path. 

We rode for eighteen hours, then halted six 
under a tall rock, which threw out its afternoon 
shadow long and cool. Here we ate of the cold 
hard eggs, provided as our food ; drank from 
the warm water skin, smoked the refreshing 
pipe, and slept. For fifteen hours rode forward, 
then again alighted for three, near to two small 
wells of discoloured brackish water, and snatched 
a short slumber under a lone Acacia tree, thorny 
and spreading out umbrella-like above, but 
giving only a slight, thin, and broken shade. 

Another harassing stage of sixteen hours 
brought us to the coast. A little bay it formed 
just where we came on it — a lonely unfre- 
quented spot — no shed, no tree, no water, 
all sand and rock around ; but out upon 
the shining wave, joyously rocking, lay a large 
black bark with a tall mast, and a wide yard. 
Our Arab guide unwound his turban, and tied 
it on his stick, and waved it round his head, and 
a little shell-like boat put off to us. And now 



240 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Malek took out a purse and a small pistol, and 
presented them to our faithful guide. It was 
surprising with how different a look and man- 
ner he received the common valueless old pistol, 
and the rich well filled purse ; — the latter was 
put hastily in his girdle; the rusty-looking 
weapon he pressed to his heart and forehead, 
and glanced down on it with pride; then. he fell 
at the feet of Malek, and thanked and blessed 
him, and I too came in for my share of his 
blessing, though I had nothing to give him. He 
bowed his head down on my hand. — " May 
your father and your mother be blessed," was 
his beautiful salutation, as I was about to step 
from the shore at going off. My father ! viy 
mother ! whom I had sent early to their sad 
graves. I wept, and none knew why; and, 
though Malek was a young Pylades to me, I 
could not, dared not tell him. 

It was pleasant to us after our hot fatiguing 
journey on the desert to lie down still upon our 
carpets on the high poop, and look on the full 
sail that bore us swiftly on ; pleasant to see the 
waves break, in thick far- thrown spray from our 



STORY OF A LIFE. ^41 

bows, arid to hear the glad music of that rushing 
eddy at the stem, which promises the speedy 
voyage. 

We ran to the harbour of Loheia on the coast 
of Arabia Fehx in about twelve days ; and an- 
chored about a league from the shore. Malek 
had a kind friend in this city ; a merchant of 
Cairo who resided here for the convenience of 
the coffee-trade. Luckily for us he had great 
influence with the emir or dola, and we were 
therefore not only suffered to land, but also to 
make arrangements for a passage to the city of 
Surat, on board a large Arab vessel, that was 
about to be freighted thither by some Indian 
Banians, with a cargo of coffee, which is here 
purchased on more reasonable terms than that 
of Beit el Fakib, which is shipped from Mocha 
and Hodeida. Malek had rather feared that 
some letters sent from Cairo or Judda to the city 
of Mocha, which is the most common port of 
embarkation for the east, might have caused him 
embarrassment, if not led to detention and im- 
prisonment; therefore, he lost no time in con- 

VOL. II, R 



242 STORY OF A LIFE. 

eluding a bargain, and, in a few days, we again 
embarked for the more distant voyage. 

In our crowded vessel there were many Ma- 
hometans from Hindostan, who had been per- 
forming the pilgrimage to Mecca, and were re- 
turning from their homes. We could not but 
remark with interest, those among whom we 
were now about to be cast, and though most of 
these were of a common class, sick, and travel- 
worn, and dirty. Yet a certain elegance of 
feature, and gracefulness of movement, com- 
bined with a sparkling expression in the full eye, 
told us that they were a soft, luxurious, volup- 
tuous race, who lived in a land of abundance 
and pleasures — and we wondered together 
when we reflected that those small delicate hands 
were familiar with the rein of the war-horse, and 
the hilt of the battle blade. 

There was one youth, in particular, about 
sixteen years of age, the nephew of the only 
wealthy Indian on board, Azim Cawn, the son 
of an Omrah of the city of Allahabad, an old 
and faithful adherent of the unfortunate Mogul — 
who delighted us. He was all grace and fire, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 243 

intelligent and curious ; asking with eagerness, 
listening with delighted eyes ; speaking with a 
fond and confiding fearlessness. He w^as just 
the sort of informant we required. Our com- 
plexions and arms ; a few of the horses, that he 
had seen at Djidda, and the Arabic that he had 
heard spoken, these seemed to have impressed 
him with some respect for Turks and Arabs ; but 
whenever he spoke comparingly of the aspect 
of the two countries, it was with difficulty he 
suppressed a sneer at Arabia, while he dwelt 
with unrestrained delight on those pictures, 
which he drew for us of his native land. In 
particular he dwelt upon the great beauty of 
some of those daughters of the tribes of Brahmin, 
with whom it is not lawful to intermarry for 
any but those of the sacred family to which they 
themselves belong. " Listen," said he ; " I will 
tell you a short story of the love, which one of 
the sons of Mohammed bore to one of the fairest 
of these idolaters." 

The Tale of the Young Mogul 

" How will you believe me when I tell you 
R 2 



24'4< STORY OF A LIFE. 

that, in the country of my birth, there are many 
nations and many languages, people of many 
colours, and again divided into many tribes, so 
strictly observing this separation, that they will 
not even touch food prepared by a caste differing 
from their own, although they should die for 
hunger; that they worship the bull, and that 
they regard the chattering monkey as one of 
their inferior deities, and venerate the poisonous 
serpent; that these people have large and stately 
temples of stone, that they have ancient books 
written on the leaves of trees, and that they are 
skilled in all useful arts and divers costly manu- 
factures ; that they wear splendid jewels, and 
that yet they often walk naked except the cloth 
round their loins ; that their priests marry, and 
the priesthood descends to their children ; that 
they have a caste who are born to the use of 
arms, and who alone fight their battles, and that 
the son of the merchant, the potter, or the cul- 
tivator, is always what his father was before 
him, and marries the daughter of one who fol- 
lows the same trade with himself. How will 
you believe me when 1 tell you that, although 



STORY OF A LIFE. 245 

tt is the land of the sun, we have mountains so 
lofty as to be white with everlasting snows; 
that we have forests, in which there grows a 
tree so enormous, that its many stems form a 
shady grove, and that a herd of wild elephants 
may find shelter beneath its branches, and lean 
their huge strength against its trunk ; — but 
the elephant, you do not know it in your country, 
it is a living mountain of flesh, with pillars for 
limbs, it has the force of many horses — we put 
castles on its back, and fill them with archers, 
and we clothe the beast with crimson trappings, 
and he carries them proudly to battle ; and we 
ride upon him to the hunt, and he saves us from 
the fierce and striped tiger, and crushes him 
beneath his heavy feet ; and he has a long and 
pliant trunk, which hangs from his head, and 
which he uses like an arm ; he will pick up with 
it the smallest straw as gently as the least of 
birds, and he will raise with it the fallen cannon, 
or break down the wall, or uproot the tree, or 
lift armed and strong men, and throw them 
without effort from its path, and break their 
bones on the rock ; and yet they are wise, these 
R 3 



246 STORY OF A LIFE. 

animals, and have knowledge above all beasts, 
and gentleness so that a little child might guide 
them. This is a wonder of my country, but we 
have many others; — we have wide and glorious 
rivers, and fertile valleys green with young rice, 
and glistening with its nourishing waters ; and 
spacious plains where reapers laugh over their 
labour as they bind up the sheaves of full eared 
corn ; and fields of the soft white cotton ; and 
gardens of sunny mangoes ; and hills covered 
with thousands of white herds slow moving as 
tjiey pasture. And thousands upon thousands of 
young horses neigh in our meadows. And we 
have cities, wealthy and walled, without num- 
bers ; and treasuries full of gold, and silver, and 
precious stones, and costly stuffs, and mines of 
the sparkling diamond. You smile — I tell you 
this is no fable, such as your story-teller in the 
desert fancies, it is the truth — this is a faint 
picture of my country. 

"In the reign of the renowned Acbar, 
Lord of the World, and shadow of the 
great Allah, it chanced that he went forth 
on a grand hunting-match, in those valleys of 
rock and thicket, which you look upon from 



STORY OF A LIFE. 247 

the lofty and strong towers of Narwha. That he 
might enjoy the manly sport in his bolder man- 
ner, he forbade that his guards and hunters 
should spread among the coverts with poles, 
and cries, and torches, as is the wont to rouse 
the game; he would not even mount his ele- 
phant, but rode forward on a favourite Persian 
horse into a narrow path, that led, as the sound 
told him, on a shallow stream of water flowing 
over a stony bed. A few only of the favourite 
Omrahs were following him; suddenly there 
sprung upon the path a royal tiger, of the 
largest size — Acbar was foremost and alone. 
The beast couched in ferocious beauty, and the 
glaring eye and curling tail warned him of its 
fatal spring ; already, in the fancy of the follow- 
ing nobles, was their beloved emperor lost to 
them, and their lances were raised to avenge 
him on the monster, when Acbar spurred, like 
an arrow forward ; and before the astonished 
animal could advance or turn, he had given it a 
death-blow with his keen sabre, and it fell roar- 
ing in its fast flowing blood. An act so daring 
the oldest hunter present had never even heard 
R 4 



248 STORY OF A LIFE. 

of. They shouted in the fulness of their wonder, 
praised the merciful Allah, and all leaping from 
their saddles kissed the golden stirrup of Acbar, 
and pronounced him the great and favoured 
servant of high heaven. Just at this moment 
a woman stepped from behind a clump of bam- 
boos, which stood among the tall reeds and 
giant grass close to the spot, and fell down at 
the feet of Acbar's horse, and implored him say- 
ing, — ' Oh ! mighty Acbar, a second time 
thou hast saved me from the jaws of death, but 
now prince I am sorry for thy boon — let the 
feet of thy horse, or the edge of some kind 
sword, give me to the grave ; for I am weary of 
my life.' 

" Then Acbar commanded to raise her up, 
and that she should speak more plainly to him, 
for he knew her not. 

" And she stood up before him, and said : 
* Forty moons have passed since my lord 
hunted in these parts ; and when he was 
fatigued, he laid him down under the shade 
of a tamarind tree alone, near the tank of 
palms, which is sacred to the goddess Kali, 
the queen of the destroyer ; and the glory of 



STORY OF A LIFE. 249 

my lord's majesty was veiled under the common 
garb of the hunter, and none heeded or knew him. 
At the hour, when the sun was setting, the holy 
Brahmins, and the people of my caste in the 
village, and all my family came out with the 
body of my betrothed, an aged man, who had 
lately died, and they raised a funeral pile to 
burn his corpse, and me too, they had clothed 
in the yellow robe, and they had threatened 
me, and terrified me, and obedient to their 
bidding I was to burn with my husband's 
body. Then the noise of the tom torn, and 
the singing, and the voices of the crowd awak- 
ened my lord ; and he rose up, and came near, 
and saw me, as I was walking round the pile. 
And he cried aloud, with a voice of thunder, and 
burst into the. circle, and caught me by the 
hand, and said that I should not die : and though 
alone, and none knew you, yet was your pre- 
sence so noble, even as a god's, that none laid 
hands on you. And some horsemen rode up, for 
they were near, and knew your voice; and 
they drew their swords and were about to fall 
on the crowd ; but you called out and bid them 
stay their hands, — and then rebuked my kin- 



'-',-, 



250 STORY OF A LIFE. 

dred, and the people of my caste, and the 
Brahmins, and commanded that I should live. 
And for fear of your great power, and your 
wrath, they obeyed you. And I felt very happy 
though I dared not to show my joy, and lo ! 
Piive — but how ? I have not yet numbered 
eighteen years. I am at once a widow, and a 
virgin ; degraded as a widow, and as a virgin 
neglected, — turned from — loathed — • driven 
out to perform all the lowest, and most disgusting 
offices, begrudged my very food, and sent daily 
to this jungle for sticks, in the hope that some 
wild beast may rid them of one, whom 
they wish to^ but dare not, destroy themselves. 
Look here, my lord,* and she held up a gar- 
ment that had once been white, but was now 
yellow and sordid, torn and stained ; and she 
raised and threw it back upon her head, and 
showed how all her fine tresses were cut off, 
and she left bald and shaven in her shame. 

"Then Acbar gave orders that she should im- 
mediately be taken, and received as a servant 
to one of his wives in the palace at Agra; and 
he rode to his tents, and sent for Abul Fazil his 
minister and friend, and they sat together, and 



STORY OF A LIFE. 251 

discoursed. The prince was very heavy in his 
heart at the tale of the widow, which he had 
just heard, and it entered into his noble mind, 
that if he could inform himself of all the secrets 
and mysteries of the religion of Brahma, that 
he might be able to abolish throughout his wide 
dominions many of the superstitions by which it 
was disfigured, and to bind all his subjects to- 
gether by one common principle of toleration 
and love. He unbosomed himself to his faithful 
counsellor, and begged his advice and assistance. 
Now Abul Fazil had a young brother of the 
name of Feizi, a boy of singular beauty, and 
great talents, only ten years of age* Already he 
well knew all the manners, and customs of 
the Hindoo people, spcke their tongue^, and had 
caught their phrases with the quick imitative 
power of his age. It was resolved between the 
Emperor and his minister that this boy*, under 
the character of a poor orphan of the Sacerdotal 
tribe, should be introduced into the house of 
a learned Brahmin, in the famed city of Be- 
nares, or Casi the splendid, and instructed in 

* An historical fact. Vide Maurice's Indian Antiquities. 



252 STORY OF A LIFE. 

all those sacred mysteries, and secret principles 
of their faith, which seemed to defy investi- 
gation. 

*'Feizi was an uncommon child, vain and 
ambitious ; he eagerly embraced the proposal, 
and promised to be the fittest instrument for 
his sovereign's purpose. Already could he 
rein the steed, already wave the sword; weak 
as was the bow his young arm could string, he 
had already shot an antelope in the chace, and 
his preceptor boasted that he had twice read 
the holy Koran through, and the tales of the 
parrot. So great too, was his command of coun- 
tenance, that neither joy, nor anger, nor love, 
nor hate, nor fear, nor exultation could break 
through the smooth an^ governed mask of his 
young face. He went in the fullest confidence 
of succeeding to his patron's wish, and with a 
resolution to let no object whatever interfere 
with that highest one of advancing to so 
distinguished a place in Acbar's favor, as the 
prospect before him promised. 

*^ When he entered the house of the ancient 



STORY OF A LIFE. 253 

Saradwata which stood in a small garden of 
bananas, on the opposite bank of the sacred 
Ganges to that on which the city of Benares 
is built, even as a boy he felt that the difference 
between a palace and a cottage was not so 
great as he had once imagined. 

" The Brahmin sage lay reclining upon the 
shaded seat before his door, and he raised him- 
self up at the sight of his young orphan pupil, 
and welcomed him with benevolent smiles. He 
was aged, but without one hair of gray, for he 
was entirely shaven ; he only wore a cloth 
round his loins, and he sat the naked philoso- 
pher of his people, raised, in their opinion, 
above the highest of earthly kings. 

" Feizi joined his hands, and spread them ; 
then stretched them forth, and took hold of his 
feet, and touched them with his head. 

" ' Welcome,' said Saradwata, ' if you come 
with a thirsting lip to the ocean of wisdom you 
shall drink and be satisfied. You must con- 
tent your palate with what is simple to the taste 
and your eye with the beauty of divine objects ; 
your ear with devout instruction, and the per- 



254 STORY OF A LIFE. 

fume of virtue alone must regale your organs 
of smelling ; for liquor that intoxicates ; and 
beauty that is wanton, and obscenities that in- 
flame, and delicious odours that overpower and 
subdue the senses, find no entrance here. Then 
he called, and there came out of his cottage 
his wife and a little female child of five years of 
age with her, and they brought two large por- 
tions of snowy rice on leaves of a dark and 
shining green, sown together by fibres, and put 
them before Feizi, and they all smiled on him, 
and Saradwata, said, ' Eat my child;' and Feizi 
answered ' I can see by your eyes that you 
are among those who be^ar in mind that, " as the 
sensitive plant shrinks from the slightest touch ; 
so does an unkind look cause the countenance 
of the dependent guest to fall." * 

" * My child, to practise hospitality with cheer- 
fulness, ensures the blessing of Letchima our 
goddess.' 

" ' May the kind hearted man never know 
what it is to have an enemy,' was the reply of 
Feizi. 

" These few words of Feizi quite delighted the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 255 

old man, and praising the early promise of 
wisdom in his pupil, he pointed to his wife and 
child, and said, — ' This, boy, is your mother; 
this, your sister ; and these walls your home.' — 
So Feizi lived with him as a son ; and, in the 
course of ten years, he became a master of the 
Sanscrit language, and perfect in every branch 
of science, and in every religious truth, or mys- 
tery veiled in that sacred language. The time 
had now come when the Emperor impatiently 
expected his return, and a secret messenger was 
despatched from Abul Fazil to require that he 
should come instantly to the royal presence, and 
reveal, as far as he knew them, the leading prin- 
ciples of the Brahmin faith. 

" It was the evening hour when Mirza, the 
ancient preceptor of Feizi, to whom Abul Fazil 
had confided this mission, arrived in a small 
bark without any attendants but his boatmen, 
at a ghaut near the village of Ramnaghur, op- 
posite to the city of Benares. 

" There he landed ; and walking apart, he 
spread his carpet upon a retired spot on the 
bank, and after performing his ablutions, and 



^56 STORY OF A LIFE. 

offering up the sacrifice of his evening devotions, 
he sate down, and taking out a small coin from 
his girdle, he dispatched one of his boatmen to 
bring him a small bunch of the yellow plantain 
fruit, and a vessel of new milk. 

'* From the spot where he was seated, his eye 
commanded the ancient city of Benares standing 
in tall pride and sacred beauty upon the banks 
of the holy Ganges. Numerous pagodas rose, 
with their pyramidal towers, far higher than its 
lofty dwellings, and pointed up into the blue 
heavens, as if with the prayers of those who 
built them. Immediately opposite to him many 
wide and handsome flights of broad stone steps 
descended to the river, and in other parts 
along the bank, paths led down upon the water. 
It seemed to him as if all the people of that fair 
city were in motion on the banks and in the 
waters. A thousand female forms with gar- 
ments of the richest dye, and urns of polished 
brass that shone beautiful, were descending to, 
or passing up from the worshipped stream — or 
they bowed, or bathed, or sported in the waters, 
— or strung necklaces and bracelets of the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 257 

white and sweet scented moogree flowers, or 
coronals of the yellow tulip-mouthed chumpa, 
and dipped them in waters, and took them 
glistening away ; or they washed their own 
light thin robes, and went up with the wet gar- 
ments clinging in close folds around forms and 
limbs of a perfect beauty. In separate groupes 
the Brahmin men of every class, and of every 
age, from the gray, the decrepid, and the 
wrinkled, to the rounded little limbs of the 
small boy, were dipping their bodies in the 
river, while you might observe all the actions 
of worship, and of prayer; and your ear might 
catch a thousand joyous sounds, and pleasant 
voices as of glad hearts for blessings given, and 
for duties done, and springing too from the 
happy healthful feeling which follows ever on 
their purifying rites. 

" 'Allah be praised!' said Mirza, * Allah be 
praised '/ — and tears filled his aged eyes — 
* blindly these worship thee, O father, yet they 
do worship thee. Thou dost hear, from thy 
high throne, the little still throb of every human 
heart that beats in gratitude to thee ; and the 

VOL. u. s 



258 STORY OF A LIFE. 

voice of the innocent and the young is a 
music, from which thy angels do not turn away ; 
and the tear of the sorrowing sinner is a pearl 
that weighs heavier in thy sight than all the 
costly sacrifices of the millions of altars raised 
by these poor idolaters to thy glory. Bless, 
mighty Allah, the design of thy servant Acbar, 
the lord of the world, who seeks to reclaim 
these erring children by the word of wisdom, 
and not of scoffing ; by the green branches of 
peace, instead of the red swords of persecution.' 
"As he spoke these words he bowed his head 
to the earth. The boatmen returned, and set 
before him, on a broad and silken leaf of the 
banana, plantains both red and yellow of a melt- 
ing richness, and broke for him the large shad- 
dock with its rosy pulp and delicious juice; and 
in a small vessel, fresh from the potter's hand, 
the white milk just pressed from the full udder 
of the cow returning to its stall : and Mirza 
partook of his simple repast with a quiet satis- 
faction, and imagined to himself, as he mused 
happily, the boy Feizi, the pupil whom he 
taught and loved, now grown into the man — 
having already performed a very wonderful part 



STORY OF A LIFE. 259 

in the strange drama of life, and most probably 
about to receive its very highest rewards and 
honours, and to fulfil its noblest destinies. 

" Not far from the tree under which Mirza was 
seated, he observed a small shrine, sacred, as 
he knew, from its symbol, to the god Siva the 
.Destroyer; and he saw coming towards it, 
through the small grove behind, three females. 
Mirza was a man who venerated all religion, 
who was better pleased to see a human being 
prostrate in humility before a stone or a lump 
of sun-dried mud, than walking, lofty in his 
pride, and with a haughty glance, as of defiance 
looking up to the starry sky, and laughing at the 
unseen God — so he moved to the other side of 
the tree that he might not interfere with or dis- 
turb their devotion ; but, curious to see the 
manner of their worship, he kept his eyes fixed 
on the shrine and on the approaching groupe. 

" The principal figure in it at once rivetted his 
gaze. It was a Brahmin girl of about fifteen 
years of age; her complexion of that clear pale 
golden hue, which marks the very highest caste, 
the purest blood, the daughter of the sun. Her 
s 2 



260 STORY OF A LIFE. 

garbj too, bespoke her sacred rank : — a small 
close vest of faint red colour, of a delicate tissue 
wrought over with flowers of gold, just covered 
the young breasts and well formed shoulders, a 
very long shawl of a muslin filmy, and thin as 
woven hair, was wrapped about her slender waist, 
and fell in numerous and decent folds before. 
But above where it mantled her body and head, 
or below, where it fell upon her strait limbs, it 
was no veil, but only softened to the eye her 
bright warm loveliness. Her round neck was 
polished as the sacred shell of Veeshnoo : her 
sealed forehead high, and light, and calm, like the 
•beauty of a midnight moon; her eyebrows arched 
like the bow of the Boy God, — and glances flew 
about from her black eyes like the small swift 
arrows which he wounds young hearts with. 
Her teeth were like to milk-white flowers, and 
her lips to the deep red of the Guava fruit ; and 
the palms of her fine fair delicate hands, and 
the little soles of her small feet, were tinged as if 
she had grasped the pink roses of Ghazipooor, 
or trodden with a. light unbruising step upon 
the scarlet flower buds of the sacred cusa grass. 
Her hair shone dark and glossy, and a round 



STORY OF A LIFE. 26.1 

tire of gold was fixed at the back of her well- 
shaped head ; and her ear-rings, and necklaces, 
and bracelets, and rings around her ancles, 
were of pearl, and gold. She held a chaplet of 
sacred beads in one hand, and a small golden 
vessel with water and flowers in the other. 
Nothing could be more graceful than her gentle 
gait — she smiled upon the damsels who were 
with her, and her beauty seemed dazzling to 
the eye of Mirza as a bright and beaming dag- 
ger suddenly unsheathed. 

" As she stood before the shrine, and poured 
out the sacred water from her golden vase ; and 
sprinkled with it the sweet-smelling flowers, 
and scattered them upon the symbol of the god 
— a fine perfume was shed around, and Mirza 
inhaled it with delight ; and he lifted his voice 
and cried, ' Allah, in the innocence of her heart, 
a chaste, unspotted, pure child, she worships 
she knows not what. Be thou her teacher, her 
preserver, save her from the impure rites of 
Siva. Save her from the fire of those barba- 
rous funeral piles, whereon these idolators offer 
up to thee the hateful sacrifice of victims from 
s 3 



262 STORY OF A LIFE. 

that lovely sex, who, from the cradle to the 
grave, are the w eak, the fond, and the helpless 
slaves of ours.' 

" But he paused, and hstened, for he heard 
a voice sweet as the bird of song when it pours 
forth its warbling melodies to the glistening 
blossoms on the tree it loves. And she said 
to her damsels, — ' How happy is my life — it 
is like that of the lotos, which blooms safe, and 
sheltered, on some still and secret bank, under 
the shadows of the sacred tree. So I, under my 
beloved father : his roof my place of rest, his 
bosom my place of shelter. ' Say rather,' said 
one of her young companions, ' like the young 
antelope reared in a sacred forest, that has no 
fear of any hand, and sports about, and licks 
them all in love, and innocence.' 

"Whose, Priyamvada, should I fear? is it, 
thine ? and she bent playfully and kissed it — 
or this of my loving Reti, and she turned and 
put her young arm round Reti's bending neck 
and kissed her sunny cheek. 

'' ' It is not mine or her's.' 

" * Is it then the grey and aged Sarngarava, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 263 

my father's oldest friend — or the sightless and 
withered hermit that sits on his deer's skin under 
the ancient tree near the huore imaore of Ganesa ?' 

" ' No — you have not named him yet; is 
there no other near and dear to you ? — Seen 
daily, hourly, and as often looked upon with 
fondness. You surely do not forget, you do not 
cease to like Vasanta ?' 

" ' Is not Vasanta as myself? — a second self? 
why, the kissingof ray own hand; it were the same, 
or no, 'tis sweeter, and not so silly to kiss his. — 
He is my brother, we have grown together, play- 
ed together, sat at my fathei-'s feet together, and 
heard his wisdom.' — ' Yes, my dear Letchima, 
this have you done in ignorance, in innocence 
too long ; true, he is thy brother ; but his destiny 
is not to sit beneath the shade of trees in idle- 
ness. He has many things to do such as become 
a man. Even now I heard that he was soon to 
enter on an active life of distant journeys, pil- 
grimages, perils, and visits to many learned 
sages in cities of renown. You must le^m less 
upon him, be less fond ; so shall you better bear 
his loss.' 

s 4s 



264 STORY OF A LIFE. 

" ' What ! Priyamvada, Vasanta leave me ? 
leave his sister ? Oh, it cannot be, we are two 
wings ; one could not fly without the other's 
aid. Be less fond of him — how ? look at Vasanta ; 
listen to him ; then tell me, how T 

" ' Letchima, I know you fear the gods, and 
love the goddess mother of your name. I tell 
you that you must wean your heart from this 
violent affection for your brother Vasanta. It 
cannot be happy — cannot be innocent.' 

'' ' It is happy, it is innocent; you speak darkly 
and unkindly.' ' Listen to me, Letchima, I 
am not unkind, 1 could not be to you ; there 
is nothing on earth that I have seen, nothing 
in heaven that I have dreamed of, which I love 
so well as you. Devoted to a virgin life by 
fate, and, thanks to heaven, by choice, a lover 
of the tender leaflet ; a waterer of the thirsty 
plant, a gazer on the blossoms of the water 
lily, — a trainer of the blooming creeper, that 
twines in delicate grace on the shady Amra tree, 
— all my delights are in the grove and the gar- 
den; where, in every beauteous thing, I trace 
the image and the power of the great Bhavani, 
the mother of all things; but you have ever 



STORY OF A LIFE. 265 

been to me the visible goddess of my little world, 
a beautiful Apsara, escaped from the heavenly 
realms of Indra. and given to our love below.' 

*' ' Talk not so idly and so wildly,Priyamvada; 
thus is it that the tender Reti propitiates her god- 
dess mother, the beloved, the youthful Cam a, 
the son of Maya.' — ' Yes, I must so speak to 
you, for I have a secret to disclose that will 
deeply wound you ; even as the arrow, the deli- 
cate body of the little fawn.' 

" ' My heart flutters, and my right eye 
throbs.* ' Alas ! it is an omen of ill, which 
may Heaven avert ! but listen : — last night I 
sat upon the lower step of that sacred tank, be- 
hind the temple, and watched the lotus blossoms, 
which float on the surface — in the clear dark- 
ness of the night, their leafy cups of rose colour, 
or pale yellow, or pure white, shine soft like 
holy things ; and I strung moogree flowers for 
the festival of Durga, and said mantras to my- 
self in whispers. The moon scarce three days' 
old, rose like a bow of silver, above the tall, 
black trees ; when a voice near, close to me, 
thus strangely spoke : — * Welcome, I hail thy 
crescented form. I love it ; and I \oi\!X once 



266 STORY OF A LIFE. 

more to gaze on crescent-formed squadrons, on 
moon}' shields, and moony sabres — my task is 
well nigh done ; my long hypocrisy may cease. 
I may tear off the mask, and back to palaces 
and silken tents, and live thy follower, Mo- 
hammed, thou only prophet of the only God. 
There's not a secret of this Brahmin faith that 
is not mine. I know the pure and mighty 
truths taught in the oldest of their Vedas. I 
know and have traced the dark corruptions of 
their priestcraft. I come, mighty Acbar, to 
pour these mysteries into thy royal ear, and 
open a passage for your power and wisdom to 
cleanse their temples from polluting rites ; but 
I will pray you to deal with them in mercy, for I 
love these people. Yes, though I pant to leave 
the idle, moveless seat beneath the wall ; and 
spring into a warlike saddle ; and to exchange 
the weiirisome sound of oft repeated truths, for 
a loud voice of stirring trumpets ; I reverence, 
I venerate Saradvvata, almost as much as the 
good Mirza, who taught my infant lips to call 
upon the mighty Allah ! Ere thrice again 
you fill your silver urn, fair planet, I shall away 
for the red towers of Agra.' 



STOPtY OF A LIFE. 267 

" Letchima fell faint upon the bosom of Retij 
and lier broad eyelids veiled up the beauty of 
her sparkling eyes, while the water of sorrow 
fell from her long, dark eyelashes. 

" * Look up, my Letchima/ ' Ah ! no, the 
tree of my hope is broken.' ' Listen. He sat 
a while in silence, for 1 now discovered bis form 
on the higher step. At length he wept aloud 
and spoke about you thus : — Ah ! Letchima, 
you love me as your brother — love me as 
a Brahmachari; and I you, with a love of tenfold 
strength. You may, you can, you must be 
mine. You I cannot leave — you are my re- 
ward ; the life of my heart : the hope whose 
leaf, and bud, and blossom I have watched, as 
though it were, — it is a plant of paradise. I would 
not give the fruit of that bright promise — the 
throb of her chaste heart, beating in wedded 
love for me alone, for all the wealth and all the 
power of Acbar; — the fabled throne, and heaven 
of their dread Indra were poor to it.' As the 
young Letchima lay reclined upon the shoulder 
of Reti, she turned, and hid her face on it, and 
pressed her convulsively with her encircling 
arms. At last she raised her silent, lamenting 



268 STORY OF A LIFE. 

eyes, and looked the sorrow that she found 
no words to utter. ' To your aged father,^ 
said Priyamvada, ' this blow will be shame 
and death, to our Gods dishonour, to our peo- 
ple treachery — to you — -' 

" ' Wo, only wo — I cannot change my heart. 
It is all full of him — has been for long, and 
innocent years. lie is no hypocrite ; he cannot 
be ; he loves, and speaks but of kind and noble 
thoughts — and he does love all the good 
powers that live above the stars. I know he 
does, for I have seen his eyes look up to them, 
and beam with thankful praises. — And he prays 
too ; for 1 have stole upon his solitude in the 
wood's depth, and heard his humble voice, and 
seen his forehead bowed in the dust. And did 
he say that he would love me still? Ah, no — 
it cannot be, and yet it may — Vasanta is my 
brother. Look at him ; he comes — now like 
the Mahdavi plant I'll cling to him, he shall 
not leave us. I could not, would not live alone. 
Torn from that loved tree — my head would 
droop ; my leaves all wither, and the tangled 
ijlant would die,' 



STORY OF A LIFE. 269 

" Mirza rose up, and leaned forward more 
eagerly, for he longed again to behold the docile 
boy, who sat under him in the season of child- 
hood. Yes, grown as he was to the full height 
of manhood, with the high forehead of thought: 
and the eye of grave beauty, and the prominent 
nose of handsome pride, and the broad breast 
of vigour, and the strong limbs, graceful even 
in their lustihood, yet Mirza knew him ; knew 
him by the smile that played upon his lip, as 
Letchima flew fondly to his arms, and the man 
of care became lost, for a time, in all the radiancy 
of happy boyhood's joy. 

" « Vasanta, Vasanta, you will not leave me ; 
they tell me that you are going away — they 
tell me you are not my brother ; we shall die — 
my father and Letchima will die.' 

" Feizi started, trembled, and put her from 
him, — ' Whence learned you this, child ?— 
what mortal has discovered this ? or have the 
powers of the air revealed it? It is true that I 
am not your brother, your gods not my gods, 
my country far away ; and I go again to seek it. 
But you, Letchima, must seek it with me; sweet 



270 STORY OF A LIFE. 

as the voice of the cocila* to the lovely Rasala is 
thine to me — like it I could not blossom, could 
not live without thee. It is our destiny ; you 
have been given me in the high heaven.' 

*' ' Now, may the mother of the gods pardon 
or kill me ! Vasanta, I have dreamed of this be- 
fore. I lay last harvest moon upon our terrace 
roof, and slept, and in a vision of the night there 
fell about me sweet flowers, scattered by unseen 
hands, and pretty green birds that warbled, and 
bright butterflies — and there came a lovely 
child ; he flew on a loory, whose feathers were 
all golden, and red, and purple ; and he had a 
bow of sugar cane and flowers, and arrows tip- 
ped with sunny blossoms ; and he strung his 
bow with a thread, clustered all over with sting- 
ing bees ; and he aimed an arrow at my heart. 
I knew him to be Cama, and I laughed. Maya 
and Reti his mother, and his consort, stood near 
smiling on me ; when suddenly from the cloud 

* An Indian bird of song. For these various Indian 
images, see the drama of Sacontnla, the story of the 
Nella Rajah, and many papers in the Asiatic Researches. 
How much and how little I have availed myself of their aid 
in embellishing the well-known, but naked facts concerning 
Feizi, the reader will discover. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 271 

of flowers, and birds, and butterflies, a figure 
rose and looked on me. No sooner did my eye 
rest on it, than I felt a stinging pain about my 
heart ; then Cama laughed and flew away ; but 
Reti came near, and took my right hand, and 
placed it in the hand of him whom I saw in my 
dream, and bound them with the sacred cusa 
grass. And I was clad in a new garment : and 
looking down, behold the corner of my mantle 
was tied to the mantle of the youth ; and the 
likeness of that youth was as my own Vasanta. 
O say not that my gods are not your gods. It 
is not true, for I love them ; and am taught by 
them to love you, Vasanta — love me, love me, 
do not go away; see where my aged father comes 
to seek us — tell him you will never leave him ; 
be to him a son, be- to me the son of my lord.' 

" * Maiden, I must not tarry in thy cottage 
longer ; the mighty Allah frowns at my delay ; 
Mohammed, the great prophet of God, calls to 
me in every sound I hear — the royal Acbar sits 
impatient on his throne— fly with me, Letchima, 
my heart thy future home.' 

'•' ' Cruel Vasanta, I cannot, will not quit the 
bosom of mv father. How should I exist in a 



272 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Strange soil, when I knew that my father 
mourned and lay dying ?' 

" At this moment the venerable Saradwata ad- 
vanced : though of a great age, he stood erect, 
and walked firmly and slow. The purse and 
wrinkle-of a hundred years deformed his naked 
skin ; a pale salmon-coloured cloth was wrapped 
about his loins, and the thread of the sacred 
Zennaar hung loose from his bony shoulder. As 
Mirza contrasted the stately form and the smooth 
marble skin of Feizi, he thought upon his own 
weight of years with a sigh ; but again, as he 
marked the calm mild eyes of Saradwata, and 
the unquiet restless motion of the bright black 
orbs that rolled beneath the young brows of 
Feizi, he felt that age triumphs over the world, 
and that there is a sweet sadness in standing pas- 
sionless on the brow of that rugged hill, up 
which we all must toil, and pausing to look back 
with kindness, ere we take that next and latest 
footstep, which must be planted in the grave. 

" But judge the sorrow of Mirza, when Feizi 
threw himself at the feet of Saradwata, and wild- 
ly poured out the warm confession of his long 
deceit, his purpose, and its end. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 273 

" The old man stood long, statue like, in silent 
agony; then starting from his fearful reverie, 
he looked up imploringly to Heaven, and down, 
with a reproaching frown, on Feizi. Not one 
word did he utter, but seizing a creese, which 
lay concealed in the folds of his girdle, he would 
have driven it into his own bosom. The terrified 
youth caught his uplifted arm ; then, kneeling at 
his feet, swore to expiate his meditated sin by all 
the severities of penance, if he would promise 
never to attempt any thing against a life so sa- 
cred as his own. The venerable Brahmin now 
burst into tears, and, trembling as he wept, asked 
in an agitated tone, two requests — " Grant 
these," said he, ** and I will live and pardon 
thee." 

" With eager transport, yet solemnly, he 
swore to observe his will. 

** ' Never translate the Vedas,and never re- 
veal to any living soul the mysterious symbol of 
our holy faith/ 

'' Feizi ratified the oath in these solemn words : 
* By Him, whom ye believe to have spoken to 
your Brahma thus — ' Even I was, even at first, 

VOL. II. T 



274' STORY OF A LIFE. 

not any other thing ; that which exists unper- 
ceived, supreme ; afterwards I am that which is, 
and he who must remain am I,' — by that Su- 
preme Being, and by that text holy to all man- 
kind, I swear never to reveal these or any of 
your mysteries/ 

" Letchima had lain prostrate in awe and sor- 
row ; now Feizi raised her from the earth, and 
asked the blessing of Saradwata; and the old 
man took her young hand, and giving it to 
Feizi, said, ' Be to her as a sheltering hill of 
Malaya to the young sandal tree.* 

" Then the aged Mirza hastened to join the 
groupe, and he tore his beard for grief, and by 
prayer and reproach and menace sought to turn 
the youth from his purpose ; but the young arms 
of the beauteous Letchima were entwined fast 
about his neck, and the venerable Saradwata 
held his hand with the pressure of parental par- 
don; so Mirza turned himself away, though 
more in sorrow than in anger, and he went back 
alone and melancholy to the palace of the mighty 
Acbar." 



STORY OF A LIFE. 



We thanked young Azim for his simple tale; 
In the fair eye of Malek there shone expectant 
hope, and 1 could see that his heart was aching 
with that want, which they who never loved 
too early know. 

I mused upon it long — of Agatha, I thought, 
and Henry, — of Fatima, and the power of the 
boy-god in eveiy age, and among all people, a 
little tyrant over man. I have seen him pic- 
tured upon palace walls, stealing in pla\^ul 
flights the warrior's iron arms, and leaving him 
a sighing slave in silken bonds. 

We had scarce anchored in the river oppo- 
site the city of Surat, and were yet busied in 
gazing on the novel scene, when the animating 
cheers of the crews of many vessels broke forth 
loud and joyous. I knew the sound, — it was 
the bold huzza of British seamen, and their 
hearts were in it. The yards of every English 
ship were crowded with courageous sailors, 
close clustering, regardless of their hold, as 
they waved their high-raised hats. 

I looked up ; not very distant lay a French 
ship of war, dismasted, and a perfect wreck. 
T 2 



2.^6 STORY OF A LIFE. 

Close to her a British frigate, black and bat- 
tered, with torn rigging, and wounded masts. 
A boat was pulling to the shore, — it passed 
under our stern. Strong and steady were the 
strokes of its glancing oars, and the small crew 
had the fine laughing look of rough, fearless, 
attached seamen ; and there sat aft a post cap- 
tain, with his right arm in a black silk hand- 
kerchief, and next to him a decorated French 
officer of rank, to whom he was talking with a 
kind and friendly earnestness, as anxiously de- 
licate to spare the feelings of his captive. Just 
as the boat came up, both raised their heads to 
examine the strange build of our Arab dhow. 

The cheering of my countrymen had already 
dimmed my tearful eyes ; but I saw, through 
those tears, the well-known features of Howard, 
— the brave child of early promise, and now 
a reaper in the field of fame, — my brother 
too ! Alas ! no brother now, nor could be ever 
again : he thought me dead, — better he should 
think so still, than find me as I was. His 
course, his life, all worthy, noble ; — mine, 
weak, wilful, miserable, and guilty. And now 



STORY OF A LIFE. 277 

where was I ? — what about to do ? — a stran- 
ger in a settlement of my countrymen, — a 
renegade recruit for mercenary service with 
barbarian princes; this, all this I was, nor 
could I find strength to tear myself from 
Malek, whose friendship, the only thing left to 
me in the wide world, I prized, I clung to at 
all price. 

We landed in the new and busy scene that 
evening, and were received at the house of a 
wealthy merchant. It was impossible for any 
state of mind to be such as not to find itself 
aroused and wakened by wonder to observe, — 
dusky and ebon men were moving about in 
crowds, clothed in soft garments of the whitest 
cotton, or of thin muslin ; and others, who 
looked of some. haughty rank, and of a com- 
plexion, such as I had never seen, fair indeed^ 
but of a yellow hue, walked as naked in the 
full bazaars as the coarse black porters, stag- 
gering beneath their heavy loads ; women un- 
veiled of fine forms, and handsome features, 
with striped or coloured garments, hair rolled 
up in large shining knots, adorned with flowers, 
T 3 



278 STORY OF A LIFE. 

or gilded ornaments, and huge shackles of sil- 
ver on their ankles, and rings of silver on their 
toes, and necklaces, and many bracelets on 
their upper arms, and about their wrists ; and 
stall keepers sitting on their mats, and writing 
on dried leaves with iron styles ; and canopied 
chariots passed us drawn by milk white oxen, 
that had bells and shining collars, and long 
horns tipped with wrought brass ; and crimson 
litters, borne with swift steps, and singing cries, 
by well-formed handsome men, with men re- 
clining in them ; and warlike looking nobles 
riding on fine horses with rich trappings, and 
servants running with them, one fanning the 
horse, and flapping off the busy flies, one hold- 
ing a tall screen between the rider's cheek and 
the fierce sun ; while huge above all cars and 
horses, and loftier than the Cadjan thatched 
bazaar, and cottages, moved, ponderous and 
slow, a stately elephant with a glittering how- 
dah, and red trappings, and a hundred men 
ran before with silver staves, and shouted out 
the titles of a little child, — a turbaned child 
that sat grave upon it, followed by a body of 



STORY OF A LIFE. 279 

prancing horsemen. Malek was delighted with 
the novel scene, and even I looked on with 
pleased wonder, and smiled. 

This soowarree or retinue had scarcely passed 
us by, when I saw, close to the gate of the 
factory, Howard walking on foot with an English 
resident, followed by palanquins, and examining 
every thing with the curious eye of one newly 
arrived. I was looking on him with a full 
bursting heart, and about to turn back with 
Malek towards our lodging at the merchant's, 
whence we had strolled forth on foot, accom- 
panied by servants to look at the city ; when a 
cry was raised in the crowd, on every side 
they were flying off in terror, and as the space 
opened, I observed a naked man with hair 
dishevelled, and a drawn dagger which he 
brandished wildly, running, and shouting with 
a fiery stare around him : — no sooner did he 
espy the Europeans, than he flew towards them. 
I saw his purpose, and ran to the same point 
with speed. Howard not having remarked 
the man to take that direction, was turning 
round to speak about the strange cry to some 

T 4 



280 STORY OF A LIFE. 

behind him ; but they fled as did the gentleman 
with him, and Howard was left unarmed, and 
overtaken by the mad Malay. 

I reached him just as, though bravely facing 
him, the dagger of the madman was at his 
groin ; a sabre cut from me averted the fate 
of Howard, and drew the disappointed man 
in his stung fury on me. I fell bathed in my 
blood, and as the blow was given saw the 
wretch struck flat by the hand of Howard, and 
disarmed. 

I was a dark and bearded man, care and 
climateworn; he did not know me, never 
knew his preserver ; I heard all his full thanks, 
and all his brave concern expressed in that 
language that I first lisped in, and have ever 
loved; his anxious enquiry of the English 
surgeon of the factory who ran forth as to the 
nature of my wound, and the extent of the 
danger, and his anxiety that the interpreters 
should fully let me know his grateful sense of 
the service I had rendered him. 

O ! it was a happy hour, that hour of pain, 
and flowing blood; happy in that I had saved 



STORY OF A LIFE. 281 

the life of one whom I loved, and in the hope 
that my wound was mortal. It did not prove 
so : the blow had been ill directed and feeble. 
The wretch was exhausted by his frenzy, and 
weakened by my sabre cut; he had killed 
several persons in the bazaar, and was put to 
death by soldiers on the spot. 

My wound was sufficiently severe to confine 
me for weeks. In a very few days Howard 
sailed for Bombay, but before he did, he called 
and begged to see me, again through the 
interpreter he warmly thanked me, and pre- 
sented me with a pair of richly inlaid pistols, 
begging me to wear them for his sake, and 
prating that they might never fail me in the 
preserving of my own life or the taking that of 
a foe. Could he have known the turbaned man, 
who gazed upon him, — how bitterly would he 
have spurned me ! or no ; the truly good, 
the truly great, will often pity where they 
might despise : — He went out, and I heard 
him say as he crossed the threshold, " a fine 
fellow, a noble fellow, that Turk. I wish that 
I had been going to remain here, and could 



282 STORY OF A LIFE. 

have known more of him." To think that he 
knew me well ; that he had saved me from 
a watery grave, had married my own sister, 
and stood mourner at the grave of my parents, 
oh ! how very bitter were my reflections ; but 
I strove against them. There was much too 
in the present position of my circumstances, 
and in the only prospect before me that. occupied 
my thoughts painfully and seriously. I had 
linked my fate with that of Malek, and I loved 
him ; but Malek was a Mahometan ; alas ! and 
I too, not in my heart, but in outward profes- 
sion. Saved by him from the martyrdom I had 
dared to provoke; from the horrid prison in 
which I had languished ; to turn now and say, 
" Malek, go on your path alone, I am free ; I 
will now return easily without danger, and without 
fear to the profession of my faith, and ensure to 
myself the countenance and protection of one of 
these Christian factories. This I could not do ; 
and, from the weakness of my character, rather 
than forfeit the good opinion of Malek ; perhaps, 
too, rather than lose his society and friendship, 
I lingered on as I was — a man without a 



STORY OF A LIFE. 283 

country, without a faith, without an object in life, 
or one dignified motive for any of my actions. 
I was the more confirmed in my resolution to 
follow his fortunes; because, in truth, his 
prospects now greatly changed for the worse. 
The merchants and agents had deceived him. 
The two services, which had been named to him 
as affording such splendid opportunities, were 
those of Sujah Dowlah in the north of India, 
and of Hyder Ali in the south ; but Sujah 
Dowlah had been conquered, and set at rest by 
the English ; and Hyder was only liberal in his 
offers to Europeans. I was entirely ignorant 
of the political relations of my countrymen in 
India, till we actually arrived there ; I learned, 
therefore, that both these native princes were 
inveterate enemies to the English ; and I rejoiced 
to find that their camps were closed to Malek, 
as it spared me the painful necessity of avowing 
to him more concerning myself than he yet 
knew ; for it was under the name of Alvarez 
that he first became acquainted with me, and he 
was quite ignorant that I was an Englishman. 
An offer of good employ of rank and coipmand 



284 STORY OF A LIFiE 

was made to him on the part of Madajee Scindia, 
a prince of the Mahrattas, but he rejected it with 
scorn ; and, after full enquiries, he determined 
to set out as an adventurer to that weak and 
humbled remnant of Abdalla's power, which, in 
the person of Nidjeeb Dowlah, still held for the 
young emperor, Jewan Buckt, a small terri- 
tory to the north of Delhi, and braved, with 
spirit and independence, the vast hordes of the 
cruel Mahratta. 

It was not, therefore, in the character of rich 
Sirdars, but as two soldiers ; horses, arms, and 
a slender purse, our sole possession, that we set 
forth for that distant court. Its situation made 
it impossible that I could ever be opposed to 
the troops of England ; and it was really with a 
light heart that I pressed the sides of my horse, 
as, on the first morning of our march, an ante-? 
lope bounded wild before us on the wide plain, 
and Malek galloped with exulting speed and 
shot the noble game, and it was brought by 
herdsmen to our small tent. That very evening, 
after our coffee, the pipe of Malek fell from his 
h^nd, and he complained of faintness, and giddi^ ; 



STORY OF A LIFE. 285 

ness in the head ; there was a big perspiration 
on his forehead — his hands were clammy — he 
became convulsed, and appeared to suffer great 
pain : he called to me anxiously for water. I 
felt certain, from the nature of his thirst, that it 
would be dangerous to satisfy it ; but I sat by 
him, wetted his lips, and supported his aching 
head. Of all the awful things which I have 
witnessed, I know not if the rapid emaciation of 
that face of a fine and manly beauty, and a 
natural fulness, is not among the most afFect- 
ingly horrid. The very hand grew thin and 
bony as I grasped it ; and in four hours, I held 
a corpse with hollow cheeks and sunken eye, 
and fallen jaw; the fine nose sharp and at- 
tenuate ; the form all shrunk. 

The sun rose upon my sorrow, gloriously, as 
in the East it always rises, and found me sitting 
by another of my blighted hopes — bitterly I 
felt this wound. He died — this noble being, 
I thought died, because I loved him. A curse 
has gone out from Heaven against me, and I 
am very wicked ; he is taken from me, because 
he is too good for companionship with me. 



286 STORY OF A LIFE. 

The gallant Malek who rode rejoicing forth in 
the morning — dead. — Why do the trees look 
so green in this land? Why are the birds 
painted ? and why do the people sing ? when 
death, borne on the scented vapours of the gale, 
poisons the very air we breathe. 

I had his body borne to a place of tombs on 
the bank of the river, a little above Surat. I 
caused them to place a turban stone upon his 
grave; — there were black cypresses in that 
cemetery ; for a month I lived wandering about 
among them, not exactly in my right mind; 
my tent was pitched just outside the wall of 
the burial ground, and I thought that I should 
not care to move it again ever. My mind, too, 
was perpetually dwelling on the thoughts of a 
future state. Our covenant was not known to 
Malek ; no, but Malek was happy in Heaven, 
for Malek had been good on earth; he had 
ordered his conversation aright, and the promise 
was his ; the wonder and the mercy will be re- 
vealed to him on that day, when all the genera- 
tions that have ever lived, shall stand before the 
judgment-seat of the world's Redeemer. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 287 

About the end of the month, as I was one 
day passing solitarily along the bank of the>iver, 
I heard the sound of a convent bell — that short 
peculiar hurrying tinkle, so familiar to me, 
from a thousand associations, and listened to 
in so many different, and distant scenes ; guided 
by the sound, I followed a green path that led 
among tall cocoa- trees, — there was not a soul 
to be seen on it — there was a gorgeous gloom 
upon the evening sky, and as I walked between 
two rows of these beautiful trees, I felt as if the 
grove were some cathedral with its dim, reli- 
gious light, and I traversing a stately aisle, the 
bare and lofty trunks, its columns, and the in- 
terlacing of feathery foliage, its gothic arches. 
The path terminated at a small square white- 
washed building, with a chapel front, a cross 
above, and the pavement before the door all 
stained with green, while tall rank grass rising 
between all the interstices, fringed around each 
separate slab, and waved over it, veiling it as 
in triumph. 

I entered the chapel, — one deep and melan- 
choly voice recited prayers; one shrill and 



288 storV of a life. 

nasal voice responded, — four aged women, and 
two men, cripples, all native Christians, knelt 
humble with their rosaries, and drew up the 
heavy habitual sigh. When the priest turned 
from the altar, and joined his hands, his eyes 
looked wondering and sad upon me. It 
surprised him to see a moor in that place, — it 
grieved him to think of the broad way trod on 
in haughty ignoi*ance by so many ; he went 
through, however, calmly, and reverentially 
with the vesper service ; and, at the close, 
passed into the body of the convent by a side 
door, leading out from the chapel. I was re- 
markably struck by the voice and manner of 
the monk ; he was a friar, of the bare-footed 
Carmelites, and I saw by an inscription that 
this was a small missionary station of the Pro- 
paganda. The poor black people tottered and 
hobbled out to their huts. I gave them alms, 
and I could not but observe that they crossed 
themselves with some sort of fear, as they took 
them from my hand, which they judged to be 
worthy of amputation for having ever touched 
a Koi'an. 



a^ORY OF A LIFE. 289 

The attendant priest continued for a quarter 
of an hour shuffling about, between the altar 
and the sacristy, and putting every thing slowly 
and methodically in its place, and, at last, came 
up to me, and said, he must shut up the doors 
for the night. I now questioned him about the 
inmates of the convent. " There is only one," 
said he, " the Father Fidele, whom you have 
just seen." — " May I speak with him ?" — 
" Aye, any body may, but not now, these 
evening hours he always passes alone on the 
roof of the convent, but in the morning he 
goes out to the Ghaut near, and numbers come 
to him. What is the matter with you ?" 

" Why do you ask ? What do you mean ? 
do you know me ?" 

" Not I, L never saw you before, but the 
Father is a great Hakim, and many of the 
natives of all persuasions come to him, and im- 
mediately he heals them." 

" Ah, friend, he cannot heal me ; still I am 
very anxious to see and speak with him, and 
this very evening." 

VOL. II. V 



290 STORY OF A LIFE. 

" Well, if you are so earnest, I will go and 
call him." 

He came down, and forward to the pave- 
ment, in front of the chapel, to meet me, as I 
turned back from the river, to the bank of 
which I had strolled in the absence of the 
messenger. 

He was a tall, grave looking man, about 
sixty years of age, bare-footed, and bare- 
headed; a small, but thick grown circlet of 
hair, of the very blackest grey, was contrasted 
by the cold white marble look of his broad 
tonsure; his strong, and well proportioned 
neck sat upon his manly shoulders like a war- 
rior's : he bore himself erect, and trode slow. 
There was no light in his large eye, no smile 
of courtesy on his well-cut mouth, and yet 
neither was there any repulsive pride upon his 
dark eye-brows, nor in the nose of that haughty 
prominence, which so often wears it. His cheek 
was brown as an Arabian's, and his teeth as 
white. He was a noble-looking figure, and the 
white robe, the eastern costume of his order, 



9TORy OF A LIFE. 291 

begirt as it was with leathern belt, and rudest 
eord, became it well. 

" What would you, stranger ?" 

" Father, I would speak with you alone." 
He waved his hand, and the other priest dis- 
appeared. He stood still, with his eyes quietly 
intent upon me. I sti'ove to find words, to 
frame a speech, to make a confidence : in vain ; 
my tongue clave to the roof of my mouth. 
I felt parched, bewildered. 

" You are not well," said the monk, and he 
came closer to me." — " I am not happy." — " 1 
meant to say as much," he rejoined. " The 
day has been oppressive, the evening is so, 
come in wdth me, and rest yourself." I fol- 
lowed, as he led. His step was noiseless, — 
mine the loud slippered tread of the Maho- 
metan. His cell was on the ground-floor, a 
verandah in front, and the court before it plot- 
ted with grass, and parcelled out in beds of 
flowers. A fountain played and murmured in 
the midst. There w^ere cages of little birds, 
and a Mina bird that hopped fearless about, 
talking ; and among these things of gentleness, 
u 2 



292 STORY OF A LIFE. 

a tiger that walked loose. " Fear not," said the 
monk, as he observed me start, " a lap-dog 
were not more tame. I have reared it from a 
cub." It came up as the purring cat might, 
and licked his hand, and rubbed its beautiful 
skin against his robe. We entered the cell : 
clean it was, and cool : walls naked, and a 
naked floor: a pallet, a low table, and two 
small stools of woven rushes. At the pallet- 
head was a black cross, with the figure of the 
suffering Saviour carved in ivory, neat and 
small. A book was on the pillow ; a lamp, 
with a shade of glass to keep it from the insects, 
stood on the table ; and by its side, a plate of 
leaves, with plain tain-fruit upon it. I partook 
of some in nervous silence. The monk went 
out again into the verandah, and returned with 
a glass of cold water. '' Drink," said he, " it 
will calm you, will restore your nerves. I will 
spare you the pain of uttering the first great 
secret of your sorrow. You are a renegade, a 
repentant one, I see, and you come to tell me 
so." He immediately changed his language 
(for he had been speaking Arabic) to Itahan, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 29S 

and seeing iie was understood, proceeded in 
that tongue to soothe me, and invite my con- 
fidence. 

I poured myself out to him without reserve. 
« And tell me," I cried, " oh ! tell me, holy 
father, is there for me one ray of hope ? May 
I ever again kneel before a Christian altar, and 
offer up the prayer of the contrite heart ? Will 
it not be an abomination? What angel will 
carry it to the mercy-seat? What can ever 
wash away my guilt? It is, it must be, the 
unpardonable sin ! Yet, will it be a comfort to 
me to pass the miserable remainder of my life in 
some act of penance, the sternest which your 
fancy can devise." 

" My son, one tear of penitence that gushes 
warm from a wounded heart is a more grateful 
offering at the bar of offended justice than a 
long Hfe of rigid penance, performed in cold 
endurance, and mortified resolve. To the sin- 
ner's repentant sigh those white-robed spirits, 
nearest to the Almighty's throne, bend down 
the raptured ear, and, with rejoicing hallelujahs, 
Inymn their high praises at the welcome sound. 
u 3 



294 STORY OF A LIFE, 

I, too, have sinned. Like thee, in agony of 
soul, have mourned, dark and disconsolate. — • 
The shirt of hair, the scourge, the long and 
wasting fast, the midnight watchings, and 
naked body, stretched in prostration on the 
cold marble of the grave ; I have tried these 
things, but I found no peace, no rest, no 
hope ! It came — the blessed light that gave 
it me — as bright, as soft, as the young 
early beam of dew-eyed morn in summer. 
Look there, my son," and he pointed to the 
crucifix, " that, spiritually seen ; it shone from 
that ; and my guilt was washed away by the clear 
fountain flowing from that wound, where the 
blood of expiation was mingled with the sacred 
and .pure waters of everlasting life. Here found 
I the promise of my pardon; here, sufferer, 
will you find the promise of your own ;" and, 
taking the book from his pillow, he opened it, 
and showed me a plain Bible in the Latin 
tongue ; — " but as few things are more com- 
forting and consoling to a being oppressed by 
the burden of his sins than to look into the 
diseased hearts of fellow-sufferers, listen, while 
in relating a few circumstances of my past life I 



STORY OF A LIFE. 295 

give such relief to your anxious fears as a view 
of that hope and promise I have learned, with a 
loving and confiding boldness to appropriate, 
may, must impart to you. 

The Monk's Tale. 

" There is a silent hall and weedy garden in 
Ferrara, which I remember, when the one was 
ever full of joyous echoes, and the other a 
myrtle-hedged shelter for fan- flowers, and deli- 
cate plants, and bubbling fountains, and marble 
nymphs, that stood under shading trees, in cold 
chaste nakedness. It was my home. I played 
in that hall as a boy, in winter, and ran about 
that garden in summer. My father was a noble 
of that city,: I was his second son. The 
wealth, the title, and the joy, were, in prospect, 
the possession of my brother from his cradle. 
Me they designed for the cloister and the 
cowl. I was to be a member of one of the 
noblest orders; and my father, who was a 
haughty and ambitious man, would say to me, 
not laughingly, but in bitter earnest, * Am- 
u 4 



296 STORY OF A LIFE. 

brogio, I'll have you in red robes before I die, 
boy. There is, you know, but one step on, and the 
eartli becomes your footstool, and your triple , 
crown is above every crown in this world. -^^. 
The next we cannot know ; nor does it matter ; 
let us make this our own.' Ricciardo, my 
brother, was the favourite, however, for he was 
a boy of silken hair and silken phrase, and 
loved his silken clothes. It was strange, that 
heir to swords, and shields, and power, and full 
purses, he should be such a character ; for we 
had steeds and falcons, and wide demesnes, such 
things as form a warlike lord. I was scarce 
twelve years of age, when my father, changing 
his determination about the monastery, be- 
thought him that I should study at Padua, 
and be provided for as a regular canon of the 
church. 

"I passed five years at Padua, as students 
pass them, happily enough, learning from each 
other without the toil of study. To talk, to walk, 
to make repasts together, to listen to dull lec- 
tures, and laugh at them when they were over, 
to stand at the church doors on days of festi- 



STORY or A LIFE. 297 

val, and mark the young beauties of the city as 
they came out from mass, and shook their 
curiing hair, and artfully threw back their 
veils, and raised their fine eyes to look up 
at the passing cloud; these were our pas- 
times. I was now sent for by my father 
home, that I might be present at a great Fa- ' 
mily-festival : my brother was about to be 
married : I returned. Short as the distance is, 
I had never once been at Ferrara, since I left 
it for the University, neither had my father 
nor my brother once visited Padua, to see the 
devoted young Ambrogio. I had thought 
this unkind, and now I returned with an ill 
grace, and a very reluctant feeling ; moreover, 
I felt sad at the idea that I was about to be 
present at a marriage-ceremony, a scene of 
smiles, and songs, and scattered flowers. My 
ordinary' cheerfulness, such as I indulged in 
among my fellow -students, forsook me all at 
once. It seemed as if a veil were suddenly 
withdrawn, and that, for the first time, the 
realities of my future life lay before me clearly 
seen in all their bleak and barren desolation. 
** On the dav of my arrival in Ferrara, there 



298 STORY OF A LIFE. 

was a gala at the court, and just as I had gained 
the middle of the city, the bursting clangor of 
a martial band broke grandly on the silence of 
a gathered, whispering, expectant crowd : the 
guards came marching forth, and following 
behind a long train of young nobles of the city. 
I was in a student's garb, and mounted on a 
long-eared heavy mule, and the crowd struck 
it, and pressed us both against the wall, to let 
the cortege pass. Such a sight was one to 
make a young heart leap, and play in the bosom 
lightly, but far different were my feelings, — gall 
was in them. I looked steadily at the noble 
youths, and among them I saw and recognised 
my brother: — he was much altered, but I knew 
him instantly ; as a man he was still silken ; 
his garb was of the richest ; his hair hung about 
him not with a manly wave, but in little cham- 
ber ringlets. As he passed within two yards of 
me, I smelt the perfume wafted from his em- 
broidered scarf: — his look around on others 
near, and on the crowd beneath, was proud 
even to insolence, but more frequently it was 
directed with complacent smilings on his 



STORY L)]: A LIFE. 299 

shapely thigh, and swelling calf, and velvet 
boot, or raised to the balconies each minute 
with a glance at the fair beings there, that 
plainly said, ' Admire me, for I am what Helen's 
Paris was.' He had scarcely passed the spot 
where I was stuck, jammed and wedged against 
the wall, a mark for the crowd's gibes and 
jeering, when I observed at a window above 
him a girl of features womanly and grave, but 
very beautiful. He gently bore upon his rein, 
and pranced past that window, and gave the 
careless salutation of a self-satisfied, secure 
wooer; but that lady did not smile on him, 
although she made the low obeisance of one 
who felt constrained to receive and acknowledge 
his attention. I enquired of a citizen near 
me who that lady was. ' Lucrezia Bardi,' 
said he, ' betrothed to that young gallant, who 
just saluted her. He is the heir of the Al- 
berti family : they call him Ricciardo ; a pretty 
popinjay, but not man enough for so fine a 
donzella, as Lucrezia Barti.' 

" Such was my thought, but I gave no ut- 
terance to it, and only drooped my head. The 



300 STORY OF A LIFK. 

pomp passed on, and ere it closed, my beast, 
impatient, brayed : this drew all eyes on me, and 
the mob joked, — and squires of low degree, 
who rode behind, broke their rude jests upon 
the churchman's mule, and ladies from their 
windows freely laughed at the petty distress. 

" At length I reached our palace : a few of the 
older domestics received me kindly, but^I saw 
the younger winking at each other, and niaking 
signs of the cross in frolic behind my back. 
My ftither was at the court : when he returned 
he sent for me, asked of my health and studies, 
spoke of my prospects, and quickly dismissing 
these subjects, said, ' I sent for you, Ambrogio, 
to witness the marriage of your brother: he, 
you know, will at my death become the head of 
our most ancient house. It has been my care 
to provide a daughter worthy to bear our 
name. She is of the Bardi : related to those of 
Florence, and a girl of beauty, and a noble 
presence : she is fortunate, too, in being matched 
to Ricciardo: a more handsor^ie or graceful 
youth was never seen in the castle of Ferrara : — 
this very day our duke so spoke to me of him. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 301 

Ambrogio, you will scarce know him again ; 
nor he you, in truth. Why, boy, how round 
your shoulders are, and how your neck stoops. 
Oh ! this comes of study ; and your complexion, 
how changed ! why it is pale and dull as if you 
were a cardinal already — but for a churchman 
this little matters — it is better thus : — to be 
sure what a change the tonsure makes ; and how 
close they have clipped off the hair beneath : 
why you want but a jackass to drive before you, 
and the brown robe and cowl, to pass for St. 
Francis himself. Go to your chamber, and try to 
make yourself look more like a wedding-guest^ 
or you will surprize your noble sister, Lucrezia : 
she is a girl of high mind, and keen observ- 
ation. I should not like her to be disappointed 
with any of my family, even you ; though, to be 
sure, it matters less, for your paths will never 
lie together.' 

" I dared not trust myself to speak in answer, 
but bowed, and withdrew. In the hall I met 
Ricciardo : he knew that I had arrived, and 
greeted me, but with a cold indifference of 
manner that chilled me ; and though he bent to 



302 STORY OF A LIFE. 

kiss me, made but the action, and shrunk back 
as with a disgust ; and yet I had the blood and 
features of my race ; — roughUer, perhaps, the 
hkeness stamped on me, but yet more manly : 
that I felt, and fitter to wear armour was my 
frame : but those days of my bold house were 
past; a light rapier, suspended by a ribbon- 
sash, was armour now. 

" I hastened on to my chamber, pleading the 
hour of prayer. I saw the sneer above his 
smile of courtesy : it entered into my bosom, 
engendering hate, and found young scorpions 
ready to rise and hiss around it within : they 
were unborn before, but in the pregnant heart 
they had lain a nest of evil passions in a dark 
womb, still ; and now they struggled, as it were, 
which first should spring to life. 

" As I walked in my chamber, and thought 
over the scene of the morning, the humiliating 
contrast between myself and the young nobles, 
who had rode curvetting past me ; my black 
and rusty scholar's robe ; their gay apparel ; 
my dull and lob-eared mule ; their high-fed 
gallant horses, prancing with proud tossings of 



STORY OF A LIFE. 303 

the flowing mane, and ears erect, and snort and 
playful neigh ; — of the ladies, too, who smiled 
upon those cavaliers, and of the market girls 
who had pointed at me with rude laughings, I 
thought my heart would break for very 
bitterness. 

" The evening came : a thousand coloured 
lamps threw their rich glare upon our gardens. 
Melodious sounds rose up from leafy bowers, 
which concealed young warbling choristers, and 
skilled musicians. Tables were spread with 
rare confections in our hall, and all Ferrara 
came to grace the princely festival, which my 
father gave upon the eve of the day appointed 
for the marriage of my brother. In one part of 
the garden there was an orchestra, erected for 
the performance of a more regular concert, and 
here seats were prepared for all the most dis- 
tinguished guests. Here it was that the lady 
Lucretia sate with her friends and relatives, to 
receive that homage paid by common consent to 
affianced brides. 

" I was summoned by a messenger from my 
fether, for the purpose of being introduced to 



$04 STORY OF A LIFE. 

her. In the pause, which followed upon some 
very brilliant and well-selected music, I was led 
to her chair. It was with that grave, indifferent 
smile, which at once acknowledges and dismisses 
an introduction, that she received me ; evident 
to me her hatred of the alliance, and her dislike 
to every member of our family ; but my brother 
leaned over her chair with that secure, insolently 
secure air, which said, " You are a fine, handsome, 
admired woman, and you are mine." Alas ! it 
proved a fatal connection for him. 

"There is a style and character of beauty which 
awes ; such was that of the Lady Lucrezia ; 
though young and a virgin, she had the look 
and carriage of womanhood in all its glorious 
dignity. My scholar's gown that fell down 
upon my feet, I felt how she must spurn it, and 
was ashamed of it myself. It was remarked of 
her, I remember, that evening, that her dress 
was not in character for a bride. She wore, 
indeed, a crownlet of white roses around the 
proud and gathered luxuriance of her raven 
hair ; but her robe was of the rich black velvet 
of Genoa. Diamonds blazed upon her bosom ; 



STORY OF A LIFE. 305 

but a small black silken cord, the appended 
treasure of which lay low concealed between her 
breasts, seemed dearer than the wedding crift. 
Her complexion was of that rare beauty, for which 
there is no name. There was no white in it, 
yet was it passing fair ; a hue of creamy softness, 
that, beneath the torch's light, mellows into all 
that is majestic in loveliness ; her brow, her 
nose, her lip, marked as men's might be, but 
softer ; a model for a Roman wife or a Spartan 
mother, fit only to spread the embracing arms 
for a hero. I gazed on her as we look at some- 
thing unearthly and above us; but I felt no 
aching of the heart ; no longing for her smile ; 
it was not so that I regarded the young bride- 
maid, who leaned, or rather hung upon her arm. 
Angelica was a girl of fair, fond eyes, with light 
and curling air, and delicate carnation bloom 
upon soft cheeks ; the pale red roses fresh in 
their dew, had no blush like hers ; and the 
snowy muslin of her dress looked cold and poor, 
contrasted with the dazzling whiteness of her 
purer skm. That long (though it seemed to 
me a fleeting moment), that long, long night, 
VOL. jr. X 



306 STORY or A LIFE. 

I watched her, a pale unheeded student; 
from dark and distant corners my eye followed 
and fed upon her charms. Women are quick 
to see, nor slow to suffer admiration. They 
know, too, when it is deep, devotional, and 
true ; and thus they often grant that something, 
like a smile, to the still distant worshipper, 
which they deny to the vain exacting fop who 
flutters proudly near them ; such gave Angelica 
to me : ah why ? — it nothing meant, but it sunk 
deep into ray heart ; and though that very night 
did not pass over without clearly showing me its 
nothingness, the memory of that kind and gentle 
look, which seemed in tenderness to forgive and 
permit my gaze, was cherished by me for many 
years. She danced that evening with a young 
sun-burned soldier come lately from the wars, 
whose smiles were manly, and whose step was 
light and graceful ; yet the tread, when he was 
not dancing, had that firmness gotten on moun- 
tain sides, or in strong pressed stirrups. I went 
farther away into a small recess, and looked with 
envy on that youth, as with free, kind, innocent 



STORY OF A LIFE. 307 

laiighings I saw Angelica listen, and reply to 
his natural courtesies. 

The ball was over, and the crowd gone, and 
the grey morning was looking down upon faintly 
glimmering lamps, and faded garlands, before I 
could leave the garden ; nor could I, when I 
gained my chamber, sleep. 

The marriasce was celebrated about three 
miles from the city, at a villa of my father's ; 
and I rode there with a gallant company, rode 
a white palfi'ey that had been my mother's, and 
ambled gently and timidly among the prancing 
horses of the young cavaliers ; and I felt myself 
marked out as the shaven priest, smiled upon, 
or else utterly disregarded in the cheerful throng. 
The villagers met us with tambourines, and 
shepherd pipes, and castanets, and sung a 
vintage song, and gave their garden tributes of 
flowers, newly gathered, fresh, and dewy. We 
had scarce dismounted when the bride's party 
arrived, and all, in gay procession, entered the 
village church. There were singers from the 
duomo, and every shrine had been dressed out 
by the city sacristans, and lights, and artificial 
X 2 



808 STORY OF A LIFE. 

flowers, and new brocade, were lavishly disposed 
to grace the festival. I remember the Lady 
Lucrezia's face — a victim sadness sate upon her 
pale brow, and the sound of her voice was hol- 
low ; but her utterance was distinct, and not 
tremulous ; and her great grief lay suppressed 
deep in her bosom by her strong will. She 
looked with cold calmness on my brother ; but, 
just after the ceremony, as she turned to caress 
Angelica, I saw one heavy, solitary tear fall upon 
that rosy cheek, which became blanched at the 
touch, and quick bedewed with the gushing 
waters of her answering sorrow ; and I marked 
their two hearts beating against each other — 
slow, full, and few, the heavings of Lucrezia's ; 
that of the young Angelica's, a fast, faint throb- 
bing, which ended in a still and death-like 
swoon. Lucrezia would let none remove her, 
in her own arms she held her fast — strained her 
yet closer to her breast, as if to force back the 
retiring blood ; and with a mossy rose, dipped 
in the consecrated water, she sprinkled the 
closed eye-lids, till again the soft blue loving 
light looked out from them. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 309 

Tables for feasting were spread under the 
shady trees all round the villa, and the brown 
peasants made a holiday of that sad ceremony, 
and so did the young cavaliers, and all the fair 
girls of Ferrara gathered there, and even An- 
gelica, though sorrowful at parting with the 
sister of her love, smiled once, or — no, looked 
kindly once on me, and smiled twice at the 
young soldier with whom she had danced the 
evening before. My father was proudly satis- 
fied, but not cheerful. My brother had an 
air of free, vain, libertine triumph. 

We returned to the city at set of sun, and 
the next day I went back to Padua, but not 
the man that I had left it. The imaoje of An- 
gelica was now before me, at every hour, — at 
every moment rather. I had never even spoke 
to her, nor was it likely that I should ever 
venture to do so, condemned to a life of masses 
and celibacy, what had I to do with youth and 
beauty ? She would laugh, unheeding laugh, 
of course she would, and tarn to her young 
soldier. A year passed by with me in indolent 
vacuity of thought ; I learned nothing, I did 
X 3 



310 STORY OF A LIFE. 

nothing but lie under trees, and walk in un- 
frequented places, and mourn over my cheer- 
less prospects, and a sickly dull eyed cast of 
countenance stamped me to myself as an aging, 
and an altering man, though young. 

Again I was sent for home, to be present at 
the anniversary of the marriage, which my 
father unwisely chose to celebrate, for no bless- 
ing had followed on the alliance. They had 
no child, and the character of my brother had 
become contemptibly notorious for his general 
and lawless profligacy. Indulged by my father, 
he was wasting his substance in riotous living, 
and expended large sums on a courtezan of the 
city, of the most daring and shameless cha- 
racter. 

We were all staying at the villa without the 
city ; it was the night before the anniversary ; 
we had separated at about midnight, and I was 
walking in the long gallery alone and sad; not 
a sound was to be heard ; suddenly, a cry, a 
feai'ful piercing cry, such as the murdered die 
with, woke the wide palace. The gallery was 
immediately filled with lights, and terrified 



STORY OF A LIFE. 311 

wondering eyes; all heard the cry, yet none 
had caught the direction of it : very short was 
the suspence ; Lucretia, with open night-robe, 
and a lamp, and bleeding dagger, rushed among 
us with bare bosom, and dishevelled hair, in 
wild and fearful disarray. 

" I have done it," said she, as she stopped 
before my petrified father, " the daughter of a 
Bardi was never schooled for a brothel. The 
daughter of a Bardi shall not be polluted by a 
reveller from the couch of an Aspasia. My 
father's blood was poured out upon the battle 
plain, so was my brother's, and the only man I 
ever loved rides now with charging squadrons. 
Compelled to take your minion son, I bowed 
to my hated lot with proud resolve to be a 
victim for the falling fortunes of our princely 
house, and live a piu'e unsullied life of sacrifice. 
Your base boy has been faithless to the mar- 
riage vow ; when woman is so, the lordly hus- 
band may stab her if he be so pleased. I am 
not jealous of a thing I have despised, smile 
not, therefore, at my deed, as though it were 
the fury of a jealous woman, — it is the ven- 
X 4 



312 STORY OF A LIFE. 

geance of a chaste, a proud, insulted Bardi ;" 
and as she spoke she rose, or seemed to rise in 
stature : a fearless flame burned steady in her 
dark fixed eye, and the dilated nostril spoke 
her unutterable haughty scorn. 

There was not one person in that gallery 
dared stretch the hand to seize ; — " Come," 
said she, "come look upon your son;" and 
she led the way, and aghast all followed her. 
My brother lay upon the bridal bed, bloody 
and dead. I marked the action of her lifted 
arm, as she was about to plunge the reeking 
blade into her own bosom, disarmed, and se- 
cured her. She was immediately conveyed to 
a neighbouring convent, and confined as insane, 
to preserve her life, and spare her family the 
disojrace of an execution. The shock this srave 
to the feelings and hopes of my father, cast a 
heavy gloom over his spirits, and our villa be- 
came silent as a monastery ; but to me it 
brought a change, my delight at which I could 
not repress the indulgence of. By especial in- 
terest I was released from my vows as a priest, 
and destined of course to be the inheritor of 



STORY OF A LIFE. 313 

my father's titles and estates. I formed a hope, 
that now I might woo the sweet Angelica, 
and win her for my bride. I had never 
seen her since the marriage festival, nor was 
it till many weeks had elapsed after the 
disastrous fate of my brother, that I ventured 
to seek an interview. I passed an evening at 
the saloon of the Count Baldini her father. 
She loved so tenderly her friend, that she 
turned from me almost with a shrinking, as 
if she feared and loathed me ; but I remember 
a young companion, who was with her, whis- 
pered earnestly to her, and I knew from her 
look and manner, that she was speaking favour- 
ably of me; telling her perhaps how much 
I had been estranged from all my family, and 
how unkindly Xhey had treated me; and then 
Angelica looked up as with a soft remembrance 
of my admiration of her at that festival, and she 
smiled and spoke gently, when I again ap- 
proached; what a strong fabric of hope and 
happiness I raised upon that quiet smile and 
silver voice. It was late when I left the Baldini 
palace, and after I had reached home, 1 turned 



314 STORY OF A LIFE. 

again, and walked back, merely for the hap- 
piness of looking at the closed casements of her 
hallowed chamber. It was already the faint 
morning light ; there was music on the airj 
the broken notes of a guitar, and the deep 
breathed mellow singing of a man. I turned 
the corner of the garden wall ; leaning beneath 
it was that bronzed, remembered soldier, and 
the casement was open, and bending from 
it with eyes lighted up by mnocent love, and 
listening ear, and lips apart, and cheek upon her 
lily hand, was the young Angelica. I gazed, 
as I should perhaps on paradise, with a dim 
eye and bursting heart ; then hastily withdrew. 
On the morrow I learned that they were be- 
trothed to each other ; was told how true their 
love, how blessed it had been, and how they 
seemed formed for each other. It was not 
envy that disturbed me. I joyed for them but 
sorrowed for myself deeply, and fell sick. I 
never did; I never have conquered that dis- 
appointment. I could look upon no other girl 
with love, but I had a sort of melancholy tender- 
ness for xsoomauy for the whole sex. I would 



STORY OF A LIFE. 315 

look on them, and stand afar apart and weep. 
I became bookish and retired ; in this frame of 
mind the confessor of my father, a man of 
sad, severe, and recluse habits, won greatly 
upon my attention, and infused into my vacant 
bosom his own gloomy notions of our present 
life; every thing became discoloured to my 
fancy; I made a vow that as Angelica could 
not be mine, my whole life should be one of 
chastity, severe as that of a knight of chivalry ; 
but the days of chivalry had passed away, and 
it was in the library, and the closet that I 
looked for my solace. I left the house of my 
father, and went to Milan, and determined to 
lay down a course of study for the winter, and 
to pursue it steadily, in the hope that it might 
medicine my sick heart, nor was it unpleasant 
to me that I had selected a large city for my 
residence ; that solitude in a crowd, which is 
furnished w^th so many objects of interest, and 
even sohcitude to a man of feeling and con- 
templation, seemed better suited to my state 
than any other. During my stay at Milan I 
lodged in the house of a plain citizen, a builder 



316 STORY OF A LIFE. 

by trade; the family consisted of himself a 
busy occupied man, whom I seldom saw, his 
wife, a quiet, economical, managing housewife, 
three small children, and a young girl, a relative 
or protected cousin, who performed all the 
the offices of a servant, and who waited upon 
me. It was she who brought me my cup of 
chocolate, my tasteless minestra, my fish upon 
fast days, my flask of wine to he drunk alone-, 
the wood for my fire, the oil for my lamp : 
— Clara w^as her name — she was a girl of rare 
loveliness ; her form light, her step light, her 
eyes maidenly sweet, the bright beamings of a 
gay heart shone ever in them ; her cheek had 
a bloom, that w^ent and came in changeftd 
radiancy a dozen times in as many minutes; 
it was not blushing, this ; but the mere play of 
her young blood, as it flew about in rosy clouds 
beneath her transparent skin. It was pleasant 
to me as I sate, day after day, alone, surrounded 
by musty folios, and occupied in study to see 
such a bright vision move in and out and 
around my chamber. I found or fancied a shght 
resemblance in the expression of her eyes to the 



STORY OF A LIFE. 317 

fair Angelica, and this I deemed excuse enougli 
for gazing and for fondness ; I have often done 
this in life, and where I have traced resemblance 
to Angelica in woman, man, or child, I have 
become attached to, and sought to do them 
little kindnesses, but here it was a stronger 
feeling, not love indeed, but something like 
it ; something almost as anxious. I knew that 
a dull and sickly student full of wild theories, 
and unsettled fancies, and vain regrets, and 
castle building reveries, was no love mate for 
any one ; least of all for a happy, cheerful, 
uneducated girl of low- degree ; but I grew 
restlessly, jealously, exactingiy fond of this 
young thing. I would fancy, or fret at her 
every look, her every step and motion, and 
give some meaning whence I might gather a 
little joy, or mix for myself some tormenting 
poison; now she smiled kind, and liked, or 
pitied me; now was her smile a laughing at 
me ; now quick and hurried and petulant her 
manner ; now lingering and gentle meant : 
when my door closed upon me, and I heard 
lier light step upon the stair, or in the pas- 



318 STORY OF A LIFE. 

sage, or . listened as she played with, and 
kissed the young children, my breathing was 
irregular, and I felt a kind of sad happiness, 
but if, as I sat alone, I heard her talking with 
a lively natural tone to the young men of her 
class, who laboured for the master, or to the 
neighbours, whom she knew, or to calling 
visitors, who came on business, or when she 
was sent on an errand, and staid long ; or if 
of a holiday, she went any where in her gay 
suit, my heart ached ; aye, ready to burst. — 
What was this ? Jealousy, certainly, and yet 
I never, never breathed a word of love to her. 
I would excuse my folly to myself, by fancying 
that I feared her danger, as a beautiful inno- 
cent thing, exposed in a large city to tempta- 
tions, and I especially felt this, if I saw any of 
the handsome young gallants of the city pass 
by, and look admiringly at her, or attractively 
themselves. 

I remember once, late in the still midnight, 
I fancied I heard steps, and voices, and gentle 
whisperings. I was literally sick with agony — 
why ? was that sick feeling innocent ? or was 



STORY OF A LIFE. 319 

I jealously envying the favoured lover ? I could 
not endure my doubt, and anxiety, I opened 
the door of my room, and listened for the 
greater and confirmino^ loudness. There was 
no sound, not a breath, not a dreamy murmur 
in the sleeping, silent house, all a vain, busy, 
jealous fancy. 

Fool, criminal fool, that I was ; was it by 
looks of admiration at a young bright eyed 
being, I was to lessen her danger. I say not 
that my looks did harm, but they might have 
done — perhaps they did not influence her fall ; 
but, she fell : the sweet rose was gathered by 
a profligate hand, and carried off" somewhere 
to the recesses of debauchery. I remember, 
and it shakes me now, the coming in of the 
good man of the house, and his wife, the ming- 
ling tones of their reproach, and affection for 
her, and the crying of the little children, who 
had lost their kind maid, Clara. 

I have never spoke to woman since ; I mourned 
for that young lowly being, as if she had been 
mine; my daughter, or a something dearer. 
1 say daughter, for my mind was aged as com- 



320 STORY OF A LIFE. 

pared to her infantine one. I have thought of 
her, and prayed for her, poor being, at many 
distant places, in many countless, lonely hours. 
About this time my father died, and I be- 
came the heir of a title, and vast possessions, 
disgusted with the world, I determined on 
embracing a monastic life, and attracted by the 
severe rules of the melancholy and austere 
brotherhood of St. Bruno, I made a princely 
donation to the great and noble convent of the 
Certosa, near Pavia, and repaired thither with 
a morbid eagerness. 

It is little to wondered at, if renouncing the 
world, in such a spirit, I was disappointed of 
that peace, the hope of which had led me to 
seek the seclusion of the cloister. 

The first impression was very satisfying, and 
I took possession of my still, silent chamber, 
and my little garden plot, with a sensation soft, 
soothing, and that whispered shelter, and re- 
pose for the rest of life ; the fancy was sti'angely, 
and delightfully stirred, as at the hours of 
prayer, you passed out into the cloister, and 
moved along to the church in the silent com- 



STORY OF A LIFE. 321 

pany of your cowled brethren ; not one word, or 
even glance of greeting, save on the Thursday 
of each week, when we dined together in the 
refectory ; then were the cowls thrown back as 
at the mass, and each in grave tone said solemnly 
to his neighbour, " Brethren, we must all die," 
and a monk read to us of some sainted person ; 
and the fish, and bread, and water were par- 
taken of in an unbroken silence, and you went 
forth again, and dispersed to your respective 
cells, till the revolving week brought round the 
day of privilege, the meal of social silence in 
the refectory. 

" Each night, at the dead mid hour, the small 
chime gave its weak moui'uful tinkle, and im- 
mediately the many doors opened and shut, 
and we glided , noiselessly to the gloomy church 
for the midnight service, a service of low me- 
lancholy murmurs, and silently we stole back 
again, looking in our white robes like shrouded 
forms, which, having walked the night, fled back 
before the matin to their tombs. 

" I liked these awful cells, this solemn silence, 

VOL. u. ' Y 



322 STORY OF A LIFE. 

and deemed that I should find an abidhig joy 
in those still contemplations, which I weakly 
thought heavenly in their birth, and in their 
object. 

" I had been many weeks an inmate of the 
convent, feeling all I could desire to experience 
of tranquillity, and undisturbed by any outward 
object, or indeed any image of the past. I had 
banished the visions of the world, and was be- 
come like a sea that is glassy, and deadly calm, 
when a mere trifle, or let me not call such a 
thing, in such a scene, a trifle, when the mere 
coloured shadow of a human face upon a wall 
changed every feeling of my bosom, and like a 
rushing wind upon the deep raised wave and 
storm. 

" I have said that we assembled every Thurs- 
day in the refectory, and dined, or rather fasted, 
together, for the brothers never touch any flesh. 
From a pulpit of marble one reads, or preaches, 
and in the pauses of this service, the lentil 
pottage, and the morsel of dry bread, or an 
apple, or an orange, is supped, or eaten of with 
doubtful hesitating sounds, a louder chewing, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 323 

or a ci-ackling crunch, would cause all heads, 
reprovingly, to turn upon the carnal man. 
There are paintings in this refectory. I had 
never noticed them particularly ; they appeared 
lobe poorly executed, and it so chanced that I had' 
hitherto sitten with my back to the best of them. 
It was a picture of the marriage feast at Cana 
in Galilee ; the general effect was good, though 
not remarkable, but one face there was, whicli, 
as my eye rested upon it, gave back to me the 
very look of fair Angelica; — her eyes, her mouth, 
her very smile. The hand that had created 
this fair portrait, had mouldered m the grave 
two hundred years, yet fancy said, the model 
lives ; Angelica only could have been the 
painter's model. Heavens how it stirred me ! 
the world came back into my heart, in all its 
strength of smiling promises, and sunny joys. 
Woman, love, wedlock, — thoughts, and images 
of these things were ever present to me, — now 
was each Thursday a holiday to my heart — but 
now how prison-like was the lonely cell ; how 
tedious the long solitary hours, — how hateful 
the mass book, and the dull legends of dull 
Y 2 



324 STORY OF A LIFE- 

saints, — how tasteless the portion morsel of 
your daily bread,^ — how w^earisome the warning 
chimes, — how irksome the nasal or mumbling 
tones of the frequent service, — how many and 
how vain my efforts to kill the passing day, as 
puerile as the locked up school boy without his 
hope. The bricks on my floor, the pannels on 
the wall, the rafters, the pebbles in my yard of 
garden ground, again and again m every direc- 
tion, I counted them. For hours together I 
would draw up water from the little well, and 
pour it back again. The day they gave me in 
my portion of wood for the week was a delight 
to me ; I cut it into a thousand forms ; and all 
the while I did these silly things, I thought 
upon fair faces, and sweet sounds — Angelica 
and Clara too; yes, as often of Clara as of 
Angelica — their smiling eyes, and soft voices ; 
and then of womankind, and wedded joys. 
Each Thursday I fed upon the picture, and 
every other day exulted to hurry back from the 
loathed masses to my cell, the door of which I 
locked, and where I never prayed, but shut out 
all thoughts of heaven, and let in eagerly §11 



STORY OF A life; 525 

those that belong to earth. The weary mono- 
tony of this unnatural life, however, at length 
affected my mind, shook it, and produced a 
malady — madness it was ; but a sort of go- 
verned madness. — I felt the stir and action of 
life necessary to me. — Space to breathe in I 
wanted, and deeds to do — 

"One night, returning fi-om the midnight ser- 
vice, a brother walking before me, dropped a 
volume from his robe — it was a small light 
book, of pocket size, and falling on a mat it 
made no noise. I seized it and bore it to my 
cell : it proved a book of travels, written by a 
Venetian adventurer, who had gone to India, 
and attained great honours and wealth in the 
service of the great Mogul. The pictures of 
oriental scenery were vivid, as also of its peo- 
ple ; and on camps, and troops, and battles, all 
was penned with great life and enthusiasm. 
The quiet of the convent had, already, become a 
hell to me, the perusal of this book made it 
seem doubly so ; and I remember the very next 
morning, at the matin, I observed that they 
were repairing the tower of the belfry, and I 
Y 3 



326 STORY OF A LIFE. 

climbed the ladder left by the workmen, and 
looked out over the wide and fertile plain of 
Pavia, a plain memorable for a glorious battle 
fray. As I stood there a body of horse, on 
their march to Milan, passed beneath, and 
moved by prancingly and curvettingly to stirring 
trumpets. I resolved, as I descended from the 
tower, that I would fly from the convent, and 
cast away the cowl, be the consequence what it 
might. I had still in my possession a very valu- 
able family ring. The same night, at a late still 
hour, I climbed the wall of the court imme- 
diately opposite my window, and dropped safe 
and undiscovered on the plain. I was greatly 
embarrassed by my robe, and tonsure, and 
wandered with a strange and mingled feeling of 
exultation and alarm, towards the bank of the 
river. I heard voices, and saw two naked men 
bathino: in the stream. It was a hot summer 
night; their clothes lay behind the bush where 
they had been sleeping : I quickly cast off my 
robe of St. Bruno, and clothing myself with the 
dress of one of these peasants, fled fast away, 
and effected my escape. I made my way to 



STORY OF A LIFE. 327 

Venice, — I procured money for my ring, — I 
embarked in a vessel bound to Constantinople, 
and thence, in the company of a Venetian 
jeweller, I travelled through Persia to India. 
Instructed and assisted by him, I assumed the 
dress of a Mahometan, and having a great 
aptitude for acquiring languages, I soon gathered 
sufficient for my purpose, and taking care in 
every province, to pass for a Mahometan of 
some remote or unknown district, I reached the 
banks of the Indus in perfect safety. Here, 
through the management of my fellow traveller, 
I procured service with the ai'my of the Prince 
Abdallah, at that time moving in immense force 
against the power of the Mahratta. I had 
thoroughly acquired, during my journey, the 
use of the sword and lance, and informing 
myself of their modes of warfare, as also of the 
qualifications considered necessary for a small 
command, I easily obtained the charge of two 
hundred horses; and within two years of the 
date of my flight from the Certosa, the silent 
and shaven monk was converted into the shout- 
Y 4 



328 STORY OF A LIFE. 

ing and bearded leader of men, swift to shed 
blood. 

" Upon this part of my life I will not dwell,* 
I could, but it is hateful to me — let those, who 
think so highly of the natural heart, account 
for its love of sheddinoj out the life blood of 
fellow creatures, not personally known, and 
hated, but never even seen, till they stand in 
arra}' against you as mercenary opponents ; 
oh^l the pride of the spirit, and the mad thirsting 
of the cruel desire, how strong they are when 
trumpets sound, and horses neigh, and the 
sharp sword is lifted gleaming, by the ready arm. 

" The animal at iny feet pointing to the tiger, 
which lay slumbering, is tamer, less cruel than 
man ; it loars for food, and kills for food alone. 
Man, for the proud privilege of dealing 
death strokes, and taking many lives. There 
is often, doubtless, very often, high patriotism 
and chivalric honour in the battle field; but 
in the service I had basely chosen plunder, and 
blood were the only cries, and yet I remember, 
how haughtily happy I spurred along, and 
yelled the loud •• allah hu," and clave the scull. 



STORY OF A LIFE. 529 

aiid how my horse ramped furious on the fallen, 
and pawed on blood-stained ground. I was 
present in that bloody field of Panniput, where 
Abdalla, at the head of one hundred and fifty 
thousand men, concjuered two hundred thou- 
sand Mahrattas ; I remember their white tur- 
bans and black faces, and their cries of " Ram, 
Ram," and the hollow echoing of the hard 
plain to the hoofs of their countless squadrons; 
and I remember how I dashed among them with 
my fierce Moguls, and strained their vests of 
snowy muslin, with the blood my keen sword 
drew from them ; and I recollect the carcass 
covered plain, and the gathering of the hygenas 
and jackalis, as the sun went down, and their 
busy satisfied gorging silence in the night. 

" Perhaps I should have been still a common 
slaughterer of my fellows; but for a scene 
presented to me, the effect of which on my mind 
was shocking and instantaneous. 

" I was marching with a very small party of 
followers across a district subdued the year be- 
fore, and said to be peaceful and quiet. 

*' My party encamped near a large tank, on 



330 STORY OF A LIFE. 

the more public road, and in the evening I rode 
out alone, in the direction of a village, which had a 
most retired, and picturesque appearance. As 
I drew near, I heard the lowing of the cattle, 
and I saw fields of young rice of the softest 
verdure, and channels full of clear, cool waters, 
and stately palms, and feathery cocoa nuts, and 
shady tamarinds, and newly thatched clean 
looking cottages among them; and the inhabi- 
tants were moving about, some clothed, some in 
their clean nakedness — but suddenly, when they 
saw me they ran, and hid themselves. I rode on, 
however, and made motions with my hand, as to 
reassure them. I succeeded at last, and saw a 
groupe advancing to salaam me ; could I believe 
my eyes, or was it some horrid vision ? all these 
persons, young and old, women and children, 
had such faces as the sculptor and the painter 
give to the death's head, the nose was gone, both 
lips had been cut away, and skeleton faces 
grinned ghastly on me, grinned without inten- 
tion, for they were sad and terrified. I learned 
with surprise and horror, that the population 
of a dozen villages had thus been mutilated by 



STORY OF A LIFF. 331 

the soldiers of Abdallah; their garners plun- 
dered, their cottages burned, and themselves 
ordered to live on, and restore the scene to its 
former beauty and fertility, and walk their 
gardens and their fields, a terror to such of 
their fellow countrymen as might dream of 
resistance to the power of the savage prince. 
They told me they were soodras, husbandmen, 
and had never even drawn a sword, but only 
tilled the ground. I spurred away, far, far away. 
I cast away my arms, I sold my horse ; barefoot, 
in humble pilgrimage, I walked over burning 
plains, and through thick and dangerous jungles, 
a journey of three painful months, till I reached 
the Christian city of Goa ; there I threw my- 
self down before a confessional, and hailed 
with joy the sentence of my sins — the fasts, the 
penances enjoined. I performed them all, but 
they brought no comfort, terror was upon me. 
The absolution was pronounced on me, but not 
methought in Heaven, not there. I thought 
upon an exacting wrathful God, and trembled. 
I remember one evening as pale with fear, and 
weeping; I lay prostrate before a stone cross, 



S52 STORY OF A LIFE. 

in a lone spot, near the convent of the Franci*^ 
^ans; a stranger, a traveller came near, and 
spoke to me — how soft, how sweet, how com* 
forting he spoke. " God," said he, "is love; you 
fear him, that is indeed the beginning of wis- 
dom, but to love him is the perfect end ; you 
weep, I can see you do in sincere sorrow ; then 
here is the answer of mercy, the invitation, the 
sure promise of it." He drew from his bosom a 
plain Latin Bible, he read to me. I listened 
with eager attention ; he spoke and read ; four 
or five times he met me, and spoke words of 
like import; at last to my intreaty he gave the 
book the very day before he sailed away. His 
name an English one, is written in it ; he opened 
the small volume at the blank leaves, and, as he 
did so, I read the name of " Henry Nu- 
gent 1" I had already taken the oaths, and 
habit of a Monk again, not the order of St. 
Bruno, for that part of my history I never told 
to my confessor; and as I had done so I 
retained them ; but my perusal of this sacred 
volume has given me repentance, faith, hope, - 
charity, joy, peace. The nothingness of fbrttis^: 



STORy OF A LIFE.^ 333 

and penances, of the shirt of hair, the absti- 
nence, the self torturing stripes, to purchase 
Heaven, how vain the attempt ! I see, and lean 
in love on him, who tells me to believe, and live, 
for that the mighty price is paid. I was now 
eager to leave Goa, and the convent, in which I 
was necessarily subjected to so many observ- 
ances I disapproved ; and where I could enjoy 
so little spiritual comfort. I accompanied an 
amiable and serious brother of the Carmelites 
here — in a year he died, and from that hour this 
small and peaceful station has been mine. While 
I am compelled to observe the forms of the 
church, and to which, indeed, I find the few 
native Christians much attached, and many of 
the unconverted much attracted, — it is my 
habit and delight to go among them quietly, at 
cottage doors, and under trees, and teach the 
word of life, to bid them taste, and see how 
good it is ; what a feast to the hungering soul, 
what a balm for the wounded heart. I bid them 
drink of the well of life, that they may thirst 
i^p pore, and many have gone down to the 
grave blessing that holy spirit, which alone can 



334 STORY OF A LIFE. 

teach the way of life eternal. You see, 
stranger, that I have made the beast at your feet, 
so fierce by nature, to love me, and to lick my 
hand. How much more should the kindness of 
a God, who only asks our heart, be answered by 
its throb of gratitude and love ; listen, friend, 
deep as is the die of your offences, deeper has 
been that of mine; your repentance is I see deep, 
for it shakes your bosom, and fills your weeping 
eyes; the hand is stretched out still, seize it on 
your knees. The fountain is open, flee to it, you 
shall be washed whiter than snow — linger not, up, 
and be doing ; go to morrow to the city, and 
take a passage for your native country; fly to 
the forsaken altar and cling to it ; take the book 
of life and make its promises your own. Re- 
member that the Gospel was the sacred legacy 
of a dying Redeemer to dark and sinful man." 

I passed the long hours of that night, a 
listener in that holy cell. I told him rapidly of 
my past life and fate ; I received his counsel, 
knelt with hira in prayer, and went out, after 
that liappy and memorable vigil, refreshed and 
strengthened. After a short repose at my 



STORY OF A LIFE. 335 

tents, I proceeded to the city. I converted 
every article in my possession into money, and 
returning to the kind father, accepted the shelter 
he cordially offered me, until an opportunity 
might offer for a passage to England. In this 
retreat I divested myself of every outward mark 
of my long apostacy. I laid aside the ample 
robe, the wide trowser, the stately turban, and 
resumed the narrow vest, and the small hat. I 
shaved away the beard and mustachio, and none 
would again have recognised the Osman of 
Cairo. But every evening I stole to the 
cypresses which w aved over the tomb of Malek, 
and mourned his early death. My days passed 
in repentant grief, or rather joy, and I listened 
to the voice of Ambrogio with a deep-felt thank- 
ful delight. About a month I spent in this 
blessed spot ; and then, hearing of a ship bound 
for England, Ambrogio engaged a passage for 
me. Not three days before she sailed, as I was 
purchasing a trifling article in the shop of an 
American merchant, there came in a European, 
with whose face I was acquainted, although I 
could not recollect immediately where I had 



336 STORY OF A LIFE. 

ever seen him. He addressed me by the name 
of Alvarez ; and reminding me that he had last 
seen me in the house of his partner at Venice, I 
found, to my surprize and joy, that he belonged 
to the very firm at Venice, where my fatal pro- 
perty lay in deposit. I hailed the opportunity 
now offered to me, of making such arrange- 
ments, as might at once rid me of all future 
anxiety concerning it, while I availed myself of 
a small, but sufficient income, for the remainder 
of my days. I learned that my directions for 
the ransom of the Neapolitan sailors had been 
attended to, and a handsome donation given to 
each of them. I executed a deed, appropriating 
almost the whole of my wealth to be vested in a 
fund for the relief and ransom of Christian cap- 
tives; and, in an especial clause, I directed that 
such a donation should be given to the renegade 
who might repentantly fly from his Moorish 
masters, as might enable him to enter again 
upon some honest calling in his native city. — 
And, considering that the Italian sailors were 
more especially exposed to the misfortune of 
ciiptivity, and the temptation to ajwstacy, and 



STORY OF A LIFE. 3S^7 

moreover, that my money was already in Italy, 
I confined my plan to natives of that country. 
The residue of this strangely-gotten, and long- 
abused fortune, I bes^ored him to remit to En^- 
laud; which, orivino^ me the name of his London 
correspondent, he promised faithfully to do 
for me. 

The Father Ambrogio stood long upon the 
sandy bank, and watched our vessel, as we drop- 
ped down the river on the day on which I left 
Surat, and the tears coursed down my cheeks, 
without any effort to restrain them, as I looked 
back on that shore, where stood the man of 
God, who had sympathized with my sorrows ; 
and where lay, in his early grave, the warm, 
the generous Malek. 

The ship was not large, the passengers few, 
the crew orderly and quiet. The sky was 
cloudless, and the sea blue ; and the winds were 
softly urgent, filling full our many sails. I passed 
the heat of the day in my cabin reading. It was 
the bible that I read with prayer. My every 
pang was pleasure to me. I clearly saw my 
sin, but clearly saw the remedy, the hope; and 

VOL. II. z 



a38 STORY OF A LIFE. 

I felt secure, and calmly happy, as the Israelite 
might have done, when from Arabia's shore 
he looked back upon the roaring ocean, for him 
divided, but again pathless. 1 felt the presence 
in my bosom of heaven's penetrating kindness. 
" He will lead me," I thought, " my God will 
lead me." Like the Israelite, I dreamed not of 
the haw, of the humbling, of the proving of my 
heart. 

In sunny peace we sailed along. Our course 
had lain among those palmy isles called the 
Maldives, and we had passed them safely. As I 
was alone in the cabin, and leaning out of the 
stern windows, watching the eddy caused by 
our rapid rate of going, a something floating 
on the water caught my attention. I thought it 
was a man swimming for his life, and stretched 
further out to satisfy myself, before I gave the 
warning cry. In the act I dropped into the 
water ; and I have little doubt was never heard 
or missed. 

When I rose to the surface I swam high, and 
shouted, but in vain. The white sails flew 
Ofl.ward ; and the albatross, that soared high in 



STORY OF A LIFE. 339 

the heavens, dropped, then daited with swift 
motion down, and flapped me with his broad 
unwetted wings ; and again up, and away after 
the receding vessel. — Oh, God ! it was a fearful 
moment, and a fearful feeling ! — The floating 
speck which I had leaned to look upon, came 
near me. It was a log of drift wood. I gained, 
and clung to it. I spread my arms and breast 
across it, and was supported for many hours. 
It seemed to me that we were rapidly drifting 
somewhere, — but whither ? Perhaps still 
farther out to the more open ocean. Shore- 
less ! — islandless ! — trackless ! — out of the 
course of any ship ! — Oh, miserable fate ! — 
was then my death to be a lone, lingering 
one, struggling in an element where I could 
not live? 

The sun set upon me in this awful situation, 
and thus I lay through the long dark night in 
doubt and terror. I could not at all collect my 
thoughts. I had scarce hope enough within 
me to pray for preservation. For mercy beyond 
the grave, — for that alone I called, — called in 
a -b z 2 



310 STORY OF A LIFE. 

the name of the Saviour : but my faith was 
weak and failing, for I knew him not. 

I remember that a shoal of albicore came by 
me in that terrible night. The darkness was 
very great above ; but the gleam of the waters 
shed an awful light just upon its surface; and, 
as these fish broke cut from it in high joyous 
leapings, and beat the air with their strong 
motion, and plunged rushingly down again ; 
and, at every moment, passed me within a hand's 
breadth, I trembled. There was something 
very frightful in their voiceless exultation. 

That night seemed an eternity of suspense. 
The first faint glimmerings of morn gave hope. 
I could see land, and was drifting towards it. 
Desolate its aspect was, but not to a drowning 
man. The sun rose on it, — a solitary, sandy 
isle, with one shelf of rock, not very lofty, and 
black. Gently was I drifted in by a smoothly 
rippling current, and gained the shallows, and 
waded to the shore, and fell upon my face, and 
thanked my God, and wept. Wet, faint, 
exhausted, yet I felt thankful and happy. — 
After a short rest I rose, and walked onwards. 



STORY OF A LIFE. S4 1 

All was brown and barren ! Further : barren 
still ! I went up to the highest point on the 
low rock, and observed, in a shelving hollow 
behind it, a little tinge of verdure. I hastened 
to it. A small fount of water welled softly forth 
from a little breast, as it were, of darker soil ; 
and a few thinly-scattered blades of grass grew 
near, and lined with a faint green bordering 
the scanty thread-like rill which trickled its 
feeble course for a few yards, then sunk into the 
thirsty sand. In the hollow of my hand I took 
of that water, and drank, and laid me down ; 
but, as the fear came over me, that I had been 
only saved from a watery grave to perish here 
in the slow lingering pangs of famine, I mur- 
mured, and looked upbraidingly to heaven. — 
Gnawing hunger attacked me. I tore up some 
blades of the unsatisfying grass, and chewed 
them, and became w^orse. The island was of 
small extent, — no other land in sight ; and 
withal so barren, that not a sea-bird alighted on 
it. They flew over it with white wings unheed- 
ingly. I walked across — around it ; — nothing 
I saw of life — nothing for food. I went to the 
z 3 



342 STORY OF A LIFE. 

shelf of rock, and sate sullenly upon it, and 
moaned with loud lament, and raved despair- 
ingly. Where were those sunny, palmy isles,' 
that good men had been wrecked upon, and 
lived sweet lives, and built them huts, and made 
them gardens, and sowed and reaped, and 
tamed the beasts and birds, and prayed and 
sung, and kept calm sabbaths in their solitary 
paradises ? 

I had read of such things in happy boyhood, 
but the real scene around presented a dark and 
melancholy contrast. 

I saw a something crawl out of the deep, -^ 
it was a turtle ; I flew down eagerly, — I caught 
the prize, — I turned it on its back, — I picked 
up a sharp fragment of stone, and returned to 
kill it. I shall never forget this ; even then, 
frantic as I was with hunger, I felt odious to 
myself, like a beast of prey rather than a man. 
It was very long dying, I thought it would 
never die ; it moaned, and plained, and sobbed 
heavily, and water, as tears, gushed from its 
eyes. I was impatient to have the revolting 



STORY OF A LIFE. 343 

deed over. Those sounds distracted me, made 
me feel murderer like, and mad. When, at 
last, I thought it dead, and was preparing for 
my foul meal, its mouth opened, and its heart 
beat; at length it lay quite still. I gashed 
about it then, and lay me down, and sucked 
the blood, and hacked the flesh, and fed upon 
it with fierce haste, — what could the wolf or 
tiger more ? What had the Brahmin said to 
see the Christian feeding thus ? and yet what 
of this ? — why, there are in our world can- 
nibals. Heavens ! what a thing is man, — 
man, the animal alone ! nothing is more abject; 
but then man, the rational living soul, how 
mighty, how majestic ! Day after day, for a 
long, long time, of which I kept no count, I 
fed thus upon turtle, and the half-eaten car- 
casses of my victims allured the ravenous sea 
birds in their flight, and sometimes we fed to- 
gether. With this sort of life and food, my 
nature became quite savage, even as a beast's. 
A little protruding shelf of rock sheltered me 
z 4 



344 STORY OF A LIFE. 

by night, as I lay, and all the day I sat upon 
it, gazing out to see if any sail might pass my 
desolate sea-girt prison. The only thing that 
soothed me was the gentle welling forth of the 
water, from which I daily drank, and the first 
event in my lone isle, that softened and brought 
my mind back to quieter thoughts, and filled 
my heart with gratitude, and awakened hope, 
was the appearance of a young and tender 
sprout, as of some herbaceous plant, close to 
the fountain ; in a few days I discovered it to 
be the promise of a cocoa-tree. From the mo- 
ment it first appeared, I came and sat by it, 
and watched it as it grevr, and spoke to it, as 
if it could hear my welcoming of its birth, and 
growth. It is strange with how many bright 
and hopeful fancies it filled my vacant mind. 

In spite of all that I had endured, my health 
was strong, and promised long continuance of 
life. Now again, in recollected prayers and 
sentences, I began to pray. It grew my solitary 
solace to walk about near the spring, and where 
the young cocoa tree was putting forth its tender 



STORY OF A LIFE. 345 

leaves, and cull from memory the chance re- 
membered verse of scripture ; one in particular 
from a psalm always delighted and comforted 
me ; it was this : — 

" If I take the wings of the morning, and 
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even 
there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right 
hand shall hold me." 

The promises, moreover, to repentance, came 
vividly to me ; and the trust and the hope en- 
joined, — and belief came to me in power, so 
that it gave sublime aspirings to my lifted soul. 
Still was I compelled to sustain life by the 
same revolting food. I contrived, however, 
the killing; of the turtle with better skill, and a 
more humane expedition ; I ate of it sparingly, 
and never till the day after. One day as I was 
watching near the spot where the turtle usually 
came on shore, I was surprised to see a small 
boat making towards the island. Transported 
with joy, I broke out into happy exclamations, 
and hailed it with a loud voice. Xo answer 
was returned to me, neither, indeed, could I 



.'H6 STORY OF A LITE. 

observe any one, but I saw that it was laden, 
and could distinguish green branches and 
flowers ; I concluded, therefore, that whoever 
was in the canoe lay sleeping at the bottom, 
or purposely concealed himself, having seen 
me. I now ran behind the shelving rock, and 
lay down that I might not scare him, and that, 
if he came armed and hostile, I might consider 
what to do. It glided slowly on, that bark, and 
was stranded on the shore by the gently wash- 
ing wave ; no one stepped on the beach, or 
even appeared. I stole down cautiously to- 
wards it ; — as I approached, the dimensions 
seemed smaller, and the materials very slight 
and fragile, but it was laden loftily with a lovely 
burthen of garlands, and fruits, and flowers, 
and in the midst, a lamp, a lighted lamp, — 
Fire, — that holy thing, that humanizes man, 
civilizes him, cooks his food, and makes him 
to differ in his mode of preying from the forest 
beast ; — and there came from the bark de- 
licious odours of spices, flowers, and gums, and 
sandal wood. I knew it now for a votive bark, 



STORY OF A LIFE. 347 

launched at some festival by the Maldivians 
near me, and sent forth as an offering to the 
spirit of the winds. c.i;,/»/«^*,. 

To me that offering, heaven-guided, came ; 
and, although disappointed in my first hope of 
a prospect of release from thraldom, yet judge 
with what grateful transport I seized upon the 
prized treasures of this enchanted vessel ! Judge 
with what floodinor tears I turned over its fflo^ 
rious wealth, — the milky cocoa-nut, the melting 
plantain-fruit, the luscious mango, the melon, 
and the pine ; and, above all, to me the greater 
gift of a purer food. There was rice and corn, 
and the sweet yam ; and there were scattered 
in the bark all sorts of coloured flowers, and 
slips of delicate plants, and fragrant spices. On 
examining the slender bark, I found it too 
slight to afford any prospect of constructing a 
float or raft, whereon I might leave the island 
with any hope. I therefore dragged it high 
and dry, and broke it bit by bit, with cautious 
avarice, for fuel. I piled my vegetable riches 
near the spring. I took the precious, the sacred 



34j8 story of a life. 

lamp, to my own couch, beneath the shelving 
rock. Of plants and seeds I scattered all about 
the watered ground ; not carelessly, indeed, but 
yet with a clumsy planting, and ignorant design. 
Blessed w^ere my humble prayers ! they grew ! 
fi'uits, flowers, and herbs for nourishing, inno- 
cent food, spread green and beautiful, and 
blushing, all about my cocoa-nut, which stood 
tailing among them as the parent plant of a 
young paradise. I might dwell long upon 
this hermit life; for, though a blank to the world's 
eye, it was still full to me. But I shall only 
speak of the few events, or rather the one gi'eat 
gift, which came to this solitary spot, and made 
it a fair world for me; and made my twenty 
years to me like blessing, as those forty, during 
which Israel wandered in the wilderness. 

In about nine years from the time when, as 
a lone castaway, i was drifted to the shore of 
my desert isle, it had wonderfully changed its 
aspect. The chance-landing mariner would have 
discovered, as he rowed towards it, a pretty 
clump of cocoa-trees, with their rich and wavy 



STORY OF A LIFE. 349 

plumage; and when he leaped from his boat and 
ran onwards, a little smiling wilderness of fruits, 
and herbs, and flowers ; and a small rude hut, 
under the tallest of those cocoa-trees, made of 
branches, and walled and covered with the cad- 
jan leaf. A man too he would have found, with 
hair and beard of hideous growth ; clothed partly 
in the tattered rajjs of a v/orn-out dress of Eu- 
rope, and covered with a cloak, woven rudely 
without skill from the coir of the coco-nut ; and 
fed by eating of its fruit, and drinking \a ater from 
itsshell. But none did come : and I had given up 
the hope. A solitary life, a lonely death seemed 
ci}' assured fate ; and alas ! my years might be 
prolonged to grey old age; for the air was re- 
markably serene and pure, and my simple diet, 
and my days passed in the open air, most healthful. 
I know not how I passed ray time. In the cool of 
the morning I was idly busy in ray wild garden. In 
the heatof noon I lay withakind of indolent calm- 
ness under the shade of my trees. How often 
did I bless the useful cocoas; and for the parent 
one, the native of my island, I felt a regard, 
such as an idolater might, such as the Indian 



350 STORY OF A LIFE. 

faquir for the banian, under which he lives im- 
moveable for years. There were no animals, 
no reptiles on the spot; but birds flew tome 
from neighbouring shores, and perched, and 
chirruped, and built nests in my garden ; or 
theirs^ if you will ; there was enough, and space 
for them and me; and God had made us the 
joint tenants. I watched these little things and 
loved them ; they were all tame, that is tame to 
me. Indeed they had society and song, and 
little heeded me. At eventide I would walk near 
the rippling margin of the sea, and think aloud, 
and often weep, oppressed with sadness. .; ' 

One evening a small rush basket floated to 
land. I gladly seized it, for it spoke of man — 
a dirty useless thing cast out from the cleaned 
cabin of some passing ship; but welcome in a 
solitude like this ; perhaps too the vessel was 
not far off", and she might come in sight. ^^ 

I opened it — there were only light sweep- 
ings — a little dust, a little saw-dust, some bed 
feathers, broken corks, fragments of torn p^tper, 
one larger than the rest ; a crumpled ball — I 
opened it, and found four leaves of a black-letter 



STORY OF A LIFE. ^>ol 

book of quarto size, tliat seemed to have been 
torn out carelessly as waste paper. 1 was de- 
lighted to have any thing in print, any thing to 
keep my thoughts company; but judge my sur- 
prise, joy, and gratitude, when, on looking closer 
at them, I found that I was possessed of four 
full close pages of an old Bible. 
■ '. I flew back with them to my hut : the sun had 
set. Now how I exulted in my lamp ! I trimmed 
the wick the cocoa supplies, and poured in its 
precious oil ; then unfolding my treasure, I read 
it through with a slow, solemn eagerness: it 
began at the fifth verse of the fourteenth chap- 
ter of St. John; it closed with the thirty-ninth 
verse of the second chapter of Acts. Invaluable 
fragment ! how did the possession of it change 
the moral aspect of my fate ! greater was the 
change in my heart, my mind, my feelings, far 
greater than that beautiful one so observable in 
the once barren and brown sand around me, 
now clothed with vegetable life and beauty. 
,'ii From that moment there was notone day that 
It^id not praise and bless God, for directing to 
me those crumbs of the bread of life, which had 



352 STORY OF A LIFE. 

been cast careless on the waters by those who, 
rich in the abundance of their earthly treasures, 
had spurned the pearl which never shone in their 
eyes, or had thrown it by for a more conve?iient 
season. Let me not, however, speak thus, as if 
despisingly or in contempt for my fellow man : 
the world, and the flesh, and the devil, the strong 
enemies with whom he must daily contend, little 
vexed a lone exile like to me; my convenient 
season was come. After many sins and sufferings, 
through many judgments and afflictions, it had 
come. Long and vainly had I panted for a Paul 
to tell me of the things whereof he spoke to the 
trembling Felix ; but there was none to hear, 
none to answer me. Ah me ! why speak I thus ? 
I was heard — I was answered — 

" And is there care in Heaven ? and is there love 
In heavenly spirits to these creatures base, 
That may compassion of their evils move ? 
There is; else much more wretched were the case 
Of men than beasts. But O th' exceeding grace 
Of highest God ! that loves his creatures so, 
And all hit works with mercy doth embrace, 
That blessed angels he sends to and fro. 

To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked ioe. 



STORY OP A LIFE. 353 

** How oft do they their silver bowers leave, 
To come to succour us, that succour want ? 
How oft do they, with golden pinions, cleave 
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant. 
Against foul fiends to aid us militant ? 
They for us fight, they watch and duly ward. 
And their bright squadrons round about us plant. 
And all for love, and nothing for reward. 

O why should heavenly God to men have such regard ?'* 

Not a day, not an hour of any, that my heart 
did not send up its warmest thanks to the Throne 
of Grace for this precious gift. I kneeled with 
gratitude that I had been taught to read — 
kneeled in gratitude for that God in his mercy 
had suffered the holy volume to be taken from 
the jealous guardianship of monk and priest, and 
printed out in vulgar tongues for the benefit of 
man. O ye that would seal up that precious 
book of life, ye that would deny to the poor the 
blessed gift of such instruction in their child- 
hood as may enable them to read it, how deep, 
how damning is your crime in the eye of hea- 
ven ! Think only that ye withhold that which 
Christ has given. To the poor he preached the 

VOL. II. A A 



354 STOKY OF A LIFE. 

Gospel. Who are the poor ? All who> in the 
sadness of their spirits, hunger for the bread of 
life, and, fainting in their weary pilgrimage, 
thirst for the waters of salvation. Ah ! think of 
those sick and solitary hours of thousands, mil- 
lions, to whom all ordinances are denied^ whom 
no minister does ever visit ; you have their curses 
now, and you shall listen to the repetition of 
them through a long eternity. O blessed vo- 
lume, that to the wanderer upon oceans, and in 
far countries, that to the bed of pain and to the 
dungeon of the captive, brings comfort down to 
the poor mourner, when abandoned, as it should 
seem, by all the world. Alone in the world I 
stood — deservedly alone — and yet it came to 
me ; and as 1 prayed and read, the angel of the 
Lord stood by, and threw a glorious light upon 
the sacred page. Verse after verse my bosom 
kindled, and God manifest in the flesh, that great 
mystery was revealed to me, as if voices out of 
heaven had spoken it with trumpet tongues. 

But all this is too sacred a thing to speak 
fancifully on. Let me then calmly say, that 
from the hour I possessed myself of this treasure 



STORY OF A LIFE. 355 

1 felt happy. Repentance was given me ; it" 
there were any pain, it was that I could not 
practically prove my love in life — and yet, 
when I looked back upon the world, and how 
I had been maddened, and wounded by it, I 
thought that the shadow of almighty wings was 
over me for good, and believing this, was more 
than merely resigned to my solitude, was grate- 
ful, and contented with it, as he would have 
been, that man, who, freed from the troubled 
spirit, sat quiet at the feet of Jesus in his right 
mind, and prayed that he might there remain. 
The portion of scripture which had thus come 
to me was more exactly adapted to my wants, 
than if, at that moment, I had had the whole 
Bible to. choose from. It contained indeed the 
whole sum, substance, and essence of our faith 
and hope. 

It peopled for me my lone island with — ah ! 
what? (I mean it not irreverently or daringly) 
with the Saviour of the world and his disciples. 
— It declared to me his unity with the Father, 
the consolation and mutual love between Chiist 
and his members, it gave me his words of com- 

A A 2 



356 STORY OF A LIFE. 

tort, tlie promise of the Holy Spirit, and made 
me a listener to his tender prayers. It showed 
me the great awful sacrifice, the burial, the 
glorious resurrection, and the bright ascension 
into Heaven ; also the descent of the cloven 
tongues of fire ; — the sermon of a disciple, and 
the cry of a repentant people. 

With these pages for my solace, a kind of 
link between my solitary isle and the whole 
Christian world ; — a link reaching up in glorious 
briijhtness to the communion of saints in Heaven, 
I lived a hermit for eleven years more — count- 
ing my time by the revolvings of the silver 
moon. — How very still my life was — how soft 
and gentle all the sounds. The rustle of the 
leaf, the ripple of the wave, the carol of the 
bird. 

I hope I am forgiven my often transgression 
of that command, which forbids our forming 
to ourselves the image of any thing, that is in 
the Heaven above. I know that eye hath not 
seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into 
the heart of man to conceive, what is prepared 
there for those who love God ; — but I w ould 



STORY OF A LIFE. 3^7 

look up at the starry heavens by night, and 
rnorn, and noon, at the eastern, and the western 
skies, and fancy forms angelic, and white-robed 
sainted forms smiling with fondness down, and 
beckoning me to join them. Deep too was the 
delight, with which I was wont to think about 
all, whom I had known and loved, and who now 
lay dead. I summoned them before me. shades, 
whose paleness was holy, beautifully holy to 
nie. In my dreams too I heard music, such as 
on earth sounded never in any waking ear ; its 
tones were faint, forgiving, and encouraging 
sweet. I would awake from such dreams, and 
weep my silent thanks for them to the God of 
mercy, and fancy that I was a pardoned sinner, 
and hope, ay, confidently hope it true. 

It was from such a dream that I awoke one 
morning, and went forth weeping to offer up my 
early prayer, when, looking out on the calm 
sea, I observed a tall ship with backed sails, 
and a boat pulling to the shore. I stood, in 
delighted and hesitating wonder, behind a tree, 
and watched them. When the boat grounded, 
the sailors leaped cheerful to the hi[id, and 

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358 STORY OF A LIFE. 

among them the very foremost, a siin-burnecf, 
manly, handsome boy, such as I remembered 
Howard in the hour in which he saved me from 
the sinking vessel. Nearer, he ran in ardent 
fearless exploring ; features, size, voice the very 
same. 

" Avast, Mr. Howard, you'll come athwart 
some wild beast mayhap," said a rough seaman ; 
and he stopped as if he feared it true, when he 
saw my shaggy form as I came ibrth, and lifted 
up my naked arms, and cried, " God save you, 
my deliverers !" — Quickly recovering himself he 
came on to meet me, and comprehended, at 
once, that I had been some unfortunate escaped 
from shipwreck. But he did not know when he 
put out his young kind hand, that it was his 
uncle's upon which he let fall a generous tear. 
He did not know that the furrowed man who 
knelt, and thanked God, in that rough group of 
wondering seamen, and, while he looked like 
a fierce and hairy savage of the woods, cried 
like a little child, was his uncle ; a brother of 
the breast that gave him suck. 

They were for instantly hurrying me away on 



STORY OF A LIFE. 359 

board. They could not, they thought, too soon 
relieve my apparent wants, and give me food and 
clothes. I prayed a little pause that I might 
take leave of my bowery hermitage. A sailor 
fired among the trees at my frightened 
birds. I prayed him not, for that I had lived 
with them alone for many years. They are 
manly fellows, seamen, feeling manly fellows. 
He desisted, and with a curse upon himself for 
having fired. Indeed, that unaccustomed sound, 
the death dealing report of the fowling piece, 
had pierced my heart ; and, for one incon- 
siderate, ungrateful moment, I regretted that the 
world had broke in upon my innocent solitude. 
" I ask your pardon," said the stout, manly, 
young seaman, another of a remembered race, 
the very image of the faithful Godfrey, as he 
stood tearfiil on the beach at Southampton on 
that fatal day, when I first embarked from that 
shore, which, as an acknowledged child, I was 
never more to see. All the agitation which 
these discoveries caused me, mingled so naturally 
with what I might be supposed to feel after a 
lonely exile of twenty years, that it was easy for 



360 STORY OF A LIFE. 

me to preserve that incognito, on which I in- 
stantly, for the peace and happiness of so many 
at home, determined. I wonder not at the 
feeling of that released captive, who prayed of 
the liberating conqueror, that he might again be 
imprisoned in the cell, which habit had made 
dear to him. It was rather with sorrow than 
joy that I stepped into the boat, which carried 
me away from my sweet wilderness. Even 
in the few moments that these men stood 
near me; and though my heart yearned to 
young Howard with love, and almost with as 
strong a feeling to the seaman, Godfrey 
(for it was the son of my old groom); even with 
all this, in that short time, my first transport at 
the thought of release subsided, and I would 
gladly have remained in peace where I was ; or 
at least I thought so. 

They bore me off, how^ever, and afterwards 
sent boats to land, and brought off all the fruit 
from my garden. I had myself brought away 
the cocoa shell, from which I drank, and had 
displayed to the awed and serious crew the four 
sacred pages, from which 1 had derived such 



STORY OF A LIFE. 361 

light, and strength, and comfort; but my lamp, 
ray cherished lamp, the flame of which I had 
fed constantly for eleven years, was rudely ex- 
tinguished by an unthinking hand. The cap-_ 
tain was a staid manly gentleman of grave 
thoughts, and grave manners. When he heard 
from me that 1 was by rank a gentleman, for 
I represented myself as a foreign merchant, 
with funds at home, he ordered me a cabin, 
and every comfort. I passed the voyage prin- 
cipally in retirement. My reserve was thought 
natural from long seclusion and suffering. To 
all the questions put to me I replied briefly, and 
was silent and observant. The days flew ra- 
pidly by in one happy delightful exercise ; the 
reading of the word» of God. Now it was that 
I began to understand the saying of that phi- 
losopher, who was wont to declare, that, shut 
him in a dark dungeon with a Bible, and a lamp, 
and he could always tell what was doing in the 
world. 

Of the fulness, of the beauty, of the variety, 
of the sublimity of that sacred volume, how 
faint had been my notions ! I was wont to 



362 STORY OF A LIFE. 

make it the constant subject of ray prayers that 
I might never lose sight of the true high 
object for which it was given to man, in the 
loveliness of the song ; and many were the parts 
and passages of Scripture, which I denied my- 
self the pleasure of reading too often, lest I 
should forget this in the surpassing beauty of 
that inspired poetry, which, wlitether in its 
simple, severe, or lofty strains, leaves as far 
behind it the harpings of the earthly bard as 
in his flight the sun-gazing eagle, the confined 
and circling flutters of the blinded bat. 
At last we reached the wished-for land — saw 
the white cliffs of England, and ran in. Home 
was the word on every lip — alas ! I had no 
home, but I loved the very sound, and 
joyed for others at all the images it brought 
before their brightening eyes, as in silence they 
seemed thinking on all dear to^ them. Thus to 
me my country became a home — its soil that 
is, to tread on and be buried in — its people to 
look upon, and love as brothers. I travelled up 
in the first instance to London. I remembered 
the name of the correspondent of my Venetian 



STORY OF A LIFE. 363 

house, and found that the small sum I had 
directed to be remitted there was still carefully 
preserved for me, and had accumulated. The 
stu', the bustle, and the crowd of the vast city 
bewildered me. I purchased through my agents 
a small annuity, and gave all the rest of my 
money to those establishments, which shelter 
the houseless heads of weeping Magdalens, and 
give the breast and the cradle to little in- 
fants whom the fear of shame or the cruelty of 
vice would expose to perish. It is little strange 
that I should have now felt and indulged the 
wish to " cease from man." 

One visit I paid to Beaulieu — looked on 
the manor house — looked into the church — 
saw the graves of , Edward, of my father, my 
mother, Vernon, Colonel Hamilton, and Faith- 
ful, — learned that Godfrey was living in a 
comfortable protected manner, the father of a 
large and virtuous family, — : learned that Sir 
Harry Howard was an admiral of the highest 
reputation ; and that one of the most upright, 
intelligent, and honourable members of the 
British senate was Mr. Frankland, to whom, it 



36 4< STORY OF A l/fE. 

will be remembered, God gave Maria Cecil for 
a wife. Among such persons a wretch, who 
had lived the criminal and useless life I had, 
would only bring anxiety and tender pain, and 
could only gather shame. 

I resolved, therefore, to find some shelter for 
my homeless head, where I mightemploy the short 
remainder of my life in a world, which I had so 
much abused, in those prayers and meditations 
which might best fit me for that other and 
better, where " all tears shall be wiped from 
all faces." 

" Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, 
Ease after war, death after life does greatly please." 



THE END. 



London : " " 
Printctl by A. k K. SpottiswoOile. 
New -.Street-Sr,viaro. 




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JNIVERSITY OF ILUN0I9-URBANA 




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