perishable spirit had departed already from that
poor frame of decaying mortality.
In breathless awe I stole my fingers gently to
the wrist of the hand I held in mine, almost praying
inwardly that I might find all quiet there ; but even
while I felt for the imperceptible pulse, a change
came over the pale countenance — a slight tremor
of the muscles about the mouth, a quivering of the
lower eyelids, and then a tear stole glistening
through the thin worn lashes of either eye, and
slowly, heavily trickled down the furrowed cheek,
and after a minute the trembling hand was with-
drawn from the tender pressure of mine, and with
its fellow joined and half upraised in the attitude
The old man's eyes were still closed,
but his lips moved, and in the tremulous accents
which escaped them, I distinguished — " I thank
thee ! .... I thank thee .... Oh Lord ! . . . .
Thou hast taken her from the evil to come."
Uninvited and unwelcome, Mr Heneage Devereux
presented himself at the Hall, as suddenly as rapid
travelling could bring him there, after the notifica-
tion of Mrs Eleanor's death had reached him in
London. And it was evident to me and others that
DEVEREUX HALL. 105
he had motives for preventing as much as possible
all unrestrained and confidential intercourse between
his cousin and those old friends and neighbours, who
would have rallied round him in his distress and
perplexities, and, by their strenuous and disinter-
ested counsels and assistance, have even then re-
leased him from his bondage to the fiend, had time
been allowed them to win gradually upon the shy-
ness and timidity of Mr Devereux's character, so
as to induce him to overstep the little weakness of
that false pride which shrank from disclosure of
worldly difficulties, and exposure — such as no doubt
he had pictured to himself — to the humiliating com-
ments of contemptuous pity. Mr Heneage came, and
such perpetual and vexatious obstacles were thrown
in the way of the neighbouring gentlemen, in all
their attempts at a renewal of social intercourse
with Mr Devereux, that one by one all relinquished
their kindly hopes of serving him effectually, though
a few, like myself, persevered in seeing him as often
as we could obtain admission into that altered abode,
where in past days such a gracious and smiling wel-
come had ever greeted us. But I fear our venerable
friend derived little pleasure or comfort from these
almost intrusive visits. Courteously and kindly
indeed he ever received all who approached him ;
and to the few who had been particularly distin-
guished by his friendship and that of Mrs Eleanor,
there was even a more touching expression — one
of grateful tenderness in his accustomed affection-
106 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
ateness of manner. But the exertion of conversa-
tion, absorbed as he was by corroding cares and
fatal concealments, was evidently a painful effort
to him, and he often sunk, even while his friends
were endeavouring to engage his attention, into
fits of sad abstraction, broken unconsciously by
such deep-fetched sighs as went to the heart of
those who were powerless to comfort. Little was
even yet known of the real nature of those trans-
actions between our venerable friend and his kins-
man, which had wrought such lamentable change
in him, and all connected with him ; but whispers
got abroad that Mr Devereux's circumstances were
in a very dilapidated state, and that there was even
a possibility, if his life were spared beyond a cer-
tain period, that the old man might be driven forth
from the home of his ancestors, to seek some meaner
shelter for his grey head, before it was laid to rest
in the vault of the Devereuxs.
Mr Heneage began to assume more arbitrary
authority over the establishment at the Hall —
conducting himself with an insolence of manner so
disgusting to the old respectable servants, that, by
degrees, all dropped off except Hallings and his
wife, and a white-headed coachman, whose devoted
fidelity strengthened them to endure all things
rather than desert their aged master in the hour of
Ins utmost need.
Towards the close of that sad winter succeeding
the death of Mrs Eleanor, Hallings (as I have since
DEVEREUX HALL. 107
beard from him) observed an unwonted degree of
restlessness in bis master, and at times, after hav-
ing been closeted with Mr Heneage and an attor-
ney, who now frequently accompanied the latter
to the Hall — at such times especially a feverish
and flushed excitement, during the continuance of
which his ideas seemed to wander, and he uttered
expressions which gave but too much ground of
probability to those rumours I have alluded to.
On one of those occasions, when the forlorn old
man had, as it seemed, been driven by his evil
genius almost to the verge of desperation, his faith-
ful servant, urged on by uncontrollable feeling -
ventured, for the first time, to hint at the secret
source of this overwhelming misery, and to press
upon him the entreaty that he would open his heart
freely to some old and true friend. " See Mr
L , sir! " implored tbe worthy Hallings ; "for
God's sake, my dear, dear master ! let me send
directly for Mr L , or go to him and tell him
you would speak with him immediately."
For a moment Mr Devereux seemed as if half
moved to compliance with the prayer of his at-
tached servant. For a moment he sat in trembling
agitation, with half-opened lips and eyes fixed on
HaUings, as if about to give the permission so ear-
nestly supplicated ; but the indecision ended fatally.
Slowly and mournfully shaking his head, as it sank
upon his breast, he waved his hand rejectingly, and
faintly murmured in an inward tone, " Too late ! too
108 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
late ! Leave me, good Hallings ! Your master will not
be long atrouble to you ; — but lie has lived too long."
On the day succeeding that on which this scene
took place, Mr Devereux was again shut up in con-
ference with Cousin Heneage and his assistant
friend, the convenient scrivener. Hallings's anxiety
kept him hovering near the library where they were
convened, and more than once he heard the hateful
grating voice of Cousin Heneage raised to a threat-
ening loudness, and then, after a pause, his mas-
ter's well-known accents, apparently pleading with
pathetic earnestness, till overpowered by the dis-
cordant tones of his kinsman and the attorney.
"At last," said Hallings, "I could distinguish a
sort of choking, gasping cry, and a hysterical sob
from my dear master ; and then I could bear it no
longer, but knocked loudly for admittance at the
locked door. My interruption broke up the con-
ference ; a chair was pushed back with violence as
Mr Heneage, it seemed, rose from it, for it was his
voice that thundered out, as he thumped the table
in his rage — ' To-morrow, sir ! I tell you, to-mor-
row. I will be fooled no longer.' And then my
master almost shrieked out — 'A little time! a little
time ! Only a year ; one little year, Cousin
Heneage ! ' But the savage laughed in scorn ;
and, as he strode past me, followed by that other
viper, looked back with stern determination, while
he uttered, in a loud insulting tone — ( Not a week,
sir ! Not a day beyond to-morrow.' "
DEVEREUX HALL. 109
On going to the assistance of his master, poor
Hallings found him in a state of dreadful agitation.
"His forehead, sir, was wet with perspiration,
though the fire had burnt down to nothing, and
there was snow upon the ground, and there was a
deep red spot upon either cheek. His hands were
grasping the arms of his chair, and he rose from it
as I entered, but stared at me with seeming uncon-
sciousness. I could not see him so, and control my
own feelings. ' My dear master ! ' I said, and the
tears gushed from my eyes. The sight of that
seemed to bring him to himself a little — for you
know, sir, how tender-hearted he was — and he
fetched two or three short sighs, and said, ' Oh,
Hallings ! it is all over, ' and trembled so violently
that I feared he would fall, and ran to his support ;
but he recovered himself, and seemed to have more
strength than usual in his crippled limbs, as he
walked across the library and hall, and up-stairs
to his own bedroom, to the door of which I followed
him. But he forbade my entrance in a determined
tone ; and, desiring he might not be disturbed for an
hour or two, as he should he down and recover
himself, he went in and shut the door, drawing the
bolt after him."
So far I have given you in substance the narra-
tive of Hallings ; but his farther statement was of
a nature so agitating that it was made more uncon-
uectedly, and I must briefly relate to you, in my
own words, the miserable conclusion.
110 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
The habitual deference with which Hallings was
ever accustomed to obey his master's least imper-
ative command, restrained him on that last fatal
occasion from opposing his desire to be left alone
But " something," the old man said, " would not
let him rest, or keep away for ten minutes together
from his master's door, at which he was anxiously
listening, when he heard the tinkling of glass, and
the unlocking, as he well knew the sound, of Mr
Devereux's medicine-chest. Hallings noted the
circumstance gladly, for he supposed from it that
Mr Devereux was taking a nervous medicine —
some drops of sal-volatile, to which he had often
recourse at seasons of peculiar languor or nervous
agitation. But still, as he strongly repeated, he
" could not rest," nor refrain from assuring himself
of his master's state a moment beyond the abso-
lutely prescribed hour. He knocked at the door,
and for some time awaited an answer ; but none
was made. And again, at the risk of disturbing
his master's slumber, he repeated the rap more
loudly ; and Mr Devereux being a very light
sleeper, aroused by the faintest sound, Hallings
said his heart sank within him when that knock,
and the next, and another, and another, were still
" I thought of our dear lady, sir," he said, "and
how suddenly she was taken."
And at that thought he grew desperate ; and,
DEVEREUX HALL. Ill
summoning assistance, had the door forced open.
There sat his master in his large easy-chair beside
the fireplace, wrapt in profound slumber, breathing
heavily, and his face overspread with a livid and
ghastly paleness. Hallings stepped forward in
great agitation, and taking his passive hand, made
all possible attempts to arouse him from that death-
like slumber, but in vain ; and as he was thus
busied, his eye fell accidentally on a phial that lay
uncorked and empty beside a wine-glass, on the comer
of the mantel-shelf, within reach of his master's hand.
At that sight a fearful thought flashed upon him ;
and, turning to a groom who had pressed in with
others of the servants, he ordered him to ride off
instantly for Mr Maddox, the family apothecary,
and urge his attendance with utmost speed, on a
matter of life and death. Our medical friend was
soon at the Hall, and by the side of him who still
reclined motionless and insensible in that easy-
chair, sleeping that fearful sleep. Heneage Deve-
reux was absent for the day, and Hallings had, in
consequence, uncontrolled liberty to act on that
trying occasion as seemed best to him for the repu-
tation as well as life of his dear master. He there-
fore requested to speak in private to the surgeon,
whose feelings were, he knew, in all things relating
to Mr Devereux, perfectly congenial with his own.
To Mm only he told that the empty phial labelled
laudanum had, to his certain knowledge, been full
that morning, when, by his master's direction, he
112 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
had taken some required drug from the medicine-
chest. To him also he confided the scene that had
immediately preceded Mr Devereux's retirement to
his chamber. Little mutual consultation passed, or
was necessary. Mr Maddox proceeded immediately
to use such means as the exigency of the case de-
manded ; but either they were too late resorted to,
or would have been ineffectual from the first. Mr
Devereux never awoke from that fatal slumber, and
within a fortnight from that disastrous day, his
mortal remains were deposited beside those of his
beloved sister, and his earthly inheritance was
claimed, and taken undisputed possession of, by
that bad man, whose responsibility is awful indeed,
if (as we have too much reason to believe) the sud-
den, though not untimely death of our lamented
friend, was occasioned by any other cause than that
to which it was generally ascribed — as adjudged
by a jury — an overdose of laudanum, taken incau-
tiously, to allay a spasmodic affection, to which Mr
Devereux had been often subject. Of this I am
morally assured, that if the act was wilful, it was
not deliberate. The last agony of that tender spirit
must have overset the mental balance, or the Chris-
tian's faith would have triumphed over human weak-
ness, and the malice of the wicked, which, though it
may kill the body, " hath no more that it can do."
BY DR ROBERT MACNISH.
[MJGA. May 1826.]
A SLIGHT shudder came over me as I was enter-
ing the inner court of the College of Gottingen.
It was, however, but momentary; and on recovering
from it, I felt both taller and heavier, and altogether
more vigorous, than the instant before. Being rather
nervous, I did not much mind these feelings, imput-
ing them to some sudden determination to the brain,
or some unusual beating about the heart, which had
assailed me suddenly, and as suddenly left me. On
proceeding, I met a student coming in the oppo-
site direction. I had never seen him before, but as
he passed me by, he nodded familiarly — " There
is a fine day, Wolstang." — " What does this fel-
low mean?" said I to myself. " He speaks to me
with as much ease as if I had been his intimate ac-
quaintance. And he calls me Wolstang — a person
to whom I bear no more resemblance than to the
2 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
man in the moon." I looked after him for some
time, pondering whether I should call him back and
demand an explanation; but before I could form
any resolution, he was out of my sight.
Thinking it needless to take any further notice
of the circumstance, I went on. Another student,
whom I did not know, now passed me. — " Charm-
ing weather, Wolstang." — " Wolstang again !" said
I ; " this is insufferable. Hollo, I say ! what do you
mean ?" But at this very moment he entered the
library, and either did not hear my voice, or paid
no attention to it.
As I was standing in a mood between rage and
vexation, a batch of Collegians came up, talking
loud and laughing. Three, with whom I was inti-
mately acquainted, took no notice of me ; while
two, to whom I was totally unknown, saluted me
with " Good morning, Wolstang." One of these
latter, after having passed me a few yards, turned
round and cried out, " Wolstang, your cap is awry."
I did not know what to make of this preposterous
conduct. Could it be premeditated ? It was hardly
possible, or I must have discovered the trick in the
countenances of those who addressed me. Could
it be that they really mistook me for Wolstang ?
Tins was still more incredible, for Wolstang was
fully six inches taller, four stones heavier, and ten
years older than I. I found myself in a maze of
bewilderment in endeavouring to discover the cause
THE METEMPSYCHOSIS. 3
of all this. I reflected upon it in vain, summoning
to my assistance the aids of Logic and Metaphysics
to unravel the mystery. Nay, Euclid was not for-
gotten. I called to mind the intricate problems of
science which a rigid study of this Prince of Mathe-
maticians had enabled me to solve ; but on the pre-
sent occasion my thoughts, though screwed to the
utmost pitch of philosophical acumen, completely
failed in their aim.
While meditating as in a reverie on these events,
I was aroused by approaching steps. On look-
ing up, I beheld the most learned Doctor Dedimus
Dunderhead, Provost, and Professor of Moral Philo-
sophy to the College. He was a man about five
feet high ; but so far as rotundity of corporation
went, noways deficient. On the contrary, he was
uncommonly fat, and his long-waisted velvet coat
of office, buttoning over a capacious belly, showed
underneath a pair of thick stumpy legs, cased in
short small-clothes and silk stockings, and bedi-
zened at the knees with large buckles of silver.
The Doctor had on, as usual, his cocked-hat, below
whose rim at each side descended the copious curls
of an immense bob-wig. His large carbuncle nose
was adorned with a pair of spectacles, through
which he looked pompously from side to side, hold-
ing back his head in grenadier fashion, and knock-
ing his long silver-headed baton to the earth, as he
walked with all the formal precision of a drum-major.
4 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
Now be it known that it is binding on every
student who attends the University of Gottingen,
to doff his cap on meeting this illustrious person-
age. This is not an optional ceremony ; it is a
compulsory one ; and never on any occasion has it
been known to be neglected, except once by a
Dutchman, who, in consequence thereof, was ex-
pelled the College. It may be guessed, then, what
was my degree of stupefaction when I saw Doctor
Dunderhead approach — when I heard his baton
striking upon the ground, responsive to his steps —
when I saw his large eyes, reflected through the
spectacles, looking intently upon me — I say my
stupefaction may be guessed, when, even on this
occasion, my hand did not make one single motion
upward towards my cap. The latter still stuck to
my head, and I stood folded in my college gown,
my mouth half open, and my eyes fixed upon the
Doctor in empty abstraction. I could see that he
was angry at my tardy recognition of his presence ;
and as he came nearer me, he slackened his pace a
little, as if to give me an opportunity of amending
my neglect. However, I was so drowned in reflec-
tion that I did not take the hint. At last he made
a sudden stop directly in front of me, folded his
arms in the same manner as mine, and looked up-
wards in my face with a fixed glance, as much as to
say, "Well, master, what now? " I never thought the
Doctor so little, or mvself so tall, as at this moment.
THE METEMPSYCHOSIS. 5
Having continued some time in the above atti-
tude, he took off his hat, and made me a profound
bow. "Mr Wolstang, I am your most humble
servant." Then rising ujd, he lifted his baton
towards my cap, and knocked it off. " Your cap is
awry," continued he. " Excuse me, Mr Wolstang,
it is really awry upon your head." Another bow
of mockery, as profound as the first, followed this
action ; and he marched away, striking his baton
on the ground, holding back his head, and walking
with slow pompous step down the College court.
" What the devil is the meaning of this ?" said I.
" Wolstang again ! Confusion, this is no trick !
The Provost of the College engage in a deception
upon me — impossible ! They are all mad, or I am
mad ! Wolstang from one — Wolstang from another
— Wolstang from Doctor Dedimus Dunderhead ! I
will see to the bottom of this — I will go to Wol-
stang's house immediately." So saying, I snatched
up my cap, put it on my head, and walked smartly
down the court to gain the street where he lived.
Before I got far, a young man met me. " By the
by, Wolstang, I wish you could let me have the ten
gilders I lent you. I require them immediately." —
" Ten gilders ! " said I ; " I don't owe you a farthing.
I never saw your face before, and my name is not
Wolstang; it is Frederick Stadt."
" Psha ! — But, Wolstang, laying jesting aside,"
continued he, " I must positively have them."
6 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
" My dear fellow, the ten gilders."
" Ten devils ! — I tell you, I don't owe you a
"Eeally, Wolstang, this joke is very silly. We
know you are an odd fellow, but tins is the most
foolish prank I ever saw you play."
" Wolstang again ! " said I, my heart boiling with
indignation. " I tell you, sir — I tell you, sir, that
— that — " I could not get out another word, to such
a degree had indignation confounded me. Without
finishing my sentence, I rushed into the street, but
not without hearing the person say, "By heaven,
he is either mad or drunk !"
In a moment I was at Wolstang's lodgings, and
set the knocker agoing with violence. The door
was opened by his servant-girl Louise, a buxom
wench of some eighteen or twenty.
"Is Mr Wolstang in?" I demanded quickly.
"Mr who, sir?"
"Mr Wolstang, my dear."
"Mr Wol Mr who, sir ?— I did not hear you."
" Mr Wolstang."
" Mr Wolstang I " re-echoed the girl, with some
"Assuredly, I ask you if Mr Wolstang is
" Mr Wolstang ! " reiterated she. " Ha ha, ha !
how droll you are to-day, master!"
THE METEMPSYCHOSIS. 7
" Damnation! what do you mean?" cried I in a
fury, which I now found it impossible to suppress.
" Tell me this instant if Mr Wolstang, your master,
is at home, or by the beard of Socrates, I — I "
" Ha, ha ! this is the queerest thing I ever heard
of," said the little jade, retreating into the house,
and holding her sides with laughter. " Come here,
Barnabas, and hear our master asking for himself."
I now thought that the rage into which I had
thrown myself had excited the laughter of the
wench, whom I knew very well to be of a frolic-
some disposition, and much disposed to turn people
into ridicule. I therefore put on as grave a face as
I could — I even threw a smile into it — and said, with
all the composure and good-humour I could mus-
ter, " Come now, my dear — conduct me to your
master — I am sure he is within." This only set
her a-laughing more than ever ; not a word could I
get out of her. At last Barnabas made his appear-
ance from the kitchen, and to him I addressed my-
self. " Barnabas," said I, laying my hand upon his
arm, " I conjure you, as you value my happiness,
to tell me if Mr Wolstang is at home ?"
" Sir!" said Barnabas, with a long stare.
I repeated my question.
" Did you ask," replied he, " if Mr Wolstang was
at home ? If that gentleman is yourself, he is at
home. yes, I warrant you, my master is at
8 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
" In what place is he, then?" I inquired.
" Wherever yon are, he is not far off, I warrant
" Can I find him in his study?"
" yes," continued Barnabas ; " if you go to his
study, I warrant you he'll be there. Will you
please to walk in, sir?" and I could see the fellow
put his finger to his nose and wink to the girl, who
kept tittering away in a corner. As soon as I was
in the study she burst into a loud laugh, which
ended by her declaring that I must be mad — " Or
drank," quoth the sapient Barnabas, in his usual
On entering the room, no person was to be seen ;
but from behind a large screen, which stood front-
ing the fire, I heard a sneeze. " This must be
Wolstang," thought I : " but it is not his sneeze
either ; it is too sharp and finical for him ; however,
lot us see." So on I went behind the screen, and
there beheld, not the person I expected, but one
very different — to wit, a little, meagre, brown-faced
elderly gentleman, with hooked nose and chin, a
long well-powdered queue, and a wooden leg. He
was dressed in a snuff-coloured surtout, a scarlet
waistcoat, and black small-clothes buckled at the
knee ; and on his nose was stuck a pair of tortoise-
shell spectacles, the glasses of which were of most
unusual dimensions. A dapper-looking cocked-hat
lay upon the table, together with a large open snuff-
THE METEMPSYCHOSIS. 9
box full of rich rappee. Behind his right ear a pen
was stuck, after the manner of the counting-house,
and he seemed busily poring over a book iu manu-
I looked a few seconds at this oddity, equally
astonished and vexed at being put into what I
naturally supposed the wrong room. " I am afraid,
sir," said I, as he turned his eyes towards me,
" that I have intruded upon your privacy. I beg
leave to apologise for the mistake. The servant
led me to believe that Mr Wolstang, with whom I
wished to speak, was in this chamber."
" Don't talk of apology, my dear sir," said the
little gentleman, rising up and bowing with the
utmost politeness. " Be seated, sir — be seated.
Indeed, I am just here on the same errand — to see
Mr Wolstang — eh (a sneeze) — that rappee is cer-