Various.

Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 online

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What can it be belates thee?

Thou ne’er wilt find a nicer couch,
A softer or a fairer?
Thou ne’er wilt find a desk to which
Thy coming could be rarer.

Oh! airy rover, rainbow-winged!
Oh! coy and cold deceiver!
Alight upon this beggar leaf,
And blessèd be forever!

Alight and shut your gleaming wing,
And let my verse be amber,
To make for you, while glad you sing,
A fitting, fairy chamber!

Whether around the dainty tip
Of Whitman’s pen you hover,
Or rest on Greenwood’s rosy lip,
To greet some poet-lover;

Or hide in glorious Hewitt’s heart
Until you’re robed divinely,
Or lend impassioned Eva’s line
The glow she paints so finely.

Oh! fly them all, and fly to me!
I’ll entertain ye rarely;
My happy pen your host shall be,
And introduce you fairly.

I’ll dress you in the prettiest words
You possibly can think of,
I’ll let you sip the purest ink
That e’er you tried to drink of.

Your rich _relations_ throng to _them_,
While I’m alone and needy;
And though I cannot sing, my gem,
In tones so rich and reedy.

Be sure I’ll make the most of thee!
While throned in state and glory,
Oh! think what pride alone to be
_Unrivaled_ in my story!

Oh! fairy treasure, fine and fleet,
Oh! subtle, rare creation!
Whatever obstacles you meet,
Accept my invitation!

I’ll give you welcome warm and true,
However strange you be;
And take what route it pleases you,
It’s all the same to me.

Oh! come by telegraph from Maine,
Or by a junk from China,
By steamboat from the shores of Spain,
Or cars from Carolina!

But _come_—at all events—without
Another doubt or fear;
Fly, fly to this devoted heart,
And be—“my own Idea!”

* * * * *




A SUMMER EVENING THOUGHT.


BY COUSIN MARY.


See the fire-flies brightly sparkling,
While the night around is darkling;
See, above, the star-light streaming,
Part of Heaven’s own radiance seeming.

Brighter than the stars’ far beaming
Is the nearer fire-flies’ gleaming;
This, a moment shall endure,
That, forever, calm and pure.

To our world-bound hearts are given
Joys of earth and hopes of Heaven—
Flitting in the path before us,
Star-like, beaming calmly o’er us.

Shame such choice to deathless spirits,
Who _some_ god-like traits inherit!
Groveling still, we turn our eyes
Earthward from the distant skies,

And to our benighted vision
Brighter earth than “fields Elysian;”
Dearer are the joys here given
Than the promised joys of Heaven!

* * * * *




THE NAVAL OFFICER.


BY WM. F. LYNCH.


(_Continued from page 230._)


CHAPTER IV.

It was the morning of the fifth day after the escape of Talbot and his
companion. The land breeze, like the breath of expiring humanity, had
become more and yet more faint, until it ceased entirely, and the flag
that was wont to wave over the ramparts of the Moro Castle hung listless
beside the staff which supported it. Into the cavernous recesses worn by
the friction of the water, in the foundations of the massive structure,
the sluggish waves tumbled with a dull and deafening sound. In the near
offing lay the frigate, rolling slowly on the unbroken surface of a
light ground swell, while the sails flapped against the masts, as if
impatient for the breeze. In various directions, a number of vessels,
differing in size and appearance, like the frigate awaited a wind to
waft them to their various destinations. Beyond them, and until it
blended with the distant horizon, save here and there a sea-gull
noiselessly skimming its surface, there was nothing visible on the
far-stretching and pellucid sea. Like a slumbering giant, the very
heavings of that sea told of the latent power that dwelt within it, and
conveyed a forcible idea of the might and majesty of the Great Being
that made it.

On the after part of the deck of the frigate, screened from the sun by
an awning overhead, sat Miss Gillespie and her brother. She, with an air
of unmitigated sadness; he, chafing at a captivity which he deemed
illegal, and impatient to reach the shore and obtain his freedom. He had
never understood for what purpose the soporific incense had been burned,
or, boy as he was, he would have attempted the life of their insidious
foe. He had imagined that it was an attempt on their lives, (for the
disaster of the count had been carefully concealed from them,) and his
sister had shrunk from undeceiving him. Her pure nature could itself
with difficulty comprehend such baseness, but was absolutely incapable
of conveying an idea of it to another, particularly one whose
disposition was naturally as unsuspecting as her own. She therefore
determined to avoid exciting his suspicions, and even forbore to
interfere further than by advice, when the steward, at the instance of
his master, now able to sit up, represented that so far from designing
injury, the object was to soothe their nerves, those of the lady in
especial, after the anxiety and alarm of the evening previous. He also
persuaded Frank that the count would exert himself to obtain their
speedy liberation when they reached the port; and, that having found
them on board of a privateer of the enemy, a class of vessels not in the
habit of conveying passengers, he was, by the strict tenor of his
orders, bound, although most reluctantly, to detain them. These
representations so far operated upon the youth, that he was several
times prevailed upon to visit the designing count. But his sister
pertinaciously refused to see, or receive any message from her
persecutor, and might have departed from her resolution and told Frank
sufficient to prevent him from leaving her alone, but that in her fears
for Talbot she had forgotten every thing else.

Although a prisoner, confined apart and denied all intercourse, the mere
presence of her lover in the same vessel gave her a sense of security.
But now he was gone, whither and wherefore she could not tell, and she
felt as if she were abandoned to the dreadful fate which so long had
threatened her. To do her justice, too, her bitterest source of grief
was in anxiety for the safety of Talbot. Had she heard nothing of him,
she would have concluded that he was still among the prisoners, and by
the strict vigilance of his guards denied the opportunity of
communicating with her. But her persecutor was too malignant, was also
too shrewd not to know that if he could persuade her of her lover’s
desertion, he might more reasonably hope for success. She was therefore
but too soon informed of the escape, of which the missing boat was
sufficient proof; and through others every representation was made,
calculated to impair her confidence and weaken her attachment. But, like
a mail of proof, her own integrity protected her, and the malicious
shafts fell harmless, creating no pain, and scarce attracting notice.

Although young and inexperienced, scarce more than a nestling that had
for the first time fledged its wing, this girl possessed the noblest
attributes of her sex, and hers was more than the ordinary love of
woman. True, deep, fervent love, such as that sex alone can feel, cannot
harbor a doubt. Undying and unchangeable in itself, it cannot comprehend
that, of the existence of which it is unconscious. Often placed
unhappily, often denied the communion for which it yearns, it looks
beyond the grave for the fruition of its hopes.

“They sin who tell us love can die.”

She had listened to the soft and hesitating whisper of proffered love,
and her gushing eye and mantling cheek and throbbing breath had
confessed that love to be requited. Her soul had mingled with another’s
in the dearest and the noblest union which adorns and irradiates
existence—the union of manly strength with shrinking beauty; of the
clear eye to look upon, and the bold heart to encounter peril, with the
step hesitating and timid as a fawn! of skill to do and will to dare,
with affection to sustain and fortitude to endure; of man, fashioned in
comeliness and radiant with virtue, with woman, the celestial link that
binds him to a purer state! With a pledge as dear as it was enduring,
they had sworn to preserve that union until it should be merged into
that most glorious, holiest and most beautiful of all, which is effected
in death—when their souls, stripped of the mortal coils which
encumbered them, and wafted on the wings of love, should soar upward and
onward, until side by side, inseparable as in life, and inseparable
forever, they intoned their hymns of praise with the choir which
surrounds the Eternal!

Could a woman capable of conceiving such a pledge ever falter, much less
prove unfaithful? Never. And Miss Gillespie was as unmoved by the
insinuations of those around her, as is the calm and placid moon by the
howlings of a hungry wolf.

As the two orphans sat apart, occasionally exchanging a few words, and
then relapsing into silence, the first lieutenant, an old and worthy
officer, who, from the want of family influence, had long been denied
promotion, touched by the sadness of the fair captive, approached and
respectfully accosted them. He first confined himself to inquiries
respecting their health and comfort, and made some cheering observations
on their prospects of liberation. He then, after musing a few moments,
left them and whispered a few words to the officer of the deck. The
latter nodded intelligence, and immediately gave an order which required
those of the crew hovering about to go forward to aid in its execution.
The lieutenant then returning said, “Young lady, may I speak a few words
with you?” and leading her a few steps from where her brother sat,
continued, “I have two daughters at home, one of them about your age,
and when I think how I should feel if either of them were in your almost
unprotected situation, I sympathize deeply with you. Indeed I am not the
only one. There is a general feeling among the officers to protect you
if need be. You may rely upon our disposition to serve you—and now
answer me frankly—Does your extreme sadness proceed solely from your
detention here, and the escape and apparent desertion of your friend?”

“Oh no, sir!” cried she, immeasurably relieved by his words, “whatever
may have induced Mr. Talbot to leave us, I am sure that he has acted for
the best. You judge rightly,” she added, “in supposing that I have other
cause of anxiety than what proceeds from our detention, which, if we be
not most unjustly dealt by, must terminate so soon. I have not dared to
tell my brother what horrid fears distract me, for I know he would
attempt something violent, that would most probably separate us, and I
love my only protector.”

“Our fears then are not unfounded, and the mystery of that night is
partly solved,” said the lieutenant, in a soliloquizing tone.

“What night? Of what mystery do you speak?” exclaimed the lady.

“Of the night you came on board. But is it possible you are ignorant of
what I allude to?”

“I have not the most remote idea; Frank and I slept soundly the whole
night, and did not awake until late the next morning. I remember that at
first we thought that an attempt was being made to stupefy or smother us
with something that was burned, but, as we were not molested, we
concluded that we had been mistaken. For God’s sake, tell me what
happened?”

“Young lady,” he answered, “I have ever since sought an opportunity to
speak to you; why is it that you have confined yourself below?”

“We often wished to come up,” she replied, “but were told that the count
was too ill to be consulted, and that without his permission we could
not leave the cabin. But do tell me all about that night, I implore
you.”

The lieutenant then informed her of the condition in which the count was
found the next morning, and the general belief of the officers that his
villainous design had been frustrated by Talbot or Gonzalez, who must
have been concealed in the cabin. They conversed for some time, and
before leaving her, he advised her, as the count was nearly well, to
keep always near her brother, and to write a note to the American Consul
in Havana, claiming his protection, promising that if she would send her
note to him he would forward it at once to its destination.

With diminished fear, and in a comparatively cheerful mood, Miss
Gillespie returned to the cabin, and repeated to her brother such parts
of her conversation with the lieutenant as she thought she could safely
confide to him.

About the usual hour the breeze set in, and sailing “majestically slow,”
by the towering fortress on the one hand, and the gay and beautiful
structures of the town, with its crowded wharves and numerous shipping
on the other, the frigate, early in the afternoon, had anchored in the
upper harbor of Havana.

Frank Gillespie, who was no longer restricted to the cabin, watched his
opportunity and slipped into the old lieutenant’s hand the note with
which his sister had entrusted him. Soon after the ship had cast her
anchor, the Captain of the Port came on board to pay his official visit.
The lieutenant, who was on intimate terms with him, invited him down to
his state-room, and there giving him the note, with the assurance that
it was of very great importance, exacted a promise that he would
transmit it without delay to the American Consul. The officer promised
to attend punctually to the commission, and the kind-hearted lieutenant
with great satisfaction saw him, a short time afterward, take his
departure for the shore.

Quite late in the afternoon, when the ship was moored, the count, unable
to go himself, sent the first lieutenant to wait upon the admiral and
report the ship. About dusk, and before he returned, a boat came
alongside for Miss Gillespie and her brother. The person who came in
charge stated that the American Consul was absent and would not return
for a day or two, but that his wife had prepared a room for, and would
gladly welcome them. The message ended with an entreaty that they would
come at once. They needed no persuasion, and with alacrity making their
brief preparation, and without meeting obstructions, which to the last
they feared, with indescribable joy they took their seats in the boat
and bade adieu to their late floating prison.

Talbot and Gonzalez, representing themselves as having escaped from a
wreck, were kindly received at the little settlement where they landed,
but instead of accepting the hospitalities which were freely tendered,
they merely asked for a guide to conduct them into the interior, so
fearful were they of being pursued. With much toil and privation, and at
one time exposed to imminent peril, they reached the Reglos, a
settlement opposite to the city of Havana, the very day on which the
frigate arrived.

Afraid to venture out before night-fall, one of them feigned to be sick,
and the other remained as if to keep him company, in the small room of
an obscure fonda, which they occupied. They had remained for a very long
time without seeing or hearing any one, when, about an hour after the
ship had anchored, they heard footsteps on the creaking staircase, and
one called out, “Is there any one above, Marguerita?”

“There were two sailor-looking men there this morning,” replied a female
voice, “but they must have gone out, for I have heard nothing of them
since dinner.”

“We will see,” said the first voice. But Gonzalez was too quick for him.
He had started at the first word, and rising from the bed, which was at
the side of the room, placed himself by the door, and quietly turning
the bolt of the lock, withdrew the key. He then bent his head and
listened attentively, taking care not to place it in a line with the
key-hole.

The party, consisting of three, came up in the meantime, and two of them
proceeded to an adjoining room, while one stopped and tried the door. In
a few moments he rejoined his companions, saying, “All safe, they are
out.”

When Gonzalez started up and hurried to the door, Talbot was struck as
much by the expression of his countenance as by the movement itself, and
he had continued to watch him in silent amazement. But he was soon
convinced that his friend was not insane. When the person who tried the
door had retired, Gonzalez, stepping lightly to the bed, whispered,
“Don’t speak or make the slightest noise, it is the rascally steward,
with some of the cut-throats who resort to this side of the harbor. The
count has some design afoot, and Providence has sent us just in time to
save that unfortunate young lady.”

Talbot needed no more, and with their faculties on the full stretch,
they listened intently, and gathered almost every word of the
conversation in the next room.

It was a festival day in Havana. The clang of the bells had been
incessant since noon, and the air reverberated with the almost
uninterrupted discharge of artillery from the forts and men-of-war.
There was no diminution of light with the setting of the sun, for the
clouds which slowly floated along the sky, threw back the blaze of the
illuminated city, while, like an undulating mirror, the harbor reflected
the myriads of lights interspersed among the spars and rigging of the
men-of-war. Along the shore, in each direction, bonfires were blazing,
and from every point as well of the waters as the land, was heard the
whizzing sound of the sinuous and beautiful rocket, which, exploding
above and around with an unceasing feu de joie, filled the air with its
fiery flakes. The sound of music and the shouts of merriment commingled,
and wafted by the breeze, fell gratefully upon the ear of the boatmen
reclining upon their oars, and the distant sentinels making their
solitary rounds on the ramparts of the castle.

As the boat with Frank and his sister pushed off from the frigate,
another, and much smaller one, that had hovered within the shadow of the
ship, noiselessly pursued the same direction. The first pulled for some
distance up the river, until it had passed the city, and then stopped at
one of the neat villas that lined its banks. The smaller boat, which, as
the reader must have surmised, contained Talbot and Gonzalez, had been
obliged to keep close within the other shore, to avoid observation. When
the larger boat was turned toward the shore, the two friends, unseen
themselves, distinctly saw all that passed.

“I do not understand this movement,” said Gonzalez. “They have stopped
at a Posada, to which the citizens, in their evening rides, usually
resort for refreshment. There must be some change in their plans since
we heard them discuss it.”

In the meantime, the party, (with the exception of one who remained by
the boat,) had landed, and ascending the bank, opened the little
wicker-gate and proceeded through the garden toward the house. Talbot
and Gonzalez were about to pull across, and had nearly reached the line
of light when the latter cried, “Hush! back, back your oars quickly,
they are returning!”

They again retreated within the shadows of the opposite bank, and saw
two men, followed by a third, hurrying the lady rapidly toward the boat,
into which they forced her, for it was evident that she was struggling.
The moment she was placed in the boat, they again shoved off from the
shore.

“I now understand it all,” whispered Gonzalez to his companion. “They
have decoyed the brother into the house, and run off and left him. I am
sure, too, that the lady is gagged, for she does not cry out, although
she yet struggles desperately. Stop, stop! What are you about?” he
cried, as he saw Talbot begin to ply his oars with all his might.

“Do you ask me, with such a sight before us,” replied the latter,
indignantly.

“Nay, lay on your oars, I beg, I entreat you. Your precipitation will
ruin all. They are four, and well armed—we are defenceless. They would
slay us before we could cope with them, and then farewell to all hopes
of the lady’s rescue.”

“What shall we do, then?” said Talbot, as he despairingly rested his
oar.

“Follow them, as we at first proposed, and concert our plan after we
have seen the place in which they mean to place her.”

“Gonzalez,” said Talbot, “you have not so much at stake as I in this
matter, and you are therefore less agitated and better qualified to
adopt the course we should pursue. I will not be rash if I can help it;
but, come what may, I will not again lose sight of Mary. She has no
father; her brother is torn from her. I am her sole protector. I will
die before I desert her for an instant.”

“I have told you of my sister, Talbot,” said Gonzalez, “and you must
know I have a motive that impels me, which is as powerful as your own.
Love is your incentive, and revenge is mine. Yours is the most
impetuous, but mine, as the more cautious, is more certain to effect its
object. I pray you be moderate.”

“I will, Gonzalez, with the condition I have named.”

While they were speaking, they had not ceased to watch the movements of
the larger boat, which pulled about half a mile farther up, and landed
on the same side. The smaller boat following their motions with the
utmost caution, was run ashore a short distance below, and the two
friends crept along under cover of the thick brush that lined the bank,
to within a few paces of the ruffians. A carriage was in waiting, the
driver standing beside it. As soon as the latter saw them, he opened the
door, let down the steps, and then ascended his box. Two of the gang
forced the lady into the carriage, and followed after; the third closed
the door and mounted beside the driver. While this was taking place,
Talbot was endeavoring to free himself from the grasp of Gonzalez, who
tried to detain him. With a violent effort he succeeded, and springing
forward, leaped upon the foot-board of the carriage just as the driver
had applied the lash, and the horses started off at half speed. The
remaining ruffian, seeing Talbot rush by, turned to pursue him and give
the alarm, when Gonzalez sprung upon him, and violently struggling, they
fell to the ground.

The patriot, on the eve of a battle which is to decide the fate of his
country; the secreted lover, impatient for the footfall of the mistress
of his affections; the young mother, beside the sick couch of an only
child, are all less vigilant in their watchfulness, than the specious
villain who seeks to hold a fair character with the world, while he
covertly gives full indulgence to his depraved and licentious appetites.

The count had every reason to believe his plot well matured, and in a
fair train for execution, and yet he felt restless and uneasy. The
critical period between the conception and consummation of any
conspiracy, even when the judgment sanctions and the true heart approves
it, is the most trying of all the situations in which human nature can
be placed; but when the object is detestable, the means base and
treacherous, and the agents employed unprincipled, then, the suspense is
torturing—for the slightest accident, the most trivial carelessness may
frustrate, and the faithlessness of the least trusted agents betray the
best concerted plot that was ever laid.


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Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 → online text (page 3 of 15)