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going to marry Agnes to-morrow, you shall know what I require of you."
“And the money shall be mine?" he cried, impatient to have it in his grasp.
"Yes, yes; and you will have the clever heart to spend it happily, as your poor mother could not do ; but now go to bed, or you will be a blear eyed bridegroom to-morrow-go to bed.”
She placed the candlestick in his hand. He hesitated for a little ; but knowing by the expression of her face that he would obtain no further satisfaction from her, he bade her good night, and went to dream of money and happiness.
All were noisy and mirthful, but in the loud and reiterated laugh of the young bridegroom there was some. thing strange and mysterious. His eyes glowed and his cheeks burned, as if with fever ; yet, when Agnes in quired softly if he was well, he said, “Yes, very well."
They had been married by the Presbyterian clergyman, in the bride's house, as was the custom at that period. The marriage had been performed before dinner, and now a large and joyous party were celebrating the happy event, by feasting, and drink ing, and talking, and jesting, with much zest and energy. If studied refinement was wanting, there was a warmth, and cordiality, and sincerity, the palpable manifestations of which are often banished from a more polished circle. There was a look of free and unthinking happiness on almost every face except that of the bridegroom. He did not seem sad either to a com. mon observer ; for his face was one perpetual smile, and his voice had the tone of unceasing laughter, except at intervals, when it became husky and broken. But all his mirth seemed the joy of delirium to his bride Agnes, who was the only one of the party gifted with any degree of observation. She gazed wonderingly on him. She looked for the glow of love she had been accustomed to see in his soft, fond eyes ; but those eyes were now strange and hard to her, and filled with incomprehensible meanings. In place of the long and earnest gaze she had been accustomed to receive from
him, his glances were quick and stolen, and he seemed anxious to avoid meeting her eyes. An expression of something—she knew not what_of evil and gloom pervaded his whole countenance, even whilst the features were writhing in forced smiles. She longed to question him concerning what it all meant. She would have asked him, with her natural frank-heartedness, the mean. ing of every constrained smile and look, had they only been in some solitary place—had they but been by themselves two, in the little nook overshadowed by the large rock and the one solitary old fir-tree, and the clustres of thick furze_that place where they had so often met as lovers; but in the close, crowded, small parlour in her father's house, with every eye on her, and every ear listening, she could not speak-she could only think her own deep and sorrowful thoughts. And much cause was there for the bitterness of those thoughts. She had entered into 'the bond of marriagethe awful bond which in life there is no cancelling; and now, for the first time, she saw strongly marked on the face of her bridegroom the indications of some black and fearful passions, which she had never even dreamed of finding in his nature: the bright gold of her pure love had gilt him so well before this hour—and now all had so suddenly become dimmed and changed. She was astonished and bewildered, and could have fancied that she was gazing on the face of her Robert in some dream, but from such hallucinations the noise and mirth of the wedding party quickly recalled her always to the actual state of things.
The bridegroom moved restlessly from place to place. One moment he would be seated by his bride, and ad. dressing to her some common-place observation, with a voice and manner strange, excited, and incomprehensi. ble—he would laugh when nothing mirthful had been spoken: and then, with a stolen glance on the face of Agnes, a short, quick sigh would sud. denly arrest his words. She was in truth a fair bride, one of those young, bright, and high-souled creatures, on whom the eyes of all must gaze with delight. She was dressed in a robe of simple white muslin, with a few ju. diciously and gracefully disposed white ribbons, and natural pink roses, in her hair and in her bosom. In the early part of the day, a quiet but deep happiness was reflected from her eyes and from her whole face; but now there was a pensive, enquiring, and most thoughtful cast on her countenance, as she observed and reflected on the strange conduct of her bridegroom.
He would start away from her side in the middle of a sentence, and she would see him laughing and talking to some other individual of the com. pany in the same mysterious and aim. less manner. This strange manner could not be accounted for on the score of inebriation, as he drank most sparingly of the native beverage of Ireland – whiskey; which, at the period in question, was indulged in on occasions of festivity, to a much greater extent than at present. Whilst press. ing the guests to partake freely, he preserved a strict guard over himself, though every moment some kind of unaccountable mental intoxication was more and more overpowering his mind.
The shades of the summer evening had come on; the mirthful strains of a violin resounded from the room usually appropriated to the school kept by the bride's father. The young brothers of Agnes had arranged å dance there, and a brisk reel had been opened by the bride after much solici. tation, for she felt few impulses for dancing. She had seated herself, and in a short period, Robert was seated by her ; he took her hand suddenly, and looked earnestly in her face
“You and Serjeant Morton-yourselves two_had a pleasant conversation in the public house at L- , last Friday—had you not ?" he said, speaking in her ear in a low, quick voice.
“Serjeant Morton!” she repeated, in much astonishment, “ I never spoke to him in my life."
“I have been told you did last Friday," reiterated the bridegroom.
“ Last Friday-Serjeant Morton," she said musingly. “Ah! let me see, there has been some sad mistake here. I was in L- last Friday, I and my two brothers, and we did see Serjeant Morton and my poor cousin ; poor Agnes, you know, whom we have not visited with this while, because her conduct is not too correct, and she would not take my father's advice, who has done all he could for his brother's daughter. We saw her going into a public house to drink, I suppose, with Serjeant Morton, and I
was so sorry-I could have given the world to have taken her away with us; but you know she does not mind us of late-poor cousin Agnes."
“ Then it was not my Agnes was drinking with that serjeant."
“ If you do not believe your poor Agnes, ask my brothers-ask Serjeant Morton himself."
“It is no matter_it is no matter to me now-_I've sworn to go—she made me swear it-yet I'm glad you were not with the serjeant, Agnes." He took her hand and pressed it; his lips became white and trembled; he bestowed one lingering look on her face
then he suddenly turned away, and she thought he had gone to speak with some of the company.
Her spirits became lighter, for she thought she knew now why there had been a cloud on his brow. She believed her explanation concerning Serjeant Morton bad satisfied lim ; his last look had something of his old kindness in it; therefore her eyes brightened, and her cheeks glowed, as she listened to the gay music, and look. ed on the mirthful, happy, dancing party.
When about a quarter of hour had elspsed, she looked round for her bridegroom; she gazed on every face and figure through the small, crowded dancing-room, but he was not to be seen. A presentiment of some fearful evil struck on her heart, but she sat like a silent statue still gazing on the crowd before her; minute after minute passed away, and he did not come. She watched the door-her eyes fixed movelessly on that door; she was addressed by some of her female companions, but she could not answer-her lips were parched-she had no power of utterance, still she neither moved nor seemed to breathe.
- Where is the bridegroom?" became at last the general enquiry. The violin became silent-the dancers paused. A search was made within the house and without, but Robert could not be found; all became confusion. The bride was removed to s private apartment; she neither wept, nor sighed, nor fainted; but she sat where they placed her the functions of life seemed almost to stand within her frame.
After much search and much conjecture, the father of the bride went out, and hastily took the road leading to Robert Murphy's house. It was a
calm, pleasant, summer evening ; the gleam of fire-light shone on her face, stars looked down in clusters from her eyes were seen glaring with fiercetheir deep purple clouds, gazing pla. ness on the schoolmaster, and her whole cidly on our small, troubled world. countenance exhibited indications of There was a feeling of tranquillity in something approaching to incipient, the soft evening air which came over though rarely perceptible insanity. the excited brow of the unhappy The schoolmaster made no answerfather with a kind of mockery at no sound escaped his lips for some that moment, for his thoughts were moments; but his whole frame shook, stormy and overwhelming. The sight and his face was like that of a dying of the pale, patient, but most sorrow- man. ful face of his beloved Agnes was be- “Good God ! my poor Agnes—my fore his eyes as he walked hurriedly darling girl”_his lips continued to on, and he could not avoid execrating move in prayer. the day in which she had formed an en- “ Go home_I want to sleep,” cried gagement with Robert Murphy, for Mrs. Murphy, in a voice more and whose unaccountable absence at such a more approaching to the sharp scream time he could see no excuse.
of madness. Without the ceremony of knocking “Monster_fiend!” cried the schoolat the door, he abruptly entered John master, suddenly withdrawing his eyes Murphy's house. The kitchen was from the heaven to which he had apmost dimly lighted by a few glimmer- plied for aid, in his agony, and fixing ing turf embers, and over the hearth them on the author of his sorrow " if Mrs. Murphy was sitting in a re- you had only sent your son away becumbent or crouching position. She fore you allowed him to marry my girl was quite alone, the old man had been Lif you had only sent him yesterday, long in bed, and the servant girl was I would have bid God's blessing go also in her slumbers.
with him and you both, and my Agnes " Where is Robert ?" cried the fa- would have been happily rid of him ; ther of Agnes in a loud, sharp voice, but now--to send him away now, when gazing all round without seeing the they are married! Woman, there is object of his search. “Where is a vengeance everlasting --" Robert, I say?-woman what have “ Henry Allen, this is the just reyou done with your son?"
tribution of Heaven which I have Hespoke sternly, walking to her side wrought on you. Remember the pastand fixing his eyes on her face. She remember how you vowed before God returned his gaze with the utmost to marry me; yes, and, Henry Allen, coolness and indifference
we were married in our vows that “My son is now master of himself moonlight evening, before God; yet and of a good fortune, thank God." only six months afterwards you mar
« But where is he?- woman, tellried the mother of Agnes. That act me all?" exclaimed the father, almost of yours, Henry Allen, took away the choking with grief and indignation. innocent young girl's heart from me,
" He is gone from this country, then and put another in its place a harder - do you think I would allow my and stronger heart, that has lived to son to live with your daughter?” see you well punished this day.”
“Gone from this country !" repeat. The schoolmaster gazed on her with ed the poor schoolmaster, in a husky a bewildered look, as if he felt under voice, and passing his hand over his the strong influence of a dream. “She temples as if he dreaded some sudden is mad,” he said half aloud. “ It is not attack of madness or disease. "Wo. Possible you can recollect the folly that man are you raving, or am I mad happened twenty-six or thirty years your son was married to my daughter ago. My God! we are different peothis morning, and you say he has ple now-we are not the same persons left the country now."
this many a day that we were then; “It is true; he has left Agnes to that was only a dream of a foolish boy yourself
and girl. It cannot be that you re“Great God! is this true?" cried the member it yet; it is impossible that father, clasping his hands, and looking you could take revenge for that now." upwards.
"Well, well-'tis no matter whether " She will never see him again," I remember it or not. I would not cried Mrs. Murphy, with a tone of look at your daughter sitting here as bitter triumph ; and as a transient the wife of my son ; so go out of my house, Henry Allen. Go away, I say; little plans for her comfort and amuseand take with you as black a heart as ment. Her brothers vied with their ever you gave me in our young days." father in demonstrations of affection
“Our young days!" he reiterated, to her. The youngest became grave still gazing with a look of dreamy as. and thoughtful, like his brother; both tonishment. “The woman is derang were studious, and it was their delight ed,” and he gazed for a second hard to lead Agnes along with them in the on her face, and then again looked up courses of science and moral philoto heaven, in deep and mental prayer. sophy which they were studying, as
A few more words of bitterness far as their means would permit. In passed between them, and the wretched the exercise of their mental powers, father left the house, oppressed with the grief of all was soothed; and there a weight of hopeless sorrow; for no were moments—very many moments, doubt remained on his mind but that in long, quiet summer evenings, and the husband of his daughter had most studious, pleasant winter nights, when basely deserted her, in obedience to they might well be called a happy fathe commands of his mother.
Robert Murphy's father died within When I last saw Agnes, she was still a year after the departure of his son. residing with her brothers and her Mrs. Murphy left the country immefather. She had borne her fate with diately after the death of her husband, the resignation which a deep feeling of and went to rejoin her son in England. religion, and the strength of a natu. It was reported soon afterwards that rally wise and reflective mind, could she had become insane, and after lin. alone bestow. The round fresh out- gering some time in an incurable state, lines of happiness and health had long had died in raving madness. disappeared from her face and figure, About four years after Robert Mur. and her eyes and the expression of phy had deserted Agnes, she received her pale face, told that there had been a letter from him, in which he rea severe inward conflict with sorrow; quested her to join him in America, but there was a holy composure on her where he had gone after squandering, brow, which showed that the peace of in London, all the money he had reGod had settled on her soul. Herceived from his mother. The father tastes for all beautiful things were en and brothers of Agnes perused this couraged, and more than ever indulged letter with indignation, and expressed by her father and brothers, out of themselves strongly opposed to the compassion to her sorrowful destiny. project of Agnes ever rejoining the Her little parlour bloomed with a pro- man who, calling himself her husband, fusion of flowers, and three or four had treated her with such base cru. handsome cages, containing birds of elty. Their remonstrances were not bright plumage, gave an air of ani- needed, however; for Agnes shrunk mation to the place. A number of from the thought of leaving the relabooks were scattered about ; and there tives whose deep affection had soothed was fancy-work--delineations of her her misery, and trusting her destiny flowers and leaves—in bright wools to a man who had already showed himand silk, wrought most tastefully by self capable of conduct so utterly unthe hands of Agnes. It was beautiful principled towards her. She answered and touching to see the doating fond- his letter very briefly, stating that ness with which the father of Agnes she would not leave her father and now an old man—and her brothers at- brothers, and praying that God would tended to her slightest wishes, and un forgive him the part he had acted toweariedly, year after year, endeavour wards her, as he had her entire ed, by their affection, to make up to forgiveness, but she never wished to her for the base cruelty with which see him again in this world. she had been treated by her husband. Agnes is still residing with her The poor schoolmaster had lost much brothers, who, for her sake, have of the gay cheerfulness of manner both remained unmarried. Their which formerly distinguished him. family affection remains bright and Grief for the fate of his daughter had strong as ever; and in their perfect caused him to become rapidly thin, union of domestic love, and their feeble, and gray-haired; but he always sympathy and cultivation of tastes, strove to have some word of love and they create for themselves & deep, consolation for her, and to devise some pure, and enduring happiness.
CEYLON AND THE CINGALESE.
AUTHOR OF “CHINA AND THE CHINESE,"
GOING TO CALL THE COACH, INSTEAD OF THE COACH CALLING FOR TIEM--DIVERS OPI
NIONS OY GALLE AND ORIENTAL SCENERY--GUINDARAH FERRY--RESTIVE HORSES, OR DR. PRIX8 AND PETER LAYARD--ALLIGATORS OR IGUANOS--BENTOTTE AND LOCAL MAGISTRATE--CALTURA AND BANKS OF KALLOOGANGA-BLIND BOY-OPINIONS CONCERNING POSITION OF WOMAN IN ASIA--COLPETTY-BANYAN TREE-DESTINATION OF PASSENGERS-SENSATION CREATED BY NEW ARRIVALS IN A COLONY.
" Quot homines, tot sententiæ."
Bang goes the morning gun; start ling the passengers into the belief that the mail-coach, which is to take them on to Colombo, is waiting at the door.
“ Come, you fellow, strap my port. manteau ; don't you know how to put in a buckle ? the coach will be here and my baggage not ready-here, you can carry this hat-box, I will take my car. pet-bag ; that fellow seems tottering under the weight of my light portman teau-an Englishman would carry six of them in one hand-well, up with the box, quick.”
“I no take- not my business; I call coolee—he carry hat-box,” said the Burgher* attendant.
“ If you don't take my hat-box down stairs, I will break your head, you lazy brute ; I can carry a heavy carpet-bag, I, a gentleman, whilst you, you lazy half-breed, won't carry a hat-boxnow up with it, or I will," shaking his fist at him.
“ Suppose massa break head, I take he court; make he pay plenty rupee; no come Ceylon break head-fight
“ If you give me any more of your jaw I will break every bone in your body, you insolent hound you."
And down the stairs marched our irate gentleman, followed by the Burgher, mumbling.
« Why, where's the coach ? I was in a regular funk thinking that I should keep it waiting ; for I could not get that chap to carry my hat-box down stairs, and I was nearly administering a little wholesome castigation, as a remedy for his laziness and impudence."
« Oh, never mind him but what shall we do about the coach? Do you think it can have gone without us; it is a quarter of an hour since the gun fired?"
« What shall we do?"
“Go to the office and see, for I'm tired of waiting."
And off the quartet sallied to the mail-coach office, the door of which was closed, the light of a cocoa-nut oil-lamp glimmering through the crevices; the mail-coach in the verandah, and two natives, with dirty white cloths thrown over their bodies and heads, lying asleep on mats, under the coach.
“Well, at all events the coach has not gone, for here is the one, in statu quo, that we saw yesterday."
“ Yes ; here is one, but how do you know that is our coach, though ?"
“ Well, we will soon learn that ; but how am I to make these chaps hear, for not the sign of a waking creature do I see; holloa, there inside, the gun has fired-it's past five a long time, and where's the mail ?".
Kick, thump, hammer, batter, knock
The altercation terminated by the coolee returning, who had carried the portmanteau down stairs, and who now took up the hat-box, leaving the gentleman to carry his own carpet-bag, or wait until he could return for it, as carrying two articles, however light, at the same time, does not appear practicable, in the opinion of these copper-denizens of Ceylon.
* My boy, you have escaped your promised drubbing, as the coolee has come back.”
“I no care m--."
* The Burghers, or Ceylonese, are the half-castes of the island.