« ZurückWeiter »
She was dressed in white, and much as my friend described her, except that her hair hung loose, which before was twisted within a silk net. She had superadded likewise to her jacket a pale green riband, which fell across her shoulder to the waist; at the end of which hung her pipe. Her goat had been as faithless as her lover; and she had got a little dog in lieu of him, which she kept tied by a string to her girdle; as I looked at her dog, she drew him towards her with the string" Thou shalt not leave me, Sylvio,” said she. I looked in Maria's eyes, and saw she was thinking more of her father than of her lover or her little goat; for as she uttered the words, the tears trickled down her cheeks.
I sat down close by her; and Maria let me wipe them away as they fell, with my handkerchief. I then steeped it in my own--and then in herş—and then in mine-and then I wiped hers again—and as I did it, I felt such undescribable emotions within me, as I am sure could not be accounted for from any combinations of matter and motion.
I am positive I have a soul; nor can all the books, with which materialists have pestered the world, ever convince me of the contrary:
When Maria had come a little to herself, I asked her if she remembered a pale thin person of a man, who had sat down betwixt her and her goat about two years before? She said, she was unsettled much at that time, but remembered it upon two accounts that ill as she was, she saw the person pitied her; and next, that her goat had stolen his landkerchief, and she had beaten him for the theft-she had washed it, she said, in the brook, and kept it ever since in her pocket, to restore it to him in case she should ever see him again, which, she added, he had lialf promised her. As she told me this, she took the handkerchief out of her pocket to let me see it: she had folded it up neatly in a couple of vine leaves, tied round with a tendrilon opening it, I saw an S marked in one of the corners.
She had since that, she told me, strayed as far as Rome, and walked round St. Peter's once—and returned backthat she found her way alone across the Apennines had travelled over all Lombardy without noney--and through the flinty roads of Savoy without shoes : how she had borne it, and how she had got supported, she could not tell-but God tempers che wind, said Maria, to the shorn lamb.
Shorn indeed! and to the quick, said I ; and wast thou in my own land, where I have a cottage, I would take thee to it and shelter thee; thou shouldst eat of my own bread, and drink of my own cup~I would be kind to thy Sylvio-in all thy weaknesses and wanderings I would seek after thee and bring thee back-when the sun went down I would say my prayers, and when I had done, thou shouldst play the evening, song upon thy pipe; nor would the incense of my sacrifice be worse accepted, for entering Heaven along with that of a broken heart.
Nature melted within me, as I uttered this ; and Maria observing, as I took out my handkerchief, that it was steeped too much already to be of use, would needs go wash it in the stream_And where will you dry it, Maria? said I-I will dry it in my bosom, said she—it will do me good. And is your heart still so warm, Maria ? said I.
I touched upon the string on which hung all her sorrows -she looked with wistful disorder for some time in my face; and then, without saying any thing, took her pipe, and played her service to the Virgin-The string I had touched ceased to vibrate—in a moment or two Maria returned to herself— let her pipe fall-and rose up:
And where are you going, Maria? said I.--She said to Moulines-Let us go,' said I, together. Maria put her arın within mine, and lengthening the string to let the dog follow -in that order we entered Moulines.
Though I hate salutations and greetings in the marketplace, yet when we got into the middle of this I stopped to take my
last look and last farewell of Maria. Maria, though not tall, was nevertheless of the first order of fine forms-affliction had touched her looks with something that was scarce earthly—still she was feminine :-and so much was there about her of all that the heart wishes, or the
eyes look for in woman, that could the traces be ever worn out of her brain, and those of Eliza's out of mine, she should not only eat of my bread, and drink of my own cup, but Maria should lie in my bosom, and be unto me as a daughter.
Adieu, poor luckless maiden !-imbibe the oil and wine which the compassion of a stranger, as he journeyeth on his way, now pours into thy wounds the Being who has twice bruised thee can only bind them up for ever. STERNE.
'. CHAP. XII.
OFT has it been my lot to mark
eyes that hardly served at most To guard their master 'gainst a post; Yet round the world the blade has been, To see whatever could be seen. Returning from his finish'd tour, Grown ten times perter than before, Whatever word you chance to drop, .. The travell’d fool your mouth will stop ; “ Sir, is my judgment you'll allow " I've seen--and sure I ought to know"So begs you'd pay a due submission, And acquiesce in his decision.
Two travellers of such a cast, As o'er Arabia's wilds they pass'd, And on their way in friendly chat Now talk'd of this, and then of that, Discours'd awhile, 'mongst other matter, Of the chameleon's form and nature. “ A stranger animal,” cries one, « Sure never liv'd beneath the sun : “ A lizard's body leán and long, “ 'A fish's bead, a serpent's tongue, “ It's tooth, with triple claw disjoin'd; " And what a length of tail behind ! “ How slow-it's pace! and then it's hue! " Who ever saw so fine a blue?”
“ Hold there!” the other quick replies, “ Tis green-I saw it with these eyes, “ As late with open mouth it lay, " And warm'd it in the sunny ray; 4. Stretch'd at it's ease the beast I view'd, “ And saw it eat the air for food.”
“ I've seen it, Sir, as well as you, “ And-must again affirm it blue;
• At leisure I the beast survey'd,
“ 'Tis green! 'tis green! Sir, I assure ye"" Green!” cries the other, in a fury
Why, Sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes?”.
“ "Twere no great loss,” the friend replies';
So high at last the contest rose,
“ Sirs," cries the umpire, “ cease your pother-
“ Well then, at once to ease the doubt," Replies the man, “ I'll turn him out: " And when before your eyes I've set him, • If you don't find him black, l'll eat him."
He said; then full before their sight Produc'd the beast, and lo 'twas wbite. Both star'd, the man look'd wond'rous wise
My children," the chameleon cries,
You all are right, and all are wrong:
find that none “ Prefers your eyesight to his own." MERRICK.
THE YOUTH AND THE PHILOSOPHER. A Grecian youth of talents rare, Whom Plato's philosophic care Had form’d for Virtue's nobler view, By precepts and example too, Would often boast his matchless skill, To curb the steed, and guide the wheel; And as he pass'd the gazing throng, With graceful ease, and smack'd the thong, The idiot wonder they express'd Was praise and transport to his breast.
At length quite vain, he needs would shew
Howe'er the youth, with forward air,
Triumphant to the goal return'd,
Amazement seiz'd the circling crowd