Page images
PDF
EPUB

against her, in the endeavour to free his hands and strike her down. But she held him tightly. Curses upon her! whispered almost as from the inmost soul, but deadly and pregnant with hellish meaning, hissed through the doctor's teeth, which showed between his lips clenched like a workman's vice. Fanny prayed mentally for strength to hold him. As they struggled, the sick man beneath them spoke.

“Fanny_your father-2”

Rowel threw the whole weight of his body upon him to stop that tongue. He could not.

“ Your father is in Rowel's—”

“ It 's a lie!- a lie ! — a lie! - a lie !” cried the doctor in rapid succession, to render the words inaudible.

Their struggle grew more desperate, and Fanny could not hold much longer : the unwonted muscles would not obey her will to gripe. They were overstrained, and growing useless. At the same time the doctor wrenched more furiously than ever. The dying man beneath him gurgled in the throat for breath, and tossed in muscular convulsions beneath the clothes. At last he got himself to the edge of the bed, and by a sudden and last violent effort, struck himself against the doctor so forcibly as to loosen him from the hands of Fanny, and throw him several paces from the bed. The lawyer threw himself upright, and with his dim half-dead eyes fixed on Fanny, and his finger turning to point at Rowel, he cried with his last breath, “ In his madhouse! — his madhouse!” and sunk back to groan and die.

Fanny stood a moment, and then fell, like a stone, insensible to the ground.

Presently the clerk and the maid-servant were in the room. Doctor Rowel had just folded up the bed-clothes.

“ Take that girl up,” said he, calmly, “she has fainted at this sight of death. Your master is gone, young man. I did not think, at first, he would see the night over. Give her some cold water ; sprinkle her temples, and carry her to bed, and then send for somebody to lay this corpse out. Before morning it will be cold.”

As the Doctor said this he gathered up such of the powders as had not been administered, and put them in his pocket. At the same time Fanny was carried away, according to his directions, and placed on the bed in her own room. Doctor Rowel followed, and employed himself in restoring her. When Fanny first opened her eyes and saw him bending over her she shrieked and sunk again. Again she was recovered.

“Do leave me," said she. “Do go away, or I shall die."

“But I have something to say to you, my dear,” observed the doctor, with an assumed sweetness of tone. “Now, quiet yourself, and let us get over this agitation. You will never be better till you get calmer.”

“Then pray leave me," again replied Fanny, “and I may then be quiet. Is master any better?'

“Yes-yes,” the doctor answered ; “but never mind him. You should not have interfered with me, Fanny. He was delirious, outrageous. I was obliged to hold him down.”

“He said something about my father,” observed Fanny in a faint voice. “I heard him say it.”

“Nothing-nothing, I assure you!” the doctor exclaimed. “He was delirious. Now, quiet yourself, and do not talk any more tonight. Say nothing about it; and another day, when you are better, you shall convince yourself, for Mrs. Rowel shall take you all over my house--you shall see everybody in it—and prove to you that your father cannot be there. As I told you some time ago, I know something about you, and will take care to see you righted as far as I can; but then you must not listen to the wild nonsense of a man who did not know what he was talking about: it ruins everything."

Fanny was silent; but she still beheld, as in a vivid picture, the corpse-like figure of the lawyer sitting up in bed, its glazed eyes upon her, and its finger pointing towards that man. She beard the rattle of its horny tongue as it articulated those last words, “ In his madhouse ! — his madhouse!” And she thought of the words of Colin's mother, which had been told to her only a few hours previously, that dying people always speak the truth. But, was he dying?”

“Is he dead ? " asked she. “My dear,” answered Rowel,“ do not alarm yourself: but he is

dead.”

“O God! what have I seen!” cried the affrighted young woman, as she hid her head beneath the bed-clothes, for a spirit seemed to pass before her when she heard those words, and it was that of her dead master.

The doctor departed; but in that house there was no sleep that night.

Prospectus of a New Joint-Stock Company.
THE LONDON SUICIDE COMPANY.

Capital One Million.

DIRECTORS.
LORD VISCOUNT GRAVESEND, Chairman.
EPHRAIM BONE, Esq.

RICHARD CHURCHYARD, Esq.
Sir Timothy Coffin, Bart. SIR THOMAS SEXTON.
Joun DEATH, Esq.

John KNELL, Esq. JAMES DE BERRYER, Esq. PETER WORMs, Esq. Reuben Graves, Esq.

AND The CORONERS for LONDON, MIDDLESEX, and the neighbouring

Counties. The well-known propensity of the natives of this highly-enlightened and free nation to put an end to themselves, and the great recent increase of suicides, have suggested the formation of a Company having for its object the encouragement of this national pur. suit, and the facilitating its easy and convenient exercise,

With this view, the Directors have the high gratification of announcing that they have already made arrangements with the Civic authorities for the exclusive use of the MONUMENT (which has recently become so much in request for suicidal purposes); and, eligible

as that edifice is already, they intend, by the removal of the very slight impediments at present existing, to render it one of the safest, most certain, and expeditious means of exit this metropolis can offer.

They are also in treaty for the iron gallery at St. Paul's, but have not yet agreed upon terms with the Dean and Chapter

An offer for the sole privilege of using the top of the Duke of York's column is about to be made in the proper quarter, for the convenience of West-end subscribers.

The proprietors and shareholders of Waterloo Bridge have likewise entered into an arrangement with the Company on most advantageous terms, by which the very few guards that at present interfere with this place of popular resort will be entirely removed; and the proprietors have further agreed with the Company to engage none but deaf toll-keepers, and use every precaution to prevent assistance through the officiousness of watermen or mistaken philanthropists. The Company, in return for these unprecedented advantages, have engaged to present a hundred free shares (entitling the bearers to all the peculiar advantages of this institution) to the original bondholders of the Bridge Proprietors, for their own personal ease and enjoyment.

As a further inducement, the Directors have also the pleasure of stating that they have received an official intimation from the Go. vernment, which, with its customary solicitude for the privileges of property, has kindly permitted the approaches to the Serpentine in its most dangerous parts (heretofore accessible to the public at large) to be exclusively appropriated to the shareholders of this Company. The Directors have also entered into an agreement with the Committee of the Humane Society to preserve its usual apathy, so as to prevent the slightest possibility of disturbance or intrusion.

Subscribers who prefer the now nearly obsolete ways of going out of the world, — hanging, shooting, and poisoning, — will find their predilections have been attentively regarded. The provisional board of management has already secured the eminent provisional aid of John KETCH, Esquire, (whose abridged duties since the amelioration of the Criminal Code have enabled him to accept their proposals,) and who has engaged to instruct such shareholders as shall be desirous in the easiest and most elegant way of tying themselves up. The proprietors of Vauxhall Gardens (uninfluenced by any paltry feeling of competition or rivalry) have proffered the use of their extensive grounds for the exercise of this part of the Company's business; and the Directors will, at their own expense, throw open a view of the Penitentiary of Millbank, for the purposes of deepening the gloomy feelings of such of the subscribers who may not have completely made up their minds.

The selection of POISONS has been confided to an eminent chemist, who has succeeded in preparing a formula of the most deadly and efficacious. The company proudly invite public investigation to their preparation of prussic acid. Many eminent brewers, distillers, and wine-merchants have offered some valuable assistance in this branch of the undertaking.

Retired places in the Company's grounds, and a commodionis shooting gallery, (embellished with views of Frescati's, and the principal London hells, the different race-courses, the Stock-Exchange, and Westininster Hall, will be appropriated for the patrons VOL. VI.

2 P

of shooting. Hair-trigger pistols, with percussion caps, by the best makers, will be devoted to the use of subscribers, under the immediate superintendence of a retired officer of artillery, who will give the necessary instructions to the nervous or inexperienced.

Such ladies and gentlemen whose resolutions are not completely formed on the subject, will have the necessary encouragement af forded them by the committee of management.

Prospectuses of all the joint-stock companies, and schemes of foreign funds and lotteries, will be regularly taken in, and filed, and will at all times be open to the free perusal of the subscribers: and the works of Paine, Volney, and the most eminent Deists, Atheists, and Free-thinkers, will be provided for the exclusive enjoyment of the Company. The directors are also in negotiation with a gentle. man of distinguished newspaper celebrity, for a course of lectures on Mr. Owen's principles, in which conjugal infidelity, and the encouragement of independence, will be powerfully recommended.

Independent of its claims for social improvement, and its adaptation to the national characteristic, the Company possesses strong attractions to the capitalist and monied speculator. The patronage it has already secured of the respective coroners throughout the kingdom, — the number of eminent undertakers who have taken shares, and solicited to become part of the directory, — and, above all, its close connexion with the principal metropolitan cemeteries, insure a handsome return for the capital embarked.

The Company will commence business on the first of November next, and confidently anticipate to be in active operation during that month.

Applications for shares (each admitting the holder to a free participation in all the advantages above enumerated) to be made to the Secretary of the Company, John MATTOCKS, Esquire, Churchyard Court, Temple.

SONNET.*

(Written on the 21st of October, 1839, the Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar

BY EDWARD HERBERT.
Great deaths have been borne greatly; men have died

In honour'd martyrdom, the patient death;
Torture hath only clung to hearts that sigh’d,

Which, mastering pain hush'd with pathetic breath :
Ridley and Latimer, in pious pride,

Offer'd their lives, like prayers ; though fires beneath
Their palms and eyes, licked upwards on each side;

The fatal flames that form the martyr's wreath!
Three deaths have ever seem'd sublime to me,

And will be wondrous to my dying day!
Nelson's all splendid parting life at sea !

When Victory lit him on his awful way!-
Russell's stern hour his wife, no more to be

His sacred joy !--The death of sweet Jane Gray ! *" The most triumphant death is that of the martyr; the most awful, that of the martyred patriot; the most splendid, that of tbe hero in the hour of victory!

SOUTHEY'S “ Life of Nason."

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »