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time free from suspicion, at least of murder, for they had a tradition of what they called - The Devil's Corpse,' which, bury it as you might, would leave the grave again ; still I perceived they considered it an ill omen that the visitation had fallen upon me.
“ To quiet the people, I paid a large sum for a religious procession, and by the advice of the priests the supernatural body was consumed, and its ashes, sprinkled with holy water, cast into the sea
“Now, at least, I may have rest!' I exclaimed. “The corpse which exists not but in the ocean slime cannot again become tangible.' Thus I argued, and I thought myself free from my tormentor; but through every city of the Continent it followed me. I have been imprisoned on suspicion of murder, and narrowly escaped condemnation. I have been condemned, and bought life with gold. I have seen others involved in the like predicaments by the curse I had brought upon them, but some special Providence seemed to bring them through their troublesprotecting even me!
“Still was my heart hardened to my crime. I have spent my awful anniversaries on the ocean. In the privacy of my cabin I have received my visitant. I have placed the goblet to my lips, and looked for the hand that was to receive it,--and it ever came. I have questioned the apparition in my frenzy as to what was required of me; but it remained silent, and after a minute's stay, has disappeared by my bed place, and the stark, bideous, naked corpse, was laid out before me. Prepared for this, I have lowered the intruder into the waves, and cast it off, saying to myself, ‘Now again can I mingle with the world; for a brief year my ordeal is past. On the morrow I have heard of a corpse being under the ship's bows, and I have had it bauled on deck, lashed in a hammock, with shot at its feet, and then it has sunk, and I was for awhile at peace. Time passed on, and I continued still a wretch, without a single earthly tie. On whom could I bring the weight of such a curse, - of such a mystery? I never made a friend, for my fitful moodiness repelled my fellow-creatures.
“Strange are the changes of the human heart ! -I know not how repentance came, but an anniversary did at length arrive, when in a contrite spirit I received my visiter. I prayed, I besought him that this judgment should pass from me; but he spoke not. Yet I hoped my repentance would avail me, and that for the last time I should sepulchre the restless corpse. But the next year proved the fallacy of such hopes ; and the next, and the next. Í became almost mad with the horrid destiny that clung to me. I shunned society; and, grown weary of scenes in which I had witnessed so much misery, I left Europe.
“I roamed through distant and strange lands. Not long ago I was in Arabia. The last rays of the desert sun had sunk beneath its sea of sand. The caravan to which I had attached myself halted for the night by the side of a fountain. I would have given ingots of gold to drink, but I dared not. The eyes of many were upon me. The Mohammedans smoked their long pipes in silence, and one by one I saw them drop asleep. The very guards slumbered as they sat on the ground, clinging to the shafts of their spears. Yet I dared not drink. It was nearly midnight; one of these slumberers might look up while the precious draught was at my lips. My brother's shade would surely come; the corpse would be found in my tent. At length I could bear the hell of thirst no longer. I approached the fountain. I dashed in a capacious vessel. I drank, and the cup was taken from me. The
draught was shared. I made a grave beneath my tent in the yielding sand, and buried the eternal witness of my crime.
“My health was now broken, my frame became emaciated -as you have seen, and a yearning to finish my wanderings in my native land brought me to England. While travelling from place to place I came to H- , and became the tenant of the abode in which I last saw my brother. It was a secluded spot, far from cities, and a fitting place for me to die in. I had rented it but six months when the day of my destiny arrived. I have little more to tell. I was very ill; but, had I perished in my thirst, I would not have drunk. In my delirium I must have demanded drink, for, when consciousness flashed on my brain, my brether received from me the cup! You know the rest. I have written these papers at intervals. They may appear unconnected; but let them not be considered the ravings of a maniac. To-morrow is appointed for my trial; but I feel that within which tells me I shall be spared further exposure to the public gaze. In this persuasion I have revealed to you the history of my crime, and its recompense.
Thus ended a narration, in which the wild imaginings of a monomaniac were strangely blended with the records of guilt. That the crimes which had maddened the unhappy criminal commenced in the poisoning of his brother, there could be little doubt ; but of his after-career he was the only chronicler. Old Mr. Parr to the day of his death was a firm believer in the supernatural portion of the story ; but there were among those admitted into the old gentleman's confidence, matter-offact persons not a little sceptical. James, the servant, never again appeared, and it was thought probable that Mr. Morton, who, it may be perceived, avoided any mention of this man in his narrative, poisoned him with the same drug which effected the first murder of the poisoner, and, grown madly enamoured of his work, he must have prepared the body of his victim, even after death, to play its part in the fatal drama of a brother's destruction. Slightly worthy of credit as these suggestions may be, in the absence of all proof, such was the only attempt ever made to explain the mystery of the Inquest.
TII E MOON BE A M.
BY P. MCTEAGUE, ESQ.
How gently would I creep
When resting in her sleep.
From Cynthia's silver bowers,
To lull her midnight hours.
Where the wavy ringlets play,
’Ere a sigh could pass away.
And tell the spirits there,
There was not one so fair!
THE CITY OF THE DOGE;
LETTERS FROM VENICE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “A SUMMER IN ANDALUSIA.”
Venice, July 1839. MY DEAR A
THE shouts of the postilion, together with the jolt occasioned by the sudden stoppage of the vehicle, awakened me from a doze into which I had fallen, in spite of my efforts to keep awake. On opening my eyes, they rested for a moment on an old gateway in a time-worn venerable city wall,—then fell to meet the head of a column of soldiers emerging from the gateway, and crossing the drawbridge which spanned the deep fosse, on whose verge we had stopped. Their sallow pallid faces seemed to acquire a ghastly hue from the contrast presented by their white uniforms turned up with green.
“ Ecco Padova, Signore !” said the conduttore, who sat by my side in the coupé of the velocifero.
“ Padua already!” I exclaimed in astonishment, as the last thing I remembered was rumbling through the dark streets of Vicenza at midnight, and I had no consciousness of subsequent slumbers. “And is this Padua ?”
“Yes, signor; this is the most ancient city of Italy. When Rome was but a suckling, Padua was hoary.”
Padua, the city of the Trojan Antenor,—the birth-place of Livy,Padua la Dotta, for ages “ the nursery of arts," as Shakspeare calls her,—the foster-mother of Dante, Petrarch, Tasso, Galileo, and many others well known to fame, - the heritance of the Carraras, that race whose lives were a romance, whose deaths a tragedy, — the scourged and trampled city of Eccellino
Che fu creduto figlio del demonio." Padua! — these walls, this gateway has frowned upon the gallant Bayard, the chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, and perhaps on this very spot he may have gained some of his choicest laurels.
I had time to think of all these things, and much more besides ; for the wild Hungarians continued to pour forth from the gate in an unbroken stream, like the words from the mouth of a garrulent orator, who taxes the patience of his hearers with an unseasonably lengthened harangue. With similar feelings did I regard these troops ; for as day had but just dawned, the morning air was so cool, that I grew impatient, and the conduttore not less so, to attack the hot breakfast which we both had in prospect. But “ soldiers before civilians ” is a practical motto everywhere, especially on the Continent, and we were fain to beat time with our toes to the tramp of the military, who, as they marched three or four abreast, were nearly a quarter of an hour ere they left us in undisputed possession of the bridge.
On we dashed beneath the gate, and entered the city
Verily Padua has a “ learned ” air. It seems one great university. Cloisters, cloisters, cloisters meet the eye wherever it turns. On either side of every street runs a range of low plain arches, based on heavy massive pedestals, (for columns they cannot be called,) and on these arcades are raised the houses,-dull, venerable, dreamy-looking buildings, white originally, but now a weather-stained grey, or sometimes faced with half-obliterated frescoes. The streets are narrow, tortuous, and dreary; and altogether Padua has by far the most gloomy air of any city I have yet seen in Italy. I saw few of the Patavini beyond a train of deaf and dumb girls, all dressed alike, walking two and two, on their way to attend early mass in the church of San Antonio.
But I have no more to say of Padua, for time would not allow me to see its lions. These are a university, which once boasted of eighteen thousand students, but is now almost empty; a cathedral, containing nothing to interest but the body of St. Anthony enshrined in the midst, and emitting always a sweet odour, the literal odour of sanctity; a town-hall, called the Salone, the largest room in Europe, unpropped by columns, beating Westminster Hall by thirty feet every way; an observatory on the tower of Eccellino; the house in which Livy first saw the light; with some other little et ceteras, which I have forgotten.
Padua, I should think, is not without considerable interest, but situated between Verona and Venice, it loses much of its attractions for the traveller, who is magnetically drawn to one or the other of those cities; and few would now-a-days exclaim with Lucentio,
“For the great desire I had To see fair Padua,
I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy.” As I was despatching a cup of chocolate at a small table in front of “the largest café in all Italy,” according to the garzone, a number of filthy half-clad urchins beset me, praying for “ carità.” They kept, however, a respectful distance, not venturing to set foot upon the raised paved platform on which I was sitting ; and as they were not “ between the wind and my nobility,” I did not much heed them. They served to call to mind what I had heard related of Italian beggars by a Belgian gentleman whom I met on the Lake Maggiore. His story was this:
The day he landed at Naples from the Marseilles steamer, he entered a café to refresh himself after a stroll; but no sooner was he seated than a beggar woman with a child in her arms, both most disgusting from filth and disease, with a tribe of brats equally offensive, some without a rag on their sun-burnt bodies, presented themselves at the door of the caté. On the coffee being placed before him, the whole gang of beggars entered the room, the children surrounding his table whining for alms, the woman standing behind and baring her sores for his inspection. He indignantly ordered them out; but they only more loudly besought “carità per l'amor della santissima Virgine!” He called the master of the café, who shrugging his shoulders and smiling at the fastidiousness of foreigners, who could not drink coffee when looked at by beggars, made a show of turning them out, but to no purpose. The gentleman grew furious, took his hat, and was walking off, leaving his repast untasted; but before he could leave the room, his arm was seized by the cafetier, who vehemently demanded payment, accused him of being a thief and a scoundrel, and loaded him with all the abuse in which the Neapolitan dialect is so rich. He appealed to some policemen who were passing at the moment; but they laughed, shrugged their shoulders, and walked on. Finding there
was no alternative, he paid for the refreshment, which had already been devoured by the woman and her filthy family, who had only awaited his leaving the table to fall, harpy-like, on the feast.
By the time I had finished my breakfast, I heard the loud shouts of the conduttore from the yard of the posta, “ Signori, signori, alla carrozza !” and I was presently en route through the cloistered streets, crossing a few canals which intersect the city, and connect it with Venice. Then follow me in imagination through the city-gate, and down a long avenue of Lombardy poplars, with fields on either hand covered with stubble, showing that one harvest was already past, while the vines luxuriantly shrouding the mulberry-trees above, and festooning gaily from one to the other, gave promise of a yet richer harvest to come. Here and there by the way-side picture to yourself a small thatched white-walled cottage in the midst of its little garden, where hemp and maize in patches shoot their heads high above the hedge, sparkling with the purple or white flowers of the gum-cistus, which mingles with the homely privet and hawthorn, like a gay city lass in the society of her country cousins; and there is generally some small spot in the field adjoining where the creeping melon spreads out far and wide, and displays its tempting fruit to the eyes of passers-by.
The road, it is true, like most roads in level Lombardy, was most unpicturesquely straight; but then it was bordered by banks clothed with the most beauteous mantle of wild flowers, preserved in all their brightness by the deep trenches of water beneath ; and on either hand were fields of towering flaunting maize, or tall feathery hemp, studded with willows, beech, cherry, or walnut-trees, all overgrown with vines, and all now glistening with the heavy dew, of which the sun had but just begun to sip his usual morning draught. In other fields, teams of oxen were dragging the heavy ploughs through the corn stubble, or peasant women in huge straw-hats were hoeing the young maize-plants. Over all this foliage appeared from time to time in the distance the red or white square towers of churches or convents; and beyond all, to the left, the shadowy forms of the blue mountains of Friuli and Istria rolled along the horizon.
In an hour or two we crossed the Brenta, where, after flowing southward from the mountains of the Tyrol, it turns to take an easterly course, and lose itself in the Lagune of Venice. Its left bank, along which runs the road for many miles, is lined with villages, neat and clean for Italy, and so full of casinos, or gentlemen's seats, as to answer Beckford's description of them as “ villages of palaces ;" for the greater part are princely mansions, and one is an imperial palace. They are the summer abodes of rich Shylocks, and other “ merchants of Venice,” or are inhabited by the few relics of Venetian nobility. They are white-walled red-roofed buildings, mostly in the Palladian style of architecture, and fronted by spacious paved courts, adorned with statues, and rows of orange and acacia-trees in huge pots, most formal and unpicturesque. The iron gates, also, are generally flanked by rows of statues, allegorical and mythological, each of which, for the benefit of ignorant unimaginative beholders, has its name engraved on the pedestal. Here a stony Diana, perched on a high column, makes love to a marble-hearted Endymion at the opposite end of the long iron railing ; there Bacchus and Ceres stand sentinels over the gateway of a farmyard. By the by, these farmyards, of which I passed not a few, scattered over with straw, and sprinkled with live