Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

tive province, Ombria; and in the blessings of his dependants, in the regard of his friends, and the approbation of his own heart, passed his days in tranquil content.

But, to return from whence I have wandered: for many days the unfortunate De Linchtenstein lingered, lost even to the attentions of his child ; his wound bore the most alarming appearance; and when he spoke, the incoherent wanderings of delirium marked his every accent. Hourly did I witness the patient endurance, the pious resignation, the filial tenderness, of Philippina-her whole soul was unveiled to my inspection ; I saw all that was chaste, all that was lovely, all that was desirable, in woman : one moment she was the assiduous nurse, the next, the sensitive, feeling daughter; now elevated by the enthusiasm of hope, now kneeling, the beauteous semblance of a meek-eyed saint: as such, I could have worshipped her, as such, I could have hid her in my bosom, could have cherished her as a precious reliquary.

Alas!

Alas! I guessed not the extent of my own feelings; alas ! I guessed not the magnetic influence, which the cultivated understanding, the ingenuous mind, the elegant simplicity of the untitled De Linchtenstein's daughter, had acquired. I loved her, with the romantic fervour of sincere affection ; I loved her with an uncontrolable ardour, which defied every barrier; ambition, family, fortune, all, all vanished-Philippina was the world to me; Philippina was the polar star, which lighted me on to happiness : with her, I could have smiled at the malevolence of fortune; without her, life appeared a desolate span, an aggregate of

woe.

“At the expiration of a week, the alarm-ing symptoms abated; the wound which De Linchtenstein had received, gradually healed, and the sanative powers of reason returned : then did I mark the quick throb of joy in the countenance of my sweet companion, then did I see peace and hope revive, even from the embers of despon

dency.

dency. Ah! how does memory, tender, cruel memory, retrace the happy features of life's blissful æra ! how does it linger over departed joys, and mock us with her delusive powers ! 'Twas then I first knew the value of existence; 'twas then, in the delicious retirement of De Linchtenstein's villa, my soul acknowledged the rapture of sympathy. Supporting the steps of my Philippina, together we watched the ocean's gradual swell, sometimes sostened by the monotonous roar of the waves, sometimes sublimed into elevation at the magnitude of the scene. What was the great world, what were the charms of society, to a heart like mine? Breathless I would listen to the grateful exclamations, the pious remarks, of my charming companion ; and then sigh to resign every illusion of greatness, every insignia of grandeur--sigh to live alone for love, for Philippina, for domestic bliss.

Days and weeks rolled rapidly away ; yet still did I linger at Venice, still did L evade the enquiries of my family, and conceal from them the magnet which held my heart in bondage : but, alas ! the smile of love, the intercourse of sentiment, soon yielded to anxious fears and desponding apprehensions. The wound of De Linchtenstein had indeed healed, but, from the moment of infliction, his constitution had imperceptibly weakened—the energies of life had been blasted. Conscious of his approaching end, bowing in submission to that mandate which summoned him from a world of sorrow, he felt but one pang, and that arose in the unprotected, unsupported, unallied prospects of his orphan child. Driven by the rude hand of misfortune from his native land, with his only remaining treasure he had quitted Germany, and settled on the shores of the Adriatic; and. now, to leave her guileless innocence, her unsuspecting loveliness, exposed to the designing and the base, coloured the pang of death, and baffled the efforts of resignation. • I will be her friend, I exclaimed, as I marked the struggles of parental solicitude;

ceal ah,

[ocr errors]

ah, more! I will be her husband !' A momentary ray of joy flashed from the sunken eyes of De Linchtenstein. — My arms,' I pursued, regardless of his effort to speak,

shall shield her froin the storms of life; and my heart-'-' But your father!' interrupted the nearly-exhausted De Linchtenstein.– My father !' I eagerly rejoined, hurried away by the wild transports of love, oh ! let him but behold my Philippina, and every prejudice of rank will yield to nature and to virtue! Once mine, what else shall I have to fear? Once sanctioned by the rites of marriage, once invested with the hallowed title of husband, Philippina will be my tower of strength, my comfort, my solace-Philippina will be to me the world, will be father, will be every thing.'

“I sprung from my seat, and, regardless of the deep dejection which pervaded the features of De Linchtenstein, hurried from the chamber, eager to realize the picture I had drawn. In the grove of cypress which

fringed

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »