Page images

more talented. Indeed, he very narrowly escaped being both a beauty and a genius; but he had no heart; therein was it that he faulted. His evil disposition marred the loveliness of his countenance, and rendered his intellect but a curse to him. "The pity of it;-oh! Iago, the pity of it!"

I walked up and down the school-room, restless and uneasy as I was; anxious to escape into solitude, yet knowing that such an escape was impossible. On every side I beheld cold and unfeeling faces staring at me with the most insolent assurance. The strangeness of my situation cowed me, though I knew that it would soon wear away; but my brother seemed perfectly unmoved;-he was without delicacy and shyness; I would have given worlds for the composure he exhibited. He had not been in the school-room half an hour, when I beheld him in conversation withthe usher.

I heard voices behind me; two of my new companions were conversing somewhat to this effect:"A deuced good-looking fellow, at all events," said the first speaker, "and clever, if we may judge by his looks."

My heart went thump against my side. Did they mean me? No. Did they mean my brother? Very likely.

"Good-looking enough for a girl," said the second speaker, in a voice betokening any thing but effeminacy; "though, for my part, I must candidly confess that I like more masculine beauty."

They mean neither Frederick nor me, thought I; for we were both of us manly-looking boys. Of whom could they be speaking? I felt more at my ease; there was nothing personal in this dialogue.

"What," resumed the first speaker, "did you tell me was the new fellow's name? I believe that I shall soon forget my own. What a confounded memory I have!"

"New fellow :" then after all they were talking of Frederick; or, it was just possible, of myself.There is no accounting for tastes, thought I. My ears tingled, my pulses galloped, and the warm blood mounted upwards to my cheeks.

"EVERARD SINCLAIR; by the Lord, his name is as pretty as his face."

Well, thought I, that is not my name, certainly; and I recovered my self-composure in a


"I wonder what book he is reading," continued one of the speakers; "by Jove, though, he has got a fine pair of eyes:"-and presently they strolled into the play-ground.

"Clever,-good-looking,-fine pair of eyes,Everard Sinclair,-new fellow, with a book." Well, thought I, I must cast my eyes around me, and try if they will not light on this paragon. I lifted up my eyes; for the strangeness of my situation, united with a little natural shyness, had kept them fixed, up to this point, with a becoming bashfulness, upon the ground. Curiosity in most young people is a stronger feeling than modesty :it certainly was so in me; for the conversation which I have just recorded put to flight my constitutional shyness. I raised my eyes, and looked about me; I took a survey of the whole schoolroom. I presently cried out "Eureka!" for there, in one corner of the room, absorbed in the perusal of a book, and apparently unconscious of the noise and tumult with which he was surrounded, sate a boy of about my own age, whose countenance filled me with admiration, and awakened a sudden love in my breast. He was as unlike as he possibly could be to every other boy in the school. "As a lily among thorns," was young Sinclair amongst his school-fellows.

His hair was light, silken, and curly; his complexion delicate, and transparent; he had blue eyes, and a figure, though slender in its proportions, replete with the most exquisite grace. The

prevailing expression of his countenance was that of extreme gentleness; it was something that you felt, rather than saw; it was the soul speaking out of the face; it was one of those beautiful aspects which once seen can never be forgotten,-a countenance whose particular features we endeavour in vain to retrace, though the full harmony of their collected loveliness can never pass away from the


"This is he of whom they spake," said I, “the fine-eyed boy, with the book.-What is there that should prevent me from speaking to him? Is he not, like myself, a stranger in this place; and is he not,-God grant it,-destined to be my friend?"

The spirit of prophecy was upon me. I know not how it was, but I saw in prospect a world of happiness and love. "Yes," I said, "it is written,—I am sure of it,—that this boy shall be my friend."

I went up to him and addressed him. I do not remember what I said; it was something about our being "fellow-sufferers." I concluded, by asking his pardon for having interrupted him in this


Sinclair lifted up his eyes; a bright smile beamed across his countenance, as he opened his lips and spoke. Very sweet were the tones of

his voice; they were plaintive but most melodious. Young as the boy seemed to be, it was evident that he had known suffering.

"Nay," he said, "do not ask my pardon; when you have wronged me it will be time to do that. A civil speech needs no apology; on the contrary, it calls for my thanks," and he laid his book upon the desk, as though he were willing to continue the dialogue.

As for myself, I was confused. I did not well know what to say. I stammered out something about "custom."

"Custom," replied Everard Sinclair, "custom I like not the word. I never regard customs. I wish you had not uttered that word. Custom is the cloak of error; the sworn enemy of wisdom and of truth.""

There is a sentence to have issued from the lips of a boy scarcely fourteen years old! But I will not be answerable for his precise words; on my shoulders let their pedantry rest.* I am afraid

I cannot resist the temptation of inserting a note in this place. Mr. Godwin, the patriarch, and prince of fictitious historians, in his St. Leon, makes a poor negro servant talk precisely like a philosopher, and remarks, either in his own person or St. Leon's, for the hero telleth his own story, "I am unable, at this distance of time, to recall the defects of his language, and I disdain the mimic task of inventing a jargon for him suit

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »