Page images

thing altogether impossible. She could not believe that persons in a deranged state would be allowed to pass in and out of the house perfectly at liberty, or that they could meet and take their meals with the regularity and order which those persons did.

She was not aware that those persons, apparently so free, were strictly watched; that it was only at intervals that they enjoyed this freedom, and that they were patients whose friends paid large sums for their admittance into this house, where they received only such as it was supposed would recover.

The gaiety of some of those she had observed affected her more than the fixed melancholy of others; as, in spite of her endeavour to banish the suspicions that would intrude, she could not help associating an idea with her remarks on the conduct of all she had seen, that this house must be a receptacle for

lunatics; but that she was considered as one, had not yet entered her mind.

Depressed with thoughts so painful, as those of being betrayed to a dwelling: set apart for the reception of beings, in the most miserable state to which humanity is subject, she requested leave to retire to her own room ; which request being granted, after relieving her oppressed heart by a flood of tears, she knelt down, and addressed herself with fervent and humble piety to him, who only could assist her in this, her utmost distress.

“ If,” said she, as she concluded her prayer; “thou hast seen fit to afflict me with poverty, with disgrace, with loss of friends, and every thing that can endear life, yet thou hast in pity and mercy preserved my reason; I have still the privilege of addressing myself to thee in prayer, and can entertain a pious hope that thou wilt not desert me. For this inestimable benefit, my God! I thank thee, and implore thee to continue thy favour towards me, that I may not fall into that state, where hope can never come.'

Feeling her mind more tranquillised, she arose, and seating herself at the grated window, which looked into a large garden laid out in the old-fashioned stile, with broad gravel walks, and regular rows of trees on each side, which brought the following lines of Pope to her mind :

Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
And half the platform just reflects the other :

She tried to divert her thoughts from dwelling on painful subjects, by fixing them on objects new to her.

But'as the novelty of the scene could not even compensate for the want of beauty in the local situation of the place, which appeared to be in the suburbs of the city; she withdrew her eyes from the

[ocr errors]

window, and leaning pensively on her hand, her mind was transported to the scenes of her early youth. Suddenly she was aroused froin this train of pleasing images, which her refiections had conjured up, and on which her fancy delighted to dwell, by a sweet plaintive voice singing at a window near her own. Tle voice was evidently that of a female, but the stanzas were broken and irregular: in a short time, as if soothed by the melody of her own voice, the notes, which had before been tremulous and low, now assumed a fullertone; and the stanzas were sung without any line being disjointed; as they were several times repeated at short intervals, Louisa plainly distinguished them to be as follow:

Where art thou ? On the moon beams ? Oh! no, no;

But in this hard world thou art seen no more:
Sweet pity, o'er the wild waves let us go,

And in some flow'ry isle,
There will we rest all day;

[ocr errors]

And I will kiss my love's last tears away.

And we again shall smile,
Like infants in their sleep. Hark! 'twas the roar
Of the remorseless tempest, that whelms all,
All my fond hopes. Rock on, thou gloomy deep!
To the noise of thy tempests I call;
No, 110, I will not weep,,

Tho' they sound in my ear like despair.
Saw you a child with golden hair?
"Twas love, his eyes so sweetly shining,
All hearts to tenderness inclining.

Yet oh! beware..
How sweet was his voice,,when hand link'd in hard
We pass'd o'er scenes of fairy lànd;.
But he left me unpitied to fate,
And o'er my sinking head the storm blew desolate.
Then he whom I lov'd-but I will not complain,
Tho' I never, oh never, shall see him again.

In breathless. anxiety lest she should lose a note so sweetly sung, Louisa listened with wonder and delight; and when she was convinced the voice had ceased, she sat fixed with admiration, vainly endeavouring to get a sight of the melancholy warbler ; but the bars of her win-

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »