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“ I had not sought you, Asprenici, for the mere opinion of a lawyer, and I am not to be terrified by the dangers of the pursuit I pray you immediately to satisfy me by those means which you alone possess. I will not offend you by naming reward," added the count, as he placed carelessly a heavy purse on the table.
“I have said, signore, that I will obey you, but beware of shrinking when he appears, who must answer the questions you must yourself propose. Be seated for the present, and be silent.”
Columbo Asprenici arose, and from a box near him took a small silver dagger, sheathless, and exquisitely chased. Retaining this in his left hand, he proceeded with the other to withdraw from the same cabinet a light long chain of dark metal, occasionally studded with crimson spots, which glistened like spangles, as the links were shaken. The astrologer, attaching one end of the chain to the upper part of the black column before mentioned, placed the other below the transparent globe, which continued to glow with internal fire. His next movement was to a corner of the apartment, from whence in a few moments came the sound of an enormous bell, and it appeared to Morentali that sparkles of light were bursting from Asprenici's hand, as it struck the wall. If so, they were speedily extinct, and the magician returned to the globe, and with the silver dagger touched the chain near its centre. The flame in the globe was instantly extinguished, an appalling roar, neither of thunder nor animal, ensued, and the vault was for an instant in utter darkness. Then a light green flame rose from the summit of the column, and its inscriptions were seen in characters of fire. As this subsided, the same horrible roar was again heard, and the chamber was once more dark. The astrologer took his guest's hand, and guiding him to the column, placed him at a short distance from the window. As Asprenici raised the latter, the dreadful sound arose for the third time, and Morentali gazed forth upon an open plain. It appeared to be night, but there was no moon in heaven. All seemed as objects we behold in a feverish dream.
“ Now be firm, and fear not,” whispered Columbo.
A wide expanse of dark blue sky was before them, and it was without a cloud or star. A rustling, as of dried leaves before autumn winds, commenced, and gradually increased. Then meteors danced before the eyes of the count, and successively expired. Two long lines of red light, apparently descending from above the building, and reaching the plain at a distance, were next visible. The space between them became filled with various coloured fires, until a broad belt was formed from the heaven to the earth. The deafening bell sounded-once--and the lights changed their places among themselves, glowing with the utmost brilliancy; twice—and a dark form was seen to pass rapidly down the fiery arch, to its termination in the distance ; thrice—and the fearful, yet half-defined shape rushed rapidly to the window, as the appalling roar again echoed around. Morentali dared not look at the hideous object, but enveloped his face in his ample cloak. Asprenici again whispered,
“ Speak, boldly and to the purpose ; three questions only may be heard."
In a faltering voice, the once haughty noble asked, while he trembled for the answer, “ Does my son live ?"
“ He is dead," was the reply, in a low, thrilling, unearthly tone, which penetrated to the soul. The count was silent, his last hopes were blighted, and he half turned away, with a deep sigh, when his companion reminded him that two questions were yet to be demanded. In a firmer voice he inquired, “ What jewel was it that I gave Julia Venyas?”
“ Thy wife wore it on the last day she ever wore ornament."
“ How did Miollano recognize it?" said the count, in a tone of but little concern.
The answer was given, and the Italian nobleman, with a shriek of the direst anguish, sank insensible upon the ground.
Lorenzo di Castiglia led his beautiful bride from her wedding gondola to the steps of the church of Saint Anne. In the prime of life, with a noble person and large wealth, all admitted that the bridegroom was worthy of Giulia di Morentali. The soubriquet of the duellist, which he had acquired, told of numberless exploits of his sword, and the chamber of many a Venetian lady might have testified his skill in the science of love. His influence, too, was great, and it was this which had given him favour in the eyes of Morentali, before all the other suitors for his daughter's hand. In obedience to her father's commands, Giulia had accepted the offer of Castiglia, though with a heavy heart, for though her virgin affections had not centred elsewhere, she abhorred the man for whom she was about to swear to love. The bridegroom was not blind to her feelings, but he cared not for them, the rather that he intended to put her affections as a wife to but little proof, for he married principally because the fancy seized him, and possibly because his libertine career had in some measure rendered it needful, even in Venice, that he should retrieve a little of his reputation. Such were the feelings of those who stood that lovely morning, at the head of a magnificent bridal train, on the steps of the church of Saint Anne, awaiting the appearance of the Count Morentali.
The count arrived, and the procession entered the church. The organ poured out a full tide of melody, the censers waved, the pennons glistened, and the bridegroom reached the altar, with his lovely companion. A wide semicircle was formed by the friends of each, and the priest stood forth to record their vows. Morentali advanced and confronted him.
“ Stay, father, I have a word to say to our friends, and to these children too, ere thou joinest their hands. Lorenzo and Giulia, and you around, listen. It was this day month that a gondolier, named Miollano, was seized by the agents of the Council at my command, and brought before me, in the torture chamber of the palace, for the crime of recognizing this jewel. Daughter, have you ever beheld it before ?"
The Lady Giulia received the trinket, and burst into tears. Her father proceeded.
“ Ha! thou knowest it. But, my friends, I am to inform you that it once belonged to my wife, and that I gave it to an easy damsel of this city, for good reasons, and from whom I have regained it. Miollano saw it in her possession, but as he refused, when before me, to say why he recollected it, I broke every limb in his body on the rack, and then roasted him to death in a fiery vault.”
The effect which this horrible communication produced, delivered as it was by Morentali with a cool and almost flippant manner, may be imagined. Lorenzo was the first to speak.
“ Methinks, signore, this tale were better fitted for the secret archives of the Council, than for the holy church, and least of all is it suited to the ear of the Lady Giulia.”
“Why not, Lord of Castiglia, seeing the sufferer was my son, and her brother ?"
A loud and maniac yell followed these words. The Count di Morentali pressed a pistol to his temples, and the report mingled with the dying cry of Giulia, as she sank, broken-hearted, into the arms of Castiglia.
THE RUINED FOUNTAIN.
Fount of the woods! o'er whom ages have pass'a,
No more thy green turf by the pilgrim is prest,
But the hymns that were blended, the pray’rs that were breath’d,
The woodman retires to thy brink for a draught,
Oh! who can forget that the noon of thy pride
THE CLOSE OF THE SESSION.
The Session has closed-a session of unusual length, of unexampled fatigue—and what has been done ? There has been no lack of oratory, no want of hear, hear' of cheers, of groans, of cat-calling, and imitation of animal sounds. But it might be almost said, that it has been vox et præterea nihil, for little or nothing has been done. Like the Danaides of old, they have laboured hard, but it has been labour in vain, similar to their fabled drawing water in sieves. On the part of his Majesty's ministers, we have had indecision and incapabilityon the part of the Radicals, noise and bullying-on the part of the Irish members, silent exultation at the conviction that the fate of ministers was at their sovereign will and pleasure, and that it was their leader who pulled, behind the scenes, the wires attached to such puppets as Lord John Russell and Spring Rice. In consequence of this disgraceful thraldom, the Whig party has been gradually undergoing a change, the more moderate ascending into Conservatism, the more violent descending into Radicalism.
The Conservatives, headed by Peel, and supported when necessary by Stanley and Graham, have made a splendid display of talent and ability, and their defeat by numbers has been to them a series of triumphs. The old Tories, for the race unfortunately is not quite yet extinct, have been so puzzled with Whig conundrums, that they have given it up, and when their votes were required in support of the King and Constitution, were only to be found—fast asleep, with their decanters before them, dreaming of times which were, but never will be again. Such has been the session in the House of Commons. Now turn we to the House of Lords. And here we have a more agreeable task. We have had the pleasure of witnessing Lord Brougham cutting the throat of his own popularity, in true swinish style—we have watched him “ playing such fantastic tricks before high Heaven," as would « make angels weep,” and common mortals laugh. He has kindly informed us that the House of Lords is only a mob, and that he himself is the cleverest man in the world. He has been by turns satirical, soothing, playful, terrible, funny, prophetic, and passionate. He has attempted to turn the House of Lords into a bear-garden, and as far as his individual self is concerned, it hath so become. He has wound himself up every night before he took his seat-of what the main-spring has been composed we will not venture to surmise—and he has every night, swung his arms as a pendulum, till he has run down; like his own “ Penny Magazine,” treating of this and that, and every thing else in the world, quite as original in his matter, and quite as superficial as its contents. There is an indescribable complaint, which will never allow a moment's repose to mind or body; which nothing will satisfy-which allows of no beginning, and no ending—which wheels round the mind like the squirrel in its cage, ever moving,
Oct. 1835.-VOL. XIV.-NO. LIV.
but still making no progress. It is called the Fantods. From the diagnostics, we pronounce Lord Brougham incurably diseased with the Fantods.
We have also had the pleasure of witnessing the noble conduct of Arthur, Duke of Wellington, who has again proved that, in all he does, he consults only his country's good—that he is not obstinately wedded to opinions, but will yield to the spirit of the times, when that spirit does not attempt to make a breach in the citadel of the constitution. But in this rough collision, which, like the steel and flint, is sure to force out the sparks of latent ability, nothing has given us more satisfaction than the conduct of Lord Lyndhurst, who in this session has raised himself far above our praise, proving that his talents, great as they have been acknowledged to be, were still not duly appreciated, and that in every point, whether in oratory, or judgment, or manliness, or depth, in fact, even in his antagonist's most efficient weapon, that of satire, he was not only a match for, but the master of, Lord Brougham, who at the conclusion of the debate lay prostrate and writhing under him like the devil at the feet of the Archangel, a terrible foe indeed, but conquered by the unerring spear of Truth. It has been a glorious session for Lord Lyndhurst, and from our hearts do we congratulate him. He has gained in it even more than Lord Brougham has lost. There never perhaps has been a session in which two persona, one in either house, have earned such imperishable fame, as Lord Lyndhurst in the House of Lords, and Sir Robert Peel in the House of Commons. The conduct of the House of Lords, as a body, has also been deserving of the highest commendation. It is true that they are not all wise, but if the Duke of Sutherland with his two hundred thousand a-year, thinks proper to point out to the mob that they are in duty bound to take it from him, or if the Duke of Bedford prefers anarchy to the rejection of a Bill, we can only say that there is no accounting for tastes. We repeat, that the firmness of the House of Lords merits the gratitude of every well-wisher to his country. We thank them, and in so doing we take off our hat, notwithstanding that Mr. Hume considers such a mark of respect is infra dig., and derogatory to real republican sentiments.
We have been much amused by the attempt to frighten the nation with the squib of collision, as if the Municipal Reform Bill was the first instance of the amendment of a bill by the House of Lords. Have they not rejected, as well as amended, a hundred bills ?-yet to hear the bullying of the Radicals in the House of Commons, and the treasonable slaver of the stock-jobbing “ Morning Chronicle,” we should imagine that, on the part of the Lords, it was a direct violation of the constitution. Like vipers gnawing at a file, they appear to have become mad with rage and disappointment. However, the Session is closed, and here we are all « pretty well, I thank you ;". and instead of this dreadful collision, which was to blow us all up, Tory, Conservative, Whig, and Radical, have all separated, east, west, north, and south, and no one dreads an infernal machine except the poor partridges, who have suffered, and the pheasants, who will this day pronounce a battue to be the most infernal business that ever was experienced.