« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Shrinking with horror from the difgrace of a public execution, Fitzofborne applied to the unbeliever's laft refource, and with his own hand anticipated the ftroke of the guillotine. He died amongst men brutalized by guilt, or petrified by fuffering. He could not, therefore, expect the poor confolation of pity; but his last moments were unexpectedly rendered more agonizing by the intelligence (which the keeper of the prifon communicated with all the unfeeling cruelty of his profeffion) that the Dictator, having received a very favourable account of his talents, had not only determined to liberate him from prison, but also to advance him to fome confidential employment. Shuddering at the idea of that eternal fleep, the reality of which he yet wished to believe; clinging to life with greater earneftness, in proportion as the possi
bility of living diminished; curfing his own impatience, which had irretrievably deftroyed the fair profpects which he might have realized; ftung by remorse and felf-accufation, without one ray of hope; Fitzofborne's terrible unlamented exit appeared to anticipate the horrors of futurity. But here let me drop the awful veil; and while juftice refuses the commiferating tear, let human nature, conscious of its own infirmities, humbly folicit the protection of Omnipotence against the magic of novelty, the delufions of fophiftry, and the arrogance of human Reason, whenever, proud of her own fupremacy, fhe prefumes to pass the interdicted bounds prefcribed to her finite powers.
The hiftory of my remaining characters will be comprized in a few pages. Mr. Powerfcourt prudently determined to let the firft effervescence of lord
lord Monteith's grief fubfide before he requested to be intrufted with the care of those children whofe fociety the unhappy father fancied would alleviate his affliction. But the cheek of infancy is not always dimpled with fmiles. Its little foibles require calm correction; and though it is delightful" to teach the young idea how to fhoot," its wild luxuriance must be tenderly repreffed. Calamity did not increase the number of the earl's virtues, and patience and application were ever wanted in the lift. He therefore foon found the prattle of childhood too mild an opiate to lull the tortures of corroding reflection. Lady Arabella too, who, on hearing that skill in education was the very highest ton, had determined to be governels to her fweet little nieces herself, perceived that verbs and prepofitions
fitions were very dull reading, and that the engagements of the fchool-room were abfolutely incompatible with mixing in the world. In less than three months after the death of their mother, the children were fixed at Powerfcourt to the mutual fatisfaction of all parties.
Love is faid to be the only paffion which can conquer death. But friendfhip, as belonging to the fame family, claims the like honour. Long after the lamented death of lady Monteith, the following fonnet flowed from her Lucy's pen:
O Friendship! folacer of grief! whofe fmile Can calm the terrors of life's ruthless storms, Come, with thy daughter's memory, and be
Of early pleasures. Bid them trip along Gay as the fanguine hope which youth in fpires.
Renew my Geraldine's enchanting fong: That fong which warbles now 'mid angel choirs.
O be her peerless excellence difplay'd,
Gild with thy lamp the cold fepulchral gloom, And twine thy rofes round the mouldring
But it was not to the expreffions of vain regret or elegant fufceptibility that this amiable woman appealed for the atteftation of her inviolable affection. Her exemplary difcharge of the awful trust which she had undertaken, unquestionably confirmed the fincerity of her regard. The opening graces of the lovely children promife to reward