is now opening to him will close behind his corpse. Yes,

Walter Tyrrel will he living and Joving, while the eye that

scorned him shall be closed in lead, the tongue that slandered

him shall be choked with dust, the heart that hated him

shall be food for worms, and the accursed arm that struck

him shall be rotting from its carcass."

Since the sunrise, the owner of this reverie had met with

various and vexatious reverses : he had been thwarted in

his love, invaded in his rights, grossly insulted, and personally

dishonoured ; but through all the gloom of these

reflections his foster-mother's prediction shone out as in

letters of fire ; and the bitter pangs, caused by unrequited

wrongs, degraded honour, and dissatisfied resentment, were

considerably abated, when he regarded the human figure

before him as a mere mass of mortal carrion, over which he

should have to exclaim, " How sweetly smells the body of

a dead enemy !"

By what means, fair or foul, he was to arrive at this

consummation, he could scarcely guess ; but to describe

honestly the workings of his mind, it must be owned, that

unnatural causes became conjoined with natural ones in

his surmises, and he entertained dark and dangerous ideas,

which recoiled indeed, but only to leap further, and still

further onwards, like the waves of the advancing tide. To

suppose those waves sometimes tinged with the blood-red

of a stormy sun, would but too

faithfully denote the occa-

sional complexion of his tumultuous thoughts, when the

imperious demands of revenge became transiently paramount

over holier claims. It is true that he dismissed the

first sanguinary scheme as soon as formed; but the Cain-

like suggestion, once admitted into the human heart, is apt

to become a haunting one; and as the air-drawn dagger

in Macbeth was only dispelled by the clutching of the

real weapon, so a shadowy tragedy will pre-occupy the

mind's eye, which is only to be superseded by the sub-

stantial performance. The Creole, therefore, to his alarm,

found his cogitations taking a repugnant turn which produced

a natural shudder ; but, in spite of himself, these

direful promptings became more and more frequent, and

consequently less startling and horrible, till finally their

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines