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ART. IV.-The Broken Heart,
A TRUE TALE.
I have heard some very good persons inveigh against the idea of any one dying of a broken heart, and ridicule the infirm state of mind, in which that person must be, who departs this life in such a manner.
I acknowledge an excess of feeling to be bad in any case, even in Religion—it may lead to enthusiasm ; but when facts are before our eyes, when we see the form of individuals we have known, wasting silently away; and the eye that has often brightened with momentary pleasure at some tale of past days, or hopes of coming joys, growing dim, and sadly changed, it is impossible to reject the impression, which such a scene has on our feelings, and after that person's death to be insensible to the recollections, which his fate must incessantly bring before us. I will not deny that the sorrow which produces death is not a holy sorrow :--but am I for that reason to scorn the being who labours under its burden, and to ridicule the burden which so oppresses him ?-We have all trembled beneath some affliction, and while so trembling, what should we have thought of that man, who in his selfsatisfied pride, would have laughed at our grief, and have despised the brokenness of our spirit ? What, at the hour of dissolution, happens between that man's soul and his maker, none can tell; and probably while we, with pharasaical contempt, pronounce him an outcast from the presence of his God, he may be borne to Abraham's bosom by the angels of his Heavenly Father. They, who in India have any remembrance of the persons, whose history I now relate, would be charitable enough to hope, that the latter was the fate of both, and would shudder at the idea of admitting a thought to the contrary,
When I first left India for the shores of Persia, it was under the care, I may say, of a gallant officer of the Bombay army, whom I accompanied in his voyage to Bushire; and here I shall be pardoned for dwelling a moment on this part of my life. All who know me, know that I am not given to flattery, nor do I, in what I may now say, flatter the individual, whom I so much love. Under his auspices 1 entered into public life, and on a political career; and though I have neither been long in the one, and have left the other, it was not owing to him, that ambition has happily for me, evaporated : suffice it to say, my happiest hours have been spent with him, and now that he has retired from active duties, if this poor memorial of my affection to him meets his eye, he will know that the esteem I felt for him at that early age, has
never lessened, and that I trust, the recollections of his virtues will be as durable and profitable to me, as the experience of his many kindnesses were at that time pleasing. I will add, wherever he went, his talents, his open and generous disposition, and uncompromising integrity, gained him friends, even among the wild hordes of wandering Arabs. He well knows the facts of this relation, and was acquainted with the general parts of the story. We sailed in November, from Bombay, in the Aurora Cruizer, commanded by a poor fellow, who is now dead, a kind host and a brave sea-man. Our time passed pleasantly, though the voyage was long ; the 1st and 2nd officers were both musical, and played the flute remarkably well-books, sketching, and learning the Persian language, absorded our time. The mournful hour of parting from friends had passed, and the novelty around us bore a greater charm, as we knew that the way of life we were now pursuing, would not last so long as that, which so sickens us on
a voyage from England to India. We stopped some days at Muscat, which is a most extraordinary place-one would fancy that the demon of desolation had for ever fixed his iron throne on those jagged, abrupt and frowning mountain crags. Man has no dominion there, and the eagle alone can call those untrodden wilds her home. It looked like the boundary to the land of the lawless Arab; yet beyond it, they say, are the fertile and lovely vallies of Onian, through which many a river pours its waters. We entered the cove at sunset, and were saluted by the frigates of the Imaum, and two Ships of the Sheikh of Bushire, who was then on a visit to the chieftains of the place. These personages we saw the next day, and were struck at the difference between the wily Persian, and the noble Arab. A sister pen bas so well described this town, and the custom of the inhabitants, that I will not tire by a repetition, more particularly as I must hasten to the substance of my story. We coasted swiftly up to the Xoins, and entered the Gulph two days after leaving Muscat. Here I remember witnessing a most wonderful collection of Porpoises, which at a distance flung the foam up in a direct line many miles in extent: we could not imagine what they were at first. Then came a rushing sound, and with a Telescope we could trace the movements of the animals; as they approached, they parted to the right and left with an astonishing rapidity, scampering in myriads as if mad, just like a herd of swine, with a tumultuous confusion, and leaving the water of the deep greatly agitated for many a league behind them. The oldest sailor had never beheld the like. However, these brought no wind with them, and passed away like a dream. Those days, indeed, are to me but as a dream-a few only, and those of the most pleasing and painful impressions, are what now remain. Time past, like a vessel in full sail at a distance, looks like some visionary thing moving over the waves ; whence she came or whither she goes you. know not-the white canvas-winged chariot of the deep, betrays not the minutiæ of her frame You see not the dirt and
filth, the rigging, the blocks, the every little specimen of art and science-things, which touch not a stranger's fancy; but Time present, like that vessel when boarded, brings all these before your sight, and the noise, the crowd, the motion, all that offends the eye or ear, take away the pleasing sensations, which she brought into being, when seen afar off, sliently walking the waters with her snow-white sail, like a curlew's wing, and delicately diminished proportions marked on the gloomy sky behind her.
My chief amusement after nightfall was fishing at slack water, with the second officer. We had at first shunned him from a peculiarity in his address, but soon discovered our mistake in supposing him obtruding. I say we, for our party consisted of four, who were to reside at Bushire-one I have mentioned. The Doctor was another, a Scotchman, and a great favourite, deservedly liked for his quiet, gentlemanly manners, and goodness of heart-He was a sterling character, and two years spent with him in Persia only made me like him the more. The fourth was an Armenian, a clever man in his way; a good linguist, but of the most sanguine disposition. He had a kind heart, I believe, but a most unlucky head-both inside and out, externally as like that of Thersites, as one sugar-cane can be to another. Before the voyage was over, we had all found poor G, a pleasant companion. His face was of a pallid hue, and expressively full of kindness and warmth of feeling-his light blue eyes would twinkle brightly when pleased, and at times be dimmed with sorrow—his bair, too, was light-he was rather short and awkward in his gait--his faults were instantly seen, and arose chiefly from too great an unreservedness and too much simplicityalas ! that these should be faults ! But the world receives simplicity as modern beggars do a crust of bread, with contempt-He had been nearly marrying an Armenian girl at Bussorah ; the day was fixed, nay the parties were on the point of proceeding to Church, when a band of sailors, despatched by his friend the Captaimr of the vessel, seized him and bore him off : this, however, did not prevent the propensity he had to that state, and on his return to Bombay he pinned himself to some poor half-cast girl, on the promise of having several thousand rupees with her, which were gradually brought to some hundreds by his liberal Brother-in-law, till G. indignantly rejected his offers, saying he had not married from mercenary motives, though in his circumstances any thing was acceptable. He supported his old mother at home and his wife on his
of 120 Rupees per mensem, or a little more than £100 per annum. While on a cruize he had wished much to see Mrs. G., and had got leave from his commander to return to Bombay ; but showing, on some instance, which he ever after regretted, a too great independancy of spirit, he was ordered back to the Gulph, and on writing a foolish letter to his superior officer, privately complaining, rather allegorically, of this treatment, his mi. sery was crowned by being suspended for nine months, and losing an appointment at the Presidency of £300 por annum. He had been spending that time with his wife and it was after these evils that he again joined his ship, the one, which carried us to Bushire. He was expecting the birth of a child, his first one-the poor fel. low would with tears in his eyes mention this circumstance and his fears. Often at midnight, when the vessel was scudding evenly but swiftly along, under the bright blue heaven above, sparkling with stars, and not a cloud on its brow, would we lean over the gangway, talking of his home, his hopes, and his old and respected mother; and as we were on one such a night gliding up the island of Kena, which lay on the ocean darkly like a mole on beauty's cheek, he said.--" You will soon hear of my death—I never expect to leave the Gulph." I smiled and tried to ridicule the idea But it had fixed itself in his thoughts, and he frequently repeated, “ when you do hear of my death, remember what I told you.” I considered this to be a piece of sentimentality, and being rather a matter-of-fact man myself, I told him that such a supposition originated from bad blood, and at all events was not proper to indulge in.
“I know that,” said he,“ but my disgrace, though I forgive the authors of it, and reproach my simpleness, has nearly broken my mother's heart, has plunged us into debt, and with my prospects, what a miserable scene is before me.” I tried to turn his trust to a higher rock, by hinting, that trials came from God, and made us draw the nearer to him. My bible,” said he, “ is my comfort, and this I know, but I have not faith to realize it;" and so overcome was he at times, that he would lay his head on his arm to hide the tears that started in his
Of all the people in the world I am the worst hand at consoling an individual in such cases—and generally, I imagine, feel as keenly as they do; so that perhaps were an uninterested spectator to see us, he would consider me to be the sufferer of the two, from my foolish and awkward sympathy—a regular bear in giving comfort, and one, in fact, in receiving comfort too—for I like being alone in scenes of this kind, and hate seeing a person unhappy on my account, or pretending to be so at my expence, At these times the poor fellow would be seized with shivering fits, and retire to his cabin with chattering teeth, and as pale as a ghost. I shall never forget some of those evenings: the long range of barren white and sandy looking mountains stretching to right and left on the Persian coast, as far as the eye could reach--the few islands now and then in sight dimly projecting above the horizon--the calm and sleepy sea, on which many a gleam of light played tremulously from those islets of the heavens, and the phosphoric flash as here and there some dolphin started across the vessel's bows in pursuit of the fly-fish, his prey by night as well as day. The sailors are very expert in harpooning these fish as they swim along, striking a foot before the line of light they leave behind as they rush rapidly forward. We used sometimes to be joined by Mr. E. the first officer, whose
open-hearted manners made him a welcome companion. These two young men were great friends.
After a pleasant voyage we drew near our haven. I had observed a great change in G. On shore he made himself useful by copying charts, and the short time he remained with us, did all he could to please-still his simple manners made many suppose him to be silly ; and the little experience he had of the world, at times, gave him a most ridiculous appearance. He had the advantage of a library at Bushire, and commenced reading very hard: he took to writing verses, and was composing a Poem on Joseph, dedicated to a lady at the Presidency: he used to boast of his teaching Mrs. G. Grammar, and of educating her--and many oddities of this kind were laughed at, but his excessive goodness of heart overcame all prejudices. From Bushire during the months of February and March, we took a trip to the Island of Bahrein and other parts on the Arab coast. Many recollections start up at the remembrance of those days— how many are dead, who were then with us, falling a sacrifice to a bad climate and want of care! When we returned, the Cruizer joined her station. Letters passed now and then from Bassedore to Bushire—we heard of Go's being a father, and his child was called after the person I first noticed in this paper. His strong feelings were expressed in all his letters. Several months rolled away. The hot season began to torment us. I was sitting one day below, when a note was brought me from Colonel S.-" Come up here for an instant.” When I entered his room, he said, “ Poor G. is gone"--we both were shocked. There was something in his fate, that was peculiarly touching, and I for one felt many a pang at the idea of having ever caused him pain by laughing at his sayings, or for having ridiculed his manners. How sharp at such times are the memories of these little unkindnesses, and how vainly we wish we had never done them! As soon as the vessel reached Bassedore, he drooped. A fortnight before he died, he went on shore, and told the Surgeon that he should not live long-his Brother Officers thought him nervous and foolish, and the medical man declared he was in excellent health, “ Very well,” said G.; “but I shall never leave this island again-the hand of death is on me. In a few days he contined himself to his bed, still there was apparently nothing the matter with him, and none concerned themselves about him, very few in fact, could value his good qualities as they merited. On a Thursday, I think, all had left his house, and were enjoying a ride or a walk, and he had been asleep-his servant said that awaking suddenly, he sat upright in his bed, called him to approach, took his hand, praised him for his fidelity, thank, ed him for his kind attendance, said something about his wife and child, and pointing upward, said, he was going to Heaven-(this was often a favourite expression of his, “I shall soon be in Heaven"); and then laying down, quietly breathed his last. His body was opened, and his heart was found to be unusually large, but no other symptoms of disease elsewhere I was in hopes of obtaining