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VILLAGE ANNALS.

“ And to be wrath with one we love,
Doth work upon the brain like madness.”

Why will you not then accompany he spoke, and for a few moments she me to the ball to-night?" said Edmond was overcome by the violence of her M.Naghten to the young and interest- emotions. She then became calmer, ing girl over whom he was leaning— raised her head, and turning on her “why will not Julia come with me, and lover, her mild blue eyes still glistening cheer me with those sweet smiles, with her tears, she said without which any place is lonely?”. M.Naghten, this may satisfy me

“ Ah! Edinond,” she replied, “ the when I am only in the presence of ball-room is no place for me. There heaven and you; but, were I to mingle was a time when such amusements had in that society whose rules I have vioa charm—when my vanity was gratified lated, it were right that I should meet by the opportunity of displaying those the penalty of my transgression.” beauties which l fancied I possessed ; Her tone seemed to imply a lingering but now I love solitude, and hate so- doubt that even heaven could look with ciety;" and as she spoke a deep drawn favour on their violation of all human sigh showed that her words were the rules. M‘Naghten ceased to press his language of her heart.

point. He rose, folded his arms, and N.Naghten seemed disappointed ; for a time was buried in intense and her eyes were fixed on the ground, or painful thought. At length he started he could have seen the tears that stood from his reverie, and exclaimed :trembling on their lids.

« Would I had never bound myself by “ Am not I,” he replied, “all the that oath which prevents me from world to you ; come with me, and if making you all that I could wish; but your love be such as mine, in the pre- it shall not, it cannot, be ; I will not sence of its object you can forget every abide by it.” “ Yes, Edmond," she other."

said, interrupting him, " you shall “ Edmond, your love does not sur- abide by it. When I hear of that oath, pass the love of woman,” she answered I feel unaccountable dread ; and was with a smile ; “but would you ask me, there not an imprecation on her who or wish me, to bear the laughty glances should induce you to break it." that should be cast on me by the proud M.Naghten sighed deeply, and made of my own sex, were I to enter that a motion to depart. She followed him room to-night leaning on your arm.” and said, “ I have a request which you

“ Upon what arm should my wife must not refuse me, it is, that you, too, more naturally lean,” said he in a tone stay away from the ball to-night. I in which deep agitation was mingled have a reason,” said she, as she turned with disappointment.

deadly pale, and looked imploringly in “ Your wife,” she repeated after him, his countenauce for an answer.” “No, and burst into tears.

Julia,” said he, I cannot; our coinM‘Naghten was moved ; he clasped manding officer has made it a particular her in bis arms ; she leaned her head request I should be there, and I proupon his bosom, and sobbed aloud. mised compliance." She seemed bit

Julia,” said he, “is this your con- terly disappointed, and with an earnestsciousness of innocence ? Are not our ness that startled M.Naghten, she again vows enrolled in heaven? Are we intreated him not to go. “I know," criminal because we never complied she cried, “I know some evil will be with the forms prescribed by the idle the consequence to one or both of us. ceremonies of earth ?”

Ellen," said he, “you are no sibyl.” Her agitation seemed increased as “ But still I have my presentiments; do

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stay,” she continued, in a tone of ten- of sorrow without our previously perderness, “and we may yet be happy.” ceiving the swellings of sadness.

“ Our happiness is based, I trust," he But the reader will, I hope, desire to replied, “ on too firm a foundation to be further acquainted with the characbe affected one way or other by my ters of those to whom he has been thus conduct in this matter. I must show unceremoniously introduced, and this myself at least. I will do no more, may be a fitting opportunity to relate and in a few short hours I will return some circumstances which will be to you, and do not fear," he gaily necessary to throw light both upon added, “ that the charms of any of the the subsequent and preceding parts of proud fair ones I may meet will make the narrative ; and if these pages should me forget your own sweet witching meet the eye of any one who is borne siniles."

along by the stormy influence of passion, The gay and careless tone in which without considering what may be in the he uttered these last words met not the end thereof, and gives way to feelings wonted sympathy in the feelings of the innocent in themselves, foolishly deemyoung and once lively Julia. She felt ing that, therefore, they may not be a weight upon her heart that pressed hurtful, nor criminal in their excess, down its buoyancy. She would fain forgetful that even the vestal flame upon bave seemed cheerful, but she could not. the altar, if it burned too bright, or too With heaviness and ill concealed agi- high, might kindle a conflagration that tation, she bade M-Naghten farewell, would consume the temple itself—if I and threw herself into a chair. As she say I shall number such a one among heard the light sound of his footsteps my readers, then let him listen to, and receding from the door, a thousand ponder on the tale I will unfold. This gloomy recollections and gloomier is no narrative of fiction, framed to anticipations rushed upon her mind. minister to morbid sentimentality, or The dreadful idea started in her breast draw from it a tear. It is the awful, that she had parted with him perhaps the solemn reality of life ; and though for ever, and unable either to conquer it be now a tale of other days, and or control her weakness, she gave vent those who bore their parts in its events to the bitterness of her forebodings in be numbered with those who are an agony of tears.

long since dead, yet still its lesson is What strange and mysterious con- instructive. There are now passions Rection subsists between our destinies as strong, and feelings as violent, as and our feelings. How often does a those of which it tells—upon which the weight upon our soul, and a sinking grave has long since closed ; and if I of our spirit, precede affliction, like the could impress upon even one young sultriness of the atmosphere, which is and ardent spirit the truth that every the sure indication of the thunder storm. feeling that is uurestrained must cause The belief may be laughed at, as super- misery both to himself and others, then stitious, by the very wise people, who would I console myself in having imagine themselves above the preju- diminished, even by one small item, the dices of humanity, because they know sum of that evil, which mankind create not the enthusiasın of genius ; but yet, for themselves, by their unguarded and melancholy is not more surely or more unruly passions. frequently the follower than the har Edmond M‘Naghten was the debinger of calamity; and though often scendant of an ancient and highly it be the result of mere constitutional honored family, in the county of Andepression, and then we may mistake trim-a family whose deeds of chithe bue of our own souls for the sha- valry, in feudal times, have been made dows which coming events cast before the subject of many an ancient song, them; yet oftener, far oftener, is it the and whose representatives still rank dark reflection of some unseen misfor. high among the gentry of the North of tune-a gloom cast over our minds by Ireland. Born and reared amidst the him who is soon about to overshadow wild scenery which surrounds M‘Naghthem with a blacker cloud. Seldom ten,* his character, in some degree, are our bosoms tossed by the tempest received an impress from its unculti

Such is the name of the ancient residence of the M.Naghtens. The head of the family is distinguished by the appellation of M-Naghten of M.Naghten.

Vol. I.

2 B

vated grandeur. From his infancy, brought him much into her society, accustomed to wander among his native and even while a boy he conceived for mountains, now chasing the deer, and her a passion which grew with his now bringing down the black-grouse, growth, and strengthened with his who then abounded in the uncultivated strength. Wild and romantic in all and heathy tracts, from which the pro- his feelings, he was not likely to prove gress of cultivation has since banished a cold lover, and the object of his affecthem, he resembled closely, and that, tion was one well calculated to inspire too, in many of their best points, the the most enthusiastic attachment. Her Highland chieftains of Scotland, from figure was commanding, while in her whom he was originally descended. whole appearance grace and dignity Proud and imperious, yet generous and were combined. Her glossy black hair brave ; impatient of control, and unable flowed in luxuriant tresses upon her to brook an insult. In his character neck and shoulders, and was braided there was much of sullen and distant over her high and proud forehead, haughtiness ; even in his boyhood he whose marble whiteness was beautifully had been given to solitary meditations. contrasted with the colour of her raven

The peasants used to observe him seated locks. Her countenance possessed all for hours together on some cliff that the outlines of proportion without that overhung the sea, gazing intently on regular and unchanging symmetry the billows as they broke upon its base; which is the beauty of a statue, not of or on a moonlight night, he had been life. Her features were not cast in a known to wander under the walls and mould of faultless and exquisite perfecbattlements of his father's castle, ga- tion, but then their changes gave exzing upon the heavens until the gray pression to every emotion of her soul. light of a summer's morning would And when all that soul sent, as it begin to dim the stars, ere he would were, its vivid flashes from her dark return to rest. But M.Naghten was eyes, and the glow of animation manalmost universally beloved. He was tled her cheek, M‘Naghten thought, ready to hear, and, if possible, to redress and thought truly, she was worth ten the grievances of his inferiors. And thousand of those beauties whose feathere were none who were so popular tures defy criticism in symmetry, but among the peasantry. In those days give no indication of mind, or feeling, there was not, between the upper and or intelligence within. He loved her lower classes, that gulph fixed which in his boyhood, and in his youth his now seems too wide for any sympathy passion but increased, until it became of feeling or reciprocity of kindness to a part of his existence. pass.

A doubt 'once passed her lips of the M‘Naghten, although a member of lastingness of his fidelity, and a hint the aristocracy, and one little likely to that before they reached the age at hate any of the privileges or dignities which their friends would consent to of “his or ler," was still the favourite a marriage, the violence of his passion of the people, while, as the representa- would probably be cooled. With that tive of an ancient house, he was re- strangeness which characterised many spected by the gentry. But the reader of his actions, he brought her to a wild must form his own estimate of his cha- and lonely glen, and there, in the preracter as it unfolds itself in the pro sence of a third person, he vowed that gress of the narrative—an estimate, pro- he never would wed another. Alas ! bably, very different froin that of the he knew not, with what bitter but unwriter of these pages ; and I must con- availing tears, he should yet repent that tent myself with giving a hurried act, or what a price he would have sketch of the leading events of his life hereafter given, to recall the words down to the time, which I have that passion prompted, and blot from chosen for the commencement of my the registry of Heaven a vow which tale.

he had invested with every circumIn his boyhood, M.Naghten became stance, that could make a promise still acquainted with Margaret K

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more binding, or attach a still more daughter of a gentleman like himself, sulemn sanction to an oath. of ancient family, who resided on the A rivalry had long subsisted between banks of the Foyle, within a few miles the two families. And though the of the City of Derry. Accident young people forgot, in the ardour of

their affection, that their great grandfa- of an archangel, have lost ani carthly thers had been mortal foes—and paradise of bliss, and found a hell in though even their parents seemed well- their own bosoms through thy means ? disposed to put an end to their here Shortly after this event M-Naghten's ditary feuds, by a union between the father died, and he succeeded to the houses—still it needed but a little mat- family mansion and estates, and the ter to revive their ancient quarrels. title of M.Naghten of M.Naghten. Some slight neglect, construed into a And now we are to open a new and a premeditated insult, gave old M‘Nagh- darker page in his history and characten a pretext for complaint. A total ter ; yet, if in it we find much to censeparation soon followed, and Colonel sure and much to condemn, let us reK- in the most contemptuous member that we have much to pity and manner, forbade Edmund his house. much to forgive. It is easy, very easy He bore the insult, because it was from for those who sit in quiet, to find fault Margaret's father, and solaced himself with the conduct of those who have with the reflection that he still pos- been made the sport of the wildest sessed her affections; and if the truth whirlwind of passion. I do not mean would be told, there was mingled with to defend M Naghten-I would hold this, perhaps unknown to hiinself, the his fate, as warning beacon-light, to secret anticipation of the near approach each young and rash enthusiast in pasin the course of nature, of a time when sion; but yet, those whose inmost feelMargaret's hand would be at her own ings have been rudely torn—whose disposal ; and though bis generous soul heart's core has been probed, and could not permit him to wish for the every nerve bared and severed in the event which would crown his hopes, most excruciating refinement upon toryet those who know the dark recesses ture, will feel that this, though no exof the human heart, will readily cou cuse, is yet a palliation, and will refer fess, that in the feeling of which I to aberrations of intellect those errors, speak, M.Naghten sunk not below, al- which others might attribute as crimes, though he rose not above, the level of to the depravity of his heart. our common nature. But what was Julia De Ruthven was the youngest his disappointment-his madness, on re- of three sisters, the daughter of a wiceiving, with a cold and contemptuous dow lady, who resided near M.Nagbnote, in her own hand, all the pledges ten. Edmond had been always on of his affection, which he had ever be- terms of the closest intimacy with this stowed upon her, while, at the same family, to whom he was not very distime, he heard the rumour of her in- tantly related. To Julia, however, he tended marriage, within a few days, had always been in the habit of paying with an English nobleman. To de- marked attention, and unintentionally scribe his feelings were impossible. had won upon her affections. ller Wounded pride and disappointed love, mother, who was dazzled by the brilboth rent his bosom, and struggled for liant prospect of an alliance with the the mastery; but pride was the spirit heir of M.Naghten, did every thing to law of his nature, and the strength of encourage what she fondly termed a the feeling which was born with him, growing attachment in Edmond toprevailed over the force of that wbich wards her daughter. Nor was he, in was adventitious. Even while his heart. truth, altogether insensible to the strings were torn by the cruel wound, charms of his fair cousin, and had not he determined to appear indifferent, every feeling of his soul been long since nay, he would have given worlds at the concentrated, in adoration of the idol time to have convinced Margaret, that of his young affections, Julia De Ruthall his protestations and professions ven would have been the object of his were false, and had been meant but to later and maturer love—nay, there deceive her. He could not bear that were times, when in her society, he alshe should trample on his proferred most loved her. Often did they wanlove-he could have almost preferred der alone to the brow of some heathher hatred. O pride! thou strange covered hill, and watch together the and mysterious passion-into how growing mists of the evening rising many miseries dost thou lead us? along the valley, or gaze on the verSatan fell through thee from Paradise, million tints of sunset as they glowed and how many mortals, with the pride in the western sky, and seemed like the

bright, but fleeting visions of youthful cannot remove, it will evade. In an hope, until their whole souls even evil hour she listened to the insidious melted into softness, And at such sophistry of her lover, and believed times as these, M.Naghten felt, as the the vain delusion that marriage was lovely girl leaned upon his arm, his but a human institution, and that, breast to throb with more tender emo- therefore, if the heart were innocent, tions. But it was only for an instant, it might be dispensed with as an idle the image of his first love soon rose in ceremony.

Alas, alas, she left her his mind, as if to upbraid his momen- peaceful and her happy home, and she tary infidelity, and, with a sigb, he de entered on that dark path of sin and termined to entertain for Julia no sen- shame, the end of which is the chamtiments but those of friendship. But ber of infamy and vice. How easily it has been well remarked that friend- is our reason convinced, when our afship for a woman is ever akin to love. fections are previously engaged. She And when his early passion was fondly imagined their secret pledges blighted—when his heart was torn by of fidelity could hallow her criminal the rude rending of all the bonds that proceeding, while she forgot that were had been twine i around it—it was not this a marriage, M.Naghten's vow was strange that the feeling which had long broken, and the curse of perjury was been struggling for existence in his breast, resting on them both. should arise to solace him in the lone But we must pass over the details liness of his despair. In the haugh- of this act of insane and deluded pastiness of wounded pride, he wished to sion. Her mother's grief who saw banish Margaret for ever from his her fond hopes thus blighted for ever. thoughts, and he would fain persuade Her sister's indignation at such conhimself that affection for Júlia had duct on the part of one to whom they taken in his breast the place of a pas- had long looked up as a protector and sion which humbled him in his own a friend, but who now bad destroyed eyes. He thus taught himself to yield the peace of their once happy home. to her a portion of his heart, while he Oh these were scenes to wring the fondly imagined that he had given her heart and wake every feeling of' sosthe whole. Thus M‘Naghten believed row and indignation within the bosom, himself sincere when he poured into but many a pencil has painted in all the listening ear of the too credulous their dismal reality, the scenes that are girl, protestations of unalterable and common to every instance of seducvows of eternal affection, and had it tion ; and disguise the fact as we may not been for the frantic oath which the and as he did to his own conscience, madness of passion had formerly dic. and coloured as were his crimes by all tated, they might have been united and those hues by which passion, and happy. But on looking over the cask- sentiment, and feeling but too often et, that contained the returned gems give a false and fatal brilliancy to which he had bestowed on Margaret, vice-still in the eye of God and man he observed that she had retained but M.Naghten was a seDUCER. one, and that was a ring which he had Time rolled on, and as the first inplaced upon her finger, when he bound toxication of passion subsided in the himself never to unite himself to ano- breasts of M.Naghten and Julia, the ther. Had that been returned, he bitterness of calm and sober reflecmight have felt himself released from tion shed an almost habitual gloom, the obligation of his vow. But while over their spirits. His brow was ever that pledge remained in her possession clouded, and the wrinkles of care were a witness to his perjury, he must keep already furrowing his fine manly forehis solemn, his irrevocable oath. Julia head, and the large and filmy veins too, discovered this strange transaction, could be distinctly traced in their blue by what means we shall presently be wanderings along the sunken hollow informed, and her timid mind shrunk of his high and long temples. There from being implicated in the guilt of seemed some unusual worm gnawing perjury, or coming under the ban of at his heart. And Julia, the fond, the the imprecation, which had been so confiding Julia, she found that she lemnly invoked on her, who should could not dispel the gloom which sat share lis guilt. But love will overturn upon his countenance, and she soon the strongest obstacles, and when it discovered that despite himself, bis

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