H́nh ảnh trang

sobs to utter, My God! O my God!" At that moment the curtains of the bed made a noise; he turned round with the greatest terror: "Is there any person, said he, is there any person in that bed?" Yes, replied I, at the same time opening the curtains wide, but who are you! His tears hindered him from answering me for a considerable time; at length he became more calm. "I am, said he, the most miserable of mortals. Perhaps I ought not to tell you more; but for these many years I have not seen a human being, and the pleasure of speaking to a fellow creature opens my mouth. Fear nothing: come and sit down beside the fire. Have pity upon me; you will soften the rigour of my fate in hearing my misfortunes." The fright which his first appearance had put me in, gave place to compassion. I arose and sat down beside him; this mark of confidence gave him courage. He took hold of my hand and moistened it with his tears. "Generous man, said he, begin first by satisfying my curiosity, tell me how you came to lodge in this apartment, which has hitherto been uninhabited; what means that terrible din and unusual bustle which I heard this morning in the castle?" When I told him it was occasioned by the marriage of Vildac's daughter, he raised his hand towards heaven, " Vildac a daughter and married Just God! O make her happy! but above all allow her to be ignorant of her father's crimes. Know then, benevolent stranger who I am




[ocr errors]

You speak to the father of Vildac

the cruel Vildac.-But ought I to complain of him? Is there no one but a father to accuse him."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'What, cried I with astonishment, is Vildac your son; and does the monster imprison you here in such misery, load you with chains, and seclude you so long from the world?"

[ocr errors]

"Behold, replied he, in my sufferings, the fatal effects of self interestednefs. Feeling is an utter stranger in the hard and savage heart of my son. Insensible to the ties of kindred, he has lent a deaf ear to the cry of nature: in order to be the sooner in possession of my fortune he has loaded me with irons.


"One day he paid a visit to a neighbouring lord who had lately lost his father; he found him surrounded with his vafsals, busied in receiving rents and in granting leaThat sight had a dreadful effect upon the mind of Vildac. The thirst for receiving his patrimony had been devouring him for a long time past. I remarked at his return that he had a graver and more reserved countenance than usual. Fifteen days after, three men in masks carried me off during the night. After having stripped me of every thing, they took me into this tower. I am ignorant of what means Vildac took to publish the report of my death; but I guessed by the ringing of bells and other mournful ceremonies, that he was celebrating my funeral. The idea of this ceremony plunged me into a most profound melancholy. I in vain afked, as a fayour, to be permitted to speak with Vildac: those who brought me food, looked upon me, no doubt, as a criminal condemned to perish in this tower. I have now been here almost twenty years. I perceived, this morning, that in bringing me my morsel, they had fhut my door carelesly. I have waited till night to profit by their negligence; I do not wish to make my escape, but a few paces of more liberty is always some consideration for a prisoner."

'No, cried I, you fhall quit this unworthy mansion:" Heaven has sent me to be your deliverer :-let us depart immediately all is in silence. I fhall be your defender, your support, and your guide.'" Ah, said he to me, after

a moment's reflection, this kind of solitude has much altered my principles and my ideas. I have long ago resigned myself to my fate; why fhould I then quit this pear cul abode, to expose myself again to the vicissitudes of the world?-My lot is cast: I fhall die here."

'Are you dreaming, replied I: come, we have not a moment to lose; the night is advancing.'

"Your zeal moves me but I have only a few days to live; and liberty gives me but little temptation. Why fhould I go to enjoy it only for a few days, and dishonour my son all the rest of his life, which may otherwise be long and prosperous ?" 'He has difhonoured himself.' "Ah! what has his young daughter done? that young innocent is now in the arms of her spouse, I fhould cover both with disgrace, and render the remainder of their lives miserable; Ah, if fate but permitted me to see her, to fold her in my arms, and to bathe her with my tears!— But I am talking to no purpose. I never fhall see her! Adieu :--the day begins to break, we shall be heard, therefore I will return to my prison." 'No, said I,

taking hold of his arm, I will never suffer you to depart ; long confinement has weakened your spirits



is my duty to give you courage, and lend you afsistance. We will endeavour to conceal who you are in the interim my house, name, and fortune are at your service; but first let us secure liberty. The world will be ignorant who you are; and the crime of Vildac may be concealed; therefore what have you to fear?' thing, I am affected with gratitude :--I admire your benevolent disposition; yet all your entreaties are in vain,--I cannot follow your advice." 'Well, if you rather choose that I fhould leave you here, and go to the governor of the province, I will lay before him your

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

whole story, come with an armed force and retrieve you from the hands of your barbarous and unnatural son.'

"Take care that you do not reveal my secret, allow a wretch to die here who is unworthy of seeing the day light;-I once committed a crime which just heaven has ordained that I fhould expiate; the most horrid, most inhuman deed. Turn your eyes towards that door, and behold upon the wainscoat and upon the wall, faint traces of blood. That blood was once my father's; you see before you his afsafsin. Like Vildac my ungovernable ambition overcame me. gination still paints him before my eyes there he stretched out his bloody arms towards me; he wished to stop my polluted hands; he falls, oh frightful image, oh despair."

Ah, my ima

At the same time the old man fell down upon the ground, tore his hair, and was in dreadful convulsions; I saw he dared not to look me in the face; I remained motionless for a while. After some moments of silence we thought we heard a noise. The day began to break; he arose. You are penetrated with horror, said he, adieu. I fhall go up to the tower, from whence I shall never more return." I remained for a while mute and motionlefs every thing I had seen and heard in this castle imprefsed my mind with horror therefore the sooner I left it the better. I am preparing to go and stay in another of my estates, for I can neither see Vildac nor live near him. O, my friend, how is it possible that the human race can produce such unnatural mons


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This adventure happened in Provence ginning of this century; before it was found necefsary to disguise the names.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

towards the beprinted it was

As many young gentlemen are just now about to sail for India, the following directions are inserted at this time.

A MEMORANDUM given by Dr Walker, professor of natural history, Edinburgh, to a young gentleman going to India, with some additions.

1: To be provided with a good Farenheit's thermometer, inclosed in a glass tube, that can be laid in water, for taking the heat of the sea in different latitudes, and especially for taking the heat of springs in India wherever you can meet with them.

2. To be careful to pick up at sea, all sea weeds and marine animals that come within reach of the ship, and to dry and preserve them in paper or otherwise.

3. To be attentive to all birds that are to be seen from the ship; to mark the English or other names by which they are known among the sailors, and the latitudes where they first appear and disappear.

4. To keep a regular journal from day to day, including the above, and all other observations in natural history that may occur,-particularly any remarkable appearances in the weather, respecting the winds, rains, thunder and lightning, calms, tornadoes, whirlwinds, or waterspouts.

5. To notice the alterations in the colour of the sea, and if possible the causes from whence they proceed; especially the colour proceeding from minute animals, with a description of these animals.

• 6. On approaching the Cape of Good Hope, the Cape pigeons, or pintado birds, are numerous it would be worth while, if opportunity offers, to preserve one or two of them by stuffing their fkins, and to mark at what di

« TrướcTiếp tục »