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DEVOTED TO POLITE LITERATURE, SUCH AS MORAL AND SENTIMENTAL TALES, BIOGRAPHY, TRAVELING SKETCHES, POETRY, AMUSING MISCELLANY, ANECDOTES, &c. HUDSON, N. Y. SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 1833.
VOL. X.-1. NEW SERIES.]
For the Rural Repository. The Effects of Irresolution. How diverse are the spirits of men! pos sessing the same elements of character, passion, affection and thought, the human family exhibits a moral and mental variety which nature does not surpass in all the wonderful diversity of her physical operations. To say nothing of the different degrees of intellectual eleration among men, may not one broad line separate the race into two distinct classes, the strong and the weak? Does not the record of history, government, society, and our own observation, concur in an affirmative answer to this question? And what is this strength, and what this weakness? The former cannot be perspicuity of mental vision, or etherial genius; the latter is not dulls of conception or flagging faculties; for, with the former, an ordinary mind is often-times united, and with the latter, a superior intellect is as often joined. But this strength is strength of purpose, looking steadily at its object and pushing perseveringly after it; resolution, that never pauses on its course, though Pleasure sing like a syren from the groves about its path, though Fancy seek to envelope its prospects in obscurity and sorrow, and paint other scenes with the hues of Paradise; but unquailing at opposition and never disheartened at disappointment, fords every river, scales every precipice, gives battle to every foe, until its end is accomplished and victory smiles upon its exertions. This, this is strength, not of collossal body, or arm, or muscle, but of moral power, that will command reputation, and wealth, and friends and influence, that will increase as the body wears out and is dilapidated, and disrobe the grave of its drapery of terror. It will be my business in the following tale to narrate an effect of the weakness to which I have alluded, of Irresolution. I shall not attempt to count its consequences, the high hopes it has quenched, the budding wreaths it has blasted, anticipations foiled, reverses bitter and unexpected, and frustrated plans, but, resting with the remark, that the
counterpart of my principal personage is no|| esteemed an ample compensation for his com-
Years fled away, and ere Julius ripened into manhood, he held an honorable station in the naval service of his country. It may well be supposed that with his personal attractions and faculties of pleasing, a female heart would not be irresistibly obstinate to his addresses. He saw and became acquainted with Elvira Davenport. She was accomplished, beautiful, wealthy, and an only daughter. There was a fascination in her glance, a sweetness in her voice, and an expressive color in her cheek that had subdued less susceptible hearts than that of our hero. No wonder then that as he glided with her through the exciting dance, or leaned breathlessly over her piano-forte, or listened to her captivating conversation, his bosom yielded to the potent enchantment of love. Nor did Elvira coldly return his passion, and but a short time elapsed, ere their troth was plighted, and the expiration of the war, in which the country was then engaged, fixed upon as the period for the consummation of their happiness.
Julius De Forrest was the only son of an officer, in the army, which achieved our national independence. In early youth, he exhibited indications of intellectual superiority, which the subsequent developement of his mind did not fail to realize. A vigorous and fertile fancy, with wit of a high polish, and ready conversational habits, made him a valuable acquisition to the social circle, and a source of pleasure to all who knew him. Wit and fancy, however, though they may gain friends, enliven a drawing room, and add interest to an essay or a speech, are not the safest leaders to happiness and success; and young De Forrest, as he became older, discovered that these brilliant qualities, unteinpered by judgment and unrestrained by prudence, are more likely to hurry an ardent and emulous youth into acts of indiscretion, and divert him from the path to eminence, than guide him to the summit of his honorable ambition. And probably the strength of this impression would Lovers and friends must part, and an order have been ultimately beneficial, if all its influ- came from the General Government, for the ence, had not been undermined by a secret departure of the ship, to which De Forrest and partly constitutional irresolution, that was attached. Many were the tears shed, having acquired the assistance of habit, was many were the protestations of eternal fidelity, already forging chains of iron for its captive. long and sweet was the embrace that preceded His complaisance to friends led him to a their separation. A distant voyage, and the perfect concurrence with all their opinions, animation of several successful encounters until he could not arouse sufficient courage to with the enemy's vessels, did not diminish the differ from any of his companions, but blindly fullness of De Forrest's affection. To him, coincided with their sentinients, however at Elvira was the model of moral, mental and variance with his own belief. Thus, his judg-personal perfection, and all other women posment became crippled, and subservience to the sessed, in his estimation, no charms of heart, will, and convenience of others, controlled or mind, or feature. So that when the ship his conduct. And though in retirement, anchored in the port of - he abstained from a consciousness of the fact would often tinge the gaiety of his fellow officers, and when he his cheek with the hue of shame, and throw a visited the shore, rambled abstractedly through momentary flash of determination into his the suburbs of the town and the adjoining mind, yet the return of society lulled him upon fields, thinking of nothing and of no one, but the sluggish stream of irresolution, and he would of her to whom his heart had been given. It float on its tide, carelessly as before. The was on one of these occasions that a circumtribute of adulation, his talents constantly stance occurred, which I shall relate, as received from associates and acquaintances, important in its influence upon his character silenced the remonstrances of pride, and were and destiny. Passing slowly by a river that
to the hand that stirs them into music, and
Reader, can I paint to thee the agony that
Yes, it was even so. The fickle youth had once more heard the voice of his first betrothed, and he dared not encounter the anger, or make the sacrifice, which would follow the revelation of his unfaithfulness.
greatly to the splendor of the scene. inquisitive spectator might have observed, among the collection of naval officers, one who seemed the only melancholy personage of the manly group, with whom he marched. His firm and graceful figure advanced not with its usual elasticity, a hot flush was upon his cheek, and the cap, almost slouched over his forehead, concealed his piercing, but downcast eyes. It was De Forrest. Conscience was thundering at his soul with a voice that drowned the reverberations of the cannon. The martial music, that sent its inspiring melody into every heart, fell upon leaden ears; he saw nothing, he heard nothing, he thought of nothing, but his perfidious conduct.
washed the borders of the town, a startling, shriek fell upon his ear, and suddenly looking up, he beheld a pleasure boat capsized, and two or three persons clinging to its keel. With the quickness of thought, he sprang to their assistance, and by the aid of numbers who flocked immediately to the spot, extricated them from their dangerous condition. The person whom his individual efforts rescued from destruction, was a young and almost lifeless female. As he committed her to the hands of others, and her long dark hair fell over her pallid features and swan like neck, for the first time since his acquaintance with Elvira Davenport, her image forsook his memory. This incident was not easily forgotten, and the girlish countenance of his new acThe day passed, and ere sunset, De Forrest quaintance visited all his dreams. The separated himself from the hilarity of the following day he called at her dwelling. The scene, and wandered with absent mind, toward artless expressions of her gratitude, the Months passed on golden pinions, until the harbor. His sword trailed carelessly, and undisguised kindness of her pensive glance, Julius once more took leave for a brief with a clanging noise over the pavements. and the youthful face and movements of one absence. Several of the Government vessels, Cursed, cursed irresolution,' he murmured, whom Julius thought surpassed not only all were quartered off the village of where De why could I not summon courage to avoid he had witnessed, but all he had conceived of Forrest had formed his intimacy with Augusta. the sorrow I must have caused one, whom I beauty, enchanted his own volatile mind. There was to be a celebration of another anni-sincerely loved. I have stood unmoved in Morning and evening he was constantly in her versary of independence, and the military in the battle, and yet, and yet-I durst not tell her society, and this young and lovely being, vicinity, with the naval force in the harbor, had I was engaged to another, or restrain my introduced to him as her preserver from made arrangements for combined operation, growing admiration; or, in the failure of death, loved him with an ardor and devoted- and a mutual participation in the ceremonies this, inform Elvira, my love for her had ness, that her heart had never before expe- and festivities of the day. If it had been possi-ceased.' As these thoughts occupied his rienced. Julius knew that he was treading ble, Julius would have avoided all share in the mind, he looked inquiringly upward, and on fearful ground, he recollected his solemn contemplated display, for, though he had heard discovered that he was passing the residence engagement to another, and yet, his habitual nothing of Augusta since his departure, he of Mrs. Graham. Quickly as he withdrew his and confirmed Irresoluteness prevented him dreaded meeting her eye, or witnessing the gaze, he perceived sitting near the opened from avoiding a new attachment, or disclosing coldness his infidelity must have occasioned. casement, a countenance that appeared fathe facts ere that attachment had ripened into But, as the ship, to which he was attached lay miliar. It was not, it could not be Augusta. intimacy. The circumstances of Augusta's in the port, and his assistance had been Once more he looked with unrestrained curisituation attracted his finest feelings. She expected, he reluctantly advanced to his desti-osity. The eye was certainly Augusta's, but was a widow's daughter, and her father had nation, and joined the party of officers, who the face, pale, drooping, and the thin, white perished for the flag under which it was De proceeded to the shore. The weather was Forrest's glory to sail. Scarcely seventeen exceedingly fine and well adapted to the summers had expanded the roses upon her occasion. A few fleecy clouds veiled the cheek, and matured the fairy form, his arm had meridian brightness of the sun, and formed rescued from the wave. Of delicate sensibili- an agreeable protection from the otherwise opties and cultivated taste, she had grown up like pressive heat. A slight wind rustled the thick, a tender and beautiful flower in that remote green foliage of the trees, and distilled delivillage, and her earliest, warmest love was cious odors from garden, and field, and forest. given to him, who vowed to be hers, and Nature was clothed in ber holiday attire, as if promised faithfulness for ever. Yes, gentle appareled for the gala. The inhabitants were reader, the evening before Julius De Forrest animated with general joy, and thronged the left the port of - and by the light of the windows, doors, and side walks, to witness vestal moon, his hand was engaged to Augusta|| and assist the fete. War, with its heavy curtain Graham, and he had assured her that he would of horror, had withdrawn. The gates of soon return, and make her his own, his dear-commercial enterprise were once more open, loved bride. Now, with De Forrest, there was no calculating villany in this; it was the result of Irresolution; he dared not repress his passion or terminate his intercourse with the object of his idolatry; he had forgotten Elvira, and now really loved Augusta, and really meant to make her his wedded wife.
But though man may forget, and trifle with affection, woman does not; she cannot. The delicate strings of her spirit are ever responsive
and the national banner had been upheld with
hand, partly lost in a profusion of dark curls, as it supported her head,-no; it could not be Augusta. At that moment the gaze of the hitherto unobserving female met his, there was one intense glance, in which the spirit seemed to come forth, and then, a shriek, wild, full of surprise, of agony
The summer sun was approaching the western horizon, when a funeral procession entered the grave-yard of Reader, among that procession, were stout hearted men, but no eye was unwet. And when, as they surrounded a newly opened grave, the solemn voice of the man of God uttered in broken accents, 'Dust to dust,' loud sobbings broke forth on every side, and every head was bent in grief. Slowly, sadly they departed, and left the dews of evening to fall upon the resting place, of a young, and broken hearted girl.
De Forrest, but I will not rake him from the ashes of dissolution to add poignancy to his bitter punishment. Thoughtless, wavering youth! may the result of thy conduct prove a
beacon to all who know thy history, while it adds one to that black catalogue of evils, The Effects of Irresolution.
BY MRS. OPIE. [The following pages record a remarkable circumstance
which occurred a few years ago in some part of France; but, as I made no memorandum of it at the time, I have forgotten the when and the where; nor can I recollect the
names of the persons concerned. All I can vouch for is, that the outline of the story, and the leading events, are perfectly true.]
In a small village in, as I believe, the south of France, lived an elderly lady, who was supposed to be rich, though her style of living was rather penurious. But as her charities were many, and she denied no one but herself, she was regarded with affectionate respect; and was particularly commended when she took into her house a young girl, whom I shall call Rosalie, the daughter of humble, but of very estimable parents.
Rosalie's childhood was happy; and so might her youth have been, had she not lost one of the best of mothers when she was only twelve years old: a mother who, having had rather a superior education, sedulously endeavored to impart her knowledge to her daughter. Rosalie's father, for some years after the death of his wife, seemed to think his child sufficient for his happiness; but at length he married again; and, in his second choice, he gave to himself and his daughter a domestic tyrant. Poor Rosalie toiled all the day, and sometimes half the night, to please her task-mistress, who, as soon as she had a child, insisted that her husband's daughter should be its nurse, and do the chief part of the household work besides.
woman consented to give up Rosalie, and the|| had missed her every day, and that he loved dear pleasure of tormenting her. It was a great her dearly. Certain it is, that, lost in agreetrial to Rosalie and to her father to be sepa-able thought, she stood looking at herself in a rated; he, however, was consoled by the belief glass far longer than she had ever done before; that his ill-fated child would be happier away and, in the intoxication of her vanity, newly from home; but she had no such comfort. awakened by the praises which she had overOn the contrary, she feared that her too yield- heard, she exclaimed aloud, as she drew off ing parent would miss her ready duty and her gown, Oh, le joli bras! Oh, le joli bras !' filial fondness. Still, as her health was be- (Oh the pretty arm!) and she prepared for ginning to suffer for want of sufficient rest, she bed that night vain and conscious of her perfelt the necessity of the removal, and was sonal beauty. But her heart soon reproached deeply thankful to her benefactress. As the her for having given way to a mean, unworthy old lady had only one female servant, Rosalie || pride; and she said to herself, Well, if wedbecame her waiting-maid as well as amanuen- dings and entertainments always turn heads sis; and the gardener, a married man, who did as these have turned mine, I hope I shall never not live in the house, officiated sometimes as go to another: but then' she modestly added, her footman. The chief part of her fortune perhaps I am weaker than other girls! Howwas settled on a nephew and niece who lived ever, prayer relieved the burdened heart of at a distance; but she informed Rosalie and the young and humble penitent, and she soon her friends, that she had left her in her will a sunk into the deep unconscious slumbers of comfortable independence. Her motive for healthy innocence. Alas! to what overmentioning this bequest was, probably, the whelming agony did she awake! Having risen, suspicion which she was known to entertain, spite of her fatigue, at the usual time, she was that a young man in the village, of a higher|| quitting the room with as light a step as she rank than Rosalie, beheld her with admiration; entered it, looking back to be certain that she and she hoped that his parents might not object had not disturbed the old lady, when she saw to the marriage, should a mutual attachment that the curtains of her bed were turned back, take place, if they knew that she had provided that the bell-rope was tied up, and, on apfor her protege. The poor girl herself was too||proaching nearer, she found that something humble to suspect that any one admired her. was drawn quite close round the neck of her She only knew that Auguste St. Beuve, who benefactress; and that, while she slept, probawas a general favorite, spoke to her with great bly, some murderous hand had deprived her of kindness, and that he sometimes stopped to life! At first she stood motionless, paralyzed converse with her when he met her on the with horror, but was restored only too soon to a road. But there is reason to believe she had sense of feeling. She rent the air with her overheard him pass some encomiums on her shrieks! The gardener, who was already at person on the memorable evening when they work, immediately rushed into the room, folmet at her cousin's wedding-the only festival lowed by the other servant; and they were as she had ever been permitted to attend-and distracted as she was when they found what that she had remembered and repeated these had happened. In a short time the room was praises at a moment, which, as it afterwards ap- filled with many who mourned, more who peared, was big with her future fate. Rosalie wondered, and some who began to suspect left those nuptial festivities at no late hour, yet and accuse. Who had done the cruel deed? long after the gardener had gone home. The Who had a motive to do it?' The first thing Happily, Rosalie's mother had been enabled other servant, who was always deaf, and who was to ascertain if she was quite dead; and to instil into her mind the duty of entire sub- then was more than usually sleepy, let her in, they proved she had been dead some hours. mission to the divine will; she, therefore, bore and immediately went to her own bed; while The next duty was to see whether she had her hard lot with cheerful resignation. But, Rosalie, who slept in the old lady's apartment, been robbed ; and it was discovered that her however little her harsh and unkind step-mo- || undressed in the sitting-room adjoining, for pockets had been turned inside out, and some ther appreciated her worth, Rosalie was beheld old plate had been removed from a closet by the whole neighborhood with affectionate below. There was no trace of any footstep in pity and esteem, except, perhaps, by those the garden, but the window of the lower room mothers who were mortified to hear her called was open. the prettiest as well as the best girl in the village; yet even they were forced to own she was pious and dutiful; though certainly they could not think her a beauty;' and every one was pleased when the old lady, before men tioned, offered to take her as a companion.At first, the step-mother declared she could not afford to lose her services; but, on the kind friend's promising to pay all the expense of a servant in her place, and on her giving handsome presents to the children, the selfish
As child succeeded to child, Rosalie's fatigues increased every year; and if her father ventured to repay her patient industry by an affectionate caress, his wife desired him not to spoil still more, by his foolish fondness, a girl whom he had sufficiently spoiled already.
fear of disturbing her. Never had the poor
Doubtless she had died by strangulation; but was it possible that Rosalie had heard no noise, no struggles? And she was strictly interrogated; but her eye was wild, and her senses so disordered, she seemed incapable of understanding the questions put to her. There were some persons present who believed that this was consummate acting: and when, on being asked if she knew what the old lady had in her pocket, she said, 'Yes;' and taking her murdered friend's purse out of her own
pocket, exclaimed, 'Here, take it, take it!' it
poor girl was frequently repeating to herself,
saw her, and that rushing into those arms it. And she persevered in her delicate and which vainly endeavored not to close on her, well-meant refusal, till her father, instigated by she exclaimed, in a tone which truth alone can his wife, commanded her to accept the money; give, Father, I am innocent, quite innocent!' then she complied, and not reluctantly, when he pressed the poor sufferer to his bosom she found that, on condition of her paying for again and again, saying, in a voice suffocated her board, she would be again received into with emotion, I believe thee! I believe thee!' his house. Once more, therefore, she was from that moment Rosalie's health revived. under her father's roof; and she tried to bear, However, he visited her no more, as he was in the pleasure of being near him, and still again worried into an acknowledgment that it beloved by him, the increased persecutions was just possible she might be implicated in the which she had now to undergo. Her tyrant black deed, though he could not conceive how; was continually telling her that she still bebut the reason of his absence was concealed lieved her to be the murderer's accomplice ; from her, lest she should have a relapse. at least, therefore, she could not do too much to show her gratitude for being admitted under the roof of a respectable person; and there were times when Rosalie had reason to believe her father was persuaded to be of his wife's opinion. She had, also, the misery of finding herself sometimes shunned by those who had once professed a friendship for her. Auguste Her trial had been delayed, in order to give St. Beuve no longer stopped to talk with her time to discover the plate and pocket-book, when they met; and it was evident that, till it and also to find out who, amongst the young should please heaven to bring the real murmen in the village, were the most intimate derer to justice, a stain would always rest on associates of Rosalie. Accordingly, the strict- her character: At length, her daily trials, est inquiries were instituted; but the virtuous spite of her trust in providence, deprived her and modest girl had no associates whatever of of strength sufficient to labor as usual; and the other sex; and though one young man she had soon the added misery of being told visited her in prison, it was believed he had no || by her brothers and sisters, of whom she was previous intimacy with her. Auguste St. very fond, that their mother said she was a The gardener and the other servant had Beuve was the only one who had ever paid her || very wicked woman, and they ought not to love both been examined; but he was able to prove any attention, and his situation in life placed her. It was at the foot of the cross that an alibi, and there was no reason to suspect him above suspicion. At length, after she had Rosalie sought refuge on these occasions, and the deaf woman. It was some time before been for many days persecuted by the en- there she found it!—there she found power to Rosalie entirely recovered the use of her treaties of her priest and others, that she would bear her trials without murmuring, though she reason; and she almost lost it again when she confess, the hour for her appearance at the could not conquer the increasing debility recollected where she was, and why she was awful bar arrived; and she stood there unsup- which anxiety of mind and over fatigue had there. But Rosalie now felt the advantage of ported by any earthly aid, save that of con- brought upon her. She had, meanwhile, one being habitually pious: for, knowing in whom scious innocence. The trial was long-the solace dear to her heart-that of visiting the to trust, she was at length able to look her examination severe-and the circumstances grave of her mother and of her friend, of accusers in the face with calmness and resig-were deemed strong against her. To every decorating them with funeral wreaths, and of nation. To her solemn assurances that she question, she answered in a modest, humble, || weeding, with pious hand, the flowers which was innocent, the reply was: 'Then if you but firm manner; and whether it was that her she had there planted. As her health was now did not commit the murder, who did?" I youth, her beauty, and gentle graces, prepos- evidently too delicate to perform her wonted neither know nor suspect,' she answered; and sessed her judges in her favor, or whether the tasks, her step-mother insisted on being paid I could have no motive to commit it, for to||legal proof was not sufficient, she was, at the more for her board ; and she would soon have whom was my poor friend's life of such conse- end of some painful hours, unanimously ac- left her pennyless, but for the following cirquence as to me?' Nay, nay, you knew she quitted, and instantly discharged. Alas! the cumstance :-One young man, as I have had provided handsomely for you in her will.' delight of being declared innocent was damped related above, and one only, had visited her in I had forgotten that,' she exclaimed. Oh! to poor Rosalie, by the fear that she should prison; led thither, for he was not acquainted my best, my only friend!' and she sobbed not be permitted to find shelter under her with her, merely by the generous wish to prove with renewed agony. parent's roof. Avarice, however, did for her his entire belief in her innocence. This what justice should have done. The heir of young man left the village suddenly, soon her poor friend, convinced of Rosalie's inno- after Rosalie's acquittal took place, after cence, and pitying her sufferings, offered to having, for some time, appeared disturbed in pay her immediately the legacy which his aunt mind. A few weeks subsequent to his departhad left her; but the sensitive girl shrunk from ure, he informed his relations that he should accepting it. She was suspected of having return no more, having left France for America. committed, or concerted the murder of her It was instantly reported and believed that he benefactress, in order to hasten her possession and Rosalie had secretly been lovers and acof the sum in question. She, therefore, posi-complices in the murder; that when she had retively refused to run the risk of confirming ceived her legacy she had refused to marry him; any one in the belief of her guilt by receiving and that he had gone away in order to conquer
A further trial awaited Rosalie. She expected that her step-mother would believe her guilty; but she was not prepared to hear that her father refused to see her-he who, but a few hours before, had said he loved her so tenderly and her health sunk under this blow. But, as the surgeon said her life was in danger, he went to the prison, though reluctantly, as his wife had tormented him into believing, or admitting, that Rosalie might, possibly, be privy to the murder; still, the moment that he