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took no part in their gayety. At length the winter was gone ; the trees put forth their leaves ; the swallow began to build in the eaves of the house, and the robin and wren piped all day beneath the window. Annette's spirits gradually revived. She began to deck her person with unusual care, and bringing forth a basket of artificial flowers, she went to work to wreathe a bridal chaplet of white roses. Her companions asked her why she prepared the chaplet. “ What !” said she with a sinile, “ have you not noticed the trees putting on their wedding dresses of blossoms; has not the swallow flown back over the sea; do you not know that the time is come for Eugene to return, that he will be home to-morrow, and that on Sunday we are to be married ?”
• Her words were reported to the physician, and he seized on them at once.
He directed that her idea should be encouraged and acted upon. Her words were echoed through the house. Every one talked of the return of Eugene as a matter of course ; they congratulated her upon her approaching happiness, and assisted her in her preparations. The next morning the same theme was resumed. She was dressed out to receive her lover. Every bosom fluttered with anxiety. A cabriolet drove into the village. "Eugene is coming," was the cry. She saw him alight at the door, and rushed, with a shriek, into his arms.
* Her friends trembled for the result of this critical experiment; but she did not sink under it, for her fancy had prepared her for his return. She was as one in a dream, to whom a tide of unlooked for prosperity, that would have overwhelmed his waking reason, seems but the natural current of circumstances. Her conversa tion, however, showed that her senses were wandering. There was an absolute forgetfulness of all past sorrow; a wild and feverish gayety that at times was incoherent.
- The next morning she awoke languid and exhausted. All the occurrences of the preceding day had passed away from her mind as though they had been the mere illusions of her fancy. She rose melancholy and abstracted, and as she dressed herself was heard to sing one of her plaintive ballads. When she entered the parlor her eyes were swoln with weeping. She heard Eugene's voice without, and started. She passed her hand across her forehead, and stood musing, like one endeavoring to recall a dream. Eugene entered the room, and advanced towards her; she looked at him with an eager, searching look, murmured some indistinct words, and, before he could reach her, sunk upon the floor.
She relapsed into a wild and unsettled state of mind, but now that the first shock was over, the physician ordered that Eugene should keep constantly in her sight. Sometimes she did not know him; at other times she would talk to him as if he were going to sea, and would implore him not to part from her in anger; and
when he was not present she would speak of him as buried in the ocean, and would sit, with clasped hands, looking upon the ground, the picture of despair.
*As the agitation of her feelings subsided, and her frame recovered from the shock which it had received, she became more placid and coherent. Eugene kept almost continually near her. He formed the real object, round which her scattered ideas once more gathered, and which linked them once more with the realities of life. But her changeful disorder now appeared to take a new turn. She became languid and inert, and would sit for hours silent and almost in a state of lethargy. If roused from this stupor, it seemed as if her mind would make some attempts to follow up a train of thought, but soon became confused. She would regard every one that approached her with an anxious and inquiring eye, that seemed continually to disappoint itself. Sometimes as her lover sat holding her hand she would look pensively in his face without saying a word, until his heart was overcome; and after these transient fits of intellectual exertion she would sink again into lethargy.
By degrees this stupor increased; her mind appeared to have subsided into a stagnant and almost deathlike calm. For the greater part of the time her eyes were closed ; her face almost as fixed and passionless as that of a corpse. She no longer took any notice of surrounding objects. There was an awfulness in this tranquillity that filled her friends with apprehension. The physician ordered that she should be kept perfectly quiet; or that if she evinced any agitation, she should be gently lulled, like a child, by some favorite tune.
She remained in this state for hours, hardly seeming to breathe, and apparently sinking into the sleep of death. Her chamber was profoundly still. The attendants moved about it with noiseless tread; every thing was communicated by signs and whispers. Her lover sat by her side, watching her with painful anxiety, and fearing that every breath which stole from her pale lips would be the last.
* At length she heaved a deep sigh; and from some convulsive motions appeared to be troubled in her sleep. Her agitation increased, accompanied by an indistinct moaning. One of her companions, remembering the physician's instructions, endeavored to lull her, by singing in a low voice a tender little air, which was a particular favorite of Annette's. Probably it had some connexion in her mind with her story; for every fond girl has some ditty of the kind linked in her thoughts with sweet and sad remembrances.
* As she sang, the agitation of Annette subsided. A streak of faint color came into her cheeks; he eyelids became swoln with rising tears, which trembled there for a moment, and then, stealgene?"
ing forth, coursed down her pallid cheek. When the song was ended, she opened her eyes and looked about her as one awaking in a strange place
"“O Eugene ! Eugene !” said she, “it seems as if I have had a long and dismal dream. What has happened, and what has been the matter with me?"
• The questions were embarrassing ; and before they could be answered, the physician, who was in the next room, entered ; she took him by the hand, looked up in his face, and made the same inquiryHe endeavored to put her off with some evasive answer. " NO! No!" cried she, “I know I've been ill, and I have been dreaming strangely. I thought Eugene had left us; and that he had gone to sea—and that—and that he was drowned !-But he has been to sea!” added she, earnestly, as recollection kept flashing upon her, “and he has been wrecked-and we were all so wretched—and he came home again one bright morning and oh !” said she, pressing her hand against her forehead with a sickly smile, “I see how it is; all has not been right here. I begin to recollect—but it is all past now—Eugene is here! and his mother is happy--and we shall never, never part again-shall we, Eu
She sunk back in her chair exhausted. The tears streamed down her cheeks. Her companions hovered round her, not knowing what to make of this sudden dawn of reason. Her lover sobbed aloud. She opened her eyes again, and looked upon them with an air of the sweetest acknowledgment. “You are all so good to me !” said she faintly.
• The physician drew the father aside. “Your daughter's mind is restored," said he, “she is sensible that she has been deranged; she is growing conscious of the past, and conscious of the present. All that now remains is to keep her calm and quiet until her health is re-established, and then let her be married, in God's name !"
““ The wedding took place," said the good priest, “but a short time since; they were here at the last fête during their honey moon, and a handsomer and happier couple was not to be seen as they danced under yonder trees. The young man, his wife, and mother now live on a fine farm at Pont \'Eveque ; and that model of a ship which you see yonder, with white flowers wreathed round it, is Annette's offering of thanks to our Lady of Grace, for having listened to her prayers. and protected her lover in the hour of peril.” ,
But we are unconsciously drawing our article beyond its limits, and that perhaps without having done fair justice to the work. We have not quoted any of those portions, which belong to the main series of sketches of English life and manners,
and with which the stories we have alluded to have only a sort of episodical connexion. Many of them are singularly felicitous and pleasant, and replete with that half suppressed irony and gentle wit, which form the charm of a considerable portion of the Spectator. At the same time, we must add, that some of the pieces are but a kind of travesty. Such chapters as that on Hawking bear about the same relation to any thing in real life at any period of history, as the battle of the frogs and mice to the Iliad. They are certainly a mere farce, pleasant enough to be sure, but not the pleasantry of any set of humorists that ever existed in reality.
That we may clear our consciences of all the fault we have to find at once, we must profess our weariness of most of the quotations at the heads of the chapters, taken from writers very ingenious it may be, and of high repute with those who, like worthy Thomas Hearne, ‘learn whatever time forgets, but now exceedingly obsolete. There is a sort of reason of the thing which has allowed these authors to pass into forgetfulness, and as the series of years accumulates, each with its burden of books, it is wisely ordered that one after another of the older writers should sink away, leaving none but the immortal standards. As you skim along the shore, your eye is arrested and delighted with the hundred little hamlets that line it; but as you are borne off to the sea, they drop into obscurity, one after one is lost in the distance, and nothing but the great mountains and eternal landmarks remains for the eye to rest on. In an age, when, as has been finely said by a worthy colleague, good books are multiplied so rapidly, that all reading must be given up in despair, we hold it out of reason and taste to ransack the neglected shelves of the beaux esprits and gentle wits of Charles and James, and worry us with quotations from authors, we have no heart to set about reading.
We beg leave to make a remark on the price of the American copies of Bracebridge, which we have heard complained of for its extravagance. For ourselves, we rejoice that the publisher has ventured to sell it a price, without which, it is impossible that he can afford the author any thing for his pains. It is beyond all question, that the proximate cause of the languishing state of our literature is, that it is poorly paid. Men have somehow or other contracted a passion for keeping soul and body together; and where they cannot live by a
thing, they are seldom willing to starve by it. We suppose indeed that the mass of authors is as poorly paid in England as here. Human charity cannot go the length, in any country, of giving a great deal for most of the dull or trashy stuff, the learned or simple folly, that is scattered by the press.
But those who write very well are paid very well, and the noble prize glitters in the mental sight of the whole tribe : few only can gain it, but all strive for it. Mr. Irving wrote better in America than in England, and in our measure we believe was well remunerated. But we are sorry to say that a man may stand high in the comparative degree among us, in this respect, and yet come shabbily off in the positive, and this we believe was the case of our ingenious countryman.
Report speaks goldenly of his success abroad. It is a singular but certain principle that the price and reputation of a thing react upon each other; and when an author has been liberally paid, he is liberally praised, because the public would show that it has made a good bargain, and got its money's worth. Besides this, we should be glad to know what merit better deserves encouragement and what labor is better entitled to reward, than that which is purely intellectual. This one, who claims only to be a prudent adviser in matters of the law, and that one, who has his books kept by an accurate clerk, can turn his hours and his attention to an account of princely profit. Shall there be no lucrative market for wit and taste and learning, and for all that adorns our natures ?
To conclude, we should not have spoken so freely of the work before us, had we not thought it in the author's power to write a better one. We know that some, over fond of metaphysical principles, deny the justice of these comparisons or the fairness of weighing one sort of writing against another, and bringing all to certain standard principles. Few men, however, hold this doctrine, but from a misgiving that their own works will not bear the test. No book can be pronounced good till it is also known what would be bad, and what indifferent. All judgment of merit is comparative; and no writer can be said to have done well, who has not done what became him in his place and condition. But though we cannot allow that Mr Irving has done all that ought to have been expected from the pen of an American in England, we have much to admire and praise, in his works. Besides the episodical tales, he has given us admirable sketches of life and manners,