Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

"He is innocent, dear uncle, I am sure he Fletcher," for the first time perceiving her, is innocent!" and the unhappy girl stood, this is an unexpected pleasure; I had pale as death, before the group.

hoped to have spent the next few hours “Agnes, my niece! what means this ?”

more agreeably, but" - glancing at her exclaimed her uncle.

changing countenance, and misinterpreting “Wait but a few days—a few hours, be- its expression--"I hope we shall not be fore you pronounce his doom. Think-oh! obliged to remain long in the saddle ; it think, how many an innocent person has will not be much trouble to scatter this unsuffered from misconstruction !" She would disciplined array. But who have we here ?" have gone on to say that it was in her This question was addressed to General brother's power to clear the accused, but Howe, but his eye was fixed upon Louis, the fear of making matters worse, instead of who stood, with arms folded, in silence, better, deterred her. She stopped, gazed sometimes glancing at the officers present, wildly a moment on the inquiring faces and at the pale countenance of his beloved, before her, and would have fallen to the but oftener at a cloud of dust approaching floor, had not Louis sprang forward, and nearer and nearer, and perchance heralding caught her in his arms.

his release from captivity and death. The sound of horses' feet arrested the Colonel Williams explained the causes of attention of the officers. The door was the arrest of Bradford, but, on referring to opened in haste, and Captain Chester, heated the letter, Chester started and drew from with long travel, and apparently fresh from his poeket a torn piece of paper, which he a bloody affray, entered. Agnes raised her handed to General Howe, saying: “I found drooping head, but relapsed with a deep this on the ground during the conflict with sigh when she saw who it was, and, nearly the skinner,' and suppose it to have dropped as much overcome as herself, Bradford bore from him or your servant Dromio. Perhaps her to the window, where the fresh air soon it will clear matters. For my part, I cannot revived her.

comprehend a word of it. Howe took the General Howe greated the new-comer paper and read as follows: with warmth, and expressed his surprise at his flushed look and travel-soiled costume. -“The bearer will inform you why I put

"I may well be in haste, my dear general,” neither name nor direction to this letter. It replied Chester. “Six hundred rebels are would not be safe to do so; especially to this moment advancing upon us, and we allow our names to appear together, should shall hardly have time to prepare for their this fall into the hands of the British. Be reception, ere they are in our midst. I have assured I shall do all in my power to save myself narrowly escaped being made a prisoner. It was only through your poor fool of a servant-General, I beg pardon, he The remainder of the letter was so torn proved himself any thing but a fool in this and defaced that it was impossible to deinstance—he came along as I lay on the cipher it. The eyes of Louis and Agnes ground in the claws of one of these rascally met an instant, and hers were averted as skinners,' and, hitting the fellow a tap over she remembered what sentiments were conthe head, set me free. I must look after tained in the rest of that letter. They called Dromio when I have more time; he shall forth, however, new fears for the safety of be well repaid for his trouble. I suppose he the writer. has finished the 'skinner' by this time. He "Louis, it is my duty to unravel this was nearly used up by the first blow, or I mystery. Prevent me not; were not your should have stayed to assist. But, my dear life at stake, it were equally my wish to consir, we must be moving at once. Ah! Miss ceal what will be the means of separating us

the life of your

for erer, perhaps of compelling my uncle to to be private. So he calls me a rigid judge ! treat you

with greater rigor; but your life and advises you to assist in the escape of this will be safe."

rebel, asserting that he must not be known "And of what value would life be to me to be concerned in it, but you can do it, if then, Agnes ? Rather return the fetters to you choose! There is more in this than can these limbs, and me to my dungeon, than be investigated at present. Guard ! once banish me for ever from thy sight!" more I say, remove the prisoner. Friends,

“None shall ever do that! See, they are we must be up and doing. While we have conversing in low tones, and their looks are delayed, they are taking advantage of our ominous. Oh! Louis, if you love me, if tardiness.” you love my brother, let me go and clear Poor Agnes! She sat with clasped hands, your fame. What will become of me when listening to the retreating footsteps of the hope and happiness are banished for ever?" company, and then burst into such a torrent

“ Not hope, not hope, dear Agnes; for, of grief, that her maid, who had joined her, look, they come, they come! Heaven speed was alarmed for her reason. Every term of those gallant hearts! Proud Britons, do condolence was exhausted, but to no purpose. your worst; the unyielding soul of Louis Agnes could only sob forth, “I have killed Bradford will never stoop to wear your fet- him, I have killed him !" Soon afterwards ters, nor his body be spurned by coward feet, she perceived her uncle, with the other offihis name linked with that of spy or traitor! cers, hastening from the house, and then a But what wretched object is that in advance, tumult in the guard-room startled her. She with terror in his aspect? Ha! it is your ran to the door, listened; a voice was heard humble companion to my prison-cell.” in loud tones, as if addressing an assembly.

“It is Dromio!" exclaimed Agnes, spring- That voice was Louis Bradford's. Opening ing up eagerly, “and with a message from the door, she perceived that Louis had my brother!”

broken from the guard, and was surrounded “I have orders to conduct you back to by a band of soldiers, to whom he was prison, sir," said the guard, placing his hand pleading in earnest tones. They were the familiarly upon Bradford's arm.

deserters who had that morning arrived. “ Stand back ! I need not force to remind Many of them were well known to Bradford, me of my doom !" replied Louis. "Lead on. and, tempted by hopes of rescue, and anxiety If I may judge by yonder prospect, my im to gain them over again to the good cause, prisonment will be of brief duration.” he burst from the guard, and, springing into

"Wait, only wait one moment," said their midst, thus spoke :Agnes, looking beseechingly at the guard ; “Fellow-soldiers ! I regret to see you " here is Dromio, and here is my brothers thus deserting the standard of your country, letter. Read it, uncle ;" and, snatching the and returning to a slavish allegiance, from paper from the hand of the servant, she flew which the efforts of your patriotic brethren to her relative, joy beaming in her counte- are directed to set you free. Is it possible nance.

that men who have marched under the “Wounded—unable to leave! What is standard of Washington can submit to all this, child? Ha! what do I see? A another leader? Rise! rise, I entreat you, conspiracy in my own family, and among and shake off the toils in which you are those who owe me obedience. So! this ac- ensnared. I pledge you my honor that, if counts for silence, young

sir. I thank you will return to your duty, you shall be you, Agnes, for your fortunate mistake. restored to all your former privileges, and This letter you were so anxious I should your past conduct shall be buried in oblivion. read, is a precious document from your We are fighting in a noble cause. Our brother, addressed to yourself, and intended lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,' are

your

6

pledged in the service of our country. When but oh! remember, I have an uncle and our rights are restored, and the smiles of brother at your mercy.” Peace dawn upon our hapless land, would “ Both, both are sacred in my eyes. you like to be pointed out as those who Farewell ! if victory crowns me, I return one deserted her in her greatest need ? Shame day to lay my laurels at your feet. If I on the coward wretch who shall be found die, the name of Agnes will be the last upon upon this soil when that glorious season

my lips!" arrives. Say, then, are you willing to stand Louis did not die, for victory awaited the by me in effecting my escape, or shall I brave little band, and they arrived on the field of the storm alone, and return to the camp with battle in time to assist in pursuing the the sad story of your disgrace ?"

defeated royalists. Congress saw fit to The recreant soldiers, who already half pardon the misguided soldiers, who through repented of their desertion, crowded around the influence of Bradford were reclaimed ; him, and unanimously declared themselves and many years after the Declaration of ready to obey his orders, and follow wher- Independence, the mansions formerly inhabever he might lead them. The guard were ited by the families of Bradford and Fletcher bound; arms seized upon wherever they were again made joyous by their children. could be found, and they stood ready to do Little Edward Bradford was often told or die !

the story of his father's imprisonment, and “I have one farewell to take,” thought of his almost receiving sentence of death the young hero, “and then to busy war from his mother's uncle; he delighted most again.” He returned to the room where he in arranging the chairs in battle array, and had left Agnes.

pretending they were deserters, to whom “I have heard all," she cried, as he ap- he promised forgiveness, if they would folpeared. “Go, Louis; Heaven prosper you! | low him and return to duty.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

SORCERY AND MAGIC.

How slender is the thread of human in- | fact, all learned men were supposed to have telligence, as compared with Intelligence dealings with the Devil; and the ignorant, itself as a principle—that great principle who, in our day, only give way to their inwhich is developed in the vastness and the stinctive promptings, were in those days the magnificence of creation! Man, with his semi- recipients of occult instruction, and, not posmaterial intellect, catches but a glimpse of sessing the intelligence to enable them to the living essence of pure spirituality, and classify supposed revelations, or measure all his supernatural reasonings are but a the extent or quality of any spiritual manimass of confused, undefined, half transparent festation, were agitated and swayed by fear; ideas. His soul is so entrammeled with and hence, through a distempered imaginamateriality, that all his searchings beyond tion, ran into the most absurd and unacthe operations of tangible nature are specu- | countable beliefs. Nothing was deemed lative and uncertain; and yet, being half impossible by them, if the magician willed spiritual in his conformation, there exists in / it so. him a sympathy with and a yearning to The same elements of popular superstition . wards the immaterial world that is irresist | that existed during the middle ages, and ible. He seeks for knowledge that he cannot during every age of occult belief, exist now; comprehend, and reaps from his labors only and it is only necessary to turn the popular a harvest of labyrinthine doubt. Superstition mind in that direction, and to convert the clings to him ; an innate power, from which train of popular thought into the supernahe cannot escape without divesting himself tural channel, to develop all the phenomena of all religion, and without religion he cannot of those superstitious eras of the world. We exist a sentient being, because the religious may talk of a superior intelligence as much or spiritual attributes of his character com as we please ; it does not remove the fact. prise all that he possesses of intellectuality; Let the restrains of custom-a custom which and it often occurs that what we call super- | recognizes superstition as an intellectual stition, in its true meaning, exists most weakness—be removed, and we should witstrongly, and is most plainly developed, in ness, in the middle of the nineteenth century, minds of the highest intelligence. This as a reënactment of all the follies and crudities sertion is not in conformity with the received of the middle ages, or of any other age that idea; but, if men of intelligence do not in stands prominent in occult belief. Professor our day exhibit all the phenomena of that Anderson, McAllister, Adrien, and others, principle which is exhibited by the ignorant, who delight large audiences with their amusit is partly because the ordinary channels of ing tricks and sleight-of-hand, would become superstition, as manifested by the lower order sorcerers of renown; and, even as it is, there of intellects, is beneath their regard ; and are many who believe they are the agents of partly because they do not like to confess Satan, and would as soon swallow molten what is regarded as an intellectual weak- lead as eat any of the rare confections which ness. In the days when sorcery and magic these gentlemen produce with such astonishwere fashionable theories, some of the most ing celerity. intelligent minds were foremost in the study Let us make it fashionable to believe in and propagation of the occult sciences; in the assumed “spiritual manifestations” of

the day—the rappings, thumpings, remov- soul, remains, perhaps, as potent and brilliant ing of tables, throwing of pokers, &c., &c.- as ever, but its efforts to develop itself or to and we should find the human mind as receive impressions from without are perready to adopt them as it is to don the last verted by the imperfect action of diseased fashion from Paris. And this tendency of nerves; the pure and graceful thoughts that mind at the present day is greatly enhanced it would convey are distorted into grotesque by modern developments in the material | fancies, as objects are distorted when viewed world, and the phenomena exhibited by through an imperfect glass ; and we are Mesmerism, electro-psychology, &c., wherein, sometimes prompted to smile at the strange through physical causes, the whole nervous sallies of the lunatic, even while we pity his system, and hence the whole man, is made condition. He is like a delicate musical inthe dupe of the superstitious faculty, or, in strument out of tune, possessing still within other words, the imagination. That these itself all the elements of a sweet barmony, phenomena are real, and not the result of yet, until it be tuned again, the most expecollusion,* none who understand the closerienced performer can bring forth from it affinity of mind with matter in the human nothing but discord ; and in the man we construction can doubt ; and it requires but behold a slight effort of the superstitious principle

<< That noble and most sovereign reason,

Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh ; to go a little beyond the surface of facts, and That unmatched form and feature of blown youth

Blasted with ecstasy." associate the whole thing with superhuman agency.

So with the insane from any cause ; it is the History, as well as every-day experience, physical medium, not the mind, that is is fruitful of instances which prove the un- diseased; and it is also through that melimited control of the imagination, when un dium, viz., the nervous system, that the elecduly excited, over not only the nervous sys-tro-psychologist reaches the mind of his subtem and physiology of man, but also, through ject, and obtains a control over it. The the medium of the physical construction, over power of mind is more forcibly developed in the mental faculties. The mind is as liable some than in others, and more capable of to transition as the body; and when the resisting false impression; hence some are nerves, which serve as the medium through more readily subject to the influence of other which the electric fire of thought is conveyed minds. The psychologist tests this power to the muscles and sinews of the body, are by placing the nerves of his subjects under operated on by an over-wrought or distem- a preliminary, but quiet restraint, and, if the pered imagination, the effect of the mental imagination yields under this process, the aberration is visible throughout the whole subject is entirely under the control of the frame; thus a sudden fear disturbs the operator, or magician, as he was called in healthy current of thought, paralyzes the the ages of enchantment. How slender, nerves, destroys muscular action, and stops then, is the thread of human intelligence ! the flow of the blood; the heart ceases its An exhibition of what is called electropulsations, and, in some instances, the crea- psychology, where one man causes another ture des. Or it may be that, by the injury to imagine that he is solitary in a desert, or done to the physical machinery, the whole in a garden of flowers, or in a storm, while mind is rendered imbecile, or, rather, incapa- at the same moment he is well housed and ble of emitting its spirituality, and the person in the midst of an audience of a thousand becomes, as we say, insane ; the mind, the people ; or leads him to believe that a cane

is a serpent, or that he is not himself, is well

calculated to affect the superstitious imaginaWe speak of the phenomena themselves, without regard to the imposture and deceit that may

tion even of a spectator, and prepare his readily be practised under cover of a science. nerves and his mind for a ready belief in

*

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »