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hold a place on these well-purged shelves. Milton De Courcy began to read, but was soon silenced by Mrs Wentworth's severe remarks on the lapse of that great poet into the tenets of Baxterianism. The dulness of the party was disturbed, not enlivened by the arrival of old Wentworth, full primed for controversy, and his pockets stuffed with evangelical pamphlets.
His violence and prejudices again hurry the fickle lover to the house of Madame Dalmatiani, where all was light and music, garlands and colours, beauty and genius. The mistress passed through apartments filled with groupes of the gay and the learned, where speech was without effort, and silence without ennui; where rare volumes, rich ornaments, classical statues and pictures, as well as the number of the attendants and splendour of the establishment, showed that the proprietor was the favourite of fortune, as well as of nature. But her own presence was the principal charm. Her beauty, her musical talents, her taste, were alternately taxed for their share of the festival. She conversed with the various professors of the arts of poetry and of general literature, in a style various, as suited their different pursuits, like Cleopatra, giving audience to each ambassador at her court in his own native language.
A friend, by name Montgomery, the same who first conducted De Courcy to a methodist meeting-house, and who himself nourished a hopeless, but most generous passion for Eva, saw with alarm, that De Courcy preferred the dangerous mansion of Madame Dalmatiani, and endeavoured, more zealously than wisely, to reclaim the wanderer. What had Dominic Street to present, that could be opposed to Zaira's palace of enchanted enjoyments? At one time a fierce controversy betwixt Macowen and one of his pupils, a “babe in grace' as his spiritual guide termed him, 'to be fed with milk.
He was a man turned of fifty, six feet two inches high, broad and bulky in proportion, with an atrabilious complexion, a voice of thunder, and a tread that shook the room. The contrast was unspeakably ridiculous. “ Babe !” murmured De Courcy ; " Babe!” echoed Montgomery, and both had some difficulty in subduing their rebellious muscles to the placid stagnation that overspread the faces around them.-But the calm was of short continuance. This Quinbus Flestrin, this man-mountain of a catechumen, came, not to sit with lowly docility at the feet of his teachers, but to prove that he was able to teach them." If he was a babe, as De Courcy said, “tetchy and wayward was his infancy;" no ill-nursed, ill-tempered, captious, squalling brat, was ever a greater terror and torment in the nursery. He resisted, he retorted, he evaded, he parried, he contradicted, carped, and “ cavilled on the ninth part
hair • Macowen lost his ground; then he lost his breath ; then he lost
his temper; scintillating eyes, quivering lips, and streaks of stormy red marking their brown cheeks, gave signal of fierce debate. All the weapons of fleshly warfare were soon drawn in the combat, and certain words that would have led to a different termination of the dispute among men of this world, passed quick and high between them. Struck with shame, they paused--a dreary pause of sullen anger and reluctant shame.“ Now, shan't we have a word of prayer, Mr Wentworth, who had been watching them with as much deliberate enjoyment as an ancient Roman would a spectacle of gladiators.' p. 239—241.
A more edifying scene was that of Eva berself engaged in teaching a school of little orphans, whom she maintained out of her allowance, and educated from her own lips. Yet, even amid this most laudable employment, could the fantastic delicacy of De Courcy, rendered more punctilious by the society of Žaira, find matter of offence. The dulness of the children, their blunders, their mingled brogues, their dirt, and all else that was unpleasing to the sense and the imagination, rendered the task even of clothing the naked, and instructing the ignorant and fatherless, disgusting in the eyes of a delicate and somewhat selfish lover of the fine arts.
These and similar scenes of contrast succeed to each other with great effect; and the feeble and vacillating mind of De Courcy is alternately agitated by returning affection for Eva, aided by compassion and by a sense of the cruelty and dishonour of de serting her, and by the superior force of character of her more accomplished rival. It becomes daily more and more plain, that the weaker feeling must give way to that which was more strong and energetic, especially when Zaira, after one or two trying interviews, agrees to banish the name of love from their intimacy, and to term it only an intimate friendship, resolves herself to adopt the task of preceptress to the bride of De Courcy, and transfer to her those accomplishments which too visibly enchanted the heart of her susceptible friend. This specious arrangement is well ridiculed by Zaira's correspondent, a French lady of fashion, having all the frivolity, the good nature, the tact and perception of character proper to one who filled a high place in the Parisian beau monde ; and Zaira's eyes became opened to the real state of her affections. Meanwhile, the continued operation of contrast alienates De Courcy still further from the gentle Eva, and attaches him more firmly to her brilliant rival. A thunder-storm frightens Eva into a state of insensibility.
Another thunder-storm surprising a party of pleasure, amid the romantic region of the Wicklow mountains, gives Zaira the opportunity of exhibiting courage at once heroic and philosophical. All circumstances combine to show that De Courcy's hastily formed engagement with Eva will not and cannot come to a good issue. The fiendish hag from whose power De Courcy had delivered her, appears upon the scene, again and again crossing the stage like an evil-presaging apparition. One of the most frightful of these appearances takes place during a great fire in Dublin, to the progress of which Zaira and De Courcy are witnesses. The scene is described with much terrible grandeur.
• All was life, though it was the hour of repose ; and all was light, terrible light, though the sky was as dark as December midnight.
They attempted to ascend Cork-hill; that was rendered impossible by the crowd ; and winding another way through lanes, of which the reader may be spared the names, they got into Fishamble Street. Many fearful intimations of the danger struck them there.— The hollow rolling of the fire-engines, so distinct in their sound;—the cries of “ clear the way,” from the crowd, who opened their dense tumultuous mass for the passage, and instantly closed again ;-the trampling of the cavalry on the wet pavement, threatening, backing, facing among the crowd ;-the terrible hollow knocking on the pavement, to break open the pipes for water, which was but imperfectly supplied ;
-the bells of all the neighbouring churches, St John's, St Werburgh's, St Bride's, and the deep tremendous toll of Christ-church, mingled with, but heard above all, as if it summoned the sufferers to prepare, not for life but for death, and poured a kind of defiance on the very efforts it was rung to invite them to. All this came at once on them, as they entered Fishamble Street, from a wretched lane through which they had been feeling their way. They emerged from it; and when they did, the horrors of the conflagration burst on them at once. The fire, confined in the sphere of its action, amidst warehouses thickly enclosed, burst in terrible volumes above the tops of the houses, and seemed like a volcano, of which no one could see the crater.
. On the steps of St John's Church, a number were collected. They had snatched the furniture from their miserable lodgings; piled it up in the street, where the guard were watching it, and now sat patiently in the open air to see their habitations reduced to ashes, unknowing where they were to rest their heads that night.
• All the buildings in the neighbourhood were strongly illuminated by the fire, and stiil more strongly (though partially from time to time) by lights held out by the inhabitants from their windows, from the shops to the attics, six stories high; and the groupes below flashing out in the light, and disappearing in the darkness, their upturned faces, marked with the shifting traces of fear, horror, defiance, and despair, presented a subject for Salvator. No banditti, in the darkest woods of the Appennines, illuminated only by lightning, ever showed more fearful wildness of expression, or more picturesque distortion of attitude. Just then the flames sunk for a moment, but, rising again, instantly poured forth a volume of light, that set the whole horizon in a blaze. There was a shriek from the crowd, that seemed rather like the cry of triumph than despair. It is certain, that a people like the Irish, whose imagination is stronger than any other of their intellectual faculties, can utter cries of delight at the sight of a splendid conflagration that is consuming their dwellings.
· The last burst of flames produced a singular effect. The buildings in Castle Street (below the range of the illumination) lay in complete darkness-darkness more intense from the surrounding light, and the tower and spire of St Werburgh's, (it had then a fantastically elegant spire), by their height in the horizon, caught the whole effect of the fire, and appeared like a fairy palace of flame, blazing and built
among the clouds.' II. p. 101–105. Amidst this scene of horror and sublimity, rushes forth the beggar maniac, bursting through the crowd with irresistible force, and planting herself opposite to Zaira.
* She was, as usual, in rags, and as the strong light gleamed on her hoary streaming hair, her wild features, and her wilder attire, she seemed fit to act the prompting and exulting fury who stood by Nero when he surveyed from his tower Rome in flames, which his own orders had kindled, and which his own orders (it is said) forbid to be extinguished. She began her usual wild dance, regardless of the crowd, and of the terrible cause of their assembling, and mingled, from time to time, exclamations in a voice between recitative and singing, that seemed modulated to the music of invisible and infernal spirits. It was very singular of this woman, that though her accent was perfectly Irish, her expressions were not so; her individual feeling seemed to swallow up and overwhelm her nationality. Wherever she was, she seemed perfectly alone-alone alike amid the mountains of Wicklow or the multitudes of Dublin ; all times, circumstances, and persons seemed to yield to the single, mysterious, undefinable feeling that always governed and inspired her; and while it made her an object of supreme terror to all others, made all others objects of supreme contempt to her.' II. p. 107, 108.
As she attempted to seize upon Zaira, of whose individuality she retained some imperfect recollection, she was forced back by De Courcy.
"“ Have you no touch of nature in ye ? " said the woman, suddenly and fearfully altering her tone, and clinging close and closer to Zaira. “ Do you know who (whom) it is you
?-Have ye no touch of nature in ye ?-Oh, these hands are withered, but how often they have clasped you round that white neck !-Oh, these hairs are gray, but how often have you played with them when they were as black and as bright as your own ! Sorrow for you
has turned them white. Oh, look upon me,-look upon me on my knees. I don't know your name now, but you should never have forgot mine. Oh, have ye no nature in you, and I kneeling on the cold stones before my own ! ” II. 112, 113.
These ominous curses were prophetic. The departure of Zaira for the Continent brought De Courcy's apostasy to a crisis. Her father having died suddenly, deprived her of every clue, as she thought, to discover where her child existed; and the discovery of how far her affections were like to hurry her, was another motive for her departure. She saw De Courcy once more, however, and the result of their interview was, his obtaining permission to attend her to the Continent on the footing of a companion, who, at the expiry of a twelvemonth, might claim possession of her hand. There is a letter of the deserted and heart-broken Eva to her faithless lover, which abounds with touches of beautiful and natural feeling. She thanked him for the wholesome cruelty which had restored to heaven a heart which, for his sake, had begun to love the world. She forgave him, and concluded with this pathetic prophecy.
•“ You will return in spring ; in spring, you will be back with your triumphant beautiful bride: perhaps you will visit this room from some lingering feeling ; you will see the flowers, the books, the music you once loved, all in their place, where you formerly wished to see them; and perhaps you will ask, where am 1.-" I came, says the eastern tale
me, to the tombs of my friends, and asked where are they ? and echo answered, Where? II. 276.
In the hope of rendering her juvenile lover all that worthy, as she already accounted him all that was amiable, Zaira had yielded to the culpable weakness of becoming accessory to his breach of promise. She had not doubted that she could attach him to her by the double charms of beauty and talent, added to those of superior intellect. But Paris-that Paris in which even the lover of the Princess of Babylon became disloyal-was doomed to prove the vanity of her expectations.
The fidelity of a man is like the virtue of a female when it has succumbed in one temptation,—the sense of fine feeling is lost, and it seldom resists another. Yet, we are far from thinking the second defection of Charles de Courcy, amiable and generous as he is painted, as half so probably motived as his first offence against the code of constancy. His desertion of the simple and narrow-minded Eva for a woman of such brilliant talent and powers as Zaira, while it was highly blameworthy, is but too probable an occurrence. But that, unsated by possession, and witnessing the prodigious effects produced by Zaira's talents on all that was brave and illustrious in Europe, and which was then in 1814) assembled in Paris, he should have wantonly deserted the sacred object of his affections, and preferred to her, for ever so short a space, a certain Eulalie de Terranges, so inferior to her in all respects, exceeds