Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

6 Woman! ah! even here, I see women can torment. Woman is the bane of my life; 'tis woman that forces me to wander; 'tis woman that robs me of peace.” His upper lip had a peculiar curl as he ceased, and his countenance evinced for a time the emotions he strove to quell.

66 'Tis woman forms the happiness of my life," rejoined Alexis, " and as to the torment, I tormented myself; for as soon as I told her I loved her—but you shall hear all. My mother died a few days after I was born, and my father, when I was so young that I scarcely remember any other than the one to whom I now give the appellation, and who took me to bis house as soon as my father was buried. I remember weeping very much at leaving my old home; but my tears were soon dried when I arrived at the cottage of Eubulus, where every thing was done to please me, and a little girl, their only child, who was younger than myself, was a nice playfellow for me. "Eubulus instructed me himself in reading and writing. As I grew older I had my part allotted me in the farm, and he used to say to me, when thou bast had a little more experience, Alexis, I shall intrust, thee with a large farm.' This made me anxious to improve myself in general and useful knowledge. I could not have had a more able councellor or better adviser than Eubulus.

66 Years rolled away. My little playfellow, his daughter, was now a young woman; she had the sweetest temper in the world, and my love for her grew with iny growth, and strengthened with my strength. I was in the constant habit of accompanying her father to this place, which he told me he took care of for a friend, who would claim it in a few years; and that he was anxious to make it a desirable residence for him. Under his superintendence at first I began the cultivation of it, but by degrees, as he saw me capable, he left me the sole guidance of it, and used to overlook the whole at stated intervals. I then always observed a peculiar satisfaction in his countenance; he would say, "Alexis, thy labours are unremitting ; thou wilt huve thy reward when the master arrives. Thou must now build him a better house, and I trust to thee to look after his comfort in every thing; make it such as would satisfy thyself if the · property were thine.' I must not omit telling thee, that Glyceria was frequently the companion of my labours; she used to work with me in the garden ; and her judgment and taste were frequently consulted, and adopted before my own. We planned the house together, though frequently her mother would suggest Jittle alterations, which we always found were improvements. Our evenings were spent in forming plans for this farm; to make it, to the best of our

eas, all that was desirable for its future possessor, and the good Eubulus and his wife Zara encouraged us with smiles of approbation. Glyceria would frequently say to me, ? how very sorry I shall be when this rich man comes! My father gives him a good character, to be sure, but thou wilt want employment, Alexis ; our small farm will, I fear, seem quite a confinement to thee. It is not so much my sorrow for this person's coming, but that thou wilt lose the place, which is now so much like thine own, that I can scarcely believe it is not so.'

6. When Glyceria was not with me, I was always having something done ready against she did come, and when I expected her in vain, it made me so melan: choly and fretful to myself, that'l neglected the beauties around me, and used to return in the evening, spiritless and dull to the cottage, and question her, with a sort of jealousy, how she had been employed : but I was soon brought into good humour by her presence. At last the demon Jealousy took complete possession of me, and my uneasiness grew greater every day, for my idea was, that as soon as the owner arrived to claim his property, he would inevitably fall in love with Glyceria, and Eubulus would be too happy to see her so well married to refuse the offer. One day I took an opportunity of saying to him-6 Who knows, but Glyceria may be the future mistress of this place? Every one who sees her, and knows her, must love her; wouldst thou, my father, be glad if the friend whom thou expectést to arrive, should make her his wife?'- I confess to thee, Alexis, it would make me very happy; if she were to be his wife, I should have

lived to see my utmost wishes accomplished. Bat, father, if she should not love him? If a man who had not this charm of riches should love her better than his life, and she were to return that love?... Why then, Alexis, dost thou think me so tyrannical as to oppose it? It is her future happiness, and not her aggrandizement I seek. She is my only child; what I baye will be hers at my death, and I hope God will bless her with content let her lot be what it may; her good mother's precepts will have been strangely thrown away, if she is not grateful for the blessings she does enjoy, without repining after those out of her reach.'

* I felt rather easier after this discourse; but i could not take the same pleasure as formerly in the place, and did not like to hear Glyceria admire it, and seem happy when she was there.

« One evening, Euhulus had been here with me the greatest part of the day; his heartappeared full, for I frequently observed the tears ready to start from his eyes; and at length he said, "Alexis! let us go and sit down under those trees; I have much to say to thee.', I felt a tremor seize my whole frame, his manner was so different from what it lisäally was.--. • Alexis,' said he, I have loved thee as a son, canst thou recal any single instance of my omitting towards thee'the conduct of an affectionate father?' He passed.

Not one, my kind friend, my father, the only one I have ever known.'-.. But not the only one who was anxious for thy welfare,' rejoined beg.--. when thy excellent parent was on his death-bed he sent for me, and thus addressed me: “My old friend I feel I am dying! Tu whom can I commit my son with perfect contidence but to thyself ? He is very young, and I have a good property to bequeath to him; the knowledge of it may make him idle, and spojl him; and in. dolence, once become habitual, is not to be eradicated. Take him as thine own; let him not know his posses. sions till he is worthy of them; and if, contrary to my hopes, and thy cares, he should' be unworthy, give him sufficient to keep him above want, and bestow the remainder on virtue and industry wherever thou mayst meet with it. I have known thy integrity for many years, and I rest assured that the confidence I pet in

'thee is not misplaced.' In a short time afterwards he breathed his last. Thou knowest the rest. Thou art all he could wish thee, and all my cares are repaid--this farm is thine, and the profits of it have for many years accumulated; we can settle the accounts at leisure.' * “ I threw myself into the arms of Eubulus, which were open to receive me; the tears ran down his cheeks. I wept for gratitude, and both of us for joy. You may guess Glyceria was in my thoughts more than once, but utterance was denied me. As soon as my agitation subsided, I said, “ Ab my father! Dost thou think Glyceria will love me? What are riches to me without she shares them?” he smiled---' fcannot tell how much she loves thee; but surely, Alexis, thou caust have - no reason to doubt that she does love thee?'-_- No: she is very attentive to my little comforts, and she is all that is kind and affectionate in her manners; but then she is good to every body, and every thing.'---'Well, we will soon see ; let us return, or tliey will think us late. I have a plan in my head; do not betray me.'

66 We walked home, and I cannot tell thee my feelings when I observed Glyceria coming to meet us. • Glyceria, my young friend is arrived, and is now in possession of his property,' began her father. She stopped and looked grave and anxiously at me. He put his arm affectionately round her, and leaning on her shoulder, walked on. Well, Alexis,' said she, • how dost thou like him? I hope he has made proper asknowledgements to thee, and is really pleased with all thou bast been doing for him.” I was going to reply, when Eubulus interrupted me by saying. He is as grateful as thou couldst wish; and to shew it, Glyceria, he wishes to make thee mistress of his heart and fortune, and requests me to offer thee his hand in marriage.'-.- Me father! marry me ! Indeed I do not approve of that part of his gratitude. I beg you will tell him as speedily as possible, that I have no inclination to marry.'

6 Well, but Glyceria, see him, and let him plead his own cause.'.I have no inclination to either see or hear him. I have lost all interest in the place too, now Alexis has done with it, and this is the last time I shall walk this way.'---' But he is very rich,' - I am rich enough, father. I have every thing I want. Besides, what would thyself and my mother do without me, and Alexis would be so doli! Shouldst thou not, Alexis ? I declare, father, thou art smiling; I believe thou wishest me to marry this man!'--. I do, if thou couldst love him.'--' But I canpot! here she turned pale, and burat into tears. I could not bear to see her so distressed. I weut round and took her hand; sbe trembled through agitation. "Thou treinblest my dear Glyceria.. but I have done it more during this discourse.'---' Thou, Alexis,' she sobbed out, and why?'--Lest thou shouldst love any, body better than myself.' The paleness of her face was succeeded by a deep crimson.“ • Thou hast long been the sole possessor of my heart, but I never had conrage till this moment to tell thee so---I now do it in the presence of thy father. Tell me if it displeases thee? She inade no reply, but, weeping still, with the hand that I had left at liberty she hung round her father's neck. • Thou wert voluble enough just now, my daughter,' said he wilt thou not speak to poor Alexis ? We shall never get hume to night if thou holdest me 6 fast. I perceive I must answer for thee :' be pressed us both in his arms, and we all felt too happy for utterance.

“ After some minutes, let us proceed home to make thy mother as bappy as we are, Glyceria. At the same time I must tell thee that thy happy Alexis is the owner of the riches thou hast been so resolutely refusing.' She was all astonishment. I explained to her as we walked along, and thy imagination cannot picture a happier group than were assembled at the cottage that evening.

“ In a few days I brought her here as may bride. Our father and mother are coniing to inbabit a cottage, which I am building for them near my own, and they wish to dispose of their property.” “. Whereabouts is it?".-.“ Scarcely three miles off, near to the sea side."--" I shall be glad to see it, and may probably become the purchaser. To sojourn at times on this favoured spot will lend a calm to my perturbed

« AnteriorContinuar »