Obrazy na stronie


The western sun withdraws the shortened day,

And humid Evening, gliding o'er the sky,

In her chill progress, to the ground condens'd

The vapours throws Where creeping waters ooze,

Where marshes stagnate, and where rivers wind,

Cluster the rolling fogs, and swim along

The dusky mantled lawn. Meanwhile the moon,

Full orb'd, and breaking thro' the scattered clouds,

Shows her broad visage in the crimson'd east.

Turn'd to the sun direct, her spotted disk,

Where mountains rise, umbrageous dales descend,

And caverns deep, as optic tube descries,

A smaller earth, gives us his blaze again,

Void of its flame, and sheds a softer day.

Now thro' the passing cloud she seems to stoop,

Now up the cerulean rides sublime.

Wide the pale deluge floats, and streaming mild

O'er the sky'd mountain to the shadowy vale,

While rocks and floods reflect the quivering gleam,

The whole air whitens with a boundless tide

Of silver radiance, trembling round the world.

But, when half blotted from the sky, her light,

Fainting, permits the starry fires to burn

With keener lustre thro' the depth of heaven,

Or near extinct her deadened orb appears,

And scarce appears, of sickly beamless white,

Oft' in this season, silent from the North

A blaze of meteors shoots: ensweeping first

The lower skies, they all at once converge

High to the crown of heaven, and all at once

Relapsing quick, as quickly reascend,

And mix and thwart, extinguish and renew,

All tether coursing in a maze of light.

* * * * *

Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations! while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Ye woodlands all, awake! a boundless song
Burst from the groves; i

Sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teaeh the night His praise
Who reigns supreme o'er all the starry world.

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]


(Concluded from p. 297.)

Assuming the name of Johnson, and taking a retired lodging in one of the thoroughfares leading out of the Strand, I daily began to perambulate the streets, and visit the taverns and theatres, where, indeed, I frequently met and even sat beside men whom I had known as acquaintances in Paris, without them having a suspicion of my identity. My success emboldened me, and, induced by my old habits, I became the nightly frequenter of'some of the gambling houses in the neighbourhood of St. James's. There was one house in particular to which I principally confined my visits, which, though a hell of an infamous description, seemed to abound with wealth and desperate play. The men who frequented it appeared for the most part adventurers who had moved in a superior sphere. A gambler is the creature of superstition, and from having once or twice won a few pounds with very slender stakes, I was induced to believe that my fortune was more propitious at this table.

It was on my fourth or fifth visit to this table that I beheld a tall and elegantly dressed man eye me every now and then, with a close and observant glance that not a little alarmed me. An enormous beard and profusion of long black hair, together with a broad brimmed hat, so far shaded his features that, with the exception a keen pair of dark eyes, they were anything but clearly distinguishable. That this individual was disguised like myself, I had every reason to believe, and that he took some interest in my movements seemed evinced by the closeness with which he regarded my proceedings. He faced me at the board, and seemed to play a bold yet wary game, but with the worst success. My own winnings, indeed, had greatly accumulated, and while exulting in my own luck, I beheld the last guinea of the stranger swept away from the board, an event which he duly commemorated with a desperate curse. Apparently, indeed, I had occasion to mark that he seemed no stranger to the place, as I failed not to observe that secretly, on one or two occasions, there seemed a silent recognition pass between him and one or two men who sauntered in and out of the room. Having, however, apparently lost all his money, after drinking oft" half a tumbler of brandy which he called for, he left his seat. A moment or two afterwards, on turning my head, I found him at my elbow.

"The luck's been all your way, I think, to-night," he observed, in tones that sounded familiar to my ear.

I coolly assented to the remark.

"Perhaps you would lend a gentleman a trifle?" observed the stranger.

"It is scarcely likely that I should, to one whom I never saw before to my knowledge," I replied.

"I see, then, you're not fly (said the stranger, dropping his voice still lower) —have you quite forgotten a guinea that was lent you in the depths of your poverty 1"

"Good God—you're—"

"A very unlucky dog," said Clifford, in the same low voice.

Taking five guineas I had before me, I slipped them into his hand unperceived by those present.

"Damn me, you're made of the right sort after all, and I was wrong."

Having uttered this remark, he slunk back to his seat, where he again commenced playing.

But why should I detail the particulars of that evening? I beheld him lose the money with which I had just supplied him, and, as if my own fortunes seemed to have become linked with his, a singularly cross run in the game which I affixed by constantly doubling my stakes, in a few minutes stripped me of every shilling; and, with the blighted feelings of a fiend—with a hell of disappointments raging in my heart, and which none but a gambler can well know, I started up from the board, kicked away my chair, and left the house.

I had no sooner left the house than I was joined by Clifford. I was desperate and penniless, and that very night agreed to assist him in the robbery which he had planned, and from which he stated his certainty of receiving a considerable booty. Although there was a warrant out for his apprehension for swindling he had succeeded in eluding it for the previous three weeks, and had actually made a considerable sum of money by assuming a foreign title, and giving false characters to servants. In most instances he had been paid immediately for the fraud by the servants, while others had agreed to a " put up" affair, or, in other words, had acquiesced in assisting in robbing their employers the first favourable opportunity. And it was now in one of these latter infamous thefts that he prevailed upon me to join him, agreeing to share a third of the plunder with me.

We were successful beyond our most sanguine expectations. At midnight we received over the garden wall, from the treacherous domestic, jewels and plate to a great amount, which, through the agency of " fences," or receivers of stolen goods, we managed to dispose of for near half their value, out of whioh a third was given to our principal accomplice. Thus carried into the lower channels of crime, it required nothing more than my expensive and dissipated habits to continue me in a career of villainy as extensive as it was varied.

Having had several narrow escapes in cases of housebreaking with Clifford, and the man with whom I had met him on my arrival in London, and who was

« PoprzedniaDalej »