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the day of her union was fixed, I awoke from my trance, to a full sense of my misery. I felt that I could not witness her the wife of another, and retain my senses. I resolved to leave England for India, where I had an uncle, who had for many years filled an important post under the Government. "I will quit England," I exclaimed in bitter sorrow, "for years, perhaps for ever, and lose, if possible, the remembrance of my misery amid new climes and scenery."-My wish was at first strenuously objected to by my family; but when they saw my settled determination, they refrained from offering further opposition, and a day was named for my departure. Circumstances, immaterial now, connected with the Baronet's family, obliged him to name an earlier day for his marriage than had been anticipated, and it happened to be the very one which was also to witness my departure from Elmwood Park, my paternal home. I was indeed importuned to remain and witness Adelaide's espousals; but I offered so plausible an excuse that it was quite sufficient to satisfy the unsuspecting mind of Adelaide. At length, the morning of my departure came. My parting scene with Adelaide I have already described; but how shall I tell of the bitter dejection with which I sank back in the carriage, as it swept round the lawn, when I saw the wave of Adelaide's hand at the window, and felt that on earth I must behold her beloved form no more, or look on her as the wife of another!
While in India I heard frequently from my sister Catherine. She, however, said but little respecting Adelaide, as I half suspect that she had some idea of my unhappy attachment; but I learned that Adelaide was a mother, and that Sir James was extremely gay, and the first to join in every fashionable extravagance. I sighed when I read this, for my heart whispered to me that Adelaide was unhappy, as I knew her habits and disposition were 60 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series.
averse to scenes of reckless gaiety and dissipation. Time soothed my bitter feelings of disappointment, and the novel scenes of activity in which I engaged, tended to dissipate my unhappiness, until at length I was enabled to think of Adelaide with calmness, yet still as a dear and cherished being for whose welfare I felt the most tender solicitude.
I had been twelve years in India, when my uncle died, and left me the bulk of his property; the remainder to be equally divided between Adelaide and my sister Catherine. When I lost my uncle I had no remaining tie in India, and I felt a longing desire to revisit my native shores, and to embrace my mother and sister-my father had been dead some years. How my heart even then throbbed when I thought that I should see Adelaide !
I found my mother but little touched by time; scarcely a furrow on her brow, and she wore the same placid smile as ever: and Catherine, dear Catherine, still as lively and good-humoured as when I left her. A tear trembled in my sister's eye, however, when she spoke of Adelaide. Sir James, she told me, was then on the continent; but neither my mother nor herself had seen Adelaide for the last two years, though they yet corresponded. Sir James had looked on them as unwelcome visitors; and they, in their turn, could not conceal the disgust they felt at his neglect of Adelaide, nor bear to witness her dejection, the cause for which she sedulously abstained from speaking of, and they were too delicate to mention, as she Their seemed to wish to avoid it. circumstances were no longer flourishing; for Sir James's debts of honour had dissipated the greater part of his fortune. Adelaide was said to be in ill health! and there were rumours abroad that the Baronet's conduct was exceedingly harsh and unfeeling. Three children had died in their infancy, and one only was now living—a girl.
I will not endeavour to paint my
feelings when I listened to this melancholy recital. Adelaide was unhappy! and I could offer no consolation; but I could see her, and my friendship might yet be of service to her. This resolution I resolved immediately to execute; and a few trifling matters, relative to the fortune which my uncle had left her, formed a sufficient excuse for my soliciting an interview.
It was the season of spring when I arrived at Lee Priory, a small estate of the Baronet's in the county of Dorset, and the only one, I be lieve, which his propensity for gaming had left him. Adelaide had resided there for the last year. The situation of the Priory was in truth beautiful in the extreme: it stood on a gentle eminence, whence the eye looked out on fertile meads, rich in wood and water; and the extreme verge of the prospect was lost in the blue waves of the distant ocean. Yet there was something about the Priory itself which seemed to speak of desolation, as I passed through its beautiful but neglected gardens, and I sighed to think how much it was in unison with the heart of its mistress. I was informed by the servant that Lady Mantravers was at home, and I was shewn into the library, where I had time to collect my scattered thoughts, and to preserve my fortitude, which seemed on the point of deserting me, for the approaching interview.
A beautiful whole-length portrait of Adelaide hung over the fire-place, so like, so very like her when I last saw her, that, as I gazed upon it, I almost believed the years that had passed an illusion.-I was awakened from my reverie by a beautiful little girl running into the room, apparently about five years old, with a little basket of flowers in her hand. had scarcely time, however, to look at her ere I heard Adelaide's voice; and she advanced to meet and welcome me as an old friend. I looked at her, but, gracious heavens! what a change was there! Had it not been for her voice, I could scarcely
have believed that it was Adelaide who stood before me. She was very thin-alarmingly so. I looked for the sunny smile which I remembered, but it was gone; the rose had fled from her cheeks-they were very pale, but her hair was still soft and beautiful, and her voice as sweet and gentle as ever. Adelaide saw in a moment the cause of my emotion. “Ah, Mr. Morton!" she said, with a melancholy smile, "I see you have forgotten the years that have passed since we met, and you find me sadly changed." My heart was too full to speak. "I am far from well at present," she continued; "my spirits, too, have left me sadly of late; but I have a little antidote here, which seldom fails to restore me in my melancholy moods;" and she drew forth her little girl and presented her to me. She was a lovely child, the very image of Adelaide herself, when she first came under my mother's protection, save that there was a shade of thoughtfulness over her sweet face, which her mother, at her age, had not. I placed her on my knee, and, encouraged by my caresses, she began prattling to me with all that bewitching artlessness which renders childhood so attractive,
"And how is dear Catherine?" said Adelaide. I told her that she was well, and regretted that they did not meet more frequently. "Alas !” she continued, "Catherine cannot regret our separation more than I do. Circumstances, however, forbid our meeting; but I trust that your sister still thinks of me with affection." I endeavoured to assure her that Catherine's regard for her was as lively and undiminished as ever. "You will perhaps smile," replied Adelaide; "but I have a fancy that my time in this world will be short, and the wish nearest my heart is, that your estimable mother and dear Catherine would consent to take charge of my little treasure;"--and she pointed to her infant daughter. I expressed my hopes that she would yet live many years, and regain her former strength and spirits. "My
pensity for play lured him from his home; he seemed to exist only in a crowd. I was neglected and forgotten, and he threw from him the love which I bore to him then.-Then, did I say?" cried Adelaide, as she hid her face in her hands, and burst into tears. "Alas! alas! my affection knows no decay-it will not fade until death. Hear me," continued Adelaide; "watch over my child, I charge you, and save her from her mother's fate. Let her not give her heart and affections to one who will break her gentle spirit by his unkindness, and then leave her to sorrow and scorn." "I will shield her from every evil, Adelaide, that human foresight can guard against; but, tell me," I said, "wherein can I serve you? Any thing that the most sincere friendship can-""No! No!" said she, hastily; "for myself I have nothing to ask. Think of me as of one whose sand of life is nearly run out, and whose cares and sorrows will soon be hushed in the tranquillity of the tomb. Farewell, Horace," she said, as she extended her band to me. "My blessing and my prayers shall follow you, who have promised to be the faithful guardian of my child."
physicians tell me that I shall," she said, “but I know better-the seeds of decay are too deeply sown to be eradicated; nor do I wish to live, save for Adelaide. Life has no charms for me. But, enough of this. Will you take charge of a packet for your sister, wherein I have fully expressed my earnest wishes respecting my child?" I readily promised to do so, and assured her that I felt certain of their being complied with. I, however, hinted that Sir James might not accede. "Sir James," she said, "has seriously promised never to interfere with any arrangement of mine respecting Adelaide; and I think he would respect the dying request of his wife."" Then all shall be as you wish," I exclaim ed; and for myself, I will cherish your little Adelaide with a father's kindness. She shall be the object of my solicitude, and the heiress of my fortune!""God bless you, Horace!" said Adelaide; and her whole countenance lighted up for a moment with unusual brilliancy. "I believe, and accept your kind offer. Oh, you know not the weight of anguish from which you have relieved me."
She bent her head, and her eyes were filled with tears, which little Adelaide observing, she stole gently on the sofa behind her mother, and, throwing her arms round her neck, sought to soothe her by her infantile caresses. I was visibly affected, and I spoke of a change of climate, which might, I thought, have a beneficial effect upon Adelaide's health. She shook her head. "No! No!" said she, "no change of climate will benefit me: it is too late: my illness is here-here ;" and she laid her hand on her heart: "this is broken-withered-miserable." She stopped for a moment, and I dared not trust myself to reply. "This may be our last interview, Horace," she continued; "why, then, O why, should I seek to hide from you, the friend of my youth, that my riage with Sir James has been productive of misery! An unhappy pro
"God for ever shield you, Adelaide," I cried, as I tenderly kissed her hand; and, disengaging myself from the grasp of her little girl, I quitted the apartment.
It was my last interview with Adelaide.-I saw the being whom I had so fondly loved no more! When the cold winds of autumn swept the leaves from the trees, Adelaide was at rest in the grave; her gentle spirit had passed away from this scene of sin and suffering. I have faithfully fulfilled my promise respecting her child. Ten years have now passed away since she came under my roof; and her affectionate attentions and engaging cheerfulness enliven my declining years, and soothe the many melancholy thoughts which, even now, often press on my spirits, when I think of her mother-of Adelaide, my first and only love.
W WITCHCRAFT! does there exist a believer in witchcraft in 1828? Doubtless, exclaims the readYes, I maintain that though the "march of mind" is making sad inroads on the "wisdom of our aucestors," yet several instances within the last three years will bear out my assumption, that a belief in witchcraft still prevails amongst the peasantry of our country to a considerable extent. I allude to those cases where the offenders were brought to the bar of public justice. The swimming case in Suffolk in 1825 must be fresh in the minds of my readers. Leaving these "modern instances," which form no part of the object of the present paper, I shall proceed briefly to trace the origin of witchcraft, with such anecdotes as may be required to season the subject for the general reader.
The progress of intellect in the human race towards perfection, during the last century, has certainly been much more rapid than could have been expected. The "simplicity of old times" consisted in a great measure of a sort of gloomy dogmatism and obtuseness of intellect, the fetters of which happily have lost their effect on mankind. "That maidens pined away, wasting inwardly as their waxen images consumed before a fire-that corn was lodged and cattle lamed-that whirlwinds uptore in diabolic revelry the oaks of the forest-or that spits and kettles only danced a fearful, innocent vagary about some rustic's kitchen, when no wind was stirring," remarks a popular writer, "were all equally probable where no law of agency was understood." In short, the age of superstition has passed away-the light of philosophy, so discordant to the lover of witchcraft or a ghost story, has burst in and "scattered them to the winds," and we are no longer troubled and tormented with the flight of wizards on broomsticks,
or the visitation of "black spirits and white, blue spirits and gray, with all their trumpery." A witch, according to old descriptions, was generally blessed with a "wrinkled face, a furrowed brow, a hairy lip, a gobber tooth, a squint eye, a squeaking voice, a scolding tongue, a ragged coat on her back, a scull-cap on her head, a spindle in her hand, and a dog or cat by her side ;" and Lord Coke pithily describes a "witch to be a person that hath conference with the devil, to consult with him or to do some act." In former times the most eminent men and philosophers (Sir Thomas Browne for instance) were not proof against the prevailing opinions. A contemporary writer observes, that one would imagine that the establishment of Protestantism would have conduced to the abolition of this lamentable and pernicious credulity. But the Reformation did not arrive with great rapidity at its full extent, and the belief in witchcraft long continued to "overspread the land." Indeed it has been proved by Hutchinson, in his Essay on Witchcraft, that the change of religion at first rather augmented than diminished the evil. A degree of importance, hardly credible in these times, was attached to it; and in the sixteenth century the unbelievers were accounted " Sadducees, Atheists, and Infidels." One of the most emiueut divines of his day, a strenuous advocate of the belief in witchcraft, characterises them thus in the most forcible language. O tempora!
It is not surprising, therefore, that the supposed dabblers in the infernal art were hunted out and exposed to the most dreadful cruelty and oppression, not only from those who ima gined they had suffered under their charms, but from the very laws of the realm also. The first trial of any note took place in 1593. Three persons, old Samuel and his wife and daughter Agues, were condemned at
Huntingdon, before Mr. Justice Fenner, for bewitching a Mr. Throg morton's family, &c.
A few years after an advocate for this belief appeared from no less a quarter than the throne itself. King James I. in his Demonologie, completely superseded Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, a work which so completely unmasked the whole machinery, and was a storehouse of facts on the subject. The infection, commenced at the throne, soon reached the parliament, and (as it has been observed, the greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion) a statute was passed in the first year of king James, having for its object, as expressed in the preamble, "the more effectual punishment of those detestable slaves of the devil, witches, sorcerers, enchant ers, and conjurors." The statute is worded with great care, and contains many clauses which our limits forbid inserting, but which include every description of the "crime." The punishment was enacted to be the pillory for the first offence, (even though its object were not effected,) and death for the second. "Thus was the detestable doctrine established both by law and fashion; and it became not only unpolite, but criminal to doubt it; and as prodigies are always seen in proportion as they are expected, witches were every day discovered, and multiplied so fast in some places, that Bishop Hall mentions a village in Lancashire where their number was greater than that of the houses." There was dreadful havoc in that county after this law had passed. Lancashire has always been remarkable for the number of its witches.
Though the information we have to go upon cannot of course be considered as very accurate, yet it has been ascertained that between the commencement of the statute in question (1602) and the year 1701, in the space of one century, three thousand one hundred and ninety-two persons, whose age, poverty, or infirmities
rendered them objects of attention, were executed for the crimes of witchcraft and sorcery. The act alluded to was rigorously enforced during this period, and the above calculation is probably very much under the mark, and does not include the numbers that were tried on suspicion, but acquitted for want of suf ficient proof of the charges alleged against them. The most trivial and frivolous circumstances were sufficient to commence a prosecution against the unfortunate objects of suspicion, and their trials were conducted in the most summary manner. In that respect there is a striking similarity between this epoch and the reign of terror in France.
In 1634 seventeen Pendle-forest witches were condemned in Lancashire, by the infamous contrivances of a boy only eleven years of age and his father. Amongst other charges equally wonderful and miraculous, this little villain deposed that a greyhound was transformed by their agency into "one Dickenson's wife," &c. These poor creatures, however, obtained a reprieve, and were sent to London, where they were first viewed and examined by his majesty's physicians and surgeons, and then by "his majesty himself and the council." The result was that the boy's contrivances were exposed and properly punished. In 1664, Alice Hudson, who was burnt at York, said she received money from the devil, ten shillings at a time.
In the same year the most singular trial which has been recorded took place before Chief Justice Hale at Bury-St.-Edmunds. Notwithstanding the acknowledged piety and learning of this eminent character, he was as credulous, and followed as nearly as possible in the footsteps of the most unrelenting of his precursors. I regret I cannot find room for the details of this remarkable trial, which ended in the conviction and execution of Amy Duuy and Rose Callender, There were thirteen indictments against the prisoners, which all cousisted of charges of the most frivolous