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with a distant view of the plains of Italy. It will be readily be. lieved when I assert that my spirit glowed, and my heart leaped within me at the prospect. I felt something of the ardor of the soldiers of Hannibal, when after long fatigues and countless dangers their leader pointed to them the fair regions which they had sought through so much difficulty and hazard. I beheld with indescribable emotion the verdure of the fields, the bloom of the trees and all the delightful garniture of spring. Above and around me was winter in its dreariest forms and most desolate aspect, while at my feet, and almost within my reach, the earth was green with herbage, the branches fringed with verdure and fragrant with blossoms. I felt my vigor renewed by the prospect, and seemed to breathe a softer air and inhale a balmier influence as I descended towards the land of promise. Italy ( what a charm in the very name!) the land of a thousand ennobling recollections, theme of my most delightful studies, scope of my fondest aspirations, was now before me, fair as if painted by fancy, lovely as if pictured in a dream. I could not restrain my impatience, and besought my guides to hasten our steps, and if practicable curtail our route. They accordingly conducted me through a rugged path, sometimes formed by the bed of an exhausted torrent, at others following the declivity of a shelving rock, down which we glided with rapid step. I no longer observed the scenes around. My eyes were bent only before and beneath ; every other feeling was absorbed by the avidity with which I hastened forward.
We at length reached the foot of the mountain and soon approached a village, when the first object that saluted my view was a religious procession. The fair train of peasant girls arrayed in white and decked with flowers, the holy insignia borne aloft, the solemn chaunt of the priests in the early calm of twilight, combined to produce an impression that was as pleasing as it was in harmony with my feelings. Passing on we did not arrive at the town of Susa until the shades of evening had fallen around. As we entered the suburbs my attention was arrested by a friar, clothed in a robe of dark serge, girt with a cord, his feet shod with sandals, and bearing in his hands a missal. His person was tall, his air dignified, his countenance calm and devout, and his whole aspect saintly and venerable. I had never before seen a monk, and I therefore gazed upon him with a mixture of curiosity and awe. The beauty of the country, the balmy softness of the air, the accents that fell upon the ear, and still more the solemn chaunt, the procession, and the dark-robed Franciscan, made me fcel that I was indeed in Italy. Having parted from my faithful companions, I need not say how welcome was repose after a pedestrian journey, such as I have described, of from twenty to twenty-five miles, the distance from Lanslebourg to Susa.
“Draw aside the canvass, Lascelles. Let me gaze once more upon that lovely scene.”
The words were spoken in a faltering voice, by a young mar stretched upon a camp-bed in one of those small but elegant tents, which the ingenuity of sutlers have adapted so admirably, in lightness and convenience, to the rapid movements of modern warfare; and were addressed to one in the undress uniform of a British officer, who stood or rather leaned against the bed, his arms folded upon his breast in an attitude of thoughtful melancholy. One other individual whose equipment betokened high regimental rank, sat upon a chest near his head, and watched in silence, but with strong interest, the countenance of the invalid, to which, perhaps, the pale and fitful light of a small lamp beside him lent an expression of more deep-seated anguish than he felt. The military surgeon leaned over him, his fingers professionally resting upon the pulse, and his features betraying an anxiety he was half unable to conceal, from the weak and languid motion they encountered. There was a solemnity in the silence of the group, which was deepened by the interest with which all listened to the simple request of the patient; and to those who know the obtuseness which in a time of war is created by mere frequency of occasion towards the wounded, even in the most tender, there was something touching in the alacrity with which the two officers went stealthily forward; and each lifted a corner of the drapery which shut out the landscape from the view of their unfortunate young comrade. The surgeon assisted him as he raised himself in the bed and leaned upon his hand, gazing out upon the scene with a deep, quiel satisfaction which was visibly expressed in his pale features.
The scene was indeed lovely. The breezeless silence of that enchanting midnight which in these latitudes has been described by all travellers as unsurpassed for beauty, was broken along the banks of the Patuxent by the dull and heavy hum of a numerous army in repose, the waveless expanse of the moonlit river was covered with stately ships, and in the dim distance to which the glittering waters stretched, the tall frigate and the lighter transporl cast their dark shadows on its bosom. Far, far along the deep indentations which formed the shore, the white tent and the rude sheiling disclosed in the rich moonlight the resting places of battalions resigned to the complete enjoyment of that unsuspected security in which large bodies are apt to indulge. The tread of the sentinel, his long repeated call, with the occasional dipping of oars as the boats
passed silently to and from the ships, were the only and the fitting sounds that broke the silence of a scene, which, now for perhaps the first time since its creation, had the magnificent loveliness of nature aided in its effect by the most imposing array which man in his power could present.
The influence of the hour and the scene sunk deep into the souls of the litile group in the tent, for the silence of their
rendered more oppressive the heavy and mortal breathings of the interesting young invalid whom they attended.
His situation, indeed, tinged the splendor of that midnight prospect with a melancholy, to which every individual in the circle seemed willing to resign himself. They formed part of one of the finest armies which had ever left the shores of England; and whn, fresh from the triumph of conquering the soldiers who had vanquished Europe, saw themselves now about to enter upon a new and far from congenial warfare, with an enemy allied to them all by language, and te many of them by tenderer ties of kindred and affection,-whose defeat could hardly bring any glory to the dethroners of Napoleon, but whose former history, as associated with themselves, had brought to that very army their bitterest recollections of humiliation and disgrace. Tales of the unerring fatality of the American marksmen, and of the uncompromising hostility with which they regarded their invaders, were rife and hereditary, in the British army-and the fate of the very first reconnoitering party, after they effected their landing, gave a convincing substantiation to such reports, which was sensibly felt by all to whom it was known. Charles Selby, a lieutenant attached to one of the light companies, and universally beloved throughout the regiment for his kind-hearted and generous disposition, had in the natural enthusiasm of youth and curiosity, shortly after they had landed, headed a few of his men, and ventured forward to explore the recesses of the American woods. No enemy was seen, no danger apprehended; but ere they proceeded far, one solitary shot rang through the forest stillness, and the instant fall of the gallant young officer proclaimed how fatally it had told. No other shot was fired,--nor could any exertions of the infuriated men discover the foe ; and they had nothing left them but the dispiriting task of bearing back their dying leader to their quarters—and of reporting, with every accompaniment of imagination, among their comrades, how mysteriously and how unaccountably he had fallen.
Among his own immediate friends there was something far more affecting than ordinary sympathy, felt for the untimely fate of their comrade. That evening all the regimental officers in the army had, in observance of a previous arrangement, agreed to celebrate their Janding by festal parties, which in the regiment of young Selby alone was prevented by the fatal and unexpected casualty which had prostrated one who had ever been the most joyous and most beloved
among such companies; and in the melancholy which all felt as they crowded to testify their regret, they seemed to estimate his fate as but an earnest of their own.
After a time, as the night advanced, the tent was gradually deserted by all save the attached friend to whom the words with which we have opened our narrative were addressed. From their first acquaintance in the regiment, the intimacy of the two had been close and affectionate. Lascelles, a member of one of the first families in England, was generous as high-born, and shared bis interest and his affections with the less fortunate, but more gifted Selby, who had joined the regiment in Spain, and was known to be the only son of a reduced, but ancient family in Ireland. Now, both felt as if they were enjoying the last of many pleasant interviews; and Lascelles experienced all the melancholy consciousness that in his cherished friend the lamp of life was now trembling to its extinction. He had sat himself down beside the bed, and with the already clammy hand of his friend pressed closely within his own, he gazed in silence upon his features, settling into that expression which never relaxes. The wounded officer seemed to feel the full danger of his situation, as he fixed his eyes with a painful effort upon the deeply affected countenance of
his companion, and said in a tone, where almost inaudible weakness • was yet tinctured with the last earnestness of life:
“Lascelles, my fate is sealed, but before I leave the world, there is one thing would make my passage easier to the tomb.” He was only answered by a closer pressure of the hand. He continued, “ Take this locket from my neck.”
His friend gently disengaged a small miniature portrait from its gold chain, and took it in his hand.
“ It is the likeness of my sister," he added with strong emotion, as he observed the other gazing at the picture with some curiosity. “ You knew not until now of her existence—but seek her for me, and tell her from her brother, that he wore that next to his heart ever since he parted from her. She will find his likeness she most loved, painted on the reverse.”
“Ah, Selby!” returned his friend, in a tone of that tender reproach which at such a moment friendship only could assume; “why did you reserve until such a bitter time the knowledge that you had a sister?”
“My mother," answered the dying youth, employing the last failing energy of life to press his friend's hand, as if to entreat his forgiveness, and to convince bim that lack of confidence was not the cause, “my mother has some strange feelings as regards the world, and it was by her injunction that I never mentioned any particulars of my family. Obedience to her prejudices preserved the unimportant secret until now—but when life is so near its ebb, I have nothing to withhold, and no fear of my confidence being misplaced."
“You need not-it shall not,” said his friend so softened by his warmth, that the tears dropt hot and fast upon the hand he still retained in his. “Your sister, and your mother too, will find in me a brother and a protector."
“ Thank you! thank you, dearest Lascelles !” the expiring and gratified youth found strength to say, in tones faltering between agony and emotion; “your kindness smoothes the anguish of this dying bed—and I feel I can leave the world with less regret.”
As he spoke, he leaned back upon the rude pillow, overcome by the exertion. There was a fulness of feeling in the heart of Lascelles, too deep to permit his breaking the silence that ensuedand both found occupation for their thoughts in gazing through the open tent upon a purer and a brighter sky than either had ever seen before. The full pearl-like moon, not such as they had been accustomed to, but large and dazzingly bright, held her stately march in heaven. That one solitary star which seems dearer and more radiant than all the rest, from its apparent contiguity, to the queen of night, had, while the same sympathy fixed the attention of each friend upon the object, its light obscured by a long curtain of cloud which passed slowly over its disc—while every other orb in the sky, untouched by the mist, still shone on undimmed and lovely as
Life in the young officer was fast retiring to its source, but consciousness was still awake, he directed his friend's attention to the sky, and while both gazed upon what at that moment was a touching phenomenon, the spirit of the early called had taken its flight; and like the curtained light of that emblematic star, the lamp of his young and warm life had ceased to glow ;-but unlike it, had gone for ever.
For a few minutes, the dead silence of the grave was in the lovely tent. The young officer remained motionless and abstracted. His eyes were fixed upon the beautiful likeness of the sister thus aw. fully bereaved; but the hand of the living clasped in that of the dead, might have seemed to pledge a bond of protection, scarcely less sacred, and more delicate, than that of which she had been deprived.
It is not in the camp that such scenes can continue long, or leave a deep impression. Under no circumstances, however, could such
one occur without searing a life-long trace upon the heart,—and when Lascelles rose up on the arrival of the surgeon, though the few usual words which might have been expected upon such an occasion were interchanged, yet the expression of his features as he hurriedly concealed the miniature, indicated that settled and wordless grief which exists only in the soul.
A few hours, ere yet the morning had dawned, saw the body of young Selby borne to his lonely and foreign grave, with all those