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seemed to quiver, and the thin nostril to dilate, but the light and shade varied and I saw by what I had been deceived ; again I fancied, that the airy drapery trembled as the breast throbbed with some secret emotion, but it was only an illusion and I smiled at my own foolishness.
But there was a strange fascination in that full, deep and lustrous eye which I could not resist. It looked fixedly at me with a steadiness that seemed to read my very soul; I tried to oppose its influence, but the effort was useless. The more I persuaded myself that it was a painting, the more I was convinced that it was a reality. No artist could have imparted that burning, searching gaze to a senseless and inanimate canvass. I felt that it was a LIVING EYE.
My nerves shook as with an electric shock when I distinctly saw the long lashes move; the lips slightly part, and the whole features assume a quiet and pleasant smile. "'T is only a strange dream,' I murmured, * why cannot I shake it off,' but the charm still continued and the lady smiled yet more sweetly again.
How long this continued I do not know, my agitation and excitement were so great, that it seemed to me countless hours. The drapery at length nestled; the picture descended from the heavy frame and stood erect before me. I was paralyzed with fear, but still I was entranced with the loveliness of the object which caused it. I tried to speak, but my tongue refused utterance, my power of volition was gone, and I surrendered myself to the influence of the enchantress. She approached toward me. Her features wore a look of commanding firmness, and placing a finger upon her lip, she motioned to me to rise. Incapable of resistance, I mechanically obeyed. What her purpose was, or for what I was to be employed, I could not conceive. Not a word had been spoken, and I felt that by disturbing the silence, some terrible consequence would ensue. I would have broken the charm which bound
agony that I suffered was inexpressible, but the influence which was over me was not mortal, and I was as powerless as the fledgling when in the fascination of the
serpent. She turned toward the wall and cautiously tapped it thrice. A door swung heavily open and disclosed a dark and loathsome vault. She fixed upon me one of her indescribable glances and sprang lightly upon the threshold, I followed her while the cold perspiration covered me with a clammy dampness and my hair bristled with superstitious fear; the door closed upon me, and in profound darkness I groped my way down a narrow stair-case. We descended till we came to the very foundations of the castle. A door admitted us into a dark and narrow passage built of solid masonry, and cold and chilling from the damp and confined atmosphere. The lady stopped at the entrance, and lighting a blazing torch, raised it above her head and carried it rapidly before her. I now saw with horror the place that I was in. Low vaults were on either side, closed with heavy iron doors, which swung back with a mournful creak as the glare of the torch fell upon
their ponderous padlocks, but the instant that we passed them they closed again with a deafening clang which echoed and reëchoed, till the senses were stunned with the sharpness of the peals. The lady fearlessly proceeded by these repositories of the dead, waving occasionally her torch in
me, for the
triumph, as a grim skeleton started from his deathly slumber, and smiling as sweetly as if she was receiving the less terrible homage of the living. We turned a sharp angle at the end of the corridor and came to the foot of a pile of rude steps built around a massive stone pillar which supported the masonry above. The lady extinguished her torch, when instantly the ceiling opened, and we ascended until we gained the upper floor ; the light of the apartment was so intense that for a moment I could not distinguish a single object, so sudden had been the change from almost impenetrable darkness to blazing brilliancy. It was not until I had followed my mysterious conductress to the middle of the room, which I did by an irresistible impulse, that I was enabled to look around me. I WAS IN THE SECRET CHAPEL. A glare, brighter than the sun at noon-day, filled the whole chamber, but from whence it proceeded I could not tell. The whole air seemed to be luminous, and every object seemed to irradiate light. Fluted pillars surmounted by caps of elaborate workmanship, supported the arches of the ceiling. High arched windows with panes of the richest hues, reflected the light in a thousand mingled shades and colorings upon the tastefully tesselated floor. Images of angels with wings outspread, held in one hand chaplets of roses and laurel, and in the other, the ends of burnished rods, over which drooped in graceful folds golden fringed drapery of crimson and purple. Statues of saints stood in solemn attitudes in the niches of the wall, and from blazing censers raised on lofty pedestals, rolled out colored clouds of intoxicating perfumes. The chancel and the altar were raised above the floor
which I stood, and were furnished with magnificent decorations. A picture of the Saviour on the cross with the crown of thorns plaited upon his bleeding brow and the nails in his extended limbs, was suspended above the sacred receptacle for the host. The Madonna was kneeling at his feet, with arms extended, and her face averted in expressive agony, while the earth around appeared to be in the convulsive throes of nature, and the graves seemed to be giving forth their dead. I looked about me and was bewildered; thought and reason were gone, and
my head whirled in dizzy amazement. The whole scene was in an instant burned into my memory and branded indelibly into my brain.
More inexpressibly lovely, than any thing upon which eye ever rested, was the mysterious lady as she gently took the band of pearls from her forehead; threw back the clustering curls upon her shoulders and kneeling, bowed to the Holy Virgin. She rose, and the sound of music as if from a thousand golden harps, sweeter than the dying echo of the nightingale's song, and more melodious than the hushed whispers of angels trembled upon the air. The strains ceased, and from the altar blazed a ring of fire of a brilliant crimson hue. The same sweet smile sparkled from her eye and played upon her features, as the lady placed herself by my side, and extending her bared arm, pointed toward the altar.
My trepidation was vanished; a wild exhilaration fired my blood and coursed furiously through my veins. Fearless and determined, I sprang upon the marble steps and stood upon the chancel. Within the circle of fire I saw a roll of parchment, around which the flames were playing with devouring fury. A sudden impulse directed me to seize it. My hand grasped it, but the fire hissed and scorched my flesh. Again I made the attempt, but the instant that I grasped the roll the building shook from its foundations, wild, unearthly shrieks filled the air, and above the confusion tolled the solemn tones of the castle bell. The flame rose higher as it fed itself upon my wrist. Exhausted and excruciated with pain, I drew back from the altar. The shrieks ceased, but a wail more piercing than that of the mother over the bier of her first-born, more touching than the cry of the robin for the loss of her nestlings, struck upon my ear.
I turned; but that face of unearthly agony is still before me now! Nerved to desperation, I sprang forward, snatched with one powerful effort the parchment from the flame, and bore it triumphantly to the lady. Breathlessly she grasped it, and rent it into a thousand strips. Again the bright light filled the room; the lady cast upon me her sweetest smile of gratitude, and countless harmonious voices, in a joyful chant, burst forth into one united peal :
Hall to thee, lady!
Hail to thee, lady!
Lo! see the bright token!
Hail to thee, lady!
Hail to thee, lady!
As the last words echoed from the vaulted arches, the light of the apartment changed to a delicate crimson tint, as soft and as beautiful as if refined through windows of rubies, and a flaming ball of dazzling brightness fell upon the altar. Innumerable fairy beings, with shining harps in their hands and with jewelled crowns upon their brows, suddenly appeared and made an obeisance to the lady. Surrounding me then with their airy forms, they struck their harps in unison, and lulled my senses with their soft, soothing melody. The lady, too, passed her hands over my scorched flesh; the pain vanished, and it was as unscathed as the other.
Overcome with the excitement which I had experienced and the mysteries which I had seen, I sank down exhausted on the floor, when I felt myself gently raised and transported back to my chamber. I opened my eyes, and endeavored to inquire the meaning of all that I had seen; but the lady, whose face was now lighted with a smile like that which angels wear, spread over me a cloud of odorous incense; a sweet sleep stole softly upon me, and I slumbered till long after the sun had broken through the opened casement and gambolled on the floor.
I found the family waiting for me when I descended to the old parlor, and to the usual inquiries as to how I had slept I gave an evasive answer, regarding my adventure as too sacred to be idịy related.
As for me,' said my friend, who stood rubbing his eyes and bathing his forehead with camphor, • I shall learn wisdom by dear-bought experience! I took too hearty a supper last night, and I fear drank a goblet too much; for I tossed and tumbled during the whole night, and this morning I have a headache, which reminds me of the good resolution I have broken since the last meeting of the Burschenshaften.' Providence, (R. I.,) May, 1850.
Tell me, Oh Myrson, what is the one season
It ill becomes us, frail and erring mortals,
JAMES GILBORN LIONS,
What hast thou done, vain youth! that wind-winged Fame
Should stoop her heavenly flight to write thy story?
Of Pitt had touched the zenith of its glory:
That fiery soul, so full of noble rage,
O CHATTERTON! how weak in tender age!
Beneath a feeble burden of the years
BODDLE BAK, THE BEAR-T A MER.
Away on the mountains, in the midst of which the Delaware takes its rise, there lived, more than an hundred years ago, a strange mortal called Boddlebak, the Bear-Tamer. A great many stories have been told of this wonderful personage, in which the marvellous has been unsparingly dealt out, for he has grown to be the evil-genius of his neighborhood; and broad-shouldered indeed must be the unlucky individual who acquires so distinguished a reputation. Among these stories, however, the one I am about to relate is that which is best entitled to implicit credence, having been handed down from the first settler on the mountains, the trustworthy Nicholas Braw.
Nicholas was the son of a boatman, who had spent his days quietly on the Hudson, and having inherited at his father's demise an enormous property, consisting of some fifty sovereigns in yellow gold, he deposited the same in a corner of his round cloth cap, within its tough brown lining, and fastening this valuable coronet on his head in a secure and
permanent manner, started forth one morning to seek his fortune where perhaps no human foot save that of the savage
had ever before trodden. He was a brave looking fellow, a little given to dreaming at eventide, when the stars began to shine, at which time he would lie stretched upon the ground, looking steadily at some remote world, as though that were the nucleus around which clustered all the air-built castles of his wandering fancy.
After sojourning for a week among the mountains westward of the Hudson, with no other protection against emergencies than a huge horse-pistol, which was suspended at his side, and no food save a little