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cheek, like the first violet tint of a morning cloud, were all that told he had not yet passed “the dark day of nothingness.”
The twelfth evening of our absence from land was the most beautiful I had ever known, and I persuaded the girl to go for a short time upon deck, that her own fevered brow might be fanned by the twilight breeze. The sun had gone down in glory, and the traces of his blood-red setting, were still visible upon the western waters. Slowly, but brilliantly, the many stars were gathering themselves together above, and another sky swelled out in softened beauty beneath, and the foam upon the crests of the waves were lighted up
like wreaths of snow. There was music in every wave, and its wild, sweet tones came floating down from the fluttering pennon above us, like the sound of a gentle wind amid a cypress grove.
But neither music nor beauty had a spell for the heart of my little friend. I talked to her of the glories of the sky and sea—I pointed to her the star on which she had always loved to look—but her only answer was a sigh—and I returned with her to the bedside of her brother. I perceived instantly that he
was dying. There was no visible struggle—but the film was creeping over his eye, and the hectic flush of his cheek was fast deepening into purple. I know not whether, at first, his sister perceived the change in his appearance; she took her seat at his side, pressed his pale lips to her own, and then, as usual, let her melancholy eye rest fixedly upon his countenance.
Suddenly his looks brightened for a moment, and he spoke his sister's name. She replied with a passionate caress, and looked up to my face as if to implore encouragement. I knew that her hopes were but a mockery. A moment more, and a convulsive quiver passed over the lips of the dying boy—a slight shudder ran through his frame—and all was still. The girl knew, as if intuitively, that her brother was dead. She sat in tearless silence—but I saw that the waters of bitterness were gathering fearfully at their fountain. At last she raised her hands with a sudden effort, and pressing them upon her forehead, wept with the uncontrollable agony of despair.
On the next day the corse of the dead boy was committed to the waves. The little girl knew that it must be so, but she strove to drive the thought
away, as if it had been an unreal and terrible vision. When the appointed hour was at hand, she came and begged me, with a tone that seemed less like a human voice than the low cadence of a disembodied and melancholy spirit, to go and look upon her brother and see if he was indeed dead.
I could not resist her entreaties, but went with her to gaze upon the sleeping dust, to which all the tendrils of her life seemed bound. She paused by the bedside, and I almost deemed that her very existence would pass off in that long, fixed gaze. She moved not—she spoke not—till the form she loved was taken away to be let down into the ocean. Then indeed she arose, and followed her lifeless brother, with a calmness that might have been from heaven. The body sunk slowly and solemnly beneath the waves; a few long, bright ringlets streamed out upon the waters, a single white and beautiful glimpse came up through the glancing billows, and all that had once been joy and beauty, vanished for ever.
During the short residue of our voyage, the bereaved sister seemed fading away, and beautiful as a cloud in a summer zenith. Her heart had lost its communion
with nature, and she would look down into the sea, and murmur incoherently of its cold and solitary depths, and call her brother's name, and then weep herself into calmness.
Soon afterward I left her with her friends. I know not whether she is still a blossom of the earth, or whether she has long since gone to be nurtured in a holier realm. But I love the memory of that beautiful and stricken one. Her loveliness, her innocence, and her deep and holy feelings, still come back to me in their glory and quietude, like a rainbow, or a summer cloud, that has showered and passed off for ever.
WRITTEN AS A TRIBUTE OF A FRIEND, TO THE MEMORY OF A
SWEET LITTLE GIRL.
HEN last I heard thy dulcet voice,
Sweet child of mirth and song,
With thee might yet be long:
When I should o'er thee weep,
His lasting vigils keep.
I've seen thee in thy joyous hours,
Like some fair spirit glide-
While musing at my side:
A grace and sweetness shone