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passions themselves, and of their influence on a mind that was ordinarily at peace with mankind. The tale was told simply and without reserve, but in a manner to inspire respect, and to awaken powerful sympathy in him who heard it.
“ . And these feelings thou didst indulge against the honored and powerful of Venice ! demanded the monk, affecting a severity he could not feel.
“ . Before my God do I confess the sin! In bitterness of heart I cursed them; for to me they seemed men without feeling for the poor, and heartless as the marble of their own palaces.'
“Thou knowest that to be forgiven thou must forgive. Dost thou, at peace with all of earth, forget this wrong, and canst thou, in charity with thy fellows, pray to Him who died for the race, in behalf of those who have injured thee ??
“ Antonio bowed his head on his naked breast, and he seemed to commune with his soul.
66 Father,' he said, in a rebuked tone, ' I hope I do
6. Thou must not trifle with thyself to thine own perdition. There is an eye in yon vault above us which pervades space, and which looks into the inmost secrets of the heart. Canst thou pardon the error of the patricians, in a contrite spirit for thine own sins ?
“ • Holy Maria, pray for them, as I now ask mercy in their behalf ! Father, they are forgiven.'
“ The Carmelite arose and stood over the kneeling Antonio, with the whole of his benevolent countenance illuminated by the moon. Stretching his arms towards the stars, he pronounced the absolution in a voice that was touched with pious fervor. The upward expectant eye, with the withered lineaments of the fisherman, and the holy calm of the monk, formed a picture of resignation and hope that angels would have loved to witness.
u Amen! amen! exclaimed Antonio, as he arose, crossing himself. “St. Anthony and the Virgin aid me to keep these resolutions !
6 • I will not forget thee, my son, in the offices of holy church. Receive my benediction, that I may depart.
“ Antonio again bowed his knee, while the Carmelite firmly pronounced the words of peace. When this last office was performed, and a decent interval of mutual but silent prayer had passed, a signal was given to summon the gondola of the state. It came rowing down with great force, and was instantly at their side. Two men passed into the boat of Antonio, and with officious zeal assisted the monk to resume his place in that of the republic.
5. Is the penitent shrived ? half whispered one, seemingly the superior of the two.
“ Here is an error. He thou seek'st has escaped. This aged man is a fisherman named Antonio, and one who cannot have gravely offended St. Mark. The Bravo hath passed towards the island of San Giorgio, and must be sought elsewhere.'
“ The officer released the person of the monk, who passed quickly beneath the canopy, and he turned to cast a hasty glance at the features of the fisherman. The rubbing of a rope was audible, and the anchor of Antonio was lifted by a sudden jerk. A heavy plashing of the water followed, and the two boats shot away together, obedient to a violent effort of the crew. The gondola of the state exhibited its usual number of gondoliers bending to their toil, with its dark and hearse-like canopy, but that of the fisherman was empty.
“The sweep of the oars and the plunge of the body of Antonio had been blended in a common wash of the surge. When the fisherman came to the surface, after his fall, he was alone in the centre of the vast but tranquil sheet of water. There might have been a glimmering of hope, as he rose from the darkness of the sea to the bright beauty of that moon-lit night. But the sleeping domes were too far for human strength, and the gondolas were sweeping madly towards the town. He turned, and swimming feebly, for hunger and previous exertion had undermined his strength, he bent his eye on the dark spot which he had constantly recognised as the boat of the Bravo.
“ Jacopo had not ceased to watch the interview with the utmost intentness of his faculties. Favored by position, he could see without being distinctly visible. He saw the Carmelite pronouncing the absolution, and he witnessed the approach of the larger boat. He heard a plunge heavier than that of falling oars, and he saw the gondola of Antonio towing away empty. The crew of the republic had scarcely swept the Lagunes with their oar-blades, before his own stirred the water.
“ • Jacopo !-Jacopo ! came fearfully and faintly to his ears. " The voice was known, and the occasion thoroughly understood. The cry of distress was succeeded by the rush of the water, as it piled before the beak of the Bravo's gondola. The sound of the parted element was like the sighing of a breeze. Ripples and bubbles were left behind, as the driven scud floats past the stars, and all those muscles which had onee before that day been so finely developed in the race of the gondoliers, were now expanded, seemingly in twofold volumes. Energy and skill were in every stroke, and the dark spot came down the streak of light, like the swallow touching the water with its wing.
“ Hither, Jacopo—thou steerest wide !
“ The beak of the gondola turned, and the glaring eye of the Bravo caught a glimpse of the fisherman's head.
“Quickly, good Jacopo,-) fail ! “ The murmuring of the water again drowned the stified words. The efforts of the oar were phrensied, and at each stroke the light gondola appeared to rise from its element.
«« Jacopo-hither—dear Jacopo !
“ The water gurgled ; an arm was visible in the air, and it disappeared. The gondola drove upon the spot where the limb had just been visible, and a backward stroke, that caused the ashen blade to bend like a reed, laid the trembling boat motionless. The furious action threw the Lagune into ebullition, but, when the foam subsided, it lay calm as the blue and peaceful vault it reflected.
" • Antonio ! burst from the lips of the Bravo.
“ A frightful silence succeeded the call. There was neither answer nor human form. Jacopo compressed the handle of his oar with fingers of iron, and his own breathing caused him to start. On every side he bent a phrensied eye, and on every side he beheld the profound repose of that treacherous element which is so terrible in its wrath. Like the human heart, it seemed to sympathize with the tranquil beauty of the midnight view; but, like the human heart, it kept its own fearful secrets."
This passage is so fine that we must overlook its length : it is necessary to enable us to judge how perfectly Mr. Cooper succeeds in detached parts. The style of this passage is also unexceptionable, and the slight obscurity in the narrative throws a gloom over the scene which serves as the chiaroscuro of the picture.
It is evident from this novel, unsuccessful as it was, that the writer had faculties for writing romances of a more general character than the world at large gave him credit for, and that it only required perseverance to be as successful in this walk of fiction as in the other. If preference for American subjects
determined Mr. Cooper to abandon this path and return to the other, he should not complain of his want of general popularity, but remain content with his fame, which is sufficiently European to satisfy even an ambitious man.
Forest scenery has ever been a favorite with all classes of readers : our boyish associations cling to us till we become the lean and slippered pantaloon. This will account for the delight we receive from those pages of the novelist which dwell on woods, old castles, and the pleasantest side of romantic life. If we all had the courage to speak aloud our thoughts, or our ideal occupations, we should find the world was a mass of madmen ; that is, according to the present test. The maniac is one who speaks and acts, as all of us think and feel. What criminals should we stand forth if our intentions or wishes were realized ? This may appear a hard thing to say of human nature, but it is the truth; and those who reflect the most, and probe their own natures deepest, know this too well sometimes for their peace of mind. Should this view be objected to, let it be borne in mind that it is insisted upon repeatedly in the Holy Scriptures. So with regard to our waking dreams : what a romance of madness, love, hatred, and vanity, is the unspoken life of every man :-unacted certainly in deed, but thoroughly acted in thought; visible not to men, but palpably known to ourselves and God! Ah! even here strongly suspected by the shrewdest of our fellow-creatures ; but there is no direct evidence to convict us before the world.
Is there one of those whose eyes may rest on these pages who cannot bear testimony to the truth of this sketch ? It is