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knowledge of the classics, and imbued it with the deepest admiration of their beauties; but he did not apply himself to correct the wild tissue of absurd and superstitions notions, which an accurate observer must have detected in my bosom, or the greedy taste for fiction, and nervous sensibility, of which I myself perceived and lamented the excess. Ever since I could walk, I had been under the superintendence of an old nurse attached to the family, whose memory, like that of most of her countrywomen, was well stored with legend and tradition, and who had secretly acquired an absolute authority over me. While I was a mere child, she used to frighten me into obedience, if refractory, by threats of supernatural interference, and sometimes by devices of so horrible and extraordinary a nature, that I can hardly now recollect them without a shudder. The earnestness and emphasis, moreover, with which she told me tales in which she more than half believed, gave her gradually an entire dominion over my fears and fancy, which she could rouse and regulate at will. Even after I had emerged from the nursery, it used to be my great delight to steal to her apartment in the evening, and sit listening for hours to her ghostly narratives, till my knees shook, and every nerve in my body trembled, in the agitation and over-excitement she produced. It was then almost too much for my courage to hurry through the long passage, lighted by a single central lamp, to the library in our gothic mansion; and there, when I entered breathless and with a beating heart, I used to find my mother alone, weeping over the correspondence of my poor father in silence, and yielding to the sorrow that finally bowed her to the grave. My sole amusement every night, while thus sitting in the room with her (for we saw no company at all), was in poring with a perpetuallyincreasing interest, over all that could most tend to nourish the deleterious passion of my soul. My mother was too much absorbed in her own recollections to pay much attention to my employments or my studies; and her own mind was too much weakened by affliction to have suggested any salutary restoratives for mine.

The agonies I felt at my beloved parent's death, and for many a wake

ful night after she was committed to the tomb, are too sacred to my remembrance, to be even now unravelled. I shortly after came of age, and one of the first acts of my majority was a visit to Paris, during the short interval of war afforded by the peace of Amiens, in the hopes of alleviating my anguish. Here indeed I saw something of life; but I was too reserved to enter into intimacy with any of those to whose acquaintance my guardians introduced me. Proud, shy, and sensitive, I was fearful of their penetrating into the weaknesses of my character, which I felt were far from harmonizing with the general opinions of mankind; and I fancy they perceived something unfashionably cold and sombre about me, which mutually prevented our knowledge of each other. To the value of even your friendship, my dear S-, I was then insensible, but you cannot say I have remained so.

In one of my lonely rambles about the wonderful and interesting capital I was now visiting, I joined a crowd of twenty or thirty persons, waiting at the outer door that leads to the upper entrance of the Catacombs. I had heard of these extraordinary vaults, but not having passed before the Barriere d'Enfer, I had not inspected them in person. Though I could not help conjecturing that a subterraneous cemetery, where the relics of ten centuries reposed, must be a sight too congenial with the morbid temper of my mind, I had no notion of the actual horrors of that mansion for the dead, or in my then distempered state of feeling, I should not have trusted my nerves with the spectacle to be expected. How will the curious tourist of the present day smile as he peruses this confession, if you give my story to the public!--but a few perhaps will understand and pity what were my follies. As it was, I provided myself, like the rest, with a waxen taper, and we waited with impatience for the appearance of the guide from below, with the party that had preceded us. It was about three o'clock of a sultry afternoon, and we were detained so long, that when the door opened at last, we all rushed in, and hurried old Jerome to the task of conducting us, without giving him time for the necessary precaution of counting our number. I was an utter stranger to

all present, and felt at first, as if I should have wished to view the sight, towards which we hurried our conductor, with him alone, or at least with fewer and less vociferous companions but when we had descended many steps into the bowels of the earth, and the cold air from the dwellings of mortality smote my brow, I owned a sensible relief from the presence of the living around me, and was cheered by the sound of their various exclamations. Even with these accompaniments, however, it was with more than astonishment that I gazed upon the opening scene, and ever and anon, wrapped up in my thoughts, I anticipated with secret forebodings, the horrors I was doomed to undergo.

It would be superfluous to describe what has been described so often, yet none can have received, from a survey of the catacombs, such impressions as my mind was prepared to admit; and few can have retained so vivid and distinct a picture of their appearance, as has been branded on my soul in characters not to be effaced. Alas! I entered them with little of that fine exalting spirit so divinely eulogized by Virgil, in the motto that is inscribed upon their walls:

"Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, Atque metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis

avari!"

The interminable rows of bare and blackening skulls-the masses interposed of gaunt and rotting bones, that once gave strength and symmetry to the young, the beautiful, the brave, now mildewed by the damp of the cavern, and heaped together in indiscriminate arrangement-the faint mouldering and deathlike smell that pervaded these gloomy labyrinths, and the long recesses in the low-roofed rock, to which I dared not turn my eyes except by short and fitful glances, as if expecting something terrible and ghastly to start from the indistinctness of their distance,-all had associations for my thoughts very different from the solemn and edifying sentiments they must rouse in a well regulated breast, and, by degrees, I yielded up every faculty to the influence of an ill-defined and mysterious alarm. My eyesight waxed gradually dull to all but the fleshless skulls that were glaring in the yellow light of the tapers the hum of human voices was stifled

in my ears, and I thought myself alone, already with the dead. The guide thrust the light he carried into a huge skull that was lying separate in a niche; but I marked not the action or the man, but only the fearful glimmering of the transparent bone, which I thought a smile of triumphant malice from the presiding spectre of the place, while imagined accents whispered, in my hearing, "Welcome to our charnel-house, for THIS shall be your chamber!" Dizzy with indescribable emotions, I felt nothing but a painful sense of oppression from the presence of others, as if I could not breathe for the black shapes that were crowding near me; and turning unperceived, down a long and gloomy passage of the catacombs, I rushed as far as I could penetrate, to feed in solitude the growing appetite for horror, that had quelled for the moment, in my bosom, the sense of fear, and even the feeling of identity. To the rapid whirl of various sensations that had bewildered me ever since I left the light of day, a season of intense abstraction now succeeded. I held my burning eyeballs full upon the skulls in front, till they almost seemed to answer my fixed regard, and claim a dreadful fellowship with the being that beheld them. How long I stood motionless in this condition I know not-my taper was calculated to last a considerable time, and I was wakened from my trance by the scorching heat of it's expiring in my hand. Still insensible of what I was about, I threw it to the ground; and gleaming once more, as if to shew the darkness and solitude to which I was consigned, it was speedily extinguished.

But, by the strong impression on my brain, the whole scene remained distinct; and it was not for some time that my fit of abstraction passed away, and the horrific conviction came upon me, that I was left deserted, as I fancied in my first confusion, by faithless friends, and abandoned to the mercy of a thousand demons. All the ideal terrors I had cherished from my childhood, exalted to temporary madness by the sense and certainty of the horrid objects that surrounded me, rushed at once upon my soul; and in an agony of impatient consternation, I screamed and shouted, loud and long, for assistance. Not an answer was returned, but the dreary echoes of this dreadful tomb. I saw that my cries

for succour were hopeless and in vain, and my voice failed me for very fear my jaws were fixed and open, my palate dry-a cold sweat distilled from every pore, and my limbs were chill and powerless as death. Their vigour at length revived, and I rushed in a delirium through the passages, struggling through their various windings to retrace my path, and plunged at every step in more inextricable error, till, running with the speed of light ning along one of the longest corridors, I came with violence in full and loathsome contact with the skeleton relics at the end. The shock was like fire to my brain-I wept tears of rage and despair; and thrusting my fingers in the sockets of the empty skulls, to wrench them from the wall, I clutched their bony edges till the blood sprung from my lacerated hand. In short, I cannot paint to you the extravagancies I acted, or the wild alternation of my feelings that endured for many hours. Sometimes excited to phrenzy, I imagined I know not what of horrid and appalling, and saw, with preternatural acuteness, through the darkness as clear as noon,--while grisly visages seemed glaring on me near, and a red and bloody haze enveloped the more fearful distance. Then, when reason was on the point of going, an interval of terrible collection would succeed. I felt in my very soul how I was left alone-perhaps not to be discovered, at any rate for what appeared to me an endless period, in which I should perhaps expire of terror, and I longed for deep deep sleep, or to be as cold and insensate as the things around me. I tried to recollect the courage, that only on one point had ever failed me, but judgment missed her stays, and the whispers of the subterraneous wind, or the stealthy noises I seemed to hear in concert with the audible beatings of my heart, overcame me irresistibly. Sometimes I thought I could feel silence palpable, like a soft mantle on my ear-I figured dreadful hands within a hair-breadth of my body, ready to tear me if I stirred, and in desperation flung myself upon the ground. Then would I creep close to the mouldering fragments at the bottom of the wall, and try to dig with my nails, from the hard rock, something to cover me. Oh! how I longed for a cloak to wrap and hide me, though it had been my mother's wind

ing-sheet, or a grave-flannel animate with worms. I buried my head in the skirts of my coat and prayed for slumber; but a fearful train of images forced me again to rise and stumble on, shivering in frame with unearthly cold, and yet internally fevered with a tumult of agonizing thoughts. Any one must have suffered somewhat in such a situation; but no one's sufferings could resemble mine, unless he carried to the scene a mind so hideously prepared. Part of these awful excavations are said to have been once haunted by banditti; but I had no fears of them, and should have swooned with transport to have come upon their fires at one of the turnings in the rock, though my appearance had been, the instant signal for their daggers.

In my wanderings I recovered for a moment the path taken by the guides, and found myself in a sort of cell within the rock, where particular specimens of mortality were preserved. My arm rested on the table, where two or three loosened skulls, and a thigh-bone of extravagant dimensions, were lying, and a new fit of madness seized me. My heart beat with redoubled violence, while I brandished the enormous bone, and hoarsely called for its original possessor to come in all the terrors of the grave, and there would I wrestle with him for the relic. of his own miserable carcase. I struck repeatedly, and hard, the hollowsounding sides of the cell, shouting my defiance; then throwing myself with violence towards the opening, I missed my balance, and, snatching at the wall round the corner to save myself, I jammed my hand in an aperture among the bones, and fancied that the grisly adversary I invoked had grasped my arm in answer to my challenge. My shrieks of agony rang through the caverns, and, stagggering back into the cell, I fell upon my face, hardly daring to respire, and expecting unimagined horrors or speedy dissolution.

How my feelings varied for a space of time, I know not; but sleep insensibly fell upon me. In my dream, I did not seem to change the scene, but still reclining in the cell, I fancied the skulls upon the wall the same in number, but magnified to a terrific size, with black jetty eyes imbedded in their naked sockets, and rivetted with malicious earnestness on me. A dim rc

cess seemed opened beyond one side of the cell, and each spectral eye turning with a sidelong glance towards it, drew mine the same direction by an uncontrollable fascination. Still appearing to gaze determinedly upon them, I had power, as I dreamed, to obey their impulse simultaneously, and to perceive a dreadful figure, black, bony, and skull-headed, with similar terrific eyes, whom they seemed to hail as their minister of cruelty, while with slow and silent paces, it drew near to clasp me in its hideous arms. Closer and closer it advanced,-but, thanks and praise to the all-gracious Fower that stills the tempests of the soul!the limit of suffering was reached, and the force of terror was exhausted. My nerves, so long weak, and prone to agitation, were recovered, by the overviolence of their momentum,-and, instead of losing reason in the shock, or waking in the extremity of fear, the vision was suddenly changed,the scenery of horror melted into light, and a calm and joyful serenity took possession of my bosom. My animal powers must have been nearly worn out, for long-long I slept in this delightful tranquillity,-and when I wakened, it was, for the first time of my life, in a peaceful and healthy state of mind, unfettered, and released for ever from all that had enfeebled and debased my nature. I had passed in that celestial sleep from death to life, from the dreams of weakness, and lapses of insanity, to the full use and animation of my faculties,-and I felt as if a cemented load had broken and crumbled off my soul, and left me fearless and serene. I was never happy,I was never worthy the stile of Man till then ; and, as I lay, I faultered out my thanks in ecstasy to Heaven, for all that had befallen me.

My limbs were numbed by the cold and damp of the floor on which I had been lying; but, rising from it, a new being in all that is essential to existence, I entered the passage, and walked briskly up and down, to recover the play and vigour of my frame. I found the thigh-bone on the ground where I had dropped it, and no longer tortured by the fears that were gone for ever, replaced it quietly in its former situation. I kept near the entrance of the cell, that the first guide who descended might not miss me; and it could not be more than two hours, before Jerome, whose hair stood on end

when he heard where I had passed the night, came down with an early party of visitors, and freed me from my dungeon.-There was no straggling among the company for that day.

You well know, my dear friend, what have been my habits and employments since that night; and I could summon you with confidence, to give your testimony, that few persons are now less slaves of superstitious terror than myself. By a strange and singular anomaly of circumstances, the wild fancies I had imbibed in the free air of my native hills, and among the cheerful scenes of romantic nature, I unlearned in the dreary catacombs of Paris. If I still am fanciful, you will not charge me with extravagance; if I still have sensibility, I trust it does not verge on weakness;-and, as I have proved my personal courage on more than a single trial, I may be allowed to smile, when I hear in future some boisterous relater of my narrative. condemn me for a coward. E. Place R, Sept. 1818.

SELECTIONS FROM ATHENÆUS. No II.

con

"HOMER," adds our author, sidered temperance as the virtue which best becomes young men, and from which they were likely to draw the greatest benefit. He therefore never fails to inspire them with the love of it, in order to rouse them to the performance of great and good actions, to excite a desire of excellence, and that species of benevolence which leads to mutual kind and good offices. He constantly represents his heroes as satisfied with the simplest food, dressed in the plainest manner, knowing that a luxurious table led only to sensuality and voluptuousness, and to awaken and set in motion the rebellious passions; whereas frugality and temperance produced good order and moderation in every situation of life. He therefore furnishes all with the same kind of food, to kings and private citizens, to old and young, without variation or preference, always roasted meat, generally beef; at public and private entertainments, at weddings and other festivals, still the same simple fare."

"When Ajax had fought singly against Hector, Agamemnon, as an honourable reward, treats him with a

chine of beef. To old Nestor and Phoenix he likewise presents plain roasted meat. Even Alcinous, who led a voluptuous life, is supplied by the poet with the same plain meals." "The suitors of Penelope, riotous and extravagant as they were, are not represented by Homer as feasting up on fish, or fowls, or delicate pastry. The poet, with great art, avoids those kind of dainties, which, according to Menander, serve only to excite the unruly passions of sensuality and concupiscence. Priam even reproaches his sons for eating things contrary to law, as lambs and kids; for Philochorus reports, that lambs being scarce in Attica, the magistrates of Athens did not allow them to be killed till they had been shorn."

"Nothing can be more simple than the diet and habits of the gods, nectar and ambrosia: no incense, no perfume, no crowns, and mankind only offer to them in sacrifice the firstlings of their flocks."

"After they had satisfied their appetites, they rose from table, and retired to practise athletic games ;-such as wrestling, throwing the disk, and exercising with the lance ;-thus in their very sports preparing themselves for more serious action. Some attended to the minstrels who accompanied the harp, singing the noble deeds and warlike achievements of their ancient heroes. Nor is it to be wondered at, that men thus educated, had both their minds and bodies at all times ready for immediate exertion."

"To shew that a temperate use of wine contributed to health, fortified the body, and rendered the mind more equal to all emergencies, Homer makes Nestor come to the assistance of Machaon, the physician of the Greeks, who was wounded in the right shoulder. He gives him wine, as a preservative against inflammation; Pramnian wine too, which we know to be glutinous and nourishing, not to allay thirst, but to strengthen the body. He therefore advises him to use it often. "Sit," said he, "drink, scrape cheese made of goat's milk into the wine, and then eat an onion to create a still greater desire to drink *.”

I do not see how this example illustrates the position, unless it be considered that the habitual temperance of Machaon gave more efficacy to the wine taken medicinally.

Though in another place the poet says, that wine (taken to excess, I presume) enervates and lessens the bodily strength."

Hecuba, in the same poet, supposing that Hector would spend the remainder of the day at Troy, invites him to drink, to unbend his mind, and to be merry, after the usual libations. Hector refuses; she continues importunate; he leaves her, to go to the field of battle. After some time he returns out of breath, she again invites him to make the usual libations, and to refresh himself with wine: but he, covered with blood, alleges, that it would be the height of impiety for him to comply with her wishes, in that condition.'

"Homer well knew the good and salutary qualities of wine taken in moderation, but justly inveighs against the intemperate use of it.”

"In the simplicity of ancient manners, he represents the women, and even young girls, as bathing and washing the guests. This was not looked upon as indecent or improper; it neither excited nor encouraged wanton or loose desires; it was sanctioned by usage: and thus the daughters of Cocalus* wash Minos when he arrived in Sicily."

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To

censure drunkenness more pointedly, he (Homer) represents the giant Cyclops, when intoxicated, as easily overcome by a very little man. -The companions of Ulysses likewise, are changed into wolves and lions by Circe, because they had abandoned themselves to voluptuousness. Ulysses is preserved, as he prudently attended to the advice of Mercury; but Elpenor, who had drunk to excess, precipitates himself from the top of the palace, and is killed."+

"When the Greeks re-embarked, Homer informs us, that they were intoxicated, and consequently seditious

* Vide Ovid's Metam, b. viii. p. 261.

+ Homer is particularly recommended for the morality of his poems, in epist. i. book 2. epist. ad Lollium Horace. Qui, quid sit pulchrum, quid turpe, quid

utile, quid non Plenius ac melius Chrysippo et Crantore dicit.

Sirenûm voces, et Circes pocula nosti;
Quæ si cum sociis stultas cupidusque bibisset
Sub dominâ meretrice fuisset, turpis, et ex-

cors :

Vixisset canis immundus, vel amica luto

sus

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