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And when my spirit departs shall the child live-thy child aud mine, Morella's. But thy days shall be days of sorrow—that sor. row which is the most lasting of impressions, as the cypress is the inost enduring of trees. For the hours of thy happiness are over; and joy is not gathered twice in a life, as the roses of Pæstum iwice in a year. Thou shalt no longer, then, play the Teian with time, but, being ignorant of the myrtle and the vine, thou shalt bear about with thee thy shroud on the earth, as do the Moslemin at Mecca."
“Morella!" I cried, “ Morella! how knowest thou this ?"_but she turned away her face upon the pillow, and, a slight tremor coming over her limbs, she thus died, and I heard her voice no more.
Yet, as she had foretold, her child—to which in dying she had given birth, which breathed not until the mother breathed no more-her child, a daughter, lived. And she grew strangely in stature and intellect, and was the perfect resemblance of her who had departed, and I loved her with a love more fervent than I had believed it possible to feel for any denizen of earth.
But, ere long, the heaven of this pure affection became dark. ened, and gloom, and horror, and grief, swept over it in clouds. I said the child grew strangely in stature and intelligence. Strange, indeed, was her rapid increase in bodily size—but terrible, oh! terrible were the tumultuous thoughts which crowded upon me while watching the development of her mental being. Could it be otherwise, when I daily discovered in the conceptions of the child the adult powers and faculties of the woman ?—when the lessons of experience fell from the lips of infancy ? and when the wisdom or the passions of maturity I found hourly gleaming from its full and speculative eye? When, I say, all this became evident to my appalled senses—when I could no longer hide it from my soul, nor throw it off from those perceptions which trembled to receive it—is it to be wondered at that suspicions, of a nature fearful and exciting, crept in upon my spirit, or that my thoughts fell back aghast upon the wild tales and thrilling theuries of the entombed Morella? I snatched from the scrutiny of the world a being whom destiny compelled me to adore, and in the rigorous seclusion of my home, watched with an agonizing anxiety over all which concerned the beloved.
And, as years rolled away, and I gazed, lay after day, upon her holy, and mild, and eloquent face and poured over her maturing form, day after day did I discover new points of resemblance in the child to her mother, the melancholy and the dead. And, hourly, grew darker these shadows of similitude, and more full, and more definite, and more perplexing, and more hideously terrible in their aspect. For that her smile was like her mother's I could bear; but then I shuddered at its too perfect identity—that her eyes were like Morella's I could endure; but then they too often looked down into the depths of my soul with Morella's own intense and bewildering meaning. And in the contour of the high forehead, and in the ringlets of the silken hair, and in the wan fingers which buried themselves therein, and in the sad musical tones of her speech, and above all-oh, above all-in the phrases and expressions of the dead on the lips of the loved and the living, I found food for consuming thought and horror-for a worm that would not die.
Thus passed away two lustra of her life, and, as yet, my daughter remained nameless upon the earth. “My child,” and “my love," were the designations usually prompted by a father's affection, and the rigid seclusion of her days precluded all other intercourse. Morella's name died with her at her death. Of the inother I had never spoken to the daughter ;-it was impossible to speak. Indeed, during the brief period of her existence, the latter had received no impressions from the outward world, save such as might have been afforded by the narrow limits of her privacy. But at length the ceremony of baptism presented to my mind, in its unnerved and agitated condition, a present deliverance froin the terrors of my destiny. And at the baptismal fount I hesitated for a name. And many titles of the wise and beautiful, of old and modern times, of my own and foreign lands, came thronging to my lips, with many, many fair titles of the gentle, and the happy, and the good. What prompted me, then, to disturb the memory of the buried dead? What demon urged me to breathe that sound, which, in its very recollection was wont to make ebb the purple blood in torrents from the temples to the heart? What fiend spoke from the recesses of my soul, when, amid those dim nisles, and in the silence of the night, I whispered within the ears of the holy man the syllables—Morella ? What more than fiend convulsed the features of my child, and overspread them with hues of death, as starting at that scarcely audible sound, she turned her glassy eyes from the earth to heaven, and, falling prostrate on the black slabs of our ancestral vault, responded—“I am here !"
Distinct, coldly, calmly distinct, fell those few simple sounds within my ear, and thence, like moiten lead, rolled hissingly into my brain. Years—years may pass away, but the memory of that epoch-never! Nor was I indeed ignorant of the flowers and the vine—but the hemlock and the cypress overshadowed me night and day. And I kept no reckoning of time or place, and the stars of my fate faded from heaven, and therefore the earth grew dark, and its figures passed by me, like flitting shadows, and among them all I beheld only—Morella. The winds of the firmament breathed but one sound within my ears, and the ripples upon the sea murmured evermore-Morella. But she died; and with my own hands I bore her to the tomb; and I laughed with a long and bitter laugh as I found no traces of the first, in the charnel where I laid the second-Morella.
Pestis eram vivus-moriens tua mors ero.
Horror and fatality have been stalking abroad in all ages. Why then give a date to the story I have to tell ? Let it suffice to say, that at the period of which I speak, there existed, in the interior of Hungary, a settled although hidden belief in the doc trines of the Metempsychosis. Of the doctrines themselves—that is. of their falsity, or of their probability—I say nothing. I assert, however, that much of our incredulity (as La Bruyere says of all our unhappiness) “ vient de ne pouvoir etre seuls."*
But there were some points in the Hungarian superstition which were fast verging to absurdity. They—the Hungarians, differed very essentially from their Eastern authorities. For example. “ The soul," said the former-I give the words of an acute and intelligent Parisian—“ ne demure qu'un seul fois dans un corps sensible : au reste--un cheval, un chien, un homme meme, n'est que la ressemblance peu tangible de ces animaux."
The families of Berlifitzing and Metzengerstein had been at variance for centuries. Never before were two houses so illustrious, mutually embittered by hostility so deadly. The origin of this enmity seems to be found in the words of an ancient prophecy—“A lofty name shall have a fearful fall when, as the
Mercier, in L'an deux mille quatre cents quarante,” seriously maintains the doctrines of the Metempsychosis, and J. D'Israeli says that “no es tem is so simple and so little repugnant to the understanding." Colonel Ethan Allen, the “Green Mountain Boy," is also said to have been a serious me tempsych vsist.
iguous, es equally evention and that no meaning.
rider over his horse, the mortality of Metzengerstein shall triumph over the immortality of Berlifitzing."
To be sure the words themselves had little or no meaning. But more trivial causes have given rise—and that no long while ago
—to consequences equally eventful. Besides, the estates, which were contiguous, had long exercised a rival influence in the affairs of a busy government. Moreover, near neighbors are seldom friends; and the inhabitants of the Castle Berlititzing might look, from their lotty buttresses, into the very windows of the Palace Metzengerstein. Least of all had the more than feudal magnificence thus discovered, a tendency to allay the irritable feelings of the less ancient and less wealthy Berlifitzings. Wb : wonder, then, that the words, however silly, of that prediction, should have succeeded in setting and keeping at variance two families already predisposed to quarrel by every instigation of hereditary jealousy? The prophecy seemed to imply—if it implied anything—a final triumph on the part of the already more powerful house ; and was of course remembered with the more bitter animosity by the weaker and less influential.
Wilhelm, Count Berlifitzing, although loftily descended, was, at the epoch of this narrative, an infirm and doting old man, remarkable for nothing but an inordinate and inveterate personal antipathy to the family of his rival, and so passionate a love of horses, and of hunting, that neither bodily infirmity, great age, nor mental incapacity, prevented his daily participation in the dangers of the chase.
Frederick, Baron Metzengerstein, was, on the other hand, not yet of age. IIis father, the Minister G- , died young. His mother, the Lady Mary, followed him quickly. Frederick was, at that time, in his eighteenth year. In a city, eighteen years are no long period : but in a wilderness—in so magnificent a wilderness as that old principality, the pendulum vibrates with a deeper meaning.
From some peculiar circumstances attending the administration of his father, the young Baron, at the decease of the former, entered immediately upon his vast possessions. Such estates were seldom held before by a nobleman of Hungary. His castles were without number. The chief in point of splendor and extent was