Melmoth the Wanderer Vol. 4 (of 4)
Melmoth the Wanderer Vol. 4 (of 4)
Responde meum argumentum-nomen est nomen- ergo , quod tibi est nomen-responde argumentum.
Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit at several Weapons.
"That night was the one fixed on for the union of Isidora and Melmoth. She had retired early to her chamber, and sat at the casement watching for his approach for hours before she could probably expect it. It might be supposed that at this terrible crisis of her fate, she felt agitated by a thousand emotions,-that a soul susceptible like hers felt itself almost torn in pieces by the struggle,-but it was not so. When a mind strong by nature, but weakened by fettering circumstances, is driven to make one strong spring to free itself, it has no leisure to calculate the weight of its hindrances, or the width of its leap,-it sits with its chains heaped about it, thinking only of the bound that is to be its liberation-or --
"During the many hours that Isidora awaited the approach of this mysterious bridegroom, she felt nothing but the awful sense of that approach, and of the event that was to follow. So she sat at her casement, pale but resolute, and trusting in the extraordinary promise of Melmoth, that by whatever means he was enabled to visit her, by those she would be enabled to effect her escape, in spite of her well-guarded mansion, and vigilant household.
"It was near one (the hour at which Fra Jose, who was sitting in consultation with her mother over that melancholy letter, heard the noise alluded to in the preceding chapter) when Melmoth appeared in the garden, and, without uttering a word, threw up a ladder of ropes, which, in short and sullen whispers, he instructed her to fasten, and assisted her to descend. They hurried through the garden,-and Isidora, amid all the novelty of her feelings and situation, could not avoid testifying her surprise at the facility with which they passed through the well-secured garden gate.
"They were now in the open country,-a region far wilder to Isidora than the flowery paths of that untrodden isle, where she had no enemy. Now in every breeze she heard a menacing voice,-in the echoes of her own light steps she heard the sound of steps pursuing her.
"The night was very dark,-unlike the midsummer nights in that delicious climate. A blast sometimes cold, sometimes stifling from heat, indicated some extraordinary vicissitude in the atmosphere. There is something very fearful in this kind of wintry feeling in a summer night. The cold, the darkness, followed by intense heat, and a pale, meteoric lightning, seemed to unite the mingled evils of the various seasons, and to trace their sad analogy to life,-whose stormy summer allows youth little to enjoy, and whose chilling winter leaves age nothing to hope.
"To Isidora, whose sensibilities were still so acutely physical, that she could feel the state of the elements as if they were the oracles of nature, which she could interpret at sight,-this dark and troubled appearance seemed like a fearful omen. More than once she paused, trembled, and turned on Melmoth a glance of doubt and terror,-which the darkness of the night, of course, prevented him from observing. Perhaps there was another cause,-but as they hurried on, Isidora's strength and courage began to fail together. She perceived that she was borne on with a kind of supernatural velocity,-her breath failed,-her feet faultered,-and she felt like one in a dream.
"Stay!" she exclaimed, gasping from weakness, "stay!-whither am I going?-where do you bear me?"-"To your nuptials," answered Melmoth, in low and almost inarticulate tones;-but whether rendered so by emotion, or by the speed with which they seemed to fly along, Isidora could not discover.
"In a few moments, she was forced to declare herself unable to proceed, and leaned on his arm, gasping and exhausted. "Let me pause," sai