Mr. Beamish relates: ’To this day, when I write at an interval of fifteen years, I have the tragic ague of that hour in my blood, and I behold the shrouded form of the most admirable of women, whose heart was broken by a faithless man ere she devoted her wreck of life to arrest one weaker than herself on the descent to perdition. Therein it was beneficently granted her to be of the service she prayed to be through her death. She died to save. In a last letter, found upon her pincushion, addressed to me under seal of secrecy toward the parties principally concerned, she anticipates the whole confession of the unhappy duchess. Nay, she prophesies: “The duchess will tell you truly she has had enough of love!” Those actual words were reiterated to me by the poor lady daily until her lord arrived to head the funeral procession, and assist in nursing back the shattered health of his wife to a state that should fit her for travelling. To me, at least, she was constant in repeating, “No more of love!” By her behaviour to her duke, I can judge her to have been sincere. She spoke of feeling Chloe’s eyes go through her with every word of hers that she recollected. Nor was the end of Chloe less effective upon the traitor. He was in the procession to her grave. He spoke to none. There is a line of the verse bearing the superscription, “My Reasons for Dying,” that shows her to have been apprehensive to secure the safety of Mr. Camwell:
die because my heart is dead
To warn a soul from sin I die:
I die that blood may not be shed, etc.
She feared he would be somewhere on the road to mar the fugitives, and she knew him, as indeed he knew himself, no match for one trained in the foreign tricks of steel, ready though he was to dispute the traitor’s way. She remembers Mr. Camwell’s petition for the knotted silken string in her request that it shall be cut from her throat and given to him.’
Mr. Beamish indulges in verses above the grave of Chloe. They are of a character to cool emotion. But when we find a man, who is commonly of the quickest susceptibility to ridicule as well as to what is befitting, careless of exposure, we may reflect on the truthfulness of feeling by which he is drawn to pass his own guard and come forth in his nakedness; something of the poet’s tongue may breathe to us through his mortal stammering, even if we have to acknowledge that a quotation would scatter pathos.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
All flattery is at somebody’s expense
Be philosophical, but accept your personal dues
But I leave it to you
Distrust us, and it is a declaration of war
Happiness in love is a match between ecstasy and compliance
If I do not speak of payment
Intellectual contempt of easy dupes
Invite indecision to exhaust their scruples